1. When the church is on the side of the status quo, it will fail to be prophetic. When the church becomes the status quo, it will collapse.
2. If you want the ends to justify the means (in church or other issue), do you find yourself siding with Pontius Pilate during Holy Week readings? If so, doesn’t that seem strange?
3. If you’re not shocked by the Beatitudes read them again. If these words don’t blow your mind, read them until they do. Jesus is turning the world upside down. Given the entrenched nature of our world (and if you take Jesus’ words seriously), the challenge of living up to what Jesus asks of us should be unsettling at best and frightening at worst.
4. It’s a mystery that we keep referring to God as mysterious. To say God works in mysterious ways borders on a cop out. This is a way of saying, “We’d rather not talk about God”. People work in ways aligned in their self-interests; this too is not mysterious. We simply choose not to understand Jesus. By this time, we should be starting to get Jesus. I can spot Jesus’ actions from well over a mile away. Jesus is so predictable he’s not allowed to play blackjack in Las Vegas.
5. God has a strong distaste for organized religion and ritualized religious practices. To God, religion is a pretty miserable thing. How do I know? Re-read Amos 5 and 1 Kings 18. In 1 Kings, God swallows whole, with fire, the sum total of accepted religious practice. God will not be defined, even by our well-meaning, hand stitched, Cokesbury purchased idolatry. Churches continue to create practices and traditions despite God’s open disgust and condemnation of our efforts. We are doing things in God’s name God never said to do. We are ignoring God’s desire to emphasize relationships and mercy over ritual and religious practice. Why? Relationships are hard. Religion is easy. Make relationships more important than religion.