Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Jesus loves you!"

I believe that most Christians really do mean well. When people they know are having severe problems Christians will "encourage" them with a cheery "Jesus loves you!", totally not understanding how lame and even depressing that sounds. Yes, I believe that Christians' faith can be a barrier to their acknowledging the depth of other people's pain and feeling real empathy.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Christians don't feel for people; I'm saying that they often don't understand that more than an obligatory "God loves you!" is needed to comfort them. Suffering with those who suffer is a part of the faith that many believers have totally rejected, even if they don't realize it. Instead, the seductive "health, wealth, and happiness" doctrine has convinced too many Christians that life is to be problem free, and they're often emotionally and psycologically unprepared when it's not. Saying "God loves you!" becomes almost a magical spell which, when repeated often enough, is expected to put things right.

This can be galling to a lot of hurting people. Talk of God's love is often NOT what people need to hear when mourning the death of a loved one, facing a cancer diagnosis, or reeling in shock from a spouse's infidelity. In such trying times the love of God is NOT what many folks are feeling. The abandonment of God, the distance of God, the coldness of God, the incomprehensibleness of God are what dogs most people's hearts and minds in the dark times. Christians need to acknowledge and validate such feelings rather than try to soothe them with religious platitudes.

When everything is going wrong in a person's life God does not seem very loving. It's ok to admit that. It's ok to be mad at Him. God, as I once heard on a tv show, can take our anger. Trying to paper over it with pat answers insults the intelligence of people. Face it. A relationship with God doesn't guarantee you'll get loving care and attention from Him at all times. Sometimes you get the cold shoulder, and nobody knows why but God. Staying faithful to the Lord in such times is possible but far from easy. People need wise and patient counsel to stay on the right path, and the way to begin is to stop saying "Jesus loves you!"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

P.O.D "Youth Of The Nation"

I'm going to add music videos to "God and Me" from time to time to spice this blog up a bit. :) Here's the first one, "Youth of the Nation", by P.O.D. I know some really traditional Christians have a BIG problem with Christian rock music but I, for one, love it!

I've always felt that Christians are trying to reach the culture in the entirely wrong way. Secular people, and even many Christians, have NO interest in the overly "religious", and all too often cheesy, stuff Christians put on the market. Christians need to rediscover the art of the parable, where spiritual truths are communicated to people in nonreligious stories. Jesus reached people that way. I think Christian rock groups like P.O.D are simply using a modern version of the parable. Their songs might not have "I love Jesus!" in every line but they teach the truths Jesus taught. And in the end, that's what really matters.

Enjoy the video!