|A People Religious Faith & the ending of Hypocrisy|
We often hear that the major faiths are about love. Over a few decades, we hear of news of sectarian violence and religiously inspired bombings and killing of innocent civilians. The notion of a radical few denies the fact of wide public sympathy.
Similarly, our examples of Christian love such as the abolition of slavery is also arguable since it took Christians a thousand five hundred years to make it happen. The strong resistance to gay marriage shows that much change is needed.
The Christian Right has been chanting that homosexuality was a sin, their anti-gay Gospel. It is easier to relate religion to a fair dose of hypocrisy, not love or grace. There is a revival and it has been going on for the last 200 years, to take away the leaven of hypocrisy from the church. Women are now allowed preach, and black people accepted as equals with the whites in the name of Jesus Christ. The Gay Rights is the next major milestone.
When the bible says that the gates of hades shall not overcome the church, perhaps it meant that much of the church has succumbed to the ways of this world in the last 2000 years.
Over the last century we begin to see the true Christian Spirit arising that showed and demonstrate the ministry of Christ including the Gospel message and taking up the cause of the least in the community. Protestant Christianity was a return to God, a return to the biblical faith from a perversion of traditional orthodoxy. It started with Luther but things really changed with the move of the Spirit in the start of the 20th century at Azura Street California which sparked of a Holy Spirit led revival.
For the last 300 years, we have been moving away from religiously inspired hypocrisy to God’s love, grace and mercy. Justice and righteousness started flowing again from the return to salvation by faith alone, to the abolition of slavery, and the caring of the poor and the sick.
Orthodoxy did not work but perpetuated a class structure where women and the blacks are kept in bondage. Hitherto, orthodox Christianity of the middle ages has been nothing more than an army marching forth to kill and harm to retake Jerusalem in the crusades, or to persecute people who challenged their religious views which emphasised on works and penance instead of faith for salvation. Calling gays as “sinners” just because of othordoxy and tradition is insulting to humanity.
When the Christian Right talks about tradition and religious orthodoxy, it is alluding not to the Gospel of Jesus Christ but to a religious power structure with women at the bottom, followed by men, then the priesthood, then the cardinals, Pope, and Mary. Penance is paid to enter heaven rather than by faith in the grace of God. It is a tradition that accepts slavery and bondage and discrimination against gays. It is part of the church history yet is not biblical Christianity. It’s purpose is for the retention of power and wealth, the church so strenuously held onto for the last thousand years. There was no marriage between a man and a woman, but one man with many wives as King Henry the Eight would show us. Gays has the potential to disrupt this hierarchy.
Jesus condemned religious faith calling the Jewish religious leaders as white wash tombs, holy and clean appearance on the inside, but full of evil skeletons within of sins and wrong doing. Jesus further clarified that this was due to the leaven of the Pharisees, the numbers although small, causing a major impact to their religious faith as a result of their hypocrisy. The same hypocrisy is shown as straight church going couples divorced at will, have abortions, but still are considered more righteous than gays.
The Prostitute that was bought to Jesus was guilty of her crime against the law, but she probably had no choice just to survive. The Pharisees were far worst because they boast of their Holiness but were terrible sinners without any mitigation. Jesus highlighted the sins of the Jewish religious leaders who brought the prostitute to Him. One by one, He wrote their deepest secrets on the ground just as God wrote the Ten commandments on the Rock, exposing the leaders of faith of who they were – vile hypocrites. It is not that homosexuality was just like any other sin, we are much greater sinners because we do not likewise call our raving excess of heterosexuality a sin.
In Australia, full body covering of women are being debated. Some say it is a religious right. However it optimises the rejection of self, the sacredness of the individual. We like to cover up the identity and beauty and sacredness of the individual. Without seeing people as sacred and unique, we cannot start to love. The Christian Right labels gays as “homosexuals” because they refused to see them as people of worth and individual humanity. It is not a religious right to perpetuate oppression.
For some, God becomes an idea created by people, and religious faith becomes moulded by how people make sense and accept the sufferings of life and death, and after life. This is self-centred and not God centred. The individual rights triumph over the sacredness and beauty of God’s creation and redemptive purpose, including the right of abortion, the insistence that we sacrifice ourselves and others. Christianity is instead based on God sacrificing Himself for us that we need not suffer. Surely, in our Communion of Bread and Wine, we partake by faith God’s death and resurrection for us.
Christianity is not self-centred but a revelation by God to mankind. The mystery of God is revealed and personified in Jesus. Even the simple minded could touch, see and accept Christ as their Saviour. The more intellectual may be unable to comprehend the death and resurrection of Christ, which will always be a mystery for those without faith to believe. We are adamant against gays as sinners fearing that their sin may somehow stop us from going to “heaven”.
Christianity is moving forward, and onward, into a faith without hypocrisy, without leaven where people can be identified being of God and from God, having God’s love, mercy and grace, and bounded by the utmost respect of humanity and the sacred worth of people with a pledge to cause no harm. Christ is the way, the life and the truth. For in Him, is personified not only the example, but the way to heaven, the way to God for whom we can receive the grace to be a new creation and not having to work by our own strength. In is in this new creation that we find ourselves changed effortlessly to be more and more like Jesus every day when we dwell in the presence of God.