Category Archives: god thoughts

a dialogue between christians and scientologists

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“So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old, and
Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold.”

-Dar Williams/The Christians & The Pagans

I must first give credit to the source of this information– Erwin McManus at Mosaic.  You can download his sermon -“Truth Between Us: Scientology and Christianity” here.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • We should not be surprised that Scientology’s incubator is Los Angeles.  It should be no surprise that it encompasses the culture of LA.
  • We should not be surprised that L. Ron Hubbard made his living from writing and using his imagination.  LA is the epicenter of creativity.
  • LA is also the epicenter of brokenness, the artisan’s dilemma.

You can’t be an artist without being depressed.  -E. McManus

These central narratives of Scientology can be defined as “the truth between us:”

  • Every human being is spirit.  We are essentially spirits with bodies.

“Scientology is where atheists and loners came together.” -Paul Haggis

  • Scientology emerged in the 1950’s when the Church was focused on “sin management.”  Scientology was focused on a human’s “unlimited creative potential.”

Where it’s a little overstated is the word, “unlimited.”  Change “unlimited” to “unimaginable” and this aligns itself with the Christian perspective.  Dreams and imagination are part of how God designed us.  The human spirit does need to hear that.  Jesus does want to come to the table and speak to that.

Scientology countered the idea that we need to live in our weakness.  Christianity agrees: “in our weakness is His strength.”  Where we deter slightly is that, even in our optimal best, God is still way better.

  • Scientology stepped into Christianity’s silence on creativity and imagination.

Scientology says that there are wounds and scars in our past lives that paralyze us from truly living.  If you take out “past lives” and simply state that there are wounds and scars in our past that paralyze us from truly living, we really could agree.  Scientology created the “E-Meter” to deal with this karmic debt.  Christians needed to address these deep wounds and brokenness to be relevant in LA.  Scientology has — perhaps this is why it’s “mecca” is in Los Angeles.

Some of us spend our whole lives just holding the broken pieces together (like a broken mosaic).  These things anchor us to the past.  That’s where Scientology steps in for so many Angelenos.  While most of us are born unordinary with unordinary potential, the tragedy is that we choose ordinary lives and die ordinary.

Where we align with Scientology is when we realize that living out of our best is not incongruent with God’s plan.  Yet, there’s so much stuff holding us back.  We’re living under all this rubble.

Romans 12:2 calls us to be free from the weight that standardizes us.

Again, I urge you to listen to the full sermon here.  I am longing for a world that seeks, as Erwin McManus says, to find the truth between us.  To find where we agree, where we can sit together.

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there’s nobody quite as mean…

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“there’s nobody quite as mean as people being mean for jesus.” – rev. welton gaddy (baptist pastor, president of the interfaith alliance, and spiritual advisor to chely wright)

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changeling

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I have really struggled with my faith over the past year or so.  Actually, when I think about it I really haven’t doubted God so much as I have lost a great deal of faith in church.  I probably too-obviously hint about it and then try to act coy like no one gets it.  But this boy-loving girl just doesn’t understand why the Christian world at large is sometimes so-hateful toward my boy friends that like boys.  I get that this isn’t a big issue for everyone and I probably make it a bigger issue than it needs to be, but I just want to scream when I feel people make God out to be a hate-monger.  But I really do pick fights and need to confess that, both to my Dad and to everyone else.  This probably has something to do with some lacking area in my own life, things I am working through.  I think the frustration with church (not a specific church mind you, but the American church at large) buts up and juxtaposes itself against coming to terms with my own issues (abuse, parents divorce and remarriage, etc…things that are just too painful and not appropriate for a public blog).  I am in counseling and thriving, which is a testament enough!  :)  I am fighting with the idea of institutionalized religion and authority, and I’m sure I’ll work through it and come to terms with it.

And at the end of the day, I know God is still God.  I am thankful that while I fight internally about the concept and realities of church–I know without a shadow of a doubt that there is a God in all this mess.  I don’t know exactly what that always looks like or understand the complexities of how everyone relates to that.

But THE POINT IS I saw “Changeling” last night and it was fabulous.  Fabulous actually isn’t the right word, that is more fitting for something light and bubbly and refreshing in my humble opinion.  Changeling was moving and gut-wrenching and important and earnest.  It was traumatic and enriching and a story too important not to tell.  It was why I want to be in this industry more than anything, to tell stories that need to be told.  I get more spiritual insights from film and tv than anything else really.  Sounds crazy to some but it’s how God works in my life

“Changeling” reminded me big time of something I needed to be reminded of.  There is evil and oppression and injustice and corruption out there and in my own life.  That movie was so piercing to my heart.  All I wanted to do is run home and hold all the babies in my care.  To protect children everywhere.  There was so much evil in the hearts of the villians in the story–the man who brutally kidnapped and murdered those boys, the police chief who tried to bury the story, the policeman who had Collins put into a horrific mental institution and emotionally assaulted her in such corrupt ways, the cruel psychiatrist at the institution).  There is no hope in this world but a God who can redeem, restore and save us.  That movie reminded me of so many things, but one thing stood out–this world is so in need of a savior.  The lyrics that kept pingponging around my mind during the most intense scenes to watch were, “justice and mercy meet on the cross” (from Brenton Brown’s ‘Jesus You Are Worthy’).

