If you tend to get your panties in a wad easily, please do not read this.

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If you tend to get your panties in a wad easily, please do not read this.

On my recent post “Good conquers evil, but are we willing to examine HOW?,” a very insightful reader and incredibly deep thinking fellow blogger SprinklinThoughts shared his reaction to my article. It touched a deep nerve in my spirit in a wonderful way. So I’m sharing my response to his comment, bracing myself fully for the various emotions it will likely ignite within my beautiful readers. 🙂

Religion — Christianity specifically — has evolved into some sort of fraternity… Everyone ‘pledges’ their loyalty to joining the organization, ‘rushes’ to prove their commitment to the title that comes with it, goes through some various ritualistic initiation process whereby they are inducted into the badge-wearing membership, then joins the ranks of like-minded puppets perpetuating the meaninglessness of gathering together for the appearance of standing for something — for a few hours each week, tops —and then swiftly returns to their real world where they comfortably let it all hang out.

That’s hurtful to the very belief Christianity claims to stand for. It’s a mime dancing in a see-through box; a speech given to the masses with no platform or microphone; a sacrifice and an honor without the sacrifice, or the honor.

The true warriors for Christ are rarely seen in those crowds of bumper-sticker proclamations of faith and name brand clothing-adorned popular people who say all the right things at all the right times and stand behind white picket fences.

The real warriors for Christ are the unseen men and women walking through the inner city streets, witnessing to the homeless and the broken, holding the drug-addicted and criminally-driven souls all the shiny people forgot about.

They are the ones with reckless boldness, fearless honesty, selfless love, walking unacknowledged roads in unfamiliar places to find the lost and hurting world and heal it through actions of compassion instead of words of empty status acquisitions.

They are the ones you never hear about, the ones gathering in increasing numbers on a constant basis; Sunday mornings they have church in the day shelters and their church is nothing more than assembly of love and heart-filled worship sung by the sacrifices they make for the lost.

Friday nights and Tuesday afternoons. They don’t have the latest t-shirts worn as a statement of their beliefs. Their beliefs are written all over their faces, revealing themselves through every action they take in every moment of their day.

That’s what “Jesus would do.” That’s what a real Christian is, and does. They may attend a traditional church — I’m not church-bashing here — but the church is not their IDENTITY. Their identity is the undeniable presence of the Holy Spirit, stirring within you every time you are near these people, brimming up and spilling out and making you wonder exactly what it is about them that’s so… DIFFERENT.

Christianity is not a fraternity, and you don’t have to rush or pledge or be hazed to know the One and Only Everlasting God. The King of Kings is in your living room, in your memories, in your current circumstance and always with you, now and forever, like it or not. You cannot earn His approval because we are all unworthy. We are all broken and messed up and flawed in our own unique ways. His love can’t be earned because He gives it out of His own deepest, purest, UNCONDITIONAL love for us. Not because we pledged. You can experience His presence anywhere, anytime. Because even when you feel like God is a joke and life is stupid, He is still right beside you, right within you, loving you all the same.

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About Brandy Desiree

"Call on me, and I will show you great and unsearchable things you do not know." --Jeremiah 33:3 I am a seeker. A lover. A doer. A thinker. I make music, I dance often, and I laugh. It's all hilarious, really. Everything. Look around you. My children teach me a lot about life. I have five boys, and yes I'm out of my mind. It works for me though; I think this world could honestly use just a little more crazy. A lot of humanity's problems could be solved by everybody taking themselves a little less seriously. I'm grateful and alive; a constantly evolving creature, thankful for the sunshine and just as thankful for the rain... Visit my corner of the universe and share yourself! My heart could implode with welcome for you.

21 responses »

  1. I have followed your comments on Lizcentric and feel you are one of the most insightful and talented writers I have come across. Your passion shows, and this post is no exception. Bravo to your continuous amazingness.

