Feb 25, 2011

Withholding Grace By The Christian Faith Part 1

"They ought to go to hell, and burn ..."! At least that is the way that one pastor's wife from a Christian church, put it.

And the "they", that she was referring to, were individuals, Christian or not, who did not interpret things the way that she had been taught by her particular denomination. Well then, where does love fit it into the equation, the kind that encompasses grace & mercy?

I wondered, after hearing her make that vile statement, about the following scripture: "...Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh ..."; what was in her heart? I also read in the Christian Canon, "... that where loved abides, grace did much more abide". Why would anyone want to see someone else to, 'burn baby burn'?

And isn't that the problem with religion in general, including Christianity, that religious people believe that their private interpretations of ancient texts are what matters more than anything else?

Poor Ibrim, if he were alive and lived in the Middle-East today, his faith would not be counted as righteousness, at least not from a western euro-centric Christian perspective.

Too much Christian dogma, is influenced by Eurocentric and therefore Aryan, Teutonic ... biase. Factually, if you were to listen closely to the Christian message as it is often explained by western Christians, too many western Christians are therefore perfectly content, if not hopeful, in believing that the majority of the people of the rest of the non-white world, religious or not, will be going to hell to burn forever!

And the real reason for that has to do with their lack of perspective, biases, conditioning and a convoluted sense of self-worth.... that they perceive is what is right and acceptable to God. And what is right, as far as they are concerned, is in effect defined by their personal interpretations and conclusions drawn, that have been filtered through the prism of their own prejudices, which they believe determines what is right or wrong from a human or divine perspective.

In other words, what they understand to be true, based on what they claim to know or perceive to be right, their environment or their dogma is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! And anyone who does not come to the same conclusions as they have, about anything as they have, then they are in error and will go to hell and burn too! R

All of us must recall that the heart is deceit ...! Peter the Knife, thought that by cutting up of man's ear, that he was somewhat protecting Jesus.

Sadly, too many Christians ... harbor more mercy for their pets than they do for other human beings. Some Christians have forgotten the scripture that reads, God does not wish for anyone to perish, in fact they want other people to perish, which bolsters their false sense of abrogation and right. Just consider Pat Robertson for example. He reminds me a lot of the, I don't touch anything unclean variety, Peter, or Jeremiah, who did not believe that the Ethiopian could do anything about his darkened skin color.

On occasion, I remind Christians that after Adam transgress, that he did not immediately die or burn, for disobeying the command of God. Instead, he lived for a Millenium. Could it be then that God was merciful, even more merciful than most religious people would be or would have been? Or, how about the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery, today she would be condemned by Christians and other religious folks, however, Jesus had mercy on her, despite legalist's and the Law. She was, according to the law, guilty of a capitol crime.

However, Jesus did not withhold grace from her. Well then, just who did he think he was to abrogate the law, and commute someones sentence? The average Christian would have had this woman stoned, and Adam nailed to a pre-Roman cross, if he veered disobeyed 'their laws'.

In my opinion, Christians seem to have the same problem that Jehovah Witness Klansmembers have, they are intolerant and 'meanly saved'! JW's, cannot explain why, according to their belief system, that there are fewer spots reserved for them in heaven, than there are Jehovah Witnesses! So one has to wonder, why are JWs still recruiting individuals to fill up spaces that have already, apparently, been taken?

Ah close up shop and go home JW's, I say: because according to your own theology, there aren't any more seats left anyway, so why are you still proselyting!

Years ago,I invited a Jehovah Witness brother that I knew to visit our Christian church. He didn't respond at the time, however, his denomination will be proud to know that this good JW came back to me later that day, and angrily announced, "I will not be coming to your church", and he turned and walked away. I wonder if there is still a seat reserved for him in, Jehovah Witness heaven?

You could just see the love of God exuding from him. Actually, I felt sorry for him, having had been raised up and endoctrinated in another intolerant religious group myself.

I immediately stopped the next group of JW's, that tried to witness to me one day on a bus stop in El Cerrito California, by asking this simple question: Why is it, if you people represent God, that you fail to reflect the (grace) of God? The JW woman turned and walked away, apologetically, after admitting that I was correct. Most of you know that are not permitted to instruct a JW - you are supposed to listen to them.

This lady broke the rule, when she listened to what I had to say. I hope that she won't loose her reserved seat in JW Heaven; she should, at the very least, be permitted to sit in the bleacher section. If one were to simply consider the methods, attitudes and behaviors of just these two religious groups, it is clear that they don't care if little children or any other God fearing individuals get into heaven or not.

Instead, like the Pharisees before them, many of them love the spectacle of proselyting, appearing to be pious and growing their congregations (and there are some exceptions to this rule). Some proselytes really believe their message, and that they are helping people to know God and therefore to go to heaven.

Now having said that, these two sample groups are mutually exclusive in one other respect, for not only will they not tolerate most of the great unwashed in the world, they won't tolerate each other either! That's right, as far as they are concerned, their counterparts are all going to go to (hell or the Gehenna) too! Man hell and the Gehenna are going to be crowded with religious zealots who never understood the message of God or Jehovah!

Neither of these groups has any patience or tolerance for any other group that has not come to the same conclusions they have. And it doesn't matter whether the other groups, or its adherents, believe, pray in faith to God, live by faith or have been accepted by God. In other words, they tell God who should and should not be accepted into the Pearly Gates too! The problem being, among other things, 'they are withholding grace', people who claim that they are no longer 'under the Law'.

The Pharisees were also merciless and surprised to find out that Jesus was not like them, he was both gracious and merciful. Perhaps every religious group and individual on earth, could learn from Jesus' examples of implementing grace in real-time.

But still Pat Robertson ..., and his crowd would say, if they don't believe what we, dominionists', believe and then, "then I'm sorry, but burn baby burn". For of course, 'the real God is the one that they believe in', the one that Pat talks to on the 700 Club, except when he is thinking about killing other world leader or Middle-Easterners.

Pat believes in western-style Jihads and Fatwahs, which him no different than his perceived or real enemies on the other side, and I suspect that Rev. Franklin Graham, had better be careful too in this regard. Folks, is it any wonder why Karl Marx said what he did, 'that religion is the opiate of the masses!
And, is it any wonder that secularist, believe that all of us are either nutty or misinformed.

Give them credit though, most of them have studied religious history, and they based upon what they have studied, they have drawn their conclusions about us. The fact is, they didn't have to study the past to understand what is going on in religious circles today.

For if you were to step and observe what is going on 'in religion', in the present, it is enough to give anyone concern or cause them to request religion altogher. Are secularists any better than religious people or religious organization? Well, they are not making the claims that often make. Clearly, we either don't love as we claim to. (I will tell you way later, hint hint, it has to do with love v. theology)!

One other thing, secularists don't have an issue with GOD (they don't believe that there is one), their issues have to do with religion and religious people!
If heaven is to be filled up with individuals like Pat, JW's, reckless and intolerant Christians'on the Right and others who are to be succinct, 'right, then send me to the Elysian fields, please!. I know that I would not last long in a self-righteous heaven, one populated with self-righteous beings, eek!!!

So where do you stand, and what are you saying then Solomon? And, btw, aren't you supposed to be a Christian, pastor and minister? Yes, to all of the above and I have been any one of the former since 1973 actually, pastored churches, evangelized, was on the radio ... But having said that, I believe that everyone on this planet is here as a result of the mercy of 'the anthropomorphic god', or whatever it is that what we refer to as God, happens to be! I even believe in divine evolution, and that the two, evolution and divine evolution are not mutually exclusive. At best, we are all sinners under grace, and none of us are perfect, except by ...!

And making statements like that, got me kicked out of the mainstream church, that I once was a part of, years ago (which saved me a lot of money by the way). But having said that, I still believe that what we refer to as God, Allah ..., is likely very different in scope, form, desire, meaning, purpose ..., than any of us know , (especially most mainstream religious groups). Apostate, heretic... I hear you! Similar conclusions were reached about Jesus too!

Who would be elitist, or arrogant enough to conclude that what they happen to believe - given their interpretations of imperfect, supplemented and augmented texts..., or having been indoctrinated with what someone else believes is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, is the truth?Just because you interpret it one way, in other words, that does not make it true!
And here is a good place to reflect upon the trial: Galileo Galilei v. Church, in the 16th Century. If you were not aware, the church was wrong when 'a religious' Italian physicist... Galileo (and posthumous Copernicus) were right. And, Galileo, paid the price for contradicting church dogma! Have you ever been in any religious group where you weren't ordered to "repeat after me", solemnly swear or hit the road toad'? Answer, most of us have been, otherwise we would not have been admitted into the group anyway.

The fact is that within any religious, scientific, philosophical or any other circle, that their teachers, texts or conclusions drawn, can and often are in error! Most will never admit it, even the one's who have since learned better. Religious people, similar to individuals in other disciples, are often too easily swayed. Perhaps, all of us should head over to the Oracle at Delphi and inquire, just who is a wise man or woman?

