What really started me on this road toward changing my mind about the way I viewed God, had a lot to do with how I treated other’s, how I was treated, or how I seen other’s treated.
I found that I experienced a lot more compassion, patience, understanding, mercy..you name it; from those outside the church, rather than in it.
(Not all, just in general. There are many many MANY that have been like Jesus to me in the church. I just wish to point out the attitudes I do see many of the church today exhibiting. I chose real experiences to address things that are very common.)
There was a lot more listening. A lot more welcoming into their “inner circles”.
A lot more grace, imagine that!
A lot more real, genuine fellowship.
A lot more life and a lot less theology.
A lot more opening of my heart, real change..and trust again.
I seen that a lot of these people that treated me so, where very much like the ones Jesus recognized and spoke of in His parables.
Like the Good Samaritan: Who would have been considered a hell-bound heathen to the first century Jews for example. Yet, he was the one Jesus said to notice..who in a sense really “fulfilled the law”. While those devoted to study, praise, and church..were headed to the temple..leaving the guy in need right where he lay.
And I’ve met so many people like the man praying in the temple. The one who beat his breast and cried out for mercy. People who admit they need help. People that are indeed engaging in things those faithful church goers would call unrighteous….yet are HUNGRY for God. Are looking for God. And I believe are hearing from God.
I’ve missed out on a lot of good lessons thinking Jesus was suppose to look/sound like this, but not that. (Like the people also did in His time).
Then of course, I have observed many so called followers of Christ, resemble the other man at the temple who was also praying.
And even though they might not be pointing out the sinner exactly as this guy was; it’s the essence behind it. This attitude of self. Of self-supposed righteousness. Be it about one’s knowledge, wisdom, attendance, ministry, giving…
The mindset of “I’m doing everything that needs to be done”..”Thank God I have truth.” Then go on to pray for whom they thought needed what they had.
I’ve had addicts treat me better. I’ve had drunks love me harder. Be more compassionate. Accepting. Made me feel much more at home. Feel God’s love and presence!
I have a good friend that I labeled as “demonized” for years, due to their particular beliefs and practices. Yet they were Christ-like in the fact they cared for someone dying for months. Not easy work either. And this is just one of many self-sacrificial acts I’ve observed of them.
It took me years to see that the blasphemy of The Holy Spirit that Jesus mentions(and that many devout believers are so terrified of); centers around labeling other’s as demon possessed(working on the side of evil, satan, wrong beliefs, hell-bound).
Judgment (See my post on The Tree Of Knowledge of Good and Evil).
I’ve been in a room with a good friend struggling with addiction and a self proclaimed prophetess…and she would not let anyone else be heard…besides herself(the “prophetess”).
It was all about what she was doing, her ministry, her vision, her new church..and God forbid if me or my friend desired to express our ideas of God. Our experiences. Our vision.
We were not spiritual enough to be of any good. At least that’s the impression her and I got.
This prophetess had all the answers, experience, resources..she was what we needed in order to find God and receive help, healing…so she thought.
Then I’ve witnessed church folk find people too complex and too much of a burden to take care of, or be there for. Especially on any deep, intimate level. They lacked the time, effort, and patience for the one in need.
I’ve seen individuals ignored that were CRYING out for help. People in great emotional and mental turmoil, asking for help with groceries after giving birth..they were all alone. Had been faithful in the church up until going through some hard times. Yet, this person was left in need….
(A few people outside the church ended up helping this person). Good Samaritans..you know..like Jesus made a whole point about being like?
And having experienced the DEEP anguish of mental and emotional pain, the feeling of loneliness and being too much of a “hard case” to help, I know how hard it can be…
Man just be thankful if you’ve never had to cope with such ache.
But while this individual went ignored, the middle and upper class, nicely dressed, financially sound church folk were showered with free coffee and donuts. All to leave a heart felt service, and meet one another for Sunday brunch afterwards…Seemingly not too many cares in the world.
As if all was OK in the world..
What happened to leaving the 99? I guess that was only for Jesus to do…..
