Category: conformity


Do we want to be good? Does humanity have a want to be good? Does America want to be good? Do Christians want to be good?

These questions have been on my heart as I watch all the horrible geopolitical happenings in the world the past few weeks.

Do we ever ask ourselves this? Or do we want to be rational, logical and right?  Are we more concerned with a persona than persons? Are we blind to our own wickedness?

I believe humans have the tendency towards blindness.  The questions are not; do we do good? We (all humanity) do do good in this world.  I know and get the selfishness in the world.  There is evil.  However, is it possible to overcome evil with good?  Or must evil be fought, defeated and destroyed? And how is that done without becoming that which you are fighting?

Do we want to love our neighbors? Do we want to love our enemies? Do we believe the world can be a better place?  Do we ridicule the good as impossible thus settling? If goodness can’t attain to perfection should it just be disregarded?

I want to be good. Not to score a brownie points with God (They don’t play that game).  When God made each of us they rejoiced and said “Very good!” Life, culture, religion, family dynamics immediately disagree.  I have experienced more good than I ever would’ve thought possible growing up.  Love and goodness is all around. It is steady hard work on blind spots that enables me to experience this in the here and now.

Do I want to be good? Do I want love? These are the questions the children of the Father could be brave and really look at.  Do we look to God to lead, challenge and love us to a new way of thinking or simply endorse our views, keep us healthy, save us from hell and basically stay out of our way?

I think and hope the church is tired of being shallow.

Pie in the sky, Pollyanna thinking  is not what I am saying.  To be good and walk in love is the calling of the children of God, all of us.

 

 

The international Christian charity World Vision has faced a bunch of push back and wishy-washy behavior recently over an attempt to acknowledge and love those people of the LGBT community by allowing them to work for the charity.  Millions of dollars left and children are going to go without because fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals want nothing to do with LGBT and are willing to stop helping children because of their “morals”. I decided to rewrite (not meant to be scholarly accurate) a bit of Jesus’ interactions with the religious leaders of his day as if He were addressing  the leaders today.

 

Fundamentalists and the religious right know a lot about God but they refuse to experience the Gospel. They say “it’s all grace” then proceed with a list of “do’s and don’ts” that supposedly evidence this grace. Never giving assurance of the love abounding from the Father but rather warning to keep the fear of God tantamount. They love to fight the culture war, division is their game. To have spots at the mega-churches, halls of government, to get on tv and radio as experts on God. They love to be the “guardians  of our culture” and in a position of knowing the way. When judging God’s children is your way you will be humbled.

Woe to you, Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals, actors! You keep people from knowing the kingdom is within them and are deaf to what God speaks in your heart. You don’t hear the Spirit so you assume no one else does. Culture warriors, you make alter call after alter call and with these baby believers you do what? Prepare them for war!

Woe to you, illiterate Bible teachers, you find every scripture to exclude yet miss every single one of inclusion. If my Father has made everyone in our image, does that not mean anything? You know the book yet not the one who inspired it. Know-it-alls, Every piece of knowledge must pass through your narrow lens. “Nothing new under the sun” doesn’t apply to new discoveries in science, psychology and history. God inspires discovery and yet you must make it must pass a biblical litmus test?!?!?

Woe to to you , self-righteous, who tithe on the gross and not the net,  yet judge the poor people in the land. “If they would only….” Your lack of compassion is sickening.  Self- righteous indeed,  we want to teach them to fish, not feed them the fish. You live the idea that help creates dependence, so sad.

Deaf and blind, if you could only be dumb as well?! You stand against supposed sins of sexuality while divorce flourishes in the church. Could it be because you make those not ready get married? You stop giving to feed the poorest of poor children because you can’t support “gays”! Seriously?? You expect that logic to fly?

You rats, your hearts have grown cold!  When my Father sends teachers and prophets you’ll deride them and label them false, heretics, make comparisons to my friend Oprah as if that is an insult. Or my friend Francis is a communist? Really?!?!?  Yet your labels don’t stick.  You label any truth I send that may be different as wrong.  The Spirit guides into all truth, that means you’re not there yet! You have no desire to learn and change. This is what “repentance” means! It is the ongoing changing of your mind to be in line with my Father’s heart. Not a one time guilt trip to save your ass from hell! You create hell right here, right now!   For yourselves and the world around you!

