2- The Cosmic Blockchain

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I’m merging two seemingly unrelated topics: spirituality and blockchain technology. Last week we examined the definition of crypto (hidden) as it relates to God, this week we explore the blockchain.

Spirituality and technology are two camps that are both hoping for the arrival of a new world. The more we focus solely on technology, the more blind we become to that which is beyond it. On the other hand, many religious beliefs are embedded in doomsday narratives and evacuation strategies which distrust technology and progress.

If we diminish either side, the bigger picture is lost. There is a cosmic “Blockchain” from which blockchain technology has unknowingly emerged. Blockchain in integral to humanity.

Blockchain in it’s most simplest form is a peer-peer network not centrally managed by any governing body. According to Jacob William, blockchain is an anonymous, group of transactions that are a part of a common ledger entered in a database and verified by multiple sources.  Think of each user is as a link in the chain which has a unique “hash” (code) which encodes a precise sequence that is verified by other “links” in the chain. Thus the longer the chain, the more resistant to corruption.  Since no one person or group governs the ledger or controls the data, all participants share both the benefits and losses of anything offered on the platform. It decentralizes power.

Bitcoin is synonymous with blockchain but is not the only blockchain. It’s the blockchain technology that allowed a global currency such as Bitcoin and other crypto currencies to emerge without the oversight or intervention of a government or bank. Currency is based in trust, not gold, and the blockchain is more trustworthy than any government or bank, because everyone on the blockchain is a stakeholder, not just bank CEO’s.

Crypto is not a fad or passing trend. It’s a rising tsunami of disruption to the status quo. It’s power is subversion . This doesn’t mean it comes without risk. Volatility has made investors nervous, thus regulation is emerging which can either help or hinder progress depending on how well these play together. Nonetheless, institutions of power such as banking are nervous. Crypto will do to banking what the internet did to newspapers, or what online streaming did to Blockbuster video.

Blockchain is a platform that can empower the powerless. In the typical system, the cost of regulation prohibits the poorest or the “unbankable” from participating. Blockchain currencies receive all comers who then share the benefit and risk with everyone else. The more that enroll, the more secure it gets undermining institutional control or regulation that disproportionately disadvantages the poor. 

Blockchain is technology that will decentralize and revolutionize the worlds biggest problems such as smart contracts, healthcare, and all business transactions.

Those things that separate us now such as race, geography, governmental controls, income, education could possibly be eradicated by blockchain technology. Without governing bodies taxing, charging, and manipulating the masses with institutional politics, power plays, and threats, all the constituents move from solely being a consumer who funds the top few percent, to a consumer who is also the investor and benefactor of everything. The only people who lose are those who won’t participate, or who try and corrupt it.

Blockchain has the gravitational pull to create a world economy which is governed and verified by everyone in the chain. The New world is coming, in fact, its already here (Mark 1:15). This is not to say that corrupt people are not trying to corrupt the blockchain for the benefit of the few, or that it’s without flaws. While has the potential to radically transform our world, those in power are already trying to control access to it.

Don’t miss this vital thread of spirituality: blockchain technology could potentially be the rails upon which the promised New World emerges (Isaiah 65:17, 66:22, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1). To miss the spiritual and prophetic trajectory here would be catastrophic. To view the blockchain through a flawed eschatology (study of End Times) would be even worse. Cryptocurrency is NOT the Mark of the Beast

Mark my words, well-meaning but misinformed people will say this is a count-down to armageddon. They will see the blockchain as a one-world currency (Revelation 13:17) that is limited to only those with the Mark of the Beast. I just spent eight weeks talking about what the prophetic kingdom would look like and its primary means was via subversion . Also I detail this in my series on End Times.

I view the Blockchain as Good News. It’s one aspect of the incarnate gospel.

