The Hijacking of Two Religions

trump-signsWhat we are seeing in our political disagreements these days is what I call a hijacking of not one, but two, religions in order to further agendas that aren’t at their core, religious at all.

Historically, the Republican party touts itself as a largely Christian party, embracing the supposed values of their religion. The Democrats, historically, have more atheists in it as a whole, and tend to be known to espouse more of a scientific lean, as well as a socialist one.

This is just how things have been for as long as I can remember. I identifywomens-march as a Christian, but I have never been fooled that either party was a good fit for someone like me. I love science, and don’t believe it has ever been an effective tool to disprove my belief in God. I take God’s admonition to care for the poor, the orphans and the widows as a mandate, which I guess makes me look more like a socialist. I really don’t care, frankly. In the end, I’ll be judged by a higher court, and that’s the one I’m concerned with.

I also don’t find myself fooled by Political Christians who blab on and on about bringing God back into our country’s schools and governments, but whose agendas seem a little more self-serving and unrighteous.

cross_summit_cross_christianity_218516They’ve hijacked Christianity, throwing around terms that ignite within Christian countrymen in order to secure high positions for themselves, after which, they will do exactly what the hell they want– secure power and position for themselves — and not what God might want. Do not be fooled by words. Always, always look at actions.

Hence, I find myself cringing daily about what I am reading on the internet. Vicious verbal attacks are slamming back and forth, problematic argument methods are being embraced and repeated over and over, and two religions are being hijacked by a ton of people. Yikes.

Hijacking Christianity

For those of you who bought into the line that the Republicans are on the side of the angels, let me point some things out. I’m a true-blue, trying-to-live-it Christian. I read my bible, and I pray. And I am so offended that this presidential race is hijacking something I care so deeply about to serve deceitful motivations.

Abortion

I have read how abolishing abortion is step one towards returning this country back to God. Did you know, abortion isn’t even once mentioned in the bible? There was never going to be any way God was going to be able to enumerate every single decision we’d ever encounter and give us what the right answer should be. So, He gave us a conscience instead. Paul even goes on to say, what is sin for one person is not, per se, a sin for another. Abortion is a conscience matter. Just because your conscience screams at you that this is wrong, wrong, wrong, God still did not address this specifically in the bible. So using it as a cornerstone for “bringing God back” is stupid, in my opinion.

Teaching Creation in Schools

The other big nonsense issue I’m hearing so much about is teaching creation in schools again. Are you kidding me? Would teaching creation in school again ever make any real difference to a real Christian? This is what I call a Belly Button Question.  This name is derived over the patently absurd argument church people had in the ’80’s about whether or not Adam and Eve had belly buttons, being that they were not actually born, but created. Yeah. I know.

How much does that really matter, when you consider the bible and our religion as a whole? The bible does say God’s concept of time and our own are not the same, and while I don’t believe in evolution as a whole, I do believe that many of our species now are adaptations, which is in fact, a form of evolution. I went to private schools as well as public ones, and was taught both. Neither of them has even once played any part in my faith as a whole.

Gay Rights

Then there’s gay marriage. The bible briefly mentions in the Old Testament and briefly in the New Testament that this is a sin. I wish I could say that isn’t the case, but I’m not God. I didn’t set the terms of life.

But, the subject of homosexuality did not make it in the book nearly as many times as, say, the 10 commandments, the admonition to love one another, the declaration that we are all laboring under a sinful flesh that can only be redeemed by His Son’s blood, the directions to care for the poor of this world, etc. I don’t personally care if a person is gay. To me, God and them can figure themselves out. Plus, in God’s eyes, sin is just sin, and there is no rankings. For instance, a person who tells a lie is equally guilty in God’s eyes as the person who is a murderer. Consequences here on earth are very different, but from a heavenly standpoint, both are equally guilty of breaking God’s rules. So, hating a person because they are gay makes no more sense than hating all divorced people who remarried (because that’s adultery), hating all people who have ever lusted after another person in their hearts (also, adultery and fornication), hating anyone who has ever told a lie…You see where I’m going with this. We aren’t equipped to be each other’s judges, which is why we were told not to do it. We will always get it wrong.

I do know that God didn’t give me qualifiers about who to be loving towards. He even said to love your enemies. How is causing hatred toward anyone a Christian way to bring this country back to God? The bible says, before you go worrying about speck in someone else’s eye, remove the forest from your own.

Fear – Hijacking Islam

Which brings me to my last point. God repeatedly tells us throughout the entire bible, and in almost every book in it, not to be afraid. He did not give us a spirit of fear, and even a newborn, recently saved Christian knows this.

