God & Church are Not Synonymous: Pt 1

I think it’s taken me near 10 years to realize, that despite the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago, most people assume church and God are synonymous. They are not.  They never have been.

It took going back through the memories of being inside the church system to realize I believed it once. It was never spoken out right, but it has always been implied.

When I started weaning away from the church system my brothers had really critical things to say to me over the smallest detail. Stupid things that have stuck with me like thorns under the skin since that time. But I think I get it now. I think they saw the way I acted at or towards church was synonymous in their mind to how I was acting or respecting (or lack of {in their mind}) towards God. Not even that  it was connected, but it was a directly linked together in a full embodiment. If I didn’t mark the sign-in sheet correctly I was mocking God, not the sign-in sheets.

I never realized that this side of Protestant Reformation that there was still such a direct correlation in the minds of the masses of church goers. I mean I know that’s how masses of pastor think. I know the people are trained to associate the two. However, I just didn’t realize how much that is the reality within the church system.

There has long been this thought that if someone leaves their local church building and gathering times, that they’ve walked out on God. For many this does happen, because there is no separation between them.

I can’t emphasize enough that God and church are not synonymous.

Sometimes it takes looking at history to realize, that something that holds a scared title isn’t always what it seems. For me, the most simplistic words that really spelled this out for me was when Jesus said: “If you were Abraham’s children then you would act like it.” (John 8:39)

God judges someone by their heart, what’s on the inside, the true character which we develop within ourselves, our true motives and intentions. God sees that clearly. If that’s how God judges us, is it any different for an institution or an assembly of people?

God knows that our true intentions and our heart cause for us to do all things that flow out of us. All of our actions. The way we perceive people comes from our heart and our inner being. I believe this is also true for any system, corporation, community, assembly.

Now in a matter of speaking, a system has no heart, no inner being. Therefore those who align themselves with any given system become the heart therein. Yet so often we trade our minds & hearts for a go-with-the-flow mob mentality. We create a system to unify and drive us to our intend goal, but often it’s not long before we sacrifice our own goals, our own drive for the sake (health and sustaining) of the system.

I see this is still the reality of something called church. I too was part of  that once.

This is the strange thing about “church”:
It starts by saying that you can have a personal relationship with God. But then the whole time is spent telling you how to interpret God, how to serve God, how to do these things through more solidly aligning yourself with the local “church” and its “ministries”.  This happens so much so, that for those who actually do learn to grow and interpret on their own, they do not become the prize pupils, but instead are consider the ones who need to be corrected, or even broken in.
My husband and I have heard multiple stories like this. We’ve both been in these situations. We know it happens everywhere. It is not an isolated event.

We also know this isn’t God. This isn’t how God works. This isn’t the relationship that God had in mind.

A healthy body works together. Period. A body with auto-immune disease attacks itself. This is not consider healthy or normal. This is considered to be something that is in need of cure and of treatments, as there is often no known cures for many auto-immune diseases. Maybe especially spiritual ones which go unidentified. 

This thing calling itself church attacks itself. Am I to believe that is the resemblance of the body of Christ?

500 years ago (and more) there was something that was calling itself The Church. It was taught that this was the one way to know God, to honor God, to get to heaven, to be safe in this life, to be a responsible admirable citizen of your country. The Church was the guardians to Truth, or so it was taught.

But there arose men and women who disagreed with this thing called The Church. They disagreed that this system was not doing what it said it was meant to do. They disagreed that this system was honestly, openly, freely leading people Truth and to God.
To them the cruelties of the opposing a well-established system were unleashed. There was no mercy for such trouble makers. We are not too far removed from this history.

As a matter of fact, we maybe standing in the middle of an era where history repeats itself. We maybe at a crux of guarding and regarding the sacred words and descriptions back unto their true intentions. System or no system, when a people want to know God and want to know truth, there is an unquenchable thirst for the authentic thing.

Yet we have seen in history that the artificial thing will defend it’s stolen/assumed throne. The price for truth is high. Very, very high. Yet for something so priceless, we’d be fools to settle for anything less than the whole truth.

We can no longer bow our necks and bear this a little further in history. We cannot continue to plow for a master who is not our God. We must consider who and what we are truly serving. What do we truly fear? Whom do we truly want to serve? Are we interested in God? Or are we interested in our own rewards and security?

God and church are not synonymous. They never have been.

