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Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Samson Complex

Sharing what did last week has given me a new sense of liberation when it comes to blogging. Gone is that feeling of restraint when writing about my faith, thoughts, and emotions. And furthermore, thanks for your comments, all positive, and none negative - such as the judgemental attitude shown by my former sister in law on my brother's side, who unfortunately, had driven us apart rather than drew us together in mutual support. This was a shame, as I was particularly fond of her.

And that is the gist of this week's contribution, especially after a junior airline pilot, Andreas Lubitz, from Germany, deliberately bringing a plane down into a ravine at the French Alps. Since the Voice Box Recorder was found, an enormous amount of speculation had arisen over his mental and emotional state of mind, which compelled him to lock the captain out of the cockpit and with full intent destroyed the airline, taking all 150 lives on board. And all this struck a chord in me, who happen to love travel and long haul flying in particular, and hold glorious memories of both long and short haul flights. Like the overnight flight to Israel in 2000 with my pregnant wife sitting asleep next to me. We were over Germany where I watched towns and cities far below us glowing with luminance, like white diamond jewels set in inky black velvet.

However, despite the worldwide condemnation of Lubitz, after what I went through, I can feel an element of sympathy for him. Please don't confuse the issue, I'm in no way condoning his actions. Maybe the system should have been more thorough. For example, the discarded sick notes written by the doctor disqualifying him to fly that day were found in his residence, when these notes should have been sent direct to his employers by email or text. Having said that, I can imagine his twisted cord of anger, frustration, and depression hidden under his calm, stiff upper lip expression of apparent serenity, even to the point of a friendly chat with his captain after all take-off procedures were accomplished.

In the months that followed the removal of our daughters from our home, I was equally consumed by the same cord of emotions as the young pilot had suffered. There were times that I too wanted revenge for the arrogant Social Worker, who had a very strong and persuasive tongue which she used to destroy our family. There were also times that I wished that I could have dynamited the whole of the office building where she worked. But I guess these were fantasies of the imagination, yet indulging in these fantasies has helped me cope with the situation and calm my rage. I knew how impossible it would have been to have turned such mental images to reality - the ability to access dynamite and installation without alerting Security would have been an impossible feat, especially on my own. And back then there were many times that I was enraged towards God himself.

But where I have kept my wishes fully within the realm of fantasy, Lubitz was able to bring his to reality, with the cost of not only his own life, but the lives of all who were with him. Something of the Samson Complex. This ancient judge of Israel wanted revenge against the Philistines for the gouging out of his eyes, and for his imprisonment. Not only did he took his own life but made sure he took the lives of all who were with him. Looking at these three characters - Lubitz, Samson, and myself - the first two had brought their raging mental images to reality, while I have kept mine totally within the realm of fantasy. But the fierce anger underpinning us all must have been the same - in want of revenge, but nevertheless, and most likely fortunately, such emotion does not work the righteousness of God. Anger wants to kill the oppressor, frustration and depression turns in and eats away at the sufferer. But neither highlights or makes aware of God's love. 

And here is the crunch. The Samson Complex. Except that one is regarded as a Biblical hero sent by God who fought for deliverance and justice for his people Israel. Even the writer of the letter to the Hebrews had included him in the Men of Faith Hall of Fame. The other, however, is regarded as a criminal of the worst kind, a mass murderer who took his own life with the lives of 149 others. He, of course, is fully deserving of worldwide condemnation, both from within and without the churches. Fair enough. Funny too, that Samson used the same kind of method to kill as Lubtz did, except with the pillars of a pagan temple instead of the cockpit of an airplane, and a heck of a lot more victims. There was also the same kind of contempt Samson had against the Philistines as the pilot had against his employers, and maybe towards the Establishment as well. Also overlooked are those little things about the ancient judge - that he caused his wife and father-in-law to be burnt alive, and he also slept with at least one prostitute. In fact I would say, that his casual approach to the one harlot recorded in Scripture may indicate that he was already experienced with the practice - a bit of a fornicator at heart. But we as a church at least, would assign Samson to Heaven while the other to Hell.

So what's the difference? Samson murders his foes by many thousands, while the pilot kills less than two hundred. Yet one is saved while the other, we assume, remains lost. The issue here is faith. Faith, or trusting in God for both physical and eternal welfare. Paul wrote to the Romans that faith alone brings justification, that through faith, God acquits the wicked. But what I have seen among church attitudes, this does not seem to be the case.

One particular example is found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, where ...fornicators... shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. Over and over again I have seen, heard and read church ministers as well as other Christian believers quote these verses as proof-texts that whoever does these things are either not saved at all, or were saved but had lost their salvation some time afterwards. And these lines of thought usually irk me rather than edify. By reading the whole chapter, the issue the apostle had was that the saints in Corinth were bringing their disputes before unbelieving judges to decide their differences. Paul then cries out, What are you doing? Are you so dim that you can't even sort out your disagreements among yourselves? Instead, you go to unbelievers to decide for you? Come on! Don't you realise that you will one day judge angels? And you go to the lost to settle your disputes. Good grief! Don't you realise that they are guilty of so many sins, including sexual immorality? They will not inherit the kingdom of God (because of their unbelief) but you will. Therefore flee from sexual immorality yourselves. For how can you who have the Spirit of God be united with a prostitute?Not only are you uniting the Spirit of Christ with her, but you are also making yourselves a disgrace among those you dwell.
1 Corinthians 6 - my own paraphrase, to bring out the best I can Paul's thoughts on this issue.

