In the Late Noughties a show was on the air about the drama surrounding plastic surgery. It would seem we’re living in a similar age as we continue to put up with apostate or “shallow” christianity epitomized by the current VP of the United States. To give some background I grew up with churchianity and what I feel is the modern development of this disgusting facade faith. It began in the 1970s probably when the false prophet Hal Lindsey was trying to say Jesus was coming back again.. this culminated in a new Anti-Secular movement that is now entrenched itself in many places as “traditional ” christianity. Those affirming this What Would Behavioral Modification Do sort of Jesus deny the Spirit and miss the point of the power of the gospel. They also label progressives as not aligning to the central tenets of our faith which would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad. I could go into all the facets of heresies these now ascribe to as faith but I really want to focus on one particular aspect that has caused “twice a sons of hell as they are.” Namely that the management of sin is the content of our christian faith, that I would call the gospel of Nip/Tuck.
So here I was on a Monday morning watching another well intention pastor spouting the advantages of “come out from among them,” when it hit me. Now this successful northern Cali pastor is not unlike many out there and although he’s what I would call a basic morality police kind of guy he is leading the flock astray. Why you ask? well it’s somehow gotten in churchianities head that we are modern Jews and in so doing even forget all that Judaism has learnt itself since being dragged into crucifying our Lord.
Just read a copy of the Jewish progressive magazine Tikkun some time and you will see how their understanding of “Torah” or law has expanded into amazing social justice programs for instance. Let’s get back to this false gospel though that would have us all the time primping and looking at how we fit into this or that interpretation of “christian living.”
I think it most fitting to use this pastors text I was watching, 2 Corinthian 6. This text would be very hard to say that it’s not backing up this sharp division of Secular and Christian if it were to be taken in an isolated way. Unfortunately Chapter 5 really either would confuse the honest reader or make them into a split personality, because without a deeper reading it makes little sense. Seriously, in one breathe the previous chapter affirms the need for a God who is always reconciling and how we’ve been called into this restoration project, and the next we’re to part ways because bad company corrupts good morals?
This pastor I should add managed to add that their church has a very nice program on helping with debt relief. I wonder if it also sending people like the Universalist Unitarians to agencies and boards to address the flawed systems behind how this debt gets created.
After you’ve read chapter 5 without the anti secular bias i’m hoping you will see that the problem was that the Corinthians were “withholding affections” based upon what it sounds like was they didn’t look right. It rather explicitly details that it was based on appearances. Now this would seem to back up something else that’s been twisted from St. Pauls writings, his admonition to correct those in the church who are flagrant. I don’t believe though that this is more obvious issues of sexual immorality or other indulgences. It’s more the issue of pride, ego, and the whole I’m of Paul, Apollos, etc.. which further muddies the piss poor translation of chapter 6.
Before he talks of our desire to be immersed in the realities of the eternal life, to have already the imperishable bodies promised. First though we must NOT go by what our eyes see and live lives that we are seeking to please Him, NOT others or or ourselves. In fact my current interpretation of the following verse is to “make it our passion to hold space for others to reflect on His Character and Person.”
This is the Assignment we all have of Harmonizing, to settle, patch-up, and accord. I would go on further to say that we want to be making sure this Assignment of our humanity is not discredited and that like the Passion translation says it “prove ourselves authentic in every way.”
To then explain how that works we can now describe that as “we prove ourselves by a lifestyle of cleansing.” I use this verbiage because nutritional language is more apt than the sin management of what the early church father Origin would have called synagogue christians who delight in the appearance and have lost sight of the essence of our faith. This lifestyle is full of spiritual insights, practicing patience with ourselves and others, showing kindness by the spirit of the sacred and by the UNCRITICAL Love we’re being given for all. To restore some of the original languages intent here too we can say “we also commend ourselves to you by the resonating truths within our words and lives, by the power of God working through us, and our “arsenal of peace,” In Him.
So what then was St.Paul saying then in the latter chapter if it wasn’t to establish a rule against secular fraternization. It was to seriously address why these christians he was writing to were obsessed by the superficial arm chair therapy of these churches, and question why they chose to ally themselves with these surface appearances over the deeper work of integrating with others who had grasped the essence of the gospel but may be struggling and need a hand.
In short he was asking them to review their allegiances, and see what really were their motives. Was there too much focus on the “outside of the cup?” My thought is that he was saying that when an honest appraisal at what truly is contaminating their lives is seen that their activity would not just be a restored affection with truer believers but also an increased sustaining experience of sacred relationship with all things as well. In my personal liviing i’ve found this means on the look out for ways to listen to the Spirit more and create sacred pauses rather than try to manage sins.
As to those who hold what I call “theoreticals” (which includes christians.. these are beliefs or fanciful notions that have no activity attached to them) My disposition seems to be more of holding space for their differing beliefs and look for moments where I can inject possibilities of greater grounding and more expansive and timely truth. This is what I mean to hold to that passion for his character and person, remember it is the Spirits desire and way to reveal himself to people in an individual way. We’re not here to push a message, a judgement, nor even the cleansing.. this is clearly the role of His Spirit says scripture both in admonition and example.
The heresy of a Nip/Tuck gospel is as volatile as the show was.. and we could take a warning that when we make transformative spirituality that is held in Christ into this it’s at a great peril. It’s also why we must be careful to not put up with the Nicolations (the elements of religious pride) nor indulge those of Balaam (split allegiances) as is stated in Revelations second chapter. Our vigilance is to a spirituality of the heart not of mere observances.