But woe to you … For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
– Matthew 23:13

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Sitting With The Silent God

There I was well adjust to my thirties…far from high school, and yet…feeling exactly like I was in middle school again. In the middle of the camp dining room, a room full of adults, just moments ago talking to friends, but the dinner bell rang (so to speak) and everyone literally turned away from where I was sitting to sit with someone else.  It was just my husband and I sitting in the middle of the room…alone.

We both felt the sudden turn. What happened? We looked at one another. That was odd. We were just talking with people, and now that it was lunch time, everyone wanted someone else to talk to? No one else came to sit with us. It was too coincidental. Was God portraying something with our lives?

It was fine. My husband was still there. We had each other. I was fine with that. …And then… my husband decided he need to take a walk. I didn’t know it then, but he told me later that the pressure and the obviousness of the situation was too much for him. He felt it too.

So there I was. A living monument in the middle of the lunch room, and no one saw me. No one ate with me. I tried to calmly tell myself not to shove my tiny meal down and runoff like an awkward middle-schooler. I could do this. I could deal with sitting alone in the middle of the room where two minutes ago we had friends to talk to and now… suddenly…nothing. I could stand tall, or rather, sit like a normal person. No problem.

Quietly I was talking to God. It was too coincidental to miss. “What happening here, God? No one’s sitting with us? What is this?
And then to hear in my spirit, “I know. How do you think I feel?
It was heart-breaking. I continued to calmly eat my food and sit there ever-so politely, while fighting tears from these impactful words of God. Then came the unforgettable words: “At least you sit with me when I’m silent.

My heart broke. The Silent God, of course!

I finished part of my tiny meal, and threw the rest out. It was too much to ingest. I looked around the room more than once, and I didn’t catch any eye, not once. I was there in the middle of it all, and no one saw me. But to think…that I might have merely been a symbol of a God whom they didn’t want to endure, that…that was crushing.

Some months ago, I had posted about how I was currently learning about the Silent God (a side of God we don’t tend to like or believe in), and it was impacting then…but this! Hearing this: “At least you sit with me when I’m silent.”  was devastating… devastatingly beautiful. In that moment of hearing those words, I couldn’t believe that other people would miss this. I couldn’t believe that I was privy to hear the words and heart from the Silent God.
It was beautiful. It was honest. It was straight from a broken heart.
It was one of those moments that best friends share together.

I remember when I was kid, I always wanted my friends to be the kind of people who could sit with me, even if I was having a silent day or silent meal. Because best friends share stories, conversations, and share their hearts & lives even if words aren’t being spoken between them. Even in silence, the best of friends are still connected.

Yet we live in culture that promotes silence as being awkward. Silence in the ruin-er of moods. Silence is the killer of connection. Silence…silence isn’t as bad as we make it out to be. Not always.

I haven’t recovered.
I haven’t gotten over a God who would say to me, “At least you sit with me when I’m silent.
I haven’t stopped tearing up every time I think of it.

How close do you have to be to share a broken heart with someone? To feel their pain as they express it. To cry when they cry. To sit with them in that time and not try to change it, but just to share in it?
How quiet do we have to still ourselves before God shares his broken heart with us?

One of my favorite Bible verses say, “He who is faithful with little, will be faithful with much. And he who is dishonest with little, will be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10)
God is seeking those who are faithful with little. The problem is, we have heard so much from a culture that says God wants to give us much …and that entices us.

The problem is we live in culture were dating is the same thing as having sex together. We live in culture where you can watch movies instantly and any part of the movie only takes two clicks to get to it or maybe just a spoken word (long gone are VHS and cassettes!). We live in culture where my husband’s coworkers ask him where he got his lunch, and they’re surprised when he frequently says we made it at home. We live in culture where we play little computer games during our dead time, but then we pay real money for unreal power-ups & instant-builds (and so on) in said game.

We live in culture that wants a form of greatness, but we want it now, and we’re willing to sacrifice some of our greatness in order to gain some instant-ness. We want to skip ahead to our favorite parts.

The problem is we apply this mentality to our spiritual lives, because it’s our everyday mindset. We don’t have time for menial task. The reality is relationships (including spirituality) are built on things that might otherwise be considered menial. Have we forgotten that in our modern world?

