We Were Once Swine

Posted: October 11, 2010 in Uncategorized


by Paul Marshall, 2014 Miami Herald

When the NBA champions came to town, Salt Lake City filled the seats of the Jazz arena. Copious amounts of sticky, salty, sweet foods gave the homeless janitorial staff a reason to get up in the morning. Anticipation saturated the atoms in the air with a sense of purpose and fear. Purpose, to prove themselves as a team worth watching ESPN highlights for. Fear, to prove once again that even the young blood of the new Utah Jazz doesn’t have championship chemistry in their DNA. Would it be textbook basketball as usual for an organization who won’t let their players wear headbands (does anyone smell Mormon ownership here)?
Few would have expected the NBA’s best player to have less than lackluster results against one of the worst teams. But King James seemed to have his head in a different battle the whole time he was on the court. Obviously unmotivated, he scored less points than a very motivated Jazz rookie (LeBron James with 13 pts., Jazz players Marvin Williams with 23 pts., Richard Jefferson with 14 pts.). Like an immune system that goes unstimulated to fight back a covertly rogue bacteria, James would miss simple free throws, layups, open 3 pt shots and help the Heat with one turnover after another to the young bloods.
And thus, the radioactive elements of the Utah Jazz took over the court and dominated every quarter with as much as a 14 pt lead. This fresh team of rookies aren’t yet indoctrinated enough by the Jazz textbook basketball. They took healthy risks. A passing game till one of them was clear enough to fire a shot, fast breaks with Magic Johnson style passes that shock-and-awed the ringed gladiators, aggressive and forced turnovers on the rebounds and a couple of steals here and there. What a show it was. A good night to be a Jazz fan.
Previously, Utah had dominated one of the other best teams in the NBA; Oklahoma City. By as much as a 20 pt lead. Unbelievable by Utah standards. This also justified the Utah fan delusion that they somehow have a championship caliber team that just doesn’t have the money purse of the Lakers to prove themselves. The idea is nonsense of course. But nobody can ever accuse them of not being consistently good over the whole Stockton/Malone era and post era. Their Playoffs and Finals appearances are evidence enough of such consistency.
But consistency is boring in the NBA. Fans want underdog victories, surprise upsets, total domination, Carmello’s 62 pt game, winning streaks, championships, three-peats and repeat three-peats. Even in Salt Lake City, half the seats are empty if they are playing the 76ers or the Nets. When the arena is full and electric, it’s not because of the Jazz. It’s because secretly they came to see a real team play. That’s where the Heat and the Thunder come in. And judging from their recent victories, that may also be when the Jazz show up to play real basketball.


by Paul Marshall, july 2003

When it comes to demon possession Hollywood could think it has a pretty firm grasp on the gore.  But the Bible itself paints a canvas with dramatic and horrifying scenes. Yet much more power powerful. It’s immersion in spiritually symbolic meaning could make the most jaded student of Freud feel dreamy in discovery. Because these demonic parasites represent for us a message about salvation.  In light of the demon possessed man in Mark 5, this account in the Bible also represents our character after we have been “exorcised” by the Lord. Indeed, the power of Christ impales us as He imputes His righteousness on us. With Him we die, and with Him we rise again to life and power.

This possessed man was bound in chains. Haven’t we all used or heard of reference to chains as a means by which we are shackled by sin?  This comes straight from the Word (Rev. 20:1-3; Math. 12:29; Heb. 2:14-15).  We are in fact a slave to Satan who is also our father.  Before our salvation, we actually bow down to the anti-christ in spirit.

How peculiar a notion that a demon possessed man should run towards Christ.  Something about that sounds screwball.  As if he’s charging Him in a powerdrive or attempting to gouge out His eyes. But like a big nasty hairy horsefly buzzing right into a the bug zapper, his sinful character had been fried by the high volt shock of the Lord’s righteous Light.

The seemingly humorous account of sending the demons into a herd of pigs was a purposefully serious allegory of the sad fact that these swine represent unbelievers who are driven straight into the sea.  And we can find how this sea comes to represent hell itself in Revelations 13:1; 16:13; 21:1; Deuteronomy 28; Isaiah 65:17;

In the final verses of this historical account we’re amazed to see the insanity flee as he sits sane and clothed.   As a spiritually reborn human aren’t we transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom. 12:2)?  Do we not sit and reign with Christ (Eph. 2:5-6)?  Surely we are to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Eph. 6:14)?

