Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In the middle of tragedy and life - can I press the reset button?

A lot of Christians live their lives quietly and on their own. When they find themselves disagreeing with something in ‘the church’, they either don’t say anything - go with the flow - or they leave. Many do leave. Few ask them why.
Because I’m a writer with an ever changing mission statement, (see previous blog) I ask why. As well, I’ve decided to share bits of my faith journey in this blog. Because I know - I know - that so many of you have the same questions I do. A lot of the old ways aren’t working, and you long to press that reset button. 
In my previous blog I wrote that I wanted to share with you a blog and podcast that has come to mean a lot to me - The God Journey.  This is all about pressing the reset button, starting over. It’s all about asking the question - what if everything we’re ever been taught about God is wrong? What if it’s simply - Jesus loves me? What if that’s what it is? Entirely? What if it’s not about religion or church or tithing or making sure we ‘witness’ or have a daily Quiet Time or read through the Bible in a year? What if it’s none of those things? What if it’s better than we could ever imagine? 
I wanted to write more, but then the Dark Knight Rises tragedy happened and I am overwhelmed by sadness for the victims and their families. And I am embarrassed by some Christian leaders who are quick to write about this coming up with theories ranging from God's Judgment to The Devil (Capital letters) was responsible.
One author wrote that ‘the devil's fingerprints’ were ‘all over this tragedy.’ He suggests that this would finally prove to the world that Satan and his demons really do exist. And I ask, why do we need proof of that? Someone else had the audacity to explain to everyone that only 'Christians' who were killed were in Heaven now. And I am reminded up cult members who picket funerals with their messages of hate. (Excuse me while I go and throw up.)
(There, I'm back.) I shake my head and I want to hit that Reset button. We all need a ‘do-over’, I think.
And then I ponder -  if The Devil was really behind this, that means we’re off the hook. It's not our responsibility to work for gun control (if that’s what we feel strongly about), or work for decency in movies  (if that’s what we feel strongly about.) 
No. we can just sit back, fold our arms across our chests because this battle belongs to Satan and God and they can just have it out while we watch. 

But I don't think it's like that. I think God is calling us more than ever to get involved with suffering people, to hand out cups of cold water in his name.
But here’s what I know - The devil didn't 'make' that young man go in that theatre and kill a dozen people. He had a choice. It was his choice. He did what he did because he wanted to.
For more on ‘spiritual warfare’, I’d love for you to read this link from the Free Believers website and tell me what you think.

And now on a lighter note - Here's Flip Wilson and his famous 'The Devil made me do it' sketch.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

To my gay friends and to Anne Rice, I am sorry

You have probably seen the attached series of photos and story - 21 Pictures that will Restore your Faith in Humanity. It was viral a few months ago.
When I clicked on it I was moved, just about to tears. However, I never got past the first set of pictures. I still haven’t. I keep looking at them. I keep thinking about them. And I knew I had to write about it here.
It was my church which has fostered so much of this murderous homophobia. In the past I have heard it preached from the pulpit even, couched in terms such as ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ - which is a phrase I despise with everything in me. I am embarrassed and sickened by that sentence.
More than a dozen years ago, vampire novelist Anne Rice became a Christian after becoming very ill. A couple of years ago she renounced that faith. She wrote on her Facebook page:
“In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”
This has been a struggle for Anne. This has been a struggle for me. I wish Anne knew that you can refuse to be anti-gay, anti-femininst, anti-birthcontrol, anti-Democrat, anti-secular humanist, anti-science and still be a Christian. There are Christians who don’t hate gays. I have chosen to remain a Christian and I am not anti-gay, anti-femininst, anti-birthcontrol, anti-Democrat, anti-secular humanist, and anti-science.
The church has been wrong about so many things. Does anyone remember back to when African Americans were not even allowed inside many churches? I was a child in the 1950s and I do. Church leaders pointed to obscure and out-of-context Bible verses to prove their point. 

And now we know how wrong we were. So now I am daring to ask, could we be wrong about this?

I’ve been so helped by a website and podcast called The God Journey. But more about that site and podcast for another day.