Just Jesus–A Rant
Something has been eating at me this whole week. I have tried to let it go. I had a lot of homework, it being finals week. This thing just won’t go away and a confrontation with Mormon missionaries yesterday didn’t help.
I am just going to write it down and hope that it will leave my heart and soul.
Here I go unburdening my soul. I know some of things I am about to write may upset some, but I have to say it. In my blogs, I have not shied away from saying what’s on my mind.
A God-wrestler doesn’t coddle their readers/listeners. The best definition of a God-wrestler I got is someone who bares their heart and soul naked before God. Someone who reads and wrestles with the bible who doesn’t accept the easy answers, who tries to follow Jesus shaping their life around the example that Jesus set forth two thousand years ago. A God-wrestler preaches and lives the Gospel of Grace.
I live in Salt Lake City, while it can be a good place to live the overpowering shadow of the Mormon Church looms over you and there are days when it seems to push down on you making the world seem small and inhospitable. I want out. I want to move away. I am currently in school and the plan at the moment is to finish school, work for a year or two and move away hopefully near a Christian seminary and start towards my masters in theology. Some days, it seems I will never finish school and get out of Mormon-land.
The Mormon Church has built a new shiny, over-priced shopping center. I sometimes refer to as the second-temple. I mention this because last week a gay couple was kicked out of this consumer hell simply for holding hands. That is bullshit! (Yes, I swore. As I said, I am upset about this.) The thing I fear the most is that the gay couple saw this as an act of Jesus, that they saw the face of Jesus on this hateful, ignorant act of fear. As Tony Campolo has said, “You don’t have to agree with someone’s lifestyle to be a friend to them.” I know some of you may hold on to the idea that homosexuality is a sin. I don’t. I didn’t choose to be heterosexual and I don’t believe that anyone chooses to be gay. As a God-wrestler, as a Jesus follower my only response to gay people and everyone else is to love them, honor who they are, and point them to Jesus, the Lord and Savior of all.
My mom remains in the Mormon Church. She has voiced her fear that if she doesn’t tithe that her church will not help her pay bills and give her a food order. I am sure there are others who fear that if they don’t give their 10% to the Mormons that they will treated as if Jesus is upset with them, as if they have to work their way back into the loving arms of God. I wished I could get my mom to leave the Mormons and attend my church or no church. I know my mom has deep faith in Jesus, but she seems to tie her honest faith in Jesus to the Mormons.
I believe that if a church were truly Christian they would not force their congregants to pay what they cannot afford in order to get the help they need.
My church, a Presbyterian church has helped me and I am not always able to put money into the offering, but they don’t make me feel less or like I have fallen out of the grace of God. I could and should pay more. I am sure we could all put a bit more into the offering, but we (Christians) don’t do this to earn anything from God. We cannot earn a thing. God has already graced us with so much, more than we deserve. Jesus went to the cross to die for our sins. That in itself is amazing. We cannot add or subtract anything from what Jesus has already accomplished on our behalf.
Now, on to yesterday. I was minding my own business, reading Stephen King’s Wolves of Calla (the fifth installment of the Dark Tower series) when two cute young ladies approached me. I thought at first that God was blessing me with a chance meeting with young ladies who may become friends. Alas, not the moment I saw their large black nametags I knew I was going to be asked to accept Joseph Smith as true prophet and leader of the church. I want to barf as I write these words. Joseph Smith is at best a false prophet and at worse a criminal.
These ladies began their spiel. I replied all I need is Jesus that I am a Christian. They relied that they too believed in Jesus, but they added Joseph Smith. They don’t believe Jesus is enough on His own they need to add things to Him and His gospel, which is a lie. I said that all I need is Jesus. They don’t seem to get it. All I Need Is Jesus. Just Jesus! Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am trying to shape my life on Jesus and His love for me. They went on to claim that Jesus was central to their church. This is where their argument breaks down. I said, “No. No, it don’t. I was part of that church. Jesus was nowhere near it.” They stammered not sure what to say next. I excused myself and walked away. They went away deflated.
I will have to remember the next time I am locked into a theological death match to speak about the Gospel of Grace.
They last time I wrote about my feelings about the Mormons I was called hateful. I don’t think I am. What I am is both a God-wrestler and a follower of the real Jesus, the Jesus of the gospels. Jesus spoke out against religion and merely asked people to come and see, to follow Him. That’s what I am trying to do, I am trying to follow Jesus in my life. I hope you, dear reader are doing the same.
Rant done. Have a good day. Thank you.
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