Friday, December 16, 2011

Expose the Lie

How's my mental health today?

It's been quiet day with a couple of interesting conversations. The first was with my massage therapist while she was digging her fingers deep into the very sore muscles of my shoulder. The second was with the plumber who came to fix our heating.

The plumber had heard that I had been caretaker of our building many years ago, and he was curious to know when that had been. As we talked we learned that he knew my parents and his father's past intersected with my family in some odd ways. It was a reminder that if we take the time to converse with people it doesn't take long to find a point on which we connect. Since he's in our building frequently I'm curious to see where future conversations with this man might go.

My massage therapist and I talked about her experiences in various churches. In particular we talked about some of the questionable teaching she had experienced. That reminded me of times where I heard things spoken from the pulpit that were very strange and off the mark (from my knowledge and understanding). Where do these questionable doctrines and interpretations come from?

While surfing the internet I came across a quote that took me aback. The unattributed quote stated, "Jesus called ----- he wants his religion back. The roots of all of the great religions/traditions - core message -- love yourself, love others, love God."

What? Where did this come from?  Is there a cosmic 'telephone game' happening that's distorting and changing messages?

Matthew 22: 37-40 says this: Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” 

The Matthew message is quite different than the earlier quote. Rather than God first, then others and finally self, the unknown author puts self before others and God last. Also - Jesus wants his religion back? When did Jesus talk about religion?

I've frequently come across some disturbingly destructive beliefs that resulted in a vulnerable person being harmed. In one case, a young woman, diagnosed with schizophrenia was advised that if she had faith, she wouldn't need medications. All she had to do was renounce the devil and the voices would stop. The young woman trusted these 'mentors', stopped taking her meds and it didn't take long before she became so psychotic that she had to be hospitalized involuntarily.

There are many stories of harm perpetrated by people messing in areas they know nothing about.. How can one combat that?  How can we protect the vulnerable?

It begins by discerning the truth, then exposing the lie.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, 
because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 
1 John 4:1 

  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: 
to look after orphans and widows in their distress 
and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. 
James 1:27

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