Waiting For Easter: A Eulogy For Jesus

grief-loss-God


Someone recently said that I seem angry lately, that my writing has become decidedly negative, my demeanor abrasive and combative.

For a split second I thought that he might be right, but realized almost immediately what was happening. He had indeed recognized my symptoms accurately; it was the cause that he didn’t or couldn’t understand because it’s the kind of thing you can’t easily tell from a distance.

My well-meaning friend didn’t realize that he was dealing with someone grieving deeply.

Anger and grief look a lot alike from the outside. They both feel similar when you’re on the receiving end.

That’s what’s been going on here in my heart for a long time—a grieving.

That’s what this faith walk has felt like lately: a funeral for a friend.

I and so many others like me are mourning a tremendous loss, one so profound and so disorienting that it’s altering the very eyes with which we see the world, and the way we think and talk and live and pray.

We are Christians, looking around and facing the most horrible of realities:

It feels like Jesus is dead.

He is dead to a modern Christianity that so very often seems fully content to call itself that, without the slightest trace of Christ.

He’s dead to a faith that’s gone to bed with politics, shacked up with power, had a wild fling with materialism; one that’s given birth to something so very unlike him, yet named after him.

What passes as Christianity here in America often bears no resemblance to the humble, gentle Nazarene rabbi, who came armed with no cash, no building campaign, no megachurch, no lobbyists, and no army; only the greatest of good news on the planet, and an extravagant heart bursting open for every weary soul that crossed his path.

That, and a call for those who would follow him to die to self.

When I look around at the faith so often proposing to be Christianity these days, that Jesus seems gone.

He is dead and buried, replaced by doom-forecasting celebrity preachers, venom-spewing reality TV stars, and some the most violent, hateful bigotry on the planet, disguised as religion.

Jesus isn’t just dead, but he’s had his identity stolen posthumously, too.

And yes, it makes us angry—not simply because we want to be angry, but for the same reason death always brings anger. We want back the loved one that we’ve lost.

We’ve been robbed of dreams that we had and promises we were told growing-up.

We grieve for what once was.

We grieve for what could be and what we fear never will be again.

So yes, for far too many of his people, this is a eulogy for Jesus within Christianity. 

It is a time for the shedding of tears and the tearing of robes.

It’s a day for sadness and confusion and fear.

It is the frantic, urgent, pleading for what seems like a hopeless lost cause: life from a tomb.

And it might all be quite hopeless, except for one thing: We are a Resurrection people.

Our very story is one of a wailing wake for a dead friend, a dark and desperate in-between—and then a wild, joyful dance in front of a rolled-away stone.

We too, pray that this is where we are right now: in the wailing and waiting before the dancing.

We still strain to believe, that we who seek and follow Jesus, are mourning in the predawn hours; overwhelmed with darkness now, but about to be blinded with the radiant light of hope, one that will leave us speechless and in awe, and once again turn the world upside down.

We too, pray for our coming Easter.

We pray for Christianity’s rebirth.

We pray for a Jesus resurrected, here in the very faith that bears His name.

We don’t assume to take anything back for him from anyone. We just pray that he’ll take it back from those who’ve held it for ransom.

We await a gorgeous morning where he’ll come back to life and reclaim what is his. And when He comes back to life in this faith, he’ll turn over the tables and loudly drive out all the charlatans and liars who’ve sold his name and bankrupted his children.

He’ll once again call out all the self-righteous religious leaders, who’ve built empires and fortunes upon the backs of other people’s sins; who’ve become insulated morality policemen instead of close and caring shepherds.

He’ll bend low again to caress every sad, sobbing, filthy soul that has been unseen and untouched for so longand pull them to himself.

When Jesus is fully resurrected in Christianity, he and it will give the good news back to the poor and the hungry and the hurting, and remind the first and the high and the privileged, that they may miss out when the afterparty begins.

When the Church is fully alive with Christ once again, it will reject politics and power and position and recklessly throw open its doors, allowing itself to be willingly looted by the starving, broken, discarded people who have been on the outside for far too long.

When Easter comes to the Church and to the faith, its people will carry only the good news again. It will be their sole agenda.

But that is not what is—and so that is why we grieve.

That is what we wish and wait for: the near impossible, yet still possible resuscitation of our joy.

So yes, we are sometimes angry now.

We are sometimes distraught.

We are mourning something precious that we’ve lost, and we’re rightly pissed-off because funerals spent talking about someone, are never as good as parties spent dancing with them.

We tired of talking and talking about a Christ who we no longer see. We want to dance.

Yes, we grieve a religion that often seems dead, and yet still cling to the slimmest of hopes that an Easter Sunday is still within reach.

You who grieve the loss of Jesus, in the very faith that bears His name: Be encouraged.

He is in the resurrection business.

Grieve. Wait. Hope.

Pray for Sunday.

Joy is coming.

We will soon dance again.

We all will dance again.

74 thoughts on “Waiting For Easter: A Eulogy For Jesus

  1. I hope so, because the people you argue for the most often are the privileged. Those who, in the absence of the king, have stolen the Kingdom away from the truly poor, those living on less than a dollar a day, for whom another child in the family means another chance at hope, another chance that the family may be lifted out of poverty.

    They cannot afford contraceptives which are pushed on them by well meaning so called progressive goverments. They cannot afford to kill their children with abortion because they cannot afford to refuse to share what little they have with people who may one day be their salvation. And they certainly cannot afford the luxury of homosexuality. These are all First World problems that we think will solve the problem of poverty, but these solutions only increase poverty, they are not a solution.

