Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Word of the Day

15,000 Hits and counting - Yeah!
Proselytism is the practice of attempting to convert people to another opinion, usually another religion. The word proselytism is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix 'pros' (towards) and the verb 'erchomai' (I come)

Two women rang the doorbell this morning. They got the dogs to barking and I was not dressed yet and my case of bed-head had not been attacked yet. I opened the window over the kitchen sink and (semi) politely told them to "get lost" No, I didn't - I wanted to - but I was nicer than that. I just said I wasn't interested. I could see their Bibles and their books of "instructions" in their hands.

I didn't even ask what church they were from. Years ago when we lived in an "old" neighborhood we regularly got Jehovah's Witnesses coming by to sell us the Watchtower publication from their organization (not a church they call it Kingdom's Hall) I got so I would keep some literature from my church by the door and offer to exchange it with them. As I recall one of the "selling points" of their proselytising had something to do with worms eating my body. It was usually a very aged woman dressed all in black who came around. Today they were more middle aged and may not have been from the JW's.

The Mormons send missionaries out to talk to people about their religion. They call themselves "Elders" which I have always found strange because they are all young and they all look like clones of Mitt Romney. I have never let them in either.

I am just not interested in what they have to say because I have watched them in action over the years. Now I am not specifically talking about Witnesses or Mormons here - I have switched to all of the evangelicals, etc.

I can remember seeing some of the literature from the "Campus Crusade for Christ" years and years ago. In it the worksheet encouraged the individual to list all of his (or her) faults and tell all about her (or his) shortcomings. I imagine it was a prelude for them to "suck them into their cult." That is h0w I look at these so-called churches. (Cult typically refers to a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture considers outside the mainstream, with a notably positive or negative popular perception) - First they tell you that you are worthless and "born in sin" and that Jesus came to die for you to "save" you. They depict God as a vengeful deity who will consign you to eternal damnation unless you renounce your sinful ways and accept Jesus personally. I was always looking to see him appear beside me in the car as I was driving. He never did.

Over the years I discovered a different Jesus and a different God. "My God is Love, unchanging Love. Can we ask for more?" As such would He require that His son be nailed to a cross to die a horrible death so that we could be redeemed. Nope! He already redeemed me by love. God showed that he did not require human sacrifice in Genesis. Remember Abraham - prepared to sacrifice his son? Why would God require that Jesus be sacrificed? Jesus came to bring the light of Love to the world.

It is my job to learn to exemplify God's Love by accepting others with all their foibles and problems. I don have to judge them (Judge Not) I don't condemn them (although it is hard not to condemn so called "Christians" who spew hatred instead of Love... The Westboro Baptist church comes to mind with their nasty pronouncements.)

I don't believe in the Bible as the inerrant "word of God." Sorry folks it was written by men. It has parts that should be ignored. (Football players take note - as I recall you are abominations and should be put to death because you touch pigskin.)

I also don't believe that any one person can speak for God. I believe He speaks to us in our hearts when we see a baby smile or a toddler take his first step. The feeling that we have when we experience that is Love and Love is God. I believe he speaks to people who stop by the side of the road to help two ladies in need as I read about in the paper yesterday. They called him an angel in their letter to the editor. I think perhaps he was. He was an angel message from God.

I won't believe in your vengeful God. So, don't come knocking at my door. Jesus has already knocked there and shown me what Love is all about. I don't need to go to church and listen to a preacher tell me how to act (or how to vote) and who is "saved." God isn't going to throw anything away. It is just up to me (in this life or the next) to "work my way up to Him." That is what I think He wants and that is what I try to do. I fall way short. To sin means literally to "miss the mark" We all do that but that does not mean we are bad. We certainly are just human (not infallible - any of us) but we have an example to follow. "The best man that ever walked the planet."

Thomas Jefferson took the Bible and edited out the "stuff" and left in the teachings of Jesus. I think he had the right idea. So, ladies (and gentlemen Elders) please go on your way. I have mine and it is very comforting to me. I hope you can someday live in that comfort instead of fear. In the meantime, leave me alone. Max doesn't like it when you come knocking. Hugs, j
I wrote a poem once that seems to fit in here.
A Word:

(To those "Born Agains" who think
that they are the only ones
who are going to heaven.)

if you will
who did Jesus scorn
when He was here with us?

Was it the poor, the meek, the sinner?

Or perhaps was it the
Temple priests
the righteous Scribes
and Pharisees who
received the disapproving glance.

when you smugly tell me that
you are "Saved"
And I must think and "Be" like
Consider who it was that
Jesus scorned -
The folks like me or ?


Anonymous said...

I share your feelings about the evangelicals. Having a big dog meet them at the door can really help convince them they need to talk with someone else. However, in their defense, Jesus is quoted in Matthew 10:27

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

And in Matthew 10:32

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

So while I disagree with them, and would prefer that they go bother someone else, and can in fact get pretty rude to them if they don't leave right away, I can understand why they believe they must do as they do. Political canvassers or promoters on the other hand, I'll just let the dog clean up his own mess after he gets done with them.

And as for the vengeful God, quoting again from Matthew 10, verse 34:

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

I know this does not match well with the standard view of Jesus as a a 100% loving protector. In fact, it sounds more Old testament than New, but that's not where it is, and I didn't write the verse.

Jay Simser said...

I hear what you are saying. However - I do not feel that every word in the Bible came from God's (or Jesus') mouth. Just because it is in there doesn't make it fact. And don't quote scripture to me to prove your point.
You might find the three little movies over at Masonic minute interesting.
The greatest story ever told -- was plagiarized.