We need to practice being faithful with little in our everyday lives. Everyday we have choices to make. Just for today will we pick something that guides to healthier or more holistic living? Maybe tomorrow we fail. Maybe yesterday didn’t work out. But today? Today we could choose to be faithful with little. Today we could build a menial piece in our relationships. Today we could be a little more honest with ourselves.  Today could be great, or it could be nothing of consequence. And that’s okay. It’s only a little thing.

When greatness does come we will not know it, unless we are faithful in the little things.

It maybe a long, long wait, but… don’t be afraid of a Silent God.
Unimaginably beautiful awaits those who persevere faithfully.

Loving the Unlovely: Christian Conflicts With Israel

There ought to be things that still break our hearts. IF we consider ourselves to be in some relationship or acquaintanceship with God, then there definitely out to be things that still break our hearts in very tender ways.

I struggle to find the words of what I saw.

There are a people within Christianity who claim to love the Jews people, but they believe that something just like the last Holocaust is possible or even likely to happen again. These said people wish to do their part to protect God’s Chosen People. They believe a redeemed Israel will come out of the calamity, albeit a drastically reduced number.
Some times these people speak so factually it scares me to here their casualness.

But it got worse. …

I once heard a vehement Jew…maybe rabbi, I don’t remember right now…say something along the lines of, “Christians just want to use Jews to bring back their Christ! They don’t care about us!“. As if one religious culture could use or manipulate or sacrifice another. I hate how right he may have been. I could only imagine what he’s seen and heard. I know what I’ve seen and heard makes me sick to think about it, even as I search for the words.

These select group of Christians (fore mentioned) had a portion of them give a message/sermon which I heard about after the fact, although I was at the same camp…I skipped this particular “teacher”.  He spoke from Ezekiel 39:9-16, and he spoke words of mockery.

One of the other seminar attendee’s gladly recount the summary for me. The theory went something like this: after the Jews survive (barely) another world war, then they’ll see Christ and be humbled, then they’ll have to be on cleanup duty for seven months from all the Armageddon that just occurred, and they’ll become even more humbled. Then after that, maybe they’ll be truly reconciled with God.
My heart broke.

These are the Christians who claim to love Israel and love the Jew? What love is this, that delights in their being kept out of their own Holy City and having to do humiliating unclean work of peasants? While what..? The “Christians” get to hang out with the Messiah, partying because they’re so much more fit to be in the Holy City?
No. I do not hear the heart of God in this. No. I will not be with that crowd.

If that was the only way such scriptures could be read, then let me just say, I would set aside “party time” or “ruling and reigning with Christ” and I would go help the Jews with the disgusting, unclean work of picking up corpses and bones left rotting months after the most horrific battle of history.

These things should not be taken so light-heartedly.
Did this teacher even stop for two minutes to consider God’s heart on these things? Or how Christ works over and over again? How is that Christians can take verses like, “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” or “And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses“, but they are only for Christians?
How is it that there is still this idea that one must clean themselves up before God will accept them? How does one clean themselves up with God’s help?

In case you should become curious what is in Ezekiel 39:9-16 and what does it say… may I just offer another point of view? It’s not about Israel going through more disgrace and humbling. By this point in the eschatological story (end of times story), the remaining People of God have already beheld and meet their God in fullness. They are already a priestly people. Now God has put a new love in their hearts where they can’t stand the idea that something -even something defiling- would stand in the way of anyone coming up the Mount of God and meeting with the true God. Therefore, they’re so fervent, that they willing go out, work as hard as they can, for as long as they can, and they will clear the Traveler’s Valley, so anyone…absolutely anyone can come and meet with God.
They are not doing this to earn merit, but out of Love…the Love of God, which we only gain when we experience a personal encounter with God.

I don’t understand the words “I love you” or “love” itself when people hook with circumstantial requirements. Although maybe we all do. Maybe we’re a people who forgotten how to love other just because …just because there is some unmistakable beauty in the depths of another person’s soul, which our soul notices even before we see it or understand it ourselves.
Even if we fail at this… can we just, please, not put God’s name on it?

Can we just have enough respect for a being that would qualify as God to not try to make him into a tyrant or monster at every other turn? Can we just admit we want points for our deeds? Can we just stop putting other people down even though we find disappointment all around us? Can we have a little respect? Can we hope in beauty? Can we stop being mean to those who brought us here?