What's funny is, given the examples that I cited above, most believers are convinced that it is the other people who are going to burn, not them. These individuals all remind me of the Pharisee who while standing and praying, thanked God that he was not like other people! We have a lot of similar pharisees around us in religious circles today, as well as in the non-religious community, wouldn't you agree? Hey, I'm still looking down at the ground myself. Somebody should tell the others, that they are just like the rest of us, at best just stumbling along and still imperfect!

Too many Christian and other intolerant religious groups, want the rest of us to burn baby burn! Many of these same individuals would witness a human execution, and mercilessly proclaim, that the executee got just what they deserved. And afterwards, they would go out to dinner or home and watch religious TV.

I will never forget the man standing outside the prison where former mass murderer Ted Bundy was executed. He held a placard that read: ROAST IN PEACE!!!That Ted committed some pretty heinous crimes is a fact, but roast in peace? Hmm, vengeance is mine and I will repay, saith the Lord, right. It would have been better, I believe, for him to have mourned the loss of so many lives, including Ted's, at the time. Now, if somebody executes me, afterward, all of you should attend his or her execution and simultaneously yell, 'burn baby burn'. Of course, I am kidding!

I would suspect that even the most religious of the religious, even Christians who know that they already have a place reserved in heaven, would agree that rejoicing over someone elses death, like American Christians often do when it comes to people in the Middle-East ... would be a bit much. American Christians do it all the time!

I still remember reading about what took place at the trial of Jesus Christ (see the synoptic texts). Accordingly, it was, unbeliever Pilate who had mercy on Jesus, as opposed to the crowd of religious zealots, particularly the ones who cried, 'burn, baby burn'!

Or how about Jesus' disciples, who when he was still alive, wanted to call fire down from heaven (perhaps American Hellfire Missiles via a UAV), and burn up individuals who didn't see things the way that they did. Would this be a good time to mention the Christian Crusades? Nah!! Even the late Pope Paul, apologized for one.

Well, if God is love (which encompasses grace/unmerited favor), what in the world is wrong with his disciple-followers, past and present? Have all of them forgotten about mercy and compassion, particularly, in light of all of their own foibles, mistakes, willful sins ...? Are any of us who are living today, in a position to cast stones? I know that I am certainly not!

So I ask you again, why is it that members of diverse religious groups, including Christian ones, fail to have mercy or compassion on other people who are no different than they are? Wasn't it Thomas Jefferson, who in a moment of reflection said: God's justice won't sleep forever, when considering the plight of his slaves! Well you might answer, 'he was not a Christian'. Maybe so, and maybe not - but how could you tell? If you were to compare him with most other Christians past or present! Let's see, President George Washington had over 300 slaves himself didn't he ...?

Hmm, but it's the other people who are going to hell? Frankly, I don't want anyone to go to hell, but I suspect that individuals who once were bondservants and slaves in the Ante-bellum South, wouldn't mind if George, Tom and other racists and slave-holders in their time, went to hell. Harriet Beecher-Stowe, if you can hear me, 'what do you think'? There were a lot of folks then, who thanked God that they weren't like other people - black ones!

Peace, love & grace

See part 2


val said...

All our righteousness is as filthy rags, the more you try to be righteous the more self righteous you will become oh wretched sinners that we are. But Christ died for the whole world, our heart soul and mind must be focused on him. Let go and let God lead by living by every word of love.
God tells us how to find knowledge and how to understand the Bible Isa 28:9-10 It is by precept on precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. In the Old Testament there was not truth or grace John 1:17. The Bible is the book of the knowledge of good and evil Gen 3:22, 2 Cor 11:15. The word of God must be rightly divided 2 Tim 2:15. The bible says the Lord will create a new thing on the earth Jer 31:22 where a woman shall compass a man. This man is Satan Isa 14:16. A woman shall bruise Satan at the heel of time Gen 3:15. Satan has deceived the whole world Rev 12:9, until this bruise of the true word John 1:1 is delivered to the whole world Rev 12:5, 13 as a witness.The bruising of Satan is now taking place at http://minigoodtale.blogspot.com If you strive to live by every word of God you will want to read his true word.

Rev. C. Solomon said...

Well said, written and responded to --

I rely much upon what Jesus said to his disciples, prior to his departure: Johnn 14:25 I will send (paracletos), he will guide you into all the truth ... !

The spirit of truth, as sent by what we refer to as God, trumps all else - including some of what was included in the the well-intended by some, Canon!

Each one of us has to be careful about being locked into certain interpretational, translated, denominational ... frameworks, particularly the ones that reify a preferred position!