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 ourselves 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!
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?”
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.
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. Unfortunately, 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.
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…
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.
Easter just passed us by and it is the time of year that we reflect on Life….that the life of Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Along with that, we also recognize that Jesus died first, or course, to make a resurrection possible. So, it’s this time of year that people ask questions surrounding the Atonement of Christ. I have questioned the Atonement for years…never coming to any exact answer, but always asking the hard questions. One big questions I have had for many years is, “why does anyone have to die?” See, we have verses like Jeremiah 3:27 that says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Or Luke 18:27 saying, “What is impossible with men is possible with God“. I mention these verses because we give all the power to God, yet the first problem with all the theories of Atonement is that God is in a box and has to do something….that he is beyond the ability to work outside of a perceived view of justice. I say “perceived” because I see that all the theories of Atonement seemed to be built on a man made foundation of our idea of what justice should be. Yet, the entire religion of Christianity is built on the premise that Jesus died to deal with the justice that God deserves….or demands….or wants. A sacrifice needed to be made to reconcile our sin with God’s righteousness. What if God’s idea of justice is different?
Continue reading “Atonement Theory”