Skip to main content

Why church abusers don't like John 14:6

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'”  – John 14:6
I’ve heard this verse taken all out of context and used to abuse folks of other religions, populations, and life sojourns.  The church has used this verse to say that only by saying The Sinner’s Prayer can a relationship with Jesus be built and developed.  That there are some magic words that fling us into the realm of God’s glory.  But that’s just not the case.
See, when Jesus said these words, he was speaking against the religious abusers of the day.  The Pharisees were telling the common folk that they were the gatekeepers to the Kingdom of God.  They would be the ones to tell you when you had done enough praying, paying, and performing to reach heaven’s gates.  Heaven was the proverbial carrot dangling in front of the nose.  No one could reach it.  Imagine trying to win a ticket to heaven by obeying every letter of the law, no matter how minute.  If you ever drive over the speed limit or accidentally jay-walk or allow your trash to blow into a neighbor’s yard… you’re done for.
Jesus said #enoughisenough.  In this verse, he was saying:
Okay, stop listening to those fools.  I am the gatekeeper.  I will decide who’s “in” (and you’re all in).  This is the truth.  I will give you a life that doesn’t depend on rigid legalism.
And then he showed the Pharisees who he deemed “in” by hanging out with the very people that were “out” for generations–the #exvangelical, the prostitute, the drunk, the un-Christian, the Muslim, etc.
Oh dang, the church abusers didn’t like those words.  Jesus was pulling their power right out from under their dusty feet.  Jesus was changing the paradigm, changing the religious lie.  If Jesus was saying that these sinners were already “in,” it meant that the abusers could no longer demand that people attend church.  No people, no money, no power.
So, this is really good news.  Jesus made God accessible.  No more paying your way to heaven.  No more anxiety about laws you did or did not break.  No more fear about church attendance, bad thoughts, back-sliding, your calling…
Jesus says you’re in.  You’re loved, you’re human, and you’re in.
He’s the gatekeeper. 
until soon,
b.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I visited a Mosque. And went to church.

Today, our local International Rescue Committee organization hosted a solidarity event at the Islamic Society of Wichita while their members were gathering for Friday prayers.  We stood outside, held signs, and let them know that we are with them.  That we are forthem.

But before the event I met my new friend, Ratna, for a tour and some lunch in the well-worn gym.  I was running a little early so I sat by myself on the concrete fountain in front of the building.
It was a beautiful day.  The sun was warming me.  I could smell the food cooking.  A suburban in the parking lot said, "Girl Scout Cookies For Sale!" written in white shoe polish on the dark windows.

Pretty soon, Ratna pulled up in her minivan, tagged along behind by her 5-year-old son with his bright blue iPad and headphones.  He was watching a Pokemon cartoon and was humming along to the songs.  Skipping as he went.  Ratna smiled, hugged me, and led me inside for a tour of their worship space.

It was a beautiful b…

What it means when a narcissistic pastor says, "I love the church"

I ran across this article while going through a rough place in my life.  It had profound meaning for me in dealing with some of the individuals in my life that have narcissistic traits. The article highlights the fact that when a narcissist says, “I love you,” he really means that he loves the way that you (fill in the blank): take care of his needs, focus your energy on him, submit, etc. Individuals that have been in relationships with narcissists often admit to feeling crazy, not recognizing the abuse while it was occurring, and to keeping secrets to cover for his abuse, infidelity, etc.  I wonder if this is what many people are recognizing in the #exevangelical movement.  Because as I was going through this article again, I began to realize that many of the narcissistic traits could be applied to the many pastors and men in church leadership that I have known through the years. Being in church ministry for twelve years, I became proficient at silence and lies to cover the behavior…

For my 40th birthday, I let go

It was my birthday present to myself. I decided to let go of the desire to have a healthy relationship with my mother. 40-years-old seemed right for me to make this decision.  I have debated it for years. I have been in a cloud of hope the past year, with my mother.  I always get frustrated at myself for being sucked into the cloud of hope.  The fog of delusion.  Damn but isn’t hope hard to surrender?!  I have always felt guilty about letting go.  I have always wanted to give it another go.  Try again.  Hope again.  Maybe she’ll change.  Maybe things will improve. But when another birthday went by with no call and no card, I decided to end my own agony.  I once heard that there was a woman who went to meet with the Dalai Lama.  She had experienced a ton of trauma in her life and she was worn ragged and thin.  After telling him some of her life story he looked at her with his sweet smile and asked, “Have you suffered enough yet?” Sometimes I ask myself the same thing.  Yes, I have suf…