He was so exorbitantly greatful to Christ for all that He had done that he wanted to be with Him and travel with Him wherever He would go.  The man was in pure love for Christ which we can see was in sharp contrast to his prior state of mind, body and soul.

So what he did next to manifest his divine appreciation was to feed the hungry throughout the ten cities.  This was commissioned to him from Christ.  Being presently reborn and fit of mind he was to deliver the truth of the Word and what Jesus had made real in his life (Mark 5:18-20).

God chose these unruly hygienetically challenged swine creatures because they were deemed unclean animals at the beginning of Old Testament Law.  They looked to God as an excellent fit to epitomize fallen man in his state of sin (Isaiah 65:3-5; Leviticus 11:7-8).

This historical event was used as an ingenius allegory by God.  He is painting us a canvas.  A real, vivid, living, breathing picture that we can relate to.  Because it can trigger horror or disgust or awe, our bio feedback communicates to our brain the repulsion of whats happening here.  The ultimate creative artist, the All Mighty, can here let us taste what He’s telling us in the other parts of the Bible.

We can see our evil in it’s true light.  We deserve to be thrown in hell and spiritually annihilated for spitting in God’s face with our rebellion.  This is how sin looks to God.  Yet in spite of this He can choose to save us from ourselves and claim us for Himself.  God is showing us the unfathomable extent of His love by demonstrating it in a very real and dramatic reality.  A reality where the result of our hatred toward God is suffering through hell on earth in every way imaginable.  A specailized hell to fit our unique situation.

And here we are in the world.  Regardless of one’s character or lack thereof, we still experience increments of peace, delicious food, beautiful women, happiness and pleasures.  The fact that the Hitlers, Stalins, rapist’s and immoral enjoy any of God’s creation should prove a divine patience, if not love.  But of course proof cannot come to the spiritually blind (Romans 11:7-10).

How To Unroll A Holy Scroll   Mar. 2011, by Paul Marshall

In the first principle of comparing Scripture with Scripture, we see how much the Bible is saturated in the juices of Christ’s blood of redemption.  God’s multi dimensional canvas for this salvation is repeated and emphasized again and again from the first book of Moses to the last book written by John of Patmos.  Feeling truly alive with the understanding of spiritual principles could help prevent extreme acts in the name of God.

The local story of a Cuban immigrant in Clearfield arrested for sacrificing goats, sheeps and rams for religious purposes a couple of weeks ago, also documented two human skulls in his possession.  Originally, they were searching the premises on reports of narcotics sales. His shed in the backyard revealed pounds of animal flesh used for his shrine. This is a Salt Lake news story that can show how perversion of God’s Law doesn’t just freeze in time.  It is always a downward rolling snowball collectively gathering more sin until it crashes at the bottom of a cold hard reality.

One should always consider all of the 66 books of the Bible as the ancient living holy scrolls of God.  As 2nd Timothy 3:16,17 says, “all scripture is given by inspiration in righteousness that the man of God may be completed, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  This is so important because it keeps many from justifying an offering of KFC bones on the family DIY alter.

The whole purpose of the Bible is to convict us of who we are and feed us in who we should be.  So God’s plan of redemption is a constant reminder in the Bible’s account of national wars, plaques, personal struggles with the world and self, and ultimately God’s interaction in it all.  Our need is to worship the Son that He sent to show the work that was completed by His Son for Old Testament believers, New Testament believers and any future lost sheep.  The Bible should be read in such a way as to ask, “what is God telling me about the redemption of my corrupt nature?”  That one question covers the problem of business, war, love, politics, art, science and the gamut of human experience.

