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.

Jesus is the Rock

Please read this blog and get in the conversation.

New Horizons

The fate of evangelicalism in America hinges on this:

Do we look to JESUS in developing our conception of God, or do we look to the BIBLE in developing our conception of God?

I know what many are thinking. I know that we’ve been taught to harmonize the teachings of Jesus with the rest of the Bible and that we’ve created over-arching “systematic theologies” that explain the various covenants and laws and actions of God throughout history. From this perspective Jesus marks a radical change in how God deals with mankind. God “used to” demand sacrifices and uphold holiness codes in the Old Covenant, but now in Jesus these things are being replaced with grace, mercy and forgiveness (for some). He “used to” empower His chosen people in their killing of enemies, but now His people are called to renounce violence and love their enemies. He “used to” reward the…

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Divine Intervention for the Fundamentalist

If you have not seen this video of  Michelle Bachman and David Barton declaring that God intervened by changing the results of the election by listening to the prayers of millions of Americans, then you need to watch this. This is a perfect example of how human beings can disconnect from reality to create their own gods. We need to think because we have been given the gift of reason.  Just go and love your neighbor.

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.

Love is Greater than Doctrine

As much as we don’t want to admit it…our doctrines dictate just about everything we do. We look at the bible for all the answers to see what we can and cannot do. We think the bible is a magic looking glass that allows us to see into the future and know what choices we should make. love-is-greater-1Unfortunately, at the same time, we also interpret the bible to justify our view of who we want God to be so we can be OK when we are exclusive to those that disagree with us. But that’s just being human….we all do that to some degree. In fact, I think that’s why Jesus came on the seen. . So we can see a greater way. The way of Love. However, we all want God on our side and not our enemies side. On the contrary, there is something greater than us that happens, when we become self-humbling and other-centered, that cannot be done when we retaliate, become vengeful, or wish that God would destroy our enemies. If we can learn one thing from the story of the Good Samaritan, it’s that your belief system has nothing to do with your standing with God. You are already right with God….you are already prepared to help your enemy on the side of the road.  We need to understand that we are fully loved regardless of anything you could have done or will do. God is greater than the doctrine you use to describe who God is.

Unfortunately……we interpret the bible to justify our view of who we want God to be so we can be OK when we are exclusive to those that disagree with us.

To show that you understand this is key… it’s how you engage in the opportunities to love your enemies regardless of your belief system that show God or makes God become manifest. Remember, truth is subjective but Love is absolute. You can always justify why you would not love your enemies and use the Bible to prove it. However, in spite of your religion, denomination, doctrine, or pastor, you can choose to love your enemies regardless of any verse in the Bible that may tell you otherwise. Why? Because you have seen God do it first. God’s Love transcends all space, time and Law….Love is greater.

Do Religious Leaders and Con Artists Work The Same?

I saw this video the other day and it has had me spinning in thought ever since. It asks a very relevant question that may not have been asked 200…400…or even 2000 years ago in religious circles. The reason it interested me so much is precisely that the churches I came out of were notorious for manipulating people. They could get so many people to believe what they said without any hesitation. Even when they said the most hurtful things….people would just nod their heads in agreement because they saw these religious leaders as “anointed”. As if they are speaking for God. What this video suggests is that the work of organized religion and its religious leaders gain these followings and admiration through the same techniques that a con artist takes advantage of in unsuspecting people.

Psychologist and writer Maria Konnikova looks at the mechanisms of human nature that have allowed con artists, religious authorities, and cult leaders to prevail for thousands of years. Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It… Every Time

Agree or disagree with the person in the video…but at least think about the possibilities of what’s going on….even in your own church. Love casts out all fear and does not instill it in you. Love does not control or manipulate. Love does not demand anything from you or shame you to give money to be blessed. But a con artist does…and yet we fall for it all the time. Let me know what you think. I’m eager to know…