is religulous ridiculous?

 …well, if ridiculous means full of ridicule, then i say, yes. bill mayher in his “search” for truth or an answer as to why people see a need for religion in general, has essencially made fun of, completely denied & demoralized not just Christianity, but all organized religions.

he’s snagged a director of comedy (larry charles, also of curb your enthusiasm, entourage and seinfeld) who shares the same views, & together they’ve made a movie which bill says is totally comedic – hysterical, actually, in nature. click here for an interview.

i have a strange feeling that people aren’t going to laugh like he thinks. yeah, they’re gonna go see it, because religion is controversial; but they’re gonna leave pissed off. according to an abcnews poll, 83% of americans claim to be Christian. and those who don’t (just 4%) are probably mormon (l.d.s.), muslim, buddhist, believe in scientology or atheism…which leaves 13% who claim to have no religion. so from an agnostic (those who claim they just don’t know, & for anyone to say they do know  or have faith in anything greater than oneself or believe in any kind of afterlife would be narrow minded & arrogant) viewpoint, it was a risky move making this film. it’ll most likely resonate well with 13% of americans. but it’ll get mayher what he wants (no, not real answers – not the truth, really, not even popularity)…but publicity & notoriety (which i know this post isn’t exactly helping). oh, & to rope fence-riders over to his way of thinking.

i say we (as a believing and faithful body) pray that through this experience of film making & searching, God reveals himself to bill in an undeniable, life-altering, tell the world kind of way.

if he did it with renowned author & former atheist, lee strobel (click here for strobel’s personal testimony /how his believing wife was instrumental), then this political satirist may very well be america’s next top spokesperson… a beacon of light & reformation for the glory of God. there is no lost cause. nothing is impossible.

what do you think?

 

James 1:26-27 (msg)  Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

real-ationship

i was just thinking and thanking today – about how God wants to have a “down to earth” relationship with me. He created each of us to have a one-on-one intimate friendship, where we talk, back and forth. where we appreciate each others’ abilities and what sets us apart from everyone else. where our closeness leaves no room for pretense. where trust is the ripe fruit born of the tree of unconditional love.

i’m so glad that i don’t have to fake it with Him. even if i tried, he’d see right through my facade & call my bluff. i was worshiping today and i couldn’t stop the tears from dripping down my cheeks, darkening my satin blouse. i knew my mascara was messed up, my head felt like the woman’s from that nyquil commercial (trying to get over a cold) & i looked like i lacked 5 hrs of sleep, despite my hurried efforts to ‘paint the barn’. but when i got in the car with family waiting, at least my braylon said, “mommy, you look beautiful! your face does, but i like your hair when it’s down …and your shirt is so pretty. the sleeves go poofy out and then in & then out again like a princess.”  i don’t know if he was prompted to say any of that by another thoughtful guy…but i don’t care. it got the job done.

not long ago i messed up by not censoring (or even praying before i wrote & sent) an email to someone who barely knows me. how stupid was i. now this man’s judgment is clouded by my brutal unsolicited honesty and i’m sure he thinks of me as this or that…but you know, after apologizing, i just had to resign to the fact that i am who i am.

i look like this. i act like that. God, you deal with it, the good, bad & ugly. it doesn’t matter! look at me, naked in the noonday sun. i was made by you & for you…so give it to me straight. what needs changin’. what i think of myself means so little. what others think about me means even less. what solomon wrote in ecclesiastes is true…oh, and in the song, bohemian rhapsody…nothing really matters.

nothing… except a real relationship with my Creator. what he thinks of me is what matters. i can walk with him and talk with him and he tells me i am his own. Genesis 3:8 says, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden, in the cool of the day:” oh, to be back in the Garden.

…but what so astounds me is that i can have closeness with him right here & right now… he wants it, like a loving father wants closeness with his child, interested in every aspect & accepting regardless of flaws.

i am amazed and humbled.

a new name

his ankles and feet were severely deformed. guess he thought church folk would be more generous, so he had friends that towed him there. but he always stayed outside the entrance. everyone who went through that beautiful entrance, if they bothered to look his way, would see the top of his head, worn pants and the palms of his hands. he was out of place, without a name. he didn’t need one. appearance was his name.

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does the blood of Jesus cover the blood of suicide?

thanks, dad, for your permission to write about gramma.

my gramma was so wonderful to be around. she was kind, always had a hug. she loved “the peoples’ court’ and ‘hee-haw’ and ‘mama’s family’. we used to camp with her in her pop-up at wallowa lake & roller skate on her wood floor. she nursed my first bee sting i got (in my belly button) while lounging in a hammock in her backyard. she baked us a bunny shaped coconutty cake every easter. she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind & boy, could she be blunt (i got that gene). she doted on her weiner dog, trudy (sister to ours) was devoted to the Lord & loved her husband. she lost grampa ted after over 50 years of marriage. that next year brought with it the greatest test of endurance.

emotional stress turned physical & chemicals in her brain started getting off-balance. no one knew her depression had gotten severe. no one knew about the thoughts. not the cuban refugee family she took in to her home, not her pastor, not even her two sons. they would’ve removed the guns from the home.

