You know, I’d like to have faith in something. In fact, I have faith that there is some kind of spiritual part to this world — that it is just not all what we can see and feel, but that makes this whole thing even more frustrating. Because since I believe that there is something out there, it’s hard for me not to know what it is. I want to slap a name and a face on the thing and put it in a little box I can carry around with me! Who knows though, maybe thats the point? Maybe you just can’t really put such human restrictions on such a limitless thing?
I’m in Texas now, still searching, and I must admit that I am a bit lonely out here. I have no family here, and it’s always been hard for me to make friends. I’m not stand-offish or anything like that — just… different.
I heard online that there was some church out here that had a very large singles scene for people about my age and so I went there hoping that maybe with such a huge “dating pool” it would be easier for me to meet people. And yes, I totally went to a church to check out chicks. However, it didn’t take me long to correct that mindset and push that out of my head once I realized that was what I was doing. Once I realized it, I laughed at myself and decided to just concentrate on the sermon and figured that maybe experiencing God was much more worth anticipating than getting a wink or two out of the crowd.
Who knows though, maybe that was where I went wrong? Because the last thing an unprepared pastor would ever want, if they knew what’s good for them, is someone like me actually paying attention to what they are preaching.
I’ll be blunt. Crass even. The place was big, but as well all know it’s not the size that matters but if you know how to use it. You know, I have been celibate now for three years, but before that I did my share of sleeping around. During that time I met this really cute girl at a New Years party, no I don’t remember her name, and we hooked up. It was pretty good sex, even though she was a bit taller than my average, but when we were done she said something to me that was supposed to be a compliment but it sure rubbed me the wrong way for a while… enough that I forgot her name and never called her back.
She told me that some of the other guys she had been with before me were “bigger” than me, but that they were unable to please her, but I was able to give her not one but multiple orgasms… and then she said that whole “not the size that matters but how you use it” thing to me. Not exactly what a guy wants to hear after a moment like that.
Now, looking back I see it as a compliment… although my ego sure as hell would still rather have been told that I was both the biggest and the best. Oh well, I guess it doesn’t matter much now anyway. I don’t even have sex anymore. And no, it’s not “for life’ or anything like that. I just decided a few years ago that I was being a slut and promised myself that I would not have sex again unless I fell in love, and I just haven’t fallen in love.
Now back to the church service.
I was stopped several times by people, greeted I guess, and all of them just only talked to me about how big the church was. Asking me if I was intimidated at how big the church was, impressed at how big it was, or how awesome it was to find/have a church so big. Little did they know, that for starters… I have seen bigger. And more importantly, I have seen much, much smaller who knew how to “use it” and impressed me far greater. I’ve experienced God in a circle of three in a home prayer group. I have had visions and experiences sitting on a cold floor of a rented gym with a Buddhist Master. I have seen the poor be generous and the ugly beautiful.
No, size won’t impress me. I have nothing against size or big screen tv’s and operation budgets that would feed a third-world country… but that is not what is going to make me think that you have any bit more of your act together than I do.
Now I didn’t talk to these people enough to know what kinds of lifestyles they lived, their personal integrity, walk and what kind of a difference their church made in giving back to the poor and charity, but I did stay to listen to their preaching and that I can judge. I can judge their theology and based off that I knew pretty clear that this was just not a good place for me.
The theme of the sermon was supposed to be on Self Deception. Note the words “self deception”. But the text used was on Matthew 7. That whole “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” passage.
So let’s break it down. There was worship, your typical emotionally charged songs talking strangely about God’s love and mercy and his insatiable blood lust that must be appeased before he condemns us all to death. Then, the funny skit, announcements, and then appealing to people to give more money to various programs. Now comes the sermon — your standard “I have a theme that I want to work and I’m going to now pick through the bible to come up with a passage I can use that will kind of fit it” kind of deal. You start off with a funny, personal story, to warm the crowd up; much like my size of my penis story but much more G or PG rated.
As for the sermon itself… the scripture used was both out of content and not a theology that I can agree with. The first part is not that debatable, while the second is a topic of debate that has been in the church since it’s beginnings.
Now his point in the sermon what that self deception was bad, and that there were certain Christians in their church who were under the false impression that they were doing good as Christians, but that Jesus never really “knew them”. He even took it so far as to say that this not only applies to people who are not “saved” and think they are by being “good people” but this also applies to actual Christians who just are not close enough to Jesus that he REALLY knows them well. For both of these people the end result is the same (in his opinion) — that you get cast into a lake of fire.
Now as heartwarming as this sermon is, I must point a few things out that I think are a bit off. First, Matthew 7 is a warning to false teachers and false prophets, and Jesus is talking about condemning them. There is no “self deception” here, since he is warning the false teachers as to how if they deceive people they will be punished. The scripture used here was taken out of context and for this reason alone the message should be considered null and void.
My second disagreement is a difference in actual theology, and is open for debate. I personally can’t see where in the Christian scriptures there is enough proof to support the theory that someone who was “saved” can then become “un-saved” and go to hell. I have seen enough scripture to sway me more towards the “once saved always saved” school of thought, but please understand that what was being preached here was neither of these options. What was being preached here was some weird middle ground where a person is/was honestly “saved” but just didn’t do good enough after their salvation to get “really close” to Jesus, and so they go to hell anyway. Now where is that exactly in the Bible? I studied theology and there isn’t even a name for that particular theological stance… namely because it’s kinda outrageous.
I left that night laughing to myself about Christian theology in general. How primitive it actually is, how despite all the new sound systems and flashing lights, it still really is such a primitive practice. We gather and form a group and incite ourselves with drum beats and repetitious chants to induce some kind of a spiritual state, and hopefully call down the presence of a god. We then get to hear of a great god who is gentle, kind and loves us with all of his heart. It is a great love that is both pure and overwhelming, and nothing is greater than this love… nothing except this gods insatiable demand for vengeance, blood sacrifice, and a desire to send us all to a fiery grave. Seriously, which is greater? The love or the blood lust? Because if the love were greater then why would the blood sacrifice have to be fulfilled before the love can show? It is only because the blood is the greater of the two.
Now this god of love and blood out of his love does not want to have to kill us all, but must be appeased so he demands blood sacrifice. We tried animals, but that just wasn’t strong enough to appease his wrath, and killing people was out of the question since that was listed as one of his sins he hates us for anyway. So what are we to do?
Finally an answer comes! We must kill a god in oder to finally appease god. The trick is though, that this god already made it quite clear that there is only one god… so I guess we are screwed on that one. But wait! Now there is a second god, his “son” which was hiding in the wings all these thousands of years that he just forgot to mention. He will come down to earth and we can sacrifice him, eat his flesh and drink his blood and all will be well. Phew! What a relief.
If in today’s day-and-age we found a bunch of aboriginal people dancing around in grass skirts and worshiping this kind of a religious system we laugh at their supposed ignorance and unsophisticated beliefs. Who knows, maybe one day some more intelligent people will come to see us all and make some kind of a documentary on our primitive beliefs and practices we just can’t seem to shake the hold off of?
Or is it the opposite? Is all religion following some basic theme or pattern that we just seem to choose to ignore? We dress it up and put a new face on it every century tow, but all-in-all… here we are, still covering in front of some great Spirit, trying to call it down, appease it, gain its favor, and come to some kind of peace of mind in this crazy world.
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