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Monday, May 2, 2011

Religion is a Crutch for the Weak

It's been said by those who do not 'believe' in God that religion is a crutch for the weak

Upon waking today, I think that those who utter such words might be right. 

For, my religion (so to speak) is one of following a God who is not dead, who hates death and who does not rejoice over the death of any. It is one of following a God who asks me to love people who hate me, to forgive people who hurt me, to bless people who curse me, to befriend people who annoy me, to serve people who oppress me, to care for people who detest me, to....

So, today, I admit that I am weak. At this moment, I feel powerless to do the very things that I want to do in my heart. I feel anemic when it comes to thinking and speaking and loving rightly. I feel weak and so yes, I admit that I am not strong enough to move about or live without my eyes set in the direction of the one who is not dead.

Today, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Greg Boyd, (and I paraphrase) "The kingdom of God always looks like Jesus dying on the cross for the ones who were nailing him to it." 

So, as news of Osama Bin Laden's death spreads and as views of the President of the U.S. are expressed over these next few days and weeks, if you are a follower of this particular Jesus - the one who dies on the cross for the very one's who were murdering him - perhaps we should proclaim our weakness and ask him for the same strength to practice love as he did and does. 

Depending on your views of the President of America, (and remember, not everyone shares your views) perhaps proclaiming your weakness, you may pray for this leader instead of spewing venomous words as he tries to lead a nation through very tumultuous times.

Maybe, just maybe this type of 'religion' - the type that is sold out to learning to love - is indeed for the weak and for this reason, those who want to live this type of life need to look to the one and rely on the one who has shown us how to actually do it.

Post Blog Thought: Someone asked me if this means that I think America should not have pursued Bin Laden and brought him to 'justice'. I think this is the wrong question. The right question might be more along the lines of - In how I respond to this news, am I allowing Jesus to determine what it looks like for me to follow him instead of me determining what it looks like?

15 comments:

LBerteau said...

I was watching coverage of this as it unfolded and saw people cheering in the streets, chanting "USA, USA" and singing "God Bless America." It made me sad to see people celebrating, not the end of a war, but the death of a man.

Laurie Matherne said...

Well written, Brian. I was appalled to see the hate filled comments against our President all over Facebook this morning. Some from "very spiritual" missionaries. Well done, Brian.

MiChE said...

Yes! I agree Lee and Laurie. I was so disgusted to hear one woman on the news say, "They should show his dead body to the world." Seriously? I think you have it right, Brian, the real question is how will we respond.

Mandy said...

It was very relieving to read this. As I see the news showing all these people rejoicing I couldn't help but have this other feeling. I don't think I could ever rejoice in the fact that someone lost their life. Knowing that at least one other person feels this way makes me feel so much better for not rejoicing with everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Brian! Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw about a month ago. It said "I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christians because they are not like your Christ." I constantly remind myself that I need to react in a Christ-like manner to things like this.

Ted Ledet

Angie said...

All I kept thinking about was one of Phil's messages a while ago where he showed a painting of Jesus washing Osama's feet.

Pi Man said...

Point taken, Brian. I wonder though, would you not defend your wife, your children, your family, from a brutal and unprovoked attack? Would you idly stand by and let them be murdered because you thought that's what "love your enemies" meant? In my opinion, in the final analysis, all we absolutely know is that God "allowed" 9-11 to happen (I am NOT saying that He did or did not "cause" it to happen), which resulted the murder of THOUSANDS of men, women, and children. God "allowed" OBL to be killed as well. All else is speculation and opinion (as to whether or not God did or did not orchestrate/cause a particular event). All we can say with certainty is that if he didn't want a certain event to happen, he would have intervened. So I'll close by saying that maybe we should all be just a bit careful of thinking that we have it more "right" in our thinking than others relative to what "love your enemies" exactly means. Yes, we are to love our enemies. But that, in my opinion, does not mean we should sit idly by and let them murder our loved ones anymore than a spouse should let her husband abuse her because she is married to him. I am a lover of Christ my friend, and I am also a former United States Marine Corps Sergeant. I am always saddened by any death, no matter how justified it might be or not to public opinion. But I also understood my mission then, and now, and I will not stand still and let my family be attacked, either. May God protect us and guide us, as without His Spirit - His "empowering presence" as Phil likes to extol - we're going to fall much faster. Thank you my friend. These are difficult issues to navigate through.... Peace. TA

Anonymous said...

