‘If I had my way, I’d fire you. You aren’t the God of serious men, you’re the God of little girls that wish upon a star’.
Thus began my prayer time today.
No reflective pause at the start, no praising Him for this or that thing, no coming before him in the mighty and incomparable name of Jesus. Just this single honest thought that was as true of a thing in my heart as I could think of.
Before you get your religious panties all scrunched up, I’ve always been this way with God, from the first day that religion brightened my doorstep. If I were to venture a guess I would say that it was due to my slight problem with authority; that’s always
been a bit of an Achilles’ heel in my life. I don’t give a rip what title you carry, I am only concerned with the authenticity of your leadership. I will not submit to nor will I follow a title, I follow leaders and if none worthy present themselves, I follow no one. I will however sit outside of your Golden Calf God Crystal Cathedral Family Fun Worship Center, Inc and pelt you with rocks and garbage.
I know, I know, you don’t even have to say it. You really want me to be more humble and take on the nature of a servant so that I will willingly fall in line and align myself with the vision items and teachings of your husband/brother/wife/cousin/pastor/tv preacher with cute hair and tight jeans, whoever, that couldn’t find God if he sat on their forehead and rode them like a hobby horse in the kid’s area at a midget rodeo.
Hence the crux of my dilemma.
See, ministry is easy. Small towns, big towns, small churches, big malls- all the same. All that you have to do is present the right image and feed the people a line. If other people think you are something, most will.
Make ’em laugh
Make ’em cry
Make ’em dance in the aisles
Make ’em pay
Make ’em stay
Make ’em feel okay
Not now John
We’ve got to get on with the film show
Hollywood waits at the end of the rainbow
Who cares what it’s about
As long as the kids go?
Not now John we’ve
Got to get on with the show
See? Pink gets it. The original Pink, not the chick singing now. It’s all about the manipulation of the teeming masses, that’s it and that’s all. I’ve met big time preachers, gads of them. I’ve watched them show up to venues, sorry, churches, and have the staff put up their 30 foot banners on the outside – their huge faces letting everyone know the show was in town. Ive seen their riders before they get there, guaranteeing the amount of their pay and demanding rental cars, new cell phones pre-programmed with important local numbers, what kinds of foods they will and won’t eat at restaurants (they will NOT go to private homes to eat), and what they would like to see in their fruit and gift baskets in their room.
And man, they can put on a show! The crowds come, the place is full, the warm-up band is killing it, the offerings are fine as can be. They preach a message designed to do whatever the pastor has on his agenda and everyone is happy.
Except maybe God, who knows with him?
Of course there’s also myself but I’m never happy anyway. Walk away, he’s a downer, nothing to see here…
When I met Jesus it was during a suicide attempt, my second by the time I was 19. When I met him for myself, wet, bleeding and naked on a bathroom floor – I was sure I had finally found the answer. I’ve not had a normal life, not at all. I had seen and done more by the time I was 15 than 90% of adults have by the enId of their life. It’s been a merry little trauma train ever since, one situation after another. And in all of this, two things stand out as being absolute:
1. I am looking for the God of Elijah.
2. I am not content with your Ba’al.
And Ba’al he is, even if you just call him “Lord”.
Ba’al he remains, even if you sing songs at him on Sunday mornings, songs that touch the heart of Jehovah about as much as “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison would.
See, kids, you can’t play a player and I can smell your fake about six miles away. I know you trust in your Churchian haircuts and cardigans like they are armor but they aren’t. They are billboards, declaring to the world that you are ravening wolves in a Ned Flanders mask.
And this is what I ran into upon my introduction to “the church” (yessss, amen… cue goosebumps…). Not a place where love abides and the glory of God fills the place, nope. I ran into tombs and mausoleums erected to an idea of a dead God who no longer really acted anymore (unless you have a rider and 30 foot big-face banner), a God that was on vacation but left us all a nice note. Granted, the tomb was decorated like a Victoria’s Secret store, and socially engineered to make people feel comfortable yet still conveying the idea that we are hip, down with emerging trends and technology.
