Fake News? What About Fake Religion?

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 truth-is-minebeen 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?”

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…

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.

Do we realize that recognition is different than purpose?

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 allself-centered 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.

It’s A Business….right?

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 adownload 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?”

Of Sheep and Shepherds

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.

Influence

I have to question whether or not “influence” is good with in Christianity. Why? Because I can’t help but think that when another is influenced by someone, that someone is trying to make the other move according to what they may seem is right or wrong. The word download“influence” is used very generously in church leadership….. and I understand that. However, is church leadership trying to encourage people to draw closer to the Father or are they influencing them to help preserve an organization in the name of the Father? How can we search our own hearts to make sure that we have pure motives when we “influence” others? Is it a maturity issue deep with in us, or is it something that we may need to avoid as to not be controlling based off of what we may want to accomplish? I believe we all need to wrestle with this within ourselves. I ask, is there freedom in the picture posted to the right?

Continue reading “Influence”