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Second Sunday of Advent, Take Three

Sigh. . . . Church did it again. How? How can things be so different in this world? It surprises me every time. Every. single. time.

We sang this verse of “O Come All Ye Faithful” yesterday:

God of God, Light of Light;
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb:
Very God, Begotten, not created;

The Nicene Creed verse. I have never sung it before. Never, ever. And mind you — AGAIN — it’s not like I haven’t been in church, and I don’t sing a lot. My M.A. in Church Music and D.M. hubby hadn’t ever sung it before either.

How? How did we skip this one? How can we forget that very important idea? How dare we . . . no, how dare THEY continue their rants about the shallowness of Christmas hymns when they don’t sing about the most important doctrine in all of Christendom!

Pastor Lewis also talked about making a list of things you feel guilty about . . . And I had a (small and non-intrusive) flashback again. That was a practice in our previous life. Jim Berg instructs his counselees and counselors-in-training to make a list of all their sins. He instructed one named “Chris” to study Philippians 2:3-16 and list “seventy-five ways he was selfish at home, at work, and at school.” In order to know what he needed to work on.

But that’s not how Andy meant it. Andy said to make a list to kiss those things to God. To hold them up to Him and say, “Here. I can’t pay for these! You’re going to have to take them.”

In Christianity, it’s confession. In Fundamentalism, it’s a to-do list. In Christianity, it’s redemption. In Fundamentalism, it’s moralism.

If you go meta, Fundamentalism all makes sense. Ignore Jesus, and make a list of moral failings. Self-righteously rant about everyone’s shallowness in order to distract from your list of selfish acts. It all fits together. Even the so-called “intellectual fundamentalists” are finding new ways to insist we have to work harder.

No. Oh dear me, no. By Christ’s all-sufficient merit. Pure and simple. That’s it. I don’t need to try harder because even my trying harder will miserably fail. All my righteousnesses are as filthy rags. How do they miss that?

5 thoughts on “Second Sunday of Advent, Take Three

  1. Couldn’t resist the comment about intellectual fundamentalists. I just read this on fundy blog by pres of Central Seminary. Pretty much self evident isn’t it. Here is the quote.
    “Our failure to believe and obey is not simply a function of our finiteness. Every one of us could have known more if we had simply applied ourselves to understanding. All of us might have obeyed more perfectly if we had simply exerted ourselves. In other words, every one of us is actually disobedient to some degree, and our disobedience is culpable. It is not ever merely a matter of circumstance. At minimum, our disobedience involves some failure of determination, some lack of zeal, some neglect of duty.”
    And all the responses were, “what a wonderful summary”. Yes, inside fundamentalism, the floggings do continue until morale improves, doesn’t it? I am so glad I don’t have to rely on my peformance to have a wonderful relationship and identity with my Savior.

    1. Have you ever heard the phrase, Performance Based Religion? It’s something we can get caught up in, and it’s something that ‘can’ be mis- taught us. We all want to please God, but when we experience his Grace as God intends us to experience his Grace, we learn to understand that, Jesus really did ‘walk the walk for us’ in His obedient life, , “He learned obedience through the things which He suffered.”, by living an obedient life ‘for us.’ And he paid the complete and perfect demands for ALL SIN and the LAW, on the Cross for us, so that we do not need to ‘try’ to make anything ‘work’ by performing. You’re so right that you don’t have to perform to earn a wonderful relationship with God. This wonderful relationship is a ‘given’ given by “The Father of Lights from whom all good things come.” The above quoted jibberish, is such a concrete example, of how intellectual fundies are trying to find ‘answers’ in all the wrong places! It’s really so much ‘anti-intellectual hogwash.’ Because it’s so unreasonable. Because it’s not really “honest, reasonable or wise.” People hearing that religious stuff would just go away more confused than they were before they heard it.

  2. The poster is so hauntingly painful…

    I can relate to your astonishment…”How can things be so different in this world? It surprises me every time. Every. single. time.”

    When I found out that the UCC church where we are members now has been a cohesive, vibrant fellowship of members active in our community for over 100 years – without a church split or a huge scandal – I cried. These people are loving. These people care about each other and their surrounding community. Not once have I heard a “rotten apple” sermon or one that was clearly a poorly veiled public address regarding a personal matter in the church. These sermons speak of God’s love….of a God I never knew in all of my born again days in Fundamentalism. These people are transformationally different. They know compassion and grace and live it and share it. It is a different world indeed.

