We Keep Our Eyes on Jesus.

 

In our culture today, everything has become increasingly caustic to human and human dignity. Words have become more volatile, communication instant and devoid of feeling, rhetoric more hateful, vehicles armored, guns with larger magazines more deadly, social media is harsh, communities less caring, politics more mean-spirited, international relations more and more hostile, and yes, even Jesus has become weaponized.

Church and religion are nothing more than vehicles to promote hate, separation, division, and a culture of inhumanity and hatred. Scripture is used to divide and to falsely condemn. From the Vatican to the compound of Franklin Graham to a church near you. They are more like inclusive, invite-only clubs than parishes where who is in and who is out is often determined by the strongest – the Pharisees and Sadducees of the day –  rather than than those who are in need of inclusion and love. In other words, the weakest are once again on the outside looking in, being further oppressed and marginalized, as the insiders – the rich, the powerful, the in-crowd and the often white and rich and non-struggling – are being warmed by the glow of their own denial of the true gospel, as they worship their non-Mexican, non-poverty ridden, non-Afro-Asiatic, non-inclusive, and weaponized version of Jesus.

And, to be clear, this construct of Jesus is an equal opportunity hater. The list is endless but includes the non-patriotic, the non-white, the non-straight, the divorced, the female, the immigrant, the bullied, the non-Catholic, and oh, ya, the non-believer, too, because after all they are of the devil, right? It seems lately that God is far more concerned with gender identity, who wins the Whitehouse, and proper restrooms for folks to use based on some archaic interpretation of the lawgiver, than on war, poverty, genocide, and lifting valleys and bringing down hills, huh?

The lines in the world have been drawn more clearly now. In this information age of instant communication and instant results, we are awash with a variety of means to determine how formerly called ‘cute quirks’, or differences, can be turned from pride to sources of shame. We are not permitted to beat our children now, so we do worse: we shun when our sons say they want to be princesses, or force our daughters to wear pretty flower-print dresses when they want to wear pants or play with fire engines. We reject out of hand those whose views are different rather than embrace individuality.  In our brave new world, their is no welcoming God; there is just us.

This new weaponized God, whose greatest concern in the universe, is making sure that gender norms are strictly enforced is a projection formed by our need for an uncomplicated world. God’s love is threatened by today’s freaks so we must ban together to deny them ever flourishing as human beings. We create new priests and pastors and other religious leaders who are cut from the same cloth as us, and who will inform and direct and deny the life-giving Gospel to protect our version of the Church so as to enable us to freely hate under the cloak of religious freedoms. Today’s Christians are not interested in love, but rather a Neanderthal image of a God with lightning bolts who strikes out if they should ever fully know Him and they would rather retain a first century anthropology than welcome everyone under their theological tent.  How sad, or worse…  

Why would we think that God would love everyone – even those society deems as different – all of God’s created, all of them God’s children, and include their families, their parents, their communities, and even us, those who dare to embrace them; could God not love us as God once did our ancestors whom He led from the harshness of oppression and slavery through the sea and desert alike? Why would we ever think – and worst, project unto others – that God would give them a snake when they ask for a fish, or a scorpion when they ask for bread?
 
Not here. Not at Saint Miriam. Ever. We believe and follow the one true God, our Jesus, the Christ of the world and all that is; the loving God who died with arms outstretched so that all – every.single.soul – might live.
 
We keep our eyes on Jesus…