“If he is elected we’re all in trouble!”
“We’re on a slippery slope toward socialism.”
“America has lost its moral compass.”
“The Left is leading us to brink of disaster.”
“The elites are working for Satan.”
These are the things I’m hearing from well-meaning people who have a faith that matters to them. The problem is that they can’t see that they are part of the problem. Their “faith” is in the wrong thing.
Somewhere along the way, they traded their Good News for…
· Good morals
· Good disciplines
· Good doctrine
· Good voting
They left old friends who were bad influences and joined religious groups and tribes. Belonging is the heart of feeling loved and secure, so their thinking slowly morphed to align with the tribe. The joy and peace that accompanied grace and unconditional love diminished and was strangled by the grip of hoops, huddles and handshakes they had to learn to elevate their social standing in the group.
They bought the books, went to the events and gave money. They didn’t notice it, but they were changing. And not for the good.
No one said, it, but the underlying belief gripped their minds that who they were was not enough. In some groups, who they were was an abomination. Sinful. Wretched. Disgusting. (“But for the grace of God,” of course.)
It was as if being made in God’s image was not enough. Something had to be added on. Some kind of Jesus-mask, that actually looks a whole lot more like a mask resembling the leader of the group and less like love, joy and peace.
The more they struggled with past issues—porn, sex, gambling, drinking, using—the more they had to lose themselves and embrace the mask.
And lose themselves they did. They killed the first fake image they had developed in their teens and twenties when they were struggling and searching. But instead of embracing their true God-given identity, they created a new fake persona to fit into the religious tribe.
Worse, the religious tribe encouraged the fakeness while preaching a misunderstood Jesus!
Jesus didn’t come to start a religion! Jesus came to bring peace to every soul.
Jesus didn’t come to be the figurehead of a group. He called out the people who acted like gatekeepers of the groups.
Jesus didn’t emphasize a moral code. He said to focus on loving others as you love yourself.
And yet, humans do what humans have always done: Distort the simplicity of Truth for power, division and personal gain.
Which brings us to Easter.
Religion hijacks Easter to get people to “die to their sins and be reborn (ahem, into our tribe).”
But sin has always meant “missing the mark”—missing the point. And religion continues to miss the point.
Religious leaders continue to miss the point and preach unhelpful messages—like all the doomsday messages we’ve been hearing this past year.
But Easter… Thank God for Easter.
Easter whispers to us: “Wake up! Wake up from your religious slumber. Stop sleep-walking. Stop pretending. Be alive!”
Easter reminds us that Resurrection is wired into the universe. Jesus embodied the unconditional love of God. And even when our prideful, blind, religious hearts rejected love and killed Jesus for throwing shade at our religious power structures, Jesus swallowed our hate and took it to the grave with him.
Death leads to new life.
Death leads to new beginnings.
Death leads to hate being transformed into love.
Death leads to injustice being reworked into liberating freedom.
Easter is about that new life… new beginning… love… and freedom.
Embrace it, my friend. And reject anyone who is telling you otherwise.
God is not biting his nails. America does NOT have the market cornered on God’s invisible Kingdom (that is here and now). And religious leaders spewing hate, division and confusion are not speaking on behalf of God.
Easter reminds us that Love will take hate’s best shot, absorb it, put it in the ground, and smile as new life springs up where dead things were buried.
It’s resurrection time. Put your faith in the God of resurrections. The God of unconditional love and grace. The God who is working good from the bad.
Let divisive and legalistic religion die. Put it in the ground and step into the Light of Love, Joy and Peace. That’s the image of your original design.