Saturday, May 30, 2009
Today, I'm on a rant...again. I came back from from vacation a week ago full of vim and vigor ready to take on the world once again. Guess what? Nothing had changed from before I decided to enter the world of make believe and contemplate my navel on vacation. This week our dear Guvinator, his honor, Gov. Arnold Swartzenwhatever, pronounced that the State of California was about to enter bankruptcy. Well...duh!!! Tell me something I don't know. So what does he and the lawmakers come up with as a solution?
Well, looks like we'll have to cut services to the poor, infirm, elderly, disabled (mentally and physically), police and fire services, and forestry, among others. We'll have to add taxes as well. Nationally, the same message comes from our Prez. Only he adds taking over private industry to bail out a bunch of yahoos who have stolen from the poor to make themselves rich.
So the government who is called by God to administer justice and mercy to the poor and disenfranchised decides to punish those who need help the most to finance pork belly projects that probably have no other purpose than to keep them in office and line the pockets of their richest supporters. Seems to me God may have something to say about that.
Nationally, our bankrupt nation, continues to promote values that destroy rather than build up. We carry on a war with tin horn dictators from the middle ages, with primitive values and lifestyles who covet twenty first century weapons to be used by their primitive mindsets in a modern world. Scary!! Tell me something, What has all the intelligence of 2000 years of mental, educational and scientific advancement given us? Seems to me, all our scientific advancements have done nothing to change our relationship with mankind. We still, maim, kill, abuse, steal, lie, and generally make mayhem with the world. Our scientists have just fashioned greater ways of taking advantage of the the weak of our society.
Uh...didn't the Bible have to say something about that? Seems to me the Bible is more relevant than ever.
Now I'll take my gloves off and put on some steal knuckles. I think Christians bear just as much guilt as the rest of society. We have completely turned the words of Jesus into hammers and sickles. The Bible has become the bludgeon to crush anyone who disagrees with our theology. In America, our churches are more of a reflection of our secular neighbors than of the Kingdom of God. Most of our mega-churches are filled with WASPS or tend to reflect the political mindset of either the political left or right. If we are Peace and Justice churches we tend to hammer the pious right. Then there are those churches that tend to think they are God's gift to the right wing political groups. They adopt the rhetoric of the politically conservative talk show hosts and party. And to hear them talk, you'd think God only cared about the powerful. In their eyes, the poor are "those" people we might, just might slip a dime to on the street corner. After all, if the poor would only gain some common sense they could lift themselves out of their poverty.
Makes me want to puke.
Sorry...It's my rant and since nobody cares..I'll rant on.
The church fights over doctrine and tradition. My tradition is better than your tradition. Catholics have the "fullness" of faith because they have the Eucharist. Forgive me my Catholic friends, but if you have the "fullness", spare me. I've never seen a church in more disarray than the Catholics....until I look at my Protestant wing. Oh Lord...have we ever screwed up. We have a different doctrine in every church. We can't get along. We protest everything and accomplish little. Oh, we have our mega-churches with their song and dance worship. Not that all that isn't right, but what are the end results?
Have we ministered to the poor, the hurting, the disenfranchised, the forsaken, the widowed? Oh sure, we give money, but are these people in our small groups? And don't give me this, anti-organized church clap trap. Those who don't believe in the organized church are just as guilty. Many say this is new, but I saw this when I first encounter it in the Plymouth Brethren Bible studies 40 years ago. It didn't take hold then and it won't now. They criticize the organized church and live a self centered kind of religion that assumes something never implied in scripture.
Folks, there is no pattern for any organized or unorganized church. The only pattern is Jesus and he set the pattern. He said, "you shall love the Lord you God, with all your heart, soul and mind, and you shall love your neighbor as your self." That is a commandment that we are to follow. So if you prefer the small group movement, then this commandment will compel you to reach out. You see, worshipping and loving God is done through others. The Holy Spirit, who is love, returns His love to the Father, through us as we love his image in other people. That will expand the kingdom and the small group will begin to grow.
Folks, this commandment cuts at all levels. It reaches out to the all the racial, ethnic, economical levels of our society and brings peace, justice and mercy to all. I'm tired of fighting. I'm tired of Christians claiming the higher ground, but living like we prefer the life patterns of those set up by a society that ignores Christ.
I'm tired of living that way.
Now let me tell you a dirty little secret. Christianity is not a popularity contest. It's a life of sacrifice. The world hated Christ and it will hate us. The world cannot stomach Christianity and will do all it can to eliminate it. So get used to it. But...BUT...we don't have keep arrogantly giving them ammunition by acting like jerks.
If we do wrong, our actions will result in the kind of disarray we are in. But remember too, even if we act like Christians who carry out the great command of our Lord to love God, love others and serve the world, we will still incur hostility. Because, darkness cannot stand the light of truth.
So what do we do? I think we need a new reformation. I'm praying for new Calvins, new Luthers, new Francis De Sales, new St. Augustines to step up and live out this great commandment of Jesus to Love God, Love Others and Serve the World. What if our Mega-Churches changed their focus slightly and reached out to the smaller faith communities in their areas and offered worship teams, teachers, educators for the purpose of building up and encouraging those dying faith communities in our cities and towns. That of course means that those smaller communities need to look at the larger churches as sources of encouragement rather than competitors who steal from their congregations. I think Christian colleges and universities have done this to a smaller degree, but imagine what how a poorer church could benefit from a Christian university professor who would be willing to help out smaller congregations or a worship team being in charge of the worship of that congregation?
The internet is a powerful tool, but is largely nothing more than an expansion of "what I think vs. what you think". What if it became the tool for spreading love and mercy and justice to all rather than a hammer to crush an opponent?
O.K. I've meandered enough for today. I've probably pi...ed.. er...ticked off everyone. But it's my blog, so let me rant. But somehow the message has to get out. Jesus is for everyone. Jesus taught us a life of love. He'll take care of the rules and regulations. Ours is to simply Love God, Love Others, Serve the World.
We'll still take our licks, but at least it will be for the sake of Christ and not because we have made ourselves a stench by our actions to the world. Phew...I think I need a shower after that one.
Posted by RichnHim at 7:21 AM