Monday, December 14, 2009

Miscalculations


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This has been my life in mathematical terms and literary characters, my journey since following Jesus. I began by questioning everything, even my own opinions and faith (in whatever I had faith in). I quickly put my faith in Jesus as The Messiah and Savior which led to exponential growth. I quickly got involved in “church” and then moved up to Indianapolis to start a “church.” I put church in quotation marks because the organization of a church, the organized meeting and building is not what the church is, it is simply an expression. Nothing bad towards that gathering or expression, I just think terminology needs to be clear for proper understanding of certain concepts and ideologies. I then got enrolled in a bible college and learned a ton about the bible and Christianity. I then became bewildered with the teachings, religious culture, and beliefs I held to. I began to question things. As I questioned and squirmed I pulled myself out of the culture all together, away from the community, and away from the institution in question. The problem with questioning an institution is that it isolates you and alienates you from those that hold to the very thing you question. My wounds began to heal, the bad taste in my mouth began to go away and I eventually started reading and writing again. I began exploring my faith and its implications again. I began to unlearn a lot of unhealthy things I had learned. I began to really simplify everything around me so that I could be comfortable with who I was, my faith. Now I am back to questioning. I am questioning the motives and actions of those who claim to have the same faith that I hold to.

What do you think about Christians?

A) Rigid, uptight, unhappy, boring, judgmental, extreme, passionate, angry, proud…

B) Loving, peaceful, patient, kind, compassionate, humble…

Which answer would the largest population chose? The test population must not be Christian because I believe opinions of self are inaccurate for the most part. I have become more and more uncomfortable with my own mind as of late. Being honest with myself about things has suddenly offended opinions I have long held to. It is refreshing to let go of these naïve opinions and embrace truth though. The embracing of this truth separates me from a people group I am supposed to be at peace with. How is it that the more one learns about his own identity the more one realizes that he does not belong?

I went to lunch with a friend Friday and we got on the subject of faith. He says, “I understand having faith in something, but what I don’t understand is religion.” I’ve found that some of the most rigid and uptight people to be around are Christians. I have heard way too many stories of Christians going to people about their sin. Stop doing so you can be, basically is the message spoken. It is a mean, harsh, condemning message. In no way is this the Jesus I see in the bible. I’ve found that the religious culture of Christianity looks identical to that of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. Those who are not on the same page of the religion get outcast because they don’t fit, they don’t do what should be done, and they aren’t religious enough. This is offensive to Christianity, the American religion. But I find the more I follow Jesus the less I am actually interested in Christianity. I’m more disheartened by this religion than I am proud to call myself a part. The reality that I’ve come to is that just because I share the faith of religious folks does not mean I have to share in the practice of a burdensome religion. The simple message of Jesus is that we are free through faith in Him. Will a branch produce fruit? Yes. Will the branch produce fruit in your time and within your wants or needs? No. I see too many Christians who do not trust the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. I see a people full of conformity and methodology. I see a lot of rules, a lot of dos and don’ts. What I don’t see is love. Maybe the love is for all that are like them, but isn’t that what Jesus was so furious with the Pharisees for?

What if we’ve miscalculated? What if we’ve fat-fingered something and caused a huge mess of things because of simple miscalculations? I have been stuck in the book of Ephesians for quite some time now. The biggest message I got out of it was simple: There is peace! Hostility has been destroyed! There is the possibility of a united humanity. The wall that divided has been torn down! Peace and unity seem to be the themes of Jesus. If you want to know what love is please read my post on it. Why is a message based upon unity causing so much division? Have we miscalculated? So many passionate people I know hold dear to many miscalculations that lead them down a road full of even bigger miscalculations. It’d be a challenge for you to do an audit on all your religion these days especially. No matter what you are doing if it isn’t moving in the direction of love, unity, and peace it is not something Jesus is about. Justify it all you want, but if love isn’t wrapped around everything you do then it doesn’t matter what you do.

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