Some things, though not particularly important, remain curiously inexplicable. Like how Carolyn remains my favourite Franklin? By some strange happen-stance, I have retained a soft spot for her. Is it because she sings with child-like candour of her frailty, swinging as she does from sharp to flat? Is it because she was destined to be overshadowed … and underrated? Is it because her life was cut too short? Or does it, perchance, feed into my own paternalistic penchant to temper the ‘overzealous child’? Maybe it’s all those things and that she was fabulous. She’s someone I never met but perhaps always knew. If I had met her, I would — like an annoying father perhaps — have told her to stop yelling into the mic. And, I would have told her that God loves her and that so do I. But there you go.
Today we see all manner of things said, done, acted on, sung, praised, wished for and rebuked in the name of Jesus. But are all these things Christianity? Are they really what the Bible says and what Jesus both spoke and showed?
Praising God in all manner of song – rock, country, even God forbid heavy rock and so called ‘metal’ (noise) music – is tantamount to blasphemy.
Inordinately wealthy evangelists purporting to multiple signs of wonder and ‘miracles’; dressed in odd, eccentric or just trendy clothing and looking (or trying to look) cool is glib.
Yelling and screaming and spontaneously breaking into apparent ‘talking in tongues’, all seem to have replaced traditional sermons. Meanwhile, overtly zealous promises of ‘anointing’ for ‘sowing a seed’ was formerly known as, well, simply donating.
And there’s the well-read, well-versed scholars who know the Word but are [spiritually] dead.
Talk of the supernatural seems to also make some lean toward the occult with attempts to incorporate the New Age Spiritualisms under the guise of Christianity.
Singing gospel songs, being extraordinarily wealthy, sowing seeds and being well dressed are not necessarily bad or wrong. But it’s the context and the manner in which these things are revealed.
All too often, an element of flamboyance, drifting from the ‘straight and narrow’, self-righteousness and assumption, over-sentimentality, persistently reducing the Messiah as either a babbling baby or a perpetual corpse, or just plain base humour or inappropriateness is the oft not-too-subtle undertones of the message.
In stark contrast, Jesus’ message was remarkably straight and simple, gentle yet firm. It was thematically accurate and emotionally sincere. It was real.
There is only one God and Yeshua is the incarnate son of God who died for (all of) our sins with a message of basic love, faith and hope — but “above all love” — to conquer sin and death.
Since when is God ‘trendy’, persistently comical or humorous, loud and obnoxious, a pathetic corpse, or wanting to be praised to a rock and roll tune? When did God move house – when did he leave Jerusalem for Hollywood?
It’s not complicated.
In Jesus’ name: Stop me if this doesn’t make sense.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the one true God. From their lineage, a descendant of King David named Jesus reinforced this message in words and deeds. This man was and is the anointed one – that is to say he is the Godly-appointed Messiah for man.
With time, be it gradually and inadvertently or knowingly and flagrantly, man deviates from this message. And when man deviates from the Word of God, death and destruction follow. The Israelites of the Bible were a living testament to that.
And nothing has changed: for Israel or for the world at large.
The message is clear and simple. It is plain as day. It is not difficult or dreary.
Just accept the Word. Just accept Jesus as your Messiah.
And that’s it. It’s not complicated.
Now go ye forth and walk in that Word.
In Jesus’ name.
As we march through the walk of our daily lives – our very own too oft indominable path of desolute destruction – each of us should realise just how frail we, and others, truly are.
One morning we wake to find the pet budgie, splayed-wings, belly swollen, its profile hard against the cage floor. So too, we awake one day, to find our relations in not too dissimilar a repose.
Of course the cycle of life includes death as the old makes way for the new. The pattern is familiar; it is enduring. The pattern is profound.
Different people call this pattern different things, though perhaps most call it – or at least call what gives its manifestation – God.
Others know it by a different name: Nature; Divine Energy; Eternal Force; Spirituality; Big Bang; and many others still. This is akin perhaps to how an atheistic scientist may explain the universe in terms of Netwon’s 3rd Law (of Thermodynamics).
I, however, am a Christian (albeit not a very good one) and prefer to call it God or indeed, Father. And granted I’d like that more people did likewise.
Nevertheless, whatever you or I name it, and despite nuances in meaning and rather less subtle differences in belief, this universal force or power or energy is far greater than you or I. So much so that it demands to be listened to. It demands obeisence.
It demands respect.