Friday, February 27, 2009

Powerless Among Men

I know; I know! I need to stop with all these posts but to be honest I really can't! This book has been a fantastic read so far and I just have the desire to share what I have been reading about.

Just prior to this exerpt Pastor Steve Gray is talking about how personal morality is at the center of today's religion and that it is not entirely properly placed there. He goes on further to say that he is not promoting immorality or a "do what feels good" religion but moreso that this idea becomes absurd as it has "been made the pivotal center of our view of God".

Here's a bit more from the book:

"Religion has become about pushing morality on others. Church becomes a place where moral people practice and promote their morality. Today we have groups and organizations that, like Luther, believe that immorality is the problem and morality is the answer. Displaying the commandments in a courthouse or school relieves some of their anxiety and insecurity.

However, trying to create a moral anxiety is not helping America. It is dividing America. Telling people to be moral doesn't work. Passing moral laws may protect the innocent from devious deeds, but it won't create a moral society. Reading, posting or memorizing the Ten Commandments won't work. Those rules may instruct us, but they are powerless to change us. That's what the Bible itself says.

The Bible promises that God has the power to help us change, but morality without that power is absurd. Yet, many preachers of morality in American religion portray God as powerless today. They preach that God's power to do miracles ended with the Apostles. They don't believe God helps people by doing miracles now. To them, a miracle was God's way of promoting himself until the Bible could be written. Now that we have the Bible, we don't need miracles anymore -or so they say.

For a minister to take the power of God out of the Bible is an absurd idea. It removes any hope we have of changing. Then to turn around and tell the rest of the world they need to be moral is even worse. You can see what it is doing to our country. At the end of the day we have a divided nation that is no more moral than when we started. Efforts to force morality on others just make Christians look foolish.

Here is my idea: (emphasis added) God wants to show himself strong, powerful, and mighty in our day, just as he did throughout history. I believe it is his choice for every ordinary person to experience his presence. When I say "his presence" I mean a tangible knowing. A tangible knowing includes things we can see, as well as things we can't see. It can be a feeling or a sense. It is an internal knowing that God is with us, is active in our lives, and cares about us. "

"Why don't most churches have his presence/ I think it's because the people who control religion in America have never experienced it. You can't give to others what you don't have (emphasis mine). Another reason is that the controllers are embarrassed by outward displays of emotion. They would rather remain safe, reserved, and coddle their people, while at the same time telling the rest of the world to change." "My Absurd Religion by Which I Make my Living" by Pastor Steve Gray

I find it funny that most of these people who believe that the people who give as much as they do during worship (ie raising their hands higher than their shoulders, shouting, jumping, dancing, etc.) are just being emotional (emotionalism), or whatever it is they choose to call it, are some of the same people you can see at a {insert sports game here} game covered in the team's colors face paint who lose their voice cheering at a goal, a check, a tackle, a basket... are the same people who can tell you team player stats or the last time they won and probably get more passionate about a bad reffing call than anything from last week's church service. They are the same people who will openly weep at the end of a movie or through a book or jump at a concert but not at church where they can encounter the presence of God. Aren't these same things emotionalism? Just wondering...

No comments: