The World I Dream

posted by Jeffrey on Friday, July 28, 2006 at 9:09 AM

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On the way to the Mt. Juliet Panera Bread, where I sit now, I was reflecting on an interesting conversation I had with some friends of mine on Wednesday evening at the Panera in Hermitage. (I work from these two Panera's alot) As soon as I got here, I brought the notebook out of hibernation and got on Merriam-Webster online and this is what I found:

In searching for "reality", the number one definition is, "the quality or state of being real." So, logically, I search for "real", who's number one entry is the adjective (most commonly used) form of the word, who's number one definition is, "of or relating to fixed, permanent, or immovable things."

This begs the question that was among the conversation this past week. What things are permanent? Let me say what things are not. In the metaphysical sense, human bodies, buildings, trees, cars, coffee, computers, etc, etc, etc. ANYTHING that has a beginning and an end is not permanent, hence is not real. Only that which exists in the spiritual realm are eternal, hence, real. It's fascinating how many things we feel exist in the spiritual realm, but really, do not. Take evil, for example. Evil has a beginning an and end. It has not always been and will not always be, therefore, it isn't real. Though evil isn't real, guess what IS...Love. Hmm, fancy that.

Does anyone else feel a little bit like we're in the Matrix?

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Thoughts on the Mid-East War...and Canada

posted by Jeffrey on at 8:02 AM

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I find in my self a lack of desire to blog about current events, as a whole, but I thought I'd take a few minutes to do so this morning before I hit the ground running. Things are getting crazy in the mid-east, no doubt, but I am one who isn't willing to say what that "means".

Many would say it's a sign of the end times. Many would say that's absurd. I say, no matter what it "means", it is clear that humanity is moving away from perfect love. As a friend frequently asks, "What would it look like if the perfect and unconditional love of Christ ruled the lives of all humanity?"

Back to the war, here's my hypothesis. Our neighbors to the north, Canada, lay so low and keep themselves so far from the lime light of the international community that one must wonder what actually goes on in Maple Leaf Land. Isn't it obvious that they're there conducting top secret nuclear research, amassing huge weapons and munitions depots, and fostering an armed services who's size and skill will boggle the mind? When they sweep in to the USA, we won't know what it us.

Ok, so that hypothesis may have been said with my tongue slightly implanted in my cheek, but hey, it could still happen [sarcasm].

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Glazing Over Toxic Donuts

posted by Jeffrey on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 9:07 AM

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There are times in life when I find myself stumbling upon rare treasures that I knew not even existed. Sitting here writing last night's post was one of those times. I had referred to a passage in John chapter 14 for some specific words of Jesus, but what you didn't see was what happened as I read on.

Allow me to paste some of the text here:

...Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."

9Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15"If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."...

Towards the end of verse 17, you see a superscript "c" after the phrase, "will be". That superscript lead me to the bottom of the page to see this footnote, "Some early manuscripts 'and is'"!!! What? How can the translators just glaze over such a fork in the road?!?! The difference in whatever manuscript was used here and the early manuscripts alluded to is whether or not the Holy Spirit was already abiding in ("and is") the disciples and the modern, more widely accepted interpretation of that the Spirit did not yet abide in them and the disciples lacked something they needed ("will be").

No big deal? Quite the contrary! If the text is really supposed to read "and is", then that means the Spirit, i.e. the life of Christ, was already in the disciples, which means it's already in ALL humans. That's a HUGE difference from the modern teachings of, "I have Jesus in me, you need Jesus in you...".

FYI, I found from one source that the reason for this discrepancy is that the early Greek manuscripts did not mark accents. The word for "will be" and "and is" is apparently the same word in Greek, only with different accents. Here is the reason given for translating it the "will be" way, "The reading chosen for the text seems to fit the context better." That is obviously an educated way of saying, "we guessed." It is also men basically saying, "based on our biases and theologies we've constructed around the whole of Scripture, this translation seems to fit best with the way we presently see things..."

Oh my.

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Positive Thinking Power Origin

posted by Jeffrey on Monday, July 24, 2006 at 9:25 PM

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Recently my wife and I have heard, on numerous occasions, discussions regarding the Law of Attraction, the power of positive thinking, etc. Personally, I've always felt it to be a little humanistic to feel that I can bring about whatever I want just by thinking it. Then it hit me, this concept may actually be a reality--but not in the way we tend to think.

Jesus told His disciples, as John records it, that if they had faith in Him they would do not only the things He had done, but even greater things as well. What if what Jesus is saying here is what we call the power of positive thinking? What if the power is not in the mind, but in the Spirit of God, the very life of Christ that resides within us? What if this "power of positive thinking" is actually the power of the Holy Spirit enabling us to do those "greater things" that Jesus talked about?