  • The blockchain is “Good News to the poor”: It gives everyone a equal seat at the table.
  • The blockchain is the “Liberation of the Captive”:  It decentralizes the powers that oppress and control.
  • The blockchain “opens prison doors”:  It creates opportunity from the bottom up, not top down.
  • The blockchain can “bind up the broken hearted”: It can subvert corrupt powers that oppress and can usher in a world without such horror.
  • The blockchain will “declare the year of the Lords favor”:  We can be hopeful about our future again. We can actually see the New World on the horizon.

For those without a bible background, I just quoted the Isaiah 61:1-3 from Jewish prophesy about the Kingdom of the Christ (messiah). It’s the same verse Jesus read in Luke 4:18 where he says “…today, this has been fulfilled in our hearing.

The blockchain revolution is another unconscious expression of the revolution of the Gospel.  The story of God and creation makes everyone of us the original blockchain. Blockchain technology is the physical manifestation of the cosmic blockchain within us all. It’s the philosophy behind every effort at unity, restoration, and human rights. It’s a part of each one of us, as we link together, inviting us into a new kind of humanity which is bigger than any of its individual parts.

“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:22-23

Jesus’ prayer exposes the original blockchain. It’s one of connection, unity and based in love. It’s ingrained deep within all humanity. It’s heart cry of us all and why this new “phototrophic” technology is so attractive to us. We must steward the blockchain with wisdom for the benefit of everyone

 

 

 

 

 

1- Crypto God

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Where is God?

The skeptic asks this when he or she sees our suffering and unjust world. A believer asks this when their life doesn’t line up with the promises from the pulpit. Jesus himself asked this question (Matthew 27:46).

Anyone who has delved into the recesses of their soul, either by religion or by some other practice of self-awareness, has no doubt wondered; “Where is God?”

In the sobriety of this stark, arid moment, many have resolved this question by avoidance, simply concluding; “There is no God.” Which is another way of saying, “If there was a God, life would be other than what it is.”

What does this have to do with Crypto currencies and blockchain technologies? My job over the next few weeks will be to elevate your sight horizon so that you can connect these dots. It would be enough of a task to simply illuminate the implications of Blockchain technology. To go wider still is a tall order, but one that I think is worth the effort.

Back to the question, Where is God?

Perhaps you default to a theological construct about omnipresence that comforts your mind. Most religious and spiritual people do. My next question is: “Does a mental attestation to “God is everywhere,” actually satisfy everything your eyes see? How exactly does it resolve human oppression, child abuse, or war?

I invite you to sit a little longer within the tension of this moment. Do you summon up another theological token which deflects the spotlight examining your soul? Can you explain all suffering away as human sin? If so, then how do you reconcile the token that Jesus has taken away the sin of the world (1 John 2:2)? All world religions are propped up by dancing around these existential moments. We go to Priest, Imam, Pastor or Yogi and they reassure us that our chosen framework ultimately answers everything,  if…we believe and obey.

I became an obedient, doctrinal dancer too. I gained a lot of knowledge and my ego became puffed up and certain. I mastered the skill of the dancer, but rarely made it to the actual dance. Like most, I thought God was in the religion, framework, or theological construct. Until I took off my tap shoes, I couldn’t see that God was hiding in plain sight. It was the exile that gave me eyes to see beyond everything.

If God cannot be associated with the horrors of life, then I wonder if we have a grasp of God at all.  If God fits within our theological box, then we don’t have God. I find the Christ story so compelling because it depicts a God as the architect who ascribes meaning to it all.  Suffering exists because beauty is diminished without it. This God writes himself into the human story as his most beloved who participates in every form of human suffering, sorrow, and loss (Isaiah 53:3-5). This breaks the two-story mold of God up there, and we’re down here. God is Emmanuel (with us), as us. God hides in us.

Suffering is not the lack of God’s love, but the gateway to its very depth.

Those who apprehend this have been given a gift that much of the world has yet to possess. This connection isn’t made only intellectually, it’s made primarily within inner experience. We get a sense that God is hiding somewhere within us.

