Why I’m Still Compelled By Jesus
I have a friend who was traveling in Texas and saw an old bus that had destroyed by a fire. He asked the gas station attendent what had happened and was told the bus had belonged to a touring gospel-preacher. It had broken down and in an attempt to fix it, the preacher “anointed” the bus by pouring anointing OIL(!!!) on the running engine. It caught fire and burned down to the frame.
When I heard this story, something about it rang true.
For many of us, this has been our experience of religion and religious people. With a strident faith, the man took an unwarranted step and
You and I have witnessed the explosive destructiveness of religion.
We’ve seen religious leaders use their spiritual and emotional power to abuse the vulnerable; both sexually and emotionally. We’ve seen religious leaders use manipulation to gain power. Religious leaders have encouraged us to abandon science or our intellect. Some of us have been manipulated by a religious leader to do things out of our character.
Religion has been used to marginilize people groups. Religion has cared more about being RIGHT than caring about people.
There’s this great scene in the movie, “Saved,” when the mega-christian Hilary Faye, throws a Bible at another girl in anger, while screaming, “I am filled with Christ’s love!” This is the great juxtoposition. Often the people that are most ardent about their faith, are the ones who don’t act much like Jesus.
We have to ask the questions:
Does religion and faith only cause hurt, pain, and destruction?
Does spiritual belief always end in some sort of bus fire?
Jesus himself seemed to get frustrated with religious practices and spiritual zeal that lacked heart.
Here’s the thing. Even with all of this, I am still compelled by the life and way of Jesus. I keep getting pulled back to his message. I sift through the mud and murk of religion and am often rewarded with the treasure of his love and servanthood.
And this is what I’m encouraging you to do. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. In this case, that baby would be 5lb, 4oz baby Jesus, I suppose.
We have a tendancy to distort and warp good things. We turned the basic human need for nutrition and sustenance into McDonalds. With the technology to communicate vital messages to the entire world, we have produced The Bachelor. The authenticity and fun of rock and roll music evolved into Nickelback.
What started as a revolutionary way to live with God and love others, has been distorted again and again. I want to go back to the beauty and the simplicity of the teachings of Jesus. The way of Jesus has compelled, marveled, and inspired people throughout history.
- Hospitals and hospices have been started
- Women, lepers, the poor, different races and ethnicities have found equality
- Peace has prevailed over war and violence
- Enemies have embraced in love
- Successful people have climbed down the ladder in humility and lifted others up
- People have sacrificed their lives for others
In the past few months I’ve seen,
- Young adults from different ethnicites, colors, and political parties worship together joyfully
- A person give their money so others can experience a blessing.
- A mom experience intense tragedy but then be embrace by a community of love and compassion
- My friends with special needs find a place to belong and be welcomed
- A group of people serve the homeless every week
The way of Jesus is alive. It’s vibrant and fresh. It’s doesn’t have the stench of a burning bus — it has the sweet fragrance of love, gentleness, and joy.
This is the Way that I can get behind. This is the Way that I can give my life to.