I Have Loved You Wrong

When Jesus, Peter, James, and John approached the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them and legal experts arguing with them. Suddenly the whole crowd caught sight of Jesus. They ran to greet him, overcome with excitement.


Jesus asked them, “What are you arguing about?” Someone from the crowd responded, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, since he has a spirit that doesn’t allow him to speak. Wherever it overpowers him, it throws him into a fit. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and stiffens up. So I spoke to your disciples to see if they could throw it out, but they couldn’t.”


Jesus answered them, “You faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring him to me.” They brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a fit. He fell on the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.


Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been going on?” He said, “Since he was a child. It has often thrown him into a fire or into water trying to kill him. If you can do anything, help us! Show us compassion!”


Jesus said to him, “‘If you can do anything’? All things are possible for the one who has faith.”   At that the boy’s father cried out, “I have faith; help my lack of faith!” Noticing that the crowd had surged together, Jesus spoke harshly to the unclean spirit, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you to come out of him and never enter him again.” After screaming and shaking the boy horribly, the spirit came out. The boy seemed to be dead; in fact, several people said that he had died. But Jesus took his hand, lifted him up, and he arose.


After Jesus went into a house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we throw this spirit out?” Jesus answered, “Throwing this kind of spirit out requires prayer.”


Mark 9: 14-29 [Common English Bible]


Big Bird. Medicare. Economy. Entitlements. Middle Class. Liberty. Obamacare. Freedom. Corporations. Individual Rights. Religious Liberty. Romneycare. Right to Bear Arms. Education. The American Dream. 47%, 1%, and 99%. What are things that are under threat in the US?


If we listen to the prognosticators, the commentators, and the political naysayers the sky is indeed falling. We are at a turning point in this nation and if we mess this one up those that are taking back this country from those that are occupying the streets of this nation will lose it all and no one will have anything to occupy at all. Then what are we going to do?


I watched the debates this past week for a little while. I grew weary of it all and turned on the Orioles/Yankees game to see the O’s force a game 5. You want eroding tradition how about Major League Baseball’s new playoff format. Let’s kill the pennant race and water down baseball with one game wildcard playoffs. When did the Major League become the XFL?


In all seriousness, you can’t put your attention to anything without suspicion, doubt, and uncertainty poking at your motives or morals. No wonder we get all kinds of “end of times” prophets peddling their wears and sage wisdom for a small suggested donation. Speaking of “end of times” prophets, did y’all know that the Leader of the Kingdom of God and Second coming of Christ lives in Newalla.


We live in a time of quick fixes, sweet bargains, and certain certainty. Folks are lining up to share their thoughts on “Saving America.” You listen to radio, watch TV, or read the paper it is filled with information, opinions, and warnings. Drive around town and you’ll see the bumper stickers with the “Take Back America” rally cry.


Differing opinions on how to get this country back on track and varying ideologies about humanity, inclusivity, and financial strategies separate the two competing parties of this nation. Both offer up quick fixes, sweet bargains, and certain certainty. I am pretty sure that no one sets out in politics to strip mine the people for personal gain. I have to hold on to that hope. We believe. Lord, help us with our unbelief.


The polarizing posture has separated a nation beyond color lines, class strata, and civil morality. This polarizing posture is picking teams and dividing the nation in to sides. Concentrating wealth has left a middle class devoid of hope, opportunity, and a place at the table. Those that are concentrating wealth fear losing their wealth and institute measures to protect it.


We have “us” verves “them.” Class warfare. Immigration. Same-Sex Marriage. Democrat verse Republican. Christian verses the world. It is not a climate of mutuality and consensus building. A house divided cannot stand. Our glaring weakness is our inability to see the humanity of others in the varying of opinions. Our fall will be in the distrust of each other that leads to the mighty forsaking the weak. The marginalized being exploited by those in power shall bring tears to the eyes of Lady Liberty. We believe. Lord, help us with our unbelief.


The church is not immune from this quick fix, bargain faith, and certain certainty that’s peddled in US politics. The church offers a similar resolve to the world as our national politics have offered us. If you are not for us, you are against us. There is no place for new ideas in this time of crisis. We do things as we always have, its tradition, it’s right.


There are back room deals and fear based choices being made to gather the troops, steady the base, and hold on to power in the church that there is in DC. You have rebel-rousing figures that speak truths and demand action. You have rebel-rousing figures that speak truths and demand inaction. We poll. We vote. We are bound to order and decency as we seek a resurrected and transformed Christ. I imagine Jesus is just as frustrated with us as he was with the disciples that ran around attempting to do the works of Christ, in a sort of First Century Bad New Bears kind of way.


Blinded wisdom shakes the foundations of change. Are we the faithless generation? I do not know anymore. I am more uncertain of things today than I ever have been before. My faith in Christ, my faith in the church, my faith in the government, and my faith in humanity is shaken. The better you had hoped for your children, the better our parents had hoped for us has changed.


Gone are the days of a college education guaranteeing you a job. Gone are the days of the church being the center of the community. Competition for a job is fierce. Unemployment is high. Competition for membership is fierce. Dwindling churches are high. We seek a resurrected and transformed Christ with dying and unrequited ways. We, the church, do the best we can with what we got. We believe. Lord, help us with our unbelief.


What do we believe?

What do we not believe?


What we do not believe is as important as what we do believe. They are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have belief without unbelief. We need to embrace the transformed mind offered to us n the gospel. In the gospel message of Jesus the Christ there is room for certainty and uncertainty, there is room for belief and unbelief. The gospel compels us towards death of preconceived notions and beckons us to follow Christ to the cross and place our hearts, our minds, our spirit our will at the foot of the cross and leave them there as we are delivered to a new state of being. A state of being that is full of compassion, full of hope, peaceful, love-centered, and void of human division. A place not focused on ideology, association, or belief, a better place…


Our better needs to change. A better “better” calls us to less, to simplicity, to connectivity, to community, to an environmental harmony, to consensus, to peace, to humility, and to death. For it is only in death to ourselves that we will be resurrected in to the new life Christ has called us to. It is only in death that we shall bear witness to the transformative gospel and embody it to the world.


Gone are…Big Bird. Medicare. Economy. Entitlements. Middle Class. Liberty. Obamacare. Freedom. Corporations. Individual Rights. Religious Liberty. Romneycare. Right to Bear Arms. Education. The American Dream. 47%, 1%, and 99%. What comes after we die to ourselves and inhabit the gospel of Jesus Christ?


I have no idea what it looks like or what I gain in it. I do know it is paradise. We believe. Lord, help us with our unbelief.

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