Christian Porn…

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If we dared to dip more of our big toe into the cool, clear waters of G-d’s love we may never experience the depth of transformation our Savior can offer.  Through out my neighborhood, I’m encouraged yet pensive by seeing the little “You Matter” signs advertising a local big, box church.  Certainly the love of G-d for every Image-bearer is inexhaustible.  This type of keen marketing has led to building multiple sites with many satisfied attendees.  Yet bad theology is no different from self-serving pornography objectifying the mission of Christ without chancing the intimacy of experiencing His relationship with the marginalized. The blood sacrifice hyped from the popular mainstream pulpits or stages, has left nothing for the hearer to do but be joyful and grateful.  Joy and gratitude are wonderful psychological building blocks for a healthy mind.  Both add a sense of patience and positivity to a friendly perspective. Was obtaining a state of joy and gratitude the reason for sending a Savior?

Is there more than “You Matter”?

What does it mean to be a disciple? What does G-d really envision for our lives? What really is the “purpose driven” life? Is scripture more than an inspirational tool that ingratiates a selfish sense of self-piety wrapped in the white-washed sheets of self worth and gratitude? …but “You Matter”?

Instead of the false cloaks of “spiritual awareness” and vanity of “gifts”, what if we wrapped ourselves in what we profess as sin?  What if we became that sin you find worthy for the heat of Hell and pleaded for forgiveness? Seriously…”You Matter”!

Good theology finds true freedom to fearlessly protest the oppression of any Image-bearer of G-d. Pick your favorite hatred or prejudice, button-up, and become one with those you despise.  Plead for their forgiveness even when they do not understand. Becoming at-one with atonement theory allows the curious disciple to plumb the depth of the final plea from a crucified Messiah; “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”

If your religion has an obsession with purity codes or vices that justify a Hell for the sinners they envy… run.

If only joy and gratitude from hearing such a “wonderful message” fill your Sundays…run.

If your hear a message that ‘cuts to the heart’… stay.

Unless we are moved to spew more than a “good word“, we will only cool the big toe of our curiosity.  We must realize John 3:16 builds the mind and soul towards the new freedom without fear – even that of persecution or death. Unless we become wrapped in our neighbor’s oppression we will cheat ourselves of ever knowing a G-d willing to bleed for us! Otherwise the cross is just a murderous, Roman tool of fear void of any meaning of our Father’s scandalous love for the Image we bear.

Its not about you. Fearlessness Matters.

“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace.
In the world you face persecution.
But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
John 16:33
(NRSV)

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When Children Sing – God Smiles!

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Song of Hope

Tides of the fashionably overdressed,
Slowly crowd a church in warm wools and hats,
Envious glances darting east to west,
Fluffy scarves dangle among copycats,
Await words from their shepherd theocrat.

Housing the comfortable from the cold,
Outside snow swirls like tiny acrobats,
Tumbling through an old jacket full of holes,
Covering a pregnant, fourteen-year-old.

Snow crunching underfoot to muffled sounds,
Determined to reach stained-glass glowing gold,
Singing loudens as she heads into town.

Struggling to open the heavy, church door,
An ear-piercing squeak turn all eyes around,
Every seat taken she sits on the floor,
In front of the altar – the crowd spellbound.

A priest left speechless, singing paralyzed,
Surreal awaits reality be found,
Holding her belly, she cannot disguise,
Accepting her place without looking ‘round.
God watches – wond’ring if grace will abound.

A child walks up and sits down by her side,
Smiling she’s blessed by the friend she’s now found,
Echoes of small shoes soon joyfully arrive.

Holding her hand, children gather around,
Singing “Silent Night” with the new joy they had found.

By Chris Clody
12/24/2016

The Parable of the beach and bourbon.

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“Sin Management” and its orthodoxy and along with a variety of fearless prejudice through damnation flourishes expectantly in in a capitalistic society.  Religion and its Author’s intention was not meant for unrealistic imprisonment within some willful discipline or spouting verses in ancient English.  Religion was meant to simply bring us back to the water. First in the simplistic joy of jumping into puddles of baptism releasing the irresistible child within.  Remember those days?   The smiles, squealing giggles, and the mad rush home to tell mom of the splashing. As we grew so does our yearning for understanding and want of deeper water.  We learn to swim in man-made pools while being held afloat despite our initial terror. Before long another layer of the gospel explains to trust in swimmies and life jackets so we may bob despite venturing into the deeper part of the pool. Adolescence of faith braves its machismo, its immortality, its certitude, and false confidence of knowing all as it does demonstrating miraculous flips into the deep end. Others even dare to swim the length of the pool underwater to the applause and hand waving of others. Amen! Woohoo! Then it happens – our first hearing of the beach and a chance to visit. Maturity of the believer finds an unexpected realm of living water as they toe anxiously into the bubbling surf.  The waves, the sounds, the busyness of birds, sand crabs, glistening shells are nothing compared to what life is bound within this turbulent and mysterious, blue mass.

Bourbon sidebar:

Religious maturity must accept mystery, regretfully learning to say “I don’t know.”  Fortunately, like the aging of good bourbon, a smoothing of taste is offered by wood.  The wood accepts the bitter aspects of regret, time to ferment in our grateful meditation.  That first small sip, held just before it is slowly rolled back by the tongue and held savor soon slightly burns yet pleases in swallowing.  

By now we are mid-calf deep in the sea foam with religious training complete, the disciple emerges and grows in the distance from the shores safety.  New fears of experiencing currents grow to terror encountering the living things that bump legs while glimpsing quickly sinking fins.  Before long the aging disciple is treading water while quelling the memory of swimmies.  The endless horizon mantles the beckoning sunset and then it hits you like a rogue wave… We are free!  Not only are we drawn to the sun but to the very depths of ourselves and our capabilities! However we are not fish, despite evolution’s promise, and soon tire of treading. Heading back to shore we gratefully ride in a wave. Still dripping you speak of the freedom and the ‘you’ discovered in the wild blue.  Others listen and dash off into the breakers while others stay sharing a sip a bourbon.  Others follow at their own pace into the cold waves while many hesitate and make camp satisfied simply to savor the magnificent bourbon.

The camp soon gathers bricks and builds a storefront at the shore advertising the magnificent taste. Storefronts become buildings with beautiful intentions for churches,hospitals and schools.  Many gather in gratitude, singing songs, and relishing that sip before returning home to clean and skim the bugs from their above-ground pools. Wealth finds some and their pools range from in-ground to “infinity” awaiting their return from the ever growing and profitable places built from bourbon tasting.

One day a man elected to run their biggest church stood before the standing room only and demanded the ushers to open the windows.  “do you smell that salt air?  Do you her the song of ocean?”  A well-dressed man stood up and scoffed, “It’s a the Siren song I tell ya and he has no right to open those stained glass window!” Still some listened, stood up and nudged their way out of the crowd.  Finding a bathroom they slipped on their suit and walked between the thin alley between the massive buildings until hot sand hugged their feet. Bellies full of butterflies they walked towards the water drawn by the warming rays of sun.

It’s ironic that the very thing that calls us is the very thing that is blocked by the religion of it.

Remember, the Son calls us to be fearless…

His,

Chris