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Issue 12

Greetings all. I promised most of ye a good, more deep issue for this weekend. Let's see how it goes and how deep it gets.

Mattcimone and I were talking. We realised that the system is royally messed up, because you can't proclaim your beliefs. Well, you CAN proclaim your beliefs, just not CERTAIN ones. I could say over the intercom, "Hey, everyone, go to Pizza Hut!" and I'd probably only get in trouble for saying stuff over the intercom without permission. If I went on the intercom and yelled, "Hey, everyone, go to church!" I'd get in trouble for "forcing" my religious beliefs on others. What about forcing my pizza beliefs on others? My mother pointed out that I should be careful for what I wish for. It may be ridiculous, but the moment I have the right to talk about Jesus, everyone else will have the right to talk about Buddha, Islam, Universalism, Nerthus or whatever other pagan beliefs are infecting society. The system is still messed up. Remember issue 11,

"The world sucks. Live with it."

That status has not changed, nor have I . . . much.

Anyway, back to the system. Two facts exist: in English class, Mrs. Parker can't let us show movie clips that include explicit sex or violence for fear of losing her job. On the announcements, Mattcimone can't give Words of Wisdom (aka Proverbs) for fear of being expelled. Nor can any of us post essays with religious overtones on the walls, nor can ISCF put up quotes from Scripture on our (or rather OUR) bulletin board. Stories we read and write in all English classes cannot include explicit sex and/or violence (although I've written some fairly violent works in my day). The system cannot let itself move to either extreme. It cannot support utter and open depravity, but it cannot support utter and open . . . virtue either. But in the pretense of this "good" (which cannot support the Goodness of God) it is lacking in substance, and sinks to the lowest levels of utter spiritual depravity, for it is in shallow thinking, believing that what is okay is very good, or that which is not bad or sometimes even wrong is good that we find the utter depths of spiritual corruption.

I no longer make any great claims about myself. Say what you will, but this is not mere fake, "put on a groovy act", Sunday-only, modest humility. I know what I am. And what I am is not that great. I am a sinner, locked in depravity myself. I know that. But, unlike the system, unlike society, unlike the unsaved, unlike so many out there, I have found a cure. That cure is Jesus. But Jesus does not just enter me and suddenly I'm the goods and I'm perfect. I read somewhere that conversion takes a moment, Christlikeness takes a lifetime. I will never be God. I will always be human, and as long as I am human, I will keep on making mistakes and messing, and as long as I mess up, I am a sinner. Sin is that which separates us from God. It is not just doing wrong, but it is also not doing that which God wants us to do [I'm not just writing out of my hat, it says so in James]. I have been guilty many times of not doing anything "wrong", per say, but I have not done that which I should have done, thus having sinned in the process. Whereas the system will always be depraved and corrupt, I have moments of true clarity, true virtue, true Christ-likeness, where Jesus is visible in me. Some days I do better than others--I am only human.

Humanity is not an excuse for sin. I know that. But it is freedom in Grace and freedom from guilt for me to remember that I am just a man and will always, ALWAYS mess up. It is unavoidable. I will ask Jesus for help and try my best not to mess up. But I will not wallow. I will live it up in Jesus, and always rejoice in Him, remembering that He loves me and that I am His and will always have Him no matter what happens. We must not wallow or feel dejected because of our natural flaws as faulty, messed up people. Robert Hotchkins says, "Christians ought to be celebrating constantly. We ought to be preoccupied with parties, banquets, feasts, and merriment. We ought to give ourselves over to veritable orgies of joy because we have been liberated from the fear of life and the fear of death. We ought to attract people to the church quite literally by the fun there is in being a Christian." If we are wallowing in how bad we are, how can we dare try to rejoice in the LORD always? We must first be honest with ourselves: We are no better than the world. We are human. We mess up. In a word, quite often, we suck. Then we must rejoice. We must rejoice because, despite all this, Jesus loves us. We must rejoice because we know Him and are set a little beyond the world--no fault of our own, but a grace sent by Christ. We, by nature, are sinful creatures. But we are also creatures that seek God by that same nature. As Christians, once we've found Him, we ask Him to live in us. We must rejoice because we'll be livin' it up when we die. We must always remember Jesus and rejoice in Him and actively live out our faith in loving others.

Remember the words of Teresa of Avila: "From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, spare us, O Lord."

Be God's,

Copyright 2001, Matthew Hoskin