The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

where prayer rules convergence

December31

Earlier this month I dropped prayer and change squarely upon you. All of you.

Sure enough, those paths are beginning to manifest themselves.

“What paths”, you ask? Read the post. Do it!

But, John Stein is back. Although, in many ways, he likely never left. So is Tim Barker (oddly, Tim does not reference his primary calling on LinkedIN, so I’ll not include a relative link). But, if you consider the Parable of the Talents, his is akin to truth – and, this is apparently why he seeks me out. John is helping me do something different, for me, anyway – part of this on-going blog effort, in fact. And, Tim is finally letting me really help him. So, stay tuned for those stories.

It’s all rather involved, and about being involved.

Johnny Walker is also in my life. That’s because of Vincent Birley (I coached him into his current role at Ron Blue). …And, God, of course. Or, perhaps over the course of matters.

Just to be clear, I’m lifting some material that Johnny recently wrote himself and weaving it into this post. The details are less important than the result. I’ll just do my best to make it work, and lift the credit up to elsewhere.

If you have a Bible in-hand, you know that, evidently, there exist passages of scripture that keep using the word prayer over and over. But, the key is the nuance. Not enough of you know that the New Testament was originally written in the Greek language.  The Greeks had many different words to describe the word “love”, for example. So, it’s relevant to ponder if each time prayer is mentioned that it meant the same thing.

What you will find, if you investigate, or just take my word for it (and, Johnny’s) are eight different Greek words that we can translate into the single word, prayer.

One of the different variations of the word prayer the Bible uses means to beg.  According to Johnny, the Bible actually tells us that there is an appropriate time to beg God for something.

Another word for prayer is meant to wish for something.  The intensity of our prayer in these circumstances is to let God know that it may be something we would like to see happen, but isn’t that important.

Begging as opposed to wishing. A profound nuance, to be certain.

The variation of the word prayer that is most relevant to this post, today, though is  the word that translates, ultimately into intercede or to stand in the gap for.  There is power in that form of the word. It’s meaningful because it’s about amplifying the needs of others with our own voice and passion. So, the Greek word for interceding is “Entuxis”, and is the variation of the word prayer that is used in James 5:15:

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

To intercede is like standing between the other person in greatly evident need, and God.  This might actually mean pointing at the person and asking for a thing on their behalf.  It’s really more than requesting and more like petitioning.  Not in terms of flippantly merely signing a petition, but to be that arbiter that keeps on representing on behalf of the victim, until something , meaningful, is accomplished.

Johnny Walker writes:

With God we should never demand, but neither should we only flippantly pray for someone and move on.  We should stand in the gap, fight for them, and seek aid for them.

With that in mind Johnny Walker thinks he needs your help. Indeed, he has been asked to intercede for someone and to pass the prayer request on to others.  To be sure, we all have needs. However, Joey Murray was apparently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) in 1991.  It is a progressive disease that attacks the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement.  Johnny will tell you that he has Joey for about ten years. And, although he suffered from this disease even before they met, Joey’s faith has always been incredibly strong, and something that he has truly admired.

That intrigues me. I’ll add that because Johnny Walker was introduced to me by Vincent Birley, and described as unusual, passionate and talented – and, someone I had to meet. So, I did. Now I coach him. And, I may be the better man for it. Johnny is now an ass-kicking sales professional. But, before today, he has also been a Pastor and a Police Officer,and Counselor.

In any event, Joey will be on a retreat this next week that will focus on intercession and healing.  According to Johnny this is “basically, James 5:15 in action”.  Here is a portion of an e-mail to Johnny from Joey that helps set this stage, further:

I am grateful for the prayers you’ve offered up for my healing of ALS since 1996. I’m thankful to still be alive, but my health has continued to decline. The Bible tells us many times that Jesus came to forgive and heal all, for all time, and that there is much power in the prayers of many that agree. I will be going to a weeklong healing retreat in Thomaston GA.  I am humbly asking for you, your church, and friends to pray this prayer in faith often for me for the next few weeks.”

According to Johnny, the prayer that Joey requests for us to leverage on his behalf is specifically:

Heavenly Father, deliver Joey from all demonic oppression, and restore his body and mind to complete long lasting health, in Jesus name,  Amen.

I encourage you as James the brother of Jesus encouraged us: “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says!”

I don’t know if what the Bible reads us is true, or the ultimate truth. But, it does inspire us to decisive action- and, in particularly so, this day.

