July 22, 2017

Flame of YAHWEH-Moral Integrity in our sexuality

Summary of Steps toward Moral Integrity

an excerpt from Davidson’s

Flame of YAHWEH-Sexuality in the Old Testament

December 3, 2013

James C. Stephens


Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

In a desire to pursue what is good and pure, and seeking to please YHWH in every aspect of my life, both public and private, I was lead to an extensive treatment on sexuality from a Judaeo-Christian perspective that wrestles on a very deep Biblical level with the issues that have confronted the human race for thousands of years. It was written by Richard M. Davidson, the J.N. Andrews Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Andrews University. One of his extensive footnotes seemed to provide an answer to my quest to find a model to work on getting my own internal house in order. The entire work of 844 pages is encyclopedic in its scope, e.g., the bibliography in itself is 140 pages.

“The hymnic/Wisdom literature of the OT give very practical steps for availing oneself of empowering divine grace to preserve moral purity in both thought and action. Although this material is more pastoral and application-oriented than exegetical, I include it here because the theology of the hymnic/Wisdom literature is in fact oriented toward the practical, everyday life, presenting wisdom as practical advice on how to succeed in life.

Here is a summary of steps toward moral integrity that have emerged from my study of this literature:

(1) daily consecration and prayer for God to create a pure heart (Ps 51:12 [ET 51:10]);



(2) trusting in God’s keeping power by faith (Prov 3:5-6);


(3)meditation upon the character of God and focusing upon pure thoughts (Ps 16:8; Prov 23:7);


(4) avoiding situations that contain temptations to impurity (Prov 5:8);


(5) constant “watchfulness” (Prov 4:23,26) [NASB]; 8:34;


(6)earnest prayer and claiming of God’s promises (Prov 2:1-6, 16);



(7) dependence upon the abiding influence of the Holy Spirit (Ps 51:13 [ET 51:11];143:10;Prov 1:23);


(8) diligent study and internalizing of the word (Ps 119:9,11; Prov 2:1-13; 6:20-24; 7:2-3);


(9)cultivating a sense of God’s presence and the certainty of future judgment (Ps 139:7; Prov 2:18-19;5:3–4,20-22);


(10)cultivating a sense of the ennobling power of pure thoughts (Prov 22:11);


(11) cultivating intimacy and sexual satisfaction with one’s own spouse (Prov 5:15-19);


and


(12) realizing the cosmic conflict in which the enemy “stalks” victims (Prov 6:26).



The hymnic/Wisdom literature presents these twelve steps in order that the wise—the ones who follow these steps—
may experience success in the path of moral integrity.”


Flame of YAHWEH-Sexuality in the Old Testament by Richard M. Davidson, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody Massachusetts, 2007, pg. 375 footnote 138.

The Dalai Lama and the Anatomy of Politically Correct Buddhism

By James C. Stephens

But what conception of the world is hiding behind the smiling, so apparently philanthropic and peaceable mask of the Tibetan God-King?

The ignorance that this key question exposes, particularly in the western world, can only be described as catastrophic.

(Neue Zurcher Zeitung July 15, 1999 A German Newspaper)

Nearly three thousand tickets for the Annual “Distinguished Speaker’s Series” at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium featuring the Dalai Lama had sold out within an hour. Since no seats were available, I decided in Jay Leno fashion to go down and conduct some on the street interviews of people waiting to get a glimpse of the God-King of Tibet.

As that balmy October Southern California evening arrived, the air was filled with the anticipation of an opening night in Hollywood. Black limousines carrying the Dalai Lama and his US Diplomatic Secret Service escort pulled up to the Mediterranean style auditorium. A smattering of celebrities and Tibetan lamas with shaved heads dressed in maroon robes trimmed in golden yellow mingled in the large crowd lined up to pass through the specially installed security stations.

I was standing near “Heather” a slender hippyish woman in her twenties who was observing that evening’s crowd and occasionally seeing if a passerby had any extra tickets. Nonchalantly I asked her, “So, what brings you out here this evening?”

She replied, “Oh, I hitch hiked out here this summer from the Ozarks with my boyfriend to attend the Empowerment Ceremonies with the Dalai Lama. Tonight we decided to see if we could attend his public talk on Ethics for the New Millennium.”

“Will you be disappointed if you can’t get in?” I inquired.

Without hesitation she mused, “Not really. I’ve been watching all the well-dressed people going in and decided they probably need to hear him more than I do.”

Since she was open I posed a slightly more personal question, “Hypothetically, let’s say that Jesus Christ and the Dalai Lama were to be standing here before you and you had the opportunity to choose one to follow. Who would you select?”

She paused for a moment and then said, “The Dalai Lama.” Observing my slightly baffled look, she confessed, “Well, he is the spiritual leader of our day who’s bringing everyone together. He seems to fit our times better, and although I find Jesus attractive, I don’t feel the same about most Christians.”

When asked why the Dalai Lama was so popular, she commented, “I think he is like the Wizard of Oz, reflecting people’s illusions of what they want to believe.”

At first I was taken aback, but recognized that her comments represent a growing segment of our society that wholeheartedly embraces Buddhism as their religion of choice and leaving no doubt that the Lotus is blooming in America. Studies have shown that there are presently over 1600 Buddhist temples, centers and monasteries in America, many of them Tibetan. [1] In the twelve years between 1985 and 1997, “more Buddhist meditation centers were established than the total number founded in the first eighty-five years of the twentieth century.” [i]

Currently Buddhism is being marketed to such a high degree that even Buddhists parody the Madison Avenue hype surrounding the Buddhist boom. Buddha books are big business, while magazines are a lucrative cottage industry supported by pages and pages of advertisements marketing everything from retreats, national conferences, the reincarnation of tea, salad dressings, Buddha beads, sneakers to smiling Tibetan lamas opening Toshiba laptops on the “rooftop of the world.” Huge billboards along LA freeways featured the smiling image of the Dalai Lama advertising Apple’s “Think Different,” while the “Simpson’s,” a primetime cartoon program parodying American culture focused on little Lisa’s conversion to Tibetan Buddhism on their Christmas special.

As a college student who had converted to Buddhism in 1970, like Heather, I had been enamored with the exotic religious rituals, smells of incense, chants, and ancient stories of Buddha’s life and teachings. Myths like the life of the Buddha convey powerful images to believer and non-believer alike. Ignoring those myths in global affairs can bring dire consequences, e.g., Wahabism, the radical fundamentalist Islam of Osama Bin Laden. Approaching a worldview different from our own requires freedom to think critically and a “civil public square” [ii] that embraces discussion and debate, essential components for the survival of the human race. In certain Buddhist countries, nationalism is equated with religious expression, e.g., “To be Thai is to be Buddhist, to be Buddhist Thai.” The same holds true in Tibet and other Buddhist nations where there is no separation of Church and State and constitutionally Kings are required to be Buddhist.