Tag Archives: wisdom

Saved

28 years ago I was SAVED and am still being SAVED today.

The word SAVED, as in the Christian sense, has been derided, mocked, and even seen as something negative though it is used in the Bible to denote the idea of soul salvation or rescue.

Even I have tempered the word for fear of how it would be received.

Yet, I have been SAVED from a life of drug and alcohol addiction, a future in prison, and/or a premature death. Scores of people around me have been SAVED from the negative and violent interactions of an emotionally abusive man. My grown children were able to become stable professionals and homeowners despite the dysfunction I inflicted on them in their early years.

And, yes, my soul has been saved from eternal separation from God and that is better than a good thing.

Divine Insanity

divine-madness-plato-m-l-engle

Here, I offer my own bit of madness at work.

In the classical world, the phenomenon of “love at first sight” was understood within the context of a more general conception of passionate love, a kind of madness or, as the Greeks put it, Theia Mania (“madness from the gods”). -Frank Tallis “Crazy for You”

But what if God himself were the maddest of all? (I say so only from our human point of view) For if God were indeed mad, then mad would be normal and the loftiest goal to aspire to.

Some say God’s mad as in angry; I know it’s not true,
But, perhaps God still is the maddest of all.
Divinely Mad,
Madly Divine,

Omnipotent Madness shaped us stable and sound,
All things in our power, save for one little tree.

One little tree that would bring us to be,
Broken and marred, ashamed and weighed down.
Yet, Omnipotent Madness, never left town.

Wallowed in mire, we were tragic in deed,
‘till the Madness of God, Hung His Son on a tree.

Bleeding and dying, the whole world in His sight,
Forgive them! He cried, ‘till, He suffered and died.

Wrapped in white linen he lay in the tomb,
Three days in the dark as hope slipped away,
None could remember this mind-boggling promise.

“Give me three days, and you’ll see me again.”

So, our story’s not over,
Wait there’s still more,

Omnipotent Madness made a decree,

“Raise Him again and let the whole world see!”

So, in Power and Glory, Christ rose from His grave.
Five-hundred and more, saw, touched, and felt.
Mary thought him a gardener,
Yet, you still won’t believe?

What will it take for the truth you to see?
Divinity died for you and for me.

Perhaps for a good man, some would dare die,
But ragged old sinners, cast offs and lame?
It’s hard to believe that God could be sane.

-M. Matheson revised 2016

I welcome your thoughts and comments, but please, if you want a theological argument, consider my madness and then move along.

einstein-laughing

Angst

ANGST /äNG(k)st/ noun

a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general.angst-clock-tower

Anger all Twisted
Neurotic for Naught
Griping about the
Slippage of Time

 

 

 

The Urban Dictionary  defines ANGST in a much more comprehensive way:
Angst, often confused with anxiety, is a transcendent emotion in that it combines the unbearable anguish of life with the hopes of overcoming this seemingly impossible situation. Without the important element of hope, then the emotion is anxiety, not angst. Angst denotes the constant struggle one has with the burdens of life that weigh on the dispossessed and not knowing when the salvation will appear.

In an attempt to purify or catharize the pain of life, I write stories. Flatline started its life in that manner. My goal was to pen a short story to exorcise the feelings of going from the life of an outlaw, then missionary, then international evangelist to doing laundry, dishes, and diapers, but the characters and story refused to stay in the box. What was initially intended for my own amusement turned into 100,000 words.

I must have a lot of Angst.

catharsisCatharsis noun
1. (in Aristotelian literary criticism) the purging or purification of the emotions through the evocation of pity and fear, as in tragedy
2. psychoanalysis the bringing of repressed ideas or experiences into consciousness, thus relieving tensions.
3. purgation, esp of the bowels

If you are a writer you know what I mean. If you are not a writer, you might be a painter, carpenter or computer programmer and get the same release through exercising your creative gift.

It’s the way life works.

Peace,

M

Impossible

Taking Jericho, my next book, is not about playing the odds, it’s about beating them by not living according to what’s possible but instead ordering our lives along the lines of impossibilities; not being limited by what is the commonly accepted definition of possible. A life like that is entirely possible.

To be enslaved by or at the very least limited by what’s possible in life is much too narrow of existence for me, much like how I once heard a rut described.freshly-dug-grave

“The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.”
Ellen Glasgow

stuck-in-a-rut-295x300

 

Many of the things, goals and/or accomplishments I want seem so unlikely, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe they could happen. Some call that arrogance or a fanciful form of extreme optimism. I am often guilty of the former but seldom the latter. Still, I realize my faith can at times be arrogant.

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Jesus of Nazareth

The words of Jesus inform the basis for my belief in the impossible coming to pass.

On that note, the grave is not the end. We all live forever. Living forever is something many people have searched for, and there it sits, right under their noses, either stinking up the environment or adding the sweet perfume of eternity.

As I sniff the crisp air of eternity, I sense the possible dressed up as the impossible.

IMPOSSIBLE is the impostor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s possible for you?

