It has been a rough week. The insanity of this week has been met with a quiet, green, calm morning in the woods of Arkansas. The birds are chirping and someone is mowing their lawn. This is a difficult post to write on many levels but I’m going to give it my best shot, something I encouraged Christians to do in my last post.
Definition of Wayward:
“Difficult to control or predict because of unusual or perverse behavior”
Definition of Bride (as used in this post):
The Church Is the Bride of Christ (click HERE for more detail)
Notice the quotes around the word “Bride” in the title above. The reason for the quotes is that every week brings more news of serious trouble in places where people who call themselves Christians congregate. The “Church” is in eternal trouble. The Church is not. Thankfully, there is a remnant of people who act and believe like people who have been touched by the Holy Spirit.
If the problem weren’t so huge, it wouldn’t be so sad. But the problem is huge. To try and cover the topic comprehensively would take many volumes, so I will explain small events that happened to me this week, events that symbolize much more serious issues.
I was censored by “brothers” twice this week. Silenced. Attempting to help two online acquaintances to understand concerns I had, one minor and one major, my posts were completely removed as if they had never existed. No effort was given to even explain why my attempts could be mistaken. In the scheme of things, I know what I experienced is nothing. I’m sure you’ve heard of the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” Being censored along with other things I’m planning to mention here, kind of had that effect.
I will start with the minor censoring. A blogger that I have followed for some time called all members of all Christian denominations “dung.” Although I have come to the place where I question any church or pastor’s basic theology before I even invest time in trying to learn something from them, I believe that there are true believers in many denominations. I took exception to this blogger calling the Bride “dung.” Our four-comment-back-and-forth was erased and a following post appeared on his blog with the heading: “Persecuted for living godly in Christ scripture-comfort.” Three scriptures about suffering persecution for Christ followed.
Being silenced by someone who considers himself righteous startled me a bit. That he may have considered my little critique persecution is only possible mud on the cake.
The more serious censor happened on Facebook. A friend from college who became a pastor posted this on his Facebook page:
“Joy is that kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.”
Sounds wise and innocent enough. And then I looked at who said this. The quote is from David-Steindl-Rast. I had never heard of the guy so I looked him up. David-Steindl Rast is a 95-year-old American Catholic Benedictine Monk. It didn’t take long to see that this monk was just another version of Thomas Merton whom my friend had also quoted in the past along with other mystics. I felt that this former Lutheran pastor’s friends should know a bit about this mystic so I shared one of his many faulty (a much too kind word) quotes and suggested that my friend might quote Martin Luther occasionally. I was silenced, the comment removed as if it had never been there. Remaining was this from an allowed commenter:
“It’s a gift of God and a fruit of the Spirit within!”
Deterred but wanting to give it one more try, I looked at post a few below the one from the mystic. All it said was:
“SPIRITUAL RECOVERY RECONDITIONING
Repeat to yourself throughout the day:
Psychotic with God’s Spirit
I am psyched for Him and others“
After looking up the word “psychotic,” I found it was a word “relating to, denoting, or affected with a psychosis”
“a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with eternal reality”
I thought it only right to share this definition with my friend and those he is influencing. I suppose I should have known that I would be erased again.
Looking at more of the “SPIRITUAL RECOVERY RECONDITIONING” statements, some of them seemed tame enough.
But, the sad question went through my mind, “Is my friend lost?”
And there was this video this week:
In our world today, there is a chance that this is a fake video. As far as my research can go at this time, it is real. If it is not real, the reality of exact things like this that continue to come to light in churches is appalling.
I read Ezekiel 23 this week. It describes the sins of Samaria and Jerusalem, the people who were supposed to be closest to God. And it describes what will happen to them because they have consistently and continually done abominable things.
And then there are the words of Jesus when referring to others who were supposed to be closest to God:
“You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil, express any good things? For the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart.”
The heartbreaking theological and sexual waywardness of the “bride” very recently had another largely reported sex scandal hit the news. You can read about it HERE.
A short rabbit trail to make a point:
I enjoy growing tomatoes in the heat and humidity of the summers in Arkansas. While checking a few of the plants the other day, I found 5 eggs on one of the tomato leaves. Whatever had laid the eggs hadn’t even bothered to hide them. They were on top of the leaf and easy to see. Their golden color made them glisten in the sun. They were some of the most eye-catching eggs I had ever seen. At the same time, they had to be destroyed because what hatched from them would begin to feast on and destroy parts of the plant and even the entire plant if let go long enough. They were easy to crush.
I went to the next plant and found the same thing except this time the critter that laid the same type of eggs tried to hide them on the underside of a leaf, which is where one usually finds them. They had been harder to find but just as easy to crush. I moved to the next plant. On the underside of one of its leaves were a completely different type of egg. They were very small and white, more numerous, and very hard and difficult to crush. This little experience made me think of how things have gone so wrong in so many churches.
It starts with things that should be easily noticed, an obviously false doctrine, an ignored blatant sexual sin, a feel good “gospel” that avoids any type of real repentance. These things begin to morph into things that are more hidden but they are still things that could be addressed and dealt with in the proper manner. If not addressed the problems increase and become almost impossible to deal with. Finally, a church finds itself content with its issues but lost, like the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America to name one. I don’t understand how anyone who remotely understands the Bible can be a leader in that denomination.
So…where do we go from here? I don’t know but some of my friends are hoping for a revival. It is a good hope that I think has a very slim chance of happening because of how far things have fallen. I do know one thing. I will continue to look in the mirror and reflect on the holiness of God and how far the guy I’m seeing in the mirror is from that. And I will remember to thank God for each day and for friends who will correct me when I go astray.
Related video I saw after publishing this post: