My God vs. My Country

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Two weekends ago I attended a conference at my church  - “The Threshing Floor, an exclusive place in God’s Presence for a deep work to begin. A place He called safe and secure, to ensure that His promised work in your life be fulfilled.” The 1st night of the conference centered around an intense praise and worship and a Word from a visiting minister. When I say intense, I mean intense.

That Friday night, I was in church with about a hundred other believers for 4hrs. I hadn’t expected to spend my entire evening in church, and I started to feel a bit fatigued and had a massive headache, but I didn’t want to leave! I was overcome by the Spirit. I felt God moving, touching each soul that cried out (oh, did they ever cry out). I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Praise and worship lasted almost 3hrs. It was fascinating to witness all that was happening during this time. People sang, danced, jumped, stood, sat, shouted, cried, fell to their knees, prayed, swayed, stretched their hands heavenward. People praised, people worshiped.  It was indeed intense to not only feel the presence of the Lord dwelling within me but dwelling in all those around me. Though we were together collectively as one body for one purpose, each of us was experiencing our own personal praise. No two worshipers’ praise was the same. There was no pretense on how to worship – to each his/her own. We were free to connect with the Spirit and present ourselves to God as we individually saw fit.

One song (quite possibly played for an hour straight) brought me to tears, as I internally examined my own relationship with God and the spiritual path I traveled, feeling vulnerable and convicted, but also empowered and liberated.

The More I Seek You – Kari Jobe
The more I seek you
The more I find you
The more I find you
The more I love you
I wanna sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand
Lay back against you and breathe
Feel your heart beat
This love is so deep
It’s more than I can stand
I melt in your peace
It’s overwhelming

These lyrics washed over every atom of my being. They so accurately captured how it felt to genuinely seek my Maker, without any reservations, without any outside distractions. And as I looked around through tear-filled eyes, I couldn’t help but think, “This is what it means to love God- here of our own free will to follow Him, to worship Him, to love Him, to have Him dwell in us.” It’s intimate. It’s personal. It’s judgement-free.

Yet when I left the walls of the church, and took a look around, my countrymen would have others believe that being a Christian isn’t a personal choice, an intimate experience, or a relationship without judgment. My countrymen would have others believe Christians spread the gospel through policies and legislation. My countrymen would have you believe that to know Christ is to force specific religious beliefs1 – despite their contradictory nature to what Christ stood for – on others to oppress, suppress, and ostracize those who do not fit their criteria of what is moral and righteous. My countrymen would have you believe that Christianity is a political power play instead of a beloved religion of choice by the believer. My countrymen would have you believe that religious isolation will make this country better.

But when I think of Jesus and His teachings, I don’t think of politics, alienation, control or hatred.  I think of him as my homeboy an extraordinary being who embodied the true meaning of LOVE. He spent time with society’s bottom of the barrel – those deemed evil, undesirable, and unworthy. He showed compassion, love, and mercy to everyone He encountered. Jesus led by example through His actions and deeds. People chose to love and follow Him because they could see the goodness of God through His deeds.

To be a believer of Christ is a personal choice, one that cannot be forced or commandedAnd despite what many of my countrymen might say to the contrary, no amount of laws or political influence can save the souls or make righteous any (wo)man.2 It’s the churches responsibility to help put a believer on the right path, not the government’s.3

As a believer of Christ, I find it absolutely reprehensible to support or promote policies or legislation that does the exact opposite of what Jesus would do – to love, accept and meet people at the point of their need. I’ll NEVER support anti-gay rights, anti-women’s reproductive rights (including abortion), anti- [insert any host of issue that is supposedly about morals here] – laws grounded in ignorance and hate, not in God’s love. I’ll NEVER support policing people’s personal lives that may not agree with religious doctrine. Because these laws won’t make anyone a better person or a better Christian, and supporting/promoting them doesn’t validate one’s moral status.

Christianity shouldn’t be a government-led crusade, but rather a personal journey with a collective purpose. I just pray my country learns to lead by example, as Christ did. I pray my country learns to love their God without acting Godlessly through hate, ignorance, and fear.

Am I alone in this? Does one nation under God mean we must spread the gospel through government force?

Separated by church and state,
~Gem, the Perplexed Disciple

———-
1 Of course, only convenient beliefs. There’s no ban on, say, eating pork for instance…
2 Not that I, for one second, believe that these so-called righteous bastards politicians are truly doing God’s work in their absurd political moral crusades. It’s only smoke and mirrors. But sadly, it’s working.
2 I won’t even go into the church trying in its own way to dominate people’s lives. But fundamentally, I think it’s important for the church to operate in the same love and peace as Christ. Not to condemn, but to set free.

