The Honest Faith: Join the Resistance

I’ve been focusing a lot on the problems recently. I haven’t provided a lot of answers, well, aside from my 95 theses. I think we are well aware of the problems, however. Things are getting worse, yes, but as a wise person once said, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” The outlook for our American way of life and religion as a whole in our country is rather bleak. Hope is in short supply, we are tired, worn out, and our ability to care seems to result in not much good. It does seem bad but there are those small breaks in the clouds. There is a light shining in the darkness it seems. As I have been re-discovering faith and a new image of the Divine, I do see light. There is hope. There is love. There is a resistance to the dark. Today, I ask that you join that resistance.

Many times over the past year, my faith was called into question. Not just by myself, but many people questioned my “salvation” and my commitment to the Divine. Honestly, it does sting a bit when people do that. They don’t know me. They don’t know my experience, or how much I’ve studied. They call my faith into question because I err on the side of love? How is that “christian” or “Biblical”? That in and of itself makes me want to have nothing to do with christianity. I know that you can’t change people’s minds on deeply held beliefs easily, but you have to try, right? This and just feeling that I don’t really fit in with “Progressive” Christians or even Atheists because I’m somewhere in between has led me to try to start my own thing. I’m calling it the Christian Resistance. Because, yes, I’m Christian. I’m not conservative, or progressive, I’m figuring out for myself my own theology. I’m listening to others and finding what is true in it all. My views aren’t very traditional on either side, but I think are inclusive to all. So today I would like to write about what the resistance stands for. You may be part of the Resistance already, and that’s cool, feel free to use the name. I call it Christian, because ultimately I do follow the man I believe to be the Christ, the Messiah. I won’t get into the separation of man from myth stuff, just suffice to say I believe in his message, and I follow him that leads me to resist.

I resist hate, of all forms. Hate is not beneficial. We’ve discussed this before about how even a little bit of hate can corrupt. I’m not a fan of the “Hate the sin, love the sinner” phrase that gets thrown around. I think it misses the point completely. I am angered those with corrupt intentions leading others astray. I do not hate them. I think they are misguided and leading others to be misguided as well. I am angered by the mistreatment of people. I’m angry, but I do not hate. This anger drives me to speak out, to speak up for the voiceless, the oppressed, the marginalized. I resist hate, because I love people. I may disagree with you on some things, but I’m willing to listen to what you have to say, and I ask that you return the favor. To resist hate one must love. Love is so much more than emotion, it’s an understanding, it’s a longing to want what is best for the other. It is imagining the other as complexly as you imagine yourself.

I resist the laziness of easy answers. Yes, I’ll admit, I am trying to simplify things to make them more palatable for others, but there is a difference between simple and easy. There are no easy answers. Sometimes they can be simple, but simplicity does not imply ease. The same with our theology. Laziness can lead to easy answers which end up being counter the entire message. Such as the shunning of certain types of “sinners”. That’s an easy answer. The simple one is to love, no matter what, no agenda, no strings, just love. That is, not at all, easy. Answers that are not easy require deep thought, research, and understanding. It is not easy to resist laziness, after all laziness is comfortable.

I resist power structures that have been put into place to subjugate, alienate, discriminate, or oppress. This was one of Jesus’ main messages. The Kingdom’s hierarchy was simple, God over all, the Son of Man ruling under God. That’s it. Simple. I could get into the complexity that is the divinity of the Son of Man and whether the title carried with it divinity, and then the complexity of the hypothesis of the trinity, but that’s way to complex and we are trying to keep it simple. The point is all people are people. No one of us is better than the other. Therefore, we should love each other as such. We are not better, they are not better. We are all just people. When we hurt each other we need to be held accountable for such. Though, that is not to say one is better than another. For instance, if one person hurts a child, that is one of the most egregious acts in my mind. I’m not superior to that person, but I do believe that person should be held accountable for such, I am not a judge, however. I do not know what an appropriate punishment would be for such a person. I’m thankful I do not have to make that decision. For if someone were to hurt my child, I would want the harshest and most painful punishment imaginable for that person. I resist the power structures because all life is precious. All human beings are human beings. We are the same, yet different. This one is complex and especially in today’s day and age we need to spend the time in deep thought, research and understanding to find all details of toppling these power structures as, yes, people will be hurt by that toppling.

I resist the things that keep me trapped. We were made to be free. In fact, Jesus said, “I came that you may have life, and have it to the fullest.” Now aside from Paul’s apocalyptic writing on restrictions to everything because he believed the Son of Man was coming within his lifetime, this life to the fullest meant that we were free to live life the way we wanted. This was not a free license to hurt people. No, It was a life free to live in a way that you could love freely, give freely, accept freely, enjoy freely, and listen to whatever music you want. (minus experimental jazz, because that’s not really music in my opinion.) If someone’s theology, or someone’s truth requires you to be trapped into service of them or someone else, that is not a good theology or truth. The simplicity of it is, don’t hurt other people, just live your life. That’s not easy thing to parse out at all. But it does simplify how to resist entrapment. Resist by being kind, loving freely, and living freely. The Bible was not a book meant to enslave, but a book meant to provide freedom. Do not let yourself be oppressed. Resist.

