Follow the twists and convolutions of this article to the end and win a prize!! (I’m kidding, there is no prize at the bottom of this cereal box. Or is there?)
Yeah I wasn’t pretending when I said I hate everybody equally. Well, almost equally. Some I hate a little more equally than others, and some I hate a little less equally. But what I really hate is when I see a friend suffering, in emotional or physical pain, or in need, and I’m basically helpless. I don’t carry cash, I don’t have credit cards, I don’t go out to eat unless Mrs. M. armtwists or it’s a very special occasion. Like our anniversary, we have to go out (I guess). Or if we’re travelling, the opportunity for home-cooking is limited. I have a limited scope of intervention, but I try when I can, to do something good for other people.
“I have called you ‘friends.'” Savvy readers, or those who can follow the link at the left, will know it’s part of a quote from John 15:15. I don’t get to call anyone “servant.” And on the right side of the blog here, if I read your blogs, I have called you friends. Maybe I hate you a little less than your average person, take it as a compliment. I’m trying to follow Jesus’ example because I’m a Christ-follower. But If you’ve read my blog you know I do it a little differently than most Christ-followers. I’m the real thing. And I’ve been given a special gift.
The gift is this blog nobody reads. Well, nobody I know who knows me face to face knows I write it, because I hide in the safety of my bunker and write boldly, the thoughts I really think, the emotions I really feel, with minimal filters. Or, occasionally, no filters. I have a minimal online presence, I think. No fakebook, no Tumblr, no Pinterest, no LinkedIn, no social networking other than this blog and a twitter thingy. The cool kids have moved on even from fakebook, so there’s no danger of discovery there.
Here on this blog I get to do something I don’t really get to do in real life. (Shh! Don’t tell any of my offline friends!) I speak in a tongue unknown to most Christ followers: I speak a special language called “Profanity.” What I mean is, I fucking SWEAR! It’s quite possibly a sin, I mean,
Ephesians 4: 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Oooh, “unwholesome.” It might be considered “unwholesome,” by other Christ followers. Because they’ve decided swearing is a sin. I don’t get to decide that, and it’s unclear to me. Maybe it’s just communicating clearly. Maybe swearing is a sin. Maybe it depends on my heart in the moment. Or, maybe it might be, as I prefer to think of it, a gift.
Acts 2: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 11 …we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
If it’s a “tongue,” it’s certainly “seasoned with salt.” Take that, nay-sayers. I speak it because here on this blog I don’t really give a shit what people think of me personally, I’m inconsequential. I’m here to share life. If life is fucked up, that’s what I’m going to say about it. I think it’s more gritty, maybe a lot more honest, to say something is fucked up and I’m praying about it, than to just say I’m praying about it. If life is displaying the wonders of God, I’m going to talk about that.
Christ followers speak their minds in a lot of ways, bless their hearts. But it’s just my humble opinion that many of my fellow followers are more pious and easily offended than they should be. Some of my best friends, who wouldn’t read this blog, would be offended if they did. Even my mum would probably be put off. She doesn’t like it when I swear, so I don’t when I’m around her, or my wife, or the kids.
For the blog, I blame Tony Campolo, but read even further if you dare. In 2011 he said this:
“I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 45,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 45,000 kids died last night.” I found the quote online, and then I found a video about the quote.
Watch, he’s all apologetic about it to all the tenderhearted Christ-followers:
I also blame Jesus for my salty approach. Look at Matthew 15:
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’”
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand.11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”
16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
Jesus (in addition to saying basically, “are you fucking IDIOTS?”(verse 16) which really cracks me up) says this:
God doesn’t really give a shit what a person eats, except as done to truly honor God, even if they don’t wash their hands before they eat. Jesus says food goes in and shit comes out (paraphrased), and none of that defiles a person. Jesus says the shitty things that are lurking in your heart, that come out of your mouth, make you unclean (paraphrased). There were pious Jews back then who really did try to honor God by what they ate and didn’t eat, by what they said and didn’t say, what they did and didn’t do. Just as today, there are Christ followers who want to honor God by what they do and don’t to, say and don’t say. And some Jewish people were so high-minded they figured out “lawful” ways to get by with things they didn’t really want to do that they should have been doing. Just as today, some Christ-followers choose to either ignore or sidestep things we don’t want to get involved in. “I can only do so much, isn’t it already enough?”