If we’re going to were the title Christian, could we just believe in the way Christ Jesus lived, and they things he taught? Could we just look at the scriptures without trying to find our own treasures, and just search for God’s heart instead?

Could we stop saying “I love you” just to make it easier to use people? Please… Please stop feeding your hate.

Can we wash one another’s feet just because Jesus called us to servanthood? Can we just act like the thing by which we identify ourselves as?

Something changes when you know God’s heart beyond the best doctrinal choices. When God doesn’t fit into our given options, we have a chance at expanding our world, our minds, and our hearts.

When Jesus had his infamous “angry moment” in the Temple, flipping tables and driving out the money changers… you need to understand the unspoken things that happened there. The context, if you will.  In those days, people sold potential sacrifices just outside the inner temple area, in an area known as the court of Gentiles. It was all the closer Gentiles were allowed to get towards the Holy God of Israel. Whether out of spite, commerce greed, or necessity of the day this area (the court of the Gentiles) had become so packed that barely anyone could walk around in it -because of the buying, selling, and trading taking place- let alone have a quiet moment to worship a still distant God.
So Jesus comes in see all this taking place and quotes the scripture, “My house will be called a house of prayer” …and the rest of the sentence is “for all nations”.

Hebraically, this is how you quote scriptures, in part. Because ever elementary age child learned the scriptures by heart. …or nearly. It’s iron sharping iron to quote part and have those around you quote the rest to you and still understand the greater picture of what’s being said. Kind of like we do with movie quotes nowadays.

So in this famous “angry moment” of Jesus at the Temple, we see God’s heart is broken in that Israel (and their religious system) isn’t taking seriously being the People of God and priestly to all nations. So I can only imagine if there comes a time when the Messiah shows up, and restores the fullness of all things, then these people too will see the truth about even this detail in the covenant.

When God shows up everything changes.

It would be absolutely impractical to have a half love for the Jew now, merely waiting for Jesus to come and rub their faces in it, and to think that will be enough to be a catalyst for their “full salvation”. It’s absurd!
If we want to make a difference in the darkest times, we must know God’s heart. We must know God’s heart beyond doctrinal correctness. We must not despise one we call our brother. We must see the beauty of what God is doing beyond our own selves and our reward.

Love is nothing if it is not lavish and strong to those who are weak and far off. And if our love is nothing, than so are we.

Revival: A Spiritual Distraction

There is a misconception about the church nowadays. Luckily modern theologians are as perceptive as any of the great theologians of the past, and they have a figured out a way to explain this. Well, maybe more like many ways to explain this. However…the phrase “it’s not working, try again, and be louder” comes to mind.
But can I just say…the emperor has no clothes on.

Here’s an astonishing prolific circular reasoning of many or most modern theology:
Old Testament – Jewish have the promised covenant of redemption give to Abraham and his promised descents.
Jews fail in keeping covenant
God gets mad and takes away “blessings”
God creates New Covenant, New Testament, new people, and new Jesus rules (last one is unsaid but totally there)
New Testament – Christians now have everything the Jews wanted, and anything else they want God will probably give them
New Testament = New Covenant = Never, ever, ever can break this covenant because it’s grace, so God will put up with our shit until Jesus comes back flaming hot mad at the world for not realizing how great we are. …I mean…how great God is.

Problems?

The reality is Christian came from Hebraic roots (Judaism, but older than the Talmud).  But Not long after Jesus left for heaven, certain “forefathers” made Christian more Greek than Jewish, more modern-culture relevant than ancient-continuing-story relevant. And ultimately…
We’ve taken the Jewish promises, then acted exactly like them. Including the reasons why “church forefathers” say that the Jews lost out on the “old covenant”, but Christendom acts like we’re totally different and nothing like the Jews of the Bible.

Wrong.

The modern church is exactly like what Jesus dealt with in his day. It’s exactly like what Moses dealt with in his day. It’s exactly like what Ezekiel, Daniel, and Jeremiah dealt with in their day.
And if we’re exactly the same…then why do we think they lost out, but God will always “keep his deal” with us?

Because for everyone who believes the “church forefathers” over the the forefathers of our faith (Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Jesus, the prophets, the saints of the Bible. Hebrews chapter of 11, ect.), then they became what they despised. Because that’s all they focused on.