    You are the prviliged. I am the privileged. Those destroying heterosexual monogamous marriage, the world’s most successful anti poverty program, are privileged to be able to do so.

    We should ALL be ashamed to be arguing over homosexuality while even one small child goes hungry anywhere in the world. We should all be ashamed when a first world heterosexual couple pays $40,000 for a designer baby when half the world does not enjoy the privilege of “reproductive choice” to eugenically design the next step in human evolution.

    Pope Francis is right. The reason that sexual morality is important is because valuing the dignity of each human being is important.

    • Reality check: Children go hungry because of greedy people who won’t share what they have. More often than not, in my experience, such people are conservative Republicans. People don’t fail to use contraception because it’s expensive. All too often, they don’t use it because they can’t get it or don’t know how to use it properly, thanks to people pushing their useless “abstinence only” education. Programs that would provide free or low cost contraception to people are routinely opposed by people claiming they promote promiscuity.
      I’m privileged… yes… compared to many people. But compared to your average conservative Republican in America? Not so much. I pay more in taxes because the state won’t let me get married. I have no legal protections against discrimination in housing and employment. I’m disabled and have to survive on the pittance of social security that certain conservatives would like to take away from me. I can’t tell you how many times in the past couple of years I thought I was going to lose my home because I didn’t have enough money. But I don’t sit around complaining about what I don’t have… I prefer to work toward equality and try to make the world a better place for others.
      Let me give you an example of my experience in seeing who is generous and who is greedy, who cares and who does not: Some years back, I was working with an organization that was collecting food for the hungry. We would stand outside a supermarket, and as people went in, we would as them to purchase one non-perishable food item to donate. And we waited there with an empty shopping cart to collect the donations. I worked at two stores. One was in a wealthy section of the city, populated predominantly by well-to-do conservatives. We collected a small amount of food. The other was in the poorest section of the city, predominantly African-American, Democrat, liberal. We filled two shopping carts in a short period of time… and then an elderly man and his wife came out with a cart full of groceries. They stopped, and we waited, expecting them to select an item from one of the bags to put in one of our carts. They didn’t. They gave us everything they had purchased.
      In my view, John Pavlovitz is very much like that elderly couple. He gives from his soul.

      • A reality check for you- ALL Americans are like the Purple Robed guy who stepped over Lazurus. We’re all guilty of ignoring the poor. No American lives like people do in the third world.

        We are the 1%. All of us. Every single American is in the top 1% of the world.

        Funny thing about your rant from a first world perspective where you have enough to eat and can insult your parents with homosexuality- you have ZERO concept of what it takes to live in the third world, where they look at your claim of LGBT rights and see nothing but hatred and destruction for the other 90% of humanity that isn’t gay.