    • What a colorful, magical compliment!! I’m so grateful for your thoughts and I look forward to your ideas and suggestions yet to come. Awesome! As soon as I have a second I’ll check out your blog as well. Thank you. So much! 🙂

        • I’m all over it. As soon as I remove my children from the ceiling fans and clean up the flooded bathroom from the clogged toilet and wipe the mudpies off my baby… You know 😉
          Today is nuts but I look forward to seeing your brain’s creations.

  2. I’m so on track with you, sweet sister. I’ve been growing increasingly rankled over Church club for some time now. Keep an eye out tomorrow. I’m posting something that speaks to my feelings on the subject. I feel you’ll identify.

  3. A great post. Probably too honest to generate a lot of feedback because we (or is it they?) tend to not like (or pay attention to) honesty – especially when it pertains to hypocracy. But still needs to be said. I’m glad you said it.

    Here’s my small contribution, for discussion, in support, and as confirmation…

    “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

    Some stats:

    Roughly 75-80% of Americans identify themselves as “Christian”
    In 2005 the US was #1 in the ‘rich nations’ of the world with the highest percentage of children living below the poverty line – 21.9%.
    In 2010 the US was #1 in the world for the people in prison – 2.2 million (next was China with about 1.5 million).
    In 2010 the US was #1 in the world for its incarceration rate – 730 per 100,000 (next was Russia at 584 per 100,000)
    In 2011 the US was #1 in the world for “defense spending” – $739 billion – about the same as the entire rest of the world together.
    According to a 2009 study by the National Center on Family Homelessness, one out of 50 — or about 1.5 million—American children are homeless each year.
    The US is near the top of the world for number of rapes as well as the rate (#/population).
    Americans make up only 5% of the world’s population and yet consume 20% of its energy.

    Why is it that this picture looks not right to me?

    In short, we are among the most Christian (and supposedly free-est?) of nations… but we are also among the most violent, greedy, polluting, non-altruistic, nations on earth – and the the deadliest. A real empire – totally ‘of & conformed to this world’. A Christian empire – led by professed Christians.

    How is this possible?

    And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, ***which deceiveth the whole world:*** he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9)
    The whole world is deceived… We Christians are part of the whole world aren’t we?

    Are there any other options? Any other way to be?

    Surely a more ‘positive’ or “Christian” option can be found…

    Suppose, just suppose, 80% of the adults in this country decided that instead of killing people all over the world, we would declare a different ‘war’ – one on hunger… All available resources – including all army, navy, air force personnel, equipment & $$$ – would be dedicated to this single, ultra high priority task (say, on a “Manhattan Project” level). What do you think would happen?

    Or maybe, if that’s too ambitious, we could just decide to feed all the children of the world.

    Still too ambitious, how about we just feed all the children in this country? Top priority, no bullshit. What then?

    Summary – shine a light upon the way:

    Jesus said, “Love one another” and “turn the other cheek”.
    But He also got pretty upset at the money lenders in the temple, didn’t he?
    What’s He going to say each of us when he returns?

    “You shall not have any other gods before Me.” (Exodus) 20:3
    – as ‘in front of Me’ in a line – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says the Lord, the One who is, and who was, and who is coming, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
    – as ‘place before me’ – “…and they shall not appear before Me empty. ” (Exodus 23:15)
    – as in ‘preceding Me’ – “All who came before Me are thieves and plunderers, but the sheep did not hear them.” (John 10:8)

    Where are we in line?
    What are we placing before the Lord?
    Who comes first?

    Just sayin’…

    — I hope this is not considered “hijacking a thread”. I don’t think so, but I’m kind of dumb that way so if it is, let me know -(sorry)- & it won’t happen again.

    • I had no clue such a term, or offense, existed. For what it’s worth here in my magical corner of the universe, hijacking a thread is just about the highest form of flattery I find in ‘virtual’ existence.