Nothing to do with not being saved in the first place, or losing salvation. The letter says that they will judge angels (v.3). Then the very fact that Paul was telling them to flee from fornication indicates that these saints were committing fornication, in other words, they were sleeping around, as Samson did before them. But they were all true believers, saved, of the Kingdom of God, regenerated by the Holy Spirit. And the apostle forces this home to them in verses 19-20. Yet, to put it bluntly, they were still shagging around, regardless of their spiritual standing. 

Now how would you feel if I say that I have an account on a Gay website with a full profile, photos included. Here again is another issue the churches get all hot up about! Does having a profile on a Gay website make me a gay person? Rather, isn't it having sex with another guy and enjoying it defines me as homosexual? Actually, I never slept with another guy in my life, and I have no desire to. But if you believe that having a profile on such a site will arouse suspicion, and make you ready to jump on me with criticism and judgement, consider this. Every time you point a finger at me, three more points back at you. For example, do you, as one well educated, look down on someone who isn't so brainy? Or you who are wealthy consider yourself above him who is not so wealthy? Or consider this. In your church there is a window cleaner or dustman in the congregation. Would you be happy to have such people attend your posh, black tie party or dinner? If you feel unsettled about any of these things, then according to James 2:1-11, you are not only a law-breaker, but a murderer.

I recall 1978. In that year a small group of singles in my church was planning a week's trip to the East Anglia wetland boating holiday. All were graduates. Then I came along and with money in hand, asked if I could join them, with the essence of feeling loved and accepted. I was told "No" straight away. Feeling rejected, I settled for a month's backpacking across the USA instead, on my own. For them, to have a rather immature factory production line worker in their midst was a little too much for them.

All these experiences has made me to what I am today. And that includes why I have a profile on a Gay website. Aside from all the homosexual discussion found on the message boards, the forum also has a spiritual section. And it's here where I focus my attention. 

The vast majority of the homosexual population have a distinct dislike and distrust against organised religion, and particularly of Christianity. And just about in every case the reason behind this hostility lies in the church's condemnation of their lifestyle, or even just of their orientation. Worst of all, they see this judgement coming from the leaders, all straight, married couples who having successfully raised their children to university levels, and therefore able to enjoy sex and intimacy in their ivory towers without the slightest sense of guilt, and totally free of condemnation. They see this as grossly unfair, condemning their orientation from their high horses while at the same time enjoying sex with their wives to the full. So the vast majority of homos remain lost, and this gives the impression of a critical, judgemental Christ, who is pleased with the heterosexual husband and wife, but has no love or anything to offer to the homo who may be deluded with his orientation. It is hard for them to believe that Jesus Christ does love them, and he wants them, along with all other men, to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I have written a lot about the love of God through Jesus Christ in their forum. In the vast majority of cases I was met with hostility, labelled a "Fundie" and ostracised. But regardless of their attitude, I continued to present the Gospel as simply as I could, even matching their educational levels with discussions about the reality of Creationism, Evolution, and particularly of the genome, and the impossibility for such to evolve solely by chance.

Like Lubitz and perhaps Samson as well, I too felt angry and with bitter antagonism against the Establishment for destroying my family. And like them, I wanted revenge, to avenge my sense of injustice. But unlike the pilot in particular, instead I threw myself on the mercy of the Lord, asking the Holy Spirit within to strengthen my faith in him. And to this day I can testify of his steadfast love and faithfulness, a proof of the truth about eternal security. God will never let me go. Furthermore, he has promised through his word, backed up by another believer, that one day my children will return "to their own borders" - something which gives hope and able to face day-to-day challenges.

Believe me, this is far more fulfilling than bring other people's lives with me to the grave in order to gain some infamy. 


  1. Dear Frank,
    Thank you for the very thought-provoking post. So many well-intentioned Christians today claim that those who live in sin cannot be saved. Yet Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, newly saved believers, urging them to abandon their sinful lifestyle. All believers, even Paul, continue to sin after salvation, despite the indwelling Holy Spirit, because they still have a sin nature. Only by dying daily to self and yielding to the Spirit can Christians refrain of sin. Lapses into sin are not proof that a professing Christian is not saved. Those who claim this confuse positional justification -- an instantaneous transformation by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation -- with progressive sanctification, which takes place throughout our Christian walk. May God bless you for witnessing to those whom so many others ostracize or ignore.

  2. I have to admit that the time I love most is the time that my friend and myself spend evangelizing on the streets. We meet some lovely people who have various lifestyles who ask many questions about Jesus. We met a lovely young man recently who's had a very hard life but who is absolutely drawn to Jesus by (as he stated) Christians he meets on the streets. Many people outside are not drawn into the church, and maybe that is because many churches are not primarily 'Jesus' based.

  3. A mistake many people make is believing that people go to hell for doing those sins that Paul listed. It is a false conclusion. People go to Hell for having rejected God's authority and the salvation he provided through Christ. Habitual practice of those individual sins after learning the truth indicates one has rejected God's authority. While it is still sin, popple who don't know better hold a far lower level of responsibility Salvation requires acknowledging our rejection of god, not just our participation in some individual sin. Recognizing the difference results in a different approach.