“The church” wanted to say it’s the new Israel, so God let them. God let them walk the same path, fall into the same holes, tell themselves the same pious lies, take on the same blindness, and ultimately the have the same hope of repentance, redemption, and restoration…However we’re all too busy with our “God stuff” to need God.

Why do I bring this up? Because it’s terrible to watch these Christians praying for revival, preaching of a coming persecution,  waiting for a someday when the Messiah will come (the only difference being we add an “again” to our story), and thinking this is utterly different than the stories of the Bible. The good stories, the bad stories, the repetitive cycles stories. We are still there, but we speak like we’re SO different. We’re not.

As a matter of fact, that thing that calls itself church is exactly like when God talks about Jerusalem and then describes her as if she was Babylon. But we still think that’s a story about them…over there. Those guys.
In the Bible, Israel had these times where it still called itself Israel but it didn’t know about  honoring God, the covenant, the law, and the scriptures where lost somewhere. They were living their lives, doing their practices, and thinking this is how its always been done. They thought they were practicing the same things as their forefathers, but the truth was most of Israel was acting like the modern cultures them.  They didn’t understand who God created them to be. They didn’t understand the importance of their specific story.

We are there. We are a lost people who are still practicing things that have nothing to do with our forefathers faith. We don’t know who we are …or why we are.

But Daniel, a truly righteous man, identified himself with the sins of his people, and he stood in the gap and prayed “we have sinned against you”.  Yet under this “new covenant” we don’t give a crap. Your sin, your problem.

But it bothers me.

I pray that God would forgive us for partaking in the sins of our forefathers. and then… I don’t. I attempt to not repeat the same mindset and the same practices. I find so much of my theology in Hebrews 11.

 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised,  since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

There is no old and new in the Bible. Neither testament, covenant, God, promise, law …it’s all eternal, a continuing story. We are part of their faith, if we open up our hearts to receive this. These saints & forefathers who lives their lives in their day, did their part, and they wait on us to receive this legacy and to carry it on, in our day, through our lives, and to do our part.
Otherwise… well…it’s in the Bible what happens when we ignore God and his call.

Revival, persecution, denominational dogmatic doctrine will not be our saving graces. It will not be the sign of the times. It will not promote the kingdom of God. These are distractions.
Living our lives. Joining the faith and living like it’s important to complete the journey that the forefathers of faith began – That’s what’s important. That’s what we should be striving for, praying for, looking to obtain.

Look up! Set your eyes to the hills.
Remember who your forefathers truly are. Find your story. Live it.

 

Fools On Display

“Sometimes I think God has put us apostles at the very end of the line, like prisoners soon to be killed, put on display at the end of a victor’s parade, to be stared at by men and angels alike.”
– St Paul

Strangely, I get the impression this isn’t one of the first five things anyone thinks of when they think of the Christian Life or walking by faith. …and I wonder what it’s like to be that person who walks along without this weight. I wonder what it’s like to think of Christianity in terms of things done in or pertaining to a “church” building.
I imagine it’s terrible and boring.

1st Corinthians chapter 4 is very powerful in a humbling way. It’s like reading a story of how my ancestors got to America and got established into our modest life. It’s a reminder that we aren’t just trusting God for our day to day life, but we’re part of something greater. It’s a reminder that it isn’t just about what’s happening now, but our “now” is part of greater chorus which has been sung out in faith. We join those who have believed before us. We join those who believe now, and we join those who struggle to believe but keeping living for one more day, searching for truth…if there be any left in this world.

This is a challenge. This is a weight.

Later on, in 2nd Corinthians, Paul uses the phrase “eternal weight of glory”. A small phrase that has baffled many. What could it mean?
I think it means, when we get connected into the roots of our faith, and into the forefathers of faith, and we start wanting to be a part of their faith, knowing their God, and living that faith…then we’ve connected to something that eternal. Something that’s glorious. And there’s a weight to it all. “the eternal weight of glory”

When we think of the long lineage of history that has processed our stories and brought message of a living God down throughout history, we look small. Yet…in our “now” state of being, we feel so worthless, so insignificant, and sometimes so forgotten by God.  We feel like God puts us on display in the worst way. We feel foolish. We like stoning up our hearts, instead of opening them up. We feel like we have no faith at all. We feel insane. …but we keep going.