        • Why not come to where I live? I will take you about a mile from my house. We’ll visit a tri-level intersection. See those piles of rags and old clothes? There are people sleeping under them. It’s been a bitterly cold winter, but all through it, those piles were there… the only things those poor people own. And they lie under them shivering. During the day, they stand or sit along the side of the street, hoping a passing motorist will give them some spare change or a dollar or two so they can go to McDonald’s and get something to eat. Addicts? Alcoholics? Mentally ill? Sure, some of them. But not all. There are families out there… people who had a home and productive lives, and then lost it all when the economy tanked, and our unemployment rates, still higher than the national average, skyrocketed. Banks foreclosed, renters were evicted, and suddenly our shelters and soup kitchens were full to overflowing, and most of our underpasses and alleys had living piles of clothes.
          Let me tell you about my friend Rolf: He’s a middle-aged gay man. He made a foolish choice a few years ago, was arrested, and sentenced to a certain number of hours of community service. He worked at a local soup kitchen. His whole life changed. His community service was done long ago, but every Sunday, Rolf is at the soup kitchen, where he’s now a chef. Not paid… it’s all volunteer. Funny thing about the volunteers in the soup kitchen: Many of them are only a pay check or two away from homelessness themselves. Rolf owns a business that he and his brother inherited from their father. The brother had serious emotional issues, and wouldn’t contribute to running the business, so Rolf does it, with the help of two of his friends. Many weeks, none of them gets a paycheck, and the business struggles. Utilities in their building have occasionally been shut off for non-payment. But Rolf and his friends produce some of the best orthopedic devices in the area. (And if government and private insurance payers would get their act together, and actually pay when they are billed, he might make a reasonable living.) Rolf’s home is the one he grew up in, his late parents’ house. Years ago, he had to take out a mortgage on it to save his parents’ business, and now he struggles to make the payments. You might say that Rolf should go get a part time job to make ends meet. Not easy in this area. And his business keeps him on call most days and evenings. But the truth is, now that he knows what it is like to work in the soup kitchen, feeding people who otherwise would go hungry, he wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else. It’s not an easy environment to work in: it’s housed in a church that is officially anti-gay, and Rolf is honest about himself. And they’ve learned a lot about gay people they never knew as a result. Rolf doesn’t ignore the poor. He’s poor himself, but works to make life more bearable for those with less. I can’t work a soup kitchen. And Lord knows I have no money and little food. But I don’t sit around doing nothing. There are still things that I can do for those less fortunate. I run a support group for teens growing up with an alcoholic parent. I volunteer my time with the local Alzheimer’s Association. I work information tables at parenting fairs and street fairs, educating people about alcoholism and where to get help for it and other addictions.
          I’ve never been wealthy. I was born in a Brooklyn slum neighborhood, now torn down and replaced with slum high rises. When I was a kid, my parents worked. At one point, my mother worked seven days a week. On the weekends, when my brother and I were not in school, she would sneak us into her workplace, because she could not afford a babysitter, and she and her coworkers would hide us from the boss. I grew up and went to Bible school and into ministry. I’m now mostly retired, but in my entire life, I never earned a dime as a minister, outside of donations for performing weddings. I always worked outside employment to support myself and my household. And when the church couldn’t make ends meet, I supplemented it with my own income, over and above my usual tithes and offerings.
          I recall one night in Houston. I was working with a small mission church in the mostly-gay Montrose neighborhood. Ours was a small congregation, Pentecostal, mostly gay, right next door to a bar. After the evening service, some of us were standing out on the front steps talking about how wonderful church had been, when out of the shadows stepped a man, African-American, maybe 35 years of age. He had a very sad look, and apologized for interrupting us. He hastened to assure us that he wasn’t asking us for money. He explained that he and his wife and children had just come to Houston from Birmingham, AL. He had been promised a job with a company in Houston, and on that promise, they took what money they had and came to Houston. The company’s promise of a job fell through, leaving this man and his family mostly destitute. What did he want from us? His wife and children were hungry. Did we have some food we could perhaps spare. I lived across the street from the church. I had a full-time job at a local hospital, but still couldn’t afford more than a roach-infested apartment. But with tears in my eyes, I took this man to my house, and proceeded to empty out my freezer of things that could be thawed and cooked immediately. I gave him everything I could spare. No, sir, I did NOT step over Lazarus.
          When I was in Bible school, I was still young, and hadn’t quite mastered the art of earning a living yet. I was living in the school, a small, unheated room on the third floor… no elevator. The bathroom was a good distance down the hall. It had a shower, but also had no heat. This was upstate New York. Nothing like trying to take a shower when you can see your breath. I worked part time for the church and school as the pastor’s secretary. (My typing skills were lousy, but still better than his, and I worked cheap.) I got free room and $15 dollars a week… when he remembered to pay me. He was quite elderly, and often forgot. And I wasn’t the type to complain. Sometimes, his wife would stop in, look at me, then look at him, and sternly ask, “Stanley, did you pay that boy?” On one occasion, I hadn’t been paid in a while, and for a week I was living off of ketchup packets and brown sugar from the kitchen. I prayed (complained to God) about it, and He made provision: He spoke to one of the ladies in the church through her unsaved, alcoholic husband. He had come home one night, passed out drunk on the couch, and later woke up and said, “Lily, you’ve got to go bring Bill some food.” She looked at him, half amused, assuming this was some drunken hallucination. He said, “you know, Bill… that skinny guy at your church. He’s starving.” Then he passed out again. She told me this story at the next church service, still thinking it was just a hallucination. I looked at her seriously, and fighting back tears, I said, “Lily, when God speaks to your husband, please listen!” She learned what I was living on, told the other ladies, and I never went hungry again. But as you can see, I wasn’t exactly living a life of luxury: No heat, no hot water, sometimes no food. God provided for me, but I learned compassion. I will NEVER step over Lazarus as long as there is something I can do to help. Even if it’s nothing more than hold his hand. Today, disabled, living on very little money, I don’t eat as well as I wish. Sometimes a can of tuna is dinner. But for that can of tuna, I give thanks, because it is one can of tuna more than someone less than a mile away has to eat. I don’t need to look to a third world country to find people who are destitute and starving. They’re all around me, right here in America.
          I had to laugh at what you called the “luxury of homosexuality.” Ah, yes, what luxury! It got me a broken nose in my late teens, when a gang of straight men, mostly drunk, attacked me in the street. Oh, make no mistake, me being gay was their motivation. How did they know? Does it matter? They knew. Maybe it was where I was coming out of, maybe it was the neighborhood I was in. But it shouldn’t matter. I was attacked for no reason other than being who I am. Most of my family was fine with me being gay. My stepfather, a Baptist pastor, and my mother, however, were not. So I endured the luxury of years of rude and insulting letters, very uncomfortably family gatherings where they would go out of their way to say something offensive. And when the day finally came that I told them I would no longer tolerate their abuse, and that if they couldn’t accept me as I am, we would have no contact, I had the luxury of losing them for a decade. But all that changed. You know why? God made the change… in them. The death of a cousin in another city necessitated me riding to the funeral with my parents. Three hours in a car with them was not something I was looking forward to. But my brother told me they had promised to “behave.” As I sat in the back seat with my mother, she told me something beautiful: She told me that God had made it absolutely clear to her that she was nobody’s judge. Not long afterward, Dad got the same message, and a small Baptist church once known for being hateful is now a loving and friendly place. We now have the best relationship we have ever had. They know my spouse and love him. They aren’t insulted by who I am, nor are they ashamed. (I think you’re projecting your own feelings onto them.) They are thankful and proud of me and what I have accomplished in my life. And my partner and I have supportive friends. But we still have the “luxury” of no legal protections that others take for granted, we still have the “luxury” of paying higher taxes for those diminished protections, and still can’t get married. We spent thousands of dollars in legal fees when I became disabled so that if the time came when I could no longer make my own decisions, he could make them for me, and handle my finances, or even have the dignity of being allowed to visit me in the hospital, make final arrangements when the time comes, and we could be buried together. A tiny fraction of the rights and protections that come automatically with marriage. But those thousands we spent are no guarantee of anything. There have been cases where relatives of one party step in and challenge the documents in court, and have won. There have been cases where hospitals, etc., have refused to honor the documents, entailing lengthy and expensive legal action… with no guarantees. What a luxury!
          I could tell you the story of a Pentecostal evangelist, one of the best preachers I ever heard, who was gay and lived for decades in a covenant relationship, the biblical equivalent of marriage, lacking only government acknowledgement, with someone of the same sex. Being a lesbian and having a wife never hindered her ministry in any way, and when she preached, you could hear her three blocks away without a microphone. She loved God and it was evident in her ministry. She had been saved in the late 1950’s, in a city in Missouri where she had been known as the town drunk. One night, inebriated, she heard music and followed. It was the last night of a series of revival services that, up till then, had produced little, if any, results. She walked in the back, and felt something drawing her to the front of the church, toward the pulpit. As she reached the platform, she was no longer drunk, but completely sober, and from that moment on, she stayed sober, and became a preacher of the Gospel that had saved her. She was a lesbian when she was saved, and God didn’t change that.
          When her partner became ill with liver cancer, after they’d been together for some 40 years, they tried to put their affairs in order. They did not anticipate problems. Family on both sides had always been supportive. They owned their home and car jointly both fully paid for, and it was just understood that when one passed, the other would inherit. But it didn’t work that way. When her partner passed, the family suddenly changed. They locked the bereaved evangelist out of all the arrangements. They went to court to secure ownership of half of all the jointly owned property, forcing this poor old woman to sell. They left her with no home, no car, and in the failing economy, not enough money to survive for long. Thankfully, her church, remembering the scriptural procedures for widows, took her in and provided for her. For the next few years, until her own death, they provided, and she continued to preach the Gospel as long as she had breath. A real life of luxury.

