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
Philippians 2:1-11 has Paul explaining what the Gospel (good news) actually looks like being lived out in the Kingdom of God through positively mimicking Jesus as he displays the true nature of the Father. Read this article to start asking your own questions about the Kenotic Love of Jesus.
This is a paper I finished up reading and it has truly challenged me. Its called, “GRASPING GOD: Philippians 2: 1-11 in the Light of Mimetic Theory by Michael E. Hardin and Steven E. Berry. A paper presented to the Colloquium on Violence and Religion July 2005 in Koblenz, Germany”. This paper really put a piece of the puzzle in place for me in my mind on the problems with churches being driven by success and results, like we have been discussing over the last several years. Those who put the effort into understanding Paul, here in the linked paper, are responsible for the thoughts and quotes that come out in here.
The point the article is conveying is that Philippians 2:1-11 has Paul explaining what the Gospel (good news) actually looks like being lived out in the Kingdom of God through positively mimicking Jesus as he displays the true nature of the Father. Paul explains this in verses 1-4 saying,
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”
What would make Paul happy is to see those who follow Jesus to conduct themselves and live in a manner that has no selfish-ambition, no conceit, be of the same mind (mind of who?), be of the same love (love of who?), and with humility, regard another as higher than yourself. I won’t make this too long, but the paper is making the point that positive mimesis, in Christ, is a good thing. We all copy something and it is Jesus who has given us the ability to mimic him who is living out the love of the Father. Continue reading “Jesus was the opposite of our churches desire to “grasp” for relevance…He was Love.”