For many people, life is a detached, unhappy, and meaningless existence. Most fear Hell unnecessarily because they are already living there. The correction is being found by what we thought was a hidden God. Colossians 3:3 tells us that our life is “hidden in God“. The Greek word kekryptai (Crypto) means hidden, kept safe and refers to an unchangeablefactual state of BEING. Crypto is Ontological. Hidden is our true GPS coordinate, hidden in God, by seeing the suffering Christ story written into our life. In 3:4 Paul tells us that our life IS Christ and WITH Christ.

The Christ story is hidden in our story!

Christ is hidden. We are hidden. Together we are kept safe (Crypto) in God. Our life is hidden in plane sight. The Crypto God is closer to us than we are to us. Hidden is who we are. This reframes all theological tokens.

Sit with this. Let it marinade.

Believe it or not, this is the starting point of everything. For this series, it’s the starting point of the new horizon of blockchain technology and crypto currencies. Yes, these two topics are connected. In the holy moment everything is connected. The Jews call this the Shama (The Lord is ONE). We are talking about unity. A power to bond disconnected things into a single thing. On the widest plane of spirituality, there is only one thing (1 Corinthians 8:6).

I’m starting with the Crypto God because if you idolize the Blockchain, then the promise of decentralization, and healing the world can never be realized. It may be that Blockchain technology inaugurates a framework that restores the world, but how would you know if we shrink it down to investment opportunity. We must steward Blockchain with wisdom.

I won’t be talking about how to get rich, rather how to bring riches through the blockchain. I’ll offer you a lens to see and pursue the Kingdom and its righteousness. Wealth is always a byproduct-sometime it shows up as money. If wealth becomes the goal, it’s become an idol and we find ourselves trying to master yet another dance while missing the dancer.

If our life is hidden (crypto) in God, and our life IS Christ, then our world outside our doors is the promised kingdom. There is no doubt that the New world is arriving, the question is will we be ready (Matthew 25:1-13)? The arrival of the Blockchain means a kingdom with an entirely “other” set of rules is now a global reality. Everyone is invited, but not everyone will come (Luke 14:6).

Can you see what is hidden beyond the Blockchain?

Lepers and Liberty

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I like stories. Stories are the only containers that can hold expansive truth. All great spiritual teachers use parables because they allow us to see beyond what is true for us and glimpse what is ultimately True.

Today’s story is found in Luke 17:11-19.

As an online pastor, I don’t fear offending donors or my core base. I’m free to teach the scripture without a filter. By God’s grace, I underwrite this ministry entirely, so like Paul says: I preach God’s gospel to you free of charge.”  I hope you find this model of ministry as refreshing as I do. Modern people are right to be skeptical of preaching that comes from hired clergy. Fear of the herd usually governs the message, and Paul’s “tent making” model eliminates pandering.

I say all this because todays story was never taught to me the way I will tell it to you.

The story tells of ten Samaritan lepers. Samaritans were considered “dogs.” They were not viewed as true Jews because they lacked the genealogy and heritage since they were half-breeds. Thus Samaritans were seen as foreigners, and were always outcasts within the Jewish culture. Jewish prejudice prevented them from even associating with those kinds of people. Samaritans were second class citizens to the devout. (Luke 10:31-32)

On top of being Samaritans, the ten were also lepers. This meant that they were  relegated to the very fringe of society. They lived always outside the security of the city walls and usually in or near the city dump. Scavenging was a way of life for obvious reasons. Our term for Hell (Gehenna) is the name for this burning dump. It is where the fringe of the fringe lived. Wild dogs were a part of the scenery as were terrible human conditions as they lived among the smells of burning and rotting waste. This is where we get the ideas and imagery of Hell. This is the context for weeping and gnashing of teeth. Luke 13:28 depicts this reality of how some people dwell outside the city.

