This past election cycle has been crazy. You could put it all under a circus tent because it literally is like a circus on reality TV. Maybe past elections have been like this and I just didn’t realize it….But it’s been crazy. The idea of “fake news” and “alternative facts” have been thrown out there in the last few month or so. This has all been very alarming to me. Why? Because people are taking sides in this big mess when I think it’s safe to say that we have no clue what’s actually going on. Yet we are dogmatic on our politicians and their confusing stances on policy. Just recently , Donald Trump said that “healthcare will be accessible to everyone” when on the campaign trail he said it would be provided for everyone. That’s a big difference and a big deal. They are not the same things…Yet those who champion Trump will not be shaken even though the facts have been alluded. Continue reading “Fake News? What About Fake Religion?”
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”, 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.
I had another conversation with someone the other day…it’s coming out more and more. The honesty is telling for sure. They are talking about the worship experience at their church….and how it just doesn’t seem real. It seems contrived. It seems all put together, yet it’s pitched as if God came in and took everything over and they had no choice but to relinquish the time to God. I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault…I just think this is what we do. We, as humans, love to control the things we do. Church is no exception.
Sunday morning has progressed with the rest of the world… it has been persuaded by business? It’s not hard to see that the worship industry has taken over and capitalised on Christians. It’s called “ministry”, but at the end of the day, we have people trying to pitch their songs so they can become the next thing. It’s been happening for the last 20 years…starting with Sonic Flood. I remember when it all changed and Sonic Flood was doing worship songs in concert in a more relevant form….(not that Hosannah! Music wasn’t paving new ground with its choir music). Teenagers, and adults as well, flocked to the new sound. The rest is history….we are now consumed by the barrage of worship bands trying to stay afloat and sell music, yet still say it’s not about selling anything. Any given Sunday could be the next band trying to pitch their music where you can buy it at the table in the foyer after the service.
Paul is getting at something in these words….what is worship?
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Paul is saying that loving your neighbor is the act of worship. Don’t be confused in thinking that these verses are meaning to not sin….that would be shredding the words said here. To be holy, or set apart, means to love your enemy opposed to killing your enemy. If you believe in the faith of Jesus Christ, then the true act of worship is to not only lay your life down for your friend…..but also your enemy. On the contrary, the world submits to the Myth of Redemptive Violence (Walter Wink), which is to overpower your enemy by force. Jesus is different. The will of God, in these words above, are to love your enemy through having the same faith that Jesus had in his Father…which is to become self-humbling and to love even your enemy no matter who they are. If Jesus did anything other than what he did (like come down off the cross and kill his aggressors), then we would have never seen who God truly is. God is Love…not wrath.
So, joining in on sunday morning music to bow down before a god in worship is done by many many religions. However, seeing that Jesus put his enemies before himself, is the act of worship that Paul recognizes as the only act that really means anything. We can fake our way through everything else. Think about it and be honest
Maybe one of the biggest problems with religion…and Christianity as an institution….is our dualistic ideology of God. To think that God has an enemy, or to place God in a situation where God has to fight to win. This way of thinking is old and spread throughout pagan religions for thousands of years….yet I think it is a damaging view of God and humanity and is very much alive today. Most christians would agree with the assessment, that God has no equal, no doubt. They think that God would never compete with the devil and is the Almighty, who is unbeatable. However, most Christians still live within the framework of dualism. Anytime someone creates an “us versus them” situation, you have stepped inside dualism. Anytime you have created an “enemy other” and used the bible to determine them as an enemy, you have put God in the dualistic box along with yourself. Any time you have used the bible to justify violence, you believe that God (good) is fighting your enemy (evil). The sure way to know that an ideology is rooted in dualism is when God has been declared to be on the victor’s side….since the story is always told from the victor’s side.
When we justify our actions as if God approves of them, we will always believe God to be on our side and not the side of those we want to conquer. For example….this is a hot topic in christianity. If we believe God has justified the dehumanizing of homosexual people because one thinks it’s evil, and we use the bible to justify it, then we have placed God in a dualistic box and we have become the satanic force in the lives of those that are being oppressed even though they are our enemy. “But what about sin?”….”we need to point it out in others!” I know…I know. We are obsessed with sin as well. Pastors love to talk about sin. That’s our dualistic influences coming out of us when we justify our pointing out the sin in others. Jesus never taught how to not sin…he taught how to love your neighbor. Love will always win over law.
I believe God is not who we think God to be. God is for us and never against us. God is on our side and has come, through the non-violent person of Jesus, to deliver hope and not condemnation. In that….God is constantly asking each and everyone of us, even our enemies, to join in the flow that is the loving community of the Trinity. You are the fourth person to the Trinity. You are always welcome to the “dance” that Jesus called the Kingdom of God. God sees you just the same as God sees your enemy. You both come from the same material…You both are important. You both are loved just the same. God breaks down any idea that there is a battle to be won against your enemy. God destroys the idea that God is dualistic in nature. Contrary to your pastor…God does not hate your enemy. The opposite is true….We make our enemies ourselves while God leaves and pursues your enemy to show they are loved and right with God. Remember….Love always wins over law.
You are Important now keep asking the hard questions. Try to step outside of the dualistic box.
Here are a few ideas of the dualism that we live in everyday …
- Good vs. Evil
- Democrat vs. Republican
- Liberal vs. Conservative
- Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton
- Denomination vs. another Denomination
- Rich vs. Poor
- Success vs. Failure
- Blessing vs. Curse
- Material substance vs. Spirituality
- Evolution vs. Creationism
- Dark vs. Light
- Christian Music vs. Secular Music
- ….and whatever else you can see in your own life that causes you to reflect on yourself.
The absolute display of unconditional love here is inspiring. Watch it and see what God looks like in 2016 and maybe what Jesus looked like in his day. Do not be afraid to admit that this is the power that can change the world that we live in. Where politics, war, and religion undoubtedly fall short…Love will take over and win.
You can’t see the picture when you’re in the frame. It has always been hard for me to see certain aspects of my life and what’s actually going on. The truth is, I have a certain amount of blindness. Blindness in being able to see certain things that are taking place. As time has…
I have been forced to deal with an interesting question…”How much control does God actually have?” It’s a great question to ask ourselves. Why? Because maybe we give to much credit or put to much responsibility on God’s shoulders for the things in our lives. We are all guilty of wanting God to fix everything for us or asking God why everything is not going right. Or we thank God when everything is good and we blame God when things are not going our way at all. I’ve heard people say, “God I have tithed my whole life. Why did I lose my job or lose my house”? Maybe we have been asking the wrong questions. Maybe we have had the wrong mindset all along. Maybe God doesn’t have the control we think he has. Maybe we made up the idea that God is in control of everything.
What spurred on this conversation for me was reading an article called God Punished David by Killing a Baby and Forcing his Wives into Adultery, that questioned why God would use the death of David’s son and the unfaithfulness of his wives to punish David for the Bathsheba debacle. Read it. You don’t have to agree with it (I don’t agree with his conclusion that God is evil) but at least think about the real questions that come out of it. Does God use evil to punish people? If God is Love, then why would he call for the death of anyone? Does God actually have that much control? Be free to ask questions. If you are in a religious setting where you can’t ask questions freely…then you may be in a cult that is controlling your life. Jesus is different.