      When a reader puts their life on pause for a significant duration of time to allocate their mental energy to the shared expression of ideas, that means that what you said mattered somehow. And in a world that’s saturated with meaningless trivialities and swiftly decreasing mental fortitude, I’m perpetually stunned to discover such powerful — and lengthy — responses. It’s one of my top seven favorite sources of an unexpected adrenaline rush. Honestly. It excites me; it brings every synapse in my brain to life.

      Your comment is so intensely rich, so powerful and so full of striking content that I am giving it my undivided attention, as soon as my day allows.

      Very stirring stuff, dear friend. I’m riding this brainwave with you… Right inside it.

    • I know this is a bit drastically delayed, but I have something for you. I dove into the heart of the Holy Spirit with these huge points you’ve made… (I want to preface this by saying that I was an administrator of my local major city’s Occupy Movement for several months during its initial stages, but for the sake of brevity here I’ll save the circumstances surrounding my withdrawl from it for another time. Just wanted to touch on how deeply your points register for me, and how very seriously I take them. I’m with you, all the way.)

      I posted the following video in response to your Annual Catharsis post, feeling moved to share its implications with your audience as well. But I discovered the video after pressing into the spirit and seeing a new level of the macro picture. The video says exactly what I’ve felt & sensed for so long, as an explanation of why the US isn’t a collective movement of progress for humanity, why the statistics don’t match the purported belief systems we claim to hold so dear.

      http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=b-2dKOfbC9c&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Db-2dKOfbC9c

      Everyone must arise from the slumber; yet the only way to true, lasting awakening on a collective level is ACTION. Intentions and words are meaningless without the effort, at all costs.

      • A strong “Yes”… only thing I would add is (IMO) too many people take action in a kind of willy-nilly way – unfocused & not enough real passion… so I’d say not so much “be sure” as “be serious”… maybe this says it better:

        “Do not ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Harold Whitman

        • Ummm….

          Okay. I’ve been trying to harness this energy in a way that allows me to form coherent words into coherent sentences.

          Woah.

          A couple of weeks ago I found a beautiful full color image (possibly graphically designed) that resembled a painting. The image itself was catching to the eye, but it was the message that got me. I downloaded the image to my phone (from which I also do all of my blogging), and I saved that picture as my screensaver.

          The message is simply a quote. The very one you’ve shared.

          The Enigma song seriously hit me like a sucker punch in the soul. A good one, but you have no idea what universal momentum lies within that song; the same song that has resurrected itself at every single one of the most significant moments in my life. That song is my “theme song” if you will, and has been since I graduated high school. The significance could take a novel to share, so I won’t bore you but I assume you’re pickin up what I’m puttin down.

          My best friend died when he was 33. His favorite number was 33. My favorite number has been 33 since I was 5 (don’t ask me why). I saw him three days before he died; prior to that I hadn’t seen him in 3 months; exactly three months, to the day. He and I shared another best friend, and in honor of his passing she and I each got three stars tattooed on our neck. (3 for her, 3 for me). We had been friends with him for EXACTLY three years when he passed. The second to last time I saw him alive (he died on his motorcycle), he and I had the deepest talk of our lives. A real “coming to Jesus” evening. I never knew he had studied theology in college and later denounced God. He sought my advice on whether or not I thought he could make it to heaven after some spiritual doors he had opened; I assured him that God is bigger than those choices. He specifically mentioned the significance of Jesus being 33 when he died, and we discussed the power of that number, and what makes it meaningful.

          And the third time is the charm… As if the Divine wanted to make ABSOLUTELY SURE that I’m paying attention, you reference a quote that I JUST MADE MY SCREENSAVER.

          It’s ok if you don’t have head-to-toe goosebumps. I’ve got enough to spare.

          Thanks for your own openness, and your commitment to the purity of the vibration. It’s beautiful.

          • Took me a bitto get through this.. Whoah is right… Yeah, I got goosebumps…

            I’m the third son.

