Not to get political but . . .

I’m really glad that I’ve been unable to watch the news for the past few weeks.  Because when I turned it on, all I saw was hatred from both parties thrown back and forth.  I’ve seen religious discimination lauded as a conservative american value.  I’ve seen the parody that is the Colbert Report come true.  This breaks my heart as a Christian and as an American.

First of all, my heart breaks as a Christian because I see these conservative voices, who claim to be Christians, asserting that America is essentially God’s chosen Country, and they pledge allegiance to the flag instead of the Cross of Christ.  That’s a problem Christians.  Wake Up!  America will not save your soul.  America will not rescue you from your sins.  America is just as broken as every other nation in the world because America is made up of broken sinful people.  So please conservative pundits STOP equating America with the Gospel.  The Gospel of Jesus is so much bigger than America.  You cheapen the Gospel by your actions.  (I say all of this as someone who is fairly conservative).

Yesterday I talked about idolatry (it will be up shortly at thecreeksidechurch.org if you are interested).  I think our devotion to american nationalism (on both sides of the political spectrum) is one of the most pervasive forms of idolatry that the church has to deal with.  Jesus is so much greater than America, and I don’t really think that America is his ultimate plan for redeeming the world.  Rather he wants to use the church and individual Christians throughout the world.  But we cannot be so tied to our American Values that we loose sight of our Gospel Values.

These are the equations that American Christians need to decide upon

America > Christianity

America = Christianity

America < Christianity

Choose.  Truly evaluate you beliefs.  If you choose the first, I have bad news for you.  You are not a Christians.  The two cannot be equals, and the country must be secondary to the faith.  And you might believe the third to be true but you may be acting like the first two.  Check yourself.

All of these things I’m saying are my own opinion, they do not reflect the opinion of Creekside Church or the leadership of Creekside Church.  I’ve just been removed from the news for a bit and I had to get this off my chest.  So that was point one, written as a Christian, who is generally conservative in social issues.  I am not apolitical.  I think it’s good to vote your conscience and to do your civic duty.  But I’m tired of Christian Conservatives being manipulated as a voting block to promote fear and hatred.

That being said, lets talk about the Mosque.  One of the reasons that white Europeans came to the Americas was to escape religious persecution.  That’s one of the reasons.  But it has led to religious diversity in America as a right for all Americans.  Now, do I think putting a Mosque in that location is a good idea?  No probably not.  But should it be denied simply because it’s a mosque?  Well that’s pretty un-american.  Or is it only white Europeans who get to practice religious freedom?  As an american I feel like this discrimination is simplistic, reductionist and moronic.  Because as a Christian, I celebrate the same freedoms that Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Scientologists, NASCAR fans, and Oprah viewers all celebrate.

It’s a complicated world that we live in, and America has a cultural value on religious liberty for all not just the white Europeans.  I believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth, and it’s the only way to find forgiveness from sins and to have relationship with God.  And I’m raising my children in the Gospel, and I hope to be a Gospel influence to my neighbors and my community.  But as an American I cannot enforce my faith on someone else.  I cannot legislate faith.  And I don’t want people to take away my rights to religious freedom.  If this mosque is denied simply because it’s a mosque and not a church, then it’s only a matter of time before I lose my religious freedoms.

So is it a good idea to put a mosque there?  Probably not.  Do they have the right to pursue putting a moque there?  Yes.  Just like I have a right to put a church in downtown Seattle.  This is a conservative battle for religious freedom.  The ideology behind my faith is fundamentally different than that mosque but we both want the same freedoms. And America has stood for those freedoms for all of it’s existence.  So if you are a conservative, and you want to conserve the American way and the Constitution then you cannot oppose this mosque because it’s a mosque.  It’s probably a bad place for a church as well, just saying.

So please American Christians, stop putting America on par with the Gospel.  And Conservatives, stand up for religious freedom for all americans or else its only a matter of time until the white Europeans lose their religious freedoms as well.