As many of you know, if not really understand, I can’t profess to being a Christian. There are many points around this to be found in this BLOG. I do fear and loathe hypocrisy. But, I’ll strive not to make this effort about me, and more so about letting you know that I do believe it can’t hurt to live your life like Christ. So, I’ll continue my searching. But, I can leverage my own influence. And, you also know that is rather vast and meaningful. So, I went right to my own special forces healer, John Stein, and asked him to intercede.

Verily, I sent John this email message introducing him to Johnny:

Hey Johnny.

I’m on it.

I’m raising the ante by including John Stein in this exchange. John is my friend. And, he is a healer.

John, I’m coaching Johnny. He’s a neat dude. Great story. You’ll love it.  Please see the attachment and get involved.

Brian

And, sure enough, this was John’s immediate response to my plea:

Jesus needs to collect on something He paid for a long time ago. God is moving and will heal this man.

In fact, John swiftly moving into action himself met Joey before that retreat.

More later. But, somehow, much of this is now in our collective hands.

I’ll petition you to intercede for Joey. His wife needs her husband. His children need their father. AND, we probably all need Joey walking this earth with us, as a living, breathing, miracle.

I need a miracle. This is all part of me living the Authentic Life. Lets start with Joey. Let’s dare try. Come on man, let’s rally!

In closing… I had contemplated a dramatic, life-changing, motivational post to send you off, collectively, into the new year. But, I’m finding myself guided by another objective as I prepare to be different myself with the onset of 2011. Will this qualify? I’ll continue to selfishly want to be part of you and amongst you.

Happy New Year.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

biblical inspiration with a vicious twist of the neck

August14

I’m certain we, that collective we, liked (and, still enjoy) the movie Pulp Fiction (1994) for a broad-range of reasons – all cause celebre.

I appreciated Quentin Tarantino allowing us a vehicle that kick-started the career of Samuel L. Jackson (“Jules Winnfield”) and also re-started the acting careers of John Travolta (“Vincent Vega”) and Bruce Willis (“Butch Coolidge”). I value the ironic humor with it’s numerous pop culture references and extensive use of homage (look for an example below for extra points). But, for me, the best part was the eclectic dialogue. And, supreme amongst all that witty prose was the Samuel L. Jackson character Jules’ liberal use and interpretation of Bible verse as a preamble to his murderous violence. Notably this passage:

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”

Jules ritually recites what he describes as a biblical passage: Ezekiel 25:17, before he executes someone. We hear the passage three times – in the introductory sequence in which Jules and Vincent reclaim Marsellus’s mysterious light emanating (and never explained) briefcase from the doomed Brett; that same recitation a second time, at the beginning of “The Bonnie Situation”, which overlaps the end of the earlier sequence; and in the epilogue at the diner.

That being true scripture is Urban Myth and Legend. In fact only a select few words and/or phrases used in his speil are generated from the true scripture. For the sake of clarification, the following is the accurate scripture as presented in the bible (this is not me saying the Bible is accurate):

“I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.” – Ezekiel 25:17

So… My point is that I like creative and nimble prose. I also enjoy senseless contrived cinematic violence. And, as luck, or providence, if you will, would have it, the Bible is chock-full of ass kicking – and, is often a great cinematic source.

As a result of this, a sporting handful of ebullient buddies and I rallied our own witts and have come up with the following cocktail (many of those were also involved, as were Fat Tires and Modelo Especial’s) of bon mots that liberally leveraged Bible verse to promote violent contextual imagery….

Examples:

Exodus 2:11

“One day, after Moses had flowered into Manhood, he went amongst the people, where his own people gathered, and there, watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating down upon a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way, and then that way, and upon seeing no one of merit, Moses killed the Egyptian, thusly raining vengeance upon him, and hid him in the sand”. – Optimistic Gentlemen

Sure, Moses was a great leader, an emancipator of his people – and, a prophet. Most people don’t know that he also was the Biblical equivalent of Splinter Cell‘s Sam Fisher, a well-honed killing machine, able to slay from the shadows bereft of pity or remorse. Martin Luther King may have had a dream, but Moses had a body count.

Picture the movie scene: An Egyptian soldier is wailing on a hapless Hebrew when Moses, clothed head-to-toe in black, drops down from the ceiling. Moving with cat-like grace, he sneaks up behind the soldier and, taking his head in his hands, snaps the man’s neck with one savage twist. As the lifeless body slumps to the ground, Moses lights up a cigar. “Well,” he muses dryly, “looks like someone bit off more than he could Jew”.