            Keep this up & those goosebumps will turn into “shivers down my backbone” (good vibrations, but really, really strong).
            Thank YOU for YOUR openness. 🙂
            Oh and yeah – keepin it pure is a priority – in everything… gotta give the Spirit room & the only way to do that is stay pure. Now you got me thinkin “Holy”.

            I’m thinking: Love, Reign O’er Me -Who

  4. Pingback: US – 80% Christian? « SprinklinThoughts

  5. I’m curious…and may be going against the general thread of the comments here. Helmet on, batten down hatches…here I go…

    You make a distinction between paragraph 2’s badge wearing fraternity and paragraph 5’s real Christian warriors in inner city streets etc.

    There seems to be an implied separation there, you are either in the fraternity or in the inner city streets, the clear implication being that the former is counterfeit (or as good as) while the latter is genuine and legitimate. The two cannot combine. While I take your general point and agree with you up to a point, I’d like to share a story I thought of as I read your posting.

    I was once a member of a Church where there was a man who, to all intents and purposes would, to an onlooker like me, qualify for membership of the counterfeit fraternity. Being the wee holy Joe that I was then I tended to Christianize people according to what, as far as I could see, they were or weren’t doing. In fact I had put him in precisely that counterfeit category. (I’m aware that counterfeit is my word and not used by you)

    I then got involved in some mission work with a group working from that Church. We went into a mission hall right in the heart of Glasgow and there we met and, as best we could, ministered to those defined as the ‘dregs’ of society, drug addicts, prostitutes, the homeless, the abused etc. We gave out clothes, advice, medical help, food etc. It was a culture shock to me but one I’m eternally grateful for. Some of those I met during that time had souls of gold trapped in appalling circumstances that they had no obvious or pain-free way out of. God showed me a world in which satan thrives, and He showed me His own incredible power to transform lives that seem hopeless in every way.

    Imagine my astonishment then, one night, when the man from the Church that I had down as badge wearing fraternity, walked through the doors of the mission hall and was immediately greeted, not just by other helpers, but by the drug addicts, prostitutes, homeless, abused, like the Archangel Gabriel himself! Unknown to me, he was a regular helper, spent time talking to those in need and helped in whatever practical ways he could. He was also a man of some power, working for the local council and, I later learned, did what he could to influence the council in ways which might help those in need. Not always successfully, for he was battling institutional pride, greed and downright evil sometimes, but he tried.

    When I saw him that night, I confess I was humbled more than I had been in a long time. I felt God teaching me something, not to assume I knew what other people did or what was in their hearts, especially those who didn’t conform to what I thought a true angel of God should conform to. Now I’m not going to paint everyone as angelic, there were others I knew of who, it has to be said, wore the badge but would have run a mile from actual Christian witness beyond saying “Amen” to the minister’s prayer…but I learned that night to be careful before categorising people the way I previously had.

    Please don’t think I’m criticising your article, I’m not. On the whole I agree with much of it, I hear you when you say you aren’t Church bashing (I have my own views on ‘doing Church’ )and I agree with you and also I think Billy Graham who once said that there are a whole army of God’s people working for Him who we will never hear about until we get to heaven. I just wanted to share that story as a way of saying that sometimes (though not always) appearances can be deceptive and we do not see the whole story of how a person may be working for God in ways we are totally unaware of.

    Thanks for your posting, really enjoyed reading it and made me think.

    I’m off to unwad myself now… 😉

    ps. Please don’t feel any pressure to reply to this, or any comment I make. I am simply happy to be able to contribute to your thoughts if I feel able, replies aren’t necessary 🙂

    • I’m so glad you shared your comment.

      I want to be very clear that I am NO ONE to assume who has a legitimate heart for Christ and who’s a modern day bobble head doll. I should’ve written this with greater clarity.