Back to the lepers. One day they see Jesus coming into the city and they cry out to him to have mercy on them. Jesus knows they are Samaritans and gives them the command to “Go show yourselves to the Priests.” This was the Jewish law of Leprosy found in Leviticus 13.

Jesus is offering the foreigners the Jewish system for purification. It was a sort of test of their true motives. On their way they see they are healed. Nine continue to the priest and one goes back to Jesus (more on him in a minute). Most bible teachers never say much about the nine beyond the fact that they call them ungrateful. But I don’t think this is the case.

The nine are grateful. So grateful that they get to go and be a part of THE SYSTEM for once in their lives. If the priests deem them clean, they get to live under the Jewish system and within the safety of the walls.  The nine lepers actually depict what most modern churches would call the faithful converts. These are those that happily take all the rules, regulations, dogmas, and exchange their life for the life provided and molded by the institution (Romans 12:2). They were happy to embrace systemic acceptance, and based on where they were the day before, this was certainly a base form of deliverance. This is a key point that is often missed.

The former leper went back to Jesus and was praising God along the way. He simply fell at Jesus feet. Jesus asked, “Were not ten cleansed?” (key distinction) Jesus tells him that his faith has healed him and to “Go your way.”  This is huge because he didn’t say, “Go to the priest.”

Jesus offered all ten lepers his love and mercy and cleansed them all (the priest didn’t do it). All were cleansed, but only one was healed. Remember healing always means liberation.  All ten were offered enrollment back into the social status and religion delivery system and for nine of them that was more than enough. One leper remembered being an outcast a day earlier by the elite system and refused to do that to others. Going back to Jesus meant not enrolling in religion. His gratitude produced mercy.

What about you? Is the system more than enough for you? My last series illuminated for me just how many people settle for the system instead of the liberty offered by Christ.  We are often short sighted and can’t see the bigger picture. People hide within religions that distinguish members from everybody else. Insiders are proud to look down on others and keep them outside unless they sign away their life like they did. Meritocracy replaces mercy, and once in, they cannot see that the Messiah they claim to follow is nowhere around.

I know this sounds a bit harsh. The story is so much bigger. The story exposes the unsafe Truth.

One in ten can see that which is beyond everything. One found the contents, nine got the container. This leper was not only cleansed, but was healed. He was delivered into his own life and was free to bypass the priest and the system’s identification. He was not only free from the oppression and suffering of his disease and from being a social outcast, but now he was free from the burden that religion would now require of him. He was free from the binary of being stuck either an insider or outsider, he was liberated to the middle way.

In one sense, he became another outcast again, since he remains a cultural and religious outsider. This is the exile of liberation. If you don’t need the system to give you an identity, then you are free from it.  Institutions may have value, but they can’t liberate  anyone. His community is now with those who are free.

In my experience, this ratio is about right. Maybe one in ten people can see beyond their delivery system. Few can even recognize their own impulse to defend it.  All of us lepers are free to live within the safety and protection of the city walls, but through healing, a few can go back and forth between where we were and where we are. Only one has the freedom to no longer separate himself from any others. This is what it means to find The Way. Liberty is the hallmark of healing and salvation.

8- Subverting the Government

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Jesus told his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod” (Mark 8:14-15). They didn’t understand what he meant. Today, most of us don’t either. Every institution offers us a pseudonym in exchange for our life resources. Today we arrive at the institution which holds the most power over people: The Government. Though it both plunders and provides, government corruption has brought our trust in it to an all-time low. Yet scripture tells us that all government is given by God (Romans 13:1).

A key differentiator in the Government’s power from last weeks look at Religion’s power is that the State criminalizes non-compliance. In other institutions like the family, a teen can run away. In the community, we can find another group. In Religion, we can walk away. In the State, opting out is impossible without being a fugitive. Because the State can criminalize noncompliance, fear of one’s well being is inevitable . This creates a dire, adversarial relationship against personal freedom.

