2005-11-30

A thought while cleaning up the Junior High Youth Group's mess...

As I walk around cleaning up bags of disposable junk food and Styrofoam cups left behind by kids who, while essentially good kids, are still so self-absorbed and used to other people picking up after them that they probably didn't realize how horrible they left their own youth room, the thought struck my mind:

In all our activities, all our ministries, we must seriously ask the question:

"Is this forming Christlike people?"

Sadly, I fear that for most of us (myself included) the answer is usually "no".

It is time for a revolution.

2005-11-03

Happy Reformation Day

The following is a rant guaranteed to piss everyone off... It is mean, sarcastic, and over-simplified... and I'm not sure if I even believe it all... so read it with a grain of salt (and maybe a cold beer in hand):

Reformation day is a big day for me, because of the sheer magnitude of what Martin Luther was able to accomplish on the Cathedral Door of Wittenburg...

I mean, normally when I have pranked someone, we have put our feces in a paper bag and lit them on fire on someone's porch.  But, there was that one time the football team took up a "collection", and put everyone's feces in the cab of a guy's truck through the back windows.

But nailing feces to a cathedral door?  That is a great prank!  And 95 of them?  How was he able to do that without the vibration of the door causing them to fall of their nails?

Martin Luther is amazing, and will go down in the practical joke annals of all time!!!

Wait, what was that?

Theses, not feces???

Whatever... I guess never mind, nothing special about Reformation Day after all.  No, wait, I feel a rant coming on...

There's nothing really special about Reformation Day, except that it finally gave Europeans a good reason to kill each other unmercifully for 100 years.  Since the conversion of all of Europe in the early middle ages, that whole "Prince of Peace" and "love your neighbor" thing had stopped much of the large scale warfare that Europeans had been itching for.  That itch was only scratched for 150 years during the crusades, when good European Christians finally had an excuse to slaughter some infidels, but, as we know, the whole thing ended rather badly, with Saladin and the Muslims actually looking more "Christian" than the Christians themselves.

But, thank God for the Reformation!  Now Christians could openly label other Christians as infidels and have an excuse to kill, murder, rape, and pillage, all to extend the Kingdom of the "Prince of Peace".  After 100 years of carnage, European culture, led by its intelligentsia, decided that maybe the way of Christ was not really the way of peace and fulfillment after all, so they opted instead for human reason, and the Age of the Enlightenment.  The Enlightenment, in turn, led to modernism, secularism, a post-Christian Europe.  This resulted in a Western culture where Religion in general, and Christianity in particular, is so privatized, individualized, and relativized, that it is almost meaningless to the culture at large.

Instead of being one Body with one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, we are now 20,000 conflicting sects all protesting against each other's protests, claiming that we have got the Bible and God all right and everyone else has it wrong.  Meanwhile, a secular culture shrugs, smirks, pats us on our little screaming heads, and finds Nirvana in whatever Eastern-Western religious mix is popular this week.

So, thank you Martin Luther!  Unlike dozens (hundreds) of renewal and reform movements in the Church before you, you were able to split the Church with yours and visibly divide the Body of Christ!  This was no small feat, since the Church had remained united in the West for 1500 years under the worst of social and economic conditions.  There was that whole split with the East in 1054, but who cares about them?  After all, they speak Greek, not Latin, and they were really far away.  Besides, we had the Pope in the West, so we had the power, right?  We had the right to get rid of the Eastern Churches, right?  Wrong.  Maybe Luther wasn't so bad after all.  He was just a product of the power-grabbing Western Church he grew up in, with all its claims to divine authority and infallibility and such.  His spiritual DNA was programmed to destroy the Church by grabbing for power in Christ's Name, so He did what He was programmed to do (all in the name of getting the Church out of her "Babylonian Captivity").

But, Luther had spiritual children as well!  Thousands of little mini-popes running around with their perfect interpretations of infallible Scripture, all Protesting and killing each other in God's Name.  Then the Church divided, divided, and divided again until no one even thinks Unity is a viable option anymore!  Thank you Papacy, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, for the spiritual DNA you have passed to us all!  Thank you, Reformation, for chaos in Christ's Name, and the resulting secular, anti-Christian culture.  Thank you, Protestantism, for protesting everything so much that even the reality of Jesus is left in doubt in many churches and seminaries today.  Thank you, all Protestant Churches, for keeping the divisive spirit alive, so that a dying world will never get a glimpse of the Love and Unity that Christ made us for.

And thank you that I am a child of the Reformation too, infected with Western Christian DNA!  I am protesting Protestants, wanting to Reform Catholicism, and I claim that I have a vision for the Church that is better than both!  Yippee, I guess it is time for me to nail some feces to a door and start my own Sect of Christianity that is better than everyone else!

No, a better idea... I think I will go pray for Christian Unity instead.  Maybe I will pray facing East, if you get my drift.
This is a bunch of stuff to make us think hard about our incredible love affair with the God of the universe, our astounding infidelities against him, and his incredible grace to heal and restore us through Christ. Everything on this site is copyright © 1996-2015 by Nathan L. Bostian so if you use it, cite me... otherwise you break the 8th commandment, and make God unhappy. You can contact the author by posting a comment.