          • And every single one of them is better off than the slave to Islamics in Africa.

            Learn something about the world- it might depress you, but you need some perspective about places that don’t have food stamps, don’t have cold weather shelters, don’t have clean water or even a bridge to sleep under.

            • I think you’d have a hard time convincing a homeless person who spends day and night under a bridge, without heat, sanitation, medical care, access to clean water or good food, that there is anyone worse off. Not that there might not be, but is it really smart to sit around debating whose situation is worse? I suppose we could use the plight of those far away as an excuse to ignore those suffering nearby. But then, wouldn’t we have to step over the Lazarus here to focus on the one that is too far away for us to see or help significantly?

              I have to wonder what you mean by “slaves to Islamics in Africa.” There is a great deal of hunger and poverty in Africa, as in other parts of the world, but I don’t see the connection with Islam.

      • Rev W H Carey wrote:
        They gave us everything they had purchased.
        In my view, John Pavlovitz is very much like that elderly couple. He gives from his soul.

        garwilson responded:
        A Christians salvation is not obtained by giving from his soul, but like Abraham, we must believe God. The Bible teaches us all of these things, but you need to read it, and believe it in order to be saved.

        • Thank you for that wisdom, as irrelevant as it is to the topic. Nobody was implying that John, or anyone else, was trying to buy salvation. Giving from the heart isn’t the source of salvation; it’s the fruit of it. Or, at least, it should be.

          • Rev WH Carey wrote:
            Thank you for that wisdom, as irrelevant as it is to the topic. Nobody was implying that John, or anyone else, was trying to buy salvation. Giving from the heart isn’t the source of salvation; it’s the fruit of it. Or, at least, it should be.

            garwilson responded:
            The wisdom of God is always revelant.
            1- What does the Bible say about the fruit of a lost person;
            Ga 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
            Ga 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
            Ga 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
            Note: A good dictionary is helpful in fully understanding the above verses.

            If a person encourages other people to remain in the lifestyles which God condemns, or worse yet, if they try to convince them that God approves of such lifestyles, then they are an enemy of God, and are just as lost in their sins, and in need of God’s salvation themselves. It is never an act of love when anyone deceives somebody, but an act of treachery.

            2- What does the Bible say about the fruit of a saved person;
            Ga 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
            Ga 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

            Notice that Giving is not listed in any of these verses; Giving what is bad would be the fruit of an unsaved person, whereas Giving what is good could be the fruit of either, depending upon the motive of the giver. Giving what is bad (deceit, treachery, etc.) is always the fruit of an unsaved person.

            A true Born Again believer (child of God) will always be truthful in the things that they share with others, even if it is hard to hear (Jesus did this). If you fail to tell a lost person of the truth of their lost condition, you are not loving them, but deceiving them, and depriving them of an opportunity to repent and be saved.

            • A. The wisdom to which I referred was not relevant to the original post, and my point was correct. As usual, it seems you missed it.

              B. You do like to talk a lot, but you don’t say much. Here’s a newsflash for you: Just because YOU say something is sin does not make it so. I realize that you don’t want to entertain the possibility that you could be wrong. But that still doesn’t make you right.

              • Sin is not disagreeing with what garwilson or Rev WH Carey says, but disagreeing with what God says. The Bible is our standard of what God says, and therefore what is, or is not sin. It is not about you or me or anyone, it is about God. A Christian will believe all that God says, like Abraham. Romans 4:23-24

                • Unless you can read Hebrew and Greek, you don’t really know what God said, do you? You can only take the word of others. So in reality, the definition of sin you are living by is disobedience to what someone else says God wants. I would not be so eager to defend that definition.

