His Own Version Of Jesus….

2013-10-26_08-09-07Mark Driscoll, the attention grabbing minister of the Mars Hill megachurch, is at it again. He’s pushing his badass Jesus who has, as he put it a few years ago, “a commitment to make someone bleed.” Driscoll has a personal need for a sacred tough guy because he has some sort of theological kink or character twist or… whatever, that leads him to declare, “I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.” It sounds to me like he’s looking for a swaggering gang leader to follow, not One who said, “I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27)

SOURCE:  Craig M. Watts: Mark Driscoll\’s Badass Jesus | Red Letter Christians.

I often say it that we must all seek to understand Jesus and his words on our own terms, we should not just accept what someone tells us. But seeking Jesus and inventing him are two different things. As mentioned in the source article Mr. Driscoll grossly ignores the gospel lessons in inventing his version of Jesus. I simply can’t understand how he can be the minister of the megachurch. It is very obvious from just these words that Mark is a very macho guy who sees the Jesus of the gospels as simply a guy who he could easily beat up so he uses a few verses from Revelations to “re-image” him.

I love the quote “God made man in is own image and man returned the favor.”  Mr. Driscoll doesn’t like a wimpy Jesus so he made a new version in his own image. How pompous is that? But for thousands of others to follow along like sheep ignoring the thousands of places in the gospels that tells a very different story is beyond me! Whoever goes to that church must have more testosterone than brains.

Everyone should seek Jesus on their own but that does not mean to make him into any image you desire. Sadly finding one verse in the Bible and then fabricating your own version of Jesus is not a new thing…..

A Quakerish Pope?

Pope FrancisWorth reading is a recent interview with Pope Francis conducted by Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica.  Scalfari, an atheist, had written to request an interview, and was floored when the Pope himself called to schedule a time.

The whole interview is worth reading and pondering. I was especially struck by one interchange in which Pope Francis says something very akin to something George Fox said.   Said Pope Francis,

“From my point of view, God is the light that illuminates the darkness, even if it does not dissolve it, and a spark of divine light is within each of us. In the letter I wrote to you, you will remember I said that our species will end but the light of God will not end and at that point it will invade all souls and it will all be in everyone.\”

Scalfari then asks whether this isn’t more an image of immanence than of transcendence. And Pope Francis responds:

“Transcendence remains because that light, all in everything, transcends the universe and the species it inhabits at that stage.”

For comparison, here is George Fox, in Chapter One of his Journal:

“I saw, also, that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that also I saw the infinite love of God, and I had great openings.”

SOURCE:  A Quakerish Pope?.

As this source article says the pope’s words about the light of God being within us is very Quakerish. It is also very much aligned with scientific discovery (as opposed to creationism). I have high hopes that this pope will continue where John Paul left off and put the Catholic church into a 21st century timeframe.  I can only then pray that the evangelicals will someday follow suit.

Robotic Christianity.

A robot is a useful piece of technology typically used for complicated or dangerous tasks. Robots, often mass-produced, make no decisions on their own and are completely controlled by others. I’m beginning to realize that every time I go to church I’m becoming a little more robotic – programmed into being the perfect fit as a member of my congregation. I guess it’s inevitable that all churches will have a particular theology that they rally around and teach but it’s important to be aware of what’s happening. We’re always encouraged to accept Jesus as Lord but when we’re rooted in a particular theology along with it comes a version of Jesus that reflects that theology. What’s a little scary is that sometimes that Jesus advocates going to war as the “Christian” thing to do.

Preachers have a very difficult role to play. They often want to talk about the peace teachings of Jesus but are afraid to in case they get negative reactions from members of their congregation who are either in the military or have family in the military. I sometimes hear from preachers who are actually worried about losing their jobs if they even mention Jesus’ way of peace in a sermon, so they just ignore it. The mindset in many churches seems to be that going along with government policy and the military is synonymous with being a good Christian. That certainly isn’t a Jesus principle but we’re in danger of being lulled into that mentality if we shut off all critical thinking…

SOURCE: Stephen Jarnick: Robotic Christianity | Red Letter Christians.

I must say that I have seen the above attitude frequently in my life.  People getting too cozy with their brand of Christianity to make them mindless to studying what it actually proclaims.  In conservation with others when I was disagreeing with some specific doctrines of my previous church, they let me know that they thought I was getting too involved in theology. That I should just lay back and not worry about the differences between the words and the actions of the church I then belonged to. They advised me to just not worry about it. But that advice actually spurred me on to more questions.

How many of the Christians are robotic Christians in their practice of faith? I suspect that the number is much more horrifying than most imagine. The military stands of the actual words of Jesus are very difficult for some to admit. They seem to think that somehow Jesus didn’t really mean what he said about the peacemakers. “God and Country” are now so intertwined in so many people’s lives they somehow think they are one and the same thing.  When we invade another country, no matter for what reason, we think that somehow God must have ordained and even encouraged our action.  There are even congregations, particularly those in Texas and the South, that put a sword in Jesus’ hand and tell us he is leading us into each of our wars.

How sad is that?