Showing posts with label Religious Hypocrisy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religious Hypocrisy. Show all posts

Friday, February 17, 2017

They told me that as a teen I was part of the Chosen Generation ... and that was almost 60 years ago.

I was raised in an environment that seemed to be saying, "It's all about the Church, not you. What have  you done for us lately?"

59 Percent of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Dropped Out—And They’re Trying to Tell Us Why

1. Nobody’s Listening to Us
Millennials value voice and receptivity above all else. When a church forges ahead without ever asking for our input we get the message loud and clear: Nobody cares what we think. Why then, should we blindly serve an institution that we cannot change or shape?
2.We’re Sick of Hearing About Values & Mission Statements
Sweet Moses people, give it a rest.
... Jesus was insanely clear about our purpose on earth:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
“Love God. Love Others.” Task completed.
3. Helping the Poor Isn’t a Priority
My heart is broken for how radically self-centered and utterly American our institution has become.
Let’s clock the number of hours the average church attender spends in “church-type” activities. Bible studies, meetings, groups, social functions, book clubs, planning meetings, talking about building community, discussing a new mission statement…
Now let’s clock the number of hours spent serving the least of these. Oooooo, awkward.
4. We’re Tired of You Blaming the Culture
Perhaps it’s easier to focus on how terrible the world is out there than actually address the mess within.
Solution: Put the end times rhetoric to rest and focus on real solutions and real impact in our immediate community.
5.  The “You Can’t Sit With Us” Affect
Today, my mom said to me, “Church has always felt exclusive and ‘cliquey,’ like high school.” With sadness in her voice she continued, “and I’ve never been good at that game so I stopped playing.”
The truth is, I share her experience. As do thousands of others.
Until the church finds a way to be radically kinder and more compassionate than the world at large, we tell outsiders they’re better off on their own. And the truth is, many times they are.
6. Distrust & Misallocation of Resources
Over and over we’ve been told to “tithe” and give 10 percent of our incomes to the church, but where does that money actually go? Millennials, more than any other generation, don’t trust institutions, for we have witnessed over and over how corrupt and self-serving they can be.
We want pain-staking transparency. We want to see on the church homepage a document where we can track every dollar.
Why should thousands of our hard-earned dollars go toward a mortgage on a multi-million dollar building that isn’t being utilized to serve the community, or to pay for another celebratory bouncy castle when that same cash-money could provide food, clean water and shelter for someone in need?
7. We Want to Be Mentored, Not Preached At
Preaching just doesn’t reach our generation like our parents and grandparents. 
...For that reason, the currency of good preaching is at its lowest value in history.

8. We Want to Feel Valued
Churches tend to rely heavily on their young adults to serve. You’re single, what else do you have to do? In fact, we’re tapped incessantly to help out. And, at its worst extreme, spiritually manipulated with the cringe-worthy words “you’re letting your church down.”
Millennials are told by this world from the second we wake up to the second we take a sleeping pill that we aren’t good enough.
We desperately need the church to tell us we are enough, exactly the way we are. No conditions or expectations.
9. We Want You to Talk to Us About Controversial Issues (Because No One Is)
People in their 20s and 30s are making the biggest decisions of their entire lives: career, education, relationships, marriage, sex, finances, children, purpose, chemicals, body image.
We need someone consistently speaking truth into every single one of those areas.
10. The Public Perception
It’s time to focus on changing the public perception of the church within the community. The neighbors, the city and the people around our church buildings should be audibly thankful the congregation is part of their neighborhood. We should be serving the crap out of them.
11. Stop Talking About Us (Unless You’re Actually Going to Do Something)
Stop speaking in abstract sound bites and make a tangible plan for how to reach millennials.
If you want the respect of our generation, under-promise and over-deliver.
12. You’re Failing to Adapt
Here’s the bottom line, church—you aren’t reaching millennials.
Enough with the excuses and the blame; we need to accept reality and intentionally move toward this generation that is terrifyingly anti-church.
“The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” —Bill Clinton
“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” —Kakuzo Okakaura
“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.” – H.G. Wells
You see, church leaders, our generation just isn’t interested in playing church anymore, and there are real, possible solutions to filling our congregations with young adults. It’s obvious you’re not understanding the gravity of the problem at hand and aren’t nearly as alarmed as you should be about the crossroads we’re at.
You’re complacent, irrelevant and approaching extinction. A smattering of mostly older people, doing mostly the same things they’ve always done, isn’t going to turn to the tide.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

