Know Confucian

Job Confucious Quote

Exploring Eastern Philosophies

FOREWORD: The following passage is an excerpt from the Analects; the teachings of Confucius gathered through dialogue in a book. How can one find Christ within these sayings?

Sayings of the Master:

“If the great man be not grave, he will not be revered, neither can his learning be solid.

“Give prominent place to loyalty and sincerity.

“Have no associates in study who are not advanced somewhat like yourself.

“When you have erred, be not afraid to correct yourself.”

A saying of the Scholar Tsang:

“The virtue of the people is renewed and enriched when attention is seen to be paid to the departed, and the remembrance of distant ancestors kept and cherished.”

Tsz-k’in put this query to his fellow disciple Tsz-kung: said he, “When our Master comes to this or that State, he learns without fail how it is being governed. Does he investigate matters? or are the facts given him?”

Tsz-kung answered, “Our Master is a man of pleasant manners, and of probity, courteous, moderate, and unassuming: it is by his being such that he arrives at the facts. Is not his way of arriving at things different from that of others?”

A saying of the Master:

“He who, after three years’ observation of the will of his father when alive, or of his past conduct if dead, does not deviate from that father’s ways, is entitled to be called ‘a dutiful son.'”

Sayings of the Scholar Yu:

“For the practice of the Rules of Propriety,[1] one excellent way is to be natural. This naturalness became a great grace in the practice of kings of former times; let everyone, small or great, follow their example.

“It is not, however, always practicable; and it is not so in the case of a person who does things naturally, knowing that he should act so, and yet who neglects to regulate his acts according to the Rules.

“When truth and right are hand in hand, a statement will bear repetition. When respectfulness and propriety go hand in hand, disgrace and shame are kept afar-off. Remove all occasion for alienating those to whom you are bound by close ties, and you have them still to resort to.”

For God is not a God of CONFUCIAN, BUT of peace – as in all the churches of the saints. 1 Cor 14:33 ESV Eisegesis added

Read Blog ‘Sikhing in Redemption’ >>>

Sikhing in Redemption

Looking Sink

Exploring Religious Text

FOREWARD: I do not speak Punjab and I have little exposure to Hindi. Learning Hindi was practical for me due to the nature of work I had to do in the past. The goal is to find Christ’s Immanence in all text; something that is easier to do within Abrahamic Religions than outside. The path of seeing Christ in all calls out to me as a deep longing I hold. I made this post public to invite those who are intrigued by such notions to join me in this Journey of Discovering Christ.

The following is an excerpt of the first Vaars of Bhai Gurdas ji. Vaars in this context is referring to literature within Sikhism and shouldn’t be conflated with the seven days of week in Hinduism.

Greetings to the Guru, Satnamu, the mantra recited.  (2-4-7)
The substance of salvation is absorbed out of the abyss.  (2-4-7)
ਜਨਮ ਮਰਨ ਭੌ ਕਟਿਆ ਸੰਸਾ ਰੋਗ ਵਿਜੋਗ ਮਿਟਾਯਾ॥ (1-7)
Sansa, this is the world, suffering in birth and death.  (2-4-7)
At the feet of the Guru, the Sat Shabad is liberated.  (2-4-7)
Bhai Bhagat Gurpurab Kar Naam Daan Ishnan Dridhaya.  (2-4-7)
The seed has borne fruit.  (2-4-7)
At first, I was breathless, but I could not hear anything.  (2-4-7)
ਰਕਤ ਬਿੰਦ ਕੀ ਦੇਹ ਰਚ ਪਾਂਚ ਤਤ ਕੀ ਜੜਤ ਜੜਾਈ॥ (2-4-7)
The wind and the water merge with the fourth earth without hesitation.  (2-4-7)
In the Punch, the Creator of the sky is absorbed in the sixth invisible.  (1-7)
The five elements, twenty-five times the enemy, the friend, the body together.  (2-4-7)

NOTE: The numbers after the text looks like they belong to a musical system. There seems to be a common theme of salvation in Eastern Religions. If salvation is in Jesus alone, there needs to be more objective proof in words and deeds. The phrase, ‘In the Punch,’ I believe is more likely to refer to a place in India rather than some juice or action.  

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

When reconciling foreign cultures, it’s good practice to NOT conflate names and take note of titles. How can we find Jesus in the passage?

What similarities are there with the Vaars and the Bible? What are the differences?