  2. Only a child of Satan would suggest that Christ and His Church are dead and need to be resurrected. This reminds me of the testimony of Joseph Smith, and that he was to be the prophet through which the restoration would take place. Satan can appear as an angel of light. Jesus told Peter that He would build His Church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. If you do not have Christ living in you, you are not a part of His Church, and have no right to condemn something that you know absolutely nothing about. He is alive, and so is His glorious Church. God is in control.

    • Wow. You really haven’t the first clue about what you just read, do you? I believe if you’re looking for children of Satan, you might want to begin by looking in the mirror.

      • Mike
        Easter is all about Jesus being resurrected from the dead. That happned 2000+ years ago as a one time event, never to happen again. Anyone who would suggest differently is a child of Satan, and not a Child of God.

    • Mike Moore is right. Thank you Mike. His inability to understand what John wrote shows me clearly that he knows very little about how to understand literature and writing styles—or maybe it just means that the Holy Spirit is not in him—I don’t know which. If someone here was and English literature major, I would like to kindly ask you to explain John’s post to Gar in some way that he might be able to understand. I do not have enough time to do it myself. StainedGlassDoubts might be able to do it?

    • Why is John a child of Satan for expressing his opinion and thinking differently than you do? Should I offend you and call you a child of Satan because I disagree with what you’re saying? I want to understand your reasoning. Thanks.

      • hellogoodbyeblog…Did Christ rise from the dead or is he still dead? Both cannot be true. You need to find the truth and figure out who is telling the truth. You hit the nail on the head when you called this blog opinion. You also nailed it on the head when you said John was thinking differently because accepting the truth is not about thinking differently, it’s about realizing what is real. In his blog, John is opinionizing the truth and making a mockery of it. He is diluting something that was designed to be wholesome and pure with a specific purpose, to save men’s souls. And that is wicked.

        Case in point… If Jesus is not resurrected, then he is still dead, correct? If he is still dead he lied about who he was, God in the flesh…correct? So if that is the case, then why is anyone following a man who was a liar, albeit, a good and famous one at that?

        On the other hand, if Jesus is resurrected, then he was not lying about who he was and is the Son of God in the flesh. If he is risen, then we can know that he was who he said he was and we can believe what he said and we can believe in his power to accomplish anything, including saving ourselves from the consequences of sin.

        You can’t cherry pick from both accounts of the same story. It’s either one or the other. If you discount someone telling you the truth as unloving, you are then bound to believe a lie and live out that lie, whatever the consequences.

        • What I think is that you did not understand a single word he wrote. But I respect your opinion, thanks for taking the time to answer. I just hope that in the future you can think twice before calling someone a “Child of Satan”, because it’s very disrespectful and not a good example of something that a Christian would do. Have a good day!

      • Use of a metaphor parallels things which are similar, not opposite, and in no way justifies blasphemous ideas or suggestions.

          • Rev. W. H. Carey wrote:
            Doesn’t it seem odd to you that everyone else understood the metaphor, and appreciated it? I submit that you simply missed the point of the article, and took needless offense.

            garwilson responded:
            This website is not a Christian website. Every article that I have commented on thus far, contains heresy and false teaching, and is opposed to true instruction in righteousness (anti-biblical), rather encouraging those who are lost in their sin, to continue in it rather than repent, as Christ Jesus requires of each true believer.
            The vast majority of people who comment on this site are “Yes Men” who are thrilled that John will tickle their ears with his articles, and he does a fine job of doing that, yet absent of any truth of God. This article is an offense to the Lord Jesus and every child of God, including Edward, who along with me stated his disgust.
            Jesus in scripture told Peter:
            Mt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
            Jesus says that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church.
            John says that the church is dead.
            Which one is a Christian to believe? They can’t both be right.
            Obviously John is out to lunch on this one.
            The church is alive and well, as is Jesus.

            • I’ve been reading John’s writing for a while… I’ve yet to see anything heretical, nor him encouraging anyone to remain in sin. I guess where we differ from you is in what constitutes sin. Here’s my definition: Disobedience to the stated will of God. That will is nowhere more accurately stated than in the Hebrew and Greek texts of scripture, which I can read, and it is solely on these that I determine what is sin and what is not. I do NOT rely on the vernacular English translations of the last four centuries because they are prone to label things as sins and/or abominations when God never actually said they were. Sadly, much of Christianity has been duped by those translations… not so much to the point of missing salvation, but to the point of condemning people God did not.

              • Rev. W. H. Carey wrote:
                I’ve been reading John’s writing for a while… I’ve yet to see anything heretical, nor him encouraging anyone to remain in sin. I guess where we differ from you is in what constitutes sin. Here’s my definition: Disobedience to the stated will of God. That will is nowhere more accurately stated than in the Hebrew and Greek texts of scripture, which I can read, and it is solely on these that I determine what is sin and what is not. I do NOT rely on the vernacular English translations of the last four centuries because they are prone to label things as sins and/or abominations when God never actually said they were. Sadly, much of Christianity has been duped by those translations… not so much to the point of missing salvation, but to the point of condemning people God did not.