[…pause…]

…I refuse to even pretend to be apologetic for that. And, I’ll stand firm in my belief that my Jewish brothers Marc Lewyn and David Taylor-Klaus, Prudent and Optimistic Gentlemen, to be sure, would slap their thighs with me.

II Kings 2:23

“…From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road under the yoke of his God, he came upon some youths come from town and jeering him. ‘Go on up, you baldhead’, they said upon him. ‘Go on up, you balhead’, they said unto him again, and repeatedly. He turned around, and upon them in turn, looking upon them with disdain, and in reply called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the nearby woods and mauled forty-two and six of the youths”.

You’ve  been there. I did not say I’ve been there. But, we’ll assume you’re walking along, minding your own business, when a gang of cocky, young bastards start hurling abuse at you. Most of us would just keep walking, or maybe, yell some insults back – or, flip them the bird (example of homage: multiple people have died from Chuck Norris giving them the finger). Elisha (commonly regarded as the Luke Skywalker to the Prophet Elijah’s Obi-Wan Kenobi), however, decides to take it one step further. Invoking the name of God, he summons mother#@*&ing bears to come and claw the @#%& out of them.

You can always count on an ill-timed digression in-and-amongst my blog posts. And, we’ll pause here without exception, and offer this for consideration:

Christians are constantly asking for prayer in schools to help get today’s kids in line. However, we beg to differ in terms of potential tactical options. We clearly need bears in our schools. Public schools, private schools, probably even home schools. If every teacher had the power to summon a pair of child-maiming grizzly avengers, you can bet that schoolchildren nowadays would be the most well-behaved, polite children, ever. It’s a simple choice: listen to the biology lesson, or get first-hand knowledge of the digestive system of Ursus horribilis a-la God himself.

It should be pointed out, as we meander our way back to Elisha (he is such a bad-ass that he struts around with a girls name along the lines of Johnny Cash’s Don’t Call Me Sue), that even after his death, Elisha continued to kick major butt. II Kings 13:20-21 tells us (loose interpretation, here, mind you) that when a dead body was thrown into his tomb and touched Elisha’s bones, it sprang back to life (we’re not clear how the corpse manages this, but we can’t explain the mysterious briefcase in Pulp Fiction either). It’s unknown whether Elisha had this power in life, as well as death, but we like to think he did, and that he had the habit of killing his victims with bears, resurrecting them, and then promptly re-summoning the bears to kill them, again. He’d just repeat the whole thing over and over until he got bored. That’s what we call sending your enemies to endless hell. Never mind purgatory. Pure bear-chomping, endless, hell. This is a terrific foundation for both a action-oriented gore-movie and video-game spin-off.

Ezekial 23:19

“…yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the dyas of her wayward you and away from the eyes of her God, when she was a lowly prostitute of high reputation in Egypt (naturally). There, she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of  donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses”.

NOTE: We’re giving Kent most of the credit for that one.

And, I’ll warn you now… I’m departing from my typical gentile self and indulging in some striking rude and graphic language, here. Just run with me around this one. But, you’ll also have to participate and utilize some creative word-smithing for full effect.

To wit…

Contrary to what you may think, the Bible has never shied away from talking about sex. In fact, the entire Song of Solomon is clearly dedicated to describing a couple enthusiastically honoring God, complete with lines like: “I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers”. This verse, in, or out, of context, is particularly explicit, though, possibly informing us that Egyptians are hung like farmyard animals, and can ejaculate in quantities to rival the annual flooding of the Nile.

All this imagery is crucial from a socio-historical perspective. It’s relevant to intellectualista’s and movie-buff’s alike because there is perspective of the human dynamic. Keep in mind, the Egyptians were the Jews’ former slave masters and are the bad guys in this particular story (okay and most Biblically-oriented stories). So, you know their reputation for supreme endowment was well earned when the worst their enemies could say was, “Go on! Go back to those big-cocked bastards! We hope you’re pleased with their enormous [insert creative college inspired descriptor].”

It should be noted that those swaggering old Egyptians didn’t exactly run from their reputation. Egyptian ruins are littered with statues like Min, the god of huge dong-having (in the spirit of the original intent of this blog post, this just might remind you of a certain 1980’s teen favorite movie). They even invented the phallic obelisk to advertise it (picture the Washington Monument, that just happens to be an obelisk). That was their statement to the world: “Gaze upon our [insert creative college inspired descriptor] tower and despair.”

