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Where are the Politicians?

It’s around the time of local elections here in the Town of Brookhaven. To the modern day grumblers who are never content with anything done regarding religion or politics, this offers a semblance of hope, or, simply more room for critique. I myself often have a bad taste for the political scene and like many find myself groaning for a more authentic and useful polity. Matter of fact, you can listen to a fellow Kingdom co-laborer of mine, Ryan Cataldo and I, speak of these things on my most recent podcasted Hairy Ticks Variety Show. Here is the link, https://tfcradio.org/tuesday-at-8pm/

The title of this blog makes two points. Firstly, at many meetings I attend regarding the heroin epidemic that has hit the Town of Brookhaven hard, it is often asked “Where are the politicians”. Surely, when pictures are being taken the politicians can be found, however when the hard task of listening, sharing, and seeking out solutions is necessary – there are very few times a politician can be found.

This brings me to another point. I attended a recent civic meeting that sponsored a “Meet the Candidates”. I was immediately dismayed that a few of the candidates expressed the notion that “I am not a career politician”. A politician is defined as “a person who is professionally involved in politics, especially as a holder of or a candidate for an elected office.” That also lends to the title of this blog – if these men and women are not career politicians, then where are the career politicians? Namely because that was the entire reason I was there – to meet those desiring to take up the career of politician. Instead of throwing off the label of politician I hope to see many of these men and women reform the image of a politician back to authentically and honestly serving on behalf of the people.

In supplying a short honest review of things as they seem to me, I would be honest that I lamented the constant barrage of comments regarding debt and land use. Now, I am not saying these things are not important, they surely have their place, however I did feel attention was lacking in other areas that need some political attention, especially in Brookhaven. I do appreciate the proper use of land wherein we can restore beauty, wholeness, and worth. I appreciate the demolishing of “zombie homes” that are a “suburban blight”. However, are we really that dull in our senses that we are able to overlook the issues causing death and despair, as well as possible solutions, in favor of speaking of comforts and desires?

I mention these things as a local pastor who attends various meetings to campaign for “my cause” – the healing nature of the Kingdom of God. I am an active participant with many community groups, including the Blue Point Community Civic and the Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce. I also graduated recently from Parent-Leadership Initiative wherein were we challenged to strengthen our civic and leadership skills to support creating a caring community for children and families.

As one would imagine, I took plenty of notes as I sat there and listened to the candidates. While I surely do not look to share an exhaustive review, I do want to share a couple points that stood out to me.
Mr. Anthony Piccirillo who is running for Suffolk County Legislature spoke knowledgeably and passionately about the red light camera issue we are dealing with in our county. He has noted, “the red light camera program in Suffolk County is a scam and nothing but a money grab for incompetent politicians who can’t balance the books.”. I must admit that I valued the thoughts of Mr. Piccirillo because I have also seen him at a LI-CAN Listening Post doing the work of listening and sharing in an effort to play a part in the fight against heroin abuse. Again, this is something I mentioned as very important to me at the start of this blog.

Ms. Valerie Cartwright who is Councilwoman of the 1st District of Brookhaven highlighted the need for community-based engagement. Also, I thought it was quite the point that she made in disagreement with Mr. Dan Pernico regarding the local politicians involvement in all facets of government, not just a limited focus on local details. As the saying goes, “The whole is equal to the sum of its parts”.

I was encouraged by the remarks from Ms. Cindy Morris who is running for Town Clerk. She expressed a desire to carry forward and develop the work that current Town Clerk, Donna Lent, has done. Ms. Morris also brought up great ideas about transparency and more accessibility to Town info (for example putting Town Meetings on Facebook Live). Also, Mr. Dom Pascual who is running for Suffolk County Legislature had an interesting focus on environment and was one of the few candidates who seemed to truly value local civic involvement. Also, Mr. Kevin Hyms highlighted the importance of the PTA, which stood out among the candidates.

