Sunday, February 19, 2017
Church people have started to seek after some dangerous things. This is the first of a series I’m calling “Fool’s Gold.” I don’t use the term “fool” in judgment, only to express how many people have been fooled by so much that the modern-day church does.
One of the many things that have distracted me from this blog lately has been the death of my mother-in-law. She was raised Pentecostal Holiness, a combination that seems rather dangerous if you dig into it. She and my father-in-law once visited a Freewill Baptist church. Her response was that “they don't believe in the Holy Spirit.” I asked my wife what she meant, and she said they weren’t clapping, jumping, and raising a ruckus during service.
This style of service used to be reserved for “Charismatic” congregations or (pardon my antiquated terminology here) “churches for black folks.” They were loud, active, and definitely spirited. In more modern times, though, this has leaked into what most call “contemporary services” aimed at attracting younger people. Of course, every side has its own opinions on the merits and failures of their side vs. the other side. That in itself makes me think of the house divided against itself (Mark 3:23-26), but that’s another subject.
Loud volumes produce adrenaline, according to several articles I have read. It gives way to the thrill of the adrenaline rush that makes thrill rides such as roller coasters fun for many people. The problem is that continued adrenaline can cause medical issues down the road.
Consider This: if you go to a church to feel good, what happens when you stop feeling good?
Jesus offered a different look at how life in Him works. He referred to suffering (Romans 5:1-5), persecution, and other unpleasant situations. Some choose to “fake it ’til you make it” with a deceiving smile. Is that not a lie? Is that, therefore, not a sin?
There are going to be days when the faithful will find himself or herself in dire straits. Just look at the book of Job! Depressing? It can be, even when trying to lift some measure of hope from it. I’ve been there lately, with a number of medical and family issues going down. Do I “speak positive into the situation?” Job didn’t! He admitted that he hurt. He also retained his faith in God!
Consider This: if you go to a church to worshio God, what happens when you don’t feel good?
The person who worships a feeling will find that feelings don’t make good foundations of faith. They aren’t faithful. They don’t deserve our trust. Only Christ does.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Saturday, July 02, 2016
Sunday, September 27, 2015
As I write this, many Christian communities are packing their bags, ready for the Big Event. So much had been said about the fourth "blood moon" coming up tonight that it had almost become sickening.
Everybody is ready for the Rapture!
For those who somehow have been protected from all the ruckus, the Rapture is the alleged event that shall occur before, during, or after the Great Teibulation, depending on which interpretation you choose. (Yes, I know some interpretations don't even bring in the Rapture, and at least one variation puts end-times prophesy mostly at the Masada incident. Let's not get into that debate, please.) This event, popularized by a variety of works including the Left Behind series of books and movies, causes all "true" Christians to leave the Earth suddenly. Again, the details of the departure and who is a "true Christian" has been thrown about with disgusting arrogance.
Consider This: what if we're ALL wrong about the Rapture?
Wouldn't it be a shock to discover that the Rapture has already hapened, but only 144,000 or so people disappeared … a number so small that nobody even noticed?
What would that mean for those of us "left behind?" Would it mean we should never have watched that R-rated movie on the "Sabbath?" Would it mean we should've joined this or that church, even though they all got left behind as well?
Maybe, just maybe, we were so focused on blood moons and the alledgedly "correct" and "uncorrupted by Greek" name of the Son of God that we failed to help the least of those among us. Maybe, instead of looking for signs and wonders, we needed to look for those whose last days are today or tomorrow, about to die without hope. Maybe, instead of being on street corners pushing tracts and pithy sayings in the hands and faces of random people, we needed to tell them the simple Gospel, such as can be found in John 3:1-21? Nothing complex, no rituals or rites, just simple truth and hope. "Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2) instead of tongues and rosaries, church committees and home groups, accountability and "miracles."
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
I'm considering, though, starting a second blog that is a bit more general than this one. It's inspired by one a friend of mine writes. In fact, he asked me to write a guest post for him last year, and I finally got around to doing it.
You can read my guest post on forgiving my father here, at Randomly Chad.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The thing that surprised me, though, is that she was afraid of admitting that she was grieving!
It seems that a particular church (for which I have little respect, based on what she had been taught there for too many years) shamed those who actually didn't "celebrate" when a child of God passed away. Grief, it seemed, was either a sin, or something not to be felt by a Christian.
I have no idea where they got that bit of theological illogic, but it certainly wasn't from a thorough reading of Scripture.
Consider †his: if Jesus did something, it's nothing that should bring shame.
So when did Jesus grieve?
The shortest verse in the Bible, in just about all English translations of which I am aware, is John 11:35. Even the usually-wordy Amplified Bible keeps it at 2 words. (If you're interested, Bible Gateway can show you how all of its English translations render this one verse.) "Jesus wept." Simple enough. But why did He weep? The full story is found in John 11:1-44. This is the story of Lazarus, brother to Mary and Martha, a family that was near and dear to Jesus' heart even though they weren't part of his traveling band. You probably know the story. Lazarus had died, Jesus chose to wait to go there, and when He did, He brought Lazarus back to life, making his name synonymous with restoration of life.
Why did Jesus do that? "Certainly" it couldn't have been because His friend was dead. After all, He seemed to know that He was going there to restore him to life. Perhaps it was due to the strong feelings of his sisters and other friends, including the one that came to bring Jesus to them.
Or maybe it's the obvious answer: Jesus grieved for his friend.
Sound wrong? Too bad. We're not to judge what the Bible says based on our own preconceived ideas. One of the reasons I started this blog was to challenge those preconceived ideas that don't really match what Scripture says. This is one of the big ones, though I pray it's not as common as I fear it is.
Christians are called to joy, but that doesn't mean insane laughter or happiness or any of the other bits of garbage emotionally-driven churches try to push. There are times of sadness. There are times of grief. There are times of trial and emotional depression. There are even times of anxiety and distress. Jesus went through all of these. Why do we think we won't? Why do we think we shouldn't?
Grief is normal. Grief is even healthy. There should be no shame accepted or poured on those who grieve the loss of a Christian. Even though we know we will see them again, the forced separation that will remain for the rest of our own lives is not a situation we can just push aside. As temporary as it is for Christians, the separation caused by death is the second greatest separation we can experience. (The first is when God isn't in us or the loved one, making the separation eternal.) Consider †his: death is not a separation we were intended to endure. Such separation came about because of sin. Sin causes even greater grief, in more ways than one.
So don't put shame on those who grieve. Put the shame on those who reject grief and those who grieve.