What are the five elements being referred here in the poem? In what ways is such knowledge useful and irrelevant?

Ask, and it will be given you; SIKH, and you shall find, knock, and the door shall be opened to you. Matt 7:7 ESV Eisegesis added

READ BLOG ‘THE L.A.M.B IN ISLAM’ >>>

The L.A.M.B in Islam

Black Sheep with Lambs

The Opening

1In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

2All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (worlds)

3The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

4Sovereign of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)

5You (Alone) we worship, and you (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)

6Guide us to the Straight Way

7The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned

Your Anger, nor of those who went astray.

— Surah Al Fatiha, Qur’ an

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Allah mean? Should Christians be offended by the name Allah?
  2.  Can Jesus be found in this Islamic Revelation? If so where?
  3. How can Christians work to be reconciled to Muslim believers?
  4. Are there any Biblical Prophecies that speak to peace between Christians and Muslims? If so, where can they be found?

All in the Aisle

Aisle in the Church

One of the good things this pandemic has brought about was more adoption of ways of delivering products. In store pick-ups and curbside deliveries have been crucial in helping to keep long lines down while social distancing. I hope this continues long after things clear up rather than having the full on cashier-less store. Yes, I still have faith in retail stores in spite of massive closedowns. No need to hear comments from the peanut gallery.

Tony Evans Commentary

So, my wife found this gem of a book recently just laying on the check-out counter as she was purchasing some items. Such a historical book and makes a great addition to our book collection. In our previous devotional, we talked about additional rules of Hermeneutics including juxtaposing and integrating words. Today I hope to do three things here:

  1. Give a little more information about Biblical interpretation
  2. Give a short talk on Biblical Authority and the difference between infallibility and inerrancy.
  3. Provide further grounds for exploring other religions and cultures in great detail.

In the last post, I made a suggestion to not weaken the potency of words in order to suit our understanding. For those who are well acquainted with the Bible, they know how powerful words can be and the danger behind weaking it. It’s good to remind us here that the rules behind Biblical Interpretation are not arbitrary rules given by some scholars, it is written in the Bible itself.

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you. Deut 4:2 ESV

Gee is that all?

There are two types of interpretations: exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis is interpreting the text by the author according to the author’s word in context. Eisegesis by contrast is importing your own ideas of meaning into the text. Generally speaking eisegesis is shunned and for good reasons yet not altogether correct.

The prophets of Judaism had warned Israel about failing to discern between good and evil. (Read Is 5:20-21; Ez 22:26) The Jews many of times fell away from serving God to serving idols keeping themselves from reaching the Promised Land. It is also proverbial wisdom to avoid eisegesis although wisdom will sometimes clash.

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. Prov 30:5-6 ESV

Vs.

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. Ecc 3:14 ESV

Grace to Write

Because God’s Word is and should be held in high regard, eisegesis is commonly avoided in respect of authority. For who would talk back to the highest authority? A Supreme being does not stand to be corrected. These are the premises concerning the infallibility of the scriptures. However, with Logic, a distinction must be made between infallibility and inerrancy. These are two different words which imports two different sets of meanings. I am preparing to make a dangerous claim. Please take the time to consider my propositions:

If something is inerrant, it must be infallible. The inverse is not true. Something can be infallible and contain errors. The Bible contains many errors, perhaps more than we would like to admit.

Haven’t we already proven deviations from God’s Word with translations alone? Are there other inaccuracies in the Bible? I can find them. Can you?  

And yet…

beTween inTerpreTers

The righteousness that comes from law keeping states that one must be careful to not make mistakes to be right with God. The righteousness that comes from grace states that one has fulfilled the law through simple faith in Christ. The former strives to maintain the integrity of the letter. The latter maintains the purity of the Spirit. As our beloved Matthew would write:

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered peace, and the peaceful subdue with passion. 2 Matthew 11:12 TPV (The Prototypical Version)

And so I maintain an epigrammatic expression that I have said once and will say again: One cannot honestly assert the existence of transcendental truth without recognizing objectivity as lies by way of omission.

Why would God give His Word to mankind with ‘mistakes’? Allow me to give an explanation. Do not take it as absolute truth. Perhaps God withholds his revelations to test the faithfulness of his people. Faithfulness in loyalty, in belief, in accuracy, and in reflection. Perhaps in the same way a person is given a standardized test with multiple choices, God gives His Word to his people. No one expects all the answers in a multiple choice question to be correct.