As a young man myself seeking to play my part in healing our communities on Long Island, I was rather encouraged to see young men and women on the panel. Each of them spoke with boldness and clarity, and with passion they spoke of an advancing Brookhaven that will make life more affordable and delightful for the up and coming generations. I think of Mr. Anthony Portesy who is running for Highway Superintendent and he made sure to mention the horrendous potholes in our roads. Mr. Josh Slaughter who is running for County Legislature caught my attention because of the passion and clarity with which he spoke, and Mr. Mike Goodman who is running for Councilman was very humble and was gracious in answering some points of interest as I had the privilege to catch up with him at the end of the meeting.

I hate to end on a bad note, however rather than saying critique is bad, we should rather view it as opportunity to examine ourselves and grow into the future. That being said, two candidates that left me rather discouraged were Mrs. Jane Bonner who is running for Councilwoman of the District 2, where she currently serves, and Mr. Lawrence Zacarese who is running for Suffolk Sheriff. Please allow me to explain. Mrs. Bonner attacked the notions that Long Island is unaffordable and continually made faces and mocked the notions that there is corruption in Brookhaven. My honest thought was that this is akin to the idiom, “She like the ostrich has buried her head in the sand”. Mr. Zacarese in his response to recent immigration issues affecting regions of Long Island made a false matter of fact statement that would leave one thinking there has never been error in the deportation of individuals who may not have been involved in crime and/or could live at liberty with laws if given the proper opportunity to do so. As someone who has worked within various efforts to reduce violent gang involvement and crime, I know very well that some young men had begun to make necessary changes in their lives, which usually involved changing their social network, and then suffered deportation regardless. Do we believe in the notions of rehabilitation and correction? Why make the work of social workers among others seem so vain?

I appreciated the work of Mrs. Maryanne Johnston and ABCO in hosting such an opportunity for us to “Meet the Candidates”. I must say this. In my going forth to various civic meetings across Long Island I do hope to see more of the younger generations in attendance. Stand up and be counted. The civic leaders and those who have been in attendance, need to help add value to new issues and the concerns of the younger generations. I was a bit flabbergasted when I heard Mrs. Johnson say that other cards have too many other issues and she made the ultimate decision in what questions to ask. And yes, while I understand I was not involved in the bringing about, the setting up, or any service to this meeting, however the buffeting of Mrs. Cindy Morris when she brought up a point that referred to Mr. Jack Harrington (who is running for Brookhaven Town Supervisor) was unnecessary. I do understand that in order for Mr. Harrington to have had a thing to say (meanwhile he is away serving in the U.S. Navy Reserve), it should have and would have been appropriate for him to write and request opportunity tp be present through letter. My point is though that Ms. Morris simply referred to him and made a point, there was surely no need to shut her down and say “No surrogates” numerous times.

I do pray that these thoughts will be received well. I know that I speak upon the frustrations of many and that alone meets the intended goal. I leave us with an anonymous quote that inspired my day and I’m sure it will inspire many days to come:
“We can’t see the future, so we’re ceaselessly stepping into the dimness of the coming hour, the twilight and obscurity of tomorrow”.

Sincerely,
Pastor Michael Miano
The Blue Point Bible Church

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2014 – Advent Challenge

The Greek word, Advent, corresponds to the term ‘parousia’ which means “a coming”. Celebrating Advent is bringing us back to the time right before Christ was born- when Israel longed for a prophet, to hear from God, and to be healed.

It’s been said that the ‘Advent season’ has been celebrated in the church as early as the 4th and 5th centuries. There are a host of different thoughts toward what we should focus on as we go through the ‘Advent season’. In the 6th century, the church in Rome, utilized the time instilling a preparation for the soon-to-come Messiah. Gregory the Great, a church father from 6th and 7th century, focused on the celebration of the incarnate Christ, because he understood that this event marked the beginning of salvation. In Gaul, the church has primarily focused on the eschatological “coming of tghe Lord”, fostering the need for penance and readiness.

This past Sunday, I was able to welcome The Blue Point Bible Church into celebrating the ‘Advent season. One of the members of our congregation shared excitment because our church has never done that before.

