Category Archives: Religion

It’s Not a Ball of Confusion . . .

My wife and I were enjoying a day trip to Chicago and there on Michigan Avenue, certainly the Midwest’s biggest shopping location, were several brothers who were from what I heard, Fruit of Islam (although I am not sure of this and wouldn’t want to offend).  They were there on the sidewalk with a loud sound-system decrying the Christians who among several allegations were allowing homosexuals to sashay about in their churches without constraint.  They continued in the time it took us to walk past talking about how Christianity remains Eurocentric. 

I walked past, and asked my wife, “Who is getting the glory from this diatribe?”.  I was willing to confront these brothers although I am well aware that having an argument with someone who has a microphone is an absolute losing proposition.  I was quickly past anger toward sadness that is based upon the continuing issue that plagues the entire world.
No one got any glory from their words.  There were so many various ethnicities in the crowd, (as one would regularly observe in Chicago) and from the looks on their faces, they seemed lost in the presentation.  I wonder why these men decided to make this great declaration on Michigan Avenue rather than on Stony Island where the crowd would have at least been able to recognize the premises of their argument.  (Not that it would have been appreciated more)
Certainly there were no interested looking converts on the street and with so many disparaging words I wondered if this was the reaction they expected.  One doesn’t always expect mass enthusiasm from preaching but when light is shined in darkness. There is rejoicing.  I was reminded of the Temptation’s song “Ball of Confusion”.
Religion does that, it gives strength to the darkness.  People end up deciding that they would rather not follow anyone or anything than deal with confusion. 
The Bible says clearly that God is not the author of  confusion (I Cor 14:33) and we argue that Christianity is not religion.  Religious people do things in order to get close to God.  Christianity says that God sent His son to suffer the penalty of our separation from God – we can therefore come to God through the Son (Christ Jesus) and adapt a lifestyle of submission to the Kingdom and servant-hood for this great act.
We live in a world where people are discouraged from having discussions either because they one are intimidated or two are avoiding the conversation altogether. What do we do about this?  Pray for courage and boldness (Acts 4:13,29,31) and give a “soft answer” (Proverbs 15:1)  to those seeking answers about life.

Written to “J” with love

I met a wonderful and interesting woman this week and she confided that she had been catholic but that she never felt that God heard her prayers.  I said God is listening and wants to answer all of your prayers.  What I would have liked to have said was ” . . . We have to learn to attune our ears to hear Him clearly”.   Taking a moment in one of the nation’s premier department stores, I felt somewhat challenged to share with her fine points about Christianity and to discover where she is in her walk with the Lord but I am praying that she will follow me to this page and I add this writing with her and hopefully others in mind. 

Christianity is not a religion, it is the formation and development of a relationship between ourselves and Jesus,  the Christ (the Anointed One, Risen Messiah). I say it is not a religion because religions are founded upon the premise that people need to do something in order to be “good enough” to be acceptable to God.  Every religion known to man provides a vehicle where if we can pray enough, or do enough good or (God forbid) destroy our enemies, we can be deemed righteous and/or be rewarded. 

Clearly and simply, we cannot do enough, but the love of God is so great that He would not let us be lost but sent His one and only Son to pay the penalty of death for our failure and separation.   He paid that debt and as a result, we have a chance to know and fellowship with Him. 

There have been no lack of stories about a designated savior/gift to the world. This story differs from most as it details the most gruesome death that anyone has had to die who was innocent of any crime.  As it is written, “scarcely for an upright man will one die, or even for an especially good man. But Christ died for us” while we were dead wrong and not even looking for redemption!  [partial quote and my own paraphrase of Romans 5:7-8]

He rises from the dead and was seen by hundreds of people, returns to heaven but is coming back for all that believe in Him.  He made promises of good gifts and favor for all who believe in Him. The story is easy to believe but also easy to reject.  We can come up with our own rationale for how and why God should operate and complete scenarios about how the plan of salvation should work.  But God is looking for those who will follow His plan, seek Him to worship and worship Him in Spirit and Truth.   He wants people to love him in faith by grace as we learn to understand His love and mercy.