We don’t know His voice..We know the voice of a law that was declared nullified..we know the voice of man-made doctrines, and we follow teachings and programs that we have been told are God’s words and ways…
I’ve been to a service where all they focused on was what the Holy Spirit was doing through THEM. It was about THEIR spiritual gifts.
They had practice prophesy time..and nothing was done..nothing good that is.
Just a lot of hoping God was speaking through them..standing on stage..while a crowd full of lonely, hurting people waited. For….idk..more of God..Jesus maybe?
To be noticed..loved….engaged as individuals?
I know some churches that sell food…for their own profit..for a building, yet to be built. Waiting for the hope of more people to join.
Well good luck. How long have you been waiting?
What was Jesus doing? Temple gazing(day dreaming in the temple)…or people grazing(feeding)?
(I don’t object to this necessarily. Only when nothing else good is being done. Only when it serves you and yours alone. Only when literal present needs are not being met, in order to save for a possible future need).
He called us to serve others; but we really are just still serving ourselves, if we really sit back and consider it…
Jesus was out in the open..feeding the hungry. The temple had to be physically destroyed to get people from obsessing over it.
Then there are these schools to learn how to move in God’s power. How to hear Him, how to be a better disciple. Conferences. Outings. And they cost a pretty penny!
Who are these schools really benefiting? Besides those that have nothing better to do, and can afford it? Sounds like one big gathering of people a lot like each other to me.
You know the story of the blind man on the road crying out to Jesus? The one the crowd tried to silence? But Jesus heard. The one He healed?
This reminds me of the many voices we/the church likewise silence.
You know the ugly criers? The ones just that hurting and broken enough to not be ashamed to cry louder than the rest?
To make a scene?
But to some, it’s just not acceptable. It causes a disturbance to those “trying to focus.” Or the loud, crying, complainer is..”just seeking attention”…
Yeah the hell they are!
Crying for help! For healing! For Jesus! For freedom!! Just like the blind beggar did.
I’ve known people(me!) who swear they are saved due to their particular denomination, knowledge of the Bible, prayer life, church attendance, method of baptism, adherence to outer dress codes…but yet these very same people are not able to lend(let alone give) someone in need 20 bucks.
There are a plethora of Bible verses..even one liners, turned into dogmatic doctrines. And then, verses that have to do with love, our hearts knowing the law already, being judged by how we treat others and by what we do and say.. Are almost completely ignored!
But they are there!
They can also be made doctrine, if the one liners of hell-bent fury and symbolism that we’ve turned into literalsim can. Just saying.
And the very things Jesus did LITERALLY do, we neglect. The things He lived..we reject.
We are concerned with the theology of Christ birth, death and resurrection…but seem to disregard the 33 years of life lived on purpose…and for reason..by Him!(Richard Rohr).
I recently read a chapter in Richard Rohr’s book Breathing Under Water..and it made so much sense. He points out the very things Jesus told us not to do..we do! And with a bang!
Don’t pray in public..don’t give in public, don’t dress to impress(worry about what to wear), don’t let others know you are doing this and that..be private..so your father who sees..will reward you.
An inner thing. The inner room: Symbolic of inner work. Heart and mind work. Alone with God, etc.
We’ve made it more seeable and hearable..to men than God.
It’s become a function for us to attend.
No wonder a walk is taught..but hearts are not..really any diff than the world’s. We focus on outer “sin”, but as Rohr points out..hearts are just as greedy, self-centered, judgemental and so forth..as those outside the doors..if not worse.
Blind leading the blind.
I’ve got on YouTube and FB only to spend hours debating and questioning my beliefs with other believers. So much time wasted. When the fields are ripe and ready for harvest. Needy souls!!!! PEOPLE ARE IN NEED!!!
Study, study, read..study..it’s funny there are only a few verses, that are usually taken out of context, that are used to justify our idolatry with so much self-invested time.
At least in contrast to the numerous lessons Jesus gave on how to live.
Then the idolatry of knowledge! We just have to be certain! We must know the how, what, when and where. Why?
