The enemy will use every weapon he has to make you think you are not saved – even other Christians. He can’t take you from God but he can make you think he did. He usually uses all of the things that influence you to make you think you’re a goner. I like to listen to music to hear from God. I don’t always hear a distinct or loud voice in my head that sounds like God so I listen to music to make me feel connected to him. It seems to calm my nerves and put a positive mantra in my head. Many people don’t realize the potency of music. It has the ability to do some amazing things.
All of our atoms operate on a vibration. We consist of space and atoms but we are mostly space. When our energy is off our vibration can become low. Music has the power to change our vibration. My advice: choose your music wisely. If the music you listen to is negative, sad or angry you will automatically feel your body and mind respond to the music and the emotion it is evoking. This is why I hate Christian music that has any type of negativity in it. I don’t get mad when there is negative music that is secular because that originated with someone who was feeling negative. However, I don’t think there is a place for negativity in Christian music. I’m not saying that Christians never feel negative. I’m saying there is no reason to put it to music.
Back to my opening statement about the enemy and my point: why Christian music should not be negative. If you are worried about losing your soul, do not call yourself a Christian. If you do not have the essential faith to say that Christ’s payment was enough for your sins don’t call yourself a Christian. I’m tired of songs that say stupid stuff like “I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my soul.” If that were possible you wouldn’t be a Christian, right? Who is in power? God, who has the power to save your soul, or you, who have the power to lose it? What do you believe? Make it clear. Don’t play secular music on the Christian station. That’s about it.
Christian culture sometimes likes to cultivate negativity so that it can close with a positive note. I notice this at my church. They will oftentimes make you feel like you’re a piece of shit during the sermon then afterwards offer you the salvation to your troubles which they say is the particular prayer they are peddling that week. Prayer works, don’t get me wrong but if you’re saying the same one every week expecting to get different results you’ve just defined insanity. What the church I go to does is tell you you are bad then offer you a prayer to say to make you better. However, ninety-nine percent of the people there are Christians in the first place so saying the same prayer every week is not going to save their souls. Christ already did. Instead of empowering them with ways they can start walking in their faith, they just offer a prayer and ask for money. I don’t think this is enough.
Sometimes I get the sense, too, that the Christian church just wants us to have babies. I don’t really understand why. The world has so many orphans. Why not encourage adoption? Why is the culmination of the Christian church marriage? As if marriage were the answer. If it were the answer why did it not work for most of our divorced parents? Why do churches expect broken people to make perfect marriages. By broken, I mean those children that originally came from broken homes. Songs say that love is the only thing that matters but by that they mean marital love that makes nuclear homes and consumes everything in sight. That is the American way. I think the Christian church looks a lot different in Cambodia or China where commodities aren’t so easy to come by.
One of my pet peeves is people that don’t make sense and won’t admit it. Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I was on my way to my boyfriend’s parents’ house to have dinner when I heard Toby Mac on the radio sing, “I don’t wanna gain the whole world and lose my soul.” First of all, if Toby is a Christian, I feel sorry for him. He’s obviously in his mind committed himself to Christ and yet still worries about losing his soul. This is something Paul warns about in Hebrews. The Apostle Paul talks about those that are recrucifying Christ by sinning after they are saved. Nothing makes me angrier. Why? Let me explain.
Back about ten years ago, I would have considered myself a vigilant Christian. Basically, this is someone who is always worried about losing their soul. I went to church. I studied the bible. On the inside, all I did was worry. I worried if I had sinned in my thoughts or if I had said or done something that would cause me to go to hell. Either you want to go to hell or you don’t. If you don’t you won’t worry because you know that your intention is to be with God. My intention was to be with Christians. I thought Christians were all on the right path because they were constantly peppering their conversations with, “I pray” or “I’ll pray for you” – you know the Christian legaleze. Always, they and I would correct ourselves if ever we stepped out of line. It was all bullshit. Humans are not perfect even after we’re saved. We are supposed to be in a process – a learning process. No Christian pops out of the baptismal primordial water with a perfect, and actualized self. If that were the case we all would have arrived because no one would consciously choose this hell of making mistakes and learning from them.
As I was riding in the car on the expressway, in the pouring rain and ominous-looking clouds overhead, I thought – just for a second, “Shit! What if my soul is at home and I’m leaving it behind to be with my family on Thanksgiving?” Which is about ten miles down the expressway. Then I thought, no! Why does this always happen when I go to go somewhere I want to go? When I drive twelve miles down the road to go to church on Sunday Toby Mac isn’t belting some crap about me losing my soul. I said to myself, “I am not going to worry,” only because it is in my nature and I have a tendency to worry about things like that.
My experience in earlier years was that I did go to hell. I was in a pit of sulfur, brought there by a flying demon (in my sleep) when I prayed the Lord’s Prayer and woke up safely in my bed with my lungs still burning. I really don’t even know what I did to get there. I was living against the Lord’s Will but I was still a Christian. I didn’t feel what I was doing was wrong so I didn’t stop doing it. I was basically living a promiscuous lifestyle and wasting money. I went to church. No one was rebuking me. My conscience wasn’t feeling convicted. I just had a nightmare that I was in hell.
I still had faith and God saw that as sufficient enough reason to save me. I still believed God was good. I had not arrived but I still believed, which, incidentally, is arrival enough to God. This is why the Apostle Paul seemed like such a turd to me in years later. He perpetuated the idea that Christ wasn’t enough. If we didn’t hang on tight enough with our strict theology we could blaspheme against the Holy Spirit or some such nonsense and do the one thing that would send us to hell for eternity. Don’t get me wrong, I know that Paul suffered in his ministry. But so did Job and Job was saved by God, not his own precious knowledge or sufferings. I think Paul suffered because the physical pain of his sufferings was more familiar and comfortable to him than the freedom and freefall of knowing he was safe. These are more reasons why I think we are not wise to refer to the bible as the infallible Word of God. Christ is the Word. The red lettering in the bible – that’s the Word. What Christ speaks to you – that is the Word. Paul may have authority over the church but it’s a sick type of authority. It’s an authority that believes it’s still ok to write curses on people that don’t agree with you. What salvation does the bible offer those people with black skin? Apparently, those under the curse can never inherit the promise of God. But there is no curse, no black, no white, no sex, no gender, no slave or free – all are free under Christ.
When I was sinning and not listening to God and doing what the church (Paul’s following) tried to condemn me for I was only doing what was in my nature to do. I thought it would make me happy, it didn’t and I suffered. But when my conscience wasn’t convinced I was sinning it didn’t hurt and what doesn’t hurt us should certainly not have the power to condemn us. But neither should Christians. Even if we are Paul and have more “Apostolic Authority” because we’ve suffered more beatings, we don’t have the right to crucify other Christians because we still struggle with guilt. I say, first absolve your own guilt by working out your salvation in a reasoning process in your own mind with God on one side and hell on the other then realize you are not guilty because Christ said so but for God’s sake Paul, quit pushing people over the edge you can’t manage to overcome.
The problem with the Bible is legalism. I spent years conscious of every move I made and every breath I took and tried to be flawless. All it gave me was a stomach-ache and an uneasy feeling. I got sick of pretending to be perfect and started doing what I wanted. This made people at my church unhappy. They made me step down from responsibilities I had taken on and also they backed out of my life in terms of support. I don’t know how they expected me to recover and I don’t think they cared. But God still cared and my family still cared and for those reasons I am here today. I wake up to every sunrise grateful and glad I didn’t give in.