Labels

I am personally finished with labels. They are designed solely to divide, exclude and discriminate, as they are so front-loaded with meaning and value. So what if you are not a “christian”, or an “evangelical” or this or that. The first response from those that are, is that “you are not one of us”, so there is suspicion. division and fear.

What is our first response when we here someone is a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Catholic?

Be honest now.

It is that you are not like me, you are not in my group, I have to change that. I either have to avoid you entirely or  convert you, change your mind in some way.

We hate racial prejudice but accept religious prejudice freely and loosely all the time. THIS IS WRONG and very dangerous, and it is not the way of our Lord. He never once said to anyone, go and become a christian, change your name. He said “go and sin no more” if I am not mistaken.

Look at how these pious, religious men treated lepers, the unclean, gentiles, Samaritans, and prostitutes in the New Testament. Look at how their labels reared up high walls around these human souls. Repugnant. Insidious. Then look at how the Master so graciously and irreverently tore them all down into heaps at their feet.

Let us here and now vow to stop labeling human beings, and start treating all human beings as children of God, individuals with a redemptive story, a history, value and meaning.

No more of this us and them mentality. No more caste systems! No more untouchables!

We will never learn anything or truly share anything with anyone if we are trying to convert them to our label. Love is impossible with labels, as you will never go deeper than the label and all of its associated bigotry and meaning.

Children do not use labels!

Go the playground and watch and listen.

Watch as little ones approach others they know nothing about.

Are their first words – “What are you?”

Or do they look for things they can share – a toy, an activity, an interest, and then plunge right in?

So over time, their parents begin the process of programming them to discriminate, and for this they need what – LABELS.

Black, white, rich, poor, christian, pagan, american, republican, democrat…

So by the time they reach adulthood, they are no longer looking for things they can share but things that discriminate and divide. They have become as narr0w, isolated and small as their parents.

“Come to me as little children” – said a very wise man.

Labels are a lazy, insidious, sheep-like way of making sense of all of the color and diversity in this world.

All is done.

Once you discover that the man over there is a Muslim, there is nothing else to know. You will never know what is in his heart, never discover that he deeply loves his family and works hard to support and provide for them, never know that the faith he holds is a sincere and deep one. You will never go to his home and share a meal with him.

In short, you will never, ever, ever be like the very one you profess to follow.

Consider how aggressively the various Jewish groups tried to get Joshua to proclaim which groups he was in – pharisee, saducee, herodian, etc. So they could then either shun or exploit Him. This still goes on today. The christian caste system is every bit as active and insidious as anything found in Hinduism.

“One can never safely approach God through theology, only by the Holy Spirit.”

Do you know who wrote that?

What would you say if I told you it was a Buddhist monk from Viet Nam.

“Oh but, but…”

See how this works.

NO MORE LABELS!!!!

Aliveness

Machines have many moving parts.

Machines can do a lot of very useful things.

Machines make a lot of noise.

Sophisticated machines can even have a certain degree of intelligence.

Some machines can even appear to be alive.

They are not.

The only true measure of the presence and kingdom of God is “aliveness”.

Is it enlivened with His life?

Modern organizational christianity and the modern church is nothing more or less than a machine.

It is not alive.

This is why after two-thousand years and much noise and activity…

…it has done little to really change the world or individual souls.

All institutions and organisations are machines.

Men and devils make machines.

Only God can make a living body that is genuinely alive.

The Lord Joshua did not call disciples to be mere cogs in a wheel or parts of a machine…

but members of a living body.

His Body.

He called us to be alive in Him.

Once you see the machine for what it is, you will understand why you feel dead inside,

then the very next day you will set it aside.

and start living.

The Outsiders

The man Jesus was, by any definition, an outsider.download

Every prophet or seer in the bible and in man’s world, without exception, was an outsider.

Those called by the Teacher were outsiders, even though they didn’t know it yet.

The call is to come out. To leave whatever man-inspired thing you are in, and to simply come out.

But the difficulty rises because so much of of what we are wants to be on the inside, to be in, to be part of something.

When everything inside the gate is hopelessly leavened and corrupted, when greed and influence-seeking governs and animates everything – are we then supposed to try to reform it from the inside, to somehow persuade those in power to change, to lay down all that has brought them to power in the first place? Good luck with that.

Did you become an active participant in the christian religion because you are an outsider by personality or circumstance, and want so very much to be in something – a church, a community, a fellowship?

When the whore came to Jesus, she who was so despised and rejected by everyone on the inside, did he invite her to come inside something else, to join His group?

Once your spiritual eyes are opened to truly see the truth, you immediately become an outsider. That is a fact.

But be careful, because even a group of outsiders who seek to become something, turn into insiders inviting others to join them. A new gate is built around whatever they are, a sign goes on the front door, and it is just a matter of time before the hillside is forgotten.

If God is Love…

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

“So what did you learn in Sunday School today darling?” said the father to his young daughter as they got into the car.

“We learned that God is love. That love is the thing that God is most known for”, she replied.

“A wonderful lesson my dear, so true, so very true. He loves us very much.”

As they drove through the thick, green countryside, there was a period of long silence, as the young girl seemed to be deep in thought.

