Not My Jesus?

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I listened to a podcast called Evangibros that I highly recommend.  I encourage all to listen to one in particular regarding the confrontation of racism.  The link is below:

https://www.facebook.com/evangebros/

Why? Because it is challenging, deeply thought provoking, and hopefully uncomfortable.  The hosts, Don M. Schiewer and George M. Benson invite a very close friend’s of Don named Chris Sanchez.  I have intentionally prayed, fasted, and gratefully sat in silence in hopes to see and experience the hurt in not just Chris’ eyes but also through the rejected Nazorean.  The hope of this podcast is to invite all respectful discussion with open ears, minds, and hearts.  For the ‘privileged’, like myself, it is simply best to be still and silent.  And so I have, for many days pleading in silent prayer to combine my experiences with Chris’ knowing we are more like Christ when we seek community despite our various differences.

The first stone cast by Chris towards my already broken glass house of piety crashed in as a reminder of how oppression blossoms within Liberation theology.  Ancient Jewish perspectives, and yes Jesus was a Jew, draws Western Christianity kicking and screaming into the forgotten Jewish mindset of the blood, sweat, and heavy tears wrought by enslaved captivity.  Way back then, daily life was lined with rotting corpses pegged and tied to crosses on many Roman roads dominating this culture of oppression and racism.

I have replayed the words gracefully spoken by Chris over and over in my prayers and recognized that beautiful portion of Liberation theology within my own reality and my personal intimacy with Jesus the rebuilds the castle in my heart starting with a rejected cornerstone.  Dare we consider that all lines measurements and lines founding this church are trued from this one stone? Boldly, I say “Yes!”  I bless the words and work of Chris and will continue to pray towards a reparation for the sins of our own nation.

I cannot help but see that Liberation theology is a very human hope firmly adopted by the promise revealed at Mt. Sinai.  It was a necessary theology of hope of healing the sickness of hate, greed, and power nurturing racism both then and now. My rub with Chris came quickly in the program when he rightfully said, “You don’t have a right to criticize the how he protests nor why (paraphrasing here). Furthermore Chris’ quote preceding this the program stated:

“If your not showing up where the oppressed exists and are moving, then I’m not interested in your gospel; I’m not interested in your Jesus.”

Ouch.

Seriously America, we have wannabe Nazis parading and spewing their hateful rhetoric. When did vomiting this vile ideology that our Nation (was way too slow) to war against now require police protection at tax-payers expense for a sick minority’s freedom of speech? Chris was there protesting. Thank you my friend. Chris also said it felt good to release his anger and yelling at the wave of right hands raised in salutes to “Heil Hitler!”

This is certainly not my America…

My rub with Chris? Protesting is a double edge sword glimmering with both edges of the sacred and profane. My very needed portion of my conversation with Chris is discuss the dark seduction of protesting even he unknowingly admitted to when it felt good to release whatever brought some catharsis.  So what would Jesus do Chris? ( I apologize for what may seem as a very trite question I assure you it is not.)  The sacred consciousness that inspires Chris to protest is surely from above since silence conspires with acceptance of oppression. Yet, I have serious concerns for limiting one’s Christianity to Liberation theology.  Jesus is still doing something new. The work of this living Christ of God is still perfecting holiness within. No?  Does the end justify the means?  Does trading violence with violence beget peace? “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)  Did not our Jesus conquer this darkness by solely trusting His Father by offering perfect love as a perfect sacrifice?

So… Do I know a different gospel or a different Jesus?

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His,

Chris (Clody)

 

