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The Ultimate Challenge

September 2, 2010

As lunchtime rolled around today and my one scheduled massage was over, I made my way back to the house where we sleep (we are currently occupying three houses in some form or fashion, thus I must somehow differentiate to keep you totally confused). I felt compelled to retrieve a portion of the insane mountain of laundry that threatens to suffocate the life out of my family, and take it to the other two houses to wash, dry, and fold…

…And to convince my husband that I am occasionally good for something other than all-to-infrequent amusement for him.

Upon arriving in the driveway of the bunkhouse, I noticed some sort of flyer stuffed into the handle on the storm door.

My brain in assume mode: “Hmm….must be a Seventh Day Adventist recruitment day.”

My brain upon seeing the goods: “Oh wow! Apparently it is (insert my brand of faith heritage here) recruitment day.”

My brain then being sarcastic: “This oughta be good.”

So I grabbed it, loaded the laundry, and brought the pamphlets back to the wellness center with me for some afternoon entertainment. After all, I still like those people. I’ve heard they are doing some things differently. Who knows?

First flyer: (semi-colons are my friend today) “…His church was never intended to be a building, or a large, multinational religious conglomerate, or an organization of human origin and motivation.” Sounds good so far.

Unfortunately, I can’t help wondering if the auditorium is still too sacred to allow a musical instrument through the doors.

Next paragraph: “The church which belongs to Jesus is people who seek to follow His will in the simplicity of the worship He desires…..”

Really? Okay all you Bible scholars in my fan club (Anyone? Someone? Oh surely one of you reads this crap just to see how far off my rocker I’ve gone!).

Did Jesus REALLY desire to be worshiped? That’s right. Jesus. The one who walked on the earth. The one who preached love as the greatest commandment. THAT Jesus. Did HE really want humans to worship HIM????? If so, PLEASE put a scripture in the comment section.

I would suggest that he did NOT desire to be worshiped, but rather was pointing the way to a higher power.

It continues: “Jesus, the Son of God, expects Christians to follow Him in His example to worship the Father without all the fanfare, the frenzy, the loudness, the garishness of so much that passes for worship nowadays….Then you are invited to worship with a congregation of people who are striving to be Christians without the inventions of man-made ideas and doctrines; a people whose authority for matters of worship, of practice, of faith is the Word of God alone…a family who attempts to avoid incumberances developed by human councils and creeds.”

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

I didn’t know whether to be appalled or proud of the fact that they had so ingeniously put a new spin on the legalism with which I grew up.

At that point, I recalled a comment I recently made to a friend after she suggested it might be a bit unethical to go out of town to attend church when there are perfectly good churches right here in Smallville. I indicated that it was highly unlikely I would attend a church service in our community anytime soon, and for that matter, somewhat unlikely that I would attend one anywhere else.

The shocked and stunned look on her face prompted me to share my reasoning. We all claim to be Christian. We all claim to want to emulate Jesus as closely as we can. With Jesus, there were no walls, no buildings to maintain, no utility bills to pay, no preacher’s salaries. “Jesus” wasn’t the multi-billion dollar business with tax-exempt status that is our religious reality today.

I simply choose not to be a part of that portion of our national economy.

Jesus was a man who had something everyone else wanted. Jesus didn’t start a war. Jesus didn’t take a stand on illegal immigration. For that matter, he was himself an illegal immigrant at a few points in his life.  Jesus didn’t convict, condemn, or crusade. He didn’t blow up people with whom he disagreed in the name of God and religion.

Jesus taught people how to be decent human beings.

And he pissed off the legalists whose self-serving rules he broke on a regular basis.

If a “church” wants to worship the way Jesus intended, then maybe they oughta ditch group service, go out on the prairie individually, and connect with The Source….like Jesus did.

If a group of people truly desire to be like Jesus, then maybe they oughta ditch the Peter and Paul crap that seems to be an endless source of division and focus on being like Jesus.