(T)All (TEST)In(G) the(S)Is

I’d like the solve the puzzle Pat. What great fortunes await those who do the will of God! What glory there is for those who worship God in spirit and in truth; in true righteousness and holiness, without pretense and a false estimation of one’s productivity. For without Christ, all of one’s works are corrupt. To deny Jesus who is the Messiah; the Perfect One, would essentially be denying One’s full potential. And I’d hate to see many souls continue to be infidels on the day of judgment. For on that day I’m sure as Alex would agree as well, that for those unbelievers the question still remains: What is Double Jeopardy?

Now let’s go to our devotional verse in 2 Timothy. I will not break it down this time. I’ll let you do it and come up with your own reasoning. Try to consider why I would explore different texts across religions and cultures. Just a few notes here and then I’ll ask a question:

15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Tim 3:15-16 KJV 

Excuse the Old English here. I’ve always been an old soul. Note the omission of holy between verses 15 and 16. Paul believes scriptures were given for a purpose. The following question does not challenge those purposes, but for whom or what those purposes are for. Choose the BEST answer:

When a person reads the Word of God, who should be instructed?

God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain!

And yet there are some who will deny things in spite of sufficient evidence. What a way to go when tenacity becomes stubbornness! May we be persistent in what is good and true. For this marks the end of an error. I’m sorry did I say error. I meant to say Era. That’s that accent kicking in.

What are your thoughts about this devotional? Do you believe people should counter God’s word? Do you think the Bible contains errors? Please give your comments below.

When Biscuits Plateau

“This does not look appealing,” she said. “That’s the whole point.”

This is a brief conversation between my wife and I as we discussed the recent blog. Just a recap for those who weren’t following along, the previous devotional was designed to lay the framework for exploring texts from different cultures. We briefly touched upon the science behind interpreting Scriptures to which I will continue to build upon here.

for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 2 Timothy 2:9 ESV

Peace-A Puzzle

Strange place to begin but bear with me here. This week has been tough; I intended to build a lot of things this week after quietly going through pain. And when I thought I felt good enough to get more stuff done, another recurring pain has paralyzed me. I hope you can imagine the frustration that I’m feeling; I just want to get things done. Yet my own frailties is showing me that you move according to the strength God provides.

Anyways,

We learned recently that Biblical scriptures independently and collectively constitute as one complete thought. Who cares about thoughts though? The general consensus is that words don’t matter, actions do. Don’t give me empty language; empty promises, performative love, performative justice. etc. Give me solutions, give me change, show me you’re about that life with your walk.

Treating the Rash

The problem with putting actions before thoughts or words is that the actions are uninformed. It is equivalent to someone who has a cut on their foot deciding to self-medicate by putting a bandage on their arm. While they may have the right tool for the problem, they are probably missing additional tools and applying the wrong area. The same can be said about the ineffectiveness of the church. We have the word of God, but where to apply it in everyday life is a struggle often due to being misinformed about God’s Word to begin with.

Acquiring Medicine

Hermeneutics deals with interpretation. Due to the nature of the Bible, it is necessary to have this skill. However, if we stopped at understanding correctly what the Bible says, we have cut off the rest of the spiritual sciences God has provided. Bible study would be relegated to something like a relic to be studied in a museum, rather than something that is active and alive in our very midst. To adequately challenge the notion that words do not matter, additional research and analysis needs to be performed. We must move on from simply comparing Scriptures with Scripture. Let’s begin with specimen now:

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors,

with a clear conscience,

as I remember you

 constantly in my prayers

 night and day.

 For which I am

 suffering,

bound with

 chains as a

 criminal.

 But the word

 of God

is

 not bound!

Those Scriptures are not put together merely for artistic sake. There is more to it. What is taking place here? What research and analysis can be made to study its activity? To those who have ears to hear and eyes to see go your ways. Remember to not go ahead of the light provided for you and fight to maintain a pure heart. When the morning star approaches, we will reveal more about this. For now, let’s keep things under wrap. For the rest of us, let’s break our devotional verse down.