                garwilson replied:
                If you don’t see anything heretical about John’s writings or him encouraging anyone to remain in sin, perhaps it is that your eyes have been blinded to the truth of God.
                Any child of Satan would agree with another child of Satan, since they have the same mind and the same master.
                The old covenant (Law) was a covenant of the letter, whereas the new covenant (Grace) is a covenant of the Spirit (2 Cor 3:6). Your own testimony proves that you are still under the Law, and not yet under Grace:
                1- You cannot see God’s truth, and believe a lie (John’s truth).
                2- You are proud of your ability to read and understand the Greek and
                Hebrew texts of scripture to determine the will of God. This is Law, not
                Grace.
                3- You disregard the promises of God that He will preserve and make
                available to all generations His Purified Word. Psalm 12:6-7
                4- You condemn the God given English Scriptures along with those that
                Satan has corrupted. Don’t you know that the corrupted Bibles were
                translated from corrupted Greek and Hebrew texts, though you trust in
                them. Only God knows which texts are kept by Him, and which ones are
                corrupted, certainly not you.
                5- You ignore the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of every true believer, as
                He writes the Word of God on our hearts, Teaches us, and Leads us
                into all Truth.
                6- By the works of the Law will no flesh be justified. All salvation from God
                comes by Grace through Faith in believing what God says, as did our
                Father Abraham. We must leave the old covenant of Law behind, as we
                enter the new covenant of Grace, which is a covenant of the Holy Spirit.
                He is our source of the wisdom of God (Spirit taught). The wisdom of
                this world (man taught) will save no one. Paul was not saved by the
                teachings of Gamaliel, but the Spirit of God led him into all truth.
                7- God’s children whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life do
                not need to worry about being duped, because they are ones:
                1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation
                ready to be revealed in the last time.

                • You wrote:
                  1- You cannot see God’s truth, and believe a lie (John’s truth).
                  2- You are proud of your ability to read and understand the Greek and
                  Hebrew texts of scripture to determine the will of God. This is Law, not
                  Grace.
                  3- You disregard the promises of God that He will preserve and make
                  available to all generations His Purified Word. Psalm 12:6-7
                  4- You condemn the God given English Scriptures along with those that
                  Satan has corrupted. Don’t you know that the corrupted Bibles were
                  translated from corrupted Greek and Hebrew texts, though you trust in
                  them. Only God knows which texts are kept by Him, and which ones are
                  corrupted, certainly not you.
                  5- You ignore the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of every true believer, as
                  He writes the Word of God on our hearts, Teaches us, and Leads us
                  into all Truth.
                  6- By the works of the Law will no flesh be justified. All salvation from God
                  comes by Grace through Faith in believing what God says, as did our
                  Father Abraham. We must leave the old covenant of Law behind, as we
                  enter the new covenant of Grace, which is a covenant of the Holy Spirit.
                  He is our source of the wisdom of God (Spirit taught). The wisdom of
                  this world (man taught) will save no one. Paul was not saved by the
                  teachings of Gamaliel, but the Spirit of God led him into all truth.
                  7- God’s children whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life do
                  not need to worry about being duped, because they are ones:
                  1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation
                  ready to be revealed in the last time.

                  A lot of ignorance there. Not even sure it’s worth bothering with you. But here goes:
                  1- When did you become sole arbiter of God’s truth? Was there some pronouncement from God that I missed? I got no memos about you. You remind me a bit of Laodicea… they thought everyone else was blind to truth… but they themselves were.
                  2. That statement is so ridiculous I don’t even know how to respond to it. Without people who can read the original languages, you wouldn’t HAVE a Bible… either Testament.
                  3. God did preserve His word… in the original languages. That cannot be said of all the translations thereof. One need only compare the various translations to the original languages to see that’s true.
                  4. And when were you named arbiter of which English scriptures were God-given and which were not? Unless you can read Hebrew and Greek, you don’t know which translations are best. Generally, when someone goes off on a rant about something like this, he is touting one of two Bibles: either the King James Version, or the New World Translation. I’m well acquainted with both, and the arguments of the devotees of both. I know how people love to go on about how the KJV is accurate because it was translated from the Textus Receptus… and invariably those making that claim don’t know what the Textus Receptus is. If they did, they would never use it as an argument for accuracy. KJV is no more accurate than any other English Bible. It doesn’t contain all the same errors as newer ones, but does have some errors that are absent in newer versions. NWT, on the other hand, has very little going for it: It’s more of a paraphrase than a translation, and is not at all faithful to the original languages. It was created specifically to support predetermined doctrines. But to a certain extent, so was KJV: since it was intended to be read from the pulpits of Anglican churches, it had to agree doctrinally with the Anglican church. So any verses that didn’t line up with Anglican belief were either changed, or made vague, to avoid any questions.
                  5. I most certainly do not ignore the work of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, a great many who claim to be led by that Spirit absolutely are not. The fact that they tend to promote/produce/provoke bitterness and anger rather than love and joy is just one clue. The fact that they will ignore biblical teachings in favor of their own traditions is another.
                  6. Since this is common knowledge here, what’s your point?
                  7. Have you had an advance peek at this book, that you are so sure your name is there and John’s is not? Or that mine is not? Sounds like Laodicea again. By the way, do you know what Laodicea means? It’s from two Greek words meaning “judging people” or “people of judgment.” Self-righteous Christians, proud of their status, looking down on others as somehow less, claiming to be holy and in possession of all truth, and yet completely oblivious to the fact that they are poor and blind and miserable and naked.

