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)

 

The Smell Of Fear

 

tumblr_n5mvwy56Ba1rrecxqo3_250.gifAaaaahhhh… such a sweet smell to the King of the Orcs, Azog the Defiler. Fear.  It is the the unholy sacrifice of our belief in the Lord who commands us not to fear.  When we bow to fear we choose enslavement.  Why do we choose to abandon our noble hope and faith just to settle for despair, doubt, and a path well-traveled?  In abject contrast to satisfying fragrance to a demagogue  of fear, like Azog, is the trusting prayers that waft up basting the Heavens with a fearless fragrance – irresistible to the One who makes all things new.  My thoughts today are really a request to engage your help to encourage these burdened under-shepherds of the cloth to remember those who previously carried this torch of the Gospel to their doorstep without regret or fear.  Presently, the message of the Gospel is  being crowded out by what people want and not so much what they need. Ironically, the “Good News” carries quite a shadow of hate.  If there is a timelessness to human culture it presides through the intoxicating effects of people praise.  Hence the success of Hollywood and even our latest president-elect. However, when Jesus mentioned He and G-d were one, well… yeah, a whole lot of that stuff hit the fan. As the fan coughs to a sputtering stop, we quickly surmise the cost of spreading this type of “good news.”  If this God-man, Christ wasn’t necessary then the Gospel would be a no-brainer and an absolute joy to contemplate every minute of the day. It would be like….incessant prayer. Unfortunately, the Father sent His only begotten to complete His will, His Torah for His chosen, who was unfortunately welcomed eventually by crucifixion.  Don’t be fooled that Christianity has no cost.  It actually costs as much as someone love without fear of any consequence.  No regrets.

Nevertheless, my soul feels a disturbing dread and an unwillingness of these priests and pastors to behave in the freedom of fearlessness.  I covet your prayers to lift those truly called to rise up. I am also praying that those seeking a comfortable career in the non-profit, business sector of motivational speaking to please step down.  Although the cost is everything to walk the path of discipleship, the yoke is light when inspired by love. For those who have found their niche in gospel entertainment there is a price to be paid; a wrath beyond our imaginations.  We must be active and gently encourage both those stepping up and stepping down through face to face conversation.  We must lovingly convince those called to teach please to remember scripture is a portion of God’s will to manifest in our reality. If fear is an option then the pulpit is not.

For the Catholic priests:  Passionately ordained to consecrate the paschal sacrifice, the summit of their sacramental Everest, do you truly believe in the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine? Is there a wedge of fear that separates you from entering into this intimate Trinity completely naked?  Would there be any hesitation from protecting the very sheep you have been called to feed? When Christ inquires,”Do you love Me?” is your answer a fearless ‘yes’ to protect the sheep you see on Sunday.

For Pastors: Your passion for social justice finds the Christ in the oppressed and marginalized.  Have you forgotten the needful protest of your Protestant heritage? Would you seek out that one lost sheep?

Last year, 2016, was a year of silence.

When the humiliating parade of misogynistic commercials filled the ears of children, I stared at my Rosary in disbelief. I wept at the utter desolation at how her Son must have felt about those raising His body in consecration.  Surely her adoring son yells, “Flesh of my flesh!” –  yet somehow He is not surprised.  After all we’re humans . Right?  You allow yourself to be called ‘Father.”  I am a father to a daughter and a husband to a wife, both temples Christ is patiently rebuilding while their walls are vandalized in vitriol. What about the pedophilia scandal and its complete absence from every pulpit? What ‘Father” on this beautifully , blue orb would remain silent? Why has fear woven a cloak of complicity and secrecy of hiding predators feasting on innocent children? Pastors, what about your bride’s reaction as you talked quietly at night.  Furthermore, how could one not be consumed with zeal to protect one’s very spouse while trying to communicate the mysterious vision of a “Bride” for Christ?  If misogyny is met with silence then  what to make of the teaching on the mount where name calling is equal to murder? Why then was your voice not being raised outside of your safe, holy bubble on Sunday?  Do you hear now the words begged Simon; “Do you love  Me?”  Do you then feed your sheep by example or the slop of “mere Christianity?”

Let us pray to support our priests and pastors during these difficult times and gently encourage them to discern their meaning and application of leadership along with unhesitating protection of the flock.

 

His Peace,

Chris.