The Mirrors Volley

Christianity teaches that there are two worlds where wars take place; the war of the world and the war of the spiritual realm. Every once in a while, the two worlds collide. It is also taught that the word of God is a mirror to the soul. Not only does the Bible reveal the nature of God, it also reveals the true nature of the reader.

for which I am suffering…2 Tim 2:9a

To which some of you will read this and laugh because you’re thriving right now. Let me add that the broadest definition of suffering is to undergo or experience something. You can experience good and pleasure and/or evil and pain. In this life we can expect suffering in both until the Kingdom of Heaven is established upon the earth.

aNd Yeast Abounds

The Bible will show a person that they are not as good as they think. If the reader is humble, they will also realize they are not as smart or wise as they presume themselves to be. Of course, this assumes that the person believes that what the Bible is saying is true. And there are plenty of reasons to believe the Bible is not so it is reasonable to approach the Scriptures skeptically on the onset. Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that disobedience to the laws of God bring about slavery leading to death.

Bound with chains as a criminal…2 Tim 2:9b

But Paul is considered a holy man who feared God and followed Christ. It seems that his loyalty to Jesus brought more troubles than he would imagine. It would be an oversimplification then to say that good things happen to good people while bad things happen to bad people. It is possible to undergo things at no fault of your own.

You Free Dough

The gospel of Christ teaches there is freedom ‘from’ the mundane things of life. Worldly freedom usually is heralded in the following ways

  • Financial freedom: Get enough wealth so you can live life like you want
  • Personal freedom: Do whatever you want when you want, it’s your life
  • Sexual freedom: An extension of personal freedom but revolving around sex

The freedom that the Gospel preaches is one of transcendence and is shared with other philosophies and religions (e.g. Islam). For Christians, this transcendence is accomplished through staying in God’s Word. There is a need for comparison and contrasts of transcendental freedom amongst different worldviews if we are serious about reconciliation.

But the word of God is not bound! 2 Tim 2:9c

Let me take a tangent here as now is a good time to feed two birds with one loaf. There is much contention over the purity of the Gospel in recent years and for good reasons. A lot of it stems from how people interpret Scriptures hence the reason why I’m speaking up. A great deal of Christians interpret God’s word through compartmentalizing or through linear context (how it relates to scriptures within the Chapter, other Chapters etc.) Very few integrate or juxtapose words together. So when we see this:

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 2 Tim 2:4 NIV

Many people will get the idea that true Evangelism requires total abandonment of all worldly concerns preaching Jesus at every chance they get to others. While that notion is correct, it is only a partial truth. If Paul thought that Christians shouldn’t get involved in any worldly affairs, why speak of civil matters in the next two verses?

Perhaps the suffering that comes through proclaiming the Gospel isn’t necessarily only being on the front lines as an Evangelist, behind the pulpit, or street witnessing. Perhaps there is a war zone just as violent in Evangelizing as there is in attending your business or working for corporations. It may be possible to proclaim the Gospel through your work, with or without saying a word, with or without speaking ‘Christianese’ (Christian jargon). Is the word of God only proclaimed from a certain political party? Is seeking the welfare of those marginalized or promoting policies that benefit all against the call of the gospel? There is so much more I can say about this as so I hope you can see a plausible reason to exploring texts in different cultures. For certainly there are levels to this. Let’s not emasculate the potency of words through our narrow views of understanding.

My heart goes out to all those who are going through tough times right now. I want you to know that someone out here cares and is going through right alongside you. I just came out of urgent care yesterday after going through excruciating pain for the past couple of days. Didn’t think I’d get on here and receive more bad news. Remember, for all of us who are in Christ we are one body. We’ll continue this devotional soon. Love you dearly.

Has this devotional been a blessing to you? Are you suffering and in need of prayer? Want more insight into how words are juxtaposed or integrated together? Please comment below and share with others.

Serving Grate on a Plate

I never want to be the one who takes things for granted whether small or large. I learned so many things from paying attention to details that have been largely rewarding albeit not tangible to others. One of the things I want to do in the coming years is begin a devotional for my Christian family for the sake of restoration, unity, and reconciliation. I am going to begin this John Piper style with exploring texts. However, I’ll be exploring scriptures a’cross’ religions. In the same fashion, I will explore sacred and secular lyrics from different cultures. Now today’s devotional will stem from the Bible and I won’t begin to truly get deep in other doctrines until the grounds have been set for why I’m doing it. I want to avoid -if possible- the unjust claim of Universalism (although the term really doesn’t bother me).

