Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spiritual Sunday

God Does Not Resolve

I wrote this a while back - and it's still one of my favorites. It's long though. If you have the time, I think you'll enjoy.

"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. . . . I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened."

 - Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

God is boring...

God is irrelevant...

God doesn't give a crap about me...


Bold statements, but so many can relate to at least one of them at some point in life...Do me a favor...In the above statements...can you replace the word "GOD" with "RELIGION?"

Religion is boring...

Religion is irrelevant...

Religion doesn't give a crap about me...

 

BINGO!

 

That makes sense. I've been doing a lot of evaluating and have come to the conclusion that I don't like "religion" very much. It's a bunch of rules - that may or may not be taken from the Bible that you have to follow. There's no emotion with it. Just do it and you'll go to heaven. Religion is this box...and to be accepted into religion, you have to cram yourself into the box. Twist your arm this way, turn your head that way, constrict yourself...smaller...no, even smaller...Can you still breath? Yes? Then squeeze some more.

No wonder so many people hate church, Christians, and religion. Look what it does to us. And THIS is what is supposed to representing God?

God is not this box...God is FREEDOM! You don't squeeze your self into God...You stretch your arms open wide in weightless freedom...comfort, protection, peace...

Before I go on, as a disclaimer, please don't misunderstand me. I'm not bashing the church itself...I happen to like mine and feel that there is a much needed place for them when serving the purpose God would have them serve. But, please, turn off the television. Stop using televangelists, Bible-thumping hypocrites, and holier-than-thou, church-lingo-using "Christians" to form your view of Jesus. That's not who HE is, and I know He's appalled at some of the junk going around in His name.

Let me introduce myself.

I'm Melissa.

I love Jesus.

Sometimes I use bad language.

Sometimes I freak out.

I'm anal.

I sin every single day of my life.

Sometimes, I yell at my kid too much.

I'm often tempted to gossip.

I forget to read my Bible...scratch that...sometimes I don't feel like reading it.

I get frustrated with God.

Sometimes I have doubts.

But, I love Jesus.

God has changed my life. Done miracles. Amazing things. Saved me. Touched me. Spoken to me. Lifted me up. And on and on and on.

Then why the list up there? Why can't I get it right?

I wish I had that answer. If God has spoken so clearly to me at times. Done so much to save my life and show me his face, shouldn't I have the Bible memorized...and have much better language? I suppose...

But you know what. I can ignore him, be lazy, and cranky all I want, and he's still there. Not badgering me, not pressuring me, not SCREAMING at me. But when I reach out to Him, when I AM READY, I am FREE.

Well what about all the rules? The Bible is just a bunch of standards that no one can live up to. I didn't really get this until I had my daughter, Hannah.

Hannah HATES holding my hand. She loves me and all...and when she scrapes her knee or it's time to go to bed, I'm the only one who will do...But for me to try to guide her across the street is surely a way to see a very colorful meltdown.

She wants to aimlessly dance from one sidewalk to another on her own. She knows what she's doing and what's best for her. She can handle it. She doesn't need this PARENT throwing RULES at her.

She doesn't realize that mommy sees the big picture. She doesn't have the knowledge I have. She's doesn't understand that she needs to hold my hand and follow my rules so she stays safe. So she doesn't get hurt. She doesn't understand that she may feel the pain in that moment of holding my hand because I'm restricting her....But if she sticks with me, she'll see that at the other side of the street, she's safe and can move on to so many more amazing things than she would had she not listened. She's safe. She's free. 

It's the same with God. Of course, we believe in HIM. He's the first one we need when something goes wrong. Either we get mad at HIM or we want HIM to fix our life...after we've spent all this time ignoring HIM. HERE'S THE KICKER -- WE PUT HIM IN THE BOX!

Anyway, if we do our best to stick to Jesus...Do what he tells us to do, we can't go wrong. He knows what's best for us. He sees the big picture. He sees our future. We don't get it. We can't comprehend it. All we know is that we want to flitter aimlessly across the street without holding His hand, all the while ignoring the oncoming semi that's about to wreck our life.

If we just endure the pain of holding His hand for a minute...listen, get what he's trying to say to us, we'll have MORE freedom. We'll get it. He's there to guide us. Protect us. Get us safely across the street.

Human nature has totally screwed up who God really is. We've ruined Him for those who don't know about Him yet. We've given Him a really ugly outfit.

I really dislike Christian terms: "saved" "witness" "Christian" "religion" " Praise the Lord" "You're in my prayers"....I guess they all just have a negative connotation to me. They're all over used, have lost meaning, and set people who love Jesus way above people who haven't seen Him yet.

So what are you supposed to do? If you love God (even if you're not really good at it, because none of us are) how do you show other people how awesome he is?

My answer?

Get BETTER at loving HIM.

And to love HIM

You have to love others.

And by others

I mean everyone.

Stinky

 

Rude

 

Ugly

 

Mean

 

Hurtful

 

Stealing

 

Lying

 

Cheating

 

Hateful

 

People.

 

People just like you.....and me.

 

(Included in this list are also bad drivers, tele-marketers , and bill collectors.)

 

It's really...really easy to tell someone "I'll pray for you." How about you do it? Right there? Right then. With people watching. Pray for them. And mean it. Eek...scary.

 

I always feel guilty because weird people freak me out. We were sitting outside one night with our friends and this freak-o, obviously intoxicated, 8 foot tall, shirtless, daisy duke-wearing, barefoot, long-haired 30 something guy is walking up and down the street with another guy yelling random things at people.

 

I wanted to jump in the car and hide under the steering wheel because I was so sure this guy was going to pull a gun from...well...who knows where...and shoot me in the head. Looking at my husband and my friends, conveying my thoughts, they were content staying put. 

Then they guy starts walking toward us...and I peed my pants. Well, almost. Hey - cut me some slack - he had a gun remember?

He starts talking...drunk talk...thinks he's in another town...just got here from California. Maybe they lost his luggage...which required him to borrow shorts from a 10 year old girl. But we chatted for a minute or so and then he walked away. 

I don't know that anyone else responded to him, looked at him or talked to him on his little stroll. He was drunk and weird...and almost naked.

So, let me ask, if Jesus was physically walking the earth today, would he be in church?

I'm pretty sure Jesus would be walking with that guy. And with lots of other guys like him. Maybe in the bar down the street. At some crazy party...in jail? And I don't think he'd be dragging people to the local church. I think he'd be loving on them. Just telling them they're special. And he loves them. And he wants to help them.

THAT Jesus is a lot more lovable than "RELIGIOUS JESUS."

And I am...and you are made in his image. We're supposed to do what he would do.

I'm pretty sure he'd be offering freedom.

 

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