Friday, June 11, 2010

DEAR CHRISTIANS.

Salve and Shalom and Salaam and Salutations to you, brethren and sistren!

Over the past few months and years, I have noticed a few things that should concern those who share my faith. I wished to write about them where the greatest number of people would see them, thus, Facebook. I invite everyone who reads this to share this with any and all of their Christian friends by linking back to it here.

First, I would like to stress that this letter is intended for my fellow Christians. As such, it will be written from a Christian perspective, one that treats matters of the Christian faith as fact rather than opinion. Please be forewarned that the King James version of the Christian Bible will be used as both a religious and historic source text throughout, as that is its purpose within the Christian faith. If you are a Christian, and you are reading this, and you cannot abide by that interpretation, please continue reading, as I have a point to make about that in a moment.

Secondly, since I am discussing Christian issues with Christian people, I would request that any non-Christians refrain from posting non-constructive comments in the Comment section. This is not to say that I don't love all my Jewish/Muslim/Wiccan/Buddhist/Astaru/Hindu/Taoist/Atheist/Agnostic/Hellenic/Mithraic/Shinto/Zoroastrian/Pastafarian/etc. friends, nor should it suggest I'm not interested in your religion (or lack thereof) and discussing it with you in a civil, intelligent manner. It simply means that today is not a day where I'll be bringing religiosity to the fuzzy-wuzzies or discussing your opinions in public; instead, today I am literally preaching to the choir. My intent with this note is to make us people you'd rather hang out and less like people you want to strangle, so I'm doing you a solid here. Please return the favor.

Thirdly, and I cannot stress this enough, I am not talking to all Christians here. Only some. Hopefully not even a majority. When in doubt, ask yourself "Am I a good Christian?" If your answer is "No." I'm probably not talking to you. If your answer is "Yes," please, in the name of all that is holy and sacred, keep reading. If you still aren't sure, continue reading anyway, and see if any of the points I make apply to you.

Now that we've got the legalese out of the way, let's have a fireside, shall we?
--M. Willie

Dear Christians:

  • YOUR BIBLE IS LAW:Period. I am sick to death of hearing "I'm a Christian, but I don't believe Jesus is God's Son." or "I'm a Christian, but I don't believe in Hell/I believe everyone goes to Heaven." or "I'm a Christian, but I believe there is more than one path to Heaven." Sad news, folks: if you've said any of that YOU'RE IN THE WRONG RELIGION. There is no room in this faith for someone that non-committal. Revelation 3:16 is pretty clear on this point--"Therefore, because you were lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth." Your Bible, the law of your faith as a Christian, states the rules in simple terms: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) That means that, to a certain extent, it is AGAINST YOUR RELIGION to be open-minded and pluralistic. What do we find in the second chapter of Exodus? "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me...for I, the LORD thy God am a jealous god." If you can't handle the idea that the LORD thy God should be your first love, and that Christ Himself is the only path to the Father, go find you another, more forgiving religion. We have stuff to do over here.
  • REMEMBER THE COMMANDMENTS: Christ said "You shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart...[and] love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40) How many of you keep even one of those rules? More on this in a moment.
  • STOP THIS DENOMINATIONAL NONSENSE:At least in public. I don't care how righteous you think you are, telling me I'm going to hell in front of a non-believer we're both trying to minister to does nothing but confuse everybody involved and piss me off. Apparently, according to the different denominations, I'm going to burn for eternity in Hell because I believe that God performs miracles, hang out with non-believers, wasn't baptised according to a certain script that's older than most fossil records, or because I love people they think I should hate. This is nonsense. How much further could we expand the Kingdom if we'd all just shut the frakk up and preach? We all follow the same God, we all preach the same Christ, why are we getting hung up on whether or not women are "good enough" to teach gospel, or how many songs you have to sing to get God's attention, or whether or not musical instruments are "sinful" in worship and contraceptives are a heinous sin? Let's pick the stuff we all agree on (y'know, that little book I was talking about earlier?) and stick to that in public. If you want to tell me why I'm going to burn for all eternity, where there is weeping, and gnashing of teeth, and the worm dieth not, at least have the kindness to do it in private, so we aren't making Christianity look like a bunch of headbutting rams with no brains to share between them, 'kay?
  • YOU AREN'T SAVED BY WORKS, SO STOP SAYING YOU ARE:i hate this self-righteous crap. It serves no one. Really. Baptism doesn't save your soul, donating money doesn't save your soul, feeding the homeless doesn't save your soul. You can't earn your way into Heaven. You can't. It's impossible. Remember the story of the man who tried to buy the Holy Spirit from the Apostles? Tried to pay his way into God's grace? Doesn't work like that. No ritual, no selfless act, no amount of "conversions" are going to get you in with the Big Guy. Just faith. Let me say that again: ONLY FAITH. How do I know this? because I know Galatians 2:16, Titus 3:5, and Ephesians 2:8-9 ("For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast."). It is this faith that has caused God to give us, freely, something we could never earn on our own, for "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). None of this is to say we shouldn't do good things--James 2:17 reminds us that "...faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."--it's just to say that we should not do good things assuming they're a replacement for faith in Christ. Feeding the homeless will not get you into Heaven if you have no faith, but it will show others God's love if you do. Think about it.
  • JUST BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE HOMOSEXUALITY IS WRONG DOES NOT MAKE HOMOPHOBIA RIGHT:This is something the majority of Christendom fails to understand. The church at large is split somewhat on this issue, but that's not what matters here. What matters here is individual hearts. If you believe (as I do, using scriptural backing from both halves of the Bible) that homosexuality is a sin, that's your business. It does not give you a license to discriminate against homosexuals in any capacity, however. It does not you a "get out of showing them God's love free" card, either. Regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, homosexuals are still God's children, and we should show them the love, respect, and kindness that all God's children deserve. They aren't contagious; you can't catch "teh ghey" by being around them, or letting them hug you, or eating at the same restaurants as them. You can't be "turned" by drinking from a water fountain they've used. It's just as stupid as thinking you'll become an alcoholic if you share a lollipop with one, or that you'll turn into a ginger if a redhead with freckles kisses you on the cheek. And, ultimately, you have no business at all trying to butt into someone else's private life.Your only job is to show them God's love. Period. Not to tear them down, or make fun of them, or hate them, or discriminate against them. Judge not, or you'll get the same. Leave them to work it out with God, and you just treat them like the people they are.
  • REPRESSION DOES NOT EQUAL STRENGTH OF CHARACTER:If you genuinely believe that you shouldn't hang out in bars, because that's too much of a temptation, that's fine. But if you think that front huggin' leads to lusty baby-makin', you have more problems than can be worked out in 12 steps. I'm not sure if any of you realize this or not, but repressing your desires without learning to really deal with them in a healthy manner is like forgetting you left the pressure cooker on. The more you ignore temptation instead of confronting it, the worse that temptation will get, and the less stimulus will be needed to set it off. I'm not telling you to give in to your animal desires. I'm telling you to have the strength of character to maintain your convictions no matter what. If you can't control yourself at a restaurant that serves alcohol, or have to resort to "side hugging" to keep your carnal impulses in check, you need to re-evaluate your life a little. If you can go out to dinner with friends, though, who are all ordering cocktails, and you can convince yourself a Diet Coke is better for you, you've just reinforced your convictions, and made that temptation easier to deal with in the future. Don't go crazy with it, know your limits, but understand that fleeing from temptation takes a lot less strength than enduring it. And as long as you'll live, temptation will too--will you run all your life? Or will you be strong, like your Savior, and live your life on your terms?
  • YOU CAN LOVE PEOPLE WITHOUT AGREEING WITH THEM:Simple enough. Just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you have to treat Muslims or Jews or Buddhists or Unitarians or Scientologists like second-class citizens. God loves everyone, and you should too. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Deal with it. Racism, religious intolerance, sexual discrimination--all these things are hallmarks of a lack of God's love. And if you aren't a beacon of God's love, you're doin' it wrong.
  • STOP TALKING CRAP ABOUT THE JEWS:I don't know if you guys have noticed, or not, but Jesus? He was totally Jewish. Moses was, too. Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob...you get the idea. It makes me sick, too, because in the Middle Ages, Jews were banned from so many countries, and yet Christ was everywhere (I guess it's because they made Him look Nordic, with a patrician nose, and paled Him up a lot.) But srsly, gaiz, Jesus was a Jew. He kept the law. He studied the prophets. YOUR. SAVIOUR. WAS. A. JEW. So let's be nice to them, 'kay? Oh, and all this "let's blame them for the crucifixion" stuff? We can cut that shit out, too. Was it their fault? Sure. Should we hold it against them? No. Christ, as He was dying from blood loss, asphyxiation, and heartbreak, forgave them. We should too. Old news, water under the bridge, let's get together an play nice. Since we're technically a sect of their religion, let's learn about them while we're at it; we can discover more of our history that way.
  • JESUS WAS NOT A PUSSY.: And I don't care if you like that word or not, I'm using it. I'm sick of people painting pictures of MY JESUS as some weak, scrawny, blonde, 98-pound weakling who was nice to everybody. You wanna know what Jesus was really like? Let's take a look! First off, given His heritage (a genealogy is given in the Bible, if you'd care to check), we can determine He was very Israeli, complete with a Middle-Eastern skin tone, a Jewish nose, and probably dark, curly, probably coarse hair. Since His earthly father was a carpenter, and the customs of the day would have Him working at His father's trade, we can assume Christ worked with a fair amount of lumber. These were the days before Ace Hardware and Home Depot, so I'm also going out on a limb here, and I'm going to assume that Jesus was a buff dude. I can also safely assume He was probably at least slightly barrel-chested; a quick glance shows that men who gain muscle bodybuilding are ripped, but men who gain natural muscle through work are shaped like a keg, generally speaking. He had a beard and long hair, which we can safely assume because of the Jewish mitzvot against cutting the corners of the beard and the sides of the head, and we can assume He also dressed like a Jew: that the "hem of His garment" was probably the fringe, or even a tzitzit from His tallit. Now, as for Jesus being this super-meek, super-mild, Clark Kent sort of guy? Stow that. Christ overturned tables, violently, and chased moneychangers around with a makeshift whip because He got SO HEATED about the moneychangers in the Temple. Christ got miffed at a fig tree and told it to die because it didn't have fruit for Him to eat, even though it was the right season. Christ stood up and told the wind and the waves to "STFU" because He was trying to sleep, and all the pre-pubescent whining of the wussy sailors woke Him up. Christ yelled at the religious authority constantly because they were doin' it all wrong. So, you go ahead and paint my Jesus in a robe with bitty muscles and this Clark Kent look on His face if you want, but that's not the Messiah I worship. Mine could tear you apart quicker than Chuck Norris on speed, but He chooses not to, 'cuz He'd rather love you and feed you and make you feel better about yourself. And, to me, that's the best kind of strength there is.
  • YOU SHOULDN'T BE A PUSSY, EITHER!:A corollary to the previous point, it is important to note that Christians should not be pushovers. We are Christian because that word means we belong to Him, and we're supposed to be like Him. We're supposed to be Christ-like. If Christ wasn't a pussy, why are so many Christians? We sit back and let everybody push us over, like a reed in the wind. That's not how we were designed! We are a Kingdom of Kings, and Priests, and Warriors! We are to be like Christ--powerful, yet merciful; awe-inspiring, yet gentle; fearsome to behold, but kind to those who need it. We are to be like Aslan, the Lion--we are not meant to be safe, we are not meant to be nice, but we are meant to be GOOD. Learn the difference, and walk with a swagger in your step. You aren't some lowly peon, you are a Child of God, adopted into the family of the Creator of the Universe, and you should ACT LIKE IT. Stop acting like spoiled, scared children! Get out there and be men and women of God! Men and women who cause hope in the hopeless and fear in the evil hearts and light in the darkest places! BE POWERFUL. STOP BEING PUSHOVERS. Quit being Clark Kent and start being Superman! You are heirs to the most powerful Kingdom in creation, ACT LIKE IT.

  • And, above all else, stop giving the rest of us a bad name. Some of us are really trying to make the world a better place. Stop working against us, and start doing your damned jobs.

    7 comments:

    1. how might i find you on facebook? i wish to send you a message

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    2. One might always send me an e-mail first, requesting such information.

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    3. fair enough, but i dont really know how to use this blogspot. when i click the 'email me' link on your profile it wants me to use Outlook, which i dont. is there another way i could do this?

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    4. I think I've spent too much time on FB because all that I'm thinking up can be summed up in the word "Like." I suppose I could expand on the thought though, and mention that I definitely benefited from the reminder of Christ not being a pussy. Thanks.

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    5. In a lot of ways, I think that's the most important part. I couldn't respect Christianity for the longest time because I felt it was...well, wimpy. Once I started studying the true nature of Christ, I discovered the strength He put behind His kindness. I was no longer ashamed to be part of a "wimpy" religion.

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    6. @ nhowell1 - If you'll hold your mouse over the e-mail button, at the bottom of your browser, it should show you my actual email address. If not, you can right-click the link and select the "copy shortcut" (or similar) option, and paste it into an email "To:" box, deleting the "mailto:" portion.

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