#ThingsJesusNeverSaid

Hashtag-Comic

Right now as I type, the inter-webs is still blowing up along the hashtag #ThingsJesusNeverSaid – This is a very clever thing. A place for progressive Christians, non-Christians, and conservative Christians to sling the proverbial spit and mud at their blind counterparts in 140 characters or less.

I have to admit many of the posts made me chuckle. Many made me angry. Many more made me quite sad. Again we’ve found a way to rob our ‘one anothers’ from civil discourse and meaningful dialogue. We continue to pursue biting memes and short-hand kvetching as opposed to sincere conversation.

We can stand around pointing fingers all day long but on this day (It is ‘Good Friday’ as I write) no fingers were being pointed by Jesus. In fact on this day Jesus said very few things…one of the more profound things that the New Testament declares he said is, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

It breaks my heart that the church that is to be known for its ‘love of one another’ is instead trotting around and showing its disdain for one another. This is always the danger of taking a religion that had a communal concept of life and salvation and allowing it to transition into a faith that is all about personal salvation and personal gain/growth. If we could only return to the time when the church was in it together…not to win rhetorical dance-offs but rather a time when the heart of the faithful was about lifting the oppressed, serving the marginalized, caring for the downtrodden.

Jesus, it is said, died for the entire world…not for those we like or agree with. Jesus exposes power structures that rob others of their fullness of life. Jesus served the oppressed in order that their hope might be restored.

The irony of #ThingsJesusNeverSaid is that most folks sincerely believe that Jesus is in full agreement with their quips. I find it hard to imagine that Jesus, who fought for the dignity of ALL people, would side specifically with any of us in our foray into Twitter fame.

Put down your hashtags…put aside your polemics…lift up your neighbor whether they are gay or straight, conservative or liberal, male or female, fundamentalist or progressive, religious or not, optimistic or pessimistic, friend or enemy.

Because the one thing we are assured of in the Gospels is that Jesus did say to “love our enemies” and on this particular Holiday we are even called to remember that Jesus not only loved them he also stood before G_d asking on their behalf for their forgiveness. May we learn something from this day of remembrance.

Peace to you and yours. Remember: Agreement should never be a prerequisite for loving others.

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What is the point of biblical literacy amongst the congregants of the church?

Soren Kierkegaard made a fascinating statement. He said, “The problem with Christendom is that, as fishers of men, we have made the holes in our nets too small.”

What a strange statement. Isn’t being ‘caught up’ in our faith meant to be easy? Kierkegaard’s argument implies that we allow for ‘any-size’ to be ‘caught’ –> Therefore folks that are ‘caught-up’ in Christendom become stunted and never ‘need’ to get ‘bigger’ in order to be ‘caught.’ So where is the problem with this?

First let me say that I don’t believe that Kierkegaard is implying that those with a simple faith lack salvation — rather in the way we do church we allow ‘little’ to be enough.

How do I explain this without upsetting, you, the reader?

I would liken Kierkegaard’s statement to today’s more understood cliche of ‘remaining on the milk of your mother’ –> at some point you must be weened off in order to grow, remain healthy, and (even) survive. ~ The church on the other hand has created a culture that allows one to remain on the breast of the faith. (Kierkegaard pointed this out in the church well over 100 years ago) Worse, even, is that many churches, in my opinion, are designed in such a way as to keep you there – or – at the very least to make it difficult to move on to better healthier eating habits.

So, how has this hurt the church?

I would argue that it has reduced our ability to have intelligent conversations regarding our faith and lifestyle; reducing us into sniveling children treating our conversations as if someone just took our favorite toy.

Like a child we know only a few intelligible words/sentences (read::verses) and mostly we don’t even know where we learned them, or worse, how to properly use them in context.

When was the last time reasoning worked with a toddler?

Imagine having a literary discussion with a child who can’t read and has only had ‘Golden Books’ read to them. Pastors, typically, are instructed to preach between a 5th and 7th grade level. I would argue that most sermons are not even that complex.

Is this how we ‘equip’ our faithful to be a witness to the Messiah? Treat, teach, and train them to be toddlers while telling them to be an example to adults…Why isn’t this working?

I recently asked my son (9yo) a question about Star Wars – to which he did not know the answer. Instead of expressing that he “did not know” he made up a fairly believable answer – that was wrong! Children are afraid of ‘not knowing’ something…especially about something they love and cherish! Many ‘milk dependent’ Christians are the same way, afraid to say “I don’t know” especially when speaking to someone that is not a part of the faith. Does a child making up an answer ever seem ‘trustworthy’ for life changing decisions?

[This is part of my daily 250 word discipline to help my writing process…but I’d love to hear your thoughts!]