Shame On You—-Day #15 of the 30 day challenge to blog

It was sometime this last year when I was thinking specifically about the story of Jesus. And by that I mean specifically the 4 gospels in the Scriptures located in the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John. I specify because I, as a Christian, think the both the Old Testament & New Testament is about Jesus. Everything is about Jesus. Jonah spending three nights in the belly of a whale? Jesus, being buried and dead for three days, and rising again. Noah’s arc? There is only one door for survival, and that is Jesus. King David? He was the weakest of all the sons of Jesse. He was an unlikely King. An Unlikely Savior, and so was Jesus. There’s plenty of examples…read or listen to maybe the most influential and important evangelical pastor of our time…Tim Keller.

Any who…as I’ve become more and more obsessed with storytelling…and specifically script writing I took a glance at the scriptures, and something crazy profound and yet confusing stood out to me, and that was more in the form of a question. Why in the hell did God who wrote the scriptures through men & women spend so much time on the focus of Jesus versus the religious.

Especially when through the multitude of generations that have passed, and possibly will pass…We have so many unanswered questions, don’t we? So many clarifications that we wish Jesus would have spoken about, even if they are answered throughout scripture. But even with that, we all have so many opinions and interpretations…I think I’m right…and you think you’re right…and why wouldn’t we…it’s much easier to say we are right….than to humble ourselves and admit that we are wrong.

Look at it from a simple storytelling perspective. If you take the gospels as a cohesive story. You have the hero present…which is Jesus God in flesh…and there superhero with is Abba Father above…then you have the ultimate Enemy, Satan and demons….but the primary antagonists of the gospel story is not Satan or demons…but it’s the pain in the ass of the day…the self-righteous religious leaders of the day…

But why? Why when we really have so little about what Jesus did and said…is there so much focus on this story of Jesus versus the religious. I mean, in scripture it talks about that there is so much to Jesus that if all the books were written about him it would take up the space of the whole world. Man, I’d sure like to read them, but this is what we have, only four books. Four gospel books.

So why so much screen time with the bad guys of the story, the religious.

I think instead of focusing on what we don’t know…let’s focus on what we do know. We do know that it is what it is…and that’s what happened. We have four books…and there is a vast majority of the screen time dedicated to this story: Jesus versus the religious.

But again, Why?

Here’s my two cents: I think God is trying to show us something. They were a pain in the ass for Jesus. And they will be a pain in the ass in yours. And like Brennan Manning said, there is a pharisee within all of us, so likely when you our finding your identity within your own Christian resume, and become absorbed with how well your doing in all your bundles of obedience, something fatal happens to your awareness of your depravity. You start to forget how bad you really are, you start to think you’re something your not. You start to forget. And what’s so bad about forgetting how deprived you really are…well you start to think you’re not…and when that happens…than the gospel story becomes not that Jesus came to save us…but it becomes Jesus came to save them…

God, may that sentence never pass my lips, and more importantly may it never enter my heart…But, it likely has, it’s likely in there somewhere lurking.

Please don’t take this blog entry as me an a high horse, as much as it is…guys and gals…(I’m form Indiana) we are all in this together…and in the gospel story…specifically in Luke 15…we are the Healthy & the Sick, we are the Elder son & the Younger son, we are the unrighteous and the self-righteous…but still we need to be aware of the bad guy of the gospel stories…we need to know how to deal with them…and not play games…or play nice…we need to deal with it and handle it just like Jesus did…and that means that we shouldn’t go around beating others up…or ourselves …but we should be truth tellers…and not let this super spiritual attitude of “I’m better than you”….”my list is better than yours…” I’m doing well at this thing called being a Christian and you not so much” seep into our hearts. We must do as Jesus did…and call this religious spirit and false “Ive earned God” attitude out for what it is: bullshit.

So hopefully you’ve read, and understand what I mean for what I’m about to dive into…the shit that I’m calling out with this blog post…is the shit in all of us…the spirit of religiosity…

It’s ironic that this may be the very reason why people under the age of 30…hell …under the age of 40 are committing a mass exodus of the church. Oh, sure there are healthy reasons…why some if not more than a some need to leave a church for a time…or go to a different one…but I’m talking about …well I’m talking about people like me…I’m so sick of judgmental, legalistic, and religious assholes that run rampant within the church…and frankly. no one calls them out on their shit…at least not the way Jesus did…saying…”No! Stop! You brood of vipers! No!

It’s ironic…because this attitude that runs amok in the church in comes alive in the folks that wear it’s mask…is within all of us…and they wonder why it’s in every church they find…well one day…if they grow and mature…they will realize both the elder and the younger son found in the story of Luke 15 live within all of our hearts. At all times. And yes, those of us who have been ambushed by the furious love of God are being redeemed and sanctified…but even if they are quiet and disabled…they still exist…and will exist…until we are dead.

