Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jesus Versus Christian Terrorists

“Christian Militia” is what the news media is calling it. I call it Christian terrorists. You might want to duck because I’m about to go after something that needs to be spoken to and it needs to be spoken to rather directly.

After September 11, 2001, I waited for something for which I am still waiting. I wanted to hear a clarion, passionate, piercing and powerful Islamic Clerical voice speak out, consistently and intentionally drawing the proverbial dark line for all the world to see explaining this hideous act of terrorism of that dreadful day did not represent Islam. Yes, I have heard an occasional and respected Muslim leader denounce terrorism, and for that, I am thankful. It just seems to me that Islam has yet to find a true voice to represent itself clearly, at least, in the western world.

But that is not my point. My point here is to step up to my own platform and be a clarion, passionate, piercing and powerful Christian pastoral voice to speak out consistently and intentionally to draw a proverbial dark line for all the world to see explaining that armed militias, cults and even angry noisy churches do not represent authentic Christianity.

I want to take that a step further. Here’s the part where you might want to duck. Matthew 5:21-26 proposes some rather interesting values which we all would do well to revisit at this particular period of history. In these words of Jesus’ Inaugural Kingdom Sermon, we are challenged to go far beyond the rules of the Law.

The Law says, “You shall not commit murder”, but Jesus says, (my paraphrase) “You shall not be people of the minimum requirement. I want to take you where humankind once walked with God in the cool of the day. I have come to fulfill the Law with blazing, living hearts of real love. Your indicator of how this New Heart is functioning will be listening to yourself. The mere utterance from your voice of degrading another human with a dismissive wag of, ‘…you fool…’ will, in My Domain, shout to you that your heart is not yet living supernaturally. Indeed, to hear yourself speak in that tone will, in My Domain, strike you as if you had pointed a gun at someone and coldly pulled the trigger.”

Christian Militias are the direct result of hearts separated from Heaven by slow and infinitesimal steps away from Heaven through angry unforgiving internal realities tolerated in the name of righteous and holy living. The Christian Militia folks being searched for and arrested today did not start with guns and bombs; they started with words formed in cold dead hearts. The current angry and curt tone of some Christian voices addressing political debates is where Christian terrorists are born.

In a time, not that long ago, when laws in America promoted the marginalization of a race of people, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped into the national stage and shouted, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word on reality.” This came from a man whose home was bombed, his body scared and his life routinely threatened. He prevailed because his heart was supernaturally connected to The Domain of Heaven and his voice spoke love’s supremacy over hate.

I hear Christians suggesting today that “big government” is stealing our freedoms. Really? Where is the “big government” today that once banned a black child from drinking from the same water fountain as a white child? I propose to you that a young southern preacher crushed that “big government” under his feet with a message of “unarmed truth and unconditional love”.

True Christianity is not angry, much less, violent. True Christianity bears no weapon for revolution other than outrageous faith that all weapons are destined for the blacksmith’s fire for transformation to agricultural benefit (Micah 4:3). True Christianity believes in a God whose desire and actions are capable of ordering a luxurious catered buffet for a productive (and even spirited!) discussion with our most contrary political enemies (Psalm 23:5). True Christianity does not believe in threats, veiled or otherwise. Since true Christianity is not afraid of terror, it knows terror is a bankrupt bargaining tool, never to be brandished in our hands. Indeed, true Christianity has ONLY the Kingdom of God at our hands for the healing of all, up to and concluding in, the healing of the nations.

I read a commentary, not long ago, where in the midst of hand wringing over America’s current political climate, this person intoned, “It’s too late to talk but too early to shoot”. I felt suddenly inclined to run! I wanted to run like someone seeking distance from guilt by association to a crime. Why? Because, according to Jesus, words are indicators of hearts, either steeping in heaven’s bounty or marinating in hell’s vicious cruelty. I simply did not want to risk that writer’s venom near my heart.

I am simply one voice. The word, “Christian” and “militia” are completely incompatible. Additionally, I commit my voice to be given only to loosing love and forgiveness for even my most vocal political enemy.

Church….it is TIME to RE-present Christ. What we need is hearts and internal realities ignited from on high with the insuperable, undefeatable, transcendent supremacy of the Kingdom of God!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Wind Up Alarm Clocks and Dragons

Like many little boys, I took more than my fair share of risks. Ore boats in dock in Milwaukee were giant invitations to explore. An abandoned zoo had way too many caves and enclosures to ignore. Railroad yards were veritable gold mines of scrap metal and enormous chunks of metal just laying around begging for my attention.

On the less risky side of this equation I came into the possession of a couple of old style wind-up alarm clocks. The kind you might have seen in cartoons that have the big bells on top. I was fascinated by the sheer raw power of these mechanical puzzles. So, like any 10 year old boy, I took one of them completely apart so I could see for myself what made it tick!

At the heart of this clock was the main-spring. Isn’t it interesting today how we strive to have self contained, self powered machines that require little or no outside energy source and long ago we had alarms that needed no batteries, no plug in, no solar panel…just wind it up and listen to it tick. Anyway, I made the mistake of pulling that wind up spring out off of the frame…

What happened next was the spring sprung! It flashed wildly out of control and into uselessness. I tried in vain for hours to pull that spring back into its place. That clock became spare parts.

On to clock number two. This time I knew better than to take the spring off of the frame. This time I simply played with all the other parts and when I was done, I put it back together…my curiosity satisfied. From then on I would watch and listen to that clock and internally imagine all the parts cooperating.

I see Christianity today badly in need of brave little boys and girls who will open it up and explore. I’m not talking about exploring new kinds of church services and inventing catchy new phrases and trendy new slogans. Cleaning the decks and painting the walls of the Titanic would have provided the ocean floor with clean decks and freshly painted walls.

I’m talking about real exploration of truth. I’m talking about brave excursions into fresh revelation for the purposes of rediscovering God, Jesus and the Spirit. And, YES, I know that certain things are like that first main spring that should never be tampered with or you’ll have a pile of useless curled up metal laying on the floor.

But I believe this Easter season is a grand time for some risky adventures in faith exploration. Christianity was not born in a stale library but in a cold tomb when the Holy Spirit said, “Pssst…hey Jesus….wake up….let’s rock the universe with New Creation”.

There is still a 12 year old little boy inside me wanting to know what’s on the other side of that rusty door. In ancient times when map designers drew as far as they knew to draw, they wrote the words at the edge of the unknown, “Here Be Dragons”. It was supposed to stop sailors from going off into the fatality of the undiscovered. What they didn’t count on was the likes of explorers who were egged on to go see dragons, at worst, but at best, to discover the New World.

I don’t believe that Jesus was risen from the dead so that we could have better church services and hide eggs that we won’t find until they start stinking in a month or so. I think Jesus’ resurrection was for the explosive beginning of a new creation. I think Jesus blitzed the power of darkness and released a New Genesis that has yet to be significantly touched or experienced.

Jesus routed the Lord of the Dragons and invites us to slay all lesser beasts. We have nothing to fear but our own laziness rooted in western arrogance which suggests there are no more reformations needed. Stay where you are and you’ll keep what you’ve always had. Arise and reach for what you’ve never known before and you’ll grow beyond your wildest dreams!