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. Psalms 139:14

 

 

Beat the Odds

Hunger Games Meme Odds not in favorThe odds are not in our favor, but I believe we can still beat them.

Never let bad odds ruin your hour, day, week, year, or your lifetime. Despite truly terrible odds, you can reject their tyranny.

Odds and dreams quote purpose

In gambling, the odds are always tilted in favor of the house.

ODDS
ädz/
noun
  1. the ratio between the amounts staked by the parties to a bet, based on the expected probability either way.
    “the bookies are offering odds of 8-1.”
    • The chances or likelihood of something happening or being the case.
      Plural noun: the odds
      the odds are that he is no longer alive.”

      Synonyms: the likelihood is, the probability is, chances are, there’s a good chance

      odds are that he is no longer alive”Dice percent symbol

 

Beating the odds is the message of my next book. Taking Jericho breaks the mold of supernatural fiction and crime stories that I had cast for myself. Jericho is not fiction, yet supernatural events and crime play a colossal part in the story. As a writer more comfortable within fiction and addicted to words, I succumbed to temptation and embellished a little here and there.

Taking Jericho is about overcoming the incredibly poor odds wagered against our lives in an unseen cosmic duel. We war daily against unseen forces on a spiritual battlefront present mostly in the field of our minds and hearts and crossing over with awful regularity into the real world.

Accosted by these overwhelming odds for failure, our desires and dreams seem to stand slim chance of success. Many cower and cringe rather than risk losing. The hope of sheer survival and the desire to make a difference, a dent or even a small scratch in this cold, sometimes cruel and always amazing world melt away in the face of daunting probabilities.

Like the gladiators of old we are slaves to this wager, we have no real choice, fight and possibly win or refuse and die a miserable death. To simply survive the bout is a losing bet, only the victors come out on top. Survivors lose fighters win.

Fighter

Note: the purpose of Taking Jericho is not to make you, or I, feel better about ourselves. Nor, will it give us permission and the justification we need to sit around and bemoan our sad fate while doing nothing.

Wal-Mart and your local Christian paraphernalia store stock hundreds of books that will tell you how great you are, which is true. But odds (there’s that word again – the fortieth time) are, that reading those books will only succeed in scratching your tummy while you roll over, kick your leg at the sky and do nothing.

Humans are built for the struggle; we were created for the fight; it is part of what makes us into who God had in mind when he created us. Perhaps, that is why we find life so difficult.

Can you picture the Master of the Universe reflecting on how much he adores you and me as we stare unblinkingly at the endless proliferation of television shows about how terrible life is?

Pause for a moment. (I’ll wait while you think about it.)

 

 

 

 

I didn’t think so.

Taking Jericho is a story of God. God’s story in me, once the worst neighbor on anybody’s block, a one-time atheist motorcycle outlaw, and the little inner-city church my wife and I founded in the city of Sacramento.

If the G-O-D word just made you spit your coffee, chamomile tea, or beer onto your Nook or Kindle, STOP take a breath and give it a chance. The story—not the spill. I promise not to work overtime trying to convince you of God’s existence and benevolent character, only He can do that. If you don’t care two wits about the God stuff, you still might find something worth your time.

 

At the very least, I know you will enjoy the story.

If I had not lived it, I would hardly believe it was true.

The odds I mentioned a dozen times so far, remember those? Well, they get torpedoed and blown to bits in this story. I said all that to say. It can happen for you. God has a plan and He’s sticking to it.

God knows the numbers before he throws the dice. (That’s a metaphor, don’t get mad).Dice in Gods hand

There is a method to God’s madness, and I do believe he is mad (crazy) for trusting us with as much as he does.

Now if you’re still with me the only other things that might dissuade you could be the words LITTLE and INNER-CITY. Most people, especially in North America, want as little to do with LITTLE as they do with the INNER-CITY.

In the area around the church I founded, lots of yellow police tape gets unwound; within two blocks there have been numerous daylight killings and shootouts.Inner City Police tape

 

 

 

 

People of North America are not interested in things small. Super size me

They want their meals super-sized and their entertainment HUGE.

Panasonic 152 inch Plasma TV

Panasonic 152 inch Plasma TV

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sacramento, my city, despite all its history in the building of the United States and its place on the world stage as the capital of California and being a key player on the world scene, remains a cow-town in most people’s eyes.

DowntownSacPano

If you’ve made it this far, I thank you.

The story of Taking Jericho goes from my daring leap from the insanity of a maniacal and dysfunctional life to the craziness of pastoring an inner-city church. The tales of people and how we met them, at the same intersection God happened to be driving through at the time, are endless and often hysterical; sadly and more often there are the tragedies and failures of life without which nothing rings true.

That mountain of bad odds, bad blood, and bad luck that we slog our way through daily is the same mountain we climb to the win we so desperately crave.k2-big mountain dice

If you are waiting for your life to turn problem free, you are on the wrong planet, reading the wrong book and desperately need to wake up from your dream.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you remember to buy Taking Jericho when it comes out hopefully by the end of the year. Subscribe to updates and you’ll be informed just as soon as it does.

Peace,

Mike Matheson

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