Just a thought...

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HIV in Nashville

posted by Jeffrey on Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 3:23 PM

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Recently I've come upon some information about our Nashville community that is quite disturbing. Kevin Hartman, a PharmD (and owner?) of Nashville Pharmacy Services, estimates that there are 3,000 HIV positive patients in the greater Nashville area. Whoa, I had no idea! I sure am glad for people like Mr. Hartman and his pharmacy that provides FREE delivery and/or shipping of medications to all of his patients. I'm also glad for clinics like the Comprehensive Care Center which is, "A private, not-for-profit outpatient medical facility dedicated to advancing and coordinating care, research and treatment of people living with HIV infection...".

One of my friends asked Mr. Hartman a series of questions regarding why HIV meds were so expensive and what prevents countries in dire need, like those in Africa, from getting adequate amounts of them? The answer, though Mr. Hartman could only provide an educated (yet professional) guess, was simply a lack of money.

Wow, maybe my blogger bud and Social Justice junkie Sam Davidson can supply us with some info on a way to contribute or aid in such a need.

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Aggregating Comments...Finally!

posted by Jeffrey on Thursday, July 20, 2006 at 4:04 PM

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Ok, So I've had a coCommenter account for about 3 months and haven't been all that pleased. The major con of the service, until now, was that you could only track comments made by other ppl with coCo accounts themselves. But hey, at least you still had the links to the actual comment url's in one place so it was easy to check out all the non-coCo comments on the pages as well.

However, the fellas over at coCo FINALLY released the much awaited major update that makes the service a force to be reckoned with. Its too bad that it hasn't caught on in the Nashville blogosphere yet (hint hint). The list of updates includes the coCoCrawler that allows you to track all comments (including non-coCo comments) on any site, the "track this conversation" feature which allows you to track the comment threads of conversations you're not even participating in, the meta-conversation feature which allows you to activate coCo on sites without any built in comment function, and the list goes on and on!

Good job yall. Thanks for making commenting easier and more fun.

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I Repent

posted by Jeffrey on Wednesday, July 19, 2006 at 10:12 PM

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"I repent, I repent of my pursuit of america's dream
I repent, I repent of living like I deserve anything
of my house, my fence, my kids, my wife
in our suburb where we're safe and white
I am wrong and of these things I repent

I repent, I repent of parading my liberty
I repent. I repent of paying for what I get for free
and for the way I believe that i am living right
by trading sins for others that are easier to hide
I am wrong and of these things I repent

I repent judging by a law that even I can't keep
of wearing righteousness like a disguise
to see through the planks in my own eyes

I repent, I repent of trading truth for false unity
I repent, I repent of confusing peace and idolatry
by caring more of what they think than what I know of what we need
by domesticating you until you look just like me
I am wrong and of these things I repent."

~Derek Webb, "I Repent"
From the album, "I See Things Upside Down"

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Overcomplicating Idolatry

posted by Jeffrey on Monday, July 17, 2006 at 5:56 PM

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Sometimes I feel that our over-arching longing to label things leads to over complication of many things. You know what I mean, little Larry says, "I think Jesus died for His elect, and only them." Then tiny Tina replies, "oh you're a Calvinist...". Non-theological example: merry Martha says, "...No thank you, I don't eat meat." Judgmental Jamie replies, "Oh, are you like a hippie or something?" See, humans have a freaky unspoken desire to label everything and everyone, and in so doing, we confine people to certain "camps" that we assign them to and refuse to believe that they do not belong there.

Anyway, all that to say this--we overcomplicate a lot of things that aren't that complicated. Here's an excerpt from a book I'm reading, not Love Trumps Karma, a different one, because I just finished LTK this morning.

Regarding our "High Places":

"I rarely saw Benny without hearing some piece of profound wisdom suitable to a sage. This day was no exception. With that typical twinkle in his eye and that wry west Tennessee grin on his face, he asked me, 'Do you know how you can tell when something is an idol in you life?'

'No.' I waited for his reply. I knew it would be good.

His grin widened. His words were slow but short. 'By how big a fight you put up when it's taken from you.'

Many of the things we fight over are likely idols in our lives. We get angry when something we adore is taken from us or when we fear that it might be taken from us."

When I first read this I didn't totally agree. I thought, "that's not true! there are plenty of things that aren't idols that I would fight for with all my my wife!" Then I saw it, the story didn't say it was an idol if you fight for it, but the give-a-way of idolatry was how big a fight (or maybe a better word is fit) you put up when it is taken away. I'm still thinking on this, but a very interesting idea.

