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)

The Consuming Fire

Heart shaped splash

Sin is a droplet

Sin is a droplet turned steam,
Barely approaching Mercy’s flame,
Like darkness found by sunbeams,
God delights in all repentant claims,
Quickly banishing whatever blame,
“At Last!” His image now reclaimed.

Merciful, forever, merciful,
God and love shines one in the same,
A shoulder to the remorseful,
Holding our hand when we’re unable.

Faith, hope, and love give us soulrest
Deep within Messiah’s cradle,
We emerge baptized, wet and grateful to bless.

The doomed droplet mists a saving rain,
Death becomes life when repentance gained,
Knowing that in Christ there is no shame,
This excited bride awaits her Husband to claim.
…if we but turn and believe the reason He came.

“Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall not suffer
the just to waver for ever.”

(Psalm 55:22 Douay-Rheims Bible)

by Chris Clody
7/20/16

Morning has broken!

Yep, I’m a morning person, that’s confirmed with the first, brisk inhale as my ears gorge on birdsong.  Seeing my puff of breath brings out new depths of personal gratitude while this background symphony by feathery friends assist my morning prayer. These are the moments that leave me truly awestruck and wanting to see the face of God. I anxiously await another sunrise that will soon still me so I may blush along with the clouds at the promise of forever and a new day. I pray for those who miss this opportunity, to truly breathe Mercy, and make ready our will to love another.

Surely….God is amazing.
sunrise

Someday…

Someday, sooner or later,
Life becomes something more,
When the hidden songs of birds,
Overwhelm and occupy the soul,
And desperation opens a new door.

Surely, we all will realize,
Entitlement’s thin veneer,
That stuffed us full of sugar,
Catering buffets of the ephemeral,
Petrified of the beauty we might hear.

Someday, now sooner than later,
That sunrise will catch our breath,
And draw us out like a moth to light,
Into that early morning dawn,
to doubt the finality of death.

Surely, in that golden gaze of sun,
The veneer will melt away,
A smallness will overtake us,
Grateful to feel our soul’s first yearning,
while repressed love blooms its first bouquet.

Someday, has come today,
Transfixed, unsure, willing and trembling,
Like a beggar holding flowers,
Stands now at the door crying,
Instead of excited and holding an engagement ring.

By Chris Clody
6/18/16

Mercy’s Riddle

The way to God is down, through our mistakes…not up through spiritual elitism and perfection.  Spiritual poverty is the joy in not taking ourselves too seriously.Therefore the mere concept of Divine Mercy leaves us puzzled and bankrupt in this return on God’s investment.  There is nothing that God offers as a gift that can find hospitality within our ego despite the soul’s yearnful immersion into it. The answer to this divine riddle is not simply accepting our imperfection, but embracing it as diversity, as community, as one body alive and awake.

Mercy’s Riddle

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Naked and battered,
Hope’s crushing loss,
Death claims victory,
Pegged to a cross.
The soul understands,
This contradiction,
Ego fails to grasp,
Victory’s Passion.
Heaven’s inheritance,
Is riddled through mercy,
The last shall be first,
Incarnates humility.

by Chris Clody 6/19/15

The Gift

Sunday is comin’…

Sweet Repose

images cross

Your sacrifice is my only treasure,
That clothes me in priestly purple,
The crown You give inflames my endeavor,
Defining life’s endless circle,
By love; Holy and eternal.

O Redeemer, my sweet repose,
Ancient Love, so rich and fertile,
David’s Root blooms through a Mystical Rose,
Whose prickling thorns grow inward and painful,
Cut down for sin – yet still arose,
Fin’lly reaching Heaven for us below.

Sacred seed chooses a holy garden,
Incarnate blossom from a joyful rose,
Resurrection softens clay once hardened,
Fragrant is Your way to sinful pardon.

O Redeemer, my sweet repose,
Ancient Love, so rich and fertile,
David’s Root blooms through a Mystical Rose,
Whose prickling thorns grow inward and painful,
Cut down for sin – yet still arose,
Fin’lly reaching Heaven for us below.

