Must Read Monday: False Religion, Faithful Engagement This Holiday Season, and Letting Go
There is real harm in false religion:
In 1978, Jim Jones orchestrated the mass murder of more than 900 people. He called himself a reincarnation of Jesus and Lenin. He hated the Bible so much he made his followers (use of that word seems strange here) use pages of it for toilet paper. Instead of the word God he used the word Principle or Love and by those words he meant communism. Those who joined were social progressive idealists and Jones manipulated them by cloaking socialist revolutionary ideology in a pseudo-religious speech. Knowing the truth matters in order to see and hear and resist these kinds of lies and liars.
And lest we imagine false religion is not present in the culture today:
Real witches are not happy about the appropriation of their identity and practices by women who just want to be part of the hip new witch trend in America. Yes, really. Check out the wildly popular emoji spells and tarot card selfies on Instagram and Tumblr‘s #witch tags. Or blogs like those of 21-year-old Maddie, a “solitary Christian witch” from Utah, or 26-year-old A.J., who sells handmade tarot deck bags from her home in Boston. There’s an online School of Witchery and endless subscription services that will send you a box of witchy items each month. “For many young women, participating in online witchcraft communities – re-blogging spells, recommending essential oils, posting selfies with crystal collections – is a digital shelter, an alternative identity from the real world. And online witchcraft’s DIY culture paired with its innate sisterhood is compelling to young women.” Why? Because Christians are failing to share the goodness, beauty and truth of the Gospel which explains reality, affirms our true identity, and provides authentic community and real purpose.
Her name is Marianne Williamson. And all you need to know is this: she believes she should only listen to herself. Think about that for a moment and then consider she has formed an exploratory committee and made several trips to Iowa in anticipation of running for the office of President of the United States.
Faithful ways to respond:
Short answer: authentic relationships where love is genuine and communication is honest.
This is an EXCELLENT introduction for those who have lost sight of why we would want to share the Gospel and how we must. It’s also an invitation to Amplify in June 2019.
After reading this I might have to change the way I talk about the need for Christians to engage today. Seth Richardson has convinced me that civil discourse doesn’t get us to the Gospel. Making civil discourse as a Christian gets us there, but not the other. What is really needed, he argues, is genuine, neighborly love. What he says here aligns with the conversation I had on Connecting Faith with Rosaria Butterfield and it aligns with what Christopher Yuan and others are saying as well.
Warning: speaking truth is not easy (but no one ever said it would be):
Equipping for Conversations on the Life front of the culture:
One of the things I wrote this week (containing some news you might want to know):
One more thing…on this date (well, really yesterday’s date) in 1863, President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address. It’s worth re-reading.