Of course the State doesn’t work alone.  According to Stefan Molyneux, the seduction of the State’s power brings many accomplices, which add layers of institutional corruption and power plays against personal liberty. Politicians are the ruling classMilitary and Police are the enforcing class, Religion, education and Media are the propaganda engines while Business and taxes are the economic engine paid by “serfs” or working class.

It’s a system of competition for resources and power which thrives on creating distinctions (enemies). Government is necessary to all citizens, but divisions are created based on whether government resources are given to you or taken from you. All governments grow until they collapses under their own weight.

This series has shown that the Gospel liberates us beyond a spiritual baby wipe. The Good News is that physical, financial, and bodily liberty is possible (Isaiah 61:1-3) by subverting the seduction of all institutions to which Paul says we ultimately battle (Romans 6:12). I’ve shown how Jesus subverted these same institutional power plays and we all know the price he paid to do so. John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you.”

Jesus reveals that the path to liberty is NOT rebellion, anarchy, nor blind compliance.  Remember, Barabas was the zealot who thought the promised kingdom would come by resistance to government (Mark 15:7). Resistance isn’t the path, but IT IS the awakening from the anesthesia imposed by the State. Overpowering is not the path. Jesus said, “Do you not think I can appeal to my Father and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). The path to liberty is ontological (being), thus subversion occurs by de-identification. Jesus didn’t oppose or avoid death, he subverted it.

Subverting the government is not leaving the country, going off the grid, or going postal. Each of those is the caged animal injuring itself. Subverting the government is an internal revolution of de-identification. This occurs the moment you realize that if government likes you, it’s not because it likes you, rather what you can do for it.  “Herod was glad to see Jesus… and questioned him at some length, but he made no answer.” (Luke 23:8-9).

Jesus models for us how to be “in the world” even though we are not “of the world” (John 17:14). Jesus said to the State (Pilate) “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36). This is the kingdom we’ve been talking about for two months. This means that the principles of government operate on something more powerful than institutional power plays. It’s powered by love, sacrifice, and self emptying, not pride, oppression and self promotion.

The government and all institutions need to possess us for their own promulgation. They make a simple trade with us. The bestow upon us some form of identification as proof of belonging. In return, they get to index us and draw from our resources. If born in America, we thoughtlessly index ourself as “American” as if that is who we are. This is how identification goes through all the institutions of life. “She is an American, Californian, Democrat, Feminist, School teacher, who is a Lutheran Christian, married, mother of two, who is a scuba diver.”

These indexes are NOT who we are. They are only GPS coordinates. Indexes are used to power institutions by creating distinctions and placing a value on a person to each institution. Each citizen is valuable to the government as a tax payer or as promotion of its propaganda. If we take the identification of the institution, a pseudonym, (number of the beast– Revelations 13:18) then we lose sight of our true name.

Subverting the government is trusting in an alternative narrative beyond what the State propaganda tells us we are. It’s being indexed by an alternative system. If we go back to the first post/broadcast of this series we learn that the forerunner of forgiveness meant that ontologically speaking, we are all “BELOVED.” Love is who we are. Beloved of God is who we are. Beloved is our true name. Beloved is where we all start and where we will all end.

Being is not easily believed. It’s easier to believe we are our choices, behaviors, citizenship, job title, W-2,  hobbies, family, religion, or our preferences. These indexes are a disorienting anesthesia that when believed, create a dreamlike illusion, that there is nothing more to life. Will you fade into the backdrop of institutional power and lose your very self? This series is a call to WAKE UP!

May we each wake up to our true name. I am Keven, Beloved of God. You are … Beloved of God. They are … the Beloved. We all share the same last name, that of Beloved. Nothing is more subversive than that. This frees us to work and live and thrive within every institution of life, small and large, and since we cannot be named by the institution, we are free and empowered to bend any institution for the good of all humanity. That is the Gospel of the Kingdom! That is the work of redemption.

We don’t join this family, we awaken to it.