In February I got an email from my kids’ school to be alert for “trends and hypes.” All parents were encouraged to give extra thought to the cartoon figures we let our children wear or bring to school, via bags and lunch boxes. My kids attend a school that identifies as Christian, so we knew, in addition to extra singing/music, bible stories and praying, there would be attention to avoiding really frightening stories, or stories of witchcraft, zombies, etc. But this email called out Elsa, Anna, and even Superman. Uh, What??
Christmas is a time to enjoy cozy lights, sweets, and Dutch “gezelligheid” – a wonderful word without pure translation, but roughly ‘nice/comfy/friendly/cozy-ness.’
Some think of “baby Jesus,” others of making everything “just right”, and still others wish to fast forward through the season. Holidays can be painful for some who’ve suffered so much, and I want to share a verse I’ve never heard at Christmastime which may give hope, especially to the oppressed. Or maybe just more perspective beyond the baby in a manger…
This has been an extra hard post to write and share. The danger in revealing something of your heart is it becomes open for ridicule, but it can also spark hope in someone– do people know how loved they are!? So I write knowing some identifying as Christian will dispute, just like I dispute the Nashville Statement – please don’t think that speaks for me, other humans, or those identifying as “Christian”, or even God *Himself
Religion can steal/steel compassion and common sense, resulting in misinformed, cruel statements, actions, policies. But bible verses have always been used against fellow man, woman, child, even the environment.
Even the devil quoted scriptures.
(*I use He and His as simple pronouns for God but fully recognize God with male and female “identity” -for lack of a better word- as demonstrated throughout the bible and blatantly through humanity. Related post here.)
So for those not wanting anything to do with God or “Christians” because of those calling themselves “Christian,” and to stand (or, ahem, #takeaknee) with rebel Christians who’ve been persecuted and pushed out of churches for thinking, doing, or flat-out being something “different,”
And for every child, woman, or man that heard your voice doesn’t matter because of your age, skin color, gender, marital or parental status, anything external, and for every creature and all nature that was abused under the notion that those made “in the image of God” are superior, this is for You.
REBEL CHRISTIAN MANIFESTO, or APOLOGY
Dear Children, little brothers and little sisters, You are the Mightiest Warriors of all.
Your heart, ideas, dreams and very life matter, not because of anything you do, but simply because: You Are. We are humbled by you. You’ve gone through fire because of the grave failings of our own adult hearts (Proverbs 17:3), and our grief is bottomless. (What are these tears God wipes in heaven if there are no more tears there? Maybe the ones we cry when we see just how much you’ve endured on our behalf…)
All heaven will bow before you. Thank you for your willingness to exist in this time with us.
Dear Women, Sisters, “Equal but with separate/different roles” was a lie spoken over you like “separate but equal” was spoken over those with darker skin color before you. You ARE equal to your brothers and your value rests not in your (in)ability to birth or raise children, to cook or clean… Your “role” was never meant to be defined by society, culture, the church, or anyone. God has always challenged our perception and understanding of identity and contrary to popular belief/practice, your giftings and talents were never supposed to be checked at the door when you came to a church service.
How do we have the bible in every language and version (e.g. NIV, NKJV, ESV, NASB, …), study guides, teen/mom/soldier/woman/early reader styles, Comic Bibles…. and still miss the main message?
I didn’t know I owned so many bibles–granted, I’m a self-proclaimed recovering pharisee so I shouldn’t be surprised, but it wasn’t until a friend visited from a country where being Christian is a crime and her daughter longed for a bible, that I really got thinking.
If God really existed, why is the world so wrecked? And if *He is so “good,” how could He let those things happen to me…?
(note: I use He/His as pronouns for God but fully recognize God with male and female ‘identity,’ for lack of a better word, as evidenced throughout the Bible and the human race. 2-pt post here if you like).
Just one look at the suffering and oppression in this world –not just against people, but all creation– and it’s hard not to stumble on belief in a good God. But blaming (or denying) Heaven for all the woe ignores our God-Given freedom to destroy everything just fine on our own.
Hands can hurt flesh, and mouths can speak death, yet we rarely see God grab someone mid sentence, or mid swing. And if He did intervene every time we exercised our freedom, would we really be free?
You know the story of the guest pastor who visited a church in shabby attire, unshaven and maybe even unshowered? Churchgoers sidestepped him and certainly didn’t seat him at the front, so imagine their surprise/shame when he got up to give the sermon.
It’s a good example of the authenticity of our Love, and while Love shouldn’t be swayed by sight, any flesh and blood wrapped in labels like “Refugee” -“Homeless” -“Foreigner” -“Moocher” -“Homosexual” -“Annoying Friend,” will test our hearts.
Do we love because we want to, or because we ‘must?’ If the latter, is that really love?
This starts with a snail named Turbo who dreams of speed. When Turbo almost drowns in an engine filled with nitrous oxide–and my kids and I started getting nervous– I started to wonder: isn’t that stuff laughing gas??
SNL skits and Steve Martin flashed before me, and I checked wiki to confirm: sure enough, the stuff that numbs pain and causes giggles is the same stuff that turns car horsepower into unicorn power.
I don’t believe in coincidences so what’s God trying to say??
Speed and Joy can go together like Slow and Annoyed, but maybe the connection runs deeper. What if Fun, Laughter, and Joy are some of our Greatest Weapons in life?
Maybe that’s why they’re constantly under attack…
The garden of Eden taught some hard and sad lessons, including that we wouldn’t trust God without testing Him first. Parents warn their kids not to touch a hot pan, but don’t they/we ultimately want to know for ourselves?
Bieber had it right:
“I got to learn things, learn them the hard way.
Gotta see what it feels like, no matter what they say..”
(“Ill show you” Justin Bieber, Purpose album)
(Sure, some lessons we never want to learn firsthand, but maybe that’s because we saw the result in the life of another…) Continue reading “Love Needs “Limit” To Shine: Why We Won’t Trust God Unless He has a Last Piece of Pie”
This post is part of the #GodsOneLines series–breaking hate and/or shame caused by people wielding bible verses. Instead I want to use single bible verses or events to encourage and reveal God’s Heart if possible.
This story starts with Tears– mine as I write, and Heaven’s one fateful day.
It starts with the return of Jews from Babylonian exile. Their repeated offenses, including refusing to set servants free, caught up with them despite divine warnings. Sure, they listened for a time, but soon after changed their minds, re-taking men, women and children into captivity (sounds like the Moses story with Pharaoh, right?)
Whether you’re a Christian or a Christian from the “synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 3:9), don’t worry: there’s love here. Sorry to be blunt but with so many “Christians” holding bibles and speaking/doing hate, people need clarity. Luckily Love is the litmus test (1 Cor 13) and “a tree is known by its fruit” (Luke 6:44).
If your fruits are primarily outward like church attendance, wearing crosses, even big Bible knowledge, look out! It’s possible to be crazy about God, the Bible, and still miss His Heart–I’ve been there. Christians can even make God an idol (been there too, Ouch).
Whatever your identity, I’m writing this with a motivation to help protect, especially children, if things go Havoc on earth. America may be center stage for the only war that’s ever truly rumbled on earth: Love vs. Hate.