Thoughts from my Heart for Christian Friends

It takes no time at all to do a Google search and discover an incredible number of Christian leaders who are saying things like Rick Joyner just said, “God seems to be protecting Donald Trump. You smack him and God smacks you back.” In addition, Joyner quotes another “prophet” who received a word that 45 would be a modern day Cyrus the Great of Persia.  So spread throughout the Charismatic believers across this country there is this belief that God chose Donald Trump, God has anointed him and he cannot fail. As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Joyner says that the Trump resistance is powered by the Spirit of Jezebel…of course it is…women with a strong voice are most always considered Jezebel’s in this world. Exhausting.

As one of these nasty Jezebelian women, I’m going to address this stuff tonight just to get it out of me and somewhere else. I’m going to address this with a bit of friendly fire,  a passage from the Old Testament in the Bible because I think it speaks very clearly to the reality of where Evangelical Christianity has veered way off course by becoming so utterly interwoven with the Republican/Tea Party/Alt Right politics.

One of Jesus’s disciples was named Peter and he is reported to have written these words,

1 Peter 5:2-3The Message (MSG)

He’ll Promote You at the Right Time

1-3 I have a special concern for you church leaders. I know what it’s like to be a leader, in on Christ’s sufferings as well as the coming glory. Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way.

The hard cold truth that seems completely absent from the public discourse anymore is that Christian leaders are first and foremost called to be shepherds of those believers under their care. It is what clergy are supposed to do. It is what mature lay people are supposed to grow into. The leaders we see now saying things like this, have forgotten their first love of Jesus and I see little evidence that they are acting as The Bible describes Shepherds of the Christian faith should be acting. Too many are instead usurping the faith’s authority for their own self righteous agenda masked as a prophetic voice.  They honestly seem to have replaced faith in God, fellowship in a community of believers and sacrificial lives of service to others for dictating to others how to think and what to believe about a political movement instead.  This is not what they are called to do or be as Christians. I am not a biblical scholar. In fact I have more doubt about the whole thing than I do certainty but one thing I do know for sure is that what I’m seeing in these “shepherds” is not what I’ve read in the same Bible they use to assert their authority.I guess in a nutshell, I am simply saying that if you are a Christian leader, this is what it seems should be your focus, NOT trying to convince us that Donald Trump is beyond reproach because you think he is chosen by God.

Ezekiel 34The Message (MSG)

When the Sheep Get Scattered

34 1-6 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherd-leaders of Israel. Yes, prophesy! Tell those shepherds, ‘God, the Master, says: Doom to you shepherds of Israel, feeding your own mouths! Aren’t shepherds supposed to feed sheep? You drink the milk, you make clothes from the wool, you roast the lambs, but you don’t feed the sheep. You don’t build up the weak ones, don’t heal the sick, don’t doctor the injured, don’t go after the strays, don’t look for the lost. You bully and badger them. And now they’re scattered every which way because there was no shepherd—scattered and easy pickings for wolves and coyotes. Scattered—my sheep!—exposed and vulnerable across mountains and hills. My sheep scattered all over the world, and no one out looking for them!

7-9 “‘Therefore, shepherds, listen to the Message of God: As sure as I am the living God—Decree of God, the Master—because my sheep have been turned into mere prey, into easy meals for wolves because you shepherds ignored them and only fed yourselves, listen to what God has to say:

10 “‘Watch out! I’m coming down on the shepherds and taking my sheep back. They’re fired as shepherds of my sheep. No more shepherds who just feed themselves! I’ll rescue my sheep from their greed. They’re not going to feed off my sheep any longer!

11-16 “‘God, the Master, says: From now on, I myself am the shepherd. I’m going looking for them. As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I’m going after my sheep. I’ll rescue them from all the places they’ve been scattered to in the storms. I’ll bring them back from foreign peoples, gather them from foreign countries, and bring them back to their home country. I’ll feed them on the mountains of Israel, along the streams, among their own people. I’ll lead them into lush pasture so they can roam the mountain pastures of Israel, graze at leisure, feed in the rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. I’ll go after the lost, I’ll collect the strays, I’ll doctor the injured, I’ll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they’re not exploited.

17-19 “‘And as for you, my dear flock, I’m stepping in and judging between one sheep and another, between rams and goats. Aren’t you satisfied to feed in good pasture without taking over the whole place? Can’t you be satisfied to drink from the clear stream without muddying the water with your feet? Why do the rest of my sheep have to make do with grass that’s trampled down and water that’s been muddied?

20-22 “‘Therefore, God, the Master, says: I myself am stepping in and making things right between the plump sheep and the skinny sheep. Because you forced your way with shoulder and rump and butted at all the weaker animals with your horns till you scattered them all over the hills, I’ll come in and save my dear flock, no longer let them be pushed around. I’ll step in and set things right between one sheep and another.

23-24 “‘I’ll appoint one shepherd over them all: my servant David. He’ll feed them. He’ll be their shepherd. And I, God, will be their God. My servant David will be their prince. I, God, have spoken.

25-27 “‘I’ll make a covenant of peace with them. I’ll banish fierce animals from the country so the sheep can live safely in the wilderness and sleep in the forest. I’ll make them and everything around my hill a blessing. I’ll send down plenty of rain in season—showers of blessing! The trees in the orchards will bear fruit, the ground will produce, they’ll feel content and safe on their land, and they’ll realize that I am God when I break them out of their slavery and rescue them from their slave masters.

28-29 “‘No longer will they be exploited by outsiders and ravaged by fierce beasts. They’ll live safe and sound, fearless and free. I’ll give them rich gardens, lavish in vegetables—no more living half-starved, no longer taunted by outsiders.

30-31 “‘They’ll know, beyond doubting, that I, God, am their God, that I’m with them and that they, the people Israel, are my people. Decree of God, the Master:

You are my dear flock,
    the flock of my pasture, my human flock,
And I am your God.
    Decree of God, the Master.’”

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

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