Passions of an Odd Chick

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Symbols, Signs, and Soap-boxes

I saw the cross everywhere I looked yesterday. It was on the ground - a piece of shiny metal, criss-crossed with wood, embedded in the dirt road when I took the trash out. It was in the crossbar of my wood interior door to my bedroom that I face when I'm on my treadmill. It was in my salad croutons.... It was unavoidable. Everywhere. Of course, it made me wonder - I don't take repeated symbols lightly.

I've been through a self-questioning about my faith. I've been thoroughly discouraged about what Christians (people who believe Jesus' reality about the world), including myself, have done under that name.

I'm not sure who said this but I agree: "We're angry at the world because they're not Christian and totally tolerant of the fact that Christians aren't becoming Christ-like. "

It is my belief that we cannot make the American government (or anyone else for that matter)be under Christ's rule or a Christian government. It was never meant to be a physical kingdom. Had it been, God would have set it up that way from the beginning. Instead, it is a spiritual kingdom, where each person is taught the story that was left us and then teaches another seeking person, and each individual decides whether Jesus was telling the truth about the world and its reality. And then those individuals live and love in such a way that others are attracted to the spiritual kingdom and seek it. It would be so much easier to live my convictions if the whole physical world lived under laws that were mandated by my kingdom people. Maybe that's why Christians force their way upon others - because it's about making OUR own way easier. We need to be right so badly yet we get this so wrong.... and in the process, hurt the progress of building the actual spiritual kingdom.

Anyway, that's why the art in my journal today had to remind me about a complex truth . I would be curious about any hurts, hopes or hype you feel about this subject.
(a cross I made several years ago)


Kimmie said...

"Do Not Add Insult to Injury" is very powerful ... that speaks to me of unforgiveness. I will reflect on this some more - you may have opened a can of worms ;)

linda said...

I have found that asking, "what would Jesus do" to be a powerful yet simple way to find the reality of the actions of christian people. whether they are based in christ's love or some other motive...most of the time, it falls in the category of "some other", sadly...

this is a huge subject! i am not adept enough to give a satisfying and plausible answer...but coming from my catholic school girl background, I have definite feelings about it...I will be watching your comments to see what others have to say and perhaps add more after I have given it some thought.

blessings to you... interesting piece, btw!

J and Z said...

i have pondered so many spiritual questions and sometimes the only answer that seems true is "the less I seek my source, the closer I am to fine"

i don't speak about religion with anyone anymore because i feel my views of being a Christian differ than what has been happening in our country over the last 30 years....and certainly many in religious and political leadership positions have proved themselves to be perfectly flawed like the rest of us...or more so, depending...

and so, an honest dialog... i feel we all (all religions) have so many similar things (we all love our families) that we need to find that higher ground amongst ourselves...

and wouldn't it be interesting if we all (all believers all over the earth no matter what you call your god) ended up in the same place?? oooo wait, we already ARE in the same place...

hmmmmm - brave of you to open the discussion - and i love a soapbox...ask my husband!!!!

just my .02

Pearl said...

So well said. Thank you.

redchair said...

Throughout Christ life the one thing he says more than any other is: “Tell the truth.”

So this is the truth as I understand: The problem that I have in use of biblical scriptures with government officials is that the real meanings are edited and reinterpreted for a specific purpose. (Just as many churches do) In truth- Christ’s words quickly get used as a weapon to control, convince or manipulate. We know that wasn’t Christ intent by any measure.

As far as Christen ethics, -they are a part of our government. We live as biblical scriptures taught us. Our court system is actually based on what scriptures define as a legislative worldly judge and jury system to deal with worldly issues. If that wasn’t the case- I assure you none of us would want to live in this country.

Things will never go exactly as we’d prefer. It’s not under our control. God's the only one that has handle on that and we have to remember that.

But I have to say, one of the things that I personally love about Christ’s teachings (I always remind myself of this) : He tells us continually - just use our common sense. >If the ox falls into a pit on the Sabbath- will you let it die?

Big hugs sweetgirl.

Kimmie said...

I think the only one who can do it right is Jesus himself.

We're just a bunch of cracked pots - hoping to hold some of His character inside us. Some days are better than other days - and those better days are when we know our cracks well.

Steve Emery said...

Oh yeah, I often think Christians (or Muslims) feel they have to convert the world to remove any doubt that they're right. Of course that tends to prove them wrong... or at least proves they're not following Christ. It's a mess. The cross is the right symbol for the lesson - we're not meant to triumph in the ways the world sees triumph. Following Christ often looks (and feels) like losing.

Barb Hartsook said...

I think our Christian lives are exemplified not so much in what we have to say about it as in how we embody it in thought and process and behavior.

I love open-ended questions like this. I started asking the serious ones at about age 13 and haven't stopped.

I do read... lots of stories. The scriptures seem more and more pertinent to me as I live longer. Their value is not in the facts of the stories as much as in the truths.

God teaches through metaphor. Because it's the way we see best...

By the way, has anyone read The Shack? Fascinating! It's like reading Madeleine L'Engle, or C.S. Lewis, or George MacDonald.

I love your blog...

Anonymous said...

Kimmie - thanks for reminding me of this quote that started this post. I think that is very profound as it relates to this topic. Just my own 2 cents and nothing personal against anybody, but I think at least in U.S. a lot of "Christians" tend to kick people when they are down. Instead of showing compassion, helping with basic needs like food, clothing, child care - taking care of legitimate genuine and often very painful physical needs - instead they are more "concerned" about so-called "saving a person's soul" and/or condemning them for not believing. It's like seeing an injured person on the side of the road and offering them a band-aid instead of a ride to the hospital.

JandZ - I love what you say about people of diff. faiths ending up "in the same place" - we already are! That is very clever and I have not heard that one before

I'm not very religious of any sort, but I can say I have been very moved by the work of Becca Stevens, who as far as I am concerned, is right up there with Mother Teresa. She is an ordained minister who works with prostitutes. Talk about a group most churches wouldn't have anything to do with!
More info can be found at:

In my opinion, she offers compassion and healing where many add not just insult to injury - but violence, disgust and abuse to injury. (If they even bother to notice and acknowledge these women, at all).

The Victorious place said...

Yes. Very good way to put things into perspective.
Me when I see others I think of myself and what sin does and did to me when I lived it. I wonder why they are not worse and long for them to know the truth of Him who loves them yet to change them? No. The only one that could change me was He who died for me. Thankfully He did. He took me from a Christian hater-I actualy tipped a desk on some one and screamed at them when they gave me the truth of the Christ. Other things also-To one who is in process but has not yet arived.
Hopefuly some times others can be touched with His love and grace by my life yet sadly I must say of my own self no matter how much I want to-Most of the time I must addmit I am not Christ like as I desire.
I am thankful that my eternal life does not depend on me or what I do but on the cross and His blood that was shed to wash my sins away.
Thank you for putting this up. Well said as Pearl put it.
O Yes. I am now online again. Ye haa!! Gotta scan my art work in, but first download drivers etc.... Be a few days. Most likely on my nine days off at the end of the month. Missing you guys (o yes and gals.)