i was called with the request to drive to her house as “there had been an accident”. i pulled up in my white vw jetta & my mom held me & told me then…gramma was gone. i was confused. i sat on top my car hood with my knees up to my chin & rocked back & forth. there was no accident. she’d stripped her life from herself probably not b/c she wanted to die, but b/c she no longer wanted to live…and in doing so, stripped her life from everyone else who loved her. the tears just streamed as i watched her pastor & the elders haul off the carpet they’d ripped out of that tiny room. i’m just glad it was dark out. i’m even more grateful i wasn’t the one to discover her. i loved my gramma & respected her. i honor her even today. i just wish she was still with me & i could share my life & family with her, like we do w/rick’s grandmas (that seems like a selfish reason, doesn’t it). she sure loved family. there are so many great memories i can recount, that the awful details are usually overshadowed in my mind…

but for the sake of discussion, honest reflection, & hopefully peace to a reader who’s lost someone this way, let’s bring the topic out into the light.

do people who do this go to heaven? to seek some answers (cause i know i have far from all the answers), i went to the Bible, God’s Word. it says that to be absent from our bodies is to be present with the Lord, and there are so many that display his abounding mercy…but i didn’t take much comfort in this passage: he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. ~ 1 Corintians 3:15-17.

this is the only place in the Bible where it refers to what may be suicide, although, it doesn’t even state it as such, specifically. no where else in the Word {Christians’ one & only true source of God-breathed, Holy Spirit inspired ancient text} does it state or even imply that suicide in & of itself, is a sin worthy of eternal damnation…an unpardonable sin. sheesh, even in judges 16:28-30, samson is granted by God the strength to do this. suicide, if unpardonable, would be not just mentioned as such, but woven throughout text.

i know from experience about the kind of God i serve. i don’t care if people call me biased or subjective. everyone of us is, really. God is just & merciful & kind. he is the essence & exemplification of love. he reaches to us beyond the point of our carnal death & gives us a chance to be judged, for the good, bad & ugly. not one of his kids will escape accountability. committing suicide? yeah, that too. they’ll have to answer for it to their Creator himself. sin cannot go unpunished. it was his life to make, & his to take, in his time. but for him to ‘sentence’ hell because of this would be unjust & uncharacteristic.

our lives are so valuable…often underestimated…& extremely important to God! read Psalm 139. to me, suicide can be the ultimate act of selfishness…but i think our Father looks beyond the sin at the time of death, & sees what mere man cannot: the whole person, their lifestyle, their love for him. he takes into account their suffering from mental illness or severe depression & applies the blood of his Son, Jesus to that final sin. so what if they aren’t alive to ask for it!?! his grace reaches beyond that technicality. his grace always looks at the heart.

his blood is not partial. it does not flow down our hearts full of sin avoiding a few choice acts. it cleanses all. that’s why i love to sing songs about it. the suffering & the blood of Jesus is worth squat if we humans can determine that some sins it does not cover (“how could he forgive a child molester or murderer?” “how could he forgive one who doesn’t ask for it because they’re dead now?”), & some it does cover. what if i’m saved, (i’ll use a lame example for lack of time) i’m driving & completely envying the person driving next to me. i end up rubber-neckin’ & crashing into a pole & i die? would a gracious God just look at my last sin of envy & say to me at the throne, ‘well in spite of your life of obedience & humility and your heart of love toward me & toward the least of these, you never repented of that last sin…so, since the wages of sin is death…’

absurd. that clearly goes completely against his character displayed throughout the entire Bible.

we all tend to ‘heirarchy’ the wrong we commit to help us feel better about our ‘little pet sins’, but to God, it is what it is ≈ that which separates us from him, and calls for a perfect atonement. envy, greed, suicide, homosexuality (sexual sin is different, but not worse to God. see 1 corinthians 6:18-20), disobedience, slander, drunkenness…you name it, it’s all sin. if we live this way, refusing to acknowledge/accept Christ’s atonement, it is serious business (see 1 corinthians 6:9-11).

the Word states there is o n e sin that’s unforgivable, unpardonable & results in hell: blaspheming the Holy Spirit ~ (my paraphrase: completely & permanently denying Christ, even after you know the truth in your spirit). this may seem contradictory to the scripture above naming many sins that can lead to eternal separation from God, but this one refers to a blanket statement, covering all of those listed, as examples. hell is for the unrepentant of heart that denies Christ. anyone who has guilt for their sin, confesses with humility & repents…(“such WERE some of you” oh, please don’t miss that part!)…he is immediately restored to right standing with God. my heart leaps for joy to read this again.

Christ words on this sin can be read in mark 3:22-30 & matthew 12:30-33 . dr. henry morris & author & theologian, dr. f.f. bruce shed some further light on that ‘unpardonable’ sin ~ to read their insights on the subject, click here (but come back!).

so yeah, i’m biased here. i miss her. but not so biased, i’m blind. i have faith (evidence of what i can’t see) that the saved don’t have to worry about heaven vs. hell when they die. they are free of every pain in their new bodies, enjoying the gift of eternal life. in my humble opinion, this is the bottom line: whether it was a life of a Christian taken by God in his timing, by someone else or by their own hand, that life…that blood is covered by the blood of their Savior. period.

oh…my gramma’s name?

grace.

now, as for whether or not we know if someone’s really saved before they die?! …well, that’s a topic for another day. i’m way past my wordcount on this one, but i’d loooove to read any comments on today’s.