Archives For June 2013

RLC

While I am on hiatus I highly recommend that you go over to RedLetterChristians for your daily dose of living Christ’s words in your life. I think my blog here actually precedes them but being a considerably size org they do a much better job than I ever could. Click on the logo above to go there. They ask for a donation but it is absolutely not needed to get onto their frequent posts. It is inspiring to see all the examples of those who read Christ’s words and actually take them to heart.  When I come back here I hope to do a better job of accentuating the positive as they do.

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Lost Energy….

June 23, 2013 — 6 Comments

I want to apologize to those of you who read this blog. It seems I have just lost the energy to continue to post here on a regular basis. The futility of convincing some to look at Jesus’ words in a different light has simply become too exhausting for me. Convincing people to concentrate on “being” a Christian as apposed to just believing certain things is more than I can handle right now.

While I will continue to do my best in being a better follower of Jesus Christ and that means listening to his words and doing my best to follow his commands I need step back from RLL for a while to take a break. If/when I am rejuvenated I will continue again but maybe with a different format. I don’t know right now. Please be patient with my lost fervor….

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1, ESV

The Bible is not the “Word of God.” It is inspired by the Holy Spirit. It contains words of God. It even talks about the Word of God… but it is still not THE Word of God. The Word of God is actually Jesus Christ. Not the words of Jesus, but Christ himself. This little misunderstanding has created a whole heap of confusion about the point Christianity and how we are to use Scripture in our lives.

While I would like to claim I am being brave with this topic, I was actually inspired by Zack Hunt’s recent article, The Bible Isn’t Perfect And It Says So Itself. As he has opened the Pandora’s box for discussion, I felt compelled to chime in. My contribution to is not to question the inerrancy of Scripture, which I believe, but define differently from most, but rather it’s place in the mental, spiritual, and religious life of Christians.

Source Yaholo Hoyt: Mislabeling the Word of God – Red Letter Christians.

 

Another inspirational post over at Red Letter Christians that needs no comments. Click on the source above to see the whole post….

Here are the five greatest reasons parents “lose” their children from Christianity:

1) Falling into the temptation of using religion to control their children through guilt and shame. — “Jesus is watching you!” Even the best parents can find themselves wanting some divine backup in a conflict with their children. However, using God for intimidation in a conflict with children has two major issues. First, it means children are associating God as “against them.” Second, it means that the parent is not building a personal relationship of trust with the child.

2) The parents seem to be afraid of the world, instead of empowered to live in it. — Christians see themselves as “apart from the world,” but that is so we can help the world, not be afraid of it. Christian parents who constantly talk about the world as an evil, malevolent, and dangerous place which must be avoid as much as possible, it paints a grim view of the future for young adults wanting to find their own place in life. If a parent lives in fear of the world, the children will pick up on that and will naturally seek alternative beliefs. 

3) The children do not see the parents drawing any joy from their faith. — If a parent’s religion is maintained out of guilt and obligation, their children will pick-up on that burden.

4) The children are discouraged from finding answers to their questions. — Each generation of young Christians are going to challenge their parents with new questions about Christianity in the modern world. It is impossible for parents to prepare for or know all the answers for these questions. The only way to address this need is for parents to ask these questions with their children. Parents who ignore, suppress, brush off, or give trite simplistic answers to their children’s questions are at risk of greatly frustrating them. 

5) The children believe they have nothing to offer the Christian community. —  If children feel like Christianity is just following other people, it will not be relevant to them as they grow. Christianity needs to be understood as something we all work together to build.

Source:  Five Reasons Christian Parents “Lose” Their Children – Yaholo Hoyt – Red Letter Christians.

 

I am going to leave these words stand on their own…….

Jesus says some stuff in the inaugural speech of his ministry that really upsets the status quo of both the religious and non-religious.  In essence, he says, “If you are to follow me as King of this newly inaugurated Kingdom of God, you will need to start loving your enemies as much as yourself.  You will need to start getting creative in how you deal with your oppressors in order to choose the way of love and reconciliation rather than the way of revenge and contempt.  In fact, when you live as peacemakers, you best reflect what it looks like to be children of God.  Those of you that choose this way of life will be blessed.”