On God, The True Church and Politics

We citizens of the United States of America live in a country that has nurtured and sheltered the growth of religion within its borders.  We have lived self-protected from religious abuse by what has long served us well: keeping state and religion officially separated.

As I write this I’m aware that many religious politicians have spoken about tearing down the traditional wall of separation of church and state.

What for?

Ought we not ask whether a religious focus on blending state and religion is not in effect a return to the historical murderous marriage of Roman Legions and Roman Priests - each of whom enforced the will of the other?

If we allow those who would blend politics and religion in this country would we be allowing ourselves to be told by others what it means to be religious in America?

What it means is a religiousness or spiritual practice of which no religion or particular perspective within any religions has a monopoly.

Ought not American Christians agree with the rest of the world? Belief should be in Jesus as the founder of a global religion, not a political or official religion of a single nation or culture.

What being Christian in America ought to really mean …

Those of us who follow Jesus do in fact follow the ultimate portrayer of human compassion and goodness.

They follow Him who taught love of God and each other; who taught that compassion and understanding are the highest spiritual virtues to be sought.

Jesus tells them in their scripture to love and be concerned about the poor, the suffering, the weary, and to learn and practice compassion.           Regardless of private interpretation, Jesus in scripture does not tell who can and who cannot or who is and who is not.

However, in America, conservative Christian celebrities tell us that such teachings of Jesus are not as important as this stuff:

-Being seriously frightened by the threat of children being indoctrinated in the homosexual lifestyle,

-Being more concerned about a plot by judges to assault the right to publicly acknowledge God.

-Being outraged by media slander of Christians which is in reality a media slander that is communicated by the unjustified whining of right wing Christian celebrities who attract negative responses because of their own negativity and victim pretense.

-Being disgusted by Hollywood attacks on Judeo-Christian ethics which are not one and the same with genuine common sense ethics, personal morality and sense of goodness. In fact the literalist morality of public pretense of godliness is in fact inferior to the natural goodness in a majority of citizens who live a pattern of goodness undefined by the prescriptions of professional religious gadflies.

These same Conservative Christian gadflies express this in a form that assumes that America is special above all other peoples;

that God has maintained some sort of holy curtain of protection from natural and man-made disasters and attacks for the simple-minded assumption that our supposed holiness is now showing wear and tear. God is thusly angry about it. God's feelings are hurt.

- American celebrity Christians encourage that we be “fearful” of God in a way that recognizes God’s capacity for wrath and punishment to those who stray, backslide and slip into immorality.

The God of the Christian political conservatives is perfectly capable of destroying the innocent with the guilty as evidenced during the 9/11 attacks and the godly fist of Katrina expressing His displeasure with an entire city that has supposedly mocked God for too long.

This is the stuff of which an American Christian separation from global Christianity is made.

You tell me, gentle readers. What does it mean to you to be Christian in America at this time in our history?

Although many Christians are not actively and outwardly religious except perhaps on rare Sundays, special holidays or family events, there are millions who sit in congregations and outwardly celebrate their religion in a spirit of worship and fellowship every week.

Yet many of these do not cross the line into the politics-and-religion discourse. They are content in their lives but are they content with what they are told from the pulpit or see and hear on television and radio?

These majority Christians possess the power to impact the political and spiritual direction in America and keep sacred the declaration that we render unto Caesar only the political stuff and unto God and each other the truest practice of religion.

Most recently these are the voters who myopically looked the other way and supported a wholly confirmed moral midget who presides.

What does that mean?

