I am done worrying about what will happen if I just come out and say what I think about stuff. It's meaningless bullshit to not be able to just put the words on the page because you are so bound up in what somebody will feel about what you wrote. So, here is the deal, for years, I worried about what God thought, then He and I made peace with me being completely bass ackwards wrong some times, okay, most of the time, but that didn't stop me from locking myself down, see, there was still this part of me, this sick little, grew up in an environment that was conservative but not nearly as oppressive as I probably thought, little kid, who wanted people to feel all nice and cuddly and want to kiss puppies when they were done reading whatever it was, so, I would look for those kinds of things to share, and even once that stopped being the case, I just didn't really feel that I was free to share whatever I wanted to. I would lock down my vocabulary, or pull a punch to save face, or share things tied to some specific verse, or idea, or try to figure out what the hell people wanted to read anyway, or write to try and change someone's mind, or get them to agree, and you know what? I am just done to death with that, so here I am and I am going to say a lot of crap today, so hang on have fun, leave a comment, start an argument, go crazy, I don't care anymore, because this is what I have needed to do for a long time. So here goes!
Most of you have never even really thought about what you want the world to be, what you wish it was if it could be just the way it should be, which I think is where it starts in having any kind of opinion about it. Furthermore, just about everyone I know is parroting someone else, as if they didn't have a single thought in their own head that was worth bringing to the front of their faces and pushing out with their lips the teeth and the tip of the tongue. (actors, you may get that, the rest, won't but I do!)
Both parties are hell bent on destroying what is left of America's liberty because they both believe that somehow freedom can come from giving the right person control. LOOK IT UP! Freedom is what happens when no one has control! Liberty is the state in which a person is free to do the right thing, or not, of course there should be consequences for things such as murder, rape, thievery, destruction of property, personal injury, fraud and the list goes on, but damn it, the more you restrict others, the bigger that monster government grows, and it just looking for one thing, POWER, and where does it go to find it? YOUR LIBERTY! So wise the heck up and start thinking it through. The limits you put on others are creating new governmental powers, which will be used wholesale to restrict anything that gets in their way!
Yep, I said it, and I do not mean, just “marriage” why? Because this is a fairly new concept to most of us. Here is what I think: don't care. That is right, I do not care. Because I do not think that government is a good source for choices on the issue of right and wrong. Ever. Ever, under any circumstance, nope, not then either! When you legislate morality, you give them the power to arbitrate the truth. This, in most people's minds, will change perception of what is true, based on what is legal, or not legal.
For myself, I have always believed that the truth is homosexuality is a sin, but in recent years, I have come to believe that it is not my job to eradicate anybody's sin but my own! So, do I still believe it's wrong? I don't know, and I am actually okay with that. Does the Bible speak against it? Yep, sure seems to, in its current state, in a couple of passages, along with some other things like “lying”, but we don't kick them out of the church or try to subjugate them into changing their minds, unless their lies effect us, so, here is what I am saying, love people, and mind your own business. Now, if your gay neighbor wants to parade his sex life in front of your kids, that is a different issue, but public decency and private adult choices that don't concern you are two separate issues.
I know there are people who will take issue with this, but here is what I say to that, bring it on! I am not stating that my opinion is the end all be all, what I am saying is that my former attitude towards homosexuality was keeping me from loving people the way Christ taught me to, so I choose to shift my focus. If anyone was considering this, and felt that they had a choice, I would advise them against it, because I think it is a very hard life to live, mostly, sad to say, due to judgmental people who mostly don't even think about their belief, or their opinion, but accept it wholesale, stamped, sealed and approved from a pulpit every Sunday, I'll get to that next!
As to the modern day, mainline, interdenominational, non-denominational, presbaptimethocatholinessofchrist? Shut the doors! That's right. Jesus said that every tree that does not bear good fruit should be cut down and thrown into the fire. If your church's primary reason to exist is to eradicate sin, you missed it, if it's there to be a social club for positive living, great! Call it that, and shuck the tax free status, if it's all about politics and winning things for Jesus in a way that he never endorsed, shut the doors! There are two groups of people that I think should never have lifetime careers, one is pastors and one is politicians, for the same reason!
God moves, he doesn't stand still. He focuses on something until he deems the time has come to move on to the next thing, and he does it. Listening to the same people spout the same ideas every week for ten, twenty, thirty, or even fifty years, does not generally lend itself to staying in tune with that! Want some examples? Look at who God raised up to be leaders in Israel, did any of them go about it in the same way? No. They had differing styles, differing focuses, differing methods, and we seem to think that if we can just pigeon hole the right way to be righteous, and narrow it down, and refine it, we can really make God happy! Look around you at the world we live in, his first commandment to men, before the church even opened its doors, included taking care of the planet and being responsible for the people on it, and the earth itself! So, pat yourself on the back for your weekend retreat, and all the introspection you can muster, but we have a lot of work to do and it needs to start today, and as long as we all sit behind the various facades we think of as churches, it is never going to happen!
You are made in the image of almighty God! You are the crowning achievement of His creation, the one that he chose to personally commune with. You are awesome! Stop it! Stop accepting this nonsense that you are so full of evil that nothing that comes out of you is right! Those verses, if you look at the context, are all aimed at times when wicked men were overrunning the righteous! That is not about you! You love your family, you love your coworkers, you try hard to be decent to people around you, but you got some explaining to do also.
See, while some things are fringe items on the Biblical agenda, like homosexuality, for example, some things are very clear and get mentioned again, and again, and again! So, here we go!
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
READ IT AGAIN! This verse is one of the most ignored verses of the last thirty years of mainstream church history! You are not to love money. Jesus had a lot to say about it. Most of it bad. I know, Dave Ramsey is reallllly popular, but guess what? He has made a huge fortune telling you what you wanted to hear, which is that you can pursue God and Money! However, that is not what scripture teaches at all! Jesus said this "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Do I think this means that you cannot have money and serve God? No, but this is the eye of the needle Jesus was referring to when he talked about how difficult it would be for someone already having wealth to enter the kingdom! He refers in that passage to the light in you being darkness. In other places we are told that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Perhaps this refers to a false belief about money? I don't have enough energy to flesh this out right now, but here is my challenge, THINK!
Think about your attitude towards money. Why do you spend the bulk of your day trying to get more of it, many of you doing things you would never do if it were not for the money? Why do feel the way you do about spending it, giving it, saving it? Look for yourself. Study it for yourself, don't take the word of some pastor or teacher with a vested interest. If nothing else, just read the words of Jesus and see what you come away with if you don't add anybody else's interpretation into the mix.
Briefly, I think he said this, wealth, or abundance, which is a much better word, comes when we seek the kingdom first, but surprisingly, the more you do, the less it matters to you how much you have, or what anybody else does with theirs. If you have to struggle to hear God when it comes to giving, I suggest you have an issue in this regard. I suggest that if you are easily, readily, and regularly engaging in judging others for their abundance, or lack, or using it for a measure of any kind, you might have an issue.
PASTORS AND OTHER “PROFESSIONAL” CHRISTIANS
I already said a few things, but here is what we know: the word pastor is mentioned one time in the NT. Yet, we virtually center our entire religious observance around the opinions, ideas and thoughts of a single man in each congregation of believers. Meanwhile, there may be hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands following him. How many of them have to fall before we understand this? They are men, there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ.
So many in our day are making bank on the superstitions and half beliefs of entire groups of people that it makes me sick to think about it. The Christian bookstores are filled to overflowing with the crap they spew about every topic under the sun, ninety-nine point nine percent of which can only be called Biblical under the loosest, most lacking in context understandings possible. We were told that we did not need a teacher
As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him.
This is believed to be from the Apostle John, the same John whose gospel we find at the front of our NT. He was expressing something here, that if you know the spirit inside, that deposit that is said to be there to tell of things to come, you cannot be led astray. So, believers, we should be more reliant on what the spirit inside tells us, and not so quick to jump on something because someone can outline a “scriptural” case for it, remember, he is likely trying to sell a book, which he hopes will become a lesson series, which will them spring into a video series, a series of lectures, and if he's really lucky, an entire series of conferences, with tens of thousands repeating his ideas, and paying lots and lots of money to do so.
So, do I think there are still trustworthy men in professional ministry, yes, absolutely, but even they should be held accountable, and their teachings questioned in light of what you read, and what you hear from that inner still small voice!
Last, but certainly not least, I want to share what I personally believe about Jesus of Nazareth. Much of this is still because of my upbringing, but nothing in my experience has contradicted it, so this is still my belief.
I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a pure and sinless life (not a life without mistakes, by the way, he learned to be a carpenter, after all) Taught a new kingdom not built with hands, which he left to his disciples to carry on. He subjected himself to the Romans who crucified Him, through the will of the Jewish high court, died, was buried and was raised again. I believe he has ascended to the Father, and will return bodily once again at the end of the age to establish his Kingdom with those who believe.
I also believe that He is one of the most misquoted, misunderstood, and misinterpreted teachers and prophets in the history of the world. I think that reading His word, unfiltered, uninterpreted, without commentary, will change your life. It will disturb your beliefs, especially your “christian” beliefs in some cases, and make you long for the world he describes when he says, the Kingdom of God is like.....
HELL AND HEAVEN
I don't know. Really, I just don't know anymore how I feel about all of this, and before you start throwing stones at me, please, think! Why are you so invested in the idea of eternal, for always, forever and ever torment and punishment of another human being? What is it that makes some people almost downright giddy at the aspect that some, not them of course, but some, and in many cases MOST of the humans throughout all of history will be deposited into a great lake of fire?
Yes, the Bible does mention it, but there is precious little in the way of a treatise on this. The passages that mention are few,and far between in comparison to some things, like LOVE for example. Also, the concepts, between OT and NT are not cohesive. The belief that most mainstream Christians ascent to is a third concept that does not really fit with either of these, and that is just in the reading.
As for heaven? The concept I was taught as a child does not seem nearly big enough for an afterlife upgrade designed by the creator of all of this magnificent stuff we see before us on the earthly plane.
I do believe in the afterlife and that rewards and consequences will be awarded. But, I am not at all sure that they are as absolute, or as permanent, in our way of thinking, as they have been described. Look around you, the creation we currently inhabit is constantly in flux. It is always revealing new things, can you really believe in a static world beyond this that NEVER CHANGES, in the way we hear those words?
At any rate, it does nothing to dampen my appetite for sharing Jesus and His Teachings, I am not a universalist, because any God who saves people who don't want saving makes no sense to me either. So, I am open to discussing and learning more about this, and ultimately, it changes nothing. It changes nothing because God still calls me to love Him with all of my brains, brawn, my eternal being, and to love my neighbor to the point that I think of them as at least as important as I am.
Oh man, that was exhausting. Please, argue with me, comments are welcome, shout, agree, disagree, share your point of view, whatever, but don't hold back. Learn to explore what you think, what you feel what you know, what you believe. You may find out things are not at all as they seem in your world. You might even change your mind on some things. But mostly, you will KNOW where what you are saying comes from. Yes, keep your Bible close, but keep the God that promised to make his home inside of you even closer.