America, America oh, how I wish you knew the heart of Father Son and Spirit. To love in a new way. To experience the love that allows the judgement to leave your hearts and embrace and love the victim, the marginalized, rich and poor alike.  You aren’t altogether ready to love are you?

The Gospels actual account Matthew 23:1-37

Jesus Denounces Scribes and Pharisees

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,[a] and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students.[b] And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah.[c] 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.[d] 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell[e] as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath.’ 19 How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; 21 and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; 22 and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup,[f] so that the outside also may become clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. 28 So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors. 33 You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell?[g] 34 Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, 35 so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation.

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

 

 

My attempt here is to speak out against the injustice that has become normal in our culture. I was broad sweeping and insulting but so was Jesus to his audience.

I have worked in the same trade for sixteen, almost seventeen years. It is wild for me to grasp that at times. I really know my stuff and there is little I come across that I can’t figure out. Of course, I am always learning but that is the nature of everything. I think about what I do an almost unhealthy amount of time. I believe I allow my job to cause me an unreasonable amount of stress. I am coming to realize this is could very well be self-inflicted. I work for a very tenacious successful owner who dreams of making his company the best, he has an answer, a confidence and an air about him of a person who knows what he wants and will pursue it no matter what. After sixteen years I am starting to see in part why I am not satisfied  where I am at at work. This is not my dream.

How is it that this happens? I think it can be a subtle trap. You have a good job with a company that has a good vision for what they do and think this is what I am supposed to do. The demands of someone else s  dream can be exhausting. Granted the drive of any career can be exhausting. I am coming to a place where I know this job will not satisfy me. I know what I do and I will confidently and do it with integrity. Part of this integrity is me deciding I will not live and die in another man’s dream. This involves me learning to relax when no one else around me would choose to. At this point it is the only healthy choice.

My dreams do not include plumbing. They are my family and living functionally and whole. Being a loving husband and father. Loving people around me. Building genuine friendships in community.  Having fun along the way, before I retire!  I also want to counterstrike against the negative messages that are meant to be the good news but leave people feeling shamed and excluded (stay tuned on this front). These are just the tip of the iceberg but I know it is where Father wants me to live.  So, when my boss ticks me off or I get stressed at the nature of my career at this point I am going to choose to be thankful for my job and own the fact that I am not responsible for someone else’s  dream, do what I know I can and let things fall where they may. Their junk is not mine and I am learning to not pick it up as if it is. This is my life. This is your life. Live it from your heart and don’t carry another persons dream as if it where you own.

The What if the Church campaign culminated yesterday with a worship event that coincided with the World Day of Prayer. I don’t fully understand why I felt so awkward at the event. But I have some suspicions. I used to get so charged up for things like this. It was a real emotional high.

First off my observations and feelings are not value judgements on the event or those who orchestrated it. The Spirit blows where he will and I am not one to say he didn’t work in it. I do believe he is the root cause of my awkward feelings about it all.

The tone seemed to be worshiping the far off God who we should really only express awe for and no joy in. We decided to leave before the “Win One More for Jesus” song. The lyrics of which seemed like the biggest guilt trip and wrong placement of emphasis I have felt in a long time. Why has the evangelical church lost all sight of the reality of Christ in us and the Holy Spirit being poured out on all flesh to the Joy of Father? Speaking of the New Covenant in Hebrews 8:11 ” No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. ”  How come I have never heard a sermon on this? No guilt trip possibility?

I don’t know if I will be able to attend a rally like this again.  The seriousness on the faces seemed to indicate to me a lack of joy and understanding of the love and presence of God all around us. Also, it seemed so utterly forced. What this branch of the church is selling is not working. Those outside the camp as it were are more than likely more in tune with God than those who are “in”.

The serve event was an awesome opportunity and I know many benefited including those doing the serving. This is important to work together to harness resources. I was so intrigued by the idea “What if the Church prayed, served, and worshiped together” I am afraid I lost sight that that is the hidden reality behind the church universal. We are already doing all this in the same Spirit and it is not an event that makes it more evident to”the world” It is the love. I do hope and see the benefit in laying down those walls of separation.  What if we could lay down the walls between all people, not just the church. Here is another hope; what if the world could live from the reality of the love of God?

Once again just my observations, not a value judgement. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: