Archive for April 2010

The Bus Isn’t Coming

April 7, 2010

Modern man is like a person waiting for a bus, but the bus does not show up, and when the waiting becomes too much he bands together with the others who are waiting hopelessly for the bus that will never come, and they speak optimistically of when the bus will come, in fact as they talk about it, the bus becomes bigger and more wonderful like the Super Chief or a great ocean liner, for you see the grander it is, the longer it is worth waiting for. But the bus, that is the “glorious” day when man has all of the answers, isn’t coming, It will never come to a world which doesn’t acknowledge it’s Creator.
Just imagine if you loved a piece of music, but you refused to acknowledge and honor the composer, and you even insulted him, do you think he would rush to share his latest composition with you? The same is true of God, if you refuse to acknowledge His truth, He will allow you to be blind to other essential facts. You might think you are seeing everything which can be seen, but you would be wrong.
It’s rather like a logical conclusion which cannot be correct if one of the premises is incorrect. If you don’t start out with the understanding of God’s presence and role in creation, you will never be able to dig very deep into the truths of the universe. You will always be piddling with the building blocks of creation without fully understanding them. Like a little child who might admire a clock, but when he gets the back off and the pieces start falling out, the stray bits are too difficult to put back together without understanding. Sure, the child has all of the pieces, he has everything necessary on hand to make a functional clock, but without understanding how it works it will never be whole again. Understanding the universe, or even just the world we live in must begin with an acknowledgment of God. A wise child with all of the clock pieces scattered around him would try to find someone who understands the inner workings of the clock, but a willful, spoiled child would kick the parts in many directions and scream his disgust at the stubborn refusal of the clock to obey his whims.
We are at that same juncture in human history, we have started to use up the resources of the earth, we are unjustly consuming more than our share of nearly everything, and we are teetering on the brink of nuclear destruction, but until we understand what is truly wrong we will never fix anything. We might treat some of the symptoms, but we will never understand the whole if we do not see the truth of the matter, that people are spoiled children, who are only satisfied with having their own way and who refuse to see that they themselves are the problem. And the reason they are the problem is that they are not in the fruitful loving relationship with God that they were made for.
Without God to heal your heart and teach you, you will continue to follow your selfish ways and you will perpetuate the problems you have by defining every difficulty and proposing every solution in a purely selfish manner. As long as the answers you come up with are centered around your personal desires and convenience you will always have it wrong.
Seeking to survive while pushing away the author of life just makes no sense at all. Jesus understands the peculiar workings of your heart even in it’s present state, He also knows how to fix it, how to give you life. His answer is simple and it is one we haven’t thought of because we really have no idea what He is capable of.
He means to throw the whole thing out and recreate you.
In order for that to happen you must die. You must die to all of the petty stupid things you wanted out of life, you must die to the wounds and hurts you have suffered, you must die to all of your ridiculous notions of getting revenge. You must let go of all of them, selfish aspirations, desires for riches, glory, and fame, for even if you had all of those things, without Him, you would only be that monstrous spoiled child just richer and more famous (infamous?). You must die and trust that the one who created you knows what He is doing.
So now I see you are saying, what is the point of dying, if we die then we will be no more. Ah, but there you would be wrong, for if you die, or put your selfish desires to death in seeking Him, He will raise you to life just as He rose to life on that morning so long ago. And what an amazing life it is.
You will be truly alive for the first time, and you will share everything you have especially your new life, with anyone who needs it and will accept it. For this is the solution, that you live in His Spirit and learn to give freely and trust in His love. You won’t even care that the bus never showed up.

What is and what ought to be

April 1, 2010

Have you ever noticed how people talk about God, it is surprising when you realize what they are really talking about. I think it is interesting when you go to a sacramental church wanting to hear about God and you are treated to an hour long lecture about the “church” and how it’s us against them, whoever “they” are (pro-choice, gays, atheists, take your pick) and how important the clergy is in the function of the “church” and how there is only one proper form of hierarchy. If God is mentioned it is more like name dropping than informational. And then they start to talk about their favorite Saint, teacher, or the Pope, until it begins to sound like a personality cult.

So you say “Forget that!” and you go to a Protestant church and you get an hour long lecture on how important the “church” is and how it’s us against them whoever “they” are (liberals, gays, atheists, take your pick) and how very important the clergy are to the function of the “church”, except they use a code word, they use “authority”, as in you must be under authority, and of course the leaders of the “church” you are visiting, are the “authority”. And then they start to talk about their favorite teacher, until it begins to sound like a personality cult.

So then, bewildered, you figure you might as well visit the atheists, and they will give you an hour long lecture about how important it is to band together against the forces of irrationality and how it’s us against them whoever “they” are (fundamentalists, conservatives, Republicans, take your pick) and how they must keep up the struggle politically, and how important it is that they have and nurture intellectual leaders to carry them on into the future. And then they start to talk about their favorite lecturer, until it begins to sound like a personality cult.

There is a reason why these stories sound so very similar. The reason is that these organizations are all based on the strength and understanding of human beings. They are based on, to use a Christian jargon term “the flesh”.
Long ago the church left off following Jesus when missionaries would arrive at a new place and start to teach people to follow the teachings of the “church”, to look to the authority of the “church” and it’s clergy, and to trust in the sacraments of the “church”. At that point they weren’t teaching about Jesus anymore they were teaching about the “church”. Oh, His name was used occasionally to lend credence to what they were saying, but really what they were teaching people to trust in was the “church”. If you regard the stance of the organized “church” this way, it becomes easier to understand the Crusades and the various atrocities committed in the name of the “Holy Mother Church”. The burning at the stake and imprisonment of people whom today we would only consider a bit odd is made more understandable when you consider that the “church” was merely eliminating competition, there were just too many people listening to those guys.
Yet somehow despite all of the “church’s” violent efforts there have always been some people who knew Jesus, they read the Bible or had it read to them, they sought Him in Spirit and truth. It is hard to tell through the mists of time and the various comments praising and condemning that you read, but it seems that many individuals have managed to know Jesus anyway. People like Joan of Arc, Miguel de Molinos, Blaise Pascal, Jeanne Guyon, François Fénelon, Michael Servetus, Francis of Assisi, now we don’t know for certain how well these people knew Jesus or how totally correct they were, but it is fairly safe to say that their focus was on serving God and not just the “church”. Somehow despite the self serving teachings of the “church” these people came to know Jesus. Somehow in their search for God, God found them and touched them with His Spirit. Many of them however were persecuted for their faith.

The “church” has, for centuries, carefully preserved and handed down a container to us, it is the container of Tradition, and when we open it we will find that it is empty, and hollow. So what are we missing? Where is the thing that can bring a man or a woman into the knowledge of Jesus. My friends it is the Spirit, as a man’s body is lifeless without his spirit, a person is dead to Spiritual things without God’s Spirit. Each of us who intend to find and serve God in our lives, must seek Him and learn from the Spirit, the Holy one. If we are walking in the Spirit of Christ, and we are listening to Him and obeying Him, then two or three words of kindness or encouragement which we might speak to someone in passing will be more effective in God’s work than a year’s worth of sermons from some big fancy “church”.
Don’t you see, it is not, and was never meant to be, what we are doing. It is what He is doing through us. It is not about us, it is all about Him.
So speak to Him, listen to Him, allow Him to teach you, and walk with Him, in His Spirit.