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Archive for August 4th, 2010

If you read my first post, you will know that this blog is for entertainment purposes only.  However, the following post is surprisingly serious. 

So, one day on my way home I saw a very large electronic sign flashing “God Bless America”.  I have decided that I am sick of this saying.  First of all let me state for the record that I am a Christian, but I am definitely not the same Christian I was in college (details for a later blog).  For some of you reading this, the word Christian will either conjure up bad or good feelings.  For me, being a Christian does not give me the magic formula on who and who is not going to heaven or hell.  I realize that for many it does and for good reason.  If you believe in the Bible, and I do, it seems quite clear on what one must do to enter heaven.  But another thing that is quite clear to me is that I am not the one that decides who gets in and who does not.  It is also very clear to me that many may receive last-minute reprieves (see thief on the cross). 

One of my favorite Christian authors is C.S. Lewis.  He wrote the 7-book series The Chronicles of Narnia.  They made two movies from this series “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and “Prince Caspian”.  In the final book, “The Last Battle”, three of the four kings, Peter, Edmund and Lucy are in the New Narnia (essentially C.S. Lewis’ heaven for the Narnia world).  Susan is not there because she no longer believes in Aslan (the Jesus/God character) and the times she spent Narnia.  But there is a person who is there, and it surprised me when I first read it as a kid and it is my favorite section of any religious type book.  A believer of Tash (the book’s representation of the Devil) was in the New Narnia (Heaven).  What?!?  Here is an excerpt:

—But the Glorious One [Aslan] bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, though knowest how much I understand.–

I love this.  It also suggests that there are people who do evil things in the name of God and will NOT be in heaven.  It also suggests that God reads the heart.  This is a very comforting and hopeful belief to me because about 50% of my friends, very good friends are non-Christians.  Now, if you are reading this and you consider yourself a Christian and you do NOT have non-Christian friends, think about that … seriously.  Think about the fact that you do not have a diversity of friends and ask yourself “What would Jesus do?” (Another saying I detest, but I digress).

Although I have been highly disappointed with churches and many church people, I am not throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am far from being a saint, but that is one key difference I have made about my faith.  I am not a saint, and trying to hide the fact or act like I am better than anyone only makes me worse.  And this may be the main reason I do not believe I know who is getting in and who is not.  If your ability to get into heaven is depended on me or any other Christian, than that system sucks!  Because a lot of Christians suck.  It would be like if I gave my three-year old son a message to give my neighbor that a criminal is about to break into his house and kill him.  If you are a Christian and you want others to be a part of it as well, be better.  Hence, why I hate “God Bless America!”

Here’s the thing: Why would you ever say God Bless America?  What is the point?  Are you trying to separate the U.S. from others that may or may not receive God’s blessings?  Are you requesting special treatment for our country?  Have we done anything as a country to deserve God’s blessings?  Or is this truly a prayer that God make us happy?

First of all, what is a blessing?  Now, depending on the source, you will find different answers.  For example, a popular Christian website states “In short, all of God’s goodness and promises are blessings. When we do not see those things happening, we must seek to find the cause.”  The problem I have with this is the idea that if your life is going well or if good things are happening then you are being blessed by God.  The alternative is that you are being “cursed” and the website actually uses this word.  This is ridiculous.  I believe this is a popular belief and it is why many of my friends are turned off by Christianity.

All actions have consequences.  Whether you are a Christian or not, believe that statement.  Your life may suck because you make bad choices.  Don’t blame God.  And quite frankly, if you are having troubles in your life it is often those difficult times that bring you to an ultimately better place in your life.  You have no idea what a blessing might be in your life, the question is, how are you handling your own trials and tribulations?  I have both personal and family stories that would lead me to believe that we were cursed.  However, many of those events turned out to be blessings.  If curses exist, they exist for everyone, in the form of actions having consequences.

I looked up the word, blessed in Greek.  The word often used in the Bible is “eulogeo”.  I believe this is where we get our word eulogy. Here is a list I found on how the word has been used in the Bible: to praise, to invoke blessings, to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers such as to ask God’s blessing on a thing, pray God to bless it to one’s use, or pronounce a consecratory blessing on.  Finally, it is God causing one to prosper, to make happy, or to bestow blessings on.  To be favoured by God, blessed.

Obviously, “God Bless America” falls in that last line in which we ask God to favor us and make us happy.  But wouldn’t we want this for everyone, or just the people we believe are special?  I pray that God blesses ALL of my friends and even a few of my enemies.  What would the world be like if everyone was happy?  What would the world be like if we did not ostracize groups of people for not believing as we do?  Would more people want to be part of a group that welcomes and loves, or would they more likely shy away from a group that separates and hates those that “don’t belong”?  There are a lot of people in my life that have beliefs that I do not agree with, but I hope and pray that they have never felt ostracized, belittled, or treated in a negative way because I believed differently.  Does this mean that everyone is correct in whatever they believe?  I never said that, but I will say, I can disagree with you without taking away your rights, treating you poorly, and attempting to separate you in a negative manner.

I hope that God blesses America, but I also hope God blesses France, Ethiopia, Australia, Turkey, and even Iraq.  Does everyone believe in God, no, but if they had to depend on you for their belief, how do you think that would go?  Or do they even know you, because you can’t afford to hang with the non-believers, which is pretty much all Jesus did.

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At Church, a friend of mine was talking to my wife.  While she was talking to her she had her hands on her tummy (my wife as of this post is still pregnant, a week over due and huge).  As they were talking to each other she kept her hands on her tummy and was lightly rubbing it the entire time.  I am watching this and thinking “Should I be paying for this?”  Nice inappropriate way to end this post, huh?  Or very appropriate?  I’m just sayin …

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