For the past month I have been preaching sermons about “walking worthy” of all that we believe we posess as Christ’s body. This included but is not limited to exercising the “power of prayer”, walking in an assured, confident, and clear understanding of God, and being expectant and adaptable to what God is doing in our church, is us, and in His world. You can listen to those podcasts as the following link:  http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630

As Preterists, who understand the “eschatological events” of the coming of the Lord, the judgment, and the resurrecton of the dead ones as past events, we must be compelled to live in the salvific reality. As we endeavor to understand the victorious narrative of Scripture, we are called to live in the reality of the “New Jerusalem” and thus call the other nations to drink of the “Water of Life”. You can read through this imagery in Revelation chapters 21-22.

It should surely be looked at as “Divine Providence” that immediately following the “season” in which we are called to be grateful, we turn to a season of expectation- advent. Granted, us Preterists are not waiting and saying “O Come Lord Jesus” as is seen throughout the Catholic Missal for this season. Yet, even more so, as those who allow the Scriptures to be clear and consistent, we should understand that living in the fullness and reality of His promise, is supposed to lead us to the expectation of seeing His glory in the world, daily.

As we go through Advent, we are provided with hosts of Bible verses that show us what reality the Messiah was going to bring to His people. I look forward to all that can be produced in this season, if we, the ‘Children of the Light’ are willing to walk diligently.

Out of the Common Prayer book we recieve this excerpt of information, “Advent is the season when we remember how Jesus put on flesh and moved into the neighborhood. God getting born in a barn reminds us that God shows up in the most forsaken corners of the Earth. Movements throughout church history have gone to the desert, to the slums, to the most difficult places on Earth to follow Jesus. Jesus comes from Nazareth, a town from which folks said nothing good could come.”

Now only was God willing to come in human flesh to be our solution/ salvation. He also ushered in the reality of the New Covenant. Let it be our goal this season to grow in a more solid understanding of what the current reality of the New Jerusalem (the fully consumated Kingdom of God) should look like as displayed by us. As we continue to be amazed by all that God has accomplished for us, and in us, let us display that to the world. In this manner, we are able to allow our gratitude to make others grateful.

We are not expecting a coming kingdom, we are living in the yet under-realized, fully consummated, kingdom of God. Surely, we have the responsibility to make this known both in word and deed.

All of that said, I invite YOU to come along with me for a season of Godly Conspiracy. For example, at The Blue Point Bible Church we are going through a month or two of examining the doctrines of John Calvin (since we refer to ourselves as a ‘Sovereign Grace’ church and hold to the tents of Calvinism). Also, this month I am hosting a “ministry meeting” which is going to be a time where our congregation “conspires together” how we can make those outside our church want to visit, make our visitors feel welcomed, and allow the manifold wisdom of God to be revealed through us in all that we do. Yes, we are truly endeavoring to “walk worthy” in all that we do. 🙂

If you are not local, no worries. I am always involving our “far off” brothers and sisters, whether that be through Facebook, email programs, etc. There is so much more to come in how we can “conspire” to allow God’s Kingdom shine through us, and thus light up the world.

As a resource I would like to provide you with the daily readings throughout the month.

First week – Isaiah 40:1-5; Isaiah 52:7-10 (Isaiah 2 & 4); Isaiah 40:9-11; Genesis 3:8-15; Genesis 15:1-6; Dueteronomy 18:15-19; Psalms 89:1-4

Second week – Isaiah 11:1-10; Zechariah 6:12-13; Micah 5:2-4; Malachi 3:1-6; John 1:1-8; John 1:9-18; Mark 1:1-3

Third week – Luke 1:5-13; Luke 1:14-17; Luke 1:18-25; Luke 1:39-45; Luke 1:46-56; Luke 1:57-66; Luke 1:67-80

Fourth week – Isaiah 7:10-14; Luke 1:26-35; Isaiah 9:2-7; Mattew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-2; Luke 2:21-35

“Loving God, as we enter this Advent season, we open all the dark places in our lives and memories to the healing light of Christ. Show us the creative power of hope. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, that we may walk in the Light of Christ.”

