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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A box for God

Gift

I wrap my prejudice,
In a box,
With skin that crawls,
From a heart unlocked.
I can see my Savior now,
Facebook to face,
Bearing His wounds,
Yearning for my embrace.
Christ no longer hidden,
From my view,
For His presence,
Becomes what I do.
Moments become sacred,
Between two,
Time slips away,
As He makes all things new.

By Chris Clody
8/25/16

The Human Solution

Spoiler alert! There is no one politician that is going to solve our problems. One of my mentors, Richard Rohr, offers the following “solution”:
Those who agree to carry and love what God loves, both the good and the bad of human history, and to pay the price for its reconciliation within themselves–these are the followers of Jesus. They are the leaven, the salt, the remnant, the mustard seed that God can use to transform the world.
The answer is left to the ways of forgiveness, hospitality, and enough compassion to embrace the whole imperfection (sigh) of humankind.

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The Guest

It shines in hospitality’s welcome,
The unlocked door that leads to rest,
Exhaled it rises like cool breath at dawn,
Love offers warm drink and bread for our guest.

Resuming his journey towards life’s end,
Suffering at times from dim hearts and minds,
Find security in only their own reflection,
Demonizing instead of embracing humankind

False piety teach scripture as the Word passes by,
Yet welcome by homeless pushed outside town,
Encouraged by their new brother’s light and warm voice,
The sing and dance at the great pearl they have found!

His eyes beckon all thirsty into God’s ocean,
His words like water that drench dry souls,
His journey to reach the frightened with hope
His touch heals broken hearts joyfully whole.

Only love of neighbor can recognize love of God,
Not words spewed justifying isolation,
Only mercy received knows the grace of mercy given,
Not hearts abandoned to fear and desperation.

Spare us perfection’s reckless anxiety,
The haughty discernment that offers no rest,
Instead we welcome the “unwashed” and “unblessed”
To dine and sleep in our hearts as a guest.

By Chris Clody
7/30/2016

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

Green and Peaceful Pastures

As Lent finds me, I pray that I continue to endure with courage. Courage to lower my defenses and reveal God’s beauty and humility. Endless are my prayers to engage others with the best version of myself. As Lent teaches and I listen and realize, that best version is the very image He breathed within.

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The Rest You Seek

I Am the rest you seek,
I Am the rest you seek,
Serene are my pastures,
Giving strength to the weak.
For I Am your rescue,
Your ransom and peace,
Open your hearts,
Awake to My mercy,
Find Me the humble,
The outcast,
The meek.

Come to Me brother,
Reconcile your sin,
Bathe in my mercy,
Let forgiveness begin,
Give me your burdens,
Your worries,
Your sorrow.
Give me your hurting
Your end of your rope,
For I Am your rescue,
The Giver of Hope.

I Am the rest you seek,
I Am the rest you seek,
Forgiven forever,
I Am the Word God speaks,
I’ll raise you in splendor,
From sin’s desolate bleak,
Rejoice with Me,
And sing of this glory,
Come live in my love,
My joyful,
Heartbeat.

By Chris Clody 2/20/2016

Looking within… Oi veh.

This morning the word repent took on a slightly different tone then its typical groan. If it is true that our God is the God of all hearts, then to repent should be more than just a half-spin around but rather a halt to our momentum, becoming still, and look bravely within.  A needful gaze within our own heart to face the demons ruling our darkness of our casual parade through sin.

Sadly, I believe, true repentance, cannot be done alone since it’s the joyful work of God. This process will reveal why we truly ‘fear’ God. Despite God’s capacity for wrath, it is not why I fear Him. Ultimately it is the vastness of His willing forgiveness that leaves my jaw slag. ‘Worse’, it is His remarkable invitation through Jesus, this God-man, who prefers to not bridge safely over our miserable consequence, but plows through it, holding (sometimes dragging) me through why and how mercy is given to those who need it most.

As I finish some of my long walks down memory lane with my Brother and begin another, these following words spilled out in prayer.

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Walk With Me

Jesus take my hand,
and walk with me awhile,
help me face myself,
and purge this darkness,
that holiness reviles.