O Spouse of my soul, how sweet is thy kiss,
Whilst begging our forgiveness hanging from your wrists,
Save your servant from the darkened Abyss,
And vouchsafe reunion within Trinity’s bliss.

by Chris Clody 3/15/15

Sin Eaters…

One of my favorite movie lines is found in the Bourne Legacy:

sineaterByer: No, it’s not. Tune in to what I’m trying to say to you. Do you know what a sin eater is? [Aaron mouths no] Well, that’s what we are. We are the sin eaters. It means that we find the moral excrement that we find in this situation and we bury it down deep inside of us so that the rest of our cause can stay pure. That is the job. We are morally indefensible and absolutely necessary. You understand?

I’m not sure how my mind makes connections, nevertheless, I will attempt to connect this concept with my gripe against Americanized Christianity and it’s approach to Lent/sin. Today’s comfortable, cotton candy words streaming from pulpits or open stages, whether priest or pastor, vestments to Hawaiian shirts, seem more concerned in soothing our egos to further advance job security and growth of their church.

Lent is facing the well hidden, completely defensible, sin buried deeply within us. Sin is very personal.  We know all its desires to keep it well fed. We actually believe this sin is our due, our self righteous reward, and sadly our strength.  Sin is alive to us, our self offering – but dead to God. Listen to Romans 6::13, “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” Welcome to the purpose of Lent.  This has nothing to do with jokingly giving up ice cream but rather a focused death of personal sin.  Consider the remarkable failure of traditional Lent practices about giving up ice cream and think about how antibiotic resistant bacteria entered our lives.  If you have a bacterial infection and do not take the full course of antibiotic to kill the bug, guess what, ….it gets stronger.  How? If you only spoon feed yourself two of the prescribed five days of the yukky stuff and happily kill off eighty percent of the infection, then what happens to that remaining twenty percent of creepy crawlies? Despite feeling  a little better, you have now shown your enemy your war plan for next time giving them plenty of time to begin figuring out a way to become resistant.  Imagine what happens with ice cream! For the rest of the year, some of the remaining non-lactose intolerant will eat it with a vengeance, as if it couldn’t effect them.

Lent is clearly not about ice cream, cookies, chocolate, or chips. Lent is about maturing.

Lent is daring ourselves to look deep within, removing the moral excrement hidden under the facade of righteousness, and killing it over a prescribed regimen of forty days. Lent is not only for people, but all governing bodies spouting Christian grace through Christ. And yes…it is always time to houseclean.

Are you as tired as I am? Is this concept even new? When will Christians, in all positions, garner the courage to stand up and say enough!  When will the fear of job security of the preacher turn to God and not self comfort?  It amazes me that although I heard it preached many times that we will all stand naked under the clarifying light of God, yet… sin still seems to be the preferred offering instead of righteousness to God.

Oh yeah, as for sin eaters, there was and is and will be only One…

Pray for me since God has been more than patient, abundantly merciful, ever-loving, and unexpectedly forgiving with me!

His,

Chris

Beyond The Veil of Pain – Love Walks With Me.

So many of my friends, from the young to old, navigate unknown paths dragging a burden that compromises their reality with such grace. Some paths are growing thinner, overgrown, and uphill – yet they have become more nimble, more courageous, imparting peace within themselves and our empathy. True empathy allows the Christ in family and friends to bear up shoulder-to-shoulder, lifting the cross and lightening the load for the ones we love. Lift high our crosses and love someone!

This Cross

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My Lord what cross
have you prepared for me,
that I should lift
this opportunity?
Dare I follow
with this weight above me?
Jesus, Savior!
Now I’m yoked to thee,
A lighter load,
As we trudge hopefully,
Despite the pain,
suffering sets me free,
Because I share,
with You, and You with me.
No longer fear,
rules my mortality,
For by Your cross,
and death, You rose for me.
Thank you Jesus,
For this cross you’ve given me.

Fear’s thin veil,
now torn, I see –
this Love that sets us free

calvary

by Chris Clody 2/2/2015

In Him We Rise,
Chris