I think the more sanctified we become in Christ…the quieter and more manageable their voices will become. I picture the scene from Ron Howard’s film…”A beautiful Mind” . The famous mathematician John …never stopped seeing the manifestations of his imagination…he just chose to live in reality versus listening to their lies. And our flesh, the unrighteous spirit and the religious spirit within all of us constantly bombard us with lies….the pagan within all of us yells and so does the religious spirit…and ironically they are yelling the same thing..”We are better than Jesus…we don’t need him…we’ve got us”…one involves our sin of choice…and the other likes to pretend it doesn’t have any sin…and doesn’t need saving. He’s doing quite well without Jesus.

So why the emphasis though with Jesus and the religious and not Jesus and the unrighteous. Well, call me crazy, and I may be…but I think it’s somehow connected to the verse when Jesus talks about why it will be so hard for Rich people to be saved…”It will be easy for them….like it’s easy for them to enter the eye of a needle.” Jesus is being sarcastic here. Sure put a word you learned from seminary on it as a table…like a hyperbole…but I know sarcasm when I see it.  Here’s the reason…Poor people know they need help. Rich People don’t know they need help.

Same goes with sinners. Sinners, those who acknowledge they are indeed sinners…Know they need a savior. The self-righteouss are “just fine thank you very much”…

And look I’m going to state my opinion. I’m only 35. I’m a guy from Indiana…but I have traveled the country and spoken and been in inter-denominational ministry since I was 15. Here’s my view. It’s much easier to pick on the guy who know’s his “cheese is falling off his cracker” versus the guy who is blinded to the reality that his cheese is always falling off his cracker.

It’s easier to spot if you are un-righteous. And it’s easier to hide if you are self-righteous. The younger sons have nowhere to hide…that’s why they end up sleeping in pig poop and eating pig food with no where to go…while the elder son is hiding in plain sight pretending that his shit don’t stink.

And a common tactic is to point the fingers at the obvious…even if they are obviously wrong. It’s also called a smoke screen. So the religious can hide their evil hearts from everyone, including themselves.

It may sound simple. We all need Jesus…so what’s the problem. Where there’s a big fucking problem…that’s never been dealt with…or at least not dealt with in the manner in which Jesus dealt with it…: HEAD ON.

Churches across the land blame this mass exodus of the church on the very people leaving…saying things like…”Well no church is perfect…” and “Every church has it’s problems”….and “Every church is filled with sick sinners just like you”…yes all that is very true. But from what I see, one of the major contributing factors that have us in this global bind is this…we would rather handle this with passivity passing off our sin of adam with us being “nice Christians” versus “Kind Christians”…(see my earlier blogs to know what I mean)…For decades, if not forever…we go…the real problem is sinners…those sleeping around…those getting shit faced on a saturday night and then rolling into church like a heathen…those who do this…and don’t do that….while the religious who are totally gross and wicked in their own hearts…get away with murder. Literally. That is literally if you really believe that Jesus was dead serious…when he said we can really commit murder if we have hate in our heart for our brothers and sisters.

But let’s say for example, you believe the word of God and take Jesus what he said seriously. Then that means we are all in the same boat. We all need a savior.

So the problem comes with what I like to call “List Christians.” Those who go…well here’s my list…as long as I don’t…”drink, cuss, smoke, and chew…or go with girls that do…”than I’m a fairly “good christian”…which we all know doesn’t exist. There is no such thing. We are good because we are saved, not because we have earned it.  But these list Christians think they are doing okay…ignoring the fact that they have pride in their heart…the very thing Satan got kicked out of heaven for.

Think I’m wrong on this. Let me show you where your heart is at…at this very moment. We think in visuals. I don’t know if you know that.

Picture someone from your church community or neighborhood or friend group right now.

Got it?

Okay, let’s do a little exercise.

Picture someone right now that you think is doing WORSE than you in their life journey or Christian walk with Jesus.

Got it.

Do you see them. Do you see them visually?

Now did you picture them below you or above you? This is important. Even if it is a slight angle. Right when they popped in your mind, where you looking down at them or up?

Be honest with yourself. Look again, and don’t force the angle…know one will know but you and God…

See we do the same things in movies. Watch any movie…if they are a hero…we do a low angle shot looking up making them heroic or in charge…or if we want the character to feel inferior or lowly or low status we shoot them from a high angle looking down.

So how did you see the worse person or worse Christian than you in your life? (I’m using these expressions not literally but just for this example)

Stunning, right? Maybe for some it was equal. Congratulate yourself…you are more compassionate than the rest of us…and extremely humble if you were looking up at everyone in your own imagination…

But for the rest of us we either had a high status or a low status.

Let me cut to the chase. For the Christian, we should be looking down at no one…not even in our imaginations…and we should only be looking up to one person in our faith and that is Jesus.

Now back to the problem at hand. With no one like Jesus or acting like Jesus when it comes to the religious allowed to act all superior and asshole like in our churches…what is going to happen. Well people are going to continue to flee. We are no longer in a pre-christian nation…we are in a post-christian nation…so they will leave. No matter how relevant, or how well you think your programing is…this is only one ragamuffin’s opinion. but until church’s start having some real balls…and calling out this bullshit…this virus called legalism, and religiosity will continue to kill our churches.

Oh, how I wish Jesus was here to go make a whip and take care of business.

It’s true what the scriptures and Jesus said about their being “wolves in sheep clothes”…but let me asking you another question…another exercise if you will…what just popped in your head as I said that…was it someone who would fit in the category of “Un-righetouess” or someone that is “self-righteous”

Interesting, right. It might tell you which camp you reside in. Because we usually find ourselves to be the hero of our own story.

So why am I ranting & raving about this? It’s because I have had more friends leave the faith …fall into disbelief that God could in know way be true or his furious love. Why?

Well, that’s what I wanted to know. On more occasions than I could count…years after I would ask friends after college…”So how come you no longer are a Christian?” The answer, was short, sweet, and sad. Their simple reply, often, was….”Christians.”

What would follow would be a story and a plethora of examples of how they were mistreated by one of the most used weapons of the religious: Shame.

They simply were made to feel “less than.” Heartbreaking. There is no word for it. Their faith wasn’t strong enough to survive the judgement of Self-Righteous Christians…ones who barely, if at all understand the gospel of Christ…maybe they do in their head…but in their hearts it’s something else…somehow and at some point they got it into their head that they’ve earned it versus been given it.

And as a result, the accessibly have a machine gun of shame at their fingertips. I barely survived. And Some days I still don’t know if I’ll make it. Only by the grace of God have I made it thus far.

But so many fallen brothers and sisters haven’t. Why? Because every time they went through the hell fires of shame by someone who claimed to be a Christian…they endured something that I don’t think either party was aware of…the Christian who was hurt…and the Christian who did the hurting…

What happened when the The Christian who was hurt…was simply this….somewhere deep in their heart when they were being SHAMED-UPON…it answered the deepest fear in their heart…and that’s this…”THIS MUST BE HOW GOD FEELS ABOUT ME.”

To have grace, mercy, and compassion on the self-righteous Christian let me say this. I’ve done it too my friends. But please stop. Know that your just a piece of shit like the rest of us…even if you think your shit doesn’t stink…it does trust us…we can all smell it….and when you hurt us…or should I say when we hurt them….they go home at night beating their head against the wall…and go …”If that’s what Jesus/God is like…I want nothing to do with him”….

We’ve all heard similar stories. Why do you think that is? Well, I can’t properly explain it except to say something….something cliche…we are the body of christ…and how we treat people is how people perceive God himself…so when we hate and shame….there is something deep in the hearts of mankind that goes…”God must hate us”….and when we love…and love with utter undeserved compassion…they go…”Can it be true…does Heavenly Daddy love me?”

If you just asked that as you read it, let me say this…Yes. Yes he does. He is crazy about you.

Sadly, whether we’ve left the body of christ…the church…or we are barely holding on…..or we are wearing a religious mask not willing to ourselves quite yet in our hearts that we can’t earn God…even if we get it in our heads let me say this…

Likely you have been Shamed on. So friends, family, and strangers…let me say this YOU ARE NOT YOUR SHAME…or let me say it better than that…YOU ARE NOT THE SHAME THAT’S BEEN PUT UPON YOU….

I don’t care whether you…

Are walking with God or not walking with God.

Are a Christian who thinks cussing is a sin…or the fucker who doesn’t.

Are married or divorced.

Are single or celibate.

Are addicted to porn or addicted to lying about porn

Are running away from God or are running to God

Are a faithful church attendee or can’t remember the last time you’ve ever been to church

Are someone who reads their bible…or doesn’t even know if they own one.

Are someone who can’t count how many sins they’ve done since last sunday…or thinks they haven’t committed any (You have by the way)

Are someone who has been murdered by shame in your heart…or the one who has done the murdering.

It doesn’t matter how bad you think you are, or how good you think you are….shame is not something you can find in the heart of God…so if you have experienced it by someone who claims to be a Christian…don’t believe him or her. Oh, they very well be a Chrsitian…but you see they are in need of Jesus just as much as you…but right now it may be easier for them to enter the eye of a needle than to realize it. So bask in the joy found in the grace that you know something that they don’t…you need him. You need his love. You were made to be loved unconditionally…because as St. Brennan said…

“God loves you as you are, not as you should be, because none of us are as we should be.”

David Leo Schultz

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~ by David Leo Schultz on October 20, 2015.

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