Unless held by you,
I can’t stand to face,
this sadness alone,
Mocked by sneers of sin,
that fills my heart with stones.

My legs grow heavy,
still you hold me high,
Now feels so surreal,
Smiling in my repent,
Gazing deep into my eyes,

Breathing into me,
I plunge my depths within,
Seeing woes through this mercy,
This Alpha helps love begin,
This Omega crushes all my sin.

Brother!
Fear not!
Be of Good Cheer!

Of all things you say!
while loathsome regret,
enjoys its final maul.
You wipe my loneliest tear,
Convincing me,
Love has conquered all.

by Chris Clody 2/11/2016

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The Parable of the beach and bourbon.

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“Sin Management” and its orthodoxy and along with a variety of fearless prejudice through damnation flourishes expectantly in in a capitalistic society.  Religion and its Author’s intention was not meant for unrealistic imprisonment within some willful discipline or spouting verses in ancient English.  Religion was meant to simply bring us back to the water. First in the simplistic joy of jumping into puddles of baptism releasing the irresistible child within.  Remember those days?   The smiles, squealing giggles, and the mad rush home to tell mom of the splashing. As we grew so does our yearning for understanding and want of deeper water.  We learn to swim in man-made pools while being held afloat despite our initial terror. Before long another layer of the gospel explains to trust in swimmies and life jackets so we may bob despite venturing into the deeper part of the pool. Adolescence of faith braves its machismo, its immortality, its certitude, and false confidence of knowing all as it does demonstrating miraculous flips into the deep end. Others even dare to swim the length of the pool underwater to the applause and hand waving of others. Amen! Woohoo! Then it happens – our first hearing of the beach and a chance to visit. Maturity of the believer finds an unexpected realm of living water as they toe anxiously into the bubbling surf.  The waves, the sounds, the busyness of birds, sand crabs, glistening shells are nothing compared to what life is bound within this turbulent and mysterious, blue mass.

Bourbon sidebar:

Religious maturity must accept mystery, regretfully learning to say “I don’t know.”  Fortunately, like the aging of good bourbon, a smoothing of taste is offered by wood.  The wood accepts the bitter aspects of regret, time to ferment in our grateful meditation.  That first small sip, held just before it is slowly rolled back by the tongue and held savor soon slightly burns yet pleases in swallowing.  

By now we are mid-calf deep in the sea foam with religious training complete, the disciple emerges and grows in the distance from the shores safety.  New fears of experiencing currents grow to terror encountering the living things that bump legs while glimpsing quickly sinking fins.  Before long the aging disciple is treading water while quelling the memory of swimmies.  The endless horizon mantles the beckoning sunset and then it hits you like a rogue wave… We are free!  Not only are we drawn to the sun but to the very depths of ourselves and our capabilities! However we are not fish, despite evolution’s promise, and soon tire of treading. Heading back to shore we gratefully ride in a wave. Still dripping you speak of the freedom and the ‘you’ discovered in the wild blue.  Others listen and dash off into the breakers while others stay sharing a sip a bourbon.  Others follow at their own pace into the cold waves while many hesitate and make camp satisfied simply to savor the magnificent bourbon.

The camp soon gathers bricks and builds a storefront at the shore advertising the magnificent taste. Storefronts become buildings with beautiful intentions for churches,hospitals and schools.  Many gather in gratitude, singing songs, and relishing that sip before returning home to clean and skim the bugs from their above-ground pools. Wealth finds some and their pools range from in-ground to “infinity” awaiting their return from the ever growing and profitable places built from bourbon tasting.

One day a man elected to run their biggest church stood before the standing room only and demanded the ushers to open the windows.  “do you smell that salt air?  Do you her the song of ocean?”  A well-dressed man stood up and scoffed, “It’s a the Siren song I tell ya and he has no right to open those stained glass window!” Still some listened, stood up and nudged their way out of the crowd.  Finding a bathroom they slipped on their suit and walked between the thin alley between the massive buildings until hot sand hugged their feet. Bellies full of butterflies they walked towards the water drawn by the warming rays of sun.

It’s ironic that the very thing that calls us is the very thing that is blocked by the religion of it.

Remember, the Son calls us to be fearless…

His,

Chris