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The First Ecstasy

imagesmarystatueface (1)“Let it be done unto me.” O Mother how your words changed faith to hope. What was it like Mother? To be overshadowed, completely enveloped in the embrace of the Trinity? Reveal to me Mary the warmth and the light that captured you in ecstasy between creature and Creator! Who, but a favored soul, determined before all time, could stand in the rapture of pure love of indescribable joy? To know that your humility would impart innocent flesh to God’s perfect sacrifice requiring perfect love. What was it like to witness the Trinity transfigured about you while infused with the knowledge to hold this moment close to your heart. Still, for those eyes undimmed by doubt, your immaculate heart can be seen like John beholding the Lamb of God for the very first time. Just as it was with Simeon and Anna, the prophetess, who recognized the consolation of Israel when the infant Savior was brought to the temple. Yet it was Simeon who saw your heart, the favored one beating in tandem with the Holy One of Israel. Two hearts, the sacred and the immaculate inexplicably bound, synchronized in love. Foreseeing the very sword that pierced your Holy Son would forever martyr your immaculate one so your thoughts could be revealed to the generations that call you blessed. Hastened by irresistible charity to assist your once-barren cousin at the sixth month of her anointed pregnancy, it was not only Elizabeth that recognized the approach of your favored heart, but her unborn John who leapt at the tandem heartbeats of humility and promise proceeded by the Spirit’s warmth. Just as John the Baptist was pre-elected by the Father to clear a path for His Begotten, Mother, you were deemed ever more so. Simeon and Anna both envisioned the contradiction that you carried, one that would cause the rise and fall of many men. It seemed apropos and justly ironic that your fiat of blind trust to carry this world’s redeemer, for which no hospitality was offered in time of delivery, that you therefore accepted without hesitation in the ark of your favored womb. How you now reveal the wonders of your favor Mother, that transform the Ark of the Covenant with your sacred flesh anointed before time began. How two cherubim surely overlooked your every step preventing any man’s touch to corrupt what God had made holy and perfect. For it was not only your flesh that you imparted to the Begotten in perfect harmony with the Spirit but also your humility that the Father favored you to share.
To have this revealed in words is surely but a shadow… but to live through is pure ecstasy. I can now only surmise the moments of ‘ecstasy’ described in other lives following your God-man’s footsteps are but a tearful glimpse of the moment you and the Trinity joined as One.
Bless you Mother.

His,
Chris

Lifting The Wedding Veil

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So many questions arise from my morning rosary, particularly as I contemplate the Lord’s Passion and resurrection. These ‘questions’ are born from a personal prayer to help me see something new and beautiful as I pray.

Questions like:

What does it mean to lift and carry our cross?
What does it really mean to see through the glass fully?
Is the event at Mt. Sinai, Moses veiled face, the tearing of the veil before the Holy of Holies, , the Bride of Christ and ultimate wedding feast find cohesiveness and fulfillment in the New Testament writings?
Finally, is fearlessness attainable?

Certainly, those four questions provide enough awe and wonder for just a simple man with a rosary walking his little dogs before dawn! What the Spirit so generously avails to the seeker surely emboldens the fruitfulness of prayer.

All those questions gel together through what I can only perceive through one woman’s perspective; Mary, the mother of the Christ of G-d. A mother, a favored Jewess, who held so many things within hear humility that can be gleaned through the same glint of a soldier’s sword that pierced the heart of her crucified Jesus. Mary well knew the first five books and the authority and Laws of Moses he revealed etched upon stones by the finger of G-d. For it was atop Mt. Sinai that the Glory of G-d even transfigured Moses to glimmer so brightly that He veiled his face upon returning to proclaim the physical evidence of the Divine. Yet even the splendor of this moment, as St. Paul contends, is of no splendor at all when compared to the Incarnation of God as man. It is beyond our understanding of fulfillment or climax of the merging covenants, that we can only chance a glimpse towards this unfathomable wonder at the weakness inherited by Jesus and dare the touch the tassels of the eternal Christ. Moses hid his glow behind a veil, like the Holy of Holies, leaving the Jews with a seeking heart. Yet the Jewish culture of living the life of Torah who could not recognize this Messiah, continued with a spirit of blindness, incessant debate, and ever hesitant to lift the veil of Moses. The Transfiguration of Christ, illuminated the hearts of the three apostles yet not their faces as they descended from that mountain. In the genius of the Father, and the eventual tearing of the veil following the crucified Ransom’s giving up His Ghost upon Calvary, forever changed the perspective of Grace written upon flesh not stones. Faith in the resurrected Christ, a disciple’s extended baptism, is a foreshadow of the Christ lifting the veil of His forgiven bride. Forgiveness is analogous to the Father reaching down to mercifully scoop up those who bankrupted their will for a Heavenly culture.