                  Here’s the bottom line: If you can’t read scripture in the original languages, then you can’t be sure about what it originally said, and must rely on translators. And you apparently believe certain translators were led by God while others were duped by Satan. But on what can you base that if you have no way to verify their work? Of course, you could sit there and claim the Holy Spirit told you that such-and-such a translation is accurate, but that would be a lie. How do I know? Because, as I stated before, I know what the Hebrew and Greek say, and can show you the errors in every English translation. Not accidental errors (although there are a few of those), but deliberate errors, designed to make the Bible agree with the church. Bear in mind that when vernacular Bible translations were first made, almost all the Christians of Europe, Catholic and Protestant, believed that the Church was the final authority in matters of doctrine, not scripture. So if the church taught A, but the Bible said B, the church was right. So for the translators to bring the Bible into agreement with the church didn’t seem like a big deal to them. That explains early translations. But what about new translations? Today, Bible publishing is a business. It’s meant to make money. There isn’t a publisher in the world who is going to publish a book that few or none would buy. And rest assured that if a fully accurate translation of the Bible were available, a great many Christians would reject it, because it contradicts things they were taught as truth. But which is a more reliable source of truth: the church, vernacular Bible translations, or the Bible in the original languages, in the oldest available manuscripts?

                  • Rev W.H. Carey wrote:
                    A lot of ignorance there. Not even sure it’s worth bothering with you. But here goes:

                    garwilson responded:
                    As with the false prophet named Barjesus (Elymas) of Acts 13:6, you Rev W.H. Carey withstand those who proclaim the truth of God. With each of your posts, you spread the lies of Satan in opposition to the Word of God, seeking to turn people away from the faith. It is time for you to feel the hand of the Lord upon you, as did Barjesus:
                    I command you now in the name of the Lord Jesus to leave this website never to return to it in any manner. If you choose to ignore this command, and I expect that you will, both your method of communication and this website will cease to function, and the power of the hand of the Lord will be witnessed by both yourself and John Pavlovitz, to whatever extent pleases the Lord Jesus. Amen.

                    • You really are too full of yourself. You command me? Perhaps it is you who need to stay away. You seem to bring an abundance of the works of the flesh, like hostility, strife, fits of anger, fights, etc., but I haven’t seen any evidence of the fruit of the Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. (Gal. 5) Not sure what that suggests to you, but I know what it suggests to me.
                      I could say that when your predictions about my method of communication and this website fail to come to pass, you will realize that you are off base. But sadly, I doubt it will make any difference. You probably won’t even remember making the predictions.

  3. Phil Robertsons rape illustration is no different from that used by a philosophy prof who argued that we become absolutist “that there is a right and wrong” when someone holds a gun to our face. I have no problem with someone making the same point in language that makes the issue painfully clear. It seems to me that it is the atheist or anyone who says we must not judge, which is simply to make moral assertions which necessarily entail “judging”, who is making the impossible and ultimately outrageous scenario. Phil Robertson simply engaged in clarity by referencing a situation that all of us find deeply offensive. It just underscores the uncomfortable truth that all of us are not wanting to affirm because we want our cake “moral freedom” depraved or otherwise and “eat it to” – to complain bitterly about someone exposing the frailty of our free thinking. Jesus called this kind of hypocrisy for what it was and used the colourful language of his day to present it. It wasn’t his gentleness that provoked the moral consensus of his generation.

  4. In my life I’ve had many experiences with the presence of God and have been humbled by how much I’m loved. This presence is so simple, yet so powerfully deep its complex. When I pray, I simply speak or not, but its a challenge too to hear myself being heard by Spirit, I have to stop doing and rest. This post was so beautifully written, I feel something of the same when I look out at the world, so disengaged, money orientated and soo sooo busy. Bring the heart back into connection with SELF and one will find deep reverence for the message of GOD and it will be enough.

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  6. Quoted from John:
    “When Jesus is fully resurrected in Christianity, He and it will give the good news back to the poor and the hungry and the hurting, and remind the first and the high and the privileged, that they may miss out when the afterparty begins.”

    Questions:
    Q1: Is Jesus not fully resurrected now?
    Q2: Just what does the term “fully resurrected in Christianity” mean anyway? Seems confusing.
    Q3: “He and it will give the good news back to the poor and…” Who took it away in the first place? Just how does one take good news away from someone in the first place?
    Q4: If the poor don’t have the good news, and the high and privileged are reminded of something by Christ in order not to miss the afterparty, just who then does have this good news? Nobody?

    Answers:
    A1: Christ is FULLY resurrected now and forever. No waiting for that to happen again in the future.
    A2: This is just a confusing term designed to convince others of the thought process going on here. Don’t be misled.
    A3: The only way someone can “take” the good news from someone is to distort it.
    A4: Christ came for all mankind. That includes the rich and the poor, the not-so privileged and the privileged, those that are high and those that are made low. The only status God is concerned with is our sin status, and that can be changed by his grace and mercy.

  7. Well said, thank you. Some things are worth being angry about — and grieving over, (and apparently there’s a way to be angry and not sin)! One of the most astounding things to me is how little anger I see in the church, especially from those in positions of authority. And it just so happens that the only people pointing at my anger and grief (as character flaws) are people with a vested interest in maintaining the systems of control and abuse.

  8. I don’t expect a rebirth of what has been called Christianity. Jesus knows the ones who are his, and the rest are tares, not wheat. The next step is “Thy will be done on earth has it is in Heaven”, Christ’s reign to bless all the families of the earth and put an end to sickness, pain and even death.

  9. John, your use of the word ‘church’ continues to confound me. What exactly is your definition? The Bible defines this for us: it is the invisible body of Christ on this earth, ultimately known only to Jesus who is the only one who knows a person’s heart. However I don’t get the impression that this is where you derive your understanding of the word and concept.

