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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The Tug of War

Choices

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The tension between Good and Evil,
Is taut by energies of love and hate,
Sliding between life-giving and lethal,
Muddy grounds determine fates,
Lest traction finds ground to pull its weight.

Even the whole of Hell shall not advance,
Nor Heaven’s glory can abate,
Choice alone heaves from its determined stance,
Giving sin or sacrifice its rightful chance.

Every tug honors God or pleases Satan,
Life compiles of little choices not happenstance,
Leaving souls raised in glory or left forsaken;

Is faith really a gift to those awakened?
Knowing those left behind if I’m taken?
Will Christ hold my heart that’s breaking,
And catch tears falling through hands still shaking?
Faith is hard on the heart and not worth faking,
With crosses bearing backs misshapened,
Trudging narrow roads Christ straightened.

This tug of war of choices,
Accounting the cost of gains and losses,
For fragile lives only hope rejoices…

The question remains, before all time and still,
How will each heart, each mind, each body, and soul use free will?

By Chris Clody 9/13/15

The Supremacy of Christ
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.… (Colossians 1:15-17,ESV)

The Full Armor of God
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.…(Ephesians 6:11-13,ESV)

A Risky Path Finds Holy Ground: LENT

Radical, self-giving, unhesitating, and genuine is the love mentored by our Savior. It is in the housecleaning of repentance that we not only find how deep we buried our true self, but an unexpected, inner wilderness that beacons towards a risky path of love.  Here in the desert of our being, hot sands become holy ground.  I pray you find it’s worth the walk….

Inner Wilderness

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Stumbling through my inner darkness,
A Light glows beneath a door,
Opened only when I confess,
Desert sands replace the floor,
The sun burns hot, yet I explore.

Is this my Hell or Holy ground?
My prideful thoughts begin to war,
Cursing at this door I found,
My burning flesh begins to brown,

Endless are the desert swells,
Holding sin like burial mounds,
Mirages tempt like water wells,
Dismissing all that ransoms Hell.

This risky path I walk alone,
Pulling the clapper on pride’s death knell,
Because the love that I’ve been shown.

Returning through the door I’ve opened,
Darkness flees from reaching light,
Liquid sun paints once dark golden,
Humility grows with new sight,
More repentant, more contrite,
Knowing this desert cross bears God’s delight.

by Chris Clody 2/25/2015

Seek and you will find.

His ,
Chris

Divine Ascent

imagesfrdsI’m truly grateful for the friends that steady my vision and encourage me to see beyond the pale.  Unlike opinions to politics, the spiritual life offers a simple choice as if stepping onto a ladder.  The love of God or our repulsion to His irrational invitation awaits our response regardless of our state in life.  Gratitude abounds in the knowledge of a patient God whether this deeply personal choice is made hastily or through long contemplation. Despite our incredible human capacity to make this gift of divine love complicated, exclusive, and unreachable, a remnant of hopeful hearts within the friends we can’t live without remain to offer enough light for the next step up that ladder.  Today I was blessed to be given the chance to contemplate the inspiration in the following illustration of a 12th century icon called the “Ladder of Divine Ascent” :

TheLadderofDivineAscentMonasteryofStCatherineSinai12thcentury

Note: In this icon we have Christ in the upper right hand corner receiving pilgrims into heaven. On the bottom, left of center, we have the mouth of hell open to those who abandon the ladder and chose the easy open-air path to destruction. One of the many reasons that this icon is so effective is that it makes very clear that there are only two trajectories. Each pilgrim is either moving up, or headed down.

If this depiction showing life offering two fearful trajectories, in which neither look “fun”, then that’s a shallow interpretation of this illustration and certainly the vision Our Creator has for each and every one of us.  I believe the deeper inspiration is our numbness or respect towards fear and more importantly, either our indifference or reverence in returning the effort of love freely offered to us in sublime forgiveness.  What do you see?

Seek Love,

Chris

The Divine Ascent

Rung by Rung, hand over hand,
Focused eyes stare heaven bound,
The ladder of one’s divine ascent,
Seeks to only to cast its crown,
While teetering above Hell’s hounds.

Unreasonable and humble,
Uncomfortable and quiet,
Unsatisfied with progress,
For Love is an action that cannot sit –
For an inconsumable fire has been lit…
The heart must remain restless,
To pull upon that final rung,
This work is hard and unpopular,
Yet at peace from a victory won,
From whence their sins quietly hung…

Pray pierced hands pull us past that final rung,
Knowing just the good and faithful hear “well done.”

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By Chris Clody 2/6/2014