Hypocrisy, Hare Krisna Monks & Heresy- AKA Come Together

12 May

and the lonely voice of youth cries “what is truth?”

-Johnny Cash

Yes, I am one of those people who attempts to come up with lame alliterations to try to make a catchy blog-post title. I am also trying to lure you in with quotes by the man in black. However, this hacked-up attempt is horrific, so I may as well stick to what I know: rambling excessive amounts of half-baked thoughts and hope something coherent jumps out and permanently attaches to your heart, like a leech. A good, happy leech. I digress.

In Ephesians 1, Paul says the mystery of God’s will is to bring ALL things in heaven and earth together under Christ. I see the world today, and despite the madness, I see a glimpse of hope that that is exactly what is happening. I believe if we want to be after God’s heart, everything we do should be one step closer to this goal- bringing all things: all people groups, all religions, and all denominations under one head- Jesus.

God, I wish I was good at this.

Unfortunately, I am a selfish human being. It’s hard to see the world through others eyes. Our society doesn’t help. Unity seems sort of freaky and communistic sometimes. We are independent Americans! I  get so stuck in my own ideas, or my lack thereof.

Lately, in my fight to be open-minded, I cease to be open-minded towards those “religious Christians” who are not.  When I do this, the irony is, I am actually working to bring dissension instead of unity. Hypocritical, I know. It is easier for me to dismiss people who I judge as being judgmental. It is easier to be angry towards the church then the “sinners” The irony is, I am completely missing the point. God give me grace.

I grew up believing a lot of things about God that did not bring life. Fear and guilt-driven reality. Over the years, a lot of faulty my foundation in Christianity  has crumbled. I still feel like I am picking up the pieces.

But Jesus stands, in the midst of all the rubble.

I think I can see Him better, now.

My perception of truth has changed from simple pat answers to mystery of God becoming flesh- living, breathing, feeling, to free us from our sin and the law that condemned us.

Mystery is as risk. It’s less complicated to use “truth” to defend  your own agenda. Religion has done this for centuries- using scripture to defend slavery, oppression of women, all things we know now to be wrong. Why are so many people turned off to Christianity?

Maybe because we present truth as neatly packaged fact instead of  look into the eyes of Jesus.

HE is truth.

Are you still reading?

The Holy Spirit will guide us in all things. The letter of the law brings death, but the spirit brings life.

A few years ago, I had an encounter with a man on Venice Beach. Sounds scandalous, but it wasn’t like that. I was on a missions trip, wandering around asking people questions about what matters in life. I noticed a man dressed in white robs, with glasses and a mostly shaved head handing out literature. I was curious and went to talk to him. I asked him who he was and what he was doing. The first thing he did was look me in the eyes intensely and tell me he could tell I was a spiritual person. He was a young guy, probably my age, who left his Christian upbringing in Seattle to become a Hare Krishna monk. He told me how his church was dead and he knew he wanted something more- He wanted to dedicate His life to knowing God and serving him. As He talked, I saw God in him and what he was saying, and honestly, it shocked me. I could see how he was searching, how he has given up everything for this search. I asked him if I could pray for him, and he was so humble and full of joy. I prayed a simple prayer that Jesus that He would reveal himself as God. I walked away from that humbled and ashamed that I had pegged him as different or bad before I even talked to him.

"Divine appointment" with a man in a white robe

That certainly  shook up the religiosity I’d held on to for so long.

We come into Christianity, an awkward family with centuries of history  and baggage behind us. Good and bad, man has done things to build upon what started as twelve messy people rejected by society, whose lives were turned upside down by Jesus Christ defeating death, defeating religion, fulfilling the just requirements of the law that were impossible for us to fulfill. Now, in a day in age with disgusting amounts of knowledge built upon years of discovery, the world is crying for truth in its most simplistic form. They are crying for freedom from the bondage of the systems of our world: power struggle, greed, emptiness.

Systems that worship what man can achieve by working his way up to the top, stomping on whoever gets in the way.

Jesus defeated these systems by teaching radical things like: love your enemy, give everything you have, stop living for an agenda and an ideal, and live for a person- Him. Live for love and relationship.

There are children of God who are loving people, feeding the poor, speaking out for injustices, rallying people to do the same. What if they said something that you didn’t completely agree with? Would you go gossip and slander in the name of “Warning people not to go astray?” Sick. Yet, It’s easy for me to say this, but how quick am I to defend someone who is agrees with me on this, yet mock someone who claims to know everything is black and white?

We are so confused at what truth is, we make these famous Christian people into idols, and then when two idols don’t agree what is right and wrong, our world falls apart. We desperately want order so we try to control, try to put ourselves under teaching that neatly define God and life- it is an illusion, the control we want doesn’t exist.

One of my favorite authors, Donald Miller wrote an excellent blog post on personality types and the way people perceive truth, and how it effects the way they relate to God.

Don & I, just chillin a few summers ago. We're buddies.

It’s almost like God has given different people, different sides of infinite shape called truth- different glimpses of who He is. God loves diversity; he loves to express himself through personalities, cultures and people groups. So we each get these revelations, these puzzle pieces of God’s heart. His intention is for us to go to our neighbor and share this piece. To put two and two together and see a bigger picture of whom God is, and  fall in love with Him all the more.

Come together, right now over me.

-The Beatles (But I can pretend Jesus is singing it…)

The problem comes when our broken humanity comes in, and we hoard this puzzle piece make it a god. We believe it is our duty to make the rest of the world understand our puzzle piece, worship it, and leave everything to join the club we have started to better understand it. We shun people on the outside and say our way is the only way- truth directly received from God- we make Him into a doctrine, a statement of beliefs instead of an all-loving being trying to guide us to truth.  Our club is right, and everyone else is a wolf in lambs clothing.

Maybe if we really believed the Holy Spirit is what guides us in truth, we would stop worrying about people “leading people astray.” Maybe if we really knew God, we would know, as sheep we know his voice.

We wouldn’t be afraid to question our theology.

But on the flip-side, we also wouldn’t be afraid of those who are fine with not questioning their own.

Maybe if we understood the power of the Holy Spirit, we wouldn’t be so scared to dine with the worst of the sinners, in and out of the church.

We also wouldn’t be angry or intimated by the Pharisee of Pharisees.

We would understand one of life’s most painful lessons: people are people.

We would know following Jesus is messy and colorful; it is not rigid, neat, black and white. Maybe we need to stop spouting out our opinions about certain people and their ministries and books always trying to get people on our side, and begin doing everything we can to bring all sides together as one.

Maybe if we do this all in the name of Jesus, we will see love winning in the truest sense of the phrase.

I want to believe we can see the mystery of His will- to unite all people: pastors, porn stars, Hare Krishna monks, addicts, Southern Baptists, communists, and even…. “the emerging church.”

The only question left is, can we believe in a God big enough to do that?

3 Responses to “Hypocrisy, Hare Krisna Monks & Heresy- AKA Come Together”

  1. ???? May 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Keep the faith, my Internet friend, You are a first-class writer and deserve to be heard.

  2. Sarah May 20, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    I love what you said about God giving different pieces of himself to different people. : )

    There is a pastor from Canada, Bruxy Cavey, who spoke at our college the same year as Donald Miller. He wrote a book I think you would enjoy called “The End of Religion”. He also is a really gifted and gentle teacher at The Meeting House near Toronto (I listen to their sermons while I do dishes).

    If you have some time to listen, check out http://themeetinghouse.ca
    I recommend the series “Plot twists” from last year, but all of the series are splendid.

    • brooke May 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      Hey Sarah, Thanks for the comment and recommendations, I will check it out.

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