Thursday, December 28, 2006

If anyone is spineless, its me.

I haven't posted lately, mainly because i've been spending my time racking my brain with pathetic creations of stress causing situations-- maybe accurate, maybe inaccurate. I had a lovely Christmas and I am planning on having a lovely New Year. Party at my house, everyone come, unless you weren't invited. I bought some records, read some books, bought some sweet gifts for my family and spent time with friends. I saw some movies too. One sunday, I sat through a harrowing sermon in which the incredibly knowledgable and seemingly biggoted southern baptist preacher went on for an hour with politcally inclined ramblings about how the "pro choice" supporters might as well be referred to as "pro death", also mentioned how the "UN is spineless", commented negatively on "liberal" ideals and came up with some deragatory acronym for the ACLU. So here's the deal, while writhing in my seat from a headache and the disbelief at the sight of this man spewing personal agenda to a passive audience of senior citizens and youth group kids--I was angered not because of his opinions on politics, (he sounded so warm and forgiving when he said that he thought the only way to deal with religious martyrs was to kill them, he was referring to the Iranian president and other extremists, overlooking the fact that his comment was quite ironic and it showed a degree of naivety when dealing with foreign policy and the ramifications of such "gung ho" actions), what I was so taken back by was the fact that none of his rants had anything to do with God, Jesus, or Christmas. His podium served to act merely as a soapbox in whch he could rattle off all of his personal politics which came to him during the past week while he watched some FOX and CNN. I couldn't deal with it, or understand his approach. After he was done preaching to a choir of people who he KNEW would not challenge anything he said, I wondered if he served any purpose in bringing anyone closer to God. If anyone there was not a christian when the went into the service, I am almost sure they were not any closer to becoming one on the way out...which is the bitch of it all really. So there ya go, another church experience which seemed to alienate me more, moving me further away from identifying with any current stream of cultural christian ideals. I haven't spoken much about my thoughts concerning God or religion lately, and mainly because it becomes redundant. So I apologize...thankfully, my "everyday" resonates with Gods grace, which I have yet to be able to deny (not that I'm trying or anything arrogant like that). Thank you God--are you laughing or crying, or merely bewildered? Are you proud or do you feels stings of regret? What are you thinking about?

Here are some quotes I read recently, and I liked them.
"A christians thinking is perverted; even when he humbles himself, it is to be exalted"-Nietzsche

"The church has become the precisely the insitution that Jesus wanted to abolish"--I forget who said this, maybe I just read it in a book.


Anonymous brett said...

i see.

i've had experiences of becoming disillusioned with institutions of christians. part of my personality, however, is to flee from discord whenever i can, so whenever i think of something bad about the church or anything like that i try my hardest to resolve it. that can be good and bad; good if it leads to peace and progres, bad if it leads to apathy or ignoring it. but anyway, i have trouble in these kinds of situations knowing what to do. is it arrogant to be talking about people like this? have i taken the "plank" out of my own eye? personally i don't know if i have, in the first place because i'm in the middle of trying to figure out what i do believe (having been raised a pastor's kid and believing in Jesus cause i was taught to...that's not bad or anything but it's hard now), trying to understand and accept life and know what is true, and if Jesus is real, and everything like that. and secondly i think maybe the focus on how to do church might be too much. maybe not. i could be wrong. well, what i mean is that it's easy to focus too much on how to do church and forget to seek God first.
but also don't become cynical-the quote "The church has become the precisely the insitution that Jesus wanted to abolish" is true in some or maybe many cases but you see more of that than you see of those christians who truly are seeking God and loving him and people. but that's not to say something needs to change for many people.

and that quote by Nietzsche doesn't help me exactly. i don't know if it's really true in all cases but sure in some cases it is. well i think humility is a tricky thing. and maybe for people who are trying to be humble in order to be exalted God accepts their split motives. maybe the exalting that will be done is that God shows us our value (because of)/(and) his value, who he is. maybe it's that when you start with bad motives eventually you'll lose yourself in following Jesus and do it because you see the value in it? what does this mean about Jesus and his message? maybe the humility nietzsche was talking about was fake anyway, cause it's all talk. maybe humility is easier to come by when you're doing the stuff that is "true religion"-taking care of orphans and widows, seeking justice, loving mercy, walking humbly with your God (micah 6:8). of course that can be prideful too. but i just don't know how much of this talking about doing church and being humble and any talk about philosophy and stuff is worth when really we just need to love others, others who need it. and love God. whatever that exactly means. having the right attitude?