23 thoughts on “My God vs. My Country

    simplysope said:
    April 2, 2012 at 10:03 am

    !!!!! The Spirit is truly one! We’ve been discussing the definition of a true fast, true worship and true prayer. It is only about your heart. Your relationship is personal and you cannot police another person. By using Christ as a weapon to supress others you are damaging the Kingdom and are basically just like the Pharisees. *sigh* Excellent post (again) Gem! It’s always nice to know that the Lord is saying the same thing to people in different places.

      gemmieboo responded:
      April 2, 2012 at 11:38 am

      thanks chica!! we are >>here<<

      By using Christ as a weapon to supress others you are damaging the Kingdom and are basically just like the Pharisees.

      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      exactly!!!! sometimes i watch these religious hypocritical zealots and i wanna start turning over tables like Jesus did in the temples. SMH

    Wu Young, Agent of M.E. said:
    April 2, 2012 at 10:19 am

    ” Am I alone in this? Does one nation under God mean we must spread the gospel through government force?”

    No you aren’t alone.

    I have a odd relationship with religion. I’m not really a churchy guy and I never have been. On the other hand I’ve never not believed in the Almighty or never not prayed. Living in the Bible belt I often get odd looks when I say this. My mindset also tempers how I feel about My God and My nation, both of which I love.

    When I tell folks that church and state were seperated to protect the state from the church I may as well say that cornbread is the worst food ever. (Everybody loves cornbread!!!) When I say that the main reason that the first Euros came here was to get away from the state based religions of Europe (Well outside of greed). The Puritans, Pilgrims, and everyone else wanted to pray how they wanted to without the governing body being influenced by folks who praise God in a different manner.

    However today’s GOP seeks to legislate the morality of everyone. I can’t vibe with the heavy-handed old-time rhetoric of the Santorum’s and others. Their view of religion was used to keep me and others like me in chains. Again, I can’t. I take my relationship with God very personal. I keep it to myself. (I feel the same about my Patriotism.)

    Long story short I DO NOT want Uncle Sam to spread religion in any way. I don’t care if it isn’t with the pen of a legislator or the sharpened point of a spear. All I need for them to do is protect me and my friends of all faiths while we do pray.

    It’s simple really…

      gemmieboo responded:
      April 2, 2012 at 11:50 am

      I have a odd relationship with religion. I’m not really a churchy guy and I never have been.

      funny you mention this. i am a churchy person – i LOVE going to church, worshiping and fellow-shipping with other believers. but i too have an odd relationship with religion. i dont agree with a lot of religious doctrine taught in the church, nor do i feel comfortable with using the Bible as a means to shame, alienate, or condemn others.

      When I tell folks that church and state were seperated to protect the state from the church I may as well say that cornbread is the worst food ever.

      ditto!!! i made the mistake of voicing my opinions about being pro-choice during a bible study. i might as well have said hail to Pharaoh for killing all the 1st born sons in Egypt.

      take my relationship with God very personal. I keep it to myself. (I feel the same about my Patriotism.)

      again, we are >>here<< i feel the same way. though i am open about my spiritual beliefs, i dont try to compare my experience to or use it against anyone else.

      Long story short I DO NOT want Uncle Sam to spread religion in any way. I don’t care if it isn’t with the pen of a legislator or the sharpened point of a spear. All I need for them to do is protect me and my friends of all faiths while we do pray.

      well said sir!!

      if only it were that simple though. smdh…

      thanks for commenting!

    madscientist7 said:
    April 2, 2012 at 11:10 am

    great post ww. i’m torn on how church can be separated from state. on one hand you have judgmental politicians like rick who’s-last-name-shall-not-be-mentioned-on-this-blog who use their personal beliefs to try to persecute and suppress the individual rights of others. i don’t understand how you can try to force someone else to live a certain way. on the other side i do believe that your personal beliefs comprise who you are as a person and how you go about a role in leadership. i think it takes a fine balance to belief in what you believe in and not try to press it upon others.