There is no alternative.  There is no following the system into a happily-ever-after. There is no daydreaming and one day  it’ll come true. …not without an attempt. Not without skidding through some failure, bristling through some doubt, drowning in stares of people who “admire” your “cute faith” but they sure don’t want to be you or live their own faith in the same “admirable” way.

Yet not everyone can.
Someone has to be at the base. Someone has to discover that old path that now seems overgrown and hidden. If it ever was here, then it’s still here. But my God, it isn’t easy to find, and to keep, and follow. …Yet if that’s all we had to do, it’d be easier than this. Yet we know, behind us will come those who are looking for this same path, and we need to put signs out for them. We need to clear some of the brush. But we need to make sure, it is the right path at the same time.

To say it’s hard is an inadequate understatement.

We are on display, and this display makes us seem like fools. We know. Yet we must. It’s not just for our sake anymore. When we enter into an ancient and eternal faith, then we become part of legacy. One that must be preserved. One that must be given to the next generation. And I just don’t have the faith to believe that our “church” systems are going to be the ones to pass on a living faith with a Living God, where even the words of God are still alive to us today.

To be eternal means there is no “Old Testament” God vs “New Testament” happy-go-lucky Jesus. Just one triune God working throughout all of history. Including now.

There is an eternal weight of glory, and it’s exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. We preserve, because if we quit, we will never know what the saints of ol’ saw. We’ll never know why the cloud of witness is cheering us on. We preserve because there’s other children coming after us, and if we were kicked out of the church for seeking deeper truth in our perilous times, then what will happen to them?

This is why we are part of a faith that is on display before men and angels. Because God has a plan. …and that’s something that I want to be part of.  So here’s to one more try…

Dispelling Man Myths

Once upon time, I was told you can’t change modern Christiantiy if you’re not part of it. You can’t change church if you don’t attend the buildings. Luckily, I’m a skeptical person. I didn’t believe that then and I don’t believe it now. I very much live on the fringe, the outside, or the you’re-going-to-hell lane. I don’t mind, the air is good out here, and I can have all the truth I can forage for. It’s awesome!
Yet once in while I peek in to see how hints are things going. And of course, it’s always the same. No progress. No clue. No identity. Yet my most recent glance in this modern Christian culture still has me all twisted up inside. My spirit mourns like a death of loved one. My mind reels to imagine healing for this ridiculous offense.
Men. My dear men, are so lied to.

#1.  A man is a man. Period.

Dear men, you don’t need a woman or partner or a fling or a bed-warmer to be a man. A man is a man, and this has nothing to do with anyone else. No one can become a man by traits, looks, sexual identity, tendencies, strength, surgery, ect. Life is in the blood. XY makes you a man, and that will always be in your blood. And if it’s in your blood it’s in your spirit. Learning how to be you as another ambitious task, but this is a task everyone faces.

However if your identity is dependent on your interaction with others, there will come a time when that will bring you into question. There will come a time when you have to live with yourself, by yourself, and still be acceptable to yourself. I always find these are ugly, trying times, and they’re worth the refining which they are.

I read some big mouth Christian authors who want to say a man is suppose to  get married and have children, anyone else is abnormal. In case you don’t know, these authors are liars (If they weren’t previously, they are now.). There are good men who are single, happy, and Godly. There are good men who are divorced, childless, and still Godly. There are a hundred other combinations I’d rather not go through. These aren’t abnormal, outside the will of God, incomplete, nor are they “gifted” with singleness. They’re just good people who are living their lives, letting their stories unfold, and dealing with changes of life as they come. …and that’s freakin awesome!  The world needs good men.

#2. (Similar to one). Being a father, husband, leader, dictator, shepherd, teacher, ect. does not make you more of a man than before, it only makes you more responsible for the lives and outcome of others.  So it maybe wise to “man up” but other than that… The Bible tells us not to rush into becoming a teacher or a leader, because they will be judged twice as harshly as their “students”. (Did your church tell you that?)

Honestly, this is normal problem that does not require woman or children to be under you. As a matter of fact, in Christianity it is abnormal to be a leader according to top down strategies. Jesus was a big promoters of “the least of these” the “servant of all” and general servanthood. Take notes from Jesus, because this stuff is not only manly, it’s severely attractive.

You know those old myths about a gentleman holding a door for lady? Standing when a lady enters a room? Or offering your coat when a lady is cold? These were simple old school practices of treating a lady better than a servant, or making yourself to be the servant to elevate a woman’s good reputation. I.E. being a servant of all.