I actually saw a church sign once in Minnesota that struck me as perfectly apropos: it had a black background and big bulbous green letters declared, “Sick?? We’re just like you!”
How comforting. If they point to the answer.
See, I’m weird. I came into this thing expecting God to be who the Word said he was and for the church to be anything other than what it is.
So I am constantly placing myself in the wonderful position of being alone, mostly broke, eschewing big invites to big places and needing to see God show up. I can’t sit back, content with the status quo and pretend. I would rather die than place hope in a false God that can’t provide, heal, save, deliver. I can’t quote your sermon zingers that are written from your bondage in Egypt or Babylon. I can’t sing your lies about God’s greatness when we are all taken away captive by a world system that we are enslaved to. Sorry. Pass.
I have to leave your camp because it stinks like a refugee camp in Africa in the heat of mid-summer. I can’t be content with the promise of Heaven and golden streets that I will walk down when I die; my uncle Bob who was “saved” on his deathbed by repeating the Sinner’s Prayer and asking Jesus into his heart- meeting me wearing white robes with tiny bird wings and telling me about the wonders of heaven that he has enjoyed. It’s a lie and the place you call heaven is a myth generated by men that didn’t know God but wanted to give out false hope.
No, count me out of your easy believing, shallow sermons from some fool that talks about a God they don’t know. I choose to be alone, looking for a God that can supply when no one knows my needs. I choose to wait for the right bus rather than to jump onto the one that everyone takes to the mall, church, give it a name.
I had a vision once at the beginning of my ministry because I am awesome. In the vision there was this huge pointy mountain and corkscrewing its way around the mountain was a road. As I looked, crowds started coming up that road, four abreast. They all were in lock-step with one another and dressed identically. As they rounded the first bend and disappeared behind the back side of the mountain, I waited and watched for them to come back into view. When they finally did, about a third were left. By the end of the second bend, none came out from behind the mountain. I was wondering about this in the vision when I heard someone tell me to look up; that’s when I saw a few men and women scrambling up the side, fighting to reach the top. Up there were some folks I recognized: Wesley, Bohler, Calvin, Knox, Augustine, Spurgeon, Allen, Branham, Coe.
Let the reader understand the vision.
Call me whatever you like. Level your charges against me, accusing me of non-conformity with an immovable object, all day. I’m glad.
At the end of the day, for all of your talk and posturing you probably couldn’t pray in a pair of shoelaces if you needed them and your leaning on the breasts of the world system and feeding your flesh its milk, lovingly stroking it and calling it “God” are a joke. It’s easy to conform to the world system and give God the credit for your car, house, credit cards, wardrobe. But you are slaves to it and God doesn’t want your false worship, he wants our obedience.
We are nothing more than the most moral representatives of a satanic world system and that is it.
And that is all.
Open your mouth up wide…
*makes airplane noises*
That’s good, now chew…
God has purposefully given me some awesome ideas the last few years. I mean, groundbreaking, paradigm shifting, non-conformist plans of awesome snowflake uniqueness that no one cared about.
Hey, churchy people! I have a request for two orphanages in Kenya for babies whose parents were just slaughtered by rebels. Give to this so we can help them!
Okay, how about a totally unique outreach to France, a country where 95% of the people have never seen a Bible? I’m talking a Gen-X outreach using very little resources but using off-the-grid, organic, self sufficient permaculture and sustainability to plant using an idea that they can readily identify with? Did I mention that none of the mission agencies send people to France because it’s too dark?
*cue more crickets, some sticking out their tongues at me*
Hmmm… curiouser and curiouser…
Okay. Here’s the marching orders- there’s a place in Cleveland called Slavic Village. Ground zero for the housing market crash. Good people are being overrun by drug dealers and gangs while corporate capitalist vulture pigs are buying up properties on the cheap and practicing gentrification while pushing out families and the poor. I’ve been given a four bedroom house there and a building to launch a ministry training center, if you could just partner with… us… as… we…
*Cue more crickets, some mooning me while whistling Chris Tomlin worship songs…
Hmmm… Okay, I’m starting to get annoyed.
Okay, you guys must care about this. We have a request on the table from a group working with the government of Honduras. They need us to raise 25 k to build a home for 25 little girls between the ages of 9-13 who are being used as prostitutes every night. Rich businessmen are paying low prices to sexually abuse these babies and I can’t sleep at night because I know that as I sit here, that piece of trash is ravaging that little body and ruining that baby girl. But we can change all that if you just give.
*Cue crickets interspersed with the sound of tonight’s episode of The Voice…
What if I promise you that no matter the amount that you give with your tax deductible gift, God will return it to you a hundred fold? New houses, new cars, you can finally rest knowing there is money in the bank. Divorce your husband for not making enough money, it’s fine, Ba’al understands your pain!
*Cue cash register sounds as the milk and money flows.
Those are all real life scenarios and real life responses, crickets not actually being crickets.
And I sit here looking for God, The God of wonders, sovereign and supernatural. I have paid a heavy price for my search, believe me. I’ve also seen some incredible things; provision, AIDS healed, other healings beyond counting, satanists unable to open their mouths, ministry across the globe, providence at the last minute, countless lives changed and decisions made, watching God show up when I was on the road, numerous things, too numerous for this post.
Yet I still haven’t found the God of Elijah. I’m still looking for him, waiting as an object of ridicule as I choose to find Him rather than compromise and give him credit for the things I’ve gained. My heart has been broken a thousand times, I’ve lost people that I loved, I’ve been left and vilified when I couldn’t take the emotional trauma anymore. I’ve been slandered, rejected, ostracized, marginalized. I’ve fallen into drink, betrayed and destroyed by people that I loved and disappointed in a system that I hated.
Yet I’m still here.
The God I’m waiting for keeps his Word, him alone on the throne, the hearts of men and women in his hands, the fate of nations determined by his whim. This God can provide for me according to Matthew 6, not a resume, contacts or job market. This God can open prison doors, can cause you to walk on water or even part them before you. This God can be trusted with your very life, no matter the circumstances. This God is worthy of all of my love and all of my service because I know him.
If you prefer your Ba’al Golden Calf God, the one that promises much but delivers only the world system as a substitute, you go ahead and keep him. That God is a pathetic joke that the world openly mocks because he is nothing but the Venus DeMilo, all teats with no arms. Yet you placate your weak conscience by going to church with the family on Sunday listening to snake oil sales pitches from someone that knows God isn’t showing up. Then you continue in your mess because God stopped keeping score.
You’ve lost your first love, you’ve rejected the Holy Ghost, you have cast off the truth you knew because it all proved too hard.
Well, baby, it looks like the thing you longed to change ended up changing you. Now you’re a shell without hope, mortgaging your birthright for a temporary meal, worse than Esau because you know what you were called to and who you sold out in your adultery with the world and it’s system.
I’m calling on my Generation to wake up, cast off the mess they’ve sold you and leave the camp. I’m calling on you to leave the world system and all it’s pretty baubles and determine to find God, no matter the cost. I’m calling on you to get fed up with the status quo and reject the world, be crucified to it rather than compromise and court it’s favor.
I’m calling you to outright rebellion and revolution lest our entire generation is lost.
Wake up. Get up. Head into the unknown looking for a God that has assured us that he is bigger than anyone has yet seen. Now is our moment to walk in the Kingdom and change this world.
Can you do that?
If not, sleep on, take your rest. There is a city that you will never see the inside of called the New Jerusalem and a global reformation about to get underway, a foundation shifting revival coming that you will see but never be a part of.