“Daddy….”

“Yes darling?”

“When we see people who are not Christians acting with love towards each other, does that mean God is there with them?” she asked curiously.

“Hmm.” said the man pensively… “I suppose it does, doesn’t it.”

“A Completely Religionless Time” – D. Bonhoeffer

What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today. The time when people could be told everything by means of words, whether theological or pious, is over, and so is the time of inwardness and conscience–and that means the time of religion in general. We are moving toward a completely religionless time; people as they are now simply cannot be religious anymore. Even those who honestly describe themselves as “religious” do not in the least act up to it, and so they presumably mean something quite different by “religious.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What if…?

What if… all the churches and denominations in America liquidated all of their buildings, all their schools, all their real estate, all their TV and media assets, all their publishing houses, and all of their investment holdings, then went out into the street with all that money and fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, comforted the needy, clothed the naked, propped up all the hurting families who just need a leg up?

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What if… every American missionary sent abroad was brought home, and we simply prayed for the Lord to bring His Life and His Love to the poor and needy in this world?

What if all of the parasites and leaches who make a living off of the name of our Lord were exposed, dragged out into the courtyard, and told to “leave and never come back, just leave and never come back”?

What if …. every named “Christian”  group was surreptitiously dissolved, and all badges and labels that divide us were no longer? What if every sign was toppled and stamped into the dust?

What if… we stopped judging sinners and simply started loving and serving them?

What if… the sheep would rise up and turn the tables over, then take back all that was stolen from them in the name of God for over 2,000 years?

What if… if there were no more preachers and priests, no special chairs, no private rooms, no privileged status among God’s little ones? 

What if …men and thieves were to stop making merchandise of the things of our Lord, and simply worshiped Him in Spirit and in Truth?

What if… there were no more high places, no Jerusalem and Rome, only a hillside, and a place where we go to meet the Lord wherever He may be?

What if… the world saw something it has never truly seen before, and experienced a truth borne out of love, and enlightenment borne out of real grace?

What if… we finally realized that the One Narrow Way is a Person – not a religion, not a group, not a system, not a book nor a building?

What if… we rendered to Caesar the things that are his, and we rendered to the Lord everything else? What if every Christian and every group employing Jesus’ Name severed all reciprocal political and business ties? What if the singular ideology and imperative remaining was to simply serve the Lord?

What if Christians stopped pretending, stopped lying to themselves, stopped serving two gods, stopped raising themselves above the rest of humanity, stopped taking up arms to shed the blood of God’s children, stopped playing the harlot with the world?

What if…?

“Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,… (Matt 23)

The Religification of the Father’s Son

In His life and in His words and in everything He expressed and represented when He came down to walk among us, the Father’s Son rejected everything that is religion.

Religion happens when men, in some manner, touch or interpret the things of Father God.

Religion promises much, but only promotes and advances death. It tends to breed obsequious sycophants who exist only to prop up a small privileged class of priests and preachers.

Yet He, the Father’s Beloved Son, is the Life of the World. He is both the Tree and the Fruit of Life in His Father’s Garden.

He never forced anyone to come to Him or remain with Him. There was never the need to resort to coercion or duplicity.

Religion probes endlessly into the abstract and the metaphysical, exhaustively attempting to draw lines and form boxes. Those with the pens tend to enjoy special titles and  letters after their name, like Phd, and Thd. anything to remind the sheep that they are in a class above.

He invited the little children to come and simply be with Him. He allowed the sick woman to touch Him. Real human tears washed His feet.

Religion connotes endless study, the reading and interpretation of texts, the exaltation of teaching and teachers.

He said “Follow me” and “Watch and see”

Religion gives place and prestige to men. It is wholly and miserably corruptible. It has a price.

He worshiped His Heavenly Father and invited us to do the same. freely and simply and forever.

With the touch of men, comes the foul stench of religion, and fetters and toil.

With Yeshua, comes a sweet savor, freedom and rest.

Religions have different names and presumptions, and doctrines but they are all yet the same. They all lead to the same poverty and thirst.

Religions have symbols, and high places and histories packed full of tradition and mythology.

It is all painted gold. Scratch the surface with a child-like heart, and you will see.

Religion seeks out and devours zeal, then steals men’s souls, one by one, it is a consuming fire.

It is proud, haughty, insatiable, shadowy, feeding on innocent human faith like a drunkard with a jug of wine.

The Father’s Son declared a new way to live, in Him, for the Father, from a heart of compassion and tenderness and love.

He was sincere, pure, real, genuine, touchable, always glorifying the Father, never Himself or other men.

For two millennial since He left us, men and demons have leavened everything He did and said with religion, with isms and ologies.

All is a lie.

All is stained.

All leads only to chains and death.

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This message is to all or any of the little ones who will hear -

Stand up. Lay down your chains. Set aside your doctrines and presumptions and sacred books.

Walk out that door and through the gate. Go up to the hillside where He is waiting for you. Don’t ever look back.

Place your weary head upon His breast.

Until you feel His ageless heart beating beneath you.

And be at peace my brother, just be at peace.

Lord forgive us all.