Luckily, nowadays we don’t really stand for anyone entering a room like dukes, lords, ladies, ect… It’s just not necessary, so it wouldn’t mean anything to repeat it for women. Actually, it’d probably be weird. Yet, there still the concept of doormen or greeters, and poorer people not having enough clothing, so there still meaning within these two old school practices.

Yet what we face is practices without meaning quickly become existent, therein that what they once stood for also becomes obsolete. Then we say things like, “chivalry is dead” “gentlemen don’t exist” “that’s old fashion”, and therefore further driving the point that to practices such things now would only be peculiar not debonair.

The way we interact shows our character, but it does not install character within us. You do not become more manly by takin on a higher role.

In reading the opinions of Christian authors, I cannot understand why being a man depends so vastly on woman being in your life and generally under your thumb. That’s not manly. That’s aggressive, abrasive, and avoidance of the real issues. If one cannot live with themselves, why should others be subjected to living under them?

A man is a man with or without a woman in his life. His choices make him into the person he choices to be. Manly, boyish, aggressive, subtle, playful, ect.

As people we work together to become a better version of ourselves. Yet at the end of the day, each of us must choose for ourselves who we have become up to this point and who we will become next. Choice. Decision. Intentions. These guides our paths.

#3. It is not your job to be the “bread winner” “bring home the bacon” or be “the provider” of your family, whether that be one person (yourself) or twenty. It is your job to use your resources (including talents and time) in the most effective means of stewardship and hospitality. I know, I’m stepping on toes here, but this is too off centered for me to leave alone. Here’s the problem with that…

Being a steward means knowing what you have is entrusted to you, but it will also be required of you to give an account for what you have done with it. We don’t hold too tightly and we don’t take the responsibility too lightly either. A good steward is gracious.

Hospitality means knowing your life, your circumstances, your choices do not effect only you, and therefore you intentionally engage others, usually through kindness and collaboration.  Somehow, there’s a modern belief that thinks hospitality means paying for someone’s meal, and I suppose it’s a start. But it’s hardly the whole definition, it’s hardly a skim of the meaning.

What I’m trying to say is money isn’t the point, and it never was. It disgust me how much the modern church system is into and obsessed with money. It’s so very Babylon. So un-Christ-like. So far removed from the things of God. …And then Christian authors are going to stand up and say this is what God requires of you!? Liars.

Many of us haven’t figured out what we would be willing to trade for money. What path to take. How to keep our souls and keep afloat at the same time. Many of us don’t want to be our parents. Many of see a problem with how greatness and wealth are currently obtained. Many of us have this pull, like there something more important than how you make money, how much, and for how long. There’s a reason why this has occurred in our generation. There’s something about it we can’t deny. It must be answered. I hope we can. I hope we do.

It maybe odd for me to write to men or about men and use the pronoun “we” but as far as I can read, half or more of being a man simply requires the knowledge of how to be a reasonable human, thus the “we”.  It’s amazing that when we hit some root issues, like being willing to be servant of all, like being willing to see ourselves as stewards, like realizing God has made us to be a certain somebody now, then it changes what we are capable of. Some things correct themselves when root issues are dealt with, but certainly all things have a better chance of making adequate progress.

Part of our problem is that we tend to add to the problem. Jesus argued with those who knew the word of God and were entrusted with it, because they “laid heavy burdens on the people” and did nothing to lift those burdens. But Jesus spoke of God providing a way that is straight (and narrow) and a burden that is light. Jesus regularly spoke on heart issues, root issues, original intent of God issues. Knowing this, I do not think I can be persuaded that many of the modern Christian authors are helping the people.

Treating the symptom is a sure-fire way to die from medication, that has created new symptoms and diseases. It’s a ridiculous cycle that needs to be broken. One cannot break it by repeating the same words as the last author. One must start with the heart and root issues. Because that’s what Jesus did.

To be a man is not something too glamorous for the commoner. It is obtainable. However, if I were you, I wouldn’t buy a book about it, unless that book is the Bible and you have a few good friends to discuss with. It’s crazy how far off-centered things have gotten.  It’s really not as bad as all that. Yet it’s bad enough for me to be a reminder.

God made man. Not the system, not the clothes, not the money… Just God and dirt. And you know what? It turned out okay. Let’s not get too glammed up. The original is beautiful.

