I watched a tv programme last night: “Inside the White House – The Obama Years”. My expectation of the programme was to satisfy my nosiness – a cinematic tour around the White House. It wasn’t that at all. It was “Obama Care”.
In England we have the National Health Service and a lot of government welfare. It is not perfect. It is as rubbish as it is brilliant. It is expensive. It is wasteful. It is abused. It saves lives. It wastes lives. And my taxes pay for it. Every time I get paid MY money pays for all that imperfection. And when THAT seems unfair – that I pay for others – then listen to my brother explain why it IS fair …
That it has been shown (over almost every lifetime) to be fair. That before we earn and after we earn – we take out. That when we earn – we put in. That the two usually balance each other out. And now add back those times we do not earn, cannot earn, have our earning ability taken away from us. And how we expect to be supported and cared for every step of the way.
Obama Care may not be perfect – but the vitriol and self-centredness on display last night was horrific. In England we are not so different. There have been many programmes illustrating man’s inhumanity to man. The self-centred arrogance – the poisonous hatred and anger – the machinations of politics in all its “gory” (the missing “l” is intentional).
But I do think it is time we all stopped using God for our own purposes. This “Christian Country” culture we bemoan and defend against all perceived wrongs – against “infiltration” by immigrants and freeloaders (who just happen to be “unbelievers”). Because guess what verses He brought me this morning … ?
Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. Luke 13:10-17
“Kill the Bill” last night sounded a lot like “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day” this morning.
If this sounds like a pop at “America” it is – and it isn’t. It is “a pop” at hypocrisy – wherever it hides. It is a plea for sanity. It is a weariness of seeing God convicted in those who prefer to convict Him without parole – ever.
God is inconvenient. God is messy. God is not religion. God is not sanitised. God is not contained. God is NOT easy. Love is not easy. If it was there would be no divorce, no abuse, no fear, no loneliness, no LGBT debate, no Pro-Life debate, no end of life care debate, no mental health stigma, no … (the list goes on and on).
Love without condition is so NOT easy. If it was there would be NO man’s inhumanity to man. But consider this …
My God does not bless one country – at the expense of another. My God does not convict – my God challenges. My God does not just “save” – my God invites. My God does not feel, do, think, plan, emote, in all those ways we imagine and then make real. My God is not static, and my bible is not static, and the literals of my bible do not make “the rules” from the bits I select in (and select out).
I so often see today the same God as that the Pharisees nurtured. One that sanitises and makes convenient, one that smites and saves, one that makes me fireproof at the expense of you going up in flames. A God that is identical to the very same God I find in the bible (when I have discarded my inconvenient bits). And I wonder …
Just how much do I choose to change because of the life and death and life of Jesus?