Archives For Jesus

2014-08-05_08-53-25

“In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down his leg, a sword in his hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is the guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.” – Mark Driscoll

Being that I am now a big fan of streaming video I get advertisements such as the picture above on a regular basis. When I first looked at the picture the resemblance between the person in the picture and the traditional western depiction of Jesus slammed me. Then I thought of the quote I used earlier from Mark Driscoll (also above).

Here is a little bit of what Wikipedia says about Mr. Driscoll and his congregation.

Mark A. Driscoll (born October 11, 1970) is an evangelical Christian pastor and author, and current preaching pastor of Mars Hill Church, a megachurch in Seattle, Washington. In 1996, Driscoll co-founded Mars Hill Church, which as of 2014 has grown to 14,000 members in five states and fifteen locations…

On March 29, 2014, four former Mars Hill elders including Kyle Firstenberg, Dave Kraft, and co-founder Lief Moi created a blog titled “Repentant Pastor” and posted online “confessions and apologies” related to their leadership roles in Mars Hill. In a joint statement, they wrote, “we recognize and confess that Mars Hill has hurt many people within the Mars Hill community, as well as those outside the community….” Salon summarized the statements, writing that the former leaders emphasized their failures to “rein Driscoll in” and their complicity with Driscoll’s “autocratic” management style. Firstenberg wrote that while the church appeared to flourish, employees lived in constant stress, and “success was to be attained regardless of human and moral cost.” Lief Moi described his own behavior at Mars Hill as “driven by narcissism and anti-social tendencies.”

SOURCE: Mark Driscoll pastor – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

It seems that Mr. Driscoll is in trouble with the leaders of his church for some crude things he has been saying and doing.  To me it appears that he is simply a case of a guy with too much testosterone even for an American which is a lot.

DeniedHow have we gotten the message of Jesus so damned wrong?

One way I believe we might’ve taken a wrong turn or two in following the Way of Jesus is by not heeding his own teachings and example. In the article, Mohler quotes passages from the Hebrew Scriptures (Genesis 9) and even dabbles a bit into the writings of Paul (Romans 13). But he curiously ignores the red letters of the gospels which could shed a little light on what a Christian (i.e., a follower of Jesus Christ) should or should not support.

SOURCE:  Missing the Point: Al Mohler & the Death Penalty | Michael Kimpan | Red Letter Christians.

The above quote comes from an article in response to the leader of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and it’s 16 million members in support of the death penalty. It is one of the many ways our current versions of religion have veered so hopelessly off the message of its founder. None of Jesus’ words without taking them completely out of context can be construed to support execution!

About the only time Jesus became physically abusive was in turning over the money changer’s tables in its current day churches and then no one was seriously harmed. It is kind of funny that the only times Jesus got so upset it was due to misaligned practices of the religious leaders. I kind of think he probably feels the same about many in  this current bunch too.

It totally dumbfounds me how so many Christians and particularly their leaders seem to purposely ignore the words of Jesus in the biblical text.  I started blogging over at my other blog Red Letter Living in 2008 and one of the first comments I got was from one of the leaders of the denomination I belonged to at the time. He said that I should not be concentrating on the words of Jesus as all the words in the bible are equally important and without error.  This very comment started me on a long downward slide with that denomination which eventually ended when they said I was no longer a member of their church.

The very definition of the word Christian is to be a follower of Jesus Christ. If I take that literally, and I do, how can you say his words are no more important than even the smallest prophets in the Old Testament? By make that claim you are either promoting everyone up to the level of Jesus or you are denying the divinity of Jesus as Christ.  We all need to challenge our leaders when they become so misguided as has the leader of our Baptist brethren. Let’s all do what we can to put Christ and his messages back as the central focus the Christian church. To do otherwise is to me to deny Christ!!

We all know the story of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – four remarkably similar accounts about his life. What we don’t agree on is our interpretation of what he taught. I’m talking about the Gospel message that Jesus intended to be a guide for how we should live our lives, and to be passed on to others to help them understand what it means to be a Christ follower. Jesus shifted us from the law-based religion of the Old Testament to his radically new principle-based way of living, and it just makes sense that he’d choose to use a different style of teaching to do that. Parables and metaphors replaced rules and regulations but the downside is that it leaves the door wide open for a myriad of interpretations that make us wonder if we’re all reading the same Bible. I have to admit that sometimes I wish God would have just replaced the Ten Commandments with another set of stone tablets with a whole new set of rules carved into them. Things like “Don’t even think about being violent…ever.” and “Take care of the poor, even if it means reducing your standard of living.”

SOURCE:  The Gospel According To Who? | Stephen Jarnick | Red Letter Christians.

It Forces Human Interaction

The common response among many believers is that God commands us “to be a good steward” of our wealth, which is the Christian way of saying “I don’t want to give away any of my time, energy, or resources to people who are just going to flush it away.” Thus, the accumulation of wealth is quickly adapted as a form of spiritual virtue, highly esteemed among American believers and attributed as a sign of God’s favor.

But giving directly to the poor forces us to actually interact with humankind, with the people God wants us to be with! Christians have a nasty habit of donating to charities and organizations simply because they don’t want to be uncomfortable or get their hands “dirty.” It’s their way of “helping” without having to actually do anything….

SOURCE:  Stephen Mattson: 5 Reasons We Should Personally Help the Poor | Red Letter Christians.

We now come to the final reason given my Stephen Mattson for helping the poor. I am a strong believer in the idea that you must give a face to something in order to make it real.  In other words just talking about the poor in a general way does not give it much meaning but when you see a small child crying because he is hungry you see the face of the poor.

We Christians have a way of insulating our ourselves from the very people Jesus meant us to be fully engaged with. We also have a way of justifying our inaction with phrases like “I will  pray for you”. Strip this most common Christian phrase down to its reality is the same as saying “I don’t want to be involved with it so I will just pass it on to God to take care of.”  Jesus insisted that we, like him, get our hands dirty and be our brother’s keeper. To lack in doing so is well, unChristian…