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?”
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…
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
Our dualistic ideology has no problem putting God on our side. We have no problem using the bible to justify our position against our enemy. Why not? The bible is full of examples of God being on one side and against the other. Do you think this is who God is? I ask this only because at what point are you actually sure that God is on your side if God chooses sides? Is God always on the side of righteousness and the devil on the side of evil? Are you quick to say you are on the side of righteousness? In reality….we use God as a weapon all the time. If you have chosen a denomination over another…you have said that “God is on my side”. If you have said that you are going to heaven yet someone else is going to hell, you have said that “God is on my side”. If you have chosen a religion over another you have said “God is on my side”.
I’m wondering if all along we have missed who God is (or maybe this is all a part of the trajectory that humanity is on). Maybe God has been saying since the beginning of time that “I am on your side“. Imagine that….God is on our side! Richard Rohr has said that “it’s a benevolent universe” and I agree. God has already shown in Jesus Christ, that humanity had God all wrong. It was his love and forgiveness that pierced through the thick religious cloud of sacrifice and blood to show that God was never against anyone….but always for everyone. Jesus was for Israel, yet he was also for the enemies of Israel. At the same time we still struggle to see this today. Instead, we see God as a pagan deity that needs a sacrifice to appease his righteous anger and we are pleased to see God avenge our enemies who disagree with us. It is this very view of God that has justified so many atrocities within the religious timeline of humanity.
Our trajectory as humans is to see that, while God is on our side….God is also on the side of our enemies. We need to see that what Walter Wink called the Myth of Redemptive Violence does not work. We create the demonic in others by overpowering them. Can we not see that the same God that has breathed life into you has done the same with everyone…..including the muslim, christian, gay, straight, Democrat, Republican, creationist, evolutionist, theist, atheist, and so on. The worst thing we can do is to find a verse in the bible to justify our “us vs. them” mentality. We have to stop using God as a weapon against others. Think about how you could be using God against another person….we all need to do it.
This is a great couple sentences…think on it.
Jesus came to correct our misunderstanding of God. Not to make our standing with God correct.
Do you ever question if you are important?, Well you are, but you also need to know why you are important as well. Start asking your own questions as to why you absolutely are important.
The Bible is a long journey of God interacting with humanity. It tells stories of how humanity has failed over and over again to choose the Tree of Life and God continues to pursue and love each person. From the very start of consciousness, there has been a choice. It’s a choice that God is very much apart of….very much involved in…and has shown who he is and what he is all about from the very start. It starts with the idea that you are important. You, as you read this, are on the mind of God. No matter who you are…where you come from….or what you have done, God views you as more important than himself, which most of Evangelicalism misses. You are important because you are the very expression of Love that flows from the divinity of God shown in Jesus. Every single day, you have a choice to partake in the divine manifestation of God called “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”….equally as important to “Love Your Enemies “. You are important… Why? Because God sees you…because Love sees you….and it’s constantly asking you to partake in Life and give it freely away to those you may not think deserve it.
Is Genesis to be taken as literal? Start your own questions and know that God loves you…regardless.
Here is an excellent article called The Mysterious Tree of Life by Peter Goodgame. It’s a great point tostart if you have every questioned if the Book of Genesis should be taken literally or as Hebrew literature that has been passed down for millenia. Enjoy digging through this article and all the others that Peter has to offer. You will only come out the back side with a lot of great questions that you will be asking yourself. Feel free to have a conversation about the issues that churches do not want to talk about. Nobody else can control you…especially a pastor of a church. Be Free and have fun.
Check it out – http://www.redmoonrising.com