Monday, April 20, 2015

Revival



You say you want Revival 
But you wouldn’t know it, if it came 
You say you have the only truth
But it is hidden in your shame
You have an invitation 
Will you just deny
And barely get by
Slander turns your cheek
Blinded sin is all you seek
Your fears drag you around 
Love you claim, but it is not found 
We sit at your feet, begging for scraps 
We seek Justice, but you criticize our lack
With the keys in your hand
And nose held high
Though we try 
We know we will never get by
Your love is stanch 
Your fruit is bitter
Your face is sagging 
And your body is lagging 
We invite you in, 
despite what you’ve sewn 
Your anger we forgive
Our bruises bring the Dawn. 
For we are light and so are you 
Our lines are blurred 
Our lives at risk 
So we can serve 
In Love we Die 
And Love we rise
Fear was buried
Low in the night.
Just give me a key
And you will see
Your breath is getting labored
Your limbs are getting weak 
You need me and I need you 
Let go and rest
Right upon my breast 
Where you are safe
And no hair misplaced 
True Faith comes in the dark
And light is born from the night
Together hand in hand
We can finally get this right.

"Revival Meeting" painting by: Benny Andrews

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Dawn of the Sea.



The night’s rugged breath floats in our minds
Telling us the answers are benign 
Meager truths float from our flesh
Telling us not to believe our heads
How can this be, in these very minutes
We clammer together caught in our limits.
Searching like ghost, uncomfortable in our shells.
The deep sea around but no blinding truth 
Break thru
No ringing of the bells.
Eminent dangers threaten our nature
We are not of this world and we awkwardly agree
Our breast are soft our hearts are vexed
We silently scream eager to be fixed
Our wails are heard but not in the sea
Silence bubbles from our lips 
floating to break free
Our hour is coming we can feel it in our bones
A reconciliation that covers like the dawn
The night knows not how this hour was sewn.
To bring Peace on the backs of the Meek
To bring the Glory they all longingly seek 
Restless writhing is no more 
For this we would suffer and be poor.
The ships have sailed 
To release our skeletons from our jails
To save face, to right our wrongs
Let’s dig up our mistakes 
Let’s no longer hide our bones
Healed by grain and by wine
The sacred truths on which we dine.
In the flesh and in the blood
We ingest your strength, we drink your love.


Painting: Dawn After The Storm by: William Lionel

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Is Our Faith more on Church than Jesus?

I don't know, nothing makes me cringe and want to run away faster than someone trying to sell me something.  As if my life is some how not complete unless I try their "one of a kind" product and I am going to get no where in life without it and I'm going to die and go to hell unless I get that product or close to it.  Sadly, this is how I feel we market "Christ" and we seem to think we can sell him faster if we could just get people in the doors to our own church.  Then they could see how awesome we are and how holy we live and how perfect life can be if they just do A,B & C and say it's from the heart, they can get eternal life.  And then we wonder why when so & so went down to the altar, they didn't change much in their life and then go back to their "old" ways fairly easily.

I'll tell you why:  It's because the "hype" of the sales pitch wears off and then they are back to square one.  They've just been sold this product and told if they do A,B,C earnestly things will be different for them and they will have to fight their flesh and then they will have this "monumental" breakthrough if they keep on and DEFINETLY keep going to church because that's where the breakthrough mostly will happen and if your pentecostal (which I am) it will def happen in the prayer line.  But then so & so wakes up the next day and they're still gay, addicted to porn, self-medicating with food, drugs and any form of entertainment that keeps us from being conscious (or christianese word: prayful) and then wonder what's wrong with them.  Did they not love Jesus like everyone else or are they inherently worse than everyone else at the church because most people in the church seem just dandy and strong in their relationship with Jesus.  Do you see the monotonous ideas that just keep recycling over and over and expecting different results, or am I the only one?  You do know that's the definition of insanity.

To be honest.  I don't invite people to church.  I don't have to.  I don't want to "sell" Jesus to people.  I hate selling stuff.  I suck at it.  And lately I've become aware of the similar sales pitches I see with preachers.  Some speak about their church more than about Jesus and that troubles me.  I slightly cringe at it.  Why?  Because at one point, I loved Jesus but wanted nothing to do with the church and sometimes I feel myself simontanously wanting to awkwardly moon walk away from Christians and their Christian culture war discussions while wanting to jump in when Jesus is mentioned because I loooove talking about him!!  He is so interesting but I'm afraid our formulated sales pitches to get to him have made him a regular familiar staple that is found mostly in our discussions pertaining to our own churches more than him and his character.

Or I find Christians who believe in Jesus but he is rarely ever brought up in their conversations but they make it a point to tell you that they do go to church and avoid certain things that make them seem like a faithful Christian but talking about Jesus is such a hot button because they see Jesus strictly as this one picture and get nervous if anyone tries to paint him in a different light; other than the way they've been brought up, because well they were one of the only ones that were "lucky" enough to be brought up in this certain way and since the rest of the world doesn't know this Jesus, well, they're probably just all going to go to hell anyways. So why talk about him.  And I can't blame them for not wanting to share this Jesus with the rest of the world too because this Jesus doesn't seem to have much Hope for people anyways.

And I don't like the Jesus that is a by-product of our church attendance.  He's too churchy for me.  And I'm sorry, I don't read about him in the gospels AT ALL!! I  read about a loving beyond our understandings, revolutionary: breaking apart our cultural norms of religion and politics.  Someone that didn't quite quote every scripture in it's entirety unless it pointed to him (Luke 4:18-19.  He reads Isaiah 61 but stops before the vengeance part.  He's not about vengeance.).  He encouraged other average Joe kinda misfits like me to not follow the systems of the world.  Political and religious were constantly critiqued by him because they ALWAYS fell short of the kingdom he wanted us to know, with the kind of love he was willingly ready to display.

A Love that's not understood in binary in and outs but one that leaves room for each one of us to come to God in our own way.  For everything that flows through Love, everything good and wholesome is from Him.  Sacred and secular joined to together.  Flesh becoming Holy.  Sweat becoming joyful, suffering becoming blessing.

And when our hearts aren't formulating what Christ looks like we go to formulations with our mouths but since our hearts aren't alined with Him, we don't know what He looks like.  So we do what comes natural.  We revert to a scared, fearful, controlling state that wants to scare people into coming to know Christ and by scarying them into believing that THAT is the essential reason why Christ came:  to save us from Hell Fire and our sins which can destroy our lives unless we clease ourselves of our evils.

To me this is a false gospel preached more out of fear than out of Love for God.  It "sells" the gospel to a short wimpy version of Christ.  Selling him just shy as a way to live a better life and give you a great life afterwards.  Only we don't live very much of better lives than most people.  Heck, I know unbelievers who would help me in a time of need waaaay before some of my believer friends would and sadly I can give you plenty of examples of that.  Oh, but don't worry most of my believer friends don't cuss so they're good as gold.  How did it come to that?

Well the gospel has now became about us, our personal relationship and a way for "us" to get to Heaven.  It's about Us not Them.  But Jesus doesn't say that.  He says it's about Them! Not you and then them if they are lucky.  It's about them! And the extent we need to go for them (them including everyone and enemies as a whole) should be being Jesus to them.  How do we be Jesus?  We lay down our lives for the ones who hate us and call them our friends.  We're servants to the world and we become a light unto the world (not a light just for our church).

A very simple analogy of the power of Love and the light it gives off.  Light can not be contained.  It is present in darkness and those in the darkness are drawn to it……without a sales pitch!  No need for one of those.  If you need one of those somethings not right in the one doing the pitch.  Light doesn't have to be sold to someone in the darkness they can see it shinning without words.  And Jesus said you will be known by that light and that light is what will set you apart.

And seriously surrendering to this light is no easy task.  One week I was "tested" to actually practice what I preach all the time and that practicing included: not getting angry when others talked about me, argued with me, and tried to defame my character. (It was a crazy week.) Anyways to be in a constant loving mindset when others around me were wanting to argue and chose sides, had me exhausted every night like I had ran a marathon or something.  I was drained physically from the toll the spiritual had on me and mostly it was probably me fighting my own ego in all this.  I kept having to stuff it down and show God's love and my ego did not like that!  It wanted to fight, and to show everyone else around me how wrong they were and how right I was but I knew doing that was just not God-like, it was flesh like and I know now had I subjected to that it would've blown everything out of proportion and maybe even destroyed lots.  But learning to be subjective to the Spirit of Love, I seen it's healing power first hand in this situation and to me it was miraculous.  It cleared out all the negativity, united everyone and brought a sense of peace to the situation. It wasn't me doing the healing, it was Him.

Afterwards and even before this situation, other non-religious folks are drawn to the light that I try to possess most days.  I don't have to sell church but people always ask where I go.  I give love freely and the Love Spirit calls them.  It's that easy. Others see the uncontrolled life I messily live and they want it too for some reason.  They come, they ask the questions, we get in fun discussions about what I love to talk about the most: Jesus.  Don't sell church, you don't need to. Just love,  and have Faith the rest will follow.


Friday, April 3, 2015

What is Holy Week?




With this week being Holy Week, I've had little time to actually sit down in my stillness and ponder exactly "What is Holy Week?"  Something maybe I wish I were more educated on, for some reason I don't remember the term "Holy Week" being discussed often. Perhaps my church roots aren't as concerned about that as the mere number of attendees that walk through our doors on Easter morning.

And the busyness of my schedule running around buying Easter baskets, Easter dresses and lustfully wanting every Easter candy imaginable. I think I've been dreaming about Peeps lately.  I find myself in the hustle and bustle of this great Holiday and not sitting and wondering what really happened this time 2000 years ago.  Why is it so important to actually stop and meditate on what my whole Religion rest on?  It's important because the essence of my belief IS the resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ enduring one of the most brutal scenes on a Friday…just like this one.

This day is almost over and I'm just now realizing it's Good Friday.  I think back 2000 years ago, it probably seemed like a Good Friday to most people too because there were only a select few left that stuck with Jesus and his crazy shenanigans from the long week jam packed with revolutionary words and actions and the emotional grievances of his looming death.  He was a busy fellow too but busy in things that actually matter.   And the results had changed His following drastically from Jews lining up the street proclaiming "Hosanna" and waving palm branches the Sunday before to just a hand full at his crucifixion which was mostly women and very few disciples.  I often wonder where the disciples  scattered to in Jesus' most needy hours.  Probably thinking it was all over because they, like most of the Jews, thought Jesus would rescue them out from under the hand of the Roman Empire.  In a Judas Maccabeus sort of way, where he would come in sword swinging and fight back.  Only Jesus' plan was totally different than the world's way and in the most reverse picturesque way with thousands of hidden meanings behind one symbol tells us how we too, can be different from the world and take up his cross.

I've been reading, listening and researching different ways in which Jesus' Holy Week started (this was mostly done all last week) and one of the most fascinating events of the week is the Temple cleansing.  This happened the Monday before Good Friday.  I'm pretty sure this is probably what put the nail in the coffin for Jesus.  I think this is the event that really pissed people off and to think it was all out of Jesus' anger is to belittle the actual strategic event that  had been symbolically a prophecy told by Jeremiah's temple cleansing. Anger might've played a part as well since this was such an emotional week for Jesus that he started crying blood. I like how one preacher I've heard described it as a "Prophetic Theatrical Stage" for what Jesus was doing for the world.  Again so many hidden meanings to this one act that to describe it as an act straight from emotion is probably the wrong way to describe it.

A cleansing of the Temple could mean many things.  A stop to worldly profit from religion;  A way of showing us we don't have to sacrifice animals anymore; A plea for the church to not let money rule it (they were selling animals); A stop to the religious paradigm of religion and politics having power over who gets "in" and who doesn't (religious power).  Or the fact that Jesus says "Destroy this temple and in 3 days I'll raise it." They laughed at that one.  It took 40 something years to reconstruct the temple and it still wasn't done…..But we know now Jesus was talking about His body.  Maybe he was proclaiming God is in us just as much as some temple. Sooo many layers upon layers of interpretations here just like everything Jesus does.  As if he's over 2000 years ahead of us and were still trying to catch up with our thinking.

Still I am not an expert on this, I can only say what this event looks like to me.  He was cleansing the temple run by the roman government money.  As my husband says one of my favorite symbolic terms to quote in the bible is the "Whore of Babylon riding on the back of the Beast." lol, my interpretation meaning religion married with Empire and those are the 2 systems Jesus seems to shame this whole week.  With the most revolutionary stance being the cross.  As if the world had Jesus on trial. The world being ruled by political power and religious blame.  The two ways man likes to rule others, something only intended for God. Caiaphas the high priest (religion) and Pountius Pilate (politics) being the representation of both systems and us thinking that these systems work, in the end, kill God.

I've also heard it wasn't Jesus but US that was on trial that day and Heaven throwing out the verdict by resurrecting our sacrifice by the system.  Is this the gospel we need ears to hear about?

Jesus was the resistance to the plan, to the way things are.  The ways of the world. He endangered power from the rulers and the systems that the religious have set in place to "keep things straight."   Only in His proclamations he was trying to right our wrongs.  To usher in a Kingdom found of Love of God completely and love of your neighbor as yourself.  What do we do when we don't think this Kingdom will stand?  We go back to the "old" way of thinking. The old kingdoms have it all lined up in place and all we have to do is be obedient, follow the crowd.

As crazy as this year has been I look at being a Christ follower a lot different than the previous year.  I think I was a Christ Fan but not a follower. To follow is not to proclaim him most showily and be on the "right" side.  No, to follow is to become aware that the world's needs and realize our systems are failing, have failed, and to follow Christ example in ushering His Kingdom on Earth.  To put ALL our eggs in one basket and see where it takes us. To become Healers to the world.  Not saving people for a certain afterlife but bring parts of that Kingdom here.  That will set us apart from other beliefs.  Being Jesus, not just talking about Him in church.

And I realize this is the gospel that compels and this is the gospel that is the fisher of Men.  The more I unearth this gospel, the more I see people who devour it's content.  People who aren't even religious long for the things that Jesus has for us.  Only we've shielded his truth with our own desires of vanity and greed, letting our sins seep back into our thinking of how the world is ran for us by us.  If we believe the last are to be first then we believe in making our needs last.  We see blessing in persecution and opportunity in laying down our lives even for our enemies.  Then we will see the Kingdom government in which the world will be ran and that is through love.  The symbol of my Faith.

Maybe that is what Holy Week is.  A remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ's Last week before his coronation of King of the World.  The bravery of His stances as he reveals his real intent of how he plans to rule the World.