Heck even Jesus recognized the constant tendencies of his man-posse to get into power struggles. Why can’t we see it? Oh yeah….because we are convinced they were divinely inspired. Whatever. Just remember, they were writing their own stories. How would you write your autobiography? “I was a childish, power hungry jerk and never completely got over it,” or “What I say is THE Word of God, so you’d better listen to ME!”

If said group truly wants a relationship with the Universal Power, then maybe they should sell all their possessions and share with the poor. That would include selling the church building, equipment, vans/buses, and ditching the preacher and secretary so that money could be better spent being like Jesus.

Ouch.

I live in a town of 5000 individuals. Ten percent of those are imprisoned on the edge of town and don’t have many choices as to where they practice their religious beliefs. The remaining 4500 have established no less than 20 different religious organizations, most of which meet at the same time and same day of the week, each supporting the organizations’ expenses with their tithes. That means twenty different groups all claiming the title Christian, all claiming to worship one God, all claiming Jesus Christ as their savior, all so freakin’ self-centered in their beliefs on what constitutes a proper worship service that they waste a butt load of money so we can all “have it our way”.

So here’s the challenge.

If you want the right to claim your organization is somehow more pleasing to Jesus because you are worshiping “simply”, then turn off the HVAC, close the doors on your building, put the donation box out front to catch the tithes, and send your “members” out into the community to worship like Jesus would have worshiped.

Not like Paul. Not like Peter. Like Jesus.

Wash a few stinky feet.

Or a lot of stinky feet.

In the flats.

And on the drug trafficking street.

When we all pull our heads out of our selfish arses and finally recognize the point Jesus was trying to make, then I will consider re-associating myself with a group of worshipers.

Meanwhile, if you happen to decide to do something for the poor, the hurting, the sick, call me. I’d love to help.

Funny thing is, when and if that ever happens, there may not be an organized group with which to associate. Somehow I don’t think it is possible to be like Jesus and be a part of organized religion.

We call that thar comparison an oxy-moron. (insert best hillbilly accent here)

Any takers?

Good luck with that.

*******************************************************

PS: The likely author of that pamphlet has my love and respect for caring enough to try to make a difference. My post is not intended to be a shot at the him/her, but rather a desperate attempt to draw attention to the lameness of what we insist on doing in the name of religion. Don’t claim to be doing it like Jesus, if you ain’t-a gonna do it like Jesus.

PPS: Here’s an interesting link that relates a bit: http://www.angelsghosts.com/who_do_you_worship.html

Peace out.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. quentin541 permalink
    September 2, 2010 7:45 PM

    mmmm mm mm mm Good!! Finally!! Someone who get’s it!! Amen and preach on sista!!! haha

  2. Lisa Gore permalink
    September 2, 2010 7:58 PM

    Ok missy. This one I disagree with. I do need to think on how I want to respond but be expecting one soon. Need to sleep on it and reread tomorrow when I am more able to clearly articulate. Just a thought—–aren’t you judging someone elses expression of love of God when you do not want to be judged for your expressions?

    • September 2, 2010 8:11 PM

      I can see where it would seem that way, yet I don’t feel like that’s the case. If we are truly desiring to be like Jesus, then we have to look very closely at whether he would approve of how we choose to express our love of God. Many of those expressions are based not on His teachings, but on our traditions and inherited beliefs.

      I look forward to your thoughts.

    • September 3, 2010 10:13 AM

      As I think further about this, I agree with you that I am judging others’ expressions of love of God. That judgment is based on my frustration with the exorbitant amount of money we spend so that we can support all 31 flavors of Christianity.

      So far, I haven’t found the actual economic impact of religion in this country, but I can’t help thinking that consolidation or downsizing for some organizations would free up a significant amount of money to help people who need it.

      So yeah….I am. I’m making a judgment that multiple expressions of worship are unnecessary and even selfish. I really don’t think that’s what Jesus taught.

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