The second principle is that the Bible will always interpret itself.  Sometimes it does take more diligence than other times in understanding Biblical text.  This is in part due to the cogent difficulty of Scripture and God’s will to open our eyes to the mysterious expanse of His mind. The principle lies in that there must be another verse in the Bible which develops the structure of spiritual meaning in a word or phrase before we can make a conclusion of it’s meaning or spiritual application.  So then, to pick convenient or logical ideas about a word or phrase that seem to us as obvious as the glowing moon and the radiant fire of the sun is a fallacy.  If one wants to argue against this foundational truism, refer to the proclaimation in 2nd Peter 1:20,21.  This passage wraps up the point that we must have Biblical evidence to claim the true meaning of one iota of Scripture.

We can go about doing this by looking up other verses in the Bible that refer to the same phrase, word or element that would tie it to something more specific.  For example, the Old Testament spoke many times on the sacrifice of lambs.  We can know that lambs alluded to the sacrifice of Christ by linking it to John 1:29.  In that verse John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the “Lamb of God”.  This and other verses that refer to Christ as the slain Lamb, validates our conclusion that the living Bible is the sole authority of all interpretation of itself.

The third principle is that any conlusion one comes to must not contradict the rest of Scripture.  If this is the case, then we can be sure our conclusions about an isolated passage is wrong.  For instance, if we came to the conclusion that eating a lamb is murder because the Bible deems it a clean animal which represents Christ, while stating thou shalt not kill, or eating another animal with a “soul” would pollute your spirituality, we can know that our interpretation is polluted by blindness or eastern religion and cannot be supported by the Bible.  Or if you believe in salvation by working hard to earn it, the Bible clearly will not be your authority or support your conclusions.

One helpful tool to help you get the biggest bang for your spiritual wealth, is both the Young’s and Strong’s concordances.  These will help you tie the Scriptures together for cohesive understanding.  Remember, true understanding of God’s Bible is that chariot of fire that carries us into the heavens of the Kingdom of Wisdom.

STARR FALLEN  Mar. 2011,  by Paul Marshall

Mike Starr of Alice in Chains was found dead here in Salt Lake City last week.  The 44 year bass player for the unique and influential 90’s grunge band overdosed during a relapse from years of heroin addiction.  He was formally arrested in February as a passenger in a van at 1200 S. State St. at about 1am when his driver buddy drove over the median.  After being stopped by the police, he was found in possession of prescription drugs that didn’t belong to him.

As a very public participant of the VH1 Celebrity Rehab show, this arrest might have proven a tipping point on Starr’s wrenching guilt for the death of his band member in 2002.  Starr was the last person Layne Staley was with the day they both did drugs together.  Tragically, Starr left his friend to be alone just before he overdosed.

Alice in Chains was a powerful force during the years Starr played for the band.  Most of thier creative work was done during the first three albums. Of course the spirit and milieu of thier music was probably what heroin would sound like if you could have an aural injection through your ear.  So it’s no surprise that over a decade after thier last album, half the band has been eaten by the opiate monster they clanked swords with during the glory days.  Fame is a tough beast to contend with it seems. Especially when you cannot see it anymore.  Sometimes thats when it sneaks up on you when your not looking and it swallows you whole.

At a friends house somewhere here in Salt Lake, Starr was attempting to form another band.  Maybe things weren’t going so well with his new endeavor.  When he was found, those same prescription drugs were found to be the culprit for his overdose.  Of course, these medications were found to opiate based.  The human soul needs something much bigger than anything this world can produce.  Tragedies like this illustrate that painful truth.

I must confess a certain sentimentality, to a fault, with this band.  This music hasn’t been a part of my life for years, but I grew up right in the middle of the Seattle grunge takeover of the music industry.  Which is ironic, because the whole point of the ethos was the anti-corporate shoestring garage movement. And I was right there in the middle of it.  I absorbed so much of that destructive music, I was directing ideas for my own music videos for acting class based on what I heard in one of thier songs called “Angry Chair”.

I was possessed by the music to the point to where I probably looked like a drug addict.  Though I never so much as touched cough medicine, let alone narcotics.  But it didn’t matter because the music scrambled my imagination, giving me a ride to a place that wasn’t exactly edifying for my soul.  I became the music.  I wrote my own songs.  I sang for a band called Death of the Children.  I was motivated by the music. I would play the songs over and over in my head.  I would skip lunch breaks in High School to sing or play drums with buddies in the band room.  I taught myself guitar.  I was fed by it. It became my idol.

