Living Rights

Focusing on the balance between love and selfishness, and how heaven has been designed to help us navigates the challenges of living well.

With images from the original video.

Love Returns

Gathering up the insights from our study of the first seven chapters of Revelation, our focus on the Most High leads us to a new – and overwhelmingly tolerant – Christology.

Today is a day for looking back on our journey together. The study has been far from daily things. We’ve talked at times about raising children, about fighting fires. But those were meant to help us understand what goes on in heaven. We have not talked much about how God helps us in our daily lives.

Instead, we’ve talked about the beginning of the Bible and the beginning of Life. We’ve talked about how God is changing the angels through living creatures (including us, of course). We’ve talked about why the angels might resist God’s guidance.

So why would the Bible, which is God’s story, give this knowledge to us? Simply: to help us understand why there are no…

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Heaven Knows Victory

The execution in heaven of the Most High’s plan, and the celebration of its outcome – an important touch-stone for similar passages to come.

With images from the original video.

Love Returns

Having surrendered the earth to sin in Revelation 6, book 7 recounts the mustering of the forces of change from among the masculine half of the elders of heaven. The promises made by God to these volunteers are revealed – and their eventual realization shown.

As global warming makes itself felt in California, we have suffered a long drought. The forests have dried out, and beetles that once would have drowned in sap now bore into the center of the trunk. The russet stands on the mountainsides are not autumn displays that hope for spring, but signs of a terminal illness.BigBearTreeDeath

The coup de gras comes as a great fire. The most hear-breaking to me was the Station Fire in Fall 2009. The spring after the destruction, the Las Colinas Camporee was disrupted by powerful winds sweeping down from the barren hills. When a few months later I tried to take…

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Virtue From Vice

Interpreting the scroll of seven seals as forms of selfishness that the Most High seeks to perfect through love.

With images from the original video.

Love Returns

The seven lamps in heaven are often interpreted as the Christian congregations that John transmits letters to in Revelation 1-3. Those letters were critical, suggesting that the congregations were swept up in a struggle against selfishness. They were meant to epitomize the “Spirits of God” represented by the lamps, but had not yet achieved that end.

But what are the lamps? Given that the Most High must love his enemy just as we were taught by Christ, the lamps must be perfections of the behaviors unleashed when the seven seals are broken. Those behaviors actually serve a beneficial purpose in God’s plan: they preserve us from being consumed by love, and thus allow us to continue to receive it.

So by identifying the vices hidden in the scroll of seven seals, we can identify the seven Spirits of God by considering how the vices are changed into virtue by love.


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Love’s Hero

The birth of the Lamb in Revelation 5.

With images from the original video.

Love Returns

Interpreting Revelation 5 as an account of the moment that the Most High created the Lamb, and illuminating the reasons why the sacrifice was necessary.

Attribution for the maps of the European Union.

Passion week is always a struggle for me, and it was made harder this year in preparing to discuss Revelation 5. The book shines light into the darkness, and what is seen there is painful.

So before we begin, I want to explain some things about the crucifixion. When we love, a great power stands over us. It waits for us to prove that we won’t become selfish. Jesus proved that on the cross: he loved even those that murdered him. When the book says “the sky became dark,” don’t imagine that it was a solar eclipse.NotSolarEclipse The writers of the book knew about such things, and would have written “the moon passed before the sun”…

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The Plan of Creation

Interpreting the throne room of Revelation 4 as the Plan of Creation.

With image from the original video.

Love Returns

Breaking down in detail the opening scene of Revelation 4. Examples from life and scripture explain why we use symbols to describe relationships, and how that causes confusion. We come to a new way of thinking about what John was shown: just as the US Constitution is a plan of government, John was being shown the plan of creation. That makes sense, as long as we accept that we as living creatures have a very important role to play.

When I went to Portland in January of 2017, the city was caked in ice. Many of the venues I was planning to attend were closed. I was becoming a little desperate at the half-way point of my vacation, and found myself asking the waitress at the corner bar what there was to do along Division Street. To my surprise, she referred me to the local cinema that every Friday offered an…

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