It bothers me that the party that touts “bringing God back” is hijacking Islam to rattle us with fear. Are you kidding me? There’s nothing about God’s nature that I find cowardly or afraid. A wall? To keep out bad guys? That’s playing to fear. Banning Muslims from the countries that did NOT have a hand in 9/11 (wow.) because we’ve decided collectively that we should have the right to discriminate against people because of their religion after all, as long as it isn’t our own. Also, that plays to fear.

Fear is NOT a Christian principle at all, in any part of the bible, and should play no part in what we real Christians want for this country.

Summary

If the Republican stance was truly about bringing God back, we’d have hell on earth trying to do it, and that is just if we tried to bring the 10 commandments back into play. Sadly, a ton of what I call Facebook Christians don’t even know what those are. I watched Fox News hosts ridicule Al Sharpton for calling Jesus a refugee. They insisted he wasn’t because his parents were only in Bethlehem to pay their taxes. Fox News is predominantly Republican, and very verbal about “Christian Values”.

Oh.Mother.Of.Mary.

The flight into Egypt is a biblical event described in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:13-23), in which Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and infant son Jesus after a visit by the Magi, because they learned that King Herod intended to kill the infants of that area. source: Wikipedia

Hence, Jesus was, indeed, a refugee.

I truly believe there are real Christians that bought into the hype. If you don’t know your bible, it is actually easy to do. But this is why the Lord told us to study it. We need to be able to look past what people are saying, and see the truth of why they are saying it. I would tremble with fear at ever using the Word of God the way I’ve been seeing it bandied about by our present government. God will not be mocked, and I hate to see people fooled because of a lack of basic understanding.

For better or for worse, the liberal left are not twisting the Word of God for their own purposes. Instead, when the righteous right keep tossing scriptures around to validate what is going on, it gives them the opportunity to throw scriptures right back in their faces. The Democrats didn’t campaign on bringing God back. The Republicans did, and if you are going to open up that argument, you can’t get mad when it can be used right back at you.

I wish neither side would use God in this way. My spirituality is a sacred thing to me. But I earnestly want to bring attention to the fallacies of this kind of way to grab governmental power. I want to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to be smarter than this.

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

You can’t be wise by falling for every scam.

~ Bird

 

 

What We Look For in a God

Jake and Suzie-1-4In 2005, I was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident. For a month or so, I hung in the balance between life and death, my punctured lungs succumbing to pneumonia and ARDS, in and out of comas, every rib broken, liver pierced, heart bruised, and on and on. No one was convinced I would live, or could live.

But I did. God was clearly involved in my survival, and several months after entering the hospital dying, I walked out alive.

When I returned to my life, though, I found rising deep inside of me a

Dj, Caitie-Bug, and Rebekkah
Dj, Caitie-Bug, and Rebekkah

genuine anger. Yes, my body had begun to mend, but I hurt badly all over, my ex-husband had not paid any of our bills for months or taken very good care of our kids, and I found myself weak and overwhelmed with the task of putting all of our lives back on track.

Up until that point in my life, I had been careful to direct any anger about things in my life anywhere but in God’s direction. And there was a lot of anger to direct. I left my childhood home and family enraged, and my first few years of adulthood, while on the surface seemingly normal and calm, concealed beneath a churning ocean of anger, disappointment, betrayal, and sadness.

My mother and me...
My mother and me…

I believe that we have a better ability to ignore the wounds of our childhoods when we are young and strong, both in body and in mind. But after my motorcycle accident, with my mind still reeling from the shock of what had happened to me and my body still groaning beneath the pain, I found that I was unable to ignore certain emotions that were threatening to swamp me, and frankly, my dark thoughts were frightening me.

Chef has always been super popular with people who knew him. Me, notBandido Chef so much. It isn’t that people didn’t like me. It was just that I don’t collect large numbers of people to invite them into my life on an intimate level. I have always been careful about who I consider a friend, and I’m too introspective to have much energy left over to give acquaintances. And whenever I don’t feel well, or I’m sad, or stressed, or whatever else, I tend to withdraw and isolate a bit. I can’t manage social niceties while dealing with whatever it is I’m dealing with. It just isn’t how I function.

broken windowsSo, you can imagine how much I enjoyed parades of biker clubs coming to visit me in the hospital, along with the other supporting cast of Chef’s life. Plus, he went on television and spoke about motorcycle safety laws and held a rally in honor of those of us who had been hurt in this accident. I have memory after memory of waking up in a fuzzy state with faces looking down at me in pity.