I know I'm supposed to react in a Christ-like manner. But my heart tells me this is a man who absolutely hates Americans and Christians and probably had plans for more terrorist activities. Am I happy for his death? Of course not. Do I feel the world is a better place and we are potentially more safe without him? Yes. This issue is very much a struggle. Both as a Christian and as a citizen.

Jason Chatraw said...

Good thoughts, Brian. All the politicizing of this event is sickening. But as a Christian, how we respond always reveals what is in our hearts. Good word!

brian jeansonne said...

@Pi Man
thank you for such an honest weigh in. I might start by saying that we probably think different theologically on some of your points - which is
fine. For instance, I do not think that just because God does not want something to happen that he would intervene. I think we would agree that God
did not desire for the holocaust or 9/11 or any other atrocities as such to happen, yet he did not intervene. I wish he would have. I don't know why he
didn't. Theologically, we might not agree on this one and again, I think that's okay.

As for the question whether I would defend my family. I will not touch that here. Nor would I make that decision for anyone else or impress my decision
on another. I think we would each have to wrestle with these issues on our own. I think the danger lies in that place where we are not even willing to
wrestle.

My point in this post, as I explained at the end is how we respond to this news. Today, I have seen christians celebrating by saying they hope bin
laden enjoys hell or have fun rotting in hell. I think we would also agree that if indeed bin laden is in hell, jesus is not celebrating as many
christians seem to be. Your point about being saddened by death whether justified or not seems to me to say that we are in the same boat on this
one.

@anonymous
I haven't arrived. I've been working through and processing this stuff for years. I think we're all on a journey on this one. The important thing is that we allow ourselves to be moved by jesus. Thanks for joining the conversation!

Pi Man said...

Well said, Brian, and by no means do I think we are being confrontational
with each other.
I feel your passion and I hope you feel mine.
By all means, post responses to others' responses on your blog. I think that
healthy and open.

I will close by saying point well made about God not intervening when
he wouldn't want something to happen.
So let me rephrase it, emphasizing the point I made earlier: the fact that it did happen means that he allowed it to happen. That is, He did not choose to allow it to not happen. It's opinion as to if he did or did not cause it to happen, so I, in your words, will not touch that here. I'm sure we would agree that God is not in favor of these murders, yet they happened.
So our struggle, theologically speaking, becomes (to at the least includes the question of) why?
(That's a literal rhetorical if you will. It's meant to make one ponder....)
We're trying to figure this out on this side of (eternal) heaven as best as we finitely can.
Not an easy thing to do.
And indeed, the struggle is where the growth comes in.

Believe me, we are in fact in the same boat.
Maybe at times I'm on the port side and you're on the starboard, but we're paddling in the same direction. Much like my comment regarding unity and community on your other blog.

Thanks & Peace,

TA

fuel52 said...

That was pretty good. It struck me. Same tone I've been thinking the entire day.

While watching the news last night, I couldn't help but feel sad because this world will never be able to enact true justice. I know many people will feel a sense that justice has been done but it can't and won't last.

I've just been hoping and have said a small prayer that the people that were truly affected by the events of 911 can find the only peace that no earthly kingdom can truly deliver.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post and comments. I think Christians all need to consider whether we should condemn one side or the other. What we need to do is lay our opinions down and ask God what He would have us do. God Himself had the Israelites wipe out peoples - men, women, children, cattle, etc. because He knew the evil/hardheartedness they had. Christians are not expected to be politically correct people and sometimes we should stand up. Perhaps if Christians had stood up to Hitler like Bonhoeffer the whole Holocaust might have been different?? We should stand by our leaders and military who are defending our very right to have this conversation without getting self righteous on either side of the issue.
I agree it is hard to celebrate the violent death of any person. Unfortunately, after the apple evil has a very prominent place in the human race and humans will have to defend themselves, their families and their country.
Bottom line - ask God what He wants you to do.

mallaschmediations@wordpress.com said...

thanks- I too struggled with the news of citizens filling the streets and celebrating. thought i was the only one.

Crispin Schroeder said...

This post reminded me of the lyrics penned by a musician turned filmmaker Steve Taylor (directing Blue Like Jazz):

"if they call it a crutch, then you walk with pride
Your accusers have always been afraid to go outside

They shiver with doubts that were left unattended
Then they toss away the cloak that they should have mended
You know by now why the chosen are few
It's harder to believe than not to."