Today’s thought from the RiverHouse

“The church and the whorehouse arrived in the Far West simultaneously. And each would have been horrified to think it was a different facet of the same thing. But surely they were both intended to accomplish the same thing: the singing, the devotion, the poetry of the churches took a man out of his bleakness for a time, and so did the brothels.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Image © RiverHouse Photography of Caughdenoy, new York

Jesus v. “Christians”

“If Jesus isn’t the “lens” evangelicals and Roman Catholics read the Bible and their traditions through then whatever they say to the contrary they do not really believe Jesus is the son of God.”
Frank Shaeffer, Alternet

And if you don’t believe that Jesus is the son of God, you might be a really, really religious person BUT guess what religion you’re not an actual part of?

That is the truest thing I’ve read in years. I would ask that my atheist and agnostic friends realize that this is the truth that many Christians live with. Those who spread a message contrary to Jesus truly do not believe He is the Son of God. Otherwise, why would they work so hard to find justification for all of the actions they take that are directly opposed to everything He said, everything He did and everything He stands for? So when you hear the hatefulness that is so obviously not in keeping with the teachings of Christ, please don’t attribute to Christians. It isn’t.

And they aren’t

Please realize that the followers of Christ (versus the followers of men that claim to follow Christ) follow Christ.

Not Paul

Not Peter

Christ alone

The followers of men that claim to follow Christ actually follow tradition and their own prejudice. They then try to justify it by claiming that the words of the Christ are advisory and carry no more weight than any other man referenced in the Bible. Oddly, they are wrong according to Jesus for He informed us that He is the truth. He is the light.

Not Paul

Not Peter

Christ alone

Not Pope Francis. Not the Elder in your church. Not your preacher. Not your priest. Not a nun. Jesus and Jesus alone.

There is a movement in the church to pretend that the “red words” aren’t special. It is wrong. The words that the Word actually spoke are special. The pronouncements of the creator of all creation should not be ignored or twisted to support your own prejudice.

It is that simple.

Church Assisted Suicide

If you are a Christian and your church looks like this…

WhiteChurch

Or like this…

BlackChurch

you’re not doing it right.

Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Except on Sunday mornings. Then too many of us are a bunch of racially segregated bigots pretending that the God we worship looks only like us and nothing like the folks we’ve locked outside of our doors. We then listen to how blessed we are (and we are). How the only way to be with God is to be like us.

Now look around your monochromatic house of worship.

What does “like us” mean?

It is hard to feel for other people when we are reminded every Sunday that they aren’t like us. Not one of the blessed. We may not believe it consciously but it is reinforced subconsciously every Sunday. Good people are Christians AND Christians are the people sitting in the pew with us. They look like us. They talk like us. They eat what we eat. They dress like we dress. They sin like we sin.

It only follows that if these are the good people – the blessed – then those that don’t look like us or talk like us…aren’t.

It is easy to harden your heart against what you don’t know.

If we can’t be bothered to love all of God’s people AND demonstrate that in God’s house, why would we think He would want to spend eternity with us?

Don’t get me wrong. I agree with the 10 things in this article. I believe it enough that it kept me from being named an Elder at our church in Olney (but that’s another story). But obvious hypocrisy has pushed more people away from the church and keeps more people from ever coming than anything else.

The implicit and explicit racial segregation rampant in the Church today is a cancer. It is a cancer that condemns the lie every time a Christian declares brotherhood with all men. It is a cancer that only Christians can cure. Unfortunately, the Church in this country has a 400 year history of just letting that cancer metastasize and spread. And destroy the message of Jesus.

Churches don’t die. They commit suicide.