I wanted to write something a bit more hopeful this week as I feel that my writing the past few months has been devoid of hope, and rather dark. I do believe there is a light. I am resisting the darkness as much as possible. I know that I’m not the absolute truth in any matter, and that my theology is rather wackadoodle these days. But I am more than happy to talk about it. I’m more than happy to discuss where I may be wrong, and where I may be right. That is the wonderful thing about the Christian Resistance. We accept all, we love all, we are not all right, we are not all wrong. I noticed this was a highly under used hash-tag on twitter and on Facebook. I decided to commandeer it and use it to bring some unity to those of us who feel out-of-place in both the “conservative” and “Progressive” Christian circles. I certainly don’t want to be seen as a leader, but more as someone who will help those who need it. I hope that I may be able to help those who need it, as that is my form of resistance. The popular society bends toward selfishness, oppression, and hate. I will resist that and be selfless, freeing, and loving. So I invite you to come and join the resistance. May we find that we are not alone, and that we matter.

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The Story of Esperanza: Chapter 19

Chapter 19

After they were done in Houston, they came up to Austin. Before they entered the city they had stopped for lunch at a rest area just outside the metropolitan area. Philip was dismayed at the state of the world for they had been listening to the local National Public Radio station in his vehicle. Esperanza gathered her group together and told of the prophet Zechariah from the Hebrew Scriptures. She told of Darius and how the tribes were released from exile. She told of how even when times looked bleak that hope for the future still remained. They focused on the later half of his writing, which in English translations are divided into chapters 9-14. They saw hope in the work she was doing. They knew that despite how things may look now, they were working toward a better future. Esperanza comforted them and removed herself to freshen up in the rest area.

While Esperanza was in the rest area, the group gathered together. They decided to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah. Pedro had found a 1994 Dodge colt nearby which had never been driven. He purchased it over the phone while the others made arrangements. They wished to make this a reality for who else would be a ruler to bring about peace to her people than Esperanza. Pedro left to pick up the vehicle with Iago. The others kept Esperanza busy until they returned. When they arrived to purchase the vehicle the owner asked why they needed this particular car. Pedro just smiled and said, “Our leader has need of it.”

When Pedro returned with the vehicle in tow behind his truck he presented it as a gift to Esperanza. They told Esperanza of the new path into the city which they would take. It was off of the interstate but a main road into the heart of downtown. They told her the route and had her drive in the lead of the caravan. As they came near the city they saw a whole host of people who supported and followed Esperanza lining the street entering the city. They all cheered and lifted banners and signs. They shouted out loud, “We love you Esperanza! We follow your lead! Bring us peace!” When the religious leaders caught wind of what was going on with the impromptu parade, they called the police. The police pulled over the parade, and said to Esperanza, “Teacher, tell them to stop, we can’t have this here.” She with tear-stained eyes looked at the officer,” I can’t tell them to stop. Even if I could, the very streets would cry out in celebration for them.” The Police then escorted the parade the rest of the planned route.

Esperanza was scheduled to speak at the large temple in Austin, which some referred to as a “Mega-Church”. She was part of a panel that weekend on religion and ethics. When she arrived she looked around at everything. She saw the other speakers had set up tables and were selling books and wares with their names and pictures all over them. Rage burned brightly behind her eyes. She saw a coffee roaster franchise had been set up inside the temple. There was even a rock climbing wall for recreation. This was not acceptable in the slightest. Esperanza began to turn over the tables and drive the speakers and their assistance out of the temple. She said to them, “Have you not read the Torah? It says,’My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you made it a den of thieves!” She sat in the temple entryway and cried softly.

The other speakers, who were priests and rabbi themselves, were a ways off. They talked together and sought to destroy her. They could not find something they could do to her, because the crowds loved her. She remained in the panel but she spoke against all who would make it into a show for themselves. Each night she and her group would return to the rest area to sleep and talk about the days events.

One day, as she was speaking and teaching in the temple, the other speakers challenged her, “Tell us by what ‘authority’ you do these things, or who died and made you the Divine?” She answered calmly, “Answer this first, was Juan, my cousin, ordained by the Divine or by men?” They spoke among themselves and then answered, “If we say from the Divine you will say why didn’t we believe him? But if we say from men the people here will hate us and not listen to us because they believe Juan was a prophet. So to answer we will just say we do not know.” Esperanza smiled slyly and said,”Then neither will I tell you who gave me authority, or who died and made me Divine.” She then turned to the audience and told them a story, “A man owned a farm. He tilled the land, built a house, a barn, and even a silo. He was called back to his home country to take care of business. So he rented out the farm to tenants. When the time came he sent an assistant to check on the farm and gather the share of the crops laid out in the contract. The tenants lied and threatened the assistant. They said that there were no crops to be had and he couldn’t possibly be sent from the landlord. This troubled the landlord so he sent another assistant. This one they played head games with and wouldn’t let them onto the land. The landlord sent yet another assistant. This one discovered the crops that had been grown and all that was done on the land, for the tenants were not present. When they arrived, they murdered him and hid the body. The landlord sent all that he could to the land, never receiving a favorable report or even word of the one assistant that had gone missing. He decided it was time to send his child. Surely, they would respect the family of the landlord. The tenants beat, tortured, and killed the landlord’s son. They hid the body off the farmland. What do you think the landlord would then do? Would he not call the authorities and have the tenants taken off the land and brought to justice? Have you not read this part of the Torah: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the sure foundation’?” The other speakers got up in a fury and stormed off the stage. They contacted the organizers to have Esperanza removed, but the organizers said she was the one bringing in the crowd, they couldn’t fire her. They knew the story was about them and their treatment of the Divine’s people for so long.

<  Chapter 18  |  Chapter 20  >

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