Archive for January 19, 2009

While this is not a post about Dr. King, and there are a few on this Wall of nice graffiti worth the read, this post is good to note on this day.

The throng of pageantry will be sprawled over the Mall on Washington unlike anything we have seen that mystical, heralded day in the 60s when Dr. King took the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and etched the words of his dream in the minds of us all.

The Church should take notice. If one man can unite a country – or at least seemingly do it with an oath on a dusty Bible – then why not the Church behind Jesus? Forget denominations and affiliations. Cast aside your church membership and fancy titles. We are the Body of Christ, and in this post, lists a few reasons why.

Happy MLK Day, everyone! Whether you looked like Dr. King or not, you do benefit from this day. Peace. Enjoy “The Cornerstone of the Wall.”

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A phrase often heard in movies or the show “Cops” is “jailhouse religion.”

Routinely, do we read the story of the twice-convicted armed burglar enjoying the tax-paid vacation of lockdown and suddenly, he attends a prison fellowship and accepts Jesus. Now, whether he (or she, actually) did it to either escape their soulish death row and believe this prayer will help chalk up brownie points with the Big Guy Upstairs, or life is genuinely that bad and Jesus is that real to him at this time.

Regardless, a life is changed. And the underlying prayer is now that this life change sticks.

These stories are numerous and the incarcerated are usually faceless – unless of course they happen to be famous and then it’s everywhere. Take once big time rapper and B-film actor, DMX and this apologue from MTV.

dmx-prayerDMX, who has been resting under the balmy shadows of the desert sun in Arizona, pled guilty to felony charges of animal cruelty (Hello, Michael Vick), theft (like he needed to do that, other than just “keeping it real”) and drug possession (but hey, he didn’t inhale).

But now, jailhouse religion has bit him too causing him to “get it on the floor” – as in his knees.

DMX, for his part, said he’s completed the gospel album he told MTV News about last January. The rapper, who had a penchant for including moving prayers on each of his albums, said he’s spending more time with the Bible as he sits in 23-hour lockdown. His plan after his release is to move forward with his transition to becoming a pastor. X has long talked about becoming a prominent member of a church. The rapper believes he’s been put in his situation to help someone.

What? Pastor X? No, that’s too confusing with Malcolm and those who don’t know what an Imam is, nor the duty of a true minister. At first, he will preach about his testimony – it’s what they all do, but then what? Dogma, scripture, homiletics… ya know, truth.

So, X, when you do get out, make good on your promise to God and find people – not the fools you used to chill with, but some hungry people who are looking for something different out of Jesus. They’re out there. They want reality. They want transparency. And they want someone – like you – to keep it real, God’s way.

Yo, when you get out, do not search for a gospel CD deal but rather a pulpit in which to cling. Why? They’ll be watching because “We right here!”

One of my most immense pet peeves is the inane question, “What religion are you?” Argh!

I understand people outside of the Church, and some of the lukewarm fish inside of it, don’t know – or don’t care – to understand the difference between denominations and religion. But, there is a huge difference.

And then add to the mix, “What faith are you?” Oy! I’m liable to go back to seminary and fasten a seat belt because my head is spinning like a drunk in the middle of Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.

So says HiScrivener: Faith is an ardent belief in a deity. Religion is a codified doctrine to follow a deity. Denominations are defined by the methodology people choose to celebrate their deity.

jesus-relationship-not-religion

According to this story in the New York Times, people are truly searching for a relationship with Jesus Christ, rather than fancying a stroll into some religious house of worship, apothegm and dunderheads.

For at least a generation, scholars have noted that more Americans are moving among faiths, as denominational loyalty erodes. But the survey, based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans, offers one of the clearest views yet of that trend, scholars said. The United States Census does not track religious affiliation.

So, being a Zionist, can I wake up and decide to become an Orthodox Jew just to feel a little closer to God? Come to think of it, my pastor just doesn’t bring me into the Holy of Holies anymore. Perhaps, I watch my Gandhi DVD, get a little flummoxed at his stance for non-violence and throw away my crucifix to become Hindu. How about that? Besides that, I love hamburger and I get to worship cows. Nice.

Isn’t that what religion, faith and denominations are all about? Bowling for Jesus? A slot machine to insert your dimes and pray for all cherries, and DING DING, salvation is yours? Seriously! This world doesn’t seem to have a clue, and you know what Church? It’s possibly all our fault!

A journey all of us should fancy

A journey all of us should fancy

Question: If we are the salt of the earth, does the way you live for Christ make folk thirsty for your faith, religion or denomination? Evidently, we still need water out there.

In the Pew survey 7.3 percent of the adult population said they were unaffiliated with a faith as children. That segment increases to 16.1 percent of the population in adulthood, the survey found. The unaffiliated are largely under 50 and male. “Nearly one-in-five men say they have no formal religious affiliation, compared with roughly 13 percent of women,” the survey said.

The Word of God in James’ letter tells us this:

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Here. Here. Those “orphans” and “widows” are not the homeless, the destitute and the maligned. They are not “Baptists,” “Catholics,” “Episcopalians,” and what not. They are people all of them – each with real issues who happen to warm a pew in a Baptist church, a Catholic church, an Episcopalian church or whatever megachurch they attend, or at least brag about attending.

Do you see the difference? The world doesn’t. Jesus did.

My prayer? I hope we all can begin to see this stark difference as well, and start to witness people throwing away their “church membership” cards and just appreciate being part of the Church as a whole.