There are those times when you feel this thing rise up in you. It’s distinct from a sort of bitter-anger that causes you to fall into a pit of depression mixed with deep resentment. It’s this kind of anger that moves on you to fight—to fight on somebody else’s behalf.
Even if they don’t think that they deserve it.
I have watched religion beat-up on the Bride of Christ like the proverbial abusive husband. Sometimes it’s physical abuse. Sometimes it’s verbal abuse. Sometimes it goes further.
It gets to the point where I go into a church worship service and hear the Beloved speaking absolute crap over herself like she’s some sort of horrible monster.
“God help me; I’m such a horrible sinner.”
What good, loving husband wants to hear his wife speaking that over herself? What good, loving husband wants to hear his wife call herself a worthless piece of _______? The Jesus that religion preaches is a far cry from the Jesus I know. The Jesus I know totally called me on my self-hatred and told me it was a load of bunk—and that I was WAY too hard on myself.
I’ve seen the scars and the bruises on the arms and the faces of women who have been trafficked. It isn’t too far off from the marks left on the hearts of the people who hear a message of “love Me or be tortured eternally by my sadist of a Father.” That’s the ugly face of religion, folks.
It isn’t the gospel.
Worship is not singing to the Lord about how bad and worthless of a person you are. That’s not worship; that’s spitting on the face of the Lord and denying the gospel. That’s taking the Lord’s name in vain—claiming to believe Him while spouting blatant unbelief in His ability to have accomplished a ________ thing on the cross. Pun-intended.
Worship more has to do with being overwhelmed with the goodness of God. Letting Him wash your feet and speak words of loving-kindness over you. Worship is believing and trusting in a Lover who treasures you beyond anything else in all creation. It’s about being thrown into a sheer ecstasy at the reality that God has forever joined you to Himself. Far from humiliating you, He has allowed Himself to be stripped bare in front of the whole of creation, declaring His love before the cosmos.
I am telling you, ladies and gentlemen, there is more than enough to go around!
Do you want to know what dearly frightens all of the demons of hell? Ecstatic joy exuding and pouring out from the bliss of knowing that you are forever and always embraced in the arms of your Creator, never to be parted!!! WooHOO!
So, today on the jolly blog, I am going take us back to the basics. If your grid for God has been derived from a bunch of religious guilt-trips and hating-on by haters, I have got splendid news for you: you got messed up on the head! God is the happiest Person that ever there was! (No matter how many times we forget that!) God’s a spinning dance of joy and love and community, and you are a dearly loved creation. Brilliant idea!
So, there’s this guy named Jesus, and He is really awesome. And I believe in Him. I believe in a God who is Three-in-One jolly happy dance and loves everyone. One of God favorite past-times? Loving on everyone who has been completely screwed over by religion! I believe that God is most clearly personified in the Person of Jesus.
You want to know what the cross was? You really want to know what the cross was? Well, that’s what you call spreading your arms wide-open for a hug, folks! Come at me, atheists! God completely loves you. You are amazing! Every time I run into one of you, I am reminded of God’s goodness. You want to know why? You help God deconstruct religious oppression. God doesn’t like oppression, so that makes you one of God’s favorites!
I believe that God wants everyone blissed out on the goodness of Jesus. No one excluded. I don’t care what the heck you call yourself; I call you loved!
Thank You that You are not dead. That would be very sad. Thank You that You have not stopped playing and dancing and acting and participating with all of humanity. I really like You. There have been many wonderful, wonderful things that You have worked in my life. For instance, I can breathe—which is very much to Your credit.
I want to apologize for the times that I have backed away from Your displays of power because I have seen and experienced power misused. Thank You that You are kind as well as mighty. I apologize for doubting Your goodness when I read things in scripture that I did not understand and heard other people get offended by who they thought You were. I also apologize for the times that I acted proud and tried to defend myself instead of allowing You to defend me.
Thank You that You are very sweet. You remind me of a kind older brother who will not stand for anyone dishonoring or beating up on his sister. You also remind me of a mother who is very nurturing and gives good hugs.
You are strong and tender all at once.
You are also very forgiving. I can feel Your love and compassion radiating out to the hardest of hearts. There is not a single one who You would see lost. You treasure all of your children. You are extremely patient with us. Thank You.
I want to cuddle with You and be Your Bestest Friend.