Caught In Sin But Already Forgiven

I’m starting to see that the story of the woman caught in adultery is one of the most influential stories in the bible…at least to me. It has been a story that has always caused people to reflect on themselves, putting themselves in the place of the stone throwers. This is always good. We need to critique ourselves. We need to be honest with ourselvesjesus-woman-in-adultery to the point that we become better at being kind to others….wanting what’s best for others. It’s the whole body that thrives as we share each others burdens that makes this all work. When we make it all about how righteous we are, how well I obey God, or that we are going to heaven when we die, then we make it very exclusive and we shun those who are on the outside. We see crazy examples like Westboro Baptist that show how our doctrines can actually destroy others through righteous exclusivity. If you go to a church out of obedience to God, that’s where it can start. That “I’m righteous because I’m obedient” attitude grows in us when it’s fed by the pastors that enable it from the pulpit. This is what we must critique in ourselves…the ability to exclude which tears us from the body. Our ability to want to pick up the stone and throw it is real…our obedience to our doctrines justifies the cutting off of another from the body. We feel vindicated to cut the branch off the vine in the name of God….as if God is demanding it. But God is not!

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The Lies that Manipulate Christians

 

This was one of several lies that Christians were tricked into thinking we’re true that Donald Trump said to Pat Robertson on CBN in September before the election.love-your-enemies-1-rachelheldevans

​“If we don’t win this election, you’ll never see another Republican and you’ll have a whole different church structure.”  -Donald Trump

These are the unfortunate lies that shape christians into not caring about the reality of what’s around them, but to make decisions out of fear…like elections. Pastors and churches that jump on this fear train should be ashamed. If one believes the above statement to be true, then do they actually believe Jesus is who he claimed to be? If it brings fear, it is not of God but comes from the devil personified. The statement above is not of God and Christians, or anyone, need to not fall for it.

God Did Not Vote For Donald Trump

And neither did Jesus…..but we want to think he did. Our fascination with expecting God to be on our side, as if we have the right perspective on everything from the bible to biblical history, is really dangerous. I have mentioned before that there is no Satan as a created being that roams the underworld in search of ways to get us to think bad things, ruin our “walk with the Lord”, we_are_each_our_own_devil___intober_2016_7_by_skeletoninadress-damdc3g or keep us from being fruitful for God. “The Satan”, being a title not a name, is a construct of humanity…to blame something for the things that we willfully do to others but want to. All those “satanic” things done out there were done by people, nature, or the combination of both. The choices we make and the lies we believe can be the satanic. Through that, we are the satanic in the lives of others and in our own life. If this is realized, it puts a whole new weight on what we say, do, and choose every second of the day. We have no one to blame but ourselves (I do understand that early influence plays a huge part on this) for the satanic mechanism that is at work in every aspect of our lives…..from the way we treat our kids to the words spewed by pastors on sunday morning to how we view others around us. We draw the line in the sand and declare anyone not on our side (because we somehow believe God is on our side of the line…always) to be against God or on the side of the devil. All the while, our very action against those people is the Satanic Mechanism at work. We participate in it and think we are standing for God’s principles. However, we have become the accuser and we use the bible to justify it. Jesus came to overcome this religious thinking. To enter into the Kingdom of God is to leave behind this vicious religious thinking….to see a greater way that is seen demonstrated in Jesus. So when we say God divinely interceded for Trump to become President of the United States to defeat the evil Hillary Clinton, we join in on the Satanic Mechanism of drawing the line in the sand and accusing those on the other side of our line. All the while, we don’t see that God has no part of our lines or accusations. And without a  doubt, God has no part in Trumps accusations either.

Churches are Exclusive Tribes…and I Think We Know It

It’s not easy to see that our churches can be Sunday morning country clubs…and clubs are always exclusive. Start asking questions about churches and how you view yours.

We get together every Sunday with the assumption that all people are welcome at our churches. At a very surface level…I would say that this is true for most religious institutionswpid-wp-1445831558461.pngHowever, something goes on inside of us that causes us to then put stipulations on those who want to be in the inner circle. Something makes us think that we need others to be fairly similar to what we think, believe, and live. What we really want is others to join our tribe….with every belief that God has blessed our tribe more than another tribe, which usually looks alot like our tribe since we copy each other. Read the cartoon…What we don’t seem to realize is, we pile up our rocks (metaphor for the box we put God in) and tell everyone around us that our pile of rocks is where God is…all the while we exclude everyone else that we dont deem worthy or who doesn’t even want to be in our tribe. Ask yourself….do you feel that your church (tribe) is where God is because they only “teach the bible”? Have you said…”Come to my church if you want to hear God“. If you said yes, you may want to think about how that feels to those who are rejected by your tribe. It hurts…and Jesus is different.

Love Transcends Space, Time, and Law

The movie Interstellar is well thought out and is spectacular to watch. One conversation just floored me when I saw this movie…it made me think about Love from a new point of view for the first time. Start asking your own questions about Love and what it really means.

I loved the movie Interstellar. I thought the movie was well thought out and the filmography was spectacular to watch. I was completely engulfed in the movie from the start and I was thrown out the end of the movie thinking how small we are in such a vast universe.images One conversation just floored me when I saw this movie…it made me think about Love from a new point of view for the first time. In this scene, the conversation is between Cooper and Dr. Brand on the Endurance space craft as they are deciding which move to make next. What Dr Brand says is what was so eye opening to me. Dr. Brand is in love with a college that is on a potential planet for them to visit to see if it will sustain life. Cooper is letting all those involved in the decision to know that Dr. Brand may be driven by love, instead of science alone, for the college on one of the potential planets. The conversation goes like this…

Cooper: She’s in love with Wolf Edmunds.
Romilly: Is that true?
Brand: Yes. And that makes me want to follow my heart. But maybe we’ve spent too long trying to figure all this out with theory.
Cooper: You’re a scientist, Brand.
Brand: So listen to me, when I say that love isn’t something we invented, it’s observable, powerful. It has to mean something.
Cooper: Love has meaning, yes, social utility, social bonding, child rearing…
Brand: We love people who have died, where’s the social utility in that?
Cooper: None.
Brand: But maybe it means something more, something we can’t yet understand. Maybe it’s some evidence, some artifact of a higher dimension that we can’t consciously perceive. I’m drawn across the universe to someone I haven’t seen in a decade. Who, I know, is probably dead. Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space. Maybe we should trust that, even if we can’t understand it yet.

This quick conversation has hit the nail on the head when it comes to why we, as humans, even see, or desire, the stories of Jesus to be true. Even though it is hard to understand…we want the stories to be true because we truly desire for something out there, greater than ourselves, to know we exist…to know we have feelings….to know that we matter and have value…..we want to know that we can be saved. We want to know where we came from and we want to be loved. I have faith there is something out there….and it is has to be Love…and it transcends all space and time, yet we can perceive it and experience it. In addition, and more importantly, Love transcends Law….the very Law we use to condemn others to the judgement of God. Did Jesus show this Love in his life? Is Love a powerful force….the most powerful force in the universe? Is God that eternally powerful force that transcends space, time, Law, and everything else that could possibly be knowable? Let’s explore this a little more…

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Jesus showed who his Father is…by not “Grasping”

If Jesus is the exact representation of God, then God is not only nonviolent, but God does not grasp to be more than he should be. Read this article to see that God loves you more than himself and start asking your own questions.

If Jesus is the exact representation of God (Heb 1:3), then God is not only nonviolent, but God does not grasp to be more than he should be. Some would ask, “why would God grasp at anything when he is almighty, all powerful, and everywhere at the same time?” This is an excellent question, but what I would like to propose is that God thinks more about you than he does about himself. Or better yet, God thinks you are more important than himself. That’s a big statement….and I truly think it is possible when we see Jesus representing “God’s very nature”. The verses I will focus on are again in Phil 2, god_is_love_by_riikardo-d70clskwhich say,

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

I mentioned in the two previous articles that grasping and Love are antonyms. They cannot be more different than each other in terms of how Paul is describing Jesus in Philippians 2. What follows is that, if Jesus is God, then God also does not grasp…for selfish gain over any aspect of creation. If Jesus has emptied himself, so has God. If Jesus is a bond-servant, then so is the Father. If Jesus is obedient to the Father to the point of death, then the Father is obedient to Love to the point of being completely emptied of all conceit and selfish desire to be with Jesus on the cross (2 Cor 5:17-19). Continue reading “Jesus showed who his Father is…by not “Grasping””

“Grasping” for Success cannot be Confused with Love

In my last article, I gave my thoughts on how Jesus did not “grasp” for relevance but knew that Love is the only true revelation of the Father. The idea is presented by Paul in Philippiansdownload (MG book) 2: 1-11, but specifically verse 5 saying,

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

Most people, in my past experience in churches, would say that Jesus shed his divine nature to become human. I do not believe that this is the best interpretation of what Paul is saying here. In an amazing book called Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul’s Narrative Soteriology, The author, Michael J. Gorman, makes an excellent point that Paul is saying that Jesus, who empties himself of all conceit and selfish ambition, is showing that this is who God is….The very divine nature of God is “self-emptying”, or Kenotic. This makes so much more sense to me, when reading the Bible, than a lot of traditional interpretations of Protestant Theology. God gives of himself…he shows us the exact definition of Love. The kicker is, a lot of our definitions of love are the exact opposite of the kenosis of Jesus in his life and on the cross. Maybe our thoughts on love and who God is are rooted more in our ideas of who we want God to be? Just think about it….

Continue reading ““Grasping” for Success cannot be Confused with Love”