Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sending You To Hell

You’re going to hell, followed by some scrap of scripture as authority for the sentence of doom is really popular amongst the bretheren today. And frankly I’m jealous. Having been sentenced to hell with alarming frequency during the recent presidential campaign, apparently opposition to Romney was the kiss of death for millions, I think it would be really fun if I had the “You’re going to hell” power that others so effortlessly wield.

It’s partly my fault. I read Matthew 23:13 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either. I assumed it meant that I didn’t have the authority to declare anyone unfit for Heaven. Then Jesus really leads me off the reservation in Luke 6:37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.

So I’m going to need help in discarding the words of Jesus if I’m to successfully wield the sword of hell on those who sin differently than I do.

Got any scripture I could borrow?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Love Almost All The Bible

I love the Bible. My walk with the Lord has changed profoundly since I began reading scripture every morning. I don’t always understand it, but I’ve learned to treasure the mystery of God’s mind. To know that there are some things about scripture that won’t be settled here on earth, and once we go home the questions might not seem as important.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say I love almost all the Bible. Some parts make me cringe. Like when God supposedly orders the Jews to commit genocide in Canaan. (Seriously? The Father of Jesus commands genocide?) Or when Paul pontificates on the role of women in the church. Could a boat 100 yards long actually hold two of every creature on earth along with enough food and water to keep them alive for months? Does my cringing make me a bad Christian?

In the context of a book containing over 31000 verses, the number of verses that make me cringe is quite small, at most a few hundred. And upon reflection, it’s often man’s interpretation of those verses that make me cringe. Theologians, God bless their pointy little hearts, have been a mixed bag ever since someone decided we need theologians. They can’t agree on anything, they’ve caused way more schism than unity, and they make prononcements with a certainty that belies the infinite and mysterious nature of the God they claim to understand.

But this I do know. When I read scripture, patiently, repeatedly, I change for the better. When I read the Bible without condition, without the need to know anything for certain, my spirit is soothed.  When I read the words of Jesus in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” I feel peaceful and unafraid, certain that my God has my best interests at heart.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Have Seminary Degree, Will Confuse For Money

I recently saw this exchange between some Christians regarding the Rapture. The problem with theology is that it often has little, if any, relevance to Jesus, His message, or our mission.

RIGHT NOW, Millions of Christians are being tortured, raped and murdered for their Faith. But yet, you believe that the False Pre Trib Rapture will happen because God wont allow anything bad to happen to His children?? Pre Trib rapture is a False Hope of Millions of deluded believers and it is unbiblical and sickening. 

Participant 1:We will not be here when God releases his wrath on the earth..
Participant 2: Thats Right Bruce! Because that happens with the 7th seal. But we are here until then-so says scripture.
 Participant 3: you have got to be 7th day Adventist or something, I am going in the rapture, you can stay behind if you want to, thats your choice, God will not make you do anything you oppose, Blessings
  Participant 2: Steve-that is the exact kind of STUPID response i get from people like you!!!! I mean every single PART of what you said is IDIOTIC!!!!
 Participant 3: Well thank you, I`ll take that compliment, Blessings !
 Participant 2: only a complete idiot would take that as a compliment
 Participant 3: Why thats the nicest thing I have heard from you in a while, Thank you SO much, Blessings !!!
 Participant 2:  And it probably WILL BE the nicest thing you get from me!!!!!
 Participant 3: Thats real Christian Like, I REALLY like your fruit, Love ya, We don`t have to agree, But your attitude and demeanor Is`nt what is required, IS IT ?

Although the exchange bordered on the juvenile it is little different from the theological disputes separating denominations and churches since New Testament times. And our seminaries continue to pump out graduates trained more in process than witness. No wonder the church is in decline.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Les Miserables OR Waterboarding. Choose Wisely.

It’s been three days now. Three days of silence borne in fear. But now I must speak out, if only one person can be helped by breaking silence, the possible consequences will have been worth it. 

Last Saturday my daughter and mother forced me to take them to see “Les Miserables”. Rarely has a movie been more aptly named. It was the zombie of movies, it would not end. I could've dropped them off, hopped a plane to Hawaii, spent a week on the beach, and still have gotten back before the movie was over. They will be playing that movie on loop in hell.

Afterwards, my daughter and mother asked me how I liked the movie. I could tell by the merciless gleam in their eyes that my life hung in the balance. So I lied. “It was wonderful”, I said, “Everyone should see it.” They moved off, probably to kill butterflys. 


Sure, if you enjoy root canals, fever blisters, or migraine headaches you’ll love “Les Miz”. The rest of you should flee for your lives.”Les Miz”, a  movie  formed in the fevered imagination of some ruthless, guy hating troll, created  in the mucky swamp of the “let’s make his life unbearable” crowd, is quickly becoming a guy urban legend. Passed down through generations, transmitted from father to son, it will become the ultimate bogeyman, such as “Do your chores or you’ll have to watch Les Miserables in your room.” Or, “They say Inspector Javert comes out of your closet at night.”

It’s too late for me, but you can save yourself.

The Christian War Machine

Ephesians 6: 13-17 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Lately it seems that the Christian War Machine is in full throated roar, raging against a secular America, gays, the absence of prayer in schools, evolution, contraceptives, abortion, even zoning laws. But is the church militant how we’re supposed to live in this world? “This can happen only after we have made a categorical refusal to kindness: to heretics, foreigners, enemies or any other group different from ourselves.”~Wendall Berry

One of the most quoted scripture phrases by the church militant crowd appears in Ephesians 6, “Put on the full armor of God” it says. Now there’s a call to war, right? But when you read the entire  passage that armour appears quite, dare I say, peaceable. Truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God hardly sound like a “Death to the Enemy” rallying cry. Instead of going to war with unbelievers, scripture commands us to be their advocates. Isaiah 58:10  “and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” And it is Light that will change others, not darkness or conflict. We are to seek spiritual solutions through love. We are commanded to change the world by attraction.

We need to stop hating on people who’s sins are different than ours, end condemnation by category, stop trying to force others to believe as we do through legislation rather than witness, to be in the world but not of the world. We seem to no longer trust that our God is all powerful, that He needs laws written by man or His will can not be done.