Saturday, May 02, 2020

Christianity Needs a Huge Overhaul

I am tired of Guilt Trip Christianity.

Recently I searched for a video on "Drawing Closer to God." I found one with a promising title and began listening to it. The preacher pointed to Jesus as the model of a person who lives close to God. You'd think that with Jesus as the model the speaker could come up with something useful to say about this topic. He read Scriptures describing Jesus drawing close to God, how many times He pulled away from the crowds, or even His disciples, for alone time with God; he read scriptures describing how long He spent in prayer--all night sometimes.

Basically, the preacher said (my summary), "Jesus did this, we're not doing that. We're failures."

Gee, I already knew that! The reason I'm looking for a sermon on this topic is because I know I'm a failure.

The following is an understatement: This sermon is not helpful. There's nothing in it that instructs me in how to do what Jesus did. Nothing. I doubt the preacher knows how to do what Jesus did--that's why he's not sharing that information. Which means, he's not doing it either. A person's sermons or writings can only reflect that person's experiences and/or understanding, they cannot provide illumination into something that person is not acquainted with. This preacher operates on Guilt Trip Christianity--that's what he's acquainted with.

I didn't listen to the whole sermon. As soon as I realized I was being guilt tripped, I closed the window. I have a deep aversion to guilt trip Christianity.

Going on guilt trips can become addictive. Most Christian teachers, who are published in one venue or another, use the Guilt Trip Method to "instruct." They don't realize is, but they aren't capable of making their students self-sufficient in any topic under discussion--guilt tripping never does!

The unwitting, unthinking Christians who aren't in it to sell more books or get more speaking engagements also operate on Guilt Trip Christianity, so of course that's what they teach. They think that's the way Christianity is supposed to be. It never occurs to them this philosophy runs totally contradictory to the declaration, "There is no no condemnation for those who are in Christ," Romans 8:1. They've turned that verse into a guilt trip too!
 

We believers read all sorts of passages without actually comprehending them, the meaning is obscured under layers of other people's blather--sometimes centuries of layers.

I fear far too many Christian teachers are primarily interested in future sales. And Guilt Trip Christianity is the perfect method to achieve that goal. The buyer or listener is wanting to achieve higher levels in their faith, and this type of "Christian" teacher uses to guilt trip to give their audience that negative rush, or high, the guilt trip provides so they'll fail and then return to the teacher for another dose (purchasing another product) so they can go on another round of self-flagellated attempts to stop doing the thing they know they should stop doing and do the thing they know they should be doing and failing--again. And coming back for another product.

Another type of teacher is the one who is tuned into the second heaven where a counterfeit Christianity is broadcast and they're rebroadcasting it because it sounds like what they were taught, sounds like what everyone else is teaching and gooses that human tendency to get high on negative crap like guilt, remorse and self-righteousness, because, after all, so-n-so is worse than me.

The Third Heaven is entered into only by heart felt adoration and longing coupled with thankfulness. And though its rewards are lasting, real, repeatable, sharable, healing and true, they're harder to acquire because God doesn't throw His pearls before swine. Entry into the Third Heaven doesn't take work, it takes being real. If a teacher is being real, especially with himself, he will understand going guilt tripping is not discipleship, it's like slumming in a spiritual pornography shop.

Jordan Peterson is not a Christian, but he knows how to tell people what they're doing wrong without guilt tripping them and then he gives them real, practical ways to fix it and motivates them to want to try and tells them what success will look like! Sometimes he uses Scripture, he's obviously studied it quite extensively. Why aren't there more Christians out there who teach like that? Yes, there are a few, but precious few! And hard to find. Here's an example, this section.

The Lord commanded Christians to go and make disciples of all nations. That isn't going to happen with Guilt Trip Christianity. You find a group of serious sinners, guilt tripping will do even less for them than the average middle class, Christian citizen. Serious sinners often have guilt tripping down to a science and could give Christians fabulous lessons in guilt tripping, if they could get a word in edgewise once the Christian starts lecturing. And a serious sinner knows guilt tripping is circular: you come to realize there's a problem, you diagnose the problem, you announce you're not doing the thing that you know you need to do and then you guilt trip yourself into trying to do the thing that needs done, then you fail and repeat. Christians aren't even aware they're doing the same thing, just adding Bible verses and prayers.

Without announcing he's doing this, Peterson teaches on this topic: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and "Love your neighbor as yourself." He says, "You have to treat yourself like you matter, because if you don't, then you don't take care of yourself and you become vengeful and cruel. And you take it out on people around you and you're not a positive force. None of that's good. So you suffer more and so does everyone around you. That's what happens if you don't treat yourself like you matter. And then what happens if you don't treat other people like they matter? You lie to them, you cheat them, you steal, you enter into impulsive relationships with them, they can't trust you. That doesn't go anywhere. They don't like you. You end up alone at best, and maybe, incarcerated at worst. That doesn't work. You watch the people around you who thrive, regardless of what they say, they act out the proposition that everyone matters. And then you have a functional society." Therefore, conclusion: treat yourself as if you matter, love yourself, act like you're someone worth taking care of and then you can do the same for other people. How hard was that?

Now, if a Christian was teaching this lesson, it would be Guilt Trip City pointing out where Christians fail to love others all the time. At the end of the lesson, you still don't have a clue how to do the thing commanded; you would know you're a failure, but because you want to please God and you're feeling guilty, you'll be out there in the world trying to show love to your neighbor doing things you can't sustain because you going about it wrong. In the end, you burn yourself out. (Then you'll be buying a book or looking for a video on "What to Do When You're Burned Out." And the teachers sell you another product, but you're not closer to becoming a disciple of Jesus.)