Monday, November 28, 2016

To Religious Social Conservatives too proud to admit to a foolish vote for Trump


... and who still  pretend that they know better than we do what God wants us to

Republican Christians have no special credibility for passing moral judgment on anybody else. We have even more Christian Celebrities stepping into the spotlight, selling books, expanding televangelist ministries as well as the usual pretenders who claim and act as if God is prompting their every word and deed.

It is to all of you I respectfully request a purpose-driven and honest exposition, scriptural or otherwise. No individual, no Christian church and no Christian alliance of like-minded evangelicals, fundamentalists, traditionalists or liberals has any right or responsibility to define for me how I should exercise my consciousness of how I practice citizenship.

In fact, as a citizen, and in the tradition of American free-market sharing of ideas and concepts, I see it not unreasonable to invite those blowing the hardest to tell me more about God and Politics. Not believing that my own outlook is absolute and inerrant, I'm willing to be more informed.

So to you big time Brothers and Sisters; all of you born-again politicians, all you self-described moral conservatives: you owe it to the entire American audience - and not just the religiously gullible whom you have targeted. You must speak honestly to those whom you haven't made captive by media, technology and social conformity. Please elaborate on  issues raised by the apparent conflict between belief, assumptions and reality:

1- Are ALL of your political and economic policies divinely inspired?

2- Are they based on and do they include the precepts taught by God, your preachers and prophets as written in scripture; a God-writing which most fundamentalists insist is inerrant and which the Mormons insist to be true as far as it is translated correctly?

3- Should the skeptics among us believe that opposing Republican political policies is opposing God's will? Speak plainly here because when you guys imply that it's so, those who think you're smarter than they are when it comes to making God talk will conform.

4- Do ALL of your policies enhance human life? In that regard, do the families of the evil-doers - parents, spouses and children - fall into the category of deserving the sword? As a matter of fact, if God places you folks at the head of this country, what is God's position on collateral damage?

5- Jesus was outspoken in advocacy of human dignity in clear and unambiguous terms. So how does God justify your and your candidates' ambivalence about torture as a means of exporting righteous American freedom worldwide?

6- What does God say about the justifications from your candidates and preachers that sexual debasement is justified in pursuit of said exportation?

7- Has your version of God declared that our processes of education and scientific study are of the devil? You must speak plainly if you believe you speak for God. Do you believe that the encouragement of responsibility around human sexuality is sinful and displeasing to Him?

8 - Is social justice important to God?

9 - Did Jesus believe that profit was more important than compassion?

10 - Has God repudiated Jesus' declaration that the laborer is worthy of his hire?

11- Is it God's will that working against gay marriage is more important than working to put people back to work?

12- Is it God's will that Republican economics - voodoo or otherwise - is the one and only sacred economic approach to feeding and sheltering the people?

13 - Does God support deception as a political tool?

14 - Does God endorse a policy of political mud-slinging rather than reaching agreement with those who disagree with you? What about yea yea and nay nay?

15 -Does God want our politicians to put our elderly at economic and health risk?

16 - Does God believe that generating massive profits to drug companies is a greater good than relieving human suffering?

17 - How does that align with honoring father and mother?

18 - And finally, is Jesus really going to come as a thief in the night? Or has he revealed to you and the rest of the Christian Right that He cannot come until American Christians maneuver Israel into a circumstance that unlocks the Key to the End Times?

Christian practice as taught and exemplified by Christ is not something complex nor is it something that requires convoluted logic and ideological twisting in order to ponder treasure in Heaven.

Christ said directly, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's."

He did not say that Caesar and God are one and the same.

Until you teach the difference, you and your sheep remain a primary cause of the lack of harmony, lack of social conscience and absence of real moral outrage in this country.

When it comes to moral outrage, your hypocrisy and failure to reflect social conscience on a comprehensive and all-inclusive level generates legitimate moral outrage.

You do it deliberately and apparently by arrogant ignorance.

Your sheep do it with apathy.

A spiritual sense of identity is individual.

On opinions about us based on both observation and - more importantly - assumptions whose validity may possibly never be challenged, corre...