Blessings to you, in and through Jesus Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano

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The Effect of a Fulfilled (Corporate) Gospel

               As one peruses through my recent blog posts it doesn’t take a genius to see that I have been on a “gospel kick”. Isn’t that a healthy place to be? Coming out of my debate with Sam Frost really made me sit and think about the gospel message, i.e. the hope of Israel. Thus is why you have been seeing blogs dealing with such coming from me. The awesome thing is the “one accord” happening within the “fulfilled eschatology” camp concerning these things. Ahh…the understanding of the “mystery” and its effect is so glorious. Amen?

               During my debate with Mr. Frost he attempted to discredit the “full preterist hope” by saying that we have no hope and he made mention of the following passage from Romans chapter 8:

               “For in this hope we are saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Romans 8:24-25)”.

               It is my position as a Full Preterist that this hope has already been fulfilled. Romans 8 is dealing with “the creation” and the hope of resurrection (which was the “hope of Israel”). As Hebrews chapter 2 very clearly shows this was dealing with Abraham’s descendants (check out verse 16). This is the context of the Scriptures, as I have pointed out “Hebrew exclusivity”, that is the theme throughout the Scriptures. Read Paul’s preaching of the gospel in Acts chapter 13. The Full Preterist community has dealt with the topic of “resurrection” time and time again, taking different routes, but it seems the “orthodox community” (as if a “united front” actually exists..) always tries a new route to persuade others contrary to the Scriptures.

               Instead I want to deal directly with this fulfilled hope issue. Sam Frost (and his buddy, Jason Bradfield) tried to say that since I, as a Full Preterist, believe that the “hope of Israel” (which is the gospel) has been fulfilled I am without hope and in a “sad position”. Well, let’s see how that LOGIC works.

               If I as a young man have the “hope” to one day own a restaurant to feed the homeless and then one day my hope is fulfilled. I own a restaurant dedicated to feeding the homeless. Has my hope been fulfilled? Yes! Am I and others still able to benefit from this “fulfilled hope”? Of course! And that is exactly what the “mystery” of God’s will was- go ahead and read through the book of Ephesians. This is what I call “living in the reality of the gospel hope”.

               See how ridiculous this claim is? Then as the debate ended, we had a “heckler” from the audience try and say that since everything including judgment has been fulfilled and we are already “living in the reality of the gospel hope” then we are free to do whatever we want- i.e., drinking excessively, smoking pot, etc…ay yi yi, I will save my in depth response to that very frightening position in my next blog- KEEP YOUR EYE OUT FOR MY BLOG TITLED: DEAR MR.CHRISTIAN

So…what does it mean to live in the reality of the gospel hope? Well, as Ephesians claims that it was the “mystery” for all to be brought into one body, through Jesus Christ, and to be under one head, even Christ. This obviously is a Spiritually realized fulfilled hope as “the glory of the nations are brought into the kingdom (Revelation 21:26)”. Through Jesus Christ, those of us who have “washed out robes” have access into the Kingdom and can eat from the “tree of life” and drink the “water of life” (which I would point out is the “knowledge of God” through the Spirit of God) and we have the opportunity to offer this to others (Revelation 22:17).

               There is a very clear BIBLICAL contrast here. What we see going on throughout the Scriptures is a “transition period” which had to do with Israel (remember this is dealing with the covenants given to Israel- see, Romans chapter 9).  Israel was under the law of sin and death- and would be freed through Jesus Christ. Ahh…the veil would be taken away (see, Isaiah chapter 25 and 2 Corinthians chapter 5). I pointed out some of these details in my Transition series of blogs.  Sadly, the modern “foreign gospel” has lost the context and made this a very personal and individual thing, as theology instructor and author, Tom Holland says,  “…although each individual Christian has shared individually in the redemptive benefits of Christ’s death, it is not historically an individual experience. The description of salvation that Paul, and I would argue the rest of the New Testament writers give, is about the salvation of God’s people, corporately”. Or as Max King said, “The central theme of Old Testament prophecy, and therefore of New Testament eschatology, was the destiny of God’s covenant Israel”.

