Welcome to all those who have found their way to this website. I feel truly blessed by the Holy Spirit to have been given the opportunity and the means to engage in dialogue, discussion, debate, etc. with all of you truth seekers out there. So let’s just jump right into the purpose of this particular blog among the multitude of others floating about in cyberspace.
Most people are familiar with the peculiar phenomenon in which our time on this Earth tends to move faster and faster as we grow in maturity, sometimes leaving us frustrated and bewildered at how little we have accomplished since the day of our birth until now. I am one of those people, and I find myself in bewilderment many days, but, more than that, I now find myself motivated to really use the gifts of God that have been given to me.
Some of you may be familiar with my writings on economics, finance, culture, psychology, etc. on a website called The Automatic Earth (TAE). If not, and if you are at all interested in those topics, I highly recommend you visit the website and take a look around. The founders of TAE go by the names of Ilargi and Stoneleigh, and they have A LOT of information, insight and wisdom to offer to their readers. While I may continue to drop a post or two on TAE from time to time, my primary focus has definitely shifted from here on out.
The fact is that, if you are reading this website, you are probably very concerned with the state of the world some 2000 years after the earth-shattering events in the holy lands of Israel, just as I and many others are very concerned as well. That is what we spent most of our time investigating and excavating in TAE for quite a few years (I joined in the Fall of 2010, yet the site was founded in late 2008). The only problem was… we never spent any time talking about the implications and universal relevance of that earth-shattering event referenced above.
I soon found that the endless discussions and debates about excessive debt overhangs, hyperinflation, hyperdeflation, the value of silver/gold, the value of the U.S. dollar, the corruption and criminality of politicians, officials and bankers, the issues of resource scarcity and environmental destruction, etc., etc., were lacking a solid foundation from which to interpret their significance to the “big picture”.
That’s what we all crave, right? The Big Picture – the infinitely wise astronaut’s view of planet Earth from outer space, with all of its beauties and blemishes included – and I believe that many of us crave that now more than we ever have before. So this is where the Picturing Christ comes in to offer a bit of comfort, but mostly a healthy dose of truth. Let me first go into a quick little aside about me, personally (perhaps one of the few times you will hear much of that from me).
I was raised by parents who were born in India and are practicing Hindus. Although I was born in the states, I received a decent amount of exposure to prayer and study in Hindu Temples. Anyone with similar experiences could probably tell you that the emphasis here is much more on ascetic practices and community events, rather than any form of deep theology or evangelism of any sort. It was a pleasant and calming experience most of the time, but it didn’t even come close to satisfying my craving for answers to the biggest possible questions of the Universe, life and humanity.
After that, the rest of my life was spent wavering being atheism and agnosticism, mostly sidelining them both for the worldly pursuits of personal pleasure and intellectual development. This path culminated in my entrance to George Mason Law School in Arlington, VA, where my analytic skills were most certainly refined, but my skepticism of the world’s values and methods only grew exponentially larger. Many of the problems of the world were wrapped up into this one set of institutions.
We had the excessive extraction of emotional and financial wealth from naive customers of “education” (along with the life-long burdens of unpayable debts), disgustingly casual levels of ethical compromise, self-absorbed pursuits of all sorts and a bitter atmosphere of unloving competition and social stratification. That was truly the last straw for me – there was no way I could see myself following my “friends” into the practice of American law without selling my soul to the devil (although my ideas about the latter two concepts were still very unrefined).
To support myself without relying on too much dependence from anyone else, including my parents, I devoted much of my time to the skillful game of poker – a veritable paradise for those who think analytically/logically and want to accumulate money. However, that has also left a HUGE hole in my life as a fundamentally spiritual, rather than material, being. So that all brings me to the last year of my life, which has resulted in the creation of this website in September of 2012.
What exactly is a “Picture of Christ”, you may ask. The answer is that it is truly what it sounds like – it is ways in which world events and historical wisdom have all pointed towards the astounding truth in Christ. I have read about world history, I have studied the works of some great philosophers, I have investigated some of the best-developed theories of our age and I have tried to make sense of all our current circumstances with these things. Yet, when I read the Bible and reflect on it, I am suddenly hit with the realization that ALL of these seemingly disparate issues are providentially encapsulated in the words of the Biblical prophets, and, of course, our loving Messiah.
Judeo-Christian theology and spirituality is truly a “theory of everything”. In my humble opinion, it makes “quantum loop gravity, “string theory” and countless other attempts to model all of reality in the scientific departments of academia look like child’s play; a fundamental desire of fallen men to discover truth outside of the only place where real truth is found – in God and His word. At this point, I would like the readers to refer back to the picture that introduced this post.
The heart encompasses a familiar monogram for those who have ever shopped for Christian apparel or trinkets – N.O.T.W. – which stands for “Not of the World”. Obviously, I am not really concerned here with any brand names or catchy artistic representations (which is not to diminish their importance in spreading the Good News). What I am concerned with is the message that true love only comes through Christ, the creator of our world and the author of all that is holy and good.
Christ was not sent into our world in human form to reinforce the values of the fallen world, but rather to completely deny them and admonish his followers to do the same. It is a message that is equally stark and blunt as it is difficult to follow – but follow it we must. As believers in Christ and the faithful children of God, we are to act as walking billboards for radical change – radical departure from any aspect of the world which would seek to deny God’s truth in scripture.
11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
13And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17)
That is the wisdom we must always keep in mind when trying to understand our places and our roles in the world; when deciding what values we are willing to take a stand for in the face of families, friends, acquaintances and strangers who admonish us or tell us to “come back to reality”. Always remember, there is no higher truth or reality than that given us to by our true Creator – our Lord and Savior in Heaven.
So one last thing, then – upcoming posts on this website will deal with the interaction between a variety of different issues, but the bedrock will always be one of Biblical truth. There are no denominational doctrines imposed here for the mere sake of having a denominational identity. There are no man-made creeds that are ever treated to be above the authority of scripture, as given to us by the earliest Christians. There is no censorship of discussion or debates about any issues raised, but there is also no tolerance for repetitive spam attacks, hateful personal attacks or general displays of moral depravity (vague criterion, I know, but I pray it will be clear enough in a Christian context).
Make no mistake here – the primary purpose of this website/blog is to evangelize others in whatever capacities that I can, in the most honest and clear manner possible – hopefully providing insights to both unbelievers and believers alike. However, that doesn’t mean the scope of discussion will be arbitrarily limited in any way. It is also doesn’t mean that people of all secular and religous stripes aren’t welcome to join the fray here, and put forth their own arguments for the ever-important cause of Truth. After one year of Christian faith, I am by no means en expert on the religion or the Bible, but I can honestly say that I have spent many hours in the past months absorbing as much information as possible about these issues from those who are much more experienced and well-versed in them.
I will continue to keep doing so for the rest of my life, and I pray that everyone else who reads these posts will be motivated to do so as well. So, with all of that being said… welcome to my website, Picturing Christ! I hope everyone enjoys the posts and the discussions, and may God bless all of us to walk with Him down the path of righteousness, through the consistent revelations that He has graciously gifted to all of His children, across all nations.