I’ll reckon that this carefully interpreted passage creates a problem, certainly a challenge, for many new Bible readers. I’m also going to take some serious heat from my Christian brothers. Oh, really? However, once you’ve read this, it is impossible to go back and read the above referenced story-oriented Bible verse depiction of Moses killing the Egyptian guy the same way. This is verily the stuff of Pulp Fiction. When it speaks of the Egyptian beating the Hebrew slave, you have no choice but to imagine Moses turkey slapping the man (look it up). If anything, however, it makes Moses’ deadly intervention all the more justified.

I have a call into Quentin. I’m thinking Tim Roth, or even Samuel L. Jackson, playing the role of Moses. I’m as yet unclear if we go space opera like Star Wars, Post-Modern or Black Comedy. Neo Noir is certainly a possibility.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Biblically-Oriented Chuck Norris FUN FACTS:

1. Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn’t stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

2. A blind man once stepped on Chuck Norris’ shoe. Chuck replied, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Chuck Norris!” The mere mention of his name cured this mans blindness. Sadly the first, last, and only thing this man ever saw, was a fatal roundhouse delivered by Chuck Norris.

3. When his martial arts prowess fails to resolve a situation, Chuck Norris plays dead. When playing dead doesn’t work, he plays zombie.

God feel I

April12

The process of this particular post has been afoot for several weeks now. Along the way, as I researched, cut-and-pasted, I have seemingly lost track of sources of some of my information and thought formation (although the scripture elements are cited and easily verified). Some of this might have come from a recent exchange I had with Aaron Masih. Other parts from that rascal “John C”. Nonetheless, I will be pressing the “publish” button and hope that any readers appreciates this effort in the spirit it represents.

Aaron Masih is in my head.

When he reads this I know he will smile. Aaron is my friend. He wants me to study scripture. I don’t want to study scripture. I did think I wanted to go to divinity school – more out of curiosity and a call of a challenge. But, I might just do that when I am in my sixties, after the Ironman, and before I take off for China.

But, as many of you know, I do take a peek at scripture some times (mostly when people send or otherwise, offer examples) because God is certainly in my head. But, then, so is Rowdy (Rhodesian Ridgeback), who joins our family at the end of this week. And, for so many reasons, both has been inspiring me under unexpected circumstances of late

”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is:

“Love your neighbor as yourself’.” (Mathew 22: 37-39)

As the Book of John rather harshly puts it:

“If anyone says, ‘I love God’, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen”. (1 John 4:20)

Now, I happen to think the author of John was more or less onto something.  If a person has no experience of deity – as John assumes to be the case  – and yet loves God, then that person must necessarily love an idea of God, rather than a god.

There are people quite comfortable loving there ideals more than they love people.

Perhaps it is better for them, then, to love their brother, whom they have seen, than to love an idea of God.  For any idea of God, no matter how profound, no matter how subtle, is petty when compared to flesh and blood.

Perhaps it is better for them, then, to love their brother, whom they have seen, than to love an idea of God.  For any idea of a god, no matter how profound, no matter how subtle, is petty when compared to flesh and blood.

I wonder, though, if anyone ever actually loves God?  Is it even possible to love God?  Obviously, the answer for some people is “no”.  Without an experience of God, you can, at most, love only your idea of God. Some can say they love France or Germany, but if they have never been to either country, they are really only loving their ideas of them.

The truth of God’s self-revelation is founded in Scripture and supremely in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It might depend on its conformity to philosophers’ rules of logic or to the Jesus Seminar’s critical criteria. For example:

God makes truth known to his human creatures for their benefit (John 8:31-32).

and,

That which God reveals is true because God himself is truth (John 14:6).

Certainly, reason plays a role in Christian faith and life. Reason can show that God’s self-revelation is not irrational or incoherent. For example, with the advent of quantum physics and the collapse of the Enlightenment worldview, science and philosophy no longer claim that Biblical accounts of Jesus’ transfiguration and resurrection violate Newtonian “laws of nature,” only that they are low-probability events.

So what?

I don’t  believe I need scripture or science to make me feel the way I do about God. I feel him all the time. I believe what I feel. That is a gift in it’s own right. And, that makes me want to reflect and represent.

Please enjoy “You Found Me” by Fray.

[youtube]jFg_8u87zT0[/youtube]

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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