Love: What Does It Do?

I’m losing my grip on the things everyone around me seems to believe is reality, and falling into a devasting black hole of desiring love to be true.

Living a life based upon an occupation, that merely pays the bills and then defining yourself by your job, holds no interest for me. Getting a big beautiful house with latest technology and comforts so that I can live in comfort, does not appeal to me. Moving to a place for better pay, better “opportunities”, or comfortable living, is losing its appeal quickly.

It’s crazy, I know.

One of my favorite quotes is: “The call of God is like the call of the sea; no one hears it, but the one who has the nature of the sea in him.”

Comforts of the world don’t call to me. At least not like they once did. Not like I might have imaged as brand new adult. Yes I’d like nicer place to live, I wouldn’t mind having more convent appliances in my house, and generally I have a list of things that could be great to have (or do) one day. But my thoughts and heart have been captured by the stories of people who think their life vain, their existence forgotten, their souls unseen, and yet in hearing the stories I hear Jesus. I see Jesus. I love them. But “how can I help?” is the ever begging question.

As I consider their plight, our hope, and perhaps our difficulties, I think of the words of Jesus. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor, then you will have treasure in heaven.” And it occurs to me, this verse is preached totally wrong. It isn’t about giving money to the poor, because you sold your possessions. It’s about getting rid of the things that are keeping you from giving yourself to those you consider “poor”. Your treasure in heaven is the brethren. It is the love of God you’ve taught your soul to wrap yourself in and identify yourself as. It’s being meek -that’s the treasure! Your treasure is beholding God.

If we don’t see God now, will we see him as God in heaven?

It always mystifies me how Jesus identifies himself, and who he identifies himself with. “The least of these my brethren”, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?”, “whoever welcomes one of these little ones, welcomes me”, “I am the Good shepherd, my sheep hear my voice”

And yet, in the church buildings they teach about Jesus riding the white horse, Jesus the prince of peace, Jesus the king of glory, Jesus the conquer. …But it isn’t how Jesus describes himself, and I’m worried that we’ll miss him, if we don’t know who we’re looking for.

Sure, God can essential wear many hats or be known by many names, but there is something quintessentially important about how God describes himself.   And that important for me to know. I think there is a key to living the Christian life that is found in understanding who God describes himself to be, and as Christians that should go doubly for who Christ Jesus identifies himself as or identifies himself with.

I worry that to miss this is to miss being a Christian, or maybe it’s just to miss out on sainthood. I don’t know. But is seems so pivitiol, so compelling, so counter-culture that I feel sure God has left this evidence on purpose.  That call to “love one another, even as I have loved you”, the call of “no greater love has any man, than this, that he should lay down his life for his friend” these things compel me beyond the surety of how I’ve seen my own forefathers live. It calls me to move beyond modern Chrisitiandom.

It calls me to question love. Not if love is safe, but is it real? Is it worth risking ones own welling being to change the lives of others? Because if it’s not worth that, what exactly is it worth?  I’m afraid I don’t understand.

How can the comforts of a couch and cable outweigh the strong call of love? Even at the price of tears, it still seems like a bargain to choose love. To risk love. To find out if what God has created us to be is enough when we come together. My reality says its sufficient to start, and that’s how the kingdom of God is built.

Does anyone else in Christianity believe this stuff anymore? Does anyone hear and reply to the call of God? Or has Jesus become or moral sprinkles on our happy life? I fear a people who don’t want to know the God they say they serve. Who don’t want to look into his face and love him. Who don’t want to come together to help. Who think the government will legislate morality, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, befriend the lonely.  I fear a people who don’t desire to do, because they so lavish themselves in “grace”.

The parable of the sheep and goats, scares the hell out of me, because the difference is so subtle that the people themselves didn’t know it. But it comes from the same man who said, “if you were children of Abraham (the father of faith) then you would act like it.”  It seems so easy. It seems so obvious. But are we paying attention? Are we willing? Or are we already so invested in the proper things, that we do not have time for extracurricular Jesus activities? But it’s not extracurricular, it’s essential core to life …a life of love. But are we a people who believe in the power of Love? …In our dark world?  Or do we only believe in love in our safe confines, and according to our modern day systems?

Can the love of God really change the world, just because Jesus believed in would? Does modern Christanity really believe in Jesus anymore? …Do we?