               Philippians chapter 3 (a resurrection text) provides a great illustration of the contrast happening as the “hope of Israel”. What you see being contrasted is the Old Covenant “body of humiliation” which consisted of “legalistic righteousness” by way of fleshly circumcision, fleshly Israel, and “earthly things”. Whereas the New Covenant “glorious body” is characterized by circumcision without hands (Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11), worship in Spirit and truth (John 4), Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:9) and being in the “body of Christ”, which is clearly expounded upon in Ephesians chapter 2.  

               “The goal of the gospel is to produce a type of people consumed with passion for God and love for others. We certainly don’t seem to have that right”- J.D. Greear in his book, Gospel

               So in accordance with what the “hope of Israel” was and the above quote by J.D. Greear, how should this effect US?

               J.D. Greear makes an awesome statement in his book, “True love grows as a response to loveliness”. I call this “zeal empowered by knowledge”. The more we learn about what God has done, the more we love Him and His will. Sadly, religion has tried to force its adherence to submit, much like Mr. Christian I mentioned above.

               God demonstrated Himself to Israel in Exodus chapter 19. Read through the chapter and notice Israel’s response to God’s demonstration. So, when the same thing is “Spiritually discerned” in 1 Peter 2:5-9, what should be one’s response? Wasn’t Israel’s response meant to demonstrate examples as per 1 Corinthians 10:11? I think a great start to understanding how we should respond in the 21st century as Christians of a fulfilled gospel hope is to learn how Israel responded when God chose them to demonstrate His glory through. Can I get an AMEN?

As Larry Siegle so eloquently demonstrated the revealing of the “mystery” that occurred in the first century, and how the Gentiles have come to enter into covenant with God- through Jesus Christ. Just as Israel was the “body” through whom God was displaying His will at that time, the body of Christ which was the “mystery of the ages” is doing the same. Tom Hollack said it well, “The Biblical perspective is that every person is a member of a community and that membership determines his/her self-identity”.

               How can one say that there is “no hope” in a fulfilled hope when they read Revelation chapters 21-22? When I get “spiritual” and read through those chapters, I see “healing of the nations” (which would imply that those outside the gates- dogs, “sinners” and those without the robes to enter in; are still around), the gates are always open and we can offer them the water of life, utilize the “leaves of the tree” to bring healing, and offer them the “covenant covering” of Christ’s righteousness (“robes of righteousness”) to enter in the gates. The kingdom of God advances as being a marginalized, “Spiritual kingdom” in the world and not of it, a light on a hill. I would dare to say my hope is that the reality of God’s covenant with Israel being fulfilled (from natural to Spiritual) will continue to advance!

Hope of Israel- fulfilled! Bible prophecy leading up to the fulfillment of the “hope of Israel”- fulfilled! The spreading of that knowledge continued hope that is not deferred but happening daily! How about that as giving a reason for the hope that is within you? (smiles).

 “It is one thing to understand the gospel but it is quite another to experience the gospel in such a way that it fundamentally changes us and becomes the source of our identity and security. It is one thing to grasp the essence of the gospel but quite another to think out its implications for all of life. We all struggle to explore the mysteries of the gospel on a regular basis and to allow its message to influence our thinking (Gospel by J.D. Greaar)”.

A covenant kingdom embodying the gospel message of being in covenant with God through Jesus Christ- displaying His righteousness, His love, His grace, His blessings, His peace, His joy, etc….Are YOU authentically doing that? Consistently with the TRUE GOSPEL? 

               Go in peace!     -Mike Miano

Blogs of interest:

http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/eschatology/where_is_my_hope.htm

http://www.facebook.com/notes/larry-siegle/the-divine-mystery-revealed-at-last/10151338056036220

Be sure to check out Don Preston’s new series on Youtube concerning “How Shall We Live”

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