EXETERYour brother kings and monarchs of the earthDo all expect that you should rouse yourselfAs did the former lions of your blood.Henry V Act I, Scene 2
Note: I wrote this about 3 weeks ago and elected not to publish it. I wanted to read it when I wasn’t all heated up under the collar. It is a rant. Read it as such.
I’ve been angry for a long, long time.
I have listened to the Book of James say to be “slow to anger.” I have been slow to anger. I listened to the same book say that wisdom that comes from God is first of all peace loving. I have been a lover of peace. I have striven to be a peacemaker all my life as true son of God. I have asked my questions peacefully and not rocked the boat. I have no confession of sin in regards to my desire to live a loving life with my brothers and sisters and the outside world.
Now for the confession.
I have allowed myself to be censored. I have cared too much for the opinions of man. I have not loved in action and deed as I should. I have worried too much about success and not enough about truth. Real truth. I have not joyfully defended my God when I should. I have not angrily turned over tables in temples when I should have. I have played nice. I have let politics interfere with my thinking as if any government of man can fix or has ever fixed anything. I have not stood against inequity enough. I have not stood against inequality enough. I have been lazy in my pursuit of my purpose. And I have wanted to be liked. Forgive me, Lord. And I’m sure there’s more.
I’m done. I’m embracing my anger.
I love the Church, the Body of Christ. I love her so much I will no longer cut her any slack. When I was a kid, I saw her chew up good men, pastors, prophets, and women holding those selfsame offices who were denied the title. It’s a wonder I survived with my faith whole. My parents taught me, from the Bible, to love the Church because She was the Bride of Christ; She was the mission and that there was no plan B.
My Dad taught this his entire ministry, despite being kept out of many churches because of a divorce before his marriage to my Mom; a divorce, I should add, that was not his fault or choice, that perfectly fit the prescription for Biblical divorce in Matthew 19, even when interpreted in a completely literal manner.
I led friends to Christ playing Dungeons and Dragons and part of the church said we worshiped demons; most of the church. I love the Church, but God reached my friends with weird dice, not Sunday School.
I was in theater for years with all it’s foibles and gay folks and craziness. Then the Church, in the form of my Christian College, began to persecute and limit the activities of anyone suspected of being gay. These were my friends. I quietly stood up for them but I should have done more. Yet, I loved the Church enough to answer God’s call in my life to take up ministry as a profession.
For years, even in the ministry, I saw politics replace doctrine. I saw lies written as books to make sales. I saw marketing take the place of apologetics and persuasion. I watched petty people argue over petty things, and slowly found my voice. God has been patient with me. He sent me great, peace-loving pastors to take the edges off of me and I am grateful, but I have been silent too long.
I love the Bible. It is the written spiritual authority in my life. It is how I met God and how He continues to teach my mind through His Holy Spirit.
I love the Bible too much to continue to see it abused and not speak out. When the Bible replaces God (which I learned about from the Bible!) it becomes an abomination. The Bible didn’t save me, Christ did, and if you want to argue that point, check yourself. The Bible doesn’t receive and answer my prayers nor walk with me everyday (it taught me to pray, and how, and it showed me the Way into my relationship with Holy Spirit). It’s not the center of my faith, and the moment it becomes so I have accepted false doctrine; raised up an idol. Scripture sets a baseline. It teaches me about God and His people. It even preserves errors and opinions made by people doing their best to serve God. It is a mystic conduit by which the Holy Spirit can speak to us.
But it is not God.
I have been accused of ‘cherry picking’ by both sides for the last time. Don’t insult me. If I say the Bible is authoritative for me and you think that means I think genocide is okay, you should ask me about it, don’t assume I’m stupid. If I say the Bible is authoritative and suggest, or maybe shout, that we are dealing with the homosexuality problem incorrectly, don’t assume I’m letting the culture set my standards. It’s insulting and judgemental, ask me. The Bible, in fact, has a specific key to it’s interpretation and even that key doesn’t work without the intervention and interpretation of the Holy Spirit. The Key is Jesus. He is the First Context. His mission is the driving theme. If you believe that a scripture contradicts that Context, your interpretation is wrong. Period. If you teach any doctrine that keeps people away from coming to Christ, you’re teaching false doctrine. Sorry. Our job is to keep ourselves clean and bring people to the Feast. That’s it. We don’t judge. We leave the weeds alone. I will hold up my brother when he asks me to, when it’s done in relationship and out of love, these things are Bible in Context, but judgement and condemnation and even accountability have no place outside of a love relationship, and must be cautiously practiced even within one.
Maybe I’m wrong but, let me put a little religious spin on Pascal’s wager: I’ll place my bets on Christ dying for all, to bring us freely into relationship with God and giving grace as the expression and reasoning (logos) of a loving God who despises inequity. You bet on works and division and keeping people out, even for sin. I will play these cards when we get to the big Table in Heaven. You can play yours. I really like my odds.
Oh, and let me add this: If you are an angry Christian like me, fine, but there are no excuses for not being in a committed Community of Christ. Go to church! Fix it from the inside or shut your mouth.
Yep. I’m angry. I teach transparency, I guess this is where I practice it. Hope you still love me. But I’m through having that be my standard.
EXETERThis was a merry message.
KING HENRYWe hope to make the sender blush at it.Henry V, Act I Scene 2