    Thanks be to God.

  3. Just read this post for the first time.I found the The sin- reminder’ poster,shockingly insensitive and so condemning. I really cannot imagine, Jesus presenting his beloved children and friends with such a put down! Why on earth would our beloved Saviour, want to remind us of, what a filthy beast we all are, as if He wanted us to think that, His perfect and complete sacrifice, was not enough???!!! Really the negative sin city poster is a major contradiction to the message of Good News, that God has forgiven us through his Son Jesus Christ. And He teaches us with love and Grace, how to live and walk in that forgiveness. The Living Bible paraphrase, which I no longer read or use,although I do respect that it’s easy to read language, really does help people with Bible reading… the paraphrase has a line in it about what He did for us on the Cross. It’s such a simple statement, yet so profound. Here it is: ” HE TOOK THIS LIST OF SINS AND NAILED IT TO THE CROSS.” Three of my favorite, favorite words in the entire Bible, are. IT IS FINISHED! Can you hear that, all you Bergs and religious know it alls…. promoting this heretical, unBiblical discouraging, defeatist false gospel of performance, perfectionism,and pleasing men in the pulpits….???!!!! This false message of perpetual failure of ‘keep trying harder ,harder, harder,’ trying to ‘earn’ the gift of forgiveness, that was already given to all us us FREE???!!! ARGHHHHH! I found the mention of intellectual fundamentalist or ism, an interesting item. I have been trying to figure fundy bimbos out for maybe too long. But recently I think I found a way to say something that I ‘think’ helps me understand them just a little better, as to where and how they go wrong in their strange way of thinking. Basically they do seem to ‘see the world through closed eyes.’ and, it’s rather obvious, that, they ‘don’t think right.’ These fundamentalists seem to ‘intellectualize’ that which is ‘spiritual’, and ‘spiritualize’ that which is natural, physical, emotional, mental, psychological etc. If a person is ‘tired’ well, they must have a spiritual problem. NO. They just might need a better night’s sleep! If a person is depressed, it ‘has to’, ‘has to’ be a SIN problem, ie ‘spiritual.’ NO. It could be as simple as a change in diet, perhaps even doing ‘too’ much fasting, or possibly a change of friends, if friends are pulling us down!!!! When fundamentalists look for knowledge from their ‘head stuffed’ opinions about God,so many of which are false anyway, their own ‘words about God’,which is not the same as God’s Word or words, about Himself, I do not believe they are ‘seeking truth’, or ‘seeking God’ at all, reasonably, that is honestly and wisely! What they’re seeking truth from, is from the reservoir of erroneous information, distorted knowledge, ‘canned opinions’ about God and about themselves. Using, the knowledge they’ve been stuffing their silly heads with, that ‘aint got no life in it baby’!Words, words, words, with NO SUBSTANCE. At the beginning of Lent, a warm, loving Cappuchin brother- priest, gave a nearby parish a precious peaceful mission. At the end of each sermon and sharing, he spoke the words of a much loved saint, St. Padre Pio. “Where is your brother? Where is your sister? Where is your neighbour? Where is the person who was sitting beside you at Church last week, and didn’t come back ?” There was absolutely no suggestion of false guilt in these words all. When I heard these words at the end of every mission service, I felt changed in some way on the inside. Apparently this beloved saint, loved God’s people so much, that he said he wanted to wait outside the gates of Heaven, for these brothers, sisters, neighbours, and the whoevers who didn’t come back to Church, came to the gates of heaven while he was waiting for them there, before he went in himself. He was so filled with God’s love for people. Such a heart for evangelism! I recently recommitted my life to evangelism this past Fall, 2011. I knew I had been running away from this calling. And the Hound of Heaven had finally caught up with me. Oh the joy of repentance and forgiveness. And the peace! Thank you Jesus. Such a wonderful post. Thanks for putting it on. I always feel so richly blessed, by God’s reminders of how much Grace means to His children, US. Grace means everything! A wonderful semi-retired minister whom God used to found the television ministry God used to bring me to personal conversion, he pastored a Church, which never lost a member. His wife was so faithful in sharing the love of God and God’s Grace with every member. What a testimony! So what Christy shared, really does happen. God Bless everyone.

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