Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ok God or The Problem With The Western Church

Faith is a very big part of my life. And putting my life in my creator's hands - this is what I always do. I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is. Even if it's cracked up a little bit, maybe I'll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don't let me miss an open door. And if there is an open door in (20)12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door.”[1]

This will be my last Sarah Palin essay until she does something more newsworthy than picking her nose. The only reason I am writing this one is because as a Christian I couldn’t allow her public plea to God to go unchallenged because it highlights and typifies to me the error of the Western Church in general and the modern western Christian specifically. Let me first state that it is my belief that no group of Christians have done more to divide the Church and inject heresy into the Church than modern day Evangelicals. It is their fundamental belief that God’s message to them is uniquely their own and that is the reason we have so many churches and so few Christians. Christianity in America is devoid of its humility and has been replaced with our glorification of the individual. This is not an indictment against Christianity, but against those who have hijacked it to espouse their gospel of greed, war, and self-importance. There are many who claim to be Christians, but who do not follow the teachings of Christ.

In the Western Church God speaks to everyone through everyone. This is contrary to Church history, throughout the history of the Church God has used certain people to deliver His message. The problem is when everyone speaks for God there is a tendency to get the message confused and mixed. Today anyone who has a storefront can claim Divine intervention and become a mouthpiece for God. The problem is that if everyone is speaking for God then who is listening? We have all these leaders and so few followers. The other thing that it does in addition to diluting the Word of God is that it also dilutes our resources, our workers, and our mission.

The problem I have with the Palin statement is two-fold. The first is in the structure of the prayer although it is indicative of the way many pray today. When asked by his disciples about how they should pray Jesus provided them with the
following. The Palin plea ignores the first tenet of the prayer that Jesus provided and that is that God’s will be done. I’m not sensing the will of God here; it appears more to me like the will of Sarah Palin. The sad part is that many Christians would not even be able to understand the difference. In her plea we have her family, her state, her nation, her, and of course the Republican Party but where is God? Like so many Christians of today what Ms. Palin wants to do is to provide God with her plans and then have God initial here and here and sign at the bottom. Rather than praying to be included in God’s plan we want to include God in our plans. According to Ms. Palin God has pretty much decided that she should be President, now it is just a matter of when. Let me think the last person who said that God wanted them to be President was George W. Bush and how did that work out for the country?

The second problem I have is if the door is open why would you need to plow through it? Normally if the door is open I can just walk through it or if the door is closed then it is probably not a door I should be going through. If I have to plow through the door then chances are it was closed for a reason. However if I am running on self-will then it doesn’t matter whether the door is open or closed I’m going through. My belief is that if God opens a door it isn’t cracked, it is wide open. But of course this really isn’t about God opening doors is it? This is about the ego and arrogance of a politician that wants certain people to believe that she has been chosen for some high calling. The question then becomes chosen by whom? How many times have we witnessed self-proclaimed prophets and leaders that have neither been prophetic or shown leadership? Whenever someone tells me that God has chosen them to do something whether it is to be President or to be my wife I immediately become suspicious as do I think many of you. It is not that I don’t believe in Divine intervention or guidance it is just the ones who usually proclaim it the loudest are usually the ones that don’t have it.

If Ms. Palin really wants Divine guidance maybe she should pray instead of what God can do for her what she can do for God. Why some people believe just because they invoke the name of God that this somehow exalts and legitimizes their personal quest is beyond me. I read somewhere that you will know a tree by its fruit. What fruit are you harvesting Ms. Palin? And if you don’t win will that also be God’s plan. New rule: Athletes, politicians, and sports teams can no longer use God for their personal agendas.

“You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” - Anne Lamott


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