    We learn in gospel of John and the epistles of John about how to recognize our own membership in His church. You, however, seem to spend a lot of time on your blog assessing a) the membership of that invisible body, and b) their lack of qualification for membership. By focusing on yourself rather than others, you will be encouraged by what God is doing and will remember the purpose to which He has called you. Meanwhile, don’t let the brick and mortar structures discourage you; they often have little or nothing to do with the invisible body of Christ.

  10. Try looking at Jesus’ teaching as science instead of a new religion: Stewardship is not a moral choice but rather a law of nature, like gravity. Taking care of one another and our planet is physically mandatory. We will not lose everything because of an angry God, but because of a Natural Universe that does not forgive or punish, but just allows the unfolding of change and the natural durations of species that are evolutionary survivors. The message is not “be good” but “be smart” and you will survive and thrive in this real, physical universe. More details and a book at John Manimas dot com.

  11. What a beautiful way to put into words what many cannot. I started crying as I read this, and realized how true, for me at least, it is. And it explains to me why I struggle so much to find a church I can feel safe and at home in. Loved in.

  12. Christianity doesn’t need to be reborn. Jude (the half-brother of Jesus) said that the historic orthodox Christian faith was given once for all time for all the saints. (Jude 3). Be honest, you don’t want Biblical, historical, orthodox Christianity. You want a brand new religion.

        • Look man. If you really want to serve Jesus, get out of that 2-year Bible school of yours. I looked it up on Wikipedia. It is not even an accredited school. Find a decent seminary that is Christian but not sold out to the 19th century American invention known as “Christian fundamentalism.” If you are going to spend the rest of your life hating other Christians and preaching that hate to people all over the world, it might do you some good to actually learn the details of what it is you hate. Otherwise, you are just barking at the wind in ignorance.

          I do not hate you. indeed, I think you are a pretty nice person—but that is not an inroad for you to preach to me. I am opposed to “Christian fundamentalism” per se, which I as a Christian firmly believe is a special creation of Satan to divide the church and lead people astray—to render Christians unloving and ineffective in this world. Jesus did not abandon his church for 1900 years only to suddenly find it again in Niagara Falls, New York:

          I like “ad hominy” better.

          Blessings and have a good evening.

          • I would rather have my education based on the Bible and be not accreditated school than be a mindless liberal that would sell my soul to the intelectual elite. I may be a gimp, but i am smart enough to know when someone is trying to whisper words of Satan. I’m not going to please some dude on the internet who thinks i bow down to my Nestle-Atland 27th edition of the Greek New Testament pulled up on Logos while listenjng to Chuck Smith and chanting “Charles Haddon Spurgeon”!

  13. This made me stand still and think… Yes! I’m also angry and grieving. Yet as you also rightly pointed out, I too KNOW that the resurrection will be soon.

  14. The church has been here all along since that first Pentecost. I see so much good happening around me by totally unselfish people of many faiths. It doesn’t make the news.

  15. Oh wow. This is beautiful. It said what I’ve felt for so long but not been able to put into words. I’m also in the process of grieving the loss of a faith I once new. I can sense resurrection. I feel it more everyday, but it looks nothing like the old faith I had. I like this one better and I never would have saw it coming.

    • Resurrection is a term that is primarily used to describe a person being restored to life from death; check your dictionary? Any other use of the word resurrection in a theological setting, just confuses people and leads them away from the truth that is contained in its primary use. A person who intentionally uses terms which confuse people rather than to use terms which enlighten them, is intentionally leading people away from truth, and away from Christ, since He alone is the source of all truth. John 14:6
      There is no biblical basis for anyones faith needing to be resurrected. To each is given a measure of faith which is more than sufficient to accomplish its task.

  16. I only discovered you a couple days ago but OH-MY-GOODNESS do I love what you have to say. You have been getting a lot of flack, and possibly it doesn’t bother you, but I just want to say KEEP THIS UP. All day I’ve wanted to write a post similar to this one. I’ve opened Word a thousand times, then felt too weary to even get into it again. Grieving is right. I’m wrestling with myself through all that’s happening. I want unity. If I call out what does not appear to be Christ-like, am I harming unity? Or can I continue to speak out about what I see in the hopes that someone, anyone, will listen? I feel like I need to speak, and I have been, but it can wear a person out to keep pushing against such resistance. And yet. And yet I believe there’s hope. Even if most of the people around me don’t see it. I don’t claim to have all the answers but oh how I want to explore and discuss them. And find the light in all of the darkness. Find what’s right instead of what’s wrong. Thank you for speaking so boldly (and in my mind, accurately).

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  19. John, some of your articles remind me of myself a couple of years ago: in that spot where I had realized that much of the Bible and Christianity is simply not true, yet trying to hold on and believe it was allegory, etc., trying to hold on to a piece of what I had been brainwashed to believe since childhood.. Trying to hold on to my family, in a way, because they are all Christians. Trying to hold on to my tribe, my social group, not wanting them to think less of me. But the truth of the matter is that I am agnostic, and so is everyone else in the world. Because there is no way to know what will happen after death, but most likely it’s nothing. Nothing will happen. We evolved from other life forms. Part of me wishes it were not true, but part of me is relieved that I am no longer caught up in the cognitive dissonance of trying to believe something that defies all logic and reasonable thinking, and once the brainwashing is gone — it defies common sense. I can’t believe I was ever so gullible. It’s tough when you’re going through it, but you’ll feel better once you make your way though. Peace and love to you.

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