So how does that command to those who seek to follow in the footsteps leading to Calvary after picking up their own cross transform us into something new? The slow transformation of dying daily, moment by moment in constant prayer to self-important priorities is strengthened by a gift of faith through grace. Hope is infused immediately when the circumcised heart reveals the Laws of G-d’s love. As stony hearts incarnate by honoring Christ’s teachings, His immaculate Torah, through a fearless love of G-d through neighbor. Are we not saved as a community that is incorporated into a mystical Bride? To the Jews, the life of Torah was a ‘going out’ and ‘returning’ in hopes of expanding not simply a community but also the faithful’s very mind, heart, strength, and soul. When dignity is offered without judgment to those in distress, the dark glass becomes less dim. The slow transformation of the washing through synagogue readings slowly made this glass more translucent, leaving only hope to wonder what illumination exists behind the vision of G-d’s clear view of them. The glow behind the veil awaits our faith in believing that Christ has lifted this veil to finally kiss the waiting cheek of His Chosen Bride. Everything Christ has done was a contradiction to our reasoning. Everything. The veil does not hide the Trinity from the onlooker, but hides the Temple restored by Mercy within the faithful. Do you now see that judgment of another is futile when the dim glass of judgment is meant for our very self-introspection? Is this not why we must simply be still and simply ‘know’ G-d? Faith is a fearless and reckless love that attracts every believer’s yearning hope gazing within this vast love. Necessity of weapons are the fruits of the fearful who fail to comprehend the orchestration of Divine Grace is just insufficient. Soon, when every jot and title of Torah is fulfilled, when weapons are smelted into plows and garden tools, when every enemy of fearless love is put asunder as footstools for a Rightful King, our veil will be lifted, our face dried of tears will be kissed, and a servant’s seat will await those hungry to finally feast on G-d’s Love alone.

Yes… there will be tribulation now and more in our futures, by take heart, be of good cheer, and lift your burden made lighter by faith, hope, and love.

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Become Love,
Chris

Broken Sidewalks

Just thought I’d share a song that’s been stuck to the sticky side of my soul. Today I hear His call.

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Broken Sidewalks

If I walk,
These broken sidewalks,
To find
The Christ I see,
Will You Talk,
Talk,
Through Me

If I stand,
To face the powers,
That force,
Their poverty,
Will You send,
Send,
Send me

If this cross,
A gift given me,
To raise,
In front of me,
Will you walk,
Walk,
With me.

You’ve captured my heart to go where you will,
Fearless with joy and awestruck when still,
Your Kingdom appears when love is fulfilled,
Lord, make holy my Heart when bridges are built,
I’ll follow you Jesus, wherever you will.
I’ll follow you Jesus, wherever you will.

Give me strength,
Spirit rise in me,
And shine,
Your love through me,
Spread Your hope,
Hope,
Through me.

Now I see,
You’re all around me,
I am,
Your pierced hands and feet,
Your mercy,
Lord,
Inspires me.

By Chris Clody
8/24/2107

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When The Bee Stings

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יְהֹוָה

When the bee stings,
a child’s tear erupts
A mother kisses away the pain
When the son disrespects;
his father disciplines,
Trust flowers anew,
Forgiveness blooms in request.
When Torah is celebrated;
His commands galvanize the beating heart
His Laws of Love infuses every jot and title,
Yeshiva lifts eyes to Sinai,
Love of יְהֹוָה and neighbor becomes a Temple.
When Profound Love finds favor;
A handmaid sings,
The Song of Hannah echoes once again,
A virgin is overshadowed,
Magnified is the soul of Theotokos.
When a Son is given;
A Way is infleshed,
A Truth awakens dim eyes,
A Life is revealed,
Magi honor a newborn King,
Psalm 19 finds its voice.
When the Olive is pressed;
Bled is Another’s will,
Stripes give healing,
A thorny crown pricks a King,
Via Doloroso is carved by His cross,
When the Son of God is crushed,
Blood and water baptize the earth,
The choir moans in silent expectation,
Obedience gives up His Ghost.
The Father’s tear anoints a gate through Heaven.
When faith, hope, and charity are sowed,
Crosses are hoisted and yoked to the downtrodden,
A disciple craves love of God and neighbor
The poor are fed,
The naked clothed,
The slave is set free,
The forgotten are welcomed,
Warmth and hope visit the sick and imprisoned,
The church gathers in song and praise.
Happy are the many
When unity is challenged, it offers strength
When friendship is betrayed, forgiveness is availed
When hope is pressured, patience abounds,
When faith is oppressed, fear evaporates,
When charity becomes human, creation finally evolves.

