Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rapture Foolish

The Rapture Zealots, yet again, have made even the idea of one seem foolish. What's wrong with these people?

Here's the truth of it all, if you really want to know. Most Christians, fundamental or otherwise, believe in the rapture of the church. But it is NOT the focus of our lives. It is NOT what we fear or think about every minute of every hour of our day. Our "vision" of it, comes in many shapes and forms, depending on how we interpret the scripture. But it cannot be a way to get out of paying your thirty-year mortgage. It cannot be a finger-wagging, soap-box stomping slam at the rest of the world that says, watch me disappear while the rest of you heathens suffer.

God didn't give us a Rapture Flag to wave. He told us to love one another, to take care of the poor, and to live as if every day might be our last. He didn't tell us to make His word look foolish.

No man knows the hour. How simple is that? You can crunch the numbers all you want, but He could come back a hundred years from now. Or tomorrow. It's His gig. Get over it.

If you're a believer, go on with your life. Be kind to your fellow man, let your light shine, and quit trying to be little gods, running around shoving the rapture down everybody's throat. There's a lot of hurt in this world, people who need prayer, their hearts mended, and homes that need put back together. Be about your Father's work. To me, that is the testimony of the Christian. Not turning your car into one big bumper sticker, declaring the end of the world. It's not going to happen that way.

Grow up.

Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Flipping Through The Fear

Flipping through the channels last evening, I happened upon a portly televangelist from Texas. His sermon title was something like, WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? Being one who studies the world of televangelism, I stopped to listen.

The sermon, one in which I've heard hundreds of times, was about the end times. It begins with the rapture of the church and ends with The Great White Throne Judgment and an eternity of peace upon an earth that has been remade by God. In between these two events, you can expect seven years of tribulation (Hell on earth) and all sorts of cataclysmic events the world has never seen. Most of the world's population, according to this pastor's interpretation of the Bible, is doomed for Hell. Unless you're one of the lucky ones to make the rapture of the church, your chances of making Heaven are slim to none.

I have to tell you, the goosebumps invaded every part of my body. Old familiar goosebumps. Like I said, I've been exposed to this doctrine all my life. It may sound crazy, but I'm a believer in this end time message. My only problem was with the way in which it was delivered. Steeped in fear and intimidation, the message made me feel like I needed to move to Texas and join his church in order to make the rapture.

ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!

I wonder how many have actually done that? Scare 'em-to-death religion rakes in the members and their money. I'm not a believer when it comes to holding people over Hell. In fact, I'm rather sick of it. I lived in that mess most of my childhood and during my young adult life, and I wish I would've flipped the channel right past that pastor. But, I didn't. I wanted to hear if the message had changed much. It hasn't. It's pretty much the same.

I think what bothered me the most about his sermon, was that there was NOTHING about how to become one of the lucky ones and escape what was coming. How do you make the rapture? What qualifies you? Christianity, salvation, living a perfect life before God, is what this pastor would say. Sin will not enter in, I've been told. And then we can get into another long discussion about sin. Do people sin every day, whether they want to or not? If so, you better hope you're not sinning when the trumpet sounds, eh? And then there's the controversy that you have to speak in tongues to make the rapture. Oh yes, true. The list goes on and on, and I wonder - does anybody really know how much of a saint we have to be?

We can worry ourselves into such a tizzy about making Heaven we're no earthly good.

In my own humble opinion, I think it comes down to faith. It takes more than being a good person, I know that. One must believe in the sovereignty of God and that His word is true. I know that too. I believe in all the signs and prophecies, and I believe God's love covers it all. It will happen someday, and we may well be the generation to see it. But I'm not going to live in a religious world full of fear ever again. Nor will I subject myself to the fist of some pious pastor pounding on his pulpit, screaming at me. Never again.

I plan to make Heaven. But I don't need to be screamed at and threatened all the way to the pearly gates. And neither do you.

My answer for you is to become a seeker. Search the scriptures for yourself. Let the voice of God become real in your own life, and open your heart to hear Him. It is a scary future we're facing, I agree, but instead of fearing it - embrace it. Ask God to show you the way. I believe He'll do it with love, for you to accept it or not. He gives you the choice. He's like that. For now, at least. During this dispensation of grace that we live in. At least for now, you don't have to be screamed at.

Blessings to you and yours.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Only In The Bible Belt

Lord have mercy.

So yesterday, Mike and I are tooling around town hunting for garage sales. It's the season. And if anybody knows me, or has read even a few blog entries, you know I love garage sales. It's my major contribution toward being GREEN. I have no problem recycling somebody else's trash into my treasure.

Anyway ... we read on Craig's List there was supposed to be a community sale at the old Moose Lodge, which has since been turned into a church. You know, one of those recycled churches named House of Hallelujah, or Come Unto Me Church, or Shout and Sing To The Lord Church ... you know what I mean. One of those churches where you're not quite sure if the pastor has his divinity degree or whether you should demand to see it, like the Republicans did with Obama's birth certificate. "Well," I said. "Could be a good sale. Who knows? I've found a few treasures at church sales."

It wasn't long and I realized most of the money lenders, oh, excuse me --vendors--were church members who had set up their tables to not only sell their junk, but also to whip a little Jesus on unsuspecting folks. Patrons who stopped by only to find a set of used golf clubs, the perfect teacup to add to their collection, or an old bike to use for parts.

We walked past one vendor who had parked his shiny red pickup truck smack in the middle of the lot and set up two tables of pure clean-out-my-basement junk, complete with moldy rugs, faded pictures of kittens in gold frames, and dusty macrame plant hangers from 1982. But that wasn't the best part.

He had opened both doors of his pickup and turned up the volume on his CD player. I suppose he wanted us to know what a good Christian he was and that we all should dare to be as good. I spent the next ten minutes walking around listening to a church choir belt out the last few lines of the Lords Prayer--"For thine is the kingdom ... and the power ... and the gloooooorrrrrreeeee ... foreeeevvvver ...." full tilt.

Man - o - man. I felt like I was in the middle of a Saturday Night Live skit.

Here's the thing. Doesn't the Bible tell us to just let our light shine? I'm not sure that means to build a bon-fire in the middle of community yard sale. Somehow, the red pickup just cheapened it. It did nothing but drive a few folks away. I think it's one thing to be proud of your faith, it's another to shove it down an unsuspecting person's throat.

It's no wonder the Bible Belt gets a bad rap.

Blessings to you and yours this Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Milk Toast Blogging

I struggle between two kinds of blogging. Milk toast blogging and Let-it-all-out blogging. I don't want to be labeled as a bitch. Or a nag. Or somebody who stands on a soapbox and wails on and on. But I also don't want to be a bore. Or a wimp. Or somebody who only talks about rainbows and lollipops and never the seedy side of life.

Who wants to read a milk toast blog every day? Not me.

So it has become a struggle, often a tough one, as to what to blog about. Do I tell my readers all is good in my writing world, when really I'm dieing inside? Do I let it all out, tell the truth about how I really feel and run the chance of somebody thinking I'm hard to work with?

How does a writer juggle it all? How does anyone? Is the internet the place to let it all out? What kind of an example do I want to set, after all?

I'm not sure how I want to proceed with this blog, because I'm anything but milk toast. And yet, I don't want to give folks the wrong idea. Do I care? Is a blog or Facebook or any other type of social media the place to vent without being prepared to accept the consequences?

Lots of questions are ringing inside my head. And until this writer finds the courage to say what I'm really feeling this morning, I'm going to go eat my breakfast of milk and toast.

Blessings to you and yours.