Old Testament Christians

This may be disturbing for some…be healthy please…and it is Jesus stuff, so if you do not like that sort of thing, resist the urge to correct and criticize, and just move along.  These are personal things from my journey.

That statement may raised your hackles a bit.  I am not an Old Testament Christian.  If you are one of those people, i feel particularly sorry for you.  It makes no sense to me for anyone who claims a spiritual connection to be callous and hurtful to others.  And i find Old Testament Christians are often those kind of people.  Prove me wrong, kids, prove me wrong.

Is it because i think the God of the Old Testament is wrathful and vengeful?  No. it is because of the way people use the Old Testament stories and messages to justify behaviour that is totally inconsistent.  This, for example:

Hey there, dickhead.  i have tattoos, so i guess that is it for me, huh?

This one is because i played goalie in hockey.  That one bothers God, i know.  i suppose it means i worship “hockey gods”, right?  And we all know God does not like sports.  I got criticized in my first parish (conservative…very) for playing hockey and being on the rink board.  Oh, well.  Next.

I know this one bothers God too.  It is a tattoo listing our children.  We are a blended family many times over.  So when we were early in the huge family game, i decided this tattoo would show the kids they are in my heart equally.  i told the artist all the names and told him to put them in whatever order seemed to look best.  i had nothing to do with who is on the top of the list and who is at the bottom.  There is no rhyme or reason to the order.

Sorry God.  i really love my family and this is a symbol of that love for them.  i know you are upset, but it needed to happen.

i cannot take a picture of my back, but there is a huge tattoo of wings across my shoulders with the phrase, “Sarah gives me wings.”  i know God is upset because i love my wife so much that i wrote her name on my body.  i’ll take my chances.

Ok…i know God is really pissed at this one.  It was the first and is a “Christ and Country” kind of thing.  i love Jesus and i love my country.  i am so sorry about that.  So God is pissed.  About my tattoos?  Really?Do you really send people to hell for these things?  Sorry.  If you believe that, you have some deep spiritual issues.  Seriously.

Never mind the tattoo dictate refers to cutting and slashing ceremonies the people around them would practice to get them closer to god.  Law leads to moral inconsistencies and dilemmas like this:

Here is the verse in context, in case you do not have a bible in every corner of the house.  “You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD”

Why?  God is saying to the Israelites, “People around you are adopting customs that show they serve a different kind of god.  It is that simple.  God is telling people they need to be different from those around them.  And i think that translates just fine.

If you are one of those people, ou look ridiculous and drive people further away from a healthy spirituality, so knock it off.  Please.  You just alienate and anger people, and if you think that is fine, you need a new god.

Now.  That is a gentler message that takes thought.  Hatred is easy.  Thinking is difficult.  In our world people are so angry and afraid, it is easy to react the same way.  “Do not put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way” of another person.  If you think “brother” only refers to Christians, you are wrong.

i have a degree in Theology, remember.  i know some things.  Not everything.  But some things.  And i know this:  if you think your god calls you to hate and judge and bring pain and suffering to others, then you need a new god.  That is no kind of god.  That kind of god could not have created us, because we are filled, quite naturally, with a desire to love and accept and protect and nurture.  And it makes people think that God is interested in causing pain.  No.  No. No.

 

Yup.  I know it may be naive, but i have come to the same conclusion.  Forgiveness is the key.  i am not saying to forgive the dicks who are destroying those around them.  You may, if you are so gracious, but they are so against the various spiritual pathways I have studied, that i find it easier to just move along and let that kind of person live in the desert of loneliness and pain.

Can’t fix people.  Not my job.  And i’m not so sure my prayers would be as gracious as yours.  Maybe i have some anger issues.  Likely.  And it looks like i have some forgiveness issues of my own.

See?  i am not so perfect, either.  But i am ok with that, because I believe spirituality is about growth and changePersonal growth and change.  Not fixing the other person, but working on myself so i can be a better human.  Not anger and hatred inside,  but learning how to forgive and love.  Which bring me to the idea of community.  But i have processed enough for now.

Love,

John

 

 

 

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