      My frustration stems from some very deep seated pain by the ongoing holier-than-thou nonsense from people who pose as the star pupil in Sunday School. The ones going through all the motions with poise and perfect stature, who walk with garnished clout from all of the others who don’t know any better, and these very people use the name of God to justify their empty lifestyle — which is a mockery of Christianity and leads people astray. They are vanity and emptiness, standing on countless broken spirits to feel better about themselves. It’s a big deal. I’m tired of these pretty people shutting down the movement if the Spirit in chase of some imaginary popularity that hurts the belief it stands for and helps no one.

      I’m wrong to paint generalizations as I have, but if you lived in America you might understand why. Christ is harder to find in the fullest of churches. GOSSIP isn’t. I’ve learned more about who’s doing what on Friday night than I have about who the Holy Spirit is, the few times I attended mainstream church lately.

      I thank you for the reminder that I can’t approach pride with pride. I must get back to humility before I brave the battlefield. Back to basics.

      • Your writing is always pretty clear, that’s one of the things that makes it so appealing 🙂

        I recognise your pain from experience with holier than thou ‘Christians’. I’ve experienced them in every era of my walk with God. Your description of them as “pretty people shutting down the movement of the Spirit” is one I recognise yet I only first recognised it after I had lived among it for many years, only in looking back. There are such people and I believe it grieves God’s heart that they dwell in His Church but do not necessarily dwell in Him. I guess in my reply I was remembering other times when my initial impression of someone was proved wrong but I know there are such vacuous people in the Church and its a tragedy for it does indeed disrupt the Spirit’s natural flow. Jesus reserved some of His harshest words for His Church.

        You didn’t paint generalizations, you pinpointed a specific problem in the Church. As Jesus Himself did. It comes from your own experience and is therefore valid as an expression of spiritual discernment and that you can detect it and highlight it to others is testament to your own spiritual prowess. That is a gift in itself.

        I do take your point about American Christianity. While British Christianity has its own multitude of faults, I think there is a vast cultural difference between its many strands in the US and UK. The very word ‘Christian’ can’t be voiced without hugely differing connotations across continents.

        I am doing some writing just now for a US Christian website and the gulf between there and here is wider than I imagined. Its an education in itself but I believe its a path God has chosen for me just now. In fact, if you can ever spare a moment I’d appreciate any little prayers that I would be able to handle the differences appropriately!

        I could tell you of my own experiences in Churches but its not an easy topic and not one I’ll discuss just now, but in time perhaps.

        One thing though, I have been to Churches rich in this world but empty in the things of God. I also went to Bible College years ago (it was good and bad) and as part of an experience placement, preached in a Church regularly whose Minister needed help. That Church was physically nearly falling apart, in dire need of renovation, it was financially crippled and its Minister was on a salary below the bread line. The walls of the Church were in a terrible state and the Minister’s study was in a shambolic state of repair. But the warmth and spiritual vitality of the people there was amongst the most spiritual and Christ like I have ever experienced. From the moment I walked in the door I ‘felt’ God’s Spirit in a way I have rarely ever felt before or since. Even as I preached there was a spiritual attentiveness in the audience that I’ve rarely witnessed elsewhere. Never had the notion of ‘poor in this world but rich in the next’ been so apparent to me. The contrast was incredible.

        Thanks so much for your comments and please don’t worry about not replying or taking time to reply. Its really not an issue for me. I am very happy to interact with your own comments as I am able even if there is never any response.

        Good luck with the house move! Been there, I once had to clear a house of its entire contents from basement to attic, on my own over 48 hours. Never been so exhausted!

  6. Pingback: If you tend to get your panties in a wad easily, please do not read this. | food4thoughtfood4life

  7. I’m glad I ran across your blog (JT brought you to my attention through his blog). You have a good attitude and perspective – and good conversations. I write in a different way (more of a segmented book form, rather than daily-life introspection), but delve into some of the same topics. “Religion” is destroying the Church, but the Holy Spirit is our present-day avenue to Salvation. Thank you. I haven’t read a lot of your past material (2-3), but I’ll be returning.

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