The truth is, there was hypocrisy then, there’s hypocrisy now, and most of it is in the church because if you’re not in the church you already probably don’t give a fuck about what God says, now, do you?
I don’t know about the accuracy of Campolo’s statistic. If he’s right, or even exaggerating a little, Christ followers, and indeed the world, needs to band together and change that. But he’s right about Christianity. It’s about being heartbroken “by the things that break the heart of Jesus.”
I think it breaks Jesus’ heart that Christ followers can’t communicate with the world, and tell them God fucking LOVES them, and wants them to turn away from their sins and follow Jesus the best way they can. I think it breaks Jesus’ heart when Christ-followers justify not specifically praying for specific needs of people who don’t believe in Jesus (I’ve heard that shit and I
strongly object to fucking hate that STINGY, lazy, or fear-filled heart-set). I’ve even heard people who claim to follow Christ who won’t help people who aren’t Christ followers because they aren’t Christ followers. I think it breaks Jesus’ heart when we don’t want to help other people unless they’re already “one of us.” I think it breaks Jesus’ heart when we don’t concern ourselves with the care of widows and orphans in distress.
I don’t give a shit, personally, whether you agree with me or not about Jesus. Don’t care. But John, who knew Jesus, wrote about him saying the verse you all probably read on posters at football games: “God loved the world so much He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him can be saved.” (John 3:16, paraphrased). Paul wrote in Romans that “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart the God raised Him (Jesus) from the dead, you shall be saved.”(Romans 10:9-10) And Peter, who also knew Jesus, wrote that “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9) A lot of complicated words meaning no one should end up in eternal separation from God, but faith in Jesus answers the whole sin problem and connects people to a much more pleasant eternity after death, and Jesus is waiting. Possibly, for you.
Easter is coming, if you need clarification on anything I’ve written please feel free to comment. If you don’t want to hear it, please don’t muddy the comments with your dissent, I get it, fuck me, that’s fine. I told everyone going into my blog that there are tons of blogs out there FAR better than mine, so if you don’t like it, I still care in Jesus’ name, but in my own name, fuck off and read someone else. But if you’re the least bit curious why I keep saying these things, I recommend finding a church that is teaching about why we celebrate Easter as Christ-followers, and going there Sunday to just listen. I bet you 400 million dollars whoever speaks won’t swear, unless he’s been influenced by Tony.
I’m praying for, and intervening where possible, on behalf of people in need, because we should. I’m trying to really follow Jesus’ example of honest truth and honest love. And, my two-faced Christ-following dissenters will love this one: Just because I love you in the name of, and on behalf of, Jesus, doesn’t mean I even like you in my own name. But I confess, I’ve learned to care about some people through my own life’s experiences, and many of you might actually read my blog, so I have one last important thing to say.
It’s a double-edged sword, I caution you. There is love, and there is truth, but they really can’t be separated. With the truth comes understanding that God is still holy, which means God wants nothing to do with what He calls sin, we have to do our best to turn away from it and toward Him. It’s not up to me to decide what sin is for you, but I learned from the Bible and from real life, none of us, especially me, are perfect. So I leave it up to you to ask God whatever your sin is that He doesn’t like. He gave us a conscience so we could figure it out, plus, if you’re really looking for truth, Jesus taught, “seek and you will find.” Nobody’s perfect, but we can do better. With love, OK, even I can learn to care about other people, and believe me it’s not easy.
OK, it’s time, you’ll have to decide for yourselves if there was a prize at the bottom.
The most important thing I can say today is this: Please, understand, God loves you SO FUCKING MUCH that I can’t do justice trying to explain it. You have to find out for yourself. And the second most important thing I can say is, do something nice for someone else, no matter how small it is, it counts. It won’t save you, but it counts.