When I got home, my three teenagers were pissed off too. Chef had Don and the kids 001farmed them all out to different biker households, and as is our family tradition, it would seem, they had all started smoking weed to cope. For 3 months, they basically did whatever they wanted to do, smoked a bunch of crap, and had to wait patiently to see if their mother was going to die.

So, yeah. I came home pissed at the world. Chef has never been a Christian much more than in words, but I had tried hard to make him understand why I was upset. It did no good to accuse him of anything. He thought his wife was going to die, and who knows how well or how badly we will handle that kind of stress until we have to? I couldn’t really direct my anger at the person who caused the accident either, because he’d been a fifteen year old kid, the same age as my own son, and with about the same maturity level.

When it was all stripped away, it came down to me and God. And for a person like me, that is a very scary place to find oneself. It could not be ignored anymore. I was upset with God.

Chef reached out to the most religious person he knew, hoping to find godsome help for me. I don’t remember exactly how he knew him. He wasn’t part of our biker community, but I don’t think they worked together either. But this man had purchased a prayer cloth from a television evangelist who had prayed over it and sent it to him for me.

Yep.

(Clearly, my ex never understood me much, even after twenty years.)

I was touched by the kindness of this man, but disgusted by television load of crappreachers who peddle in this nonsense. I accepted it politely, pressed it into a scrapbook, and plunged into the unhappy ocean of being disappointed in God. So, of course, Chef invited this man to come council me a few months after I went home.

c-s-lewis-quoteI listened for hours as this well-meaning man gave me all the reasons why I shouldn’t feel the way I was feeling. What really stood out among his various mis-teachings was his belief that we were on the same footing as Jesus Christ, demi-gods, if you will. He lectured me in the Word of Faith doctrine that has been corrupting our churches for decades now, and he sought to build me up with promises that if I could summon up enough faith, God would have no choice but to give me anything my heart desired.

As he was talking, the Holy Spirit seemed to wake up inside of me. I was polite to him, all the while disputing his beliefs. And finally, it came down to this — “Why do you believe what you believe, and what in you makes you want to believe what you hear?”

What are you looking for in a god?

It is a sad reality these days that people believe what they hear others tell them, but put little or no effort into finding out the truth about the Lord by looking for themselves. Even worse, they lack the self-awareness needed to understand why they are looking for certain versions of God.

When the man left, and for the first time since the accident, I went to my bible and started looking for the truth. The real truth.

It took no time for me to find it. I was angry at God for so much about this 18c6326b9228e34bc10dca933c81b7e4accident. Forget the physical pain. I’m no wimp. I can handle pain with the best of them. It wasn’t the myriads of visitors being directed into my hospital room by a husband who should have known by now how I hated people around when I don’t feel well, or the sudden drug problem by not one, but all three, of my strong-willed, not-easily-managed-on-their-best-days teenagers, or the stacks and stacks of threatening bill collection letters. No. It went further than that. Deeper.

I won’t go into the harsher depths of my crisis of faith back then. This is already a really long post. But I will tell you His simple answer:

“One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?’ But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”

Romans 9:19-21

I know it sounds like an odd, not very comforting answer, considering how rough the times I was going through were. But for me, it was the perfect answer. It spoke to a truth in me.

how-to-wait-upon-the-lord-for-your-breakthrough-3-638I’m not one to want to be enslaved to a weak authority. If I am going to place all my hope in a god, I want it to be a real one, with power and godlike qualities. I want to be able to ask my god, why? But I want to be fearful of him as well. I don’t want to serve an ATM in the sky, or find special mantras that will force a deity to succumb to my infantile authority. I don’t want to imagine my god wringing his hands in worry over anything I think about what he says or what he does.

I want the God who predestined His own Son’s death at the beginning of cropped-sad-girl1.pngthe world. I want the God who shuts up the sea behind doors, who gives orders to the morning, who has seen for himself the gates of the shadow of death. I happily give over my life and all that it will ever mean to a god who is really a God. I want a worthy God to strive for a life that is worthy of Him.

Here I am, years later. All those terrible problems have resolved themselves in one way or another. But the most valuable treasure I took from the experience is the knowledge that my God will do as He pleases with what belongs to Him. For me, there is a trust that comes from understanding the God I serve is powerful, and He doesn’t serve me.

who_do_you_serve.jpgI’m saved by His mercy and by His grace, which He has freely given me without a single iota of it being commissioned by me at all. And because of this, I can trust that He doesn’t need mantras, or powerful pieces of cloth purchased from holy men, or some twisted exercises designed to summon up immeasurable things like faith. He doesn’t need anything from me at all, and because of this, I both fear Him, as well as respect Him.

~ Bird