When Jesus was so about mystery that half the time His closest disciples were left second guessing.
Jesus didn’t make as big a deal of the very things that we do.
He was more into action and compassion. He was out loving and fulfilling Isaiah 61 and 1…
You will find Him a lot less frequently in the temple, Bible study, prayer group, or carrying around His Torah to prove points and make sure the lost and not so lost had it all straight.
You did not find Him ever urging people to keep up church attendance or study for hours, years..on end with one another and discuss what may or may not be…(gluttons).
He was a walking Gospel! Good news!
People thought it was so UNLIKE all the gloom and doom they had heard before.
The masses followed Him. They starved for Him(went days without food in order to hear/ be near Him).
They most certainly felt welcomed and wanted. Served. Accepted. Invited. They left fed, warm, hopeful. Believing in redeeming love!
This is not how the religious establishment made them feel.
Jesus did use the word love a lot…..!!
And He was more about BEing.
A way of living.
I’ve seen church goers point people to a system rather than to Jesus. To a duty. An act. Things that can be observed and critiqued. I’ve done it myself.
I’ve had a man I really respected tell me I still needed to get “all the way in”, to be accepted by God. He was referring to my clothes. I needed to wear skirts and not wear makeup to be approved by God, and him too.
Yet he was not at all impressed by the light in my eyes and the joy in my voice, after telling him Jesus had healed me of my heartache and depression.
I know I sound very critical. And I am. I admit that. I’ve been that extra zealous religous person. I’ve been the very people I’ve spoken of. Still can be, on many occasions. It’s sad..but it is my truth.
This is how I think and feel. So I confess it in a sense, I guess. Pray for me!
Maybe I’m bitter? Resentful? Quite possibly, I admit it. I have been that person in poverty, struggling with loneliness, mental and emotional pain. I’ve cried out, asked for help…
He said He would answer..and it speaks volumes to me how often it comes through those that many people would deem hell-bound heathens.
Does this make YOU bitter, angry? My words? And why? Could you be the one Jesus says has done all in the law..but you do lack one thing? Idk..ask Him.
It seems we will give until it starts to become uncomfortable or an inconvenience TO US. Once it nears the boundaries of actual self-sacrifice(it is actually costly)….we tap out. Right or wrong?
Again, I realise I am being harsh..I am a natural critic. This is a weakness I need to fix..I always want to call out hypocrite in other’s.
I need to work on my own hypocrisy, I know.
Believe me, daily I observe a darkness in me that I have to give God the room to expose and correct.
I just have been broken by this system though. I have seen myself and so many disregard all of Jesus’ teachings in order to follow doctrines handed down by men, when we really don’t know where they came from or fear actually looking.
Following things taught by men.
We are all over the Bible, the map..but ignoring the very Gospels that reveal the life and teachings of the one the whole thing was suppose to be ALL about!
We have honored those we feel are following Christ..yet condemned the Samaritan who Jesus said to look to.
We are that praying Pharisee focused on what we are doing oh so right..and what the other is doing oh so wrong. I’m doing it now…
We think WE are peoples answer. Because we think WE have it all figured out.
But it don’t usually look like Jesus.
I’m realising if it looks and sounds like man, than it probably originated there.
And this is what I am learning to reject.
The man-made and ordained
And embrace God.
Particularly the God Jesus came to get us to change our minds(repent) about. The God He showed us was not like you, me, us or them.
But that transcends all our man-made boxes and dogmas.B
That had more to do and say about healing, loving, caring, giving, self-sacrificing..relating, understanding, freeing, seeing and hearing…treating others right…than anything else.
He came to point us back to real life. Simple, life giving..loving life…. Even when He pointed back to the Scriptures, He referred to Himself only, or reoriented the way they interpreted them).
Now go and follow..do likewise. Christ like.
*(Maybe go on a sabbatical from all that you’ve been taught was fundamental..and re-read only the Gospels for as long as you think you need too..until you see anew.) My goal is a year
💘 and ✌ peeps.