The Angst of Against 

Someone posted a simple question on Facebook. It was… “Who are You Voting Against?” I thought it was brilliant.

Following that, I drove by a political sign in front of someone’s house. It read, “VOTE. Anyone But Trump”. (any name can be inserted here)

All this made me think. I have an ex-Muslim friend that once explained to me the nature of religion, using Islam as an example, is based on a negative principle. Originally built on a foundation of being against the teachings of Christianity, this negativity is perpetrated by being inscribed on mosques, “Allah is NOT…”  I don’t know if I am properly explaining my friend’s point, but hopefully you get the gist. It is an attitude not just found in Islam.

We might add:
“The President/Government should NOT…”
“God is NOT…”
“Church is NOT…”
“That person should NOT say that, or do that…”

I have noticed something the last couple years. There is a huge segment of society that is reacting. Reacting in anger. Reacting in disappointment. And reacting in hurt. Deep hurts. It’s like a war going on, even an apocalypse, and it’s perhaps destroying more people’s peace and well-being than all the physical wars put together.

It is evident everywhere in society. Have you noticed? It’s not only in certain minority and other people groups, but also in some of your family members and people that you meet every day.

No wait. It’s likely much closer than that.

A sad observation I have made. People with a heart wound, going on a head trip.” – Jay Ferris

How subtle this head trip is, and how tragic when the wounding begins in the heart of a child! People getting hurt and disappointed by authority figures who were respected and looked up to, or people who they were close to, who then failed them. A seed quietly grows inside, forming a root that no one knows is bitter at the start. Some say little in response, retreating into a world of relational or spiritual isolation. Others say more, taking on a more proud stance in attention-grabbing soapboxes or causes, including “bible thumping” people from a distance — all in a way that polarizes others, and exonerates themselves.

Enter the expression of Facebook posts. Blogs. Voting Booths. Pulpits. Religious (or non-religious) denominations and practices. Whatever it is, there is an outlet for the bitterness of the human soul to express itself, and what it is against.

I remember being a part of a home group where for many weeks, even months, all we did was talk about what was wrong with organized churches and their beliefs. Finally, a woman visited who broke the negative spirit we were under. On one particular topic she asked, “I know WHAT you believe about this. That much is clear. But WHY do you believe it?” That question set us in a different and better direction after that, than just being “against” stuff.

The disciples of Jesus were against some people, too. One time they heard about some strangers who were doing the same good works that Jesus had them doing.  They tattled it to Jesus, thinking He too would be suspicious of these “non-disciples.” But Jesus had the right heart. He told His disciples:

Whoever is not against us, is for us.” – Mark 9:40

When it comes down to it, God IS love. He is not Hate. This doesn’t mean He doesn’t hate things (the Bible says He does), but it doesn’t encapsulate God into a negative, but a positive.

I think this is a good thing to keep in mind, not only during this highly charged political season, but in all our dealings.

Most importantly, may it humble and guide the very attitude of our hearts!

The Kingdom Lifestyle & No More Buying and Selling

 

“Once when I was in Victoria, I saw a very large home. They told me it was a “bank,” and that the white men place their money there to be taken care of, and that by and by they got it back, with interest. We are Indians, and we have no such bank; but when we have plenty of money or blankets, we give them away to other chiefs and people, and by and by they return them, and our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank.” – Maquinna, Nootka chief, early 19th century.

coin with beast image
I love that phrase, “by and by.”  The rocks cry out, and while the theology as a whole might be lacking — is the theology of those who claim to have it all together leading them to walk by faith when it comes to money, or anything that even resembles what it was like pre-fall when there was none?  Let the tongues speak and shame all professors into confessors, and a better way of living that is a light in the darkness.  Is it vain to pray, “May Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven,” while refusing to walk a heavenly lifestyle here on earth?  Do we pray something we don’t believe we can do anything about?

It reminds me of what Ghandi said concerning the gospel of Christ.  “It’s a wonderful idea.  Somebody should try it sometime.”

Who’s in?

In the economy of God, there is no exchange of money, for money has its beginning in mistrust.  We are asked instead to, “Owe no man anything but to love one another.”   Love is the currency of exchange in the Kingdom of God, and is based on a faith in God – not in people – and is backed by the blood of Christ, which is priceless compared to silver and gold.  He takes care of those who put their trust in Him.

It struck me just today, perhaps for the first time. Jesus allowed his friend Judas to manage the money bag, all the while (I believe) knowing he was stealing from it.  There’s no indication Jesus did anything about it, or confronted him directly.  Judas later killed himself.

Now my heart tells me that I am not of this world.  But my lifestyle is generally dependent on the monetary system for food, healing, communication, transportation, and sometimes even justice.  I usually go after what is owed, and try not to let others take advantage of me. I don’t have all the answers.  But there is a door of freedom open, and a way of living free.  Just walking away from our responsibilities and abandoning everything is not necessarily the answer, for we may not be equipped to function without all the “stuff” yet.  Plus – we may be fighting a battle before it’s time, or even the wrong battle.

Rather, an “exchange” must go on.  The things of this world must be exchanged for the things that are eternal.  Our hearts must be brave, and our lives must follow.  Kingdom living is a risky business.  Actually more accurately, it is a non-business, and it is practical for an earthly way of life, too.

I don’t have a full grasp of what the buying and selling is all about in the book of Revelation that happens among those who are “marked.”  I do know that there is no need for buying and selling in the Kingdom of God!  We freely give of our abundance, and we freely ask for and receive what we need, both without attaching value, or asking for renumeration.

Perhaps soon, this will be more than a fanciful idea for a future “heaven,” but a real practical lifestyle to live out now.  It may happen because things get so rough here that we HAVE to take care of each other this way to survive, or it may happen due to an awakening of our hearts now.

“In time for the world to know.”