Monday, March 26, 2007

More Questions, No Answers...

Our TREK Inquisitor (self-named) sent me the following and I am utterly stymied by it:

Thanks Kris. I just hope that God isn't on Fox News!

Here's a question for further research. I haven't really looked into this, but it intrigues me why Europe, the seat of modern religion, is moving away from the church and a belief in God. Education isn't a problem in these countries, as most probably rank ahead of the U.S. on that front. Or is that the correlation?

From my experience living in England for nearly 13 years, I found it ironic that there isn't the same separation of church and state, yet the country is not that religious on the whole. I use the UK as an example, that ceremonies like weddings can be traditional, but overall, religion just isn't a part of everyday life. I'm not saying this is good or bad or responsible for any social problems, just that it is what it is.

I have spent many hours in the great cathedrals and churches of Europe. And, I have to admit, I was always conflicted by the beauty. At what human price were these structures built? Mostly Catholic or Anglican, these churches spoke of wealth, when Jesus was teaching about poverty. Does God really need so much stained glass?

I know you say it's about your own personal relationship with God, but historically, this is an example that has been set. I think that teaching about the message of God, and a personal relationship with the deity is what counts, but I also think that these previous examples of ostentatiousness have sent the wrong message down the ages.

Wealth in America is a religion of sorts. Even though many, especially on the so-called "religious right," justify unfettered wealth, I just can't think of an example in the bible where the accumulation of such is the ultimate goal.

What I'm getting at here is, has religion been damaged by the inherent messages down the ages, or does it have its own life, its own will and its own destiny? I know he is supposed to speak to us personally, especially if we ask, but is simple capitalism the best way to spread the religious wealth?

For if "God bless America" is to be truly sought, is it about money, or equality? (By the way, why would some ask for God to bless America? Should the request not be for the entire world? Are we special here? If so, why?)

Signed, The Inquisitor

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I don't have a clue why Europe is stepping away from religion, but it has no correlation that I can discern with education or wisdom; or why cathedrals were built except in an effort to glorify God, often at the expense of the people who built them. And I'm not interested in trying to find out. Questions like these just divert us from the proper focus: The grace of God, who reclaimed and forgives us for all these lapses and so many more. This is the focus of a born-again believer.

I wonder why questions like these even come to mind when seeking God. God is not found in questions like these -- Satan's footprints are in evidence, but not God's. This planet belongs to Satan right now -- that's why it's in the mess it's in. I can't explain or justify the way Satan twists religion to make it appear to be something no one in their right mind should want. It certainly seems to be working! My pastor calls our church "a sheep shed." WE are the church. The church is not a structure you walk into .

I don't want religion, and I don't want you to want religion. I want you to want a relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)! Notice all God has done that you love -- your next and subsequent breaths, the beating of your heart, your home, family, job, the environment, the planets and stars and universe -- anything you love that's good, pure, of good repute, God designed it, and you to appreciate it -- not to look at all the places where Satan holds sway at the moment..

"God Bless America" is something I say but I also know that God blesses other nations as well. I pray for other countries. I don't run around saying, "God bless Russia" or "God bless Romania" as a matter of course, but that's just because I don't live in those lands. We tend to think from near to far when seeking blessings -- another part of man's fallen nature, but at least we're acknowledging the Creator whenever do we think to do it.

I sense great disillusionment in The Inquisitor. There is much to be disillusioned about, but not our Creator. Just because he doesn't always act like the giant vending machine in the sky is no reason to consider him lame. He gives only good gifts; even the challenges he allows are good gifts because they refine us and give us wisdom and make us stronger.

And as for money... if you consider it the root of all evil, I'll be happy to take yours off your hands with an eye to investing much of it in the Kingdom of God. Remember Joseph and his coat of many colors -- how he was shanghaied by his brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt? Over time, he corralled all the money, cattle and wealth of neighboring countries and then turned around and blessed them with sustenance during a famine. A godly man or woman blesses with their wealth.

Gaining wealth is wise -- (sure wish I had done so!! I now understand how important it is, because I will have to work till I'm 75 or 80 to be able to afford a retirement!) --and there are over 2,300 references to wealth-building in the Bible. There is a misquote of the Bible that we've heard all too often: "Money is the root of all evil." The love of money is the root of all evil. Money is a method of exchange and is only as "filthy" as the person exchanging it for whatever they are exchanging it for...

Money is amoral. Moral people spend it one way; immoral, another.

To be utterly candid, I think the focus of this entire inquiry (tonight) is off-base. But that's okay... God used it to drag us back to the essence of human religion vs a relationship with God.

My beloved, the fallen nature of our world, once again, is not God's fault unless you ascribe to the belief that His giving us free will (to choose whether or not to be his image-bearer) was wrong-headed.

Frankly, I feel honored that He chose to trust us that much, knowing all that he already knows about us, from start to finish, over the course of human evolution! He loves us that much!

And I for one would make a lousy android. God doesn't want a "programmed" relationship.

Don't get a religion. Get a relationship. The paradign shift, once you have one, will turn you into a joyful person. The questions can wait; there's too much to celebrate right now!


Anonymous said...

I love reading your blogs and wish I had more time to spend here. I feel the same way about one of the docs I work with and his blog. Thought you might enjoy his site as well....
especially his Mar 3rd comment although most recent is great too....
It is such a blessing to know that I know so many Christian sisters and brothers who have relationship with Christ.
Be blessed my sister
Joyce B

Kristine M Smith said...

Thank you, Joyce.

(FYI: Joyce B. has been a nurse for 30 years and blesses people daily. I love her dearly and honor her profession and treasure her friendship and fellowship.)