We bought a wonderful Christmas decoration this week.
There is a moving train, there is Santa, there are moving reindeer, there is a star, there is music, there is movement, there is wonder, and there is making magic … for a second … or a minute … or longer. Making magic has no time requirements, just noises of joy.
But soon “The Season To Be Right” will be us (if it ever left). The annual festival of righteous noise: “Advent v Retail” … “Thanksgiving v Black Friday” … “Christmas Gorging v Christmas Message” …
And to make it “relevant”…
“Christmas Gorging or Holy Baby”. Tell us which you are! You must answer!
As usual it’s all about “an agenda”. The “answer now” approach is always about “power” – one has it and one won’t. It is politics dressed up as righteous care and concern.
Which is why I am tired of the noise that “being right” always makes.
For there is always a consequence to “being right”. Being right includes “staying being right”. And staying being right means keeping anyone who might change my mind at a distance. It stops relationship and stops knowing anything about each other. It is fear dressed up as “Not fear”.
Which is why I love Jesus’ answer: “Show me the coin used for paying the tax … whose image is this … and whose inscription?”
The same “coin, image and inscription” that I want loads-of so that I can be rich and powerful and buy tons of stuff (like our new decoration) . The same “Empire” that provides all that stuff I want to buy (ditto). All the social structure, hierarchies, and lifestyle that I ignore – all so I can be right on one “Big Issue”.
The “are you with us or against us” is always about
power fear. And Jesus is not about power fear: “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
So when I hear preaching, of any religion, that is “yes or no” … that is “are you with us or against us” … that is “are you the solution or the problem” … I shudder.
Because religion is not of God.
Religion is your belief system that you insist should be mine. It is your way of telling me what I should think (to the exclusion of what I do think). Religion is you telling me that unless I agree with you I am the problem and that I am against you and that I am saying no (when it is obvious I should say yes).
I can be concerned for many things, I can join with many who are different, I can help and be helped by those who never agree, I can follow my heart and my head, I can agree with some but not all you hold true. We all do that every day.
So I can agree with you and still walk my own path. I may even “put down” something of mine to “pick-up” this new thing, I may change the course of my travel, I may even walk a new path because of you.
When you insist I must be you, must travel your path, must walk at your pace and preference – must “follow you” – because of this “one thing” – then I smell fear – your fear not mine. Fear is the consequence of being right staying right.
Why would I want that?