This is what I know, no one in D.C. wakes up and says, “well how can I destroy America today?”  Everyone is trying to make america better.  But when we treat people who are opposites on the political spectrum like they are Satan’s spawn then everyone loses.  So stop shouting at each other.  Everyone is trying to make America a better place to live.  So please let’s treat each other civility.  We can be passionate without being jerks.

I hate getting political on my blog, but I saw all this and got angry.  Had to get it off my chest.  I welcome conversation but I will not reply to hate speech.  And again, this is my opinion.  Not the opinion of Creekside Church.  I know some people think that everything I say is the opinion of the Church, but that’s pretty simplistic thinking, (I’m not the Pope).  If I can’t disagree with other Christians on political issues and still be considered faithful to the Gospel then there is something much more troublesome happening.

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3 thoughts on “Not to get political but . . .

  1. Jason –

    Do you understand the difference between something being Religious-centric, and something being spirituality-centric?

    I ask, because it seems you are expressing an internalized conflict, concerning things that are religious-centric, and actually Christian Religion based accurate.

    It seems rather clear that like most Religious, especially Christian based Religious persons, you are failing to understand that Religion and spirituality are NOT the same thing.

    It sounds to me that you are expressing a personal spiritual conflict, that you are having about current Socio-Political issues. That you, due to misunderstanding / ignorance about the difference between spirituality and Religiousness, are failing to see what actually is.

    I realize that because of your failure to understand the conceptual differences, you are believing that what IS going on, is a religious perversion. But in this, you are wrong. What you are witnessing, on the news, is actually what Religion IS!

    Religion IS the socio-political CONTROL, of ‘The Masses’, of the peoples! Yes, it is artificially shrouded as being based in spirituality. But in truth, reality and fact….religion is not about, nor does it have anything at all to do with anything spiritual.

    Whichever religion you practice, whichever ‘church’ you practice at…..if the leader of your church is unwilling to explain to you that / how, it is, that religion is not spiritual, but rather that it is a socio-political ‘yoke’ for controlling the masses, masked in a guise of pseudo-spirituality..and that spirituality is something apart from, religion and how it is that the two concepts differ from each other….how can you seriously trust that person?

    I have nothing against religion, itself.
    I do find pretty much, everything, wrong with how the ‘tool’ that religion is, get’s used, and what is done with the tool of religion.

    But never do I confuse the ‘tool’, with the work, the tool is used to do; nor the result of that work. Nor do I ever make the mistake of mixing my views on / about spirituality with my views on / about religion.

    [A farmer uses a tool, known as a Yoke, to control his burden-beast. This does not make there be anything wrong with the tool, the Yoke. Nor does this make there be anything wrong with the burden-beast, (The People). But where there likely IS ‘wrong’, would be in the motive of the farmer, the work being done by the farmer and the result / effect of the farmers work.] – When the Farmer is in reality a Religious leader and the tool / Yoke, is Religion.

    Take heed. take very serious heed!
    Religion is but a tool used by those who choose to make people, their ‘Burden-Beasts’!
    When ANY person, who does control other persons, makes any claim….either of not controlling, or of committing the act(s) of control based upon anything having to do with spirituality….. That person, the one doing the controlling, just LIED! Dare to question their honesty, their altruism, on this point of their having LIED, and they will then DENY…..Truth & Reality! Question this person on there denial of their having LIED, and they will from that point on, in every way, PRETEND that all Truth & Reality are ‘Other than’, precisely that; Truth & Reality.

    …..and right their – you have the best, most basic defining explanation of what Religion is!

    ———-
    Spirituality is nothing to do with / about religion.

    Spirituality is Personal. Spirituality is Individual.

    Spirituality is an Individual, Personal connection / involvement to / with / in, something bigger, something more, than the Person.

