You’re Right, It’s Not Fair

Not FairPretty much every day I hear somebody talking about how something is not fair, how if there was any justice something would have gone differently, how they wish somebody would have gotten what they deserve, etc.  Enough people!  Seriously though, please stop and think before you lash out with this ridiculous line of thinking.  I think this circles back to the old “be careful what you wish for” idiom.  And, to be clear, I’m not innocent here.  I’ve certainly ridden this nonsense train before but who hasn’t at some point.  Here’s the deal:  None of us actually want true justice.  We all deserve it, but we don’t really want it.  True justice for all of humanity equals death and an eternity of separation from our Creator.  But, here we are, running around complaining about how other people should have received different treatment or how we “deserved” a different outcome.  What a joke.  We so arrogantly stomp around like children on this futile earth wishing for vindication and justice meanwhile completely disregarding the truth that we’ve been given freedom from justice.  Not a right to justice but freedom from it.  For some, this should be a near revolutionary thought.  Imagine what you could let go of if you truly recognized that you have no right to “justice” or vindication.  Imagine what freedom from the bondage of spite or bitterness could feel like.  Besides, only God has the right and ability to execute justice.  If we just forgive those who do us wrong and stop worrying about them receiving “justice” we could move on with joy and peace.  We talk about justice in the legal system but that is a human concept of punishment for wrong doing.  We live in the Godly concept of mercy whereby we are not getting punished for our wrong doing.  Well, we should anyway.  Unfortunately, we too often live on the wrong side of the paradigm as we battle human notions and misguided emotion.  It is said that hurt people hurt people.  You might have to say that a couple times out loud but I think it’s true.  Our desire to hold on to a want for vindication or bitterness about lack of “justice” or “fairness” only hurts ourselves.  Further, I think it is oppressive.  We are not able to live in mercy and grace and we have the opposite of a peace that surpasses all understanding.  We have a bitterness that turns people away, disclaims the gospel and defeats the purpose.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Break out of the need for justice and praise God for your freedom from it!

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$79,500

Seventynine thousand five hundred U.S. Dollars. This was the ask of a “Mega Church” I attended recently. Carpet in one building, new computers in another, updating cosmetics in a third, the need was outlined. Check out this keosk map for the church campus. I’m pretty sure the coffee shop and bookstore are key indicators of its mega status:

tn_campusmap300

So what right? This kind of thing absolutely drives me nut covered bananas. In recent years I was a part of a church that I was totally bought into. My wife and I served in multiple ministries, supported the church financially and believed in the mission. To make a long story short, the church built a new building. The church, it turns out, could not afford the new building. CCV took over. It was literally like a hostile corporate take over. Pastors were laid off, the name changed, buildings were repainted, the worship team was dismantled, the vision cast aside and families completely disregarded. Poor me, I know.

Here’s the deal. I’m all about faith. I believe that in Christ all things are possilbe. I believe that miracles do happen, a lot. I believe that if God gives you a vision you should pursue it and he will guide your path. What I don’t believe is that even if we make dumb decisions or insert our will as God’s that he will necessarily keep us from peril or failure. For some reason, churches seem to think they can finance the world and that because they’re a “church” and they pray and they believe, everything will work out. This is insane. Do you realize that many of the Mega Churches have multi million dollar budgets? Do you realize that almost no churches have MBA’s on staff and that almost no pastors have actual business expererience? Do you see that this is insane? Do you see that if you try to say that this is a moot point because churches aren’t businesses I’ll kick you in the privates?

My point I guess is this. What the crap is this church doing asking for $79,500 additional dollars above and beyond the regualr tithing of its members/attenders? You mean to tell me they can spend probably tens of millions on a great big campus but it can’t afford to do $79,500 worth of improvements? It’s time for churches to get fiscally responsible. The Bible gives the parable of the talents. If you haven’t read it you can find it here: Matthew 25:14-30. I can’t help but feel like churches concern themselves with numerical growth and in the process fail in financial planning. What if we spent less money on buildings and more money on ministry and missions? What if The Church gained business savy, invested well and was freed from financial burden so it could actually be The Church? What if the referenced mega church left the old carpet, used personal computers and fed the hungry, clothed the naked and gave shelter to the homeless? I’ll leave you with the continuation of Matthew 25.

Shift the Paradigm,

Ryan

Happy Holidays? Really?

Yo!

Happy Holidays?  Really?  What a stupid phrase!  Is that what we care about?  Are we really interested in every living person we come in contact with having a happy holiday?  God, I hope not.  I think this is a two point argument for me.

1.        This is the exact dilution of faith in this country that I can’t help but believe has led to some of this country’s greatest downfalls and tragedies.  Whatever you do, don’t pray in “public institutions”.  What another crap phrase but I digress.  Definitely don’t use the Bible as a moniker of honesty or truth.  Please, for the comfort of the minority do not mention God in a classroom, courtroom or war room.  If you graduated at the top of the class and want to credit you Father in your speech, well then we’ll just go ahead and hold on to your diploma.  What are we doing!  The unabashed dismantling of the ability to  show outwardly our faith or speak “freely” when it comes to only the Christian religion is horrific and all too easily swallowed by the Christian masses.  You know what kids, tell them to keep your diploma.  In fact tell them to go ahead and redistribute it among the kids who didn’t do what it took to graduate or have success.  Take a stand, go get your GED and move on.  If I ever go to court, which given my attitude is all too likely, I think I would have to wear a shirt with the 10 commandments on it.  Ridiculous.  Maybe this seems unrelated but I assure you it is not.  It boils down to “political correctness”, perhaps the most crap phrase in the modern world.  Our HR departments, diplomats and everybody else in our lives with a particular penchant to please have managed to take Christ out of Christmas.  Are we really afraid of offending somebody by wishing them a merry CHRISTmas?  If you are, put on your big boy/girl pants and say what you mean, what you believe.  Hopefully you WILL offend someone and earn the opportunity to share the gospel.  That would be wild wouldn’t it…

2.        The last thing I want is for everyone to have a happy holidays.  Sounds cruel I know.  Maybe it is but here’s my point.  What I actually want is for every Jew, Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah’s witness, Buddhist, Taoist, non-believer etc. to have a tumultuous Christmas.  I want them to grapple with truth, wrestle with God and spar with The Spirit (see what I did there ;)).  I don’t wish them unhappiness.  I don’t wish anyone unhappiness but I want the harsh reality that Christmas (and Easter) celebrate exactly what is different about Christianity to cause pause.  Our God became flesh on Christmas and died to rise again on Easter.  It is the great point of separation.  Jews choose not to deal with the reality of Jesus.  Muslims deified some other dude and most of the rest of the major world religions don’t even have a defined picture of a god nor a defined path to salvation.  For those that don’t know Jesus, I pray that you come to find Him.  For those that hear this as “hate speech” you’ve missed the point.  We should be doing everything we can to be true to our faith and to share it with those around us.  If you really want everyone to have a happy holiday, maybe try wishing them a Merry Christmas.