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 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. 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?
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…
Continue reading “Love Transcends Space, Time, and Law”
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 Philippians 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”
This is the idea that no church is original, but all churches are mimicking other successful churches that are, in turn, mimicking other churches that have been successful. See the pattern? “What? How can this be? My church is amazing!” Famous words from just about everyone that goes and commits to a church. However, the reality is, we do copy other successful churches. Your church is no different than 1000 others out there. Look around. The music is the same, the sermons are the same, the dress is the same. We copy each other so much that Christianity is a very recognizable sub-culture in our day and age. We even have our own language….that many like to joke about called “christianese”. Interestingly enough, none of these qualities that we see on Sunday mornings are used to describe who a follower of Christ is. Love is the only quality. Loving those around you, including your enemies, are the qualities of the Kingdom of God.
Continue reading “The Copycat Church”
Uh….we have a problem within Religion. What is it? It’s that most organized religious leaders confuse purpose with recognition. Whether we think it comes from God or from people, we are driven by recognition. And why wouldn’t we? We are all bombarded by the idea of success and we pin the “favor of God” to it when we achieve it. So we go out looking for something to do and when we achieve that goal, or good works, the first thing we do is demand recognition….all in the name of progress. In turn, we see our purpose as being satisfied. We want to be noticed for what we do, not realizing that giving sacrificially with no recognition is what Jesus spoke about. Instead, our left hand brags of our right hand. According to the dictionary, purpose is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists”. This speaks to who we are. And who we are is to love. And love is other-centered and self-sacrificial….meaning that we see ourselves as second to others around us. Therefore, if we see our purpose, we will then see that we are not it…..but that we are to make others know that they are the purpose of God’s love and affection. We exist to love others in a relationship centered on God’s definition of love. On the contrary, when we seek recognition, we are using others for our own gain and that is not our purpose.
We are in interesting times here in Christianity. There are more and more people starting to wonder if what they have been doing on Sunday mornings (along with Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, and youth nights) is really the point or pinnacle of their walk with God. The lack of relationship and community with others has stirred discontent among many. Along with several reasons, one aspect of why more people are starting to question the traditional organized church is they see that it is just like a worldly business. You know…CEO’s, board members, employees, salaries, retirement funds, vacation time, and so on. So the question is….should churches be run like business’s? I will tell you, that is the million dollar question because evangelicals will respond with….”how else is there to run a church?” Being so ingrained with the American Dream and pastorpreneurs that need to succeed because of “denominational seed money“, we can see why this is attractive. Not to mention that most people see prosperity as “favor” from God (of course the opposite is considered a curse), so whatever model, usually meaning a business, an organized church can use to look prosperous will usually be used to appear as “favor”. With most evangelicals these days being taught that building wealth brings financial peace then I can see why religious leaders want to run their organized churches as business’s and make a profit that can be used to expand the empire. But the real question is…”is this American approach to religion anywhere near the heart of the Father?” ……I would say no. Continue reading “It’s A Business….right?”
Check out this blog called Of Sheep and Shepherds about Jesus being the perfect Shepherd. We need to not look at any other man as our shepherd…only Jesus.