Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Peril of the Why (Hippie Jesus)

We're a why culture.
"Why did that guy go shooting in a movie theater?"
"Why doesn't Chick-fil-a condone gay lifestyle?
"Why is my friends' marriage all jacked up?
"Why do Christians think Jesus would watch Fox News?"

This is a problem. I'm sorry--it's not actually a problem if you're a non-Christian American. It's only a problem if you're a Christ follower.

Why, you ask? (see there you go again...)

The life of a Christ follower isn't about clear directions through life and clear answers to tough questions. It's more about a journey communing with God and each other. It's more about how and with whom, more than what, where, when, and why. And we love those 4-Ws!

This is revealed in our prayers all of the time. Listen to the degree we start a prayer request to God with what, where, when, and why. We want specifics from God and soon, please. I rarely start my prayers with, "I'm just glad you're here, God."

But it seems lately that being an American is pretty much about demanding answers so we can get mad at someone and hold them responsible for why something happened. (There's that word again.)

But the Bible reads like the journey trumps the destination. And when you think about it, being on a journey where how we travel is more important than having the right destination sounds very hippie. Sounds wishy-washy. It doesn't sound American. We Americans are about the declarative. We dig road signs and good clear explanations that help us sleep better.

But Jesus seems more like, "Dude, let's hang out. Love is where it's at bro. Let's slooooow it down."

Ironically in America I think we believe that Jesus would be in the NRA, watch Fox News and talk bad about liberals.

Regardless of what you or I think, Jesus loves people who watch Fox News and MSNBC. He loves gun-toters and gun-loathers. He loves conservatives, liberals and people who defy political labels.

I'm not saying He's a hippie, but Jesus did have some hippie tendencies.

He's not in a hurry. "Dude, just chill. Lazarus will keep, man."
He hangs out at parties. "Dude, don't worry, I'll make some awesome wine."
He digs people that turn off religious folk. "Dude, you wanna chuck the first stone, bro?"

All I'm saying is the Bible doesn't read like He's a type-A, "let's get 'r done," American. But He does seemed concerned.

Concerned about the Father and His story.
Concerned about eternity.
Concerned about you. About me.
Concerned about being with us when a gunman goes horribly wrong.
Concerned about people who run Chick-fil-a.
Concerned about people who aren't eating there anymore.
He's not hung up on the why. He's hung up on the Father and He's hung up on you.

Maybe the next time a bit of insanity breaks out in your life, instead of knee-jerk asking why---maybe metaphorically turn to Jesus and say in your best hippie voice, "I got You, babe."


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Life Verse: Hope 1 Cor. 13:13

 Sun 7.29.12 at Oakbrook Church

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Reason #126 Why Politics & Christianity are Poor Bedfellows

I grew up in an apolitical home. My father would never tell me whom he voted for and my mother was the classic, "Oh, I like him," for purely intuitive reasons. The only political thing that sticks out in my memory is that my mom hated Jimmy Carter--because he was a hick and talked funny.

My parents also never took us to church; ever. So faith and politics are things I've happened upon and observed. I have no inherited bias on either.

Coming into and growing into my faith as an adult, I've decided that the way of Jesus is paramount in my life. And I've decided that politics is a necessary evil that I have to pay attention to, but I will not elevate it in my life. It will not be my rudder, nor my identity, nor will I espouse a party more than what voting in the primaries requires.

I've observed most of my adult life that Christians vote republican. The reason for this that I've heard more than any other?

"He's a Christian man. We need a man with Christian values leading this Christian nation!"

So I've always logically deduced that Christians were saying what they meant. They were in essence voting for a man in a relationship with Jesus and who espoused, and believed in Christian values.

Lately I've noticed an interesting wrinkle.

Many Christian republicans, nationally and locally; including my friends on Facebook and Twitter, are posting this little sound bite:

"No president since FDR has won re-election with unemployment over 7.2%."

My knee-jerk thought, "We've also never elected a president who was a member of a cult."

You may think the word cult is mean or derogatory. It's simply descriptive, and in this case, appropriate. Mitt Romney is a Mormon. At a glance, Mormonism looks like Christianity's brother religion. But looking closer we see:

> There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.

> Mormons don't find the work of Christ on the cross to be sufficient for salvation, but rather the starting point.

> Mormon's believe that Jesus was a polygamist having married Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus.

> Mormonism's own teachings and doctrines make clear they do not follow the Jesus of the Bible, but rather a Jesus of their own making.

I further notice that Christian republicans are responding to this with, "Yeah, but a Mormon's better than the alternative."

The alternative meaning President Obama; an admitted Christian, (click here, and here) who meats regularly with Dr. Joel C. Hunter, pastor of Northland Church in FL.

"Yes, but he's not really a Christian!"

So by the standard we might utter that phrase, meaning decisions and choices; of how many people in our own churches, could we also say, "They're not really Christians."?

Let's pause here, as you may be falsely assuming this is a blog to promote a political agenda.

My point is, our Christian credibility is on the line when heretofore we've been very vocal about voting for the Christian candidate, when we now seem to be vocal about voting for the "lesser of two evils" and advocating a president who is admittedly Mormon; in a cult.

By back-handedly advocating a Mormon over a Christian, we appear to a watching world of unbelievers to be more republican than Christian.

This is why Christianity and politics are horrible bedfellows. It can lead us to a point to embrace a non-Christian member of a cult because they act and legislate in a way that seems more "christian" to us.

This is why, in a world we want to be black and white; there are unavoidable sticky shades of gray.

This is why we should be wholly known by the way of Jesus in us; not our political affiliation.

I think if Jesus were to pop onto the scene right now, He might not turn over the money-changing tables in the Temple. But He might violently pull a bunch of democrat and republican signs out of our yards and churches.

More to come on this subject in my upcoming ebook: The Christ Followers New Clothes; the Illusion of Politics.