Did Anyone Ask God?

Cindi Gale

Some religious people make all kinds of claims about God and what He endorses:  a certain cultural value or political view, a specific theology, and, increasingly frequently, a dismissive conclusion about people who don’t comply with those views. But who among those “so-sure-of-themselves-people” even stops to ask God what He has to say?

I’ve asked that question of a few individuals before — people who are so entrenched in their “correct”, hateful stances that they don’t even see they are nothing like the Christ they claim to represent. Their answers were all some form of the same “We’re done here” rebuke:

“I don’t have to ask God. He clearly already commanded it in His Word.” The intimation is, ” If you were in right standing with God, you would know this, too”, said non-verbally with a parting prolonged stare, the equivalent of a gavel pummeling their bench of judgment.

I…

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The Illusion of Invulnerability

The conservative Christian church contributed its solidarity, its endorsement, its resources, and its numbers to power the successful election of this presidency. They say Trump represents them, that he represents God. They say God endorsed him.

Those of us who also call ourselves Christians but disagree with the growing voice of American Christianity have a choice to make: join the crowd or not. We could have safety in numbers if we join. We could immediately alleviate the criticism we are enduring if we do.

“Join in, and you’ll be accepted. Don’t join in, and expect our rejection of you. Expect our chastisement of you. You are out of line with God. You are out of line with the Church. Our beliefs are right. Your beliefs are wrong. Let me correct you with scriptures. You are clearly wrong.”

(Have you noticed the increased use of that word “clearly” in the church in recent years? It’s an effective word in addressing dissenters –- it leaves no room for disagreement; they are clearly right and others are clearly wrong … end of discussion.)

“So acquiesce to us and do it now. Or not. But if you don’t, be prepared for God’s judgment upon you. We are certain of our rightness. Our growing numbers increase our certainty. Our victory by our candidate of choice validates us.”

But, I wonder, should they be so certain? This particular branch of Christianity has blended the waters of politics and the waters of God, called it correct, and recruited others to jump in. The resulting river of blended waters is historically unique and especially potent.

The numbers of people within in it have swelled, and the 2016 presidential election hastened the current. They move along swiftly, focused on each other, on their victory, on their momentum, on their common beliefs, on their perceived correctness.

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They give no ear to those on the banks who aren’t among them. Land-based warnings aren’t welcomed; by the time a word or two reaches them, the current has moved them beyond range to be heard anyway.

The isolated river they created that causes them to feel safe and empowered, is the very river that discourages personal responsibility and accountability. It gives an illusion of anonymity and unanimity. It gives a false sense of invincibility.

The very river that causes them to claim endorsement by God causes me and others to feel alarm. Christians who are planted on the banks of that river, who never joined the Group Think River, are observing and pondering.

I wonder about the vast numbers of people in the river. Do they realize safety in numbers is deceiving? I imagine it must feel good to be in that river assuaging their perceived correctness and empowerment, but from where I watch, I don’t trust it. More accurately, I strongly distrust it.

Based on its steadily intensifying qualities, I wonder where that river is headed. Is it possible for it divert to righteousness, love, peace and truth? Will it please God? Will it serve humanity?

Does God endorse them, as they claim, or …

Does He abhor their river? Has it drowned out His voice? Will He silence its clanging gongs of discord and pride so that His voice can once-again be heard?

Has He allowed the river in order to ultimately flush wrongdoing from His Church?

20190904_113503-1Will he turn to the scattered remnant on the banks to gather together in His name? Will He ask them to represent Him? Will he find those who are willing, sanctified, prepared, trained, and who have sacrificed self for Him?

Will He find those who have become less, so that He can become more? Will He find those who will let Him use them according to His will, direction, and leading?

 

We each have to answer to God for what we do in His name. We have access to His Holy Spirit to teach us, to give us eyes to see and ears to hear.

Will we let Him warn us? Will we let Him instruct us?

When there’s no way TO IT but THROUGH IT, Just DO IT

 

You can be perfectly centered on your God-led road of life and still have trouble on that road. Sometimes it is through a vast, fearsome valley that you must travel.

I can attest that it is dark, overwhelming, and intimidating in the valley. Promises and hope for your future that were visible before become suddenly irretrievable, seemingly lost altogether.

The valley itself is powerful — a pit, a trap, a lure to death. It doesn’t ask, it imposes. It insists on its way, it doesn’t offer compromise. It is unceasing in its efforts to convince you your destiny is there in its grip, this is where your road ends.

I can also attest that you must be more stubborn than it — refuse its impositions, its arguments and “proof”, however strong and impressive they may be — your journey will not end in the valley of deprivation. You aren’t staying, only passing through because you have to.

There is life beyond the valley, a life not possible had you not passed through it. Because of your persistent, resolute steps, and determination to yet see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, you are enabled to rejoin your personal road, an open horizon that is better than before: rarer, purer, clearer, higher. 20180724_090432

 

 


 

“Go Ahead”, by Ron Kenoly

If you catch hell
Don’t hold it
If you’re going through hell
Don’t stop
Remember no weapon
Formed against you
Shall prosper
And every tongue
That rises against you
You shall condemn

Now the Bible says this
You need to learn this
For greater is He that is in you
Than he that is in the world

Now this is what you do when
You’re going through hell
You go ahead
‘Cause you have authority
Over the enemy
You have authority
As a believer
You have authority
Over the enemy
You have authority
In the Name of Jesus

Listen folks go ahead
Go ahead
I’m goin’ through
If you catch hell
Don’t hold it
If you’re going through hell
Don’t stop


Song Credit:  Ron Kenoly

You Call That Caring?

I know a lot of faithful Christians, some I’ve known for several decades. I’ve noticed something over the past ten to fifteen years …

Many are increasingly vengeful.

Oh, they don’t package their revenge with admission — they believe they are “caring for humanity”.

They say things like, “The world has become godless. Back when I was growing up, we respected our elders, we went to church with our parents, we honored our leaders and our nation, we saluted our flag, we were taught about God at school. Nowadays, it’s ‘anything goes, there is no discipline, there is no respect. We worry we will soon become a nation without God. We won’t be Christian anymore, we won’t have traditional families anymore. Our country was founded on Christianity. And English. So God blessed us. We know in the Word, that when we don’t put God first, He will no longer bless our nation. We worry so much about the souls of all those people. Pray for them.”

They are worried about the poor souls. They care about the poor souls.

That’s what they say, but what they do is to exact punishment on those they “worry” about.

They see those people they “care about”, then go to battle to demand those people they “care about” mold to their image. If people don’t comply, they demand they be removed from “their constitution, their country, their church, their social system, their world”.

They do it on social media; they do it from pulpits and pews; they do it by activism; they do it in their conversations; they do it by their “ministries”; they do it by their votes.

If they are honest, their real concern is that the world has changed, and the social order of the mid-20th-century is lost. Their white-male-dominated-past was preferred, when punitive measures and theologies could achieve subjugation of less powerful people to their wills.

Could that be why a branch of Christianity is currently amping up legalism, proselytizing, and a theology of a punitive God? — To get their power back?

I know that’s a good thing in the eyes of those people, but is it a good thing in the eyes of God?

Religious affiliation does not equate to pleasing God. From the same Bible that people select scriptures to justify self-righteous theologies, is this, from Jesus:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

Speaking of the Bible, when did the scripture, “God so love the world …” get changed to “God so loved the USA … “? When did we elevate patriotism to equal stature as God? Isn’t that the definition of idolatry?

Could it be that “outsiders” look at religious Christians, who claim to represent God, and their condemning, rejecting, and oppressive attitudes cause them to run the opposite direction? Aren’t they simply distancing themselves from all that is godless? 

Isn’t that ironic? – that judgmental Christians consider the unchurched or unbelievers to be godless, but those “godless” people have the discernment to know better what God should be like.

“And that ain’t it,” they know, and want no part of it. “That is cruel. That is wrong. That is darkness. That is godlessness.”

For those who might have shown interest in Christian Sunday worship, did they arrive to open doors, or did they arrive to literal and metaphorical bouncers, judging them as unfit? If they entered, despite the heaping judgment or false welcome, were they immediately taken on as a project by the insiders, to transform them to the culture of that church?

Did people take over God’s role to do the transforming and molding; to “cleanse and make each person whole”?

Is God allowed to free them from the myriad captivities that happen to all of us as a part of living on this Earth, or do veteran believers actually compete with God, and push him aside in order to keep people ensnared? Do they race God to get to be the “savior” of newcomers? — “Aw, fresh blood, a naive one. A trusting one. A person of childlike faith. A sheep to take (captive) into my fold.” 

Are the people who flee those kinds of churches and “servants of the Lord” able to separate God from the people who claim to represent him?

If not, who is to blame for their resultant aversion to anything and everything of God?

Far too often, and more and more frequently, the blame rests on the people inside. 

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Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Rejuvenate

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Before it turned chilly, I power-washed a couple years of accumulated grime and algae from the siding of our house, drive, and landscaping blocks. It amounted to long hours of standing, aiming the wand, thinking and listening.

The word “rejuvenate” looped in my mind every day I worked.

I heard it as a positive, not from a tone of admonition, as in “How did you let that grime get there?”, or “This is the natural consequence of aging and time.”

No, the word “rejuvenate” was enveloped in a whisper of hope and promise, as in “Do you expect this newness of me?”, or “I am reminding you to look forward to becoming ‘like new; that’s what I do because that’s who I am.”

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Rejuvenate. A verb (used with object), re·ju·ve·nat·ed, re·ju·ve·nat·ing.

To make young again; restore to youthful vigor, appearance, etc.:That vacation has certainly rejuvenated him.
to restore to a former state; make fresh or new again:to rejuvenate an old sofa.

Physical Geography.

  1. to renew the activity, erosive power, etc., of (a stream) by uplift or by removal of a barrier in the stream bed.
  2. to impress again the characters of youthful topography on (a region) by the action of rejuvenated streams.

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Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. …

Enlightenment

Regardless the “newest news”, this applies.

Cindi Gale

It’s been less than three days since the most deadly shooting in modern U.S. history. Immediately, the Internet, television news, and social spheres were abuzz with opinions. We’ve heard it all before:  “Gun control is the answer”; “No, gun control won’t stop mass murder”; “Trump did this”; “Trump didn’t do that”; “A white male murderer gets labeled a lone wolf, but after a Muslim or black murder, a whole religion or race is vilified”; “The guy’s a sociopath, don’t lump me in with him just because I own assault weapons”. And on and on it goes.

It’s not who’s right and who’s wrong that caught my attention today. It’s something else that hummed behind the usual roar of discordant voices …

The ink dried on a host of opinions before the victim count in Las Vegas was even finalized. We have become people of instant opinions

There’s something wrong…

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