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All Bloggers are Hindu

posted by Jeffrey on Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 10:26 AM

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Not only are all bloggers apparently Hindu, but also any who involve themselves in online communities where they identify themselves by a little 60x60 image we like to call an avatar.

Ok, so those of us who mark our place in the cyber world with the stamp of our avatars aren't really Hindu, but that's where the term avatar comes from. Let me explain with an excerpt from Love Trumps Karma by Karyn Henley:

"...The ultimate purpose of a Hindu Life is to reach the Supreme Brahman, and Hindus want to communicate somehow with this great unapproachable Reality. That's where the second level comes in, the conditioned Brahman who has physical features.

Hindus believe they can communicate with the conditioned Brahman, who becomes the bridge between them and the unapproachable Supreme Brahman. They say the conditioned Brahman is the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer of the world. They often call the conditioned Brahman "Lord" or "God". And they believe that one way that the conditioned Brahman works is that when necessary, it can manifest itself as a man for a while. When this happens, the conditioned Brahman is called the Avatar."

I just thought it was both funny and interesting to learn that our various avatar images are, in essence, the self-manifestations of our unapproachable realities to the feeble minds that gaze at their screens day in and day out, searching for love and for answers. Silly mortals, I have you all fooled--you truly think that Jeffrey Davis is the flying squirrel you see before your eyes in my profile! muah ha ha ha...

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The Truth I Know but Didn't Know I Knew

posted by Jeffrey on Saturday, July 08, 2006 at 10:17 AM

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Love Trumps KarmaAs of late, some friends and I have been discussing the reality of perfect love and what the world would look like if all humanity lived in and through it.

Anyway, my buddies turned me on to a book called Love Trumps Karma by Karyn Henley, a local Nashville girl. In LTK, Karyn too explores what such a world would look like.

Anyway, this morning as I was reading a few chapters at Starbucks in Hermitage while eating my two cinnamon cake donuts and sipping on a tall banana coconut frappucino, God revealed something in my spirit that leaves me utterly dumbfounded as I wonder at how I have not yet seen such a simple Truth. So here it is...

In 1 John 4, verses 8 and 16 say that "God is love." Genesis 1:26 says, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image...'". If God is Love, that is perfect love, then that is His image. So the fact that God made humans in His image means that deep in our hearts He wrote into all humanity the image of Himself, of His Love.

Traditional thought and teachings imply that somewhere in the course of time, probably as a consequence of "the Fall", humans somehow lost or at least corrupted that image. However, I cannot recall or find any scripture(s) in the Bible that would indicate such. What more accurately happened is that humans, Adam and Eve, chose to disobey God in eating of the tree of the knowledge of good AND evil (when they had only previously, the knowledge of good) and in so doing, allowed themselves to be governed by knowledge, fear, reason, and the like. It was not God that hid from them, but they that hid from God--fearing the assumption of His wrath on their actions. (Where they came up with the concept of His wrath or anger is mind boggling--since they had only known Him in as Love before this time.)

So the reality remains that the whole of humanity has written into the very deepest fibers of our being, at our very core, perfect Love. The problem is that our awareness of such a gift has been lost in centuries and generations of hate, fear, and greed. The quest, therein, is to discover how we might be reconnected with and consciously aware of such love within us, that we might live in it.

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Lament of Meetup Missing

posted by Jeffrey on Friday, July 07, 2006 at 8:12 AM

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Its a total and utter shame that I've been in the Nashville blogosphere for a year and a half and have never actually met any of my fellow Nashologers. I was so hoping to make the blogger meetup last night, but it just didn't happen. Oh well, there's always the next one...that is if brittany/wkrn can get me an e-vite to the right email address ;-). How did yall get my old aol email address anyway?

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Welcome Me to the Wireless Community!

posted by Jeffrey on Thursday, July 06, 2006 at 12:02 AM

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Well, we finally did it. Today our phone line was outfitted with Bellsouth DSL and I ventured into the fun-filled land of modem and router configuration. Oh what a land it is, a place filled with profuse perspiration, trembling hands, gritting teeth, and a small amount of swearing. Ah yes, just like the good ole' days...

At any rate, we decided this was a necessary evil as our home based biz begins to take off. We suffered through the dial-up as long as possible, and so it was time to wave good-bye and NEVER look back.

So here I sit, a mere 5 hours and 3 tech support calls later, writing a blog and uploading some images to flickr. I must say, it is nice to be able to do so and not have to pack everything up and head to Panera. Nevertheless, here's but a few of the many pics from last night's 4th of July fireworks at Riverfront Park. More at my flickr page.