Someone shared something in church on Sunday that resonated completely with some of my concerns of late. They shared an impression they had (a word) from God that was so "nail on the head" that I had to verbally "AMEN!" that thing.
"The name of Jesus without the love of Jesus...is a lie."
Again, let me say...AMEN!!!
And truthfully...this is a MAJOR problem with the church in America. (And by "church", I mean local churches, church systems, Christian institutions and organizations, groups and individuals...and I even mean it about the "Lone Ranger Christians" who withdraw to religiously judge from a distance...anyone who would say they are "Jesus-people".) It's a problem I believe every single one of us needs to consider.
It is best demonstrated for me right now in how the church in America "eats its own". Excommunication is alive and well. The witch hunt is alive and well. "Us" vs. "Them". Shame, slander, smear campaigns... Assumption of evil without investigation...slaughter houses for the innocent, broken and lost. Verbal ascent to redemption and restoration with no real action in the least. The arrogance of Christian religion (standing for things in the name of Jesus) with a complete disconnection from the relationship realities of Jesus (embraced by and living out His love)...justified "burning at the stake" all over the place.
And it's a total lie. A lie from the enemy of Love. One that I have such anger over...
Because really...how is love-depleted, "religious" Christianity any different from other religions that push "law" over "love"??? Like the others...I feel that approach, absent the relational impact of the person of Christ who is the embodiment of the love of God, is dead, nothingness...just identity propped up by "striving" (the doings of duty)...a striving that often elicits the destruction of others to build up self. As my ragamuffin friend said...zombies are real. The walking dead...in the church.
Quite a crossroads for me right now related to this issue...a feeling of wanting to withdraw completely from association with these unhealthy, religious people but also not wanting to withdraw from legitimate community like the extreme isolation (also unhealthy in my view) of the Lone Ranger types.
Caught between two ditches...
And here's the quandary...I want my destiny to be about living and loving forward. Kingdom realities lived out now...which should not mean always having to STAND AGAINST people who should be my own "kind". It makes me nauseous to think that my mission field, so to speak, is for those who think they are glorifying God by being arrogant, rabid dogs chewing on people I love, people God loves... Jesus didn't entertain the aggression of Pharisees but occasionally...so why should I? (Well...until the end, at least, when they ultimately killed him...sigh). So how can I live and even work professionally so that my interactions with the "religious" are few and far...?