"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Complicity of the Church

You have probably heard it said that Satan's greatest trick is convincing people that he doesn't exist. But I wonder if he hasn't pulled an even faster one. One that actually gets some people into heaven, while keeping the majority out. One that has permeated the entire Church, and is so ingrained into Christianity, that very few people would even think of questioning it. Think about it: At least some people will question the existence of Satan, but very, very few Christians will question what actually drove them into heaven.


The vast majority of Christians I know became Christians because they didn't want to go to hell - myself included. There are some who had other reasons, but I would have to say that hell is pretty much a landslide when it comes to voting for the number one reason.

But there's a problem with hell.

The problem is that hell, as we define it - eternal punishment for temporal sins, is a concept that is probably only about 500 years old. It has some roots in the period just before Jesus' birth - hence some of his language in the New Testament - but the organized Church swallowed it hook-line-and-sinker with Dante's Inferno.

In Richard Rohr's book; "Falling Upward" he has a short section on hell. In it he makes the following statements;

"When you do not know who you are, you push all enlightenment off into a possible future reward and punishment system, within which hardly anyone wins."
 "How could anyone enjoy the 'perfect happiness' of any heaven if she knew her loved ones were not there, or were being tortured for all eternity?"
 "If you accept a punitive notion of God, who punishes or even eternally tortures those who do not love him, then you have an absurd universe where most people on earth end up being more loving than God."
 "The ego clearly prefers an economy of merit, where we can divide the world into winners and losers, to an economy of grace, where merit or worthiness lose all meaning."
But,  you can't talk about hell without talking about heaven, and there's a problem with heaven as well.

As important as heaven is, it's not the point of being a Christian. The point is: to make a difference here and now; being partners with God in restoring the world - and all those in it - to the way it was originally designed to be; reflecting the image of God into a broken world. However; the vast majority of us are just using our religion as an evacuation plan from the world. We're isolating ourselves from the world we were meant restore, and are waiting for the next bus out of Dodge. We think, and have been told, that this is all that matters.

So, what Satan's greatest trick?

Whether or not you believe that Satan is a real entity is the topic of another post, but for now lets assume this is the case. If it's true that  the vast majority of us are Christians because we didn't want to go to hell. And, if it's also true that most of us are merely waiting to go to heaven. Then, Satan has pulled off the greatest feat of all time: He has managed to neutralize most Christian influence in our world. Yes, he may have sent a few to heaven - but if you believe the stats that's only about 10% , which means he has stopped 90%! If we weren't so busy trying to escape hell (by going to heaven) we might actually start taking up our God ordained vocation and start making a difference in this world. This is something that would draw people in; something they would want to be a part of, and soon the stats would be reversed.

But the most ingenious part is that Satan has managed to make the Church into an unwitting accomplice. The Church actively endorses isolationism; "Be in the world, but not of the world"(as prooftext), "Don't drink, dance, or chew, or go with girls who do", "Muslims and Gays are evil". The Church scares people out of hell and into heaven; "If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would go?" They do all this, ad nauseam, to the exclusion of the true Gospel: The Gospel of love, reconciliation, restoration, union, and inclusive-ism as taught and exemplified by Jesus. By focusing on hell, we have stopped focusing on what really matters. So, in a way, the Church has become a roadblock to heaven: the exact opposite of it's stated mission.

How did you come to Christ? What was your motivation?

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