Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nope, We Still Are Not There

So last night I was discussing with some friends about how Christians should pray, as opposed to how we actually pray.  Of course the discussion led to about how so many Christians believe that if they pray for things and have faith, their prayers will be answer.  I like to call this Skywalker Theology where we believe that God is some kind of force that we can summon and use to our advantage, provided we have the appropriate faith and concentration.  Such thinking is damaging and prideful.  Yet is pervasive throughout Western culture.
God is a hyper-sentient being who knows our hearts better than we do.  He is beyond wisdom, beyond any form of measure, and He cannot be coerced into acts contrary to His Will in spite of how much faith we have.  You think that works as some kind of leverage?  You are damaging your faith by believing that God will provide you with everything you want simply because you have faith in Him.  What happens when something does not happen that you prayed for?  Do you abandon God because you lack faith?  On the other hand, when you see people struggling in their own life, do you condemn as not having enough faith?
You see the flaws in such thinking.  And yet, it is so pervasive within Christianity that it makes me sick when I hear about it.  I admit that there have times when I have fallen into that trap as well.  Maybe that is why I compelled to write this entry, so that I remind myself with words that I should never fall into that trap again.
Another thing that Christians should be doing, but generally do not, is reading the entire Bible.  You can easily do it in a year.  Right now, I am reading it chronologically where I have to flip around to different books, but it provides great context as to what was going on historically when, say, Jeremiah wrote his Lamentations.  Or what was going on when David wrote this Psalm.  Or reading the Gospels in a manner that accurately demonstrates a better timeline where different accounts can be compared.  I encourage my fellow Christians to always take time out of your day to read the Bible.  The Word is your sword and you cannot fight the enemy, something we are destined to struggle against, with a dull sword.
Lastly, only 3% of Christians give a literal tithe to their church.  That is, 97% of all Christians do not give 10 percent of their income to their church.  I am not talking about giving to charities, missionaries, and other such things.  I am talking about writing a check directly to your church for 10 percent of your income.  If everyone in every church consistently gave 10 percent of their income, clergy would be well paid and churches would be well maintained.  Giving a tithe will not bring you wealth or prosperity, but it will change your attitude.  Besides, if you regularly attend church, should you not compensate the pastor for his or her services?
So, after about 2000 years, we are all still the same children we were then.  Many of us never get past being toddler, spiritually speaking, and many of us are so prideful, we cannot keep our priorities straight.  We view God as a kind of cosmic Santa Claus, we ignore the very important writings designed to guide us, and we never make it a priority to give money to the church.
I guess the mission never ends, even for those of us who are saved.