Friday, June 19, 2009

A New Sect, or an unSect?

Is the unChurch a SECT?? Our last article spoke of how men remake God to suit their taste, then hold everyone else to that standard. But how is the unChurch any different? Isn't The unChurch just one more calf-worshipping sect among many? Friar Joe B goes way out on a limb to answer that.

I have to speak only for myself on this, but I will point out that our faithful critics do not criticize us for being specific or narrow, rather for being too inclusive and fuzzy. Our critics ask "what Jesus are you following", as though it were a difficult question. But honestly I think that anyone who reads the gospels has a marvelous view of who Jesus is. It is only by applying layer upon layer of interpretive frameworks that the picture gets obscured.

That is why we are clearly not a sect, we are clearly an "unSect"!

I believe Jesus is utterly accessible and knowable to us who believe, whether we be learned or ignorant. The spirit of God himself dwells in our hearts and minds through faith. It is this faith and love that entwines us securely in his being. It is not knowing correct facts and adhering to abstract "beliefs" that secures our place in his communion, nor is it strict adherence to certain manners, nor is it the approval of any particular religious authority.

I believe that that all the complexity and esoterica of religion: faith, truth, ethics, and spirituality...are all summed up in Jesus himself, that real guy in sandals who stood up among us and proclaimed "God's Kingdom is Here!" He is knowable. I know him. And I absolutely love him, because he positively rocks.

Jesus once criticized the scholarly authorities of his day saying "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering." (Lk 11:52)

Contrast this "Way of the Experts" with the wonderful way of Jesus described by St. Peter. This is long, but read it long and slow--it's God's word:

"Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. Therefore, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Generations of ambitious men have clamored over their claims to be St. Peter’s Rightful Successor, but it is sometimes hard to oserve how the religion hammered out by the Calf-Sculpting Department of the Religious-Industrial Complex is even remotely related to the wonderful, powerful Word of Jesus that brings light and life to Man.

St. Pete continues: “And we hold a more-sure prophetic word,* and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Why is the Word of Prophecy "more sure" for us? Because, the same spirit who lived in the prophets lives in us, through faith in Jesus Christ who calls us.

Too spiritual? Too scary? Who knows. But I ain't skeered.

* I think this is a more literal and accurate translation of the Greek text of 2 Peter 1:19. Permission, The Joe B Version (JBV) New Testament, 2009.


Anonymous said...

Joe, this is an awesome piece! Or as they say in France: a we so me'
Maybe not! Anyway, I have come to the time in my life that I really don't care if I go to church or not. I only go because I really enjoy a part of the service in which I serve. Also, I go partly because of the Scripture command found in Hebrews 11:25. I wonder what it would be like to someday attend church where the preacher would say: "Everyone turn in your Bibles to ....... and we'll see what the Lord has to say today concerning this part of His Holy Word." Instead it's the same ole, same ole: "This is the topic I want to talk about today and I'll see if I can find a verse to back it up." What drivel! I could get the same thing in a physiological group setting with about the same results. Personally, I don't really care what a preacher has to say as much as what God has to say. If the preacher wants to expound on God's Word to help me better understand it, fine. However, in most services I'm at a loss about 1/3 through the message and begin wondering: 1) "Is it ever going to end?"; and 2) "What will I have for dinner?" Pathetic, isn't it.
I've said all that to say this: I think you are "right on" with your blogs and look forward to reading more!

Anonymous said...

An "unSect" , or an Insect? It seems to have the same effect on me! "Joe B", you just annoy me.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous who mentioned "unSect" or an insect?: Truth hurts doesn't it? Are you possibly an unintelligent person who can't understand the written word? Why don't you just "blog off" until you have something worthy to say?

Joe B said...

Aw, it's okay. They come and they go like that. I'm just glad they're reading and thinking. Sometimes just thinking smarts a little.

Besides, if I didn't annoy anyone my life would not have been worthwhile.

Eutychus said...

Joe B mentions the verse that says that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's interpretation, but that it was inspired by God.

Ironic. The "experts" take this to mean that what you think the text means is just your own personal interpretation, but what they think it means is plain uncut Truth. Those who agree with each other pat one another on the backs, denounce those who disagree, and give each other degrees and titles. Then they sit as a jury in judgement of the Holy Spirit, validating him against their own interpretation.

They love the greetings in the street and the honored seats in the churches, and they nullify the word of God by their traditions.

And, like some of you guys are fond of saying, "Behold, the tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom ahead of them."

RMW said...

A sect? Doesn't a sect imply more than one adherent or at least minimally a group that disagrees with another group as a matter of differentiation which then makes the differentiation a required point of agreement? If so, what two people here agree upon what issue?

The Word is the Word is the Word at least until someone decides to explain it at which point it typically becomes more in quantity while suffering quality and the more learned the individual the more likely it will have little bearing on the original intent.

I'm I alone in thinking God's words simple to understand yet profound in meaning while the words of men sound profound with little meaning?

Anonymous said...

Either youre alone or youre in a sect, if I understand your statement.

Sects is much more fun than being alone.

Scott said...

I, also, enjoy sects.

Redacticus said...

Enough of the sectual humor!

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