So despite my own struggle with institutional church I know there is a God out there and I need God to save me.

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one world

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and they say you can’t learn essentially spiritual messages from pop-culture?  maybe they haven’t lived in my mind yet! :)  antm cycle 11 (i’m so behind, catching it when posted on youtube because i don’t have cable).

message to myself:
for being two quiet “white girls” one knew how to embrace, include and understand and one sure didn’t.  annaleigh, mad props.  hannah, don’t be so afraid.  jesus loves fiercely, unabashedly, wholly – i want to reflect a winsome faith rather than a prejudicial one.  i hope i can become more like annaleigh.  she sought to understand the heart of the matter.  where there was “i and thou” she pursued “we and us”.

if the sky is heaven

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I don’t know if the sky is heaven but I pray anyways.

-Idina Menzel, “I Stand”

While Jesus means something to me, I want to know why people of inter-faith have been so much kinder to me than 90% of Christians.  Maybe their kindness is more genuine and less saccharine, or maybe I just offend a lot of Christians without meaning to.  Again…without meaning to offend, I humbly ask why so many Christians have to be so damn smug?  Sure it’s not just “them” and I fall into that category too, but I’m still thinking that I like the idea of hoping for universalism in the end.  :)

Here’s a few thoughts that I’m currently stewing on:

  • Isn’t it more life-giving and Jesus-affirming to hope that universalism is true rather than hoping in hell? 
  • Can’t one believe in the person of Jesus Christ and think his personhood could extend to “save all” even without their acknowledgment of him?  If Jesus really is God, isn’t Jesus bigger than the Westernized Christianity we have been brought up with?  I heard this quote recently and I really found it interesting, God has no religion.
  • If God is who some say God is, wouldn’t a loving God extend grace even to those who do not profess faith?  I would, and I’m not very loving, so if God is love, isn’t that possible?  For example, say there is a fire at the school I work at.  I’m going to do my best to get every three year old in my care out of the burning building whether or not they think I’m cool or idolize me.  Even if I know for fact they don’t like me very much.  I’m still going to recognize that they are freaking only 3 years old and extend to them every benefit-of-the-doubt and do everything I can to show them I care.  So doesn’t God realize we are pretty much “spiritual babies” and cut us a break too?
  • If all truth is God’s truth and all love is God’s love is all faith God’s faith and so on?  I think the whole believing in a God part is easy, it’s the believing in the church stuff that’s hard for me.  So if I’m only 6% loving and God is INFINITY loving, wouldn’t God just give a lot of people a break?  I mean organized religion as man has created it has messed a lot of people up, if I know that I’d think God knows that exponentially more? 
  • And again, why have people of multi/interfaith showed me so much more of who Christ is than most people who “believe exclusively in Jesus”?

I should probably crack a Bible open since I have no clue what Christians would say to half these questions, but I’d also like to know what everybody else is saying.  Because hoping for universalism isn’t so bad, right?  For now, God has no religion. :)

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and if i dont reach in there and grab as many of them as i can carry everyday, then i deserve to get sent right back there.

-“simon” on studio 60 (dl hughley)

salvation.  liberation.  redemption.  transformation.  i don’t just mean these in the born-again bible-believing hook-line-and-sinker way we’ve been taught.  i mean these words, yes, spiritually, but broader than just those who call themselves “christians”.  i’m talking about faith.  about beauty.  about art and truth and love.  i feel like if someone has extended these qualities to you, if they have reached into the muck and carried you out.  if they have delivered you.  if they have opened the doors to your dreams.  you should pay it forward.  if you seek integrity, i think it is necessary.  i don’t see how it is personally avoidable.  if someone ever opens the door to my dreams, a director thinks outside the box and casts me in a truthful, mainstream way…the only way i could live up to it were to extend that to others, wherever possible.  the joy from acting, from being paid to emote like that, would simply bubble over and i couldn’t help myself not to.  the joy would be impossible to contain.  what do you think?

practically flawed in every way

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practically perfect in every way.  i’m sure they aren’t really, but i’ve stumbled upon the perfect scene of my former ambitions.  i’m enjoying the air conditioning at peet’s on queen anne when i stumbled upon four very “ann taylor loft” young professionals having bible study.  they really are a pretty picture.  petite, blonde, perky, professional, sweet and soft-spoken.  other than the petite and once in a while the perky, i feel like an alien.  bibles open, they seem really committed to studying.

and it’s kind of funny, because four years ago i would have been so there.  maybe somewhere along the way my faith got weathered, i got jaded, life made me angry or i just got real.  i’m not implying that they aren’t genuine, just realizing that i wasn’t when i tried to be them. 

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