By Chris Clody,
5/26/17

 

Why The Egg Came First…

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The egg.  “The incredible, edi…” – sorry that was my 70’s indoctrination. I will somehow try to approximate the Trinity using this remarkable orb but not the way you’re probably expecting.  All analogies that attempt to convey the unknown seem to hit the ground running before they are limping to a cliff behind a pack of  disillusioned lemmings. However, what I want to convey is a simple truce for the ongoing domestic dispute between science and religion. Since analogies are particularly powerful among children, then those who not only still play but actually ‘believe all’ may find this as exciting as golden memories of sitting unrestrained in the back of a station wagon, a fistful of allowance, heading towards Toys R Us.

Okay, my sad analogy of this boundless, ever-giving, Triune Deity is relating it to an egg.  That same uncreated phenomena between the Father, Son, and Spirit offering fully of themselves to each other. That same incredibly diverse yet profoundly equal functions and measure finally decide it is high time to share their relational energy and allows their egg of wonder to crack. The Spirit, like the cleaving of atoms, explodes out with unprecedented force, sight, and sound.  The ever-creative energy shared within the Wonder Egg, fusing vapors and dust within the swirling centrifugation of planetary new formations begins to expand towards the infinite darkness. From the vulnerable crack, a Big Bang, shakes the billions of newborn galaxies within the universe. Life begins the very moment the Trinity becomes vulnerable.  Life actually flows from the wounded side of this extraordinary analogy.  Love allows the necessary violence to open itself to others at the sacrifice of remaining whole. Love when offered without condition is an unequaled force designed to disrupt the status quo and create life.

Soooo…yea…the egg definitely came first.

Within in every underlying precept of the biblical thread, is some sort of going out and returning back.  The return is never fruitless.  Like the word of God that never comes back void.  Eventually, we will return to the very “crack” the Spirit went out from.  I know by now you are hoping the lemmings along with my analogy has parachutes, so I’m grateful for your patience in not tapping out.

Ultimately I want to invite you to unpack some thoughts and see how well they apply to you:

  1. The diversity and love within this triune relationship.  How is this diversity reflected in your faith, your church, and your friends?
  2. Omnipotence, Ever-Powerful, and All-Knowing are well touted virtues y’All Mighty Creator.  Yet Creator is an ever-creative virtue that continuously proves its propensity through evolution and especially adaptation.  Nature always finds a way. As selfishness, arrogance, and entitled cultures, ignore the ramifications of our continuous assault upon our planet ambivalent that nature will find a way, what can we expect for our future?  What will happen with glacial calving then melting, coral bleaching, oil spills, floating trash islands, and over fishing?  Remember Nature will find a way.  Maybe a new order of water-borne species exquisitely adaptive to our flagrant disregard? Maybe an apex species? Maybe some awakening of a dormant algae or even a leviathan to go out from its slumber and return its sea to order by whatever violence necessary.
  3. Has your faith, expression of worship, seem frozen in language, ritual, tradition, inequality, and/or patriarchy?  Have you and I grown docile and content with being subservient to a power base, those Keepers of the Keys of knowledge?  How will Nature find a way to reflect the ever-creative Triune force and mutual life-giving love within and through this situation?
  4. Finally, let us end with love.  Without love we would have literally never existed. Has the love of a Messiah, which did not return void to the Father, drench us in gratitude.  Will we, even within Christendom, ever stop crucifying one another? Will we be brave enough to open our side, inviting others into our self love-realm? Has the love of G-d and love of neighbors been replaced by religion worshipping itself? Does Sunday seem so distant from the initial decision to share uncreated, original love with exclusionary fallacies of original sin? Has the Spirit convinced you that your soul is yearning for a divine relationship instead of human authority?

Ever

Ever Ancient,
Ever New,
Ever-patient,
Nature will break through.

Unrestrained,
And wild,
He will return,
To reconcile.

Stiff-necked slaves,
Keep two masters,
Keys build empires,
Wolves become pastors.

Vulnerable,
Life is bled,
Soul-drenched and weary,
His disciples are fed.

Reunion,
Draws nigh,
Inviting my soul,
Through Christ my guide.

Lord, awaken me from my slumber!

 

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)