Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Religioneers & Lifebites

Speaking of religioneers … I tell you what: the phrase "lifebites" really ticks off the religioneers out there in the church and in Blogland! 


So anyway, what kind of Church uses the phrase "LifeBites" in their advertising? We do. We believe in staring reality right in the face. Denial sucks too! It sucks the Truth out of a person! When we say life bites, religioneers get all pissed and close their ears to what comes after, "God knows, He cares and He restores" because they're so caught up looking for their ticket pad to write me a whopper and throw it down before the throne of God demanding a hearing!


Cool! That's Ok. What I want them to know is - now listen: it's not for them! "Lifebites," as a slogan, is for the people who still know that the world sucks! It's for those who haven't had the reality stolen from them by false religion. This spinning world sucks the life from every person unless the REAL Jesus is invited inside to sit down and rule. Life can suck the joy and the purpose from the person. Life on the planet sucks the fiber from our imago die, and denies that we can live on the planet coram-deo and still be accepted by God. Those are the only two Latin phrases I know, and I've always wanted to use them because I think they sound so coooool!! ("Image of God" and "before the face of God" in that order.)  


In Matthew 5:10-12, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."


Jesus said if you want to bring some light into this world, you have to live in such a way that it might bring you persecution - pain for your courage. Ok, so He was talking about the persecution that when endured, would bring eternal joy. And even during the pain – if it's really persecution – one could sense the grace and presence of God at the deepest level. I get that, and I trust that. But is still hurts!!! And life still bites. My fellow religioneers, that's just the way it is on a sin-soaked planet. Get used to it! 


In John 16:33, Jesus warned us again that life would hurt: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Tribulation? Yeah, that can't be good! Sounds like life bites to me! You see, life bites points to the need for redemption found in Jesus Christ, who said, "I have overcome the world." 


And Paul the Apostle told Timothy in his pastorate that, "… all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." (2 Tim 3:12) That sounds like life bites to me! There it is again!


You know what religioneers need? A good dose of what Jesus really said – a good taste of how Jesus really lived, and a good picture of His heart from the Book He authored. They/we need the perfect reality with which He taught the crowds. By the way, the only people He was ever really pissed at were the religioneers! Some of us oughta stop believing what our teachers tell us and go read IT for ourselves to see if it really says we are to dress up in church in order to please God - and other myths and legends. 


When we open the Bible, we gotta stop sifting it for stuff to make our business a success, or compete in the market place, or to help us lose a few pounds. Though many Americans need to do that, we have to open the Bible and ask the living God of the Bible to read our hearts! Then we will be able to face reality with hope, not denial. If we actually read the Bible with humble eyes, we'd even stop thinking it was our option to give an opinion on most subjects. Humble people look to themselves before God first, and then let God look after others. They're just like that.


Jesus said, "there will be tribulation …". That's reality folks, and it bites hard at times. And then He said, "But I have overcome the world!" And that's hope. You can stand in poop and live in denial, but I'd rather stand in poop and live in hope.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I think the Church is filled with what I call religioneers. A religioneer is a controller. They substitute true spirituality for pious activity; one who thinks better of oneself because of what one does to please God. This kind of person supports rules that are not in the Bible seducing people into a sense of false guilt, getting them to confess 'sins' that are not even sin. A religioneer is the kind of person Jesus confronted when He accused them of being more concerned about the toothpick in someone else's eye than the tree in their own.

A religioneer is a person who takes comfort in rules, so they have to take little responsibility for their inner life before God. He or she sees themselves as a moral cop to tell others when they are out of line, how they must change, reduce, delete, erase, remove, expunge, or obliterate anything that the moral majority believes must be expunged (I love that word!) from one's life before one can approach God and be good in His sight. Religioneers like to re-engineer their surroundings so that they create an environment that is more clean and pretty, so that God will be welcome.

In Jesus' day, the religioneers had re-engineered the message of God to fit their desire for importance and power. What's pathetic is that they really thought they were doing God a service by keeping the dirty people out of a religious environment! No wonder God's presence isn't felt in our houses of worship any more! There is no dirt! Not the kind Jesus always hung with anyway – you know, tax collectors, sinners, and even prostitutes!

A religioneer is one who likes to paint up the outside, to present a pretty face and thinks that others must 'dress' like him or her. They're the one's that tell us we have to dress up to please God – that we have to dress up whenever we expect Him, like we would for the President of the United States. Bologna! Hey, to follow that line of thinking, since God is always with me, then I better dress up mowing the lawn, and trimming the shrubs! I'd better be ready to get oil on my Armani, because He is just as present working on my motorcycle as Hs is the building in which I worship Him on Sundays. If you believe in a God that only shows up when you're in some building somewhere, then you even have the wrong idea of the Church – it's not a building made with hands. It's a spiritual house made up of individuals changed by Jesus Christ. The first building is our work and the second is His and His will last.

We religioneers like to dress up the outside thinking – just like the ancient Pharisees and Sadducees – that we've cleaned the inside as well! Jesus said hogwash! The work of faith is heart work, not body work. You wanna know a secret? I used to be captured by that cultish clique, but escaped with my life! Thank God! I finally learned that God sees me naked anyway! God sees me from the inside out, not from the outside in! And God changes us from the inside out NOT from the outside in!

Religioneers often criticize stuff that looks real and authentic because they live in a world of denial, hoping that the clock never strikes 12:00 A.M so that they have to lose the glass slipper and the golden carriage, and head back into their own little corner in their own little room where they usually are alone and sad and bored, because they have no real friends. This sounds harsh and I wish it wasn't true! I know it's a real state of being, albeit a fantasy life, because I was THERE!! Don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect, or even good. I'm still purging the ick from my scales, but at least my sight is beginning to clear. By God's grace and because I live and worship among real people, that stupid pain-in-the-tail rod in my eye is beginning to fade!! Life still bites, but God rock! He knows, He cares and He restores.