This particular guilt trip encourages you to gargantuan effort to show people you love them doing things you think are loving, without realizing it's impossible for you to love your neighbor if you don't love yourself. If you don't love yourself you haven't got the first clue what loving someone else will look like, you'll think loving someone else is putting them on a pedestal and worshiping them or giving them money or stuff or something like that. Meanwhile, you're a guilt tripped loser and why don't these people appreciate all the effort you're putting into loving them?

Guilt tripping creates worms. Worms don't do anything that changes the world for the better. They just muck about in the rotting corpse of good intentions (and go buy another Christian teaching product).

Notice how Jordon Peterson explains the human condition quite succinctly, but he does it as if he's in the muck with you instead of standing on the rim of the bed of rotted intentions watching you, telling you you're a failure. And the listener gets the distinct impression he's in the bed of rotted intentions with you because he wants you to get out of there and make a difference in the world, to be self-sufficient and not have to buy any more of his products. Meanwhile, like you, he's working on how to get out of his own bed of rotted intentions he still has left to work through.

Why can't Christian teachers do that?

The rest of us need to stop buying their products and giving them air time.

End Guilt Trip Christianity!

Christianity needs a huge overhaul because what we're doing is the same thing we've been doing for centuries and it's not working, if it ever worked. We're called to bigger and better than mucking about in the bed of rotted intentions.

Something Christian teachers should be saying but aren't



Saturday, November 02, 2019

Christian Fiction No More

I planned to write three romance novels and then reboot the Over the Edge series I've been writing off and on since 1979--sometimes more off than on. From the beginning the romance novels weren't going to match up with some of the rules that Christian book publishers apply to fiction, but I tried to stay, at least mostly, in tune with those rules. I'm working on the third romance novel now and it's gone way off the reservation. If it's going to serve the purpose for which its being created, it has to.

I'm not a fan of the gratuitous. But neither am I a fan of the sanitized. Christian fiction is too sanitized, and Christian romance is probably the most sanitized genre of all. Romance fiction--regardless of what type--has strict guidelines authors must follow. If you've ever read any of it, you know there are templates authors are supposed to use. Read about ten of any type of romance and pretty soon you're reading the same story you read before with variations on location, personality, time of the events, etc. If a writer doesn't follow the romance templates, publishers most likely won't touch it. Which is why I decided to become my own publisher. I don't want to follow templates. My novels are romances, but they have a deeper purpose than boy meets girl and they get married. Christian romance has its templates and strict rules on how the novel is to be written--some publishers are so detailed there's a list of specific forbidden words. You can have them kiss, but it's got to stop there. Sanitized. Template. Boring.

I am announcing that I am no longer even pretending I'm writing so called "Christian" fiction. Cuss words appear in book one, uttered by a bad guy, and in the book I'm presently writing, the hero and heroine are doing more than kissing, and for the sake of the underlying purpose of the book--they have to. This novel is going way, way off the reservation.

I don't plot out my novels. I have a vision for certain events and/or a character and I start writing. The characters and the flow of the story dictate most of what happens. When the story isn't gelling, that means I got off course somewhere: I'm not staying true to a character's personality or desires, or my decision about what should happen next is wrong somehow. My spirit tells me when I'm off course. Essentially, I am just the conduit. The Holy Spirit is writing the book. That's pretty bold to say, I know, and I'll probably be reamed for it by somebody. But hey, I've been told I was going to hell already, so meh. I'm going to say it again: the Holy Spirit writes my books.

Hate to break this to you Christians who like your fiction sanitized: The Bible does not meet your criteria for fiction!

What was the bride price David had to pay for Michal?

How did Tamar get justice from Judah? Eh?

What exactly was Ruth doing in the threshing floor with Boaz? Eh?

And Song of Songs--gasp!

Think about what Paul is saying when he uses marriage as a model for our relationship with God--stop spiritualizing it and think of it from the ground.

God is not a prude. He invented sex and all of the thrill and glory that is supposed to go with it. Humans profane it, but increasingly I've decided profaning sex happens not just with pornography, it happens on the other end too with sanitizing. How is an author to write a book that deals with real issues real people face if the medium is too sanitized to get the point across?

So, here's the flip side. If I write a novel and don't announce to all and sundry that the document talks about God and Jesus in a favorable way, secularists will be mad due to false advertising. And if I call it Christian and it's not sanitized, I'll be in trouble with Christians. So, here's my announcement: I'm writing fiction. I speak favorably of God and Jesus and the fiction is racy. After all this lead up the announcement sounds kind of lame, but it's been painful to get here.

I'm going off the reservation.

God is doing a new thing in the world. I don't know what the product He's making is going to look like. Churchanity and all that goes with it--the standard Protestant worship service with the Bible study groups and groups for all ages and the buses to haul people in and the band playing at the front--all of that is going to end. I don't know what's coming. It won't be house churches. It will be something new. And there is coming a new breed of Christian. One who looks more like Jesus than any of us previously have looked. Todd White is likely a forerunner.

Nothing we've known in the 20th and 21st centuries up to this point is going to remain--nothing. I mean nothing. Not education, not the military, not sports, not entertainment, not movies, not music, not government--nothing!

We're on the cusp of a new age--the Kingdom Age when Jesus' prayer, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," is finally answered is a big way. Get ready, because fiction is not going to be the same either.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Fascinating Twitter Thread: Tesla, Trump, Free Electricity & Deep State