what about emergent and all that? to me it kinda looks fishy, like Animal Farm. like at first it was very good, a fantastic idea, good conversation and insights and ideas and many wonderful things (not saying that some Christians decided to revolt against others...ideally it was more peaceful) but now they kinda have created this convention (didn't they say they were against formal dogmas and they wanted loose organization, but now they've created a new group of leading people, just like the pigs in Animal Farm), and they way they say "we", like when tony jones or someone is talking about emergent, as if it's us/them. and maybe i'm completely wrong. i could be. i read a good article about it in relevant magazine. i think brian mclaren's books are fantastic. maybe this is just the next step in growth, and the earlier stages where they sounded more unsure in conversation and were sparking with new ideas and all that stuff were the natural earlier stages, and now it's just maturing. but maybe not. maybe they need to continue to not be too confident (as in, when they're offering ideas, always stick in a "maybe" or something like that; but doing something like that could just be legalistic and not help). who knows? we can't tell their motives or attitudes. i don't know.

well thanks for your post.

3:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so eloquent, Zach.


6:27 PM

Blogger Zach said...

people can always argue that philosophy is a waste of time...i agree and disagree. using philosophy as a means to FIND an answer is a waste of time, because it is cyclical, but using philosophy as an analytical tool that revolves around the answer seems beneficial. if the answer is in place, yet the understanding of the answer is still seemingly unattainable to grasp, i think philosophy serves a good purpose in learning about why you believe what you believe. human understanding is flawed, and philosophy a combat to that, or an attempt to move beyond the ignorance of mere existence. philosophy as a means to understand God. i suppose some people would tell me that understanding God is not as important as loving Him, but I don't think the two are exclusive. God's vague and seemingly paradoxical nature opens up the floor to much internal examination of your idea of truth and reasoning when it comes to applying your life to something.

1:03 AM

Blogger JordanTaylor said...

happy new year zach!

enjoy it.

11:29 PM

Blogger Brett said...

after i typed that paragraph about emergent i listened to a couple of their podcasts and was pleasantly surprised with what seemed like humility and good attitudes and stuff like that and so i mean i know you can't judge someones motives or anything but i just didn't want it to sound like i was just trying to insult them or anything

4:36 PM

Anonymous katie said...

have you read shane claiborne's the irresistable revolution? i just started it today and it is really resonating with me.

a lot of my own struggle with america-centered, wealthy suburban, politically conservative churches and christians has been identity related. my immeadiate family is part of the the kinds of churches that repulse me in a lot of ways. i was raised to be like them, but my experience of life and God has led me way from that. i still have a hard time because i want to defend these churches even as i want to see them change. God has been healing and redeeming a lot of these things for me, but i have a long way to go.

i just got to spend a week with 22,000 other christians who believe that Jesus' gospel is supposed to change the world, to bring freedom and healing and justice to people of every culture. it was pretty amazing. a profound encounter with hope. hope that God has something more in store for us - hope that the people of God can change - hope that I can be a part of the great things He's already doing all over the world - hope that Jesus meant us to be movers and shakers, sacrificing ourselves for the love of others, rather than making ourselves comfortable at others' expense.

8:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

whenever you're home check this out...

2:30 PM

Anonymous skye said...

what you're saying totally resonates with me...believing in god but becoming confused as to why or how the church is associated with him. despite going to church every week, it seems that i find god much more in other places (which brings up the question, "is church solely for finding god?" (don't think so at the moment) and even "what is the church for?" (tough question)). anyways, i tend to just go through the motions (and play in the band on sundays, which seems that much more hypocritical), but i keep thinking this isn't nearly what the early church did; they went out into the world and helped people and grew together...they were like jesus nomads who pooled their resources and helped the was awesome but where did it go??? i keep thinking even with emergent trying to create a new church that's great and all but maybe the whole concept is wrong. jesus didn't say "go to church and live in that world"... he said "go feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit those in prison, invite in strangers, look after the sick". preaching the good news to all creation seems to be going outside the church, not living in it. maybe this is just one more soapbox, but there's ideas. perhaps a new year will bring new ideas forth. bienvenidos al ano nuevo.

10:32 AM

Blogger Lorenzo said...

Hey Zach. I know what you mean about disillusionment with the Church and how certain people perceive and even proclaim a message faith in God.

"...but using philosophy as an analytical tool that revolves around the answer seems beneficial. if the answer is in place, yet the understanding of the answer is still seemingly unattainable to grasp, i think philosophy serves a good purpose in learning about why you believe what you believe." -- I agree with you there.

Thanks for this entry.

7:26 PM

Blogger Grover said...

Really sad to hear about the sermon, how it sometimes seem to go that way, I had an amazing sermon last sunday, it was SO good.
God made me realize how much he loves me again. and i am so thankfull for days like that!
I agree on how sometimes these days the church is too little about God, wish it was diffrent.
I love going to the church, and sometimes it gets hard, because i can't see it all..
but last week, was good, and i am so sure.
just wanted to share this. :$

11:56 AM


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