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 2 Timothy 1:3 ESV

A Whole Peace-A

If its’ not clear why I will explore other religions in great detail from this passage alone, things will become clearer later on in subsequent devotionals. For personal discipline, I’ll build the grounds for belief around this letter. Now I don’t want to bore you with my knowledge of Hermeneutics as technical as it can get. Let’s just say that I regularly analyze data and can come up with at least 7 different ways of looking at information. As a general rule, Biblical interpretation is done by comparing scripture with scripture; whether that is within immediate context or remote passages, the Bible both compartmentalized and in its entirety is one complete thought. Without skills in critical thinking, one will not walk away from the Bible understanding why some people are Christians, why others think or act the way they do. People who have no real understanding of others have no place to give any form of judgment. Yet unsound opinions are the terrors of the day. Hello?

Statement Kombat

When looking at two different scriptures, we’ll often find tension as the Bible is full of paradoxical truths. For example:

I thank God whom I serve…2 Timothy 1:3a

Vs.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. Acts 17:24-25

Vs.

If God made everything, how can there be man-made temples? If God doesn’t live in said temple, how can He be omnipresent? The Prototype 11:11

And so forth…

Lost in Translation

The second important rule when encountering data is understanding the linguistics. Unless you are fluent in the author’s language you’ll need an interpreter. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. If you’re not reading the Bible in those languages, you’re encountering an interpretation. The Bible has many translations which can be classified into two categories:

  1. Word for Word: attempts to give the most accurate word equivalent in today’s language. e.g ESV
  2. Idea for Idea: attempts to give the general idea for the sake of cultural relevancy. e.g The Message

Keep in mind when you are doing a Bible study or any other study for that matter that you may be receiving second-hand information rather than the original source. For example:

as did my ancestors… 2 Timothy 1:3b

Vs

ἀπόπ ρόγονος

Literally meaning ‘from my forefathers’. Now I’m no real stickler for grammar or linguistics as I code switch depending on whom I’m with. However, when analyzing language, syntax matters as it conveys different connotations depending on word usage.

‘As’ implies something is being done to the same or similar degree.

‘From’ implies something starting at a place of origin or a place of separation.

Both renderings held together imply mysteries that are unfortunately too controversial in Christian circles today. To keep from straying away from my original purpose in writing this, I will stop explaining those nuances here. Instead for those who may want hints to the hidden insight, I will for now point you to a scripture later on in the Chapter:

By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Tim 1:14 ESV

A Silver Ware

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be financially poor than be spiritually broke. One can redeem the other, another is useless if you want to reach true maturity. There is an awakening left for Christians who are ready to arouse from their slumber; an illumination of the soul that has the capacity to comprehend things beyond normal limitations.

With a clear conscience…1 Tim 1:3c

All too often, our attempts at morality stifle our relationship with Christ. Not that ethics doesn’t matter, rather we are often hindered by arbitrary standards of right and wrong which is based on human traditions, not developing true self-control, and inconsistent with the freedoms afforded to us through Jesus. I find it funny when people try to throw such moral codes in my face.

Additionally, there needs to be a critique of the New Age movement, namely the God Consciousness movement which tries to distinguish their doctrine from previous religions, not truly knowing all what those religions practice and teach. Can we see the inconsistencies? Yet in Christ, an overarching harmony brings it all together.

The Standard of Piety

As God’s ways are perfect, His perfection becomes ours through His Spirit as he demands it of us. God’s demands according to the Law will always condemn us, but through grace, it gives us acceptance, hope and power to overcome what was previously impossible to accomplish.

as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 1 Tim 1:3d

I’ll openly admit, I don’t pray for anyone like that. To my own shame, I don’t love anyone like that, not even myself. A sign of perfect love is constancy which is consistent with the implications of having a clear conscience. I made it a point to grow in fortitude of mind over the summer. Slowly but surely, I have been making significant progress. I hope to finally live up to the truths of the words thankFULL and grateFULL.

Because you O Lord are always praying for us, smitten and grateful for us your creation. Thank you for the peace to be united with you in certain respects. Have mercy upon our souls; forgive our debts and do not remember our iniquities. Impute the righteousness of your Son upon us. Give us the grace to overcome all that is ungodly in our lives while we minister your presence amongst ourselves and the world around us. Amen.

How beautiful is the nature of God! While there are many other things about his nature revealed in this passage that is mysterious and dubious, I hope this serves a greater revelation of the will of God concerning humanity.

What are your thoughts about the devotional? Are you thankful? In what ways can you be more appreciate of life in its totality? Please leave a comment below.