By the mercy of God, I was able to look back and see the utterly satanic fuel that music was for me.  I had girls wooing over my songs about dead puppies.  How evil is that?  I fear that this kind of adulation and reward for glamourizing entertainment that exalts the base aspects of human nature, is what will destroy the American Empire as a whole.  Deep down, entertainers know they are not contributing anything good for society.  But thier bound.  They are bound by contract. They are bound by the shame of losing status for being famous. They are bound by the complacency and debauchery that plenty of money affords.  There are so many traps, no wonder it seems like there is no way out.  That’s when drugs become the way out.  Sometimes though, that way out leads right over a cliff.


GOD Is Not A Social Worker, Nov. 2012, by Paul Marshall

Sometimes it seems as if religious leaders are relaying the idea that we ask, and we simply recieve God’s blessings like a welfare handout, with no effort on our part.

But the Bible tells me a different story where God made promises of blessings to His people.  First they had to butcher giants to obtain their cities and cattle in Palestine.  Or they had to wander through the desert for 40 years following a pillar of fire and eating fat pheasent and manna.  Paul suffered starvation, imprisonment and shipwreck on his way to spread the Word of Life to the masses in a corrupt Rome.

Nothing was “given” to them.  They had to take it.  They had to work for it.  They had to fight for it.  They had to earn it.  This is how we know faith is dead without works.  Yes, Christ freely gives out of His mercy.  But He also creates that journey in order to appreciate how Christ had to sweat like great drops of blood upon the earth in agony for our sins.  Just as He had to sacrifice His body and spirit for our spirtual life, we need to sacrifice our sweat and knowledge and labor and time, and sometimes blood, to appreciate the blessings that God has already stored for us.

There is a whole new dimension to God’s glory on the other side of struggle and sacrifice.  We come out spiritually stronger.  We are better educated by the knowledge of God’s divine hand in the matters of good and evil in everyday life.  That knowledge, that comes through the work of faith, promotes greater adoration for the Savior and Giver of gifts.  Selah.


2014 SMASH BURGER REVIEW (foodie critique)

The Avocado Club (chicken) is very satisfying. The whole grain
bun together with the bright crispy lettuce provided the earthy
roughage that I needed for the day. Don’t eat this burger for the
nutritional benefit of it’s lean white meat. Eat it for it’s sinful
marriage of pork and poultry. Made more palatable by it’s utter
pleasure upon the taste buds. Crisp yet juicy strips of smoked
apple-wood bacon reminds me of what being a man is all
about…collecting angry pics of Lakers Hall of Fame power forward
Mailman Malone and good, good bacon. With chicken as tender, soft
and supple in my mouth as a college cheerleaders breast, I’ll
remember why I partook of the vows of this marriage in the first
place. And as a little extra reward, the four slices of garden
fresh avocado balanced out the flavors of those Smash Fries I was
eating along the way.
Regarding the Smash Fries and the Sweet Fries, I can’t decide
which I like better. Sweet potato fries are delicious upon the
immediate carnal senses of the tongue. Whereas the smash fries,
doused in olive oil, basil and other herbs, are craved on a more
visceral and atomic level. With a Smash Fry, you cannot have just
=satisfied, Paul Marshall

(Utah Version)

The Avocado Club (chicken) is very yummy. The whole grain bun
together with the bright crispy lettuce was very good. Don’t eat
this burger just for the nutritional benefit of it’s lean white
meat. Crisp yet juicy strips of smoked apple-wood bacon make it
ever so tasty. The chicken is tender, soft and good. And as a
little extra reward, the four slices of garden fresh avocado
balanced out the flavors of those smash fries I was eating along
the way.
Oh my heck, regarding the Smash Fries and the Sweet Potato
fries, I can’t decide which I like better. Sweet potato fries are
delicious. Whereas the smash fries, doused in olive oil, basil and
other herbs, are delicious also. Smash Fries are so good, I need to
eat more of them than the Sweet Fries. Thanks be to our Heavenly
Father I was worthy to eat at Smash Burger.

=your favorite secret handshake, Paul Marshall

Buy a 10 year collection of essays in my e-book “I Am Thier Musick”  via Amazon or email:  p.m.77@hushmail.com


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