Source:  The Violence of Peacemaking – Jon Huckins – Red Letter Christians.

Jesus was a radical!  There is no getting around that fact.  Many of my conservative friends and their associated Christian denominations try to get around the fact that Jesus was a radical by pretty much ignoring much of what he said.  They instead pick and choose those bible verses that seem, at least on the surface, to align with their current worldview.  They hunker down in their pews ranting about all the sinners and such in the big bad world out there. They madly choose to only associate with others who think like them.  They reject any change in their current way of seeing the world for fear that they will fall down an imaginary  slippery slope into the abject sinfulness they see all around them. They  choose to concentrate on their personal salvation instead of Jesus’ “love your enemy” mantra. Loving your enemies is a concept very foreign to them.   In other words they are internally focused rather than outwardly focused.

In the kingdom of God that Jesus spoke so freely about, Christians are instructed to be peacemakers.  In God’s Kingdom there is no ‘us” vs. “them”. We are all children of God, that means each and every soul on this earth. It seems many Christians today would rather spend their money building lavish churches with all the creature comforts rather than making sure no one goes to bed hungry. We would rather buy that second or third vacation home rather than support humanitarian efforts around the world. We would rather buy that luxury car rather than pay a little more in taxes to insure that healthcare is a right for all of us rather than a privilege for only those who can afford it.

How can so many of us be so blind to so much that is in our bibles?  How can we pick and choose only those words that don’t make us uncomfortable? These are things that I am praying the emergent church movement will rectify.  Someone needs to push us off the comfortable path of our own choosing and back on the path of Jesus’ teachings.  Someone needs to show us how to love our fellowman and to make it clear to us that include everyone else. Jesus was a radical. How has his church become so conservative?

We spent the last two posts reviewing an article entitled “The Six Worst Things About American Christianity” from RedLetterChristians by Steven Mattson. Now that I have had a few days to digest these words I want to turn the article’s six points around to imagine them as lessons we U.S. Christians should learn. Here they are:

1) We must realize that no one has an exclusive connection with God  —  Much of what we know about early Christianity is the result of  a scribe writing down Christian stories that had been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years and even those original manuscripts have been lost to us. What we have now are copies of copies. Men throughout the ages have been penning their interpretations of what those original messages might have been.  This almost infinite list of opinions spreads from King Constantine and his council and Augustine in the fourth century to Luther and the other reformers in the 16th century all the way down to thousands of theologians at work today.

We must realize that none of these various man-made beliefs about God are without error. They might have been inspired by God but they were without question, even to the literalist, penned by men. The best thing that could happen to U.S. Christianity is that we would finally quit our “us” vs. “them” mentality of the various opinions of Christianity. We need to go back to kindergarten and learn to play nice with others. We need a little less bravado and a lot more humility.

2) We must not confuse our dedications to Jesus’ teachings and our political affiliations. — Neither U.S. political party at its roots are Christian. They are both mainly power based organization currently just wanting to force their worldviews on each other. The early Christians were very aware that God’s kingdom is not of this world. We need to re-learn those lessons. Don’t allow your Christianity to be hijacked for political purposes.

3) Christianity is counter-cultural — Christianity is not like the latest fad that is determined by our current cultural trends. We in the U.S. live in very shallow lifestyles. The teachings of Jesus are often very counter to what we endear in this country.

4) We don’t hold a “special” status with God — We in the U.S. have got to get it out of our minds that somehow God loves us more than he does others. God has agape love for all of his creation and by definition that is an infinite amount for each of us. How can some of us have more than and infinite amount of God’s love?  We may be the current biggest military and industrial force in the world and therefore have more than our say in what goes on in the world but that does NOT infer special status with God.

5) Remember, we Christians are meant to “march to the beat of a different drummer”.  — Jesus clearly told us again and again “don’t cling to your stuff”.  We in the U.S. are totally obsessed with consumerism. That is clearly not where Jesus wants us to be.

6) There is no such thing as a “power-hungry” Christian. — Jesus told us to have a servant mentality, not a master; that is very different from the U.S. culture teaches us. For us Christians it should never be about control or influence but instead about loving and caring.