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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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)

I Stand At the Door…Let Me In

aammf5lLet them in,
And love them anyway.
Walk their mile of oppression,
To love them endlessly,
Become family,
A new community.
Let them in.

Let them in,
Free love freely given,
Love is a flame meant to shine,
Flickering bravely,
Courageously,
And fearlessly.
Let them in.

Let them in,
For more is expected,
To feed and clothe the naked,
Unconditionally,
Cheerfully,
With empathy.
Let them in.

Meet them at the border and find ME,
Resist, demand, and persevere to expose ME,
Fight for My Life and I will yours,
I am here waiting….
Let Me in.

by Chris Clody,
1/29/2017