Tag Archive: Jesus


Christ the King Sunday is celebrated this week. It is the last feast day before the new church year begins with Advent.

Here is the Collect of the Day:

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Side note: My commentary here has NOTHING to do with the mystery of salvation and our reconciliation to God in Christ or God’s love for humanity. I am examining what it means to choose to call oneself Christian.

I have been thinking lately about being a Christian. What does it is mean? Why become a Christian?  In a large part of the western narrative the primary reason folks normally become Christian is fear of hell. To say a “sinner’s prayer” and be “saved” from hell when we die. That’s it… now go tell people so they won’t go to hell either.  Is being Christian about listening to an overbearing loudmouth preacher from Arizona who has as much concern over American conservatism as he does getting folks to say the “sinner’s prayer”? Is it being offended  by coffee cups?  What sucks is this faith is often where it ends, being “saved”. What’s awesome is many times it doesn’t end there. God can be annoying in how he challenges us, right?

Early on in my journey I chose to write off most of Jesus’ words as hyperbole or unrealistic this side of heaven. Not lessons He actually wanted me/us to grow to understand and have transform us in the here and now. Is our faith something to be jettisoned (as practical in helping decide our actions as a nation or individual) if it challenges us?  Is it low on your hierarchy of needs? Maybe, that’s okay. At least be honest.

Is faith just a psychological crutch that comforts us yet never changes our thoughts , opinions and actions? I hope not but understand my atheist friends who believe so.

Why would we want to be Christian? Is it more than being about heaven/hell?

If Jesus were speaking today would he be a leader you would follow?

Would you want his ways to be sovereign?

Would we believe His ways can change this world?

Which is more important, the way of Christ or the way of our governments’ and the way of politicians? Who’s voice do you believe? Who’s wisdom?

Most of the heated discussions I get in with folks would end immediately if I heard an awareness of the cognitive dissonance of being a Christian that advocates for war, vindicates scapegoating, and the protection of what’s “ours”.  Basically, we trust in humanity and not in God.

Jesus’s words are extremely tough and I personally wrestle with them. I don’t like some of what he said  for instance stories of separating wheat/weeds good fish/bad fish at the harvest, some girls being SOL after letting their lamps burn down,Pluck your eye out or cut your hand off if it causes you to sin and so on. I definitely don’t always track with the Gospel message I am sure. My more conservative friends would say my LGBT views aren’t in line with God.    I do want to be honest about it all though. If I call Him Lord, Lord and don’t listen to how he challenges my jaded perspectives. How can I honestly say He is my Lord?  Increase my faith and understanding, Lord!  A part of my understanding of being Christian is that Christ is King,my king, I am not. Neither is Obama, Russia, ISIS, China, the U.N.

This world is a complete mess (at least in the news) Love and beauty still pervade. I pray for Christians to be honest in their questions. I pray for us to submit to the Holy Spirit convicting us. I pray we let our pride be laid aside. I pray we ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness’.  I pray we let love cast out fear. I pray we live as God is actually real. I pray we see Christ The King.

 

 

I would like to take a moment to talk about Jeezus. 🙂 Now hold on, don’t run away. Not really going to proselytize. Just sharing my thoughts and perspective. I see most folks “get him” but religious people muck it all up. I know I am a theological thinker so I may fall into that camp but I think he transcends all that stuff. So I thought I’d share a piece of how I see and relate with God.

If God had a misunderstood image what would be a good way to clear it up? What if You as God, had always existed in love and community wanted to work to change the human narrative? What if you only saw your kids descend into violence and even say that you endorse it? You would maybe want to clear things up?

You may decide to enter into your creation as a creature to show them a different way. Think about that…. To be simultaneously the creator and the creation. To be self- limited yet limitless. To fall and scrape your knee, to lose a loved one, to see injustice firsthand and be limited in what you can do, to be weird and not understood, to be seen as a threat, to love, to hug, to sit in your Mom’s lap and hear a song of love sung into your heart, to party, enjoy some wine, to experience the best of  humanity and…..

To be judged and scapegoated.  To be verbally, sexually, physically, psychologically, spiritually, emotionally abused and to be abandoned and neglected.  To experience the best and the very worst of humanity.

If you were this God would you choose to be so intimately acquainted  with your creation? Wouldn’t it be easier to simply judge? would that be your right? Not if you are intrinsically love.

Jesus has identified with every facet of human existence. This is why when you see someone suffering and pass by that you are passing by Him. His identification transcends and joins to all the suffering of the world and cries alongside. This is not satisfying if you only want Power from God. ” God shouldn’t allow this stuff, if He is God… ” As much as we want the opposite, the cross stands in contrast to God using His power in a totalitarian way. A God who cries is the God I love.

Jesus is the Vindicated Victim.  He conquered injustice by being risen from dead. He vindicates all victims if we are open to see it. This is how we learn to love, to enter into the life of another as God entered into our lives through Jesus. When we drop our need to judge we are able to enter in. Holding onto judgement keeps love from being experienced. Suffering continues but love can

This “pays” for the sins of the world but not in the way it is sold.  The crucifixion of Jesus is NOT the great antacid to allow the Father to look at us without getting sick. God loves us and wants us to know this. This is what the Spirit brings to my heart. I can back it up with scripture but that can be annoying and doesn’t “prove” anything.

If you’ve never heard these aspects of being a Christian, I personally am sorry.

 

 

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 want to blog a bit about Jesus.

I sometimes wonder if the modern church has made him much smaller than he really is.  I know we believe he is the unique Son of God and the second person in the Trinity but do we really grasp this? There are times it feels more like we are following the teachings of a 2000 year old philosopher who loves us and gave himself up for us. Could he be even more?

The Bible says that all things have been made by,for, and through Jesus. All things.  Think about that for a moment. Also, that “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)

It also says “he is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15)  He shows us what Father is really like. He said “no one knows the Father except the Son” (Mat 11:27) emphasis added.

I think it has been easier for me to look at the historical Jesus and think that is where most  of my focus should be when it comes to relating to him. One problem….I wasn’t there!!!  He was talking to actual people that may have had specific intentions. It feels detached and distant at times. Whereas the resurrected Jesus who lives in me by the Spirit feels much closer and relational.  Could he have specific intentions and things to say to me or you? I understand the value of scripture. I have wondered at times if scripture can inhibit us from hearing the very voice of God, due to the complexities of it all.  Jesus did say ” You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)

I am not saying that the historical accounts have nothing to teach us. I am saying the action of God becoming man to bring us into relationship is what I believe the heart of the Gospel is.  What does it mean to be a “Christian” or “Christ-follower”? Are we following the teachings 2ooo years old (yet timeless) of our Lord or participating in the reconciliation of the world to God through Jesus by the Spirit? Or is it mysteriously both?

I recognize not all folks have the trouble I do at times and understand things more clearly. I want to share the things I believe Father places on my heart…even if they appear to be extraordinarily unique!  🙂

P.S. lots of Bible bingo, huh 🙂

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