    (If you pay attention and you understand, it becomes perfectly clear, just how it is that the controllers of the masses, LIE, Deny their Lie, and then Pretend Truth & Reality to be else-wise, all while claiming to be doing so out of altruistic spiritual guidance.)

    Once you understand these things, and come to realize how / why Religion is put to use, in controlling the masses, you can then begin to consider further that even with all there is that is wrong with this controlling of the masses, the only true / real societal ‘crime’ is actually – each singular person choosing to be NOT a True, Real INDIVIDUAL.

    Yes, the news is repugnant.
    – But only in that the singular persons, by their own choosing, allow themselves, to be NOT, actual individuals.
    – That the Singular persons choose to allow themselves to be the ‘Burden-beasts’ of the Religious Leaders, who LIE, DENY, & Pretend about their using Religion to control under the false guise of spirituality.
    – The news is PERFECT! It is nothing more / less, than yet another tool! A tool for disseminating the dictum of the Controllers.
    (Again, it’s not the tool that is bad. It’s who is using the tool that may be bad. How the tool is being used that may be bad. What the resultant effect of the tools use is, that may be bad. Why the tool is being used, that may be bad.)

    As I see it – It is laudable, of you, that you choose to be spiritual.
    But it is ignorant, wrong and perhaps even a crime against all of human kind…when you choose to cease being your own personal INDIVIDUAL; when you give control of both yourself, and your spirituality, to another.

    I say to you, yes – recognize fault – Who, What, When, Where, Why, How it is. But strive always to lay blame, where it belongs. Unfortunately for you and every single one else of us……Blame ALWAYS belongs put on us EACH! Just as the religious leaders will always LIE, DENY and pretend about their intentions and their actions….we singular persons too, prefer to LIE, DENY and pretend…concerning BLAME! The Blame that always belongs placed upon us each.

    Welcome to the Truth & Reality that is life! Life is about the eternal strife, for achieving and existence of being first: Open, Honest & forthcoming with ones self; and then: being Open, Honest & forthcoming with others.

    Try it sometime. Start with consternate self-contemplation. Then take that further and work to make a stolid practice of, 1st: O.H.F – Self / O.H.F. – Others.
    I promise, it IS and will ALWAYS be the ultimate spiritual work, for any Genuine Individual to tackle!

    If you actually read all this – Thank you.

    • Thanks for finding my blog and taking the time to reply. You and I will always disagree on what religion could be. Sadly I agree with you that religion often is a force of control (this is a very Nietzsche-an understanding on the origins of religion). I. Don’t buy Nietzsche’s origin Theory. I believe that sin is real and it is sin and sinful people that corrup the search for God and use religion as a means to exert power. That is why I find Jesus message so appealing. Instead of coming to exert his power as the Son of God, he came in humility and served, ultimately dying for others. People mess that message up because of our sinfulness, but if we want to be like Jesus then true religion and Christian Spirituality is evidenced by service and humility.

      I think your emphasis on the individual search for spiritualityvis also pretty heavily indebted to Nietzsche and his ideas of the Uber-Mensch. Although i doubt that Nietsche was really concerned with spirituality as much as the exaltation of the individual. But again true Christianity is done in community. We are not meant to be alone in our lives andnthwt includes our search for God. You and I disagree on that basic principle. And I doubt that anything I say will convince you otherwise, but i think it is intersting that your ideas of Spirituality, while you may be aware of them or not, are influenced by e thoughts of another. Which is the very thing that you are suggesting is the problem with religion.

      But thanks again for your comment. Very thoughtful, and not mean or hateful. I appreciate the civility of your tone. It’s so easy to just get angry and spit hate on these issues so thanks for not doing that.

      • We disagree, a great deal less than you realize. Perhaps we should get together over coffee sometime. Look for me on LibraryThing. That’s where I found you.

        Perhaps you can help me, with my ‘Blog’. I am very much NOT a writer.

        So far all I am seeing that we disagree on, is how we choose to practice our singular personal spirituality.

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