    “Jesus led by example through His actions and deeds. People chose to love and follow Him because they could see the goodness of God through His deeds”

    this is right here is so true. i have a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior. if you can relate to that then that’s great but i would never look down upon someone who doesn’t share the same beliefs or worships in the same way that i do. i wish more people (esp bible thumpers) would lead more by example instead of shunning and talking down to people who don’t worship in an preconceived idea of how they feel people should worship.

      gemmieboo responded:
      April 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      on the other side i do believe that your personal beliefs comprise who you are as a person and how you go about a role in leadership. i think it takes a fine balance to belief in what you believe in and not try to press it upon others

      i feel you to a degree. yes, our moral and religious beliefs shape us and often define us. but i dont think our beliefs have to be used AGAINST others. so person A believes it is a sin for 2 ppl of the same sex to sleep together – does that give them the right to impose that belief on ALL ppl?? does supporting laws that forbid same sex relationships make that person a better person of their faith? or furthermore, does supporting said laws make anyone else a better person of that faith? and if same sex relationships are allowed to happen, does that threaten one’s faith and/or salvation? the answer to ALL of these questions is NO.

      when you force your beliefs about one’s PERSONAL LIFE and BODY on others, then its no longer about your faith or your moral beliefs. its about control and domination. and we all know how well that worked out for American slaves.

      i would never look down upon someone who doesn’t share the same beliefs or worships in the same way that i do.

      exactly. and how can you impose personal religious beliefs on a country made of people with many different beliefs (hell, even Christians have highly varying degrees of interpretation of the faith).

      there HAS TO BE a better way to rule this nation than using religious rhetoric to shun ppl.

    mzninasoul said:
    April 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    This biggest thing I’ve learned in my walk with Christ is “giving people grace”. The grace to grow, grace to fall and most importantly the grace to get back up. I think what’s lacking in the political arena is grace for those who don’t believe what they do. What you described so beautifully about your experience at church was worshiping the Lord “in spirit and in truth”. What these politicians seem to not realize is that truth is shown in action and not just in words. I think like Tunde said above its a fine line – but if these Christian politicians operated in the grace in which Christ did – it would be an entirely different ball game. When you show love, respect concern, but always tell the truth – people are more apt to listen. I don’t know I hope this made sense. I have been seriously praying for our politicians because given my beliefs its going to be a tough decision for me.

      gemmieboo responded:
      April 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      This biggest thing I’ve learned in my walk with Christ is “giving people grace”. The grace to grow, grace to fall and most importantly the grace to get back up. I think what’s lacking in the political arena is grace for those who don’t believe what they do.

      absolutely!!

      When you show love, respect concern, but always tell the truth – people are more apt to listen

      i agree whole-heartedly with this. controlling through hate and fear will only breed resentment and later rebellion. but operating in love and compassion can lead to peace and long-lasting happiness. this CLEARLY isnt on their agenda tho…

      thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    Cheekie said:
    April 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    “But when I think of Jesus and His teachings, I don’t think of politics, alienation, control or hatred. I think of him as my homeboy an extraordinary being who embodied the true meaning of LOVE.”

    YES! I’ve never been one for a fear-mongering church. It’s why I gravitate to those that revel in God’s LOVE, Jesus’… LOVE. And I feel that any other feeling, whether that be fear, control, worry, hate… is the opposite of that. I remember growing up thinking that God was this big bad force that condemned me for everything I did wrong. Now I’m of the mind that every action has a consequence (good or bad… folks mostly think they’re only bad) but that God loves us all the time. And that’s the feeling I rather revel in.

    Great post! You illustrated exactly how I feel about this in general!

      gemmieboo responded:
      April 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      but that God loves us all the time

      YESS!!! and if He loves us in all our mess, who is anyone to not show love, grace, or mercy to others who are just as imperfect?!?! sorry to say but Christians got the game F*CKED UP!! smh we are hustling backwards and i dont believe God is pleased…

      thanks cheeks *hugs*

        Cheekie said:
        April 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm

        “and if He loves us in all our mess, who is anyone to not show love, grace, or mercy to others who are just as imperfect?!?! ”

        EXACTLY. The “holier-than-thou” mess irks me. Especially when they speak for God… wrongfully.

        *happily returns hug*

        gemmieboo responded:
        April 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm

        :)

        Wu Young, Agent of M.E. said:
        April 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

        “The “holier-than-thou” mess irks me.”

        Much like the oppression Olympics I actually think people are participating in the Sanctified Games on the low… but out in the open.

    DQ said:
    April 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    A lot of what you said here, needs to be said again at a larger venue where more people can hear it. Just like the law doesn’t equate to justice (as we are re-learning with Trayvon Martin) law also doesn’t equate to morality. Banning gay marriage will not make us a moral society anymore than banning alcohol did. We are no more or less moral with the ban of either. And no law can change what anyone feels “is right” and “should be”.

    I would caution however that, the campaign to “control the narrative” is not one limited to politicians, Christians, or any one demographic. We live in an era where very few collectives are seeking merely to avoid the legislated morals of others, but rather they are seeking to establish a new moral center based on their own beliefs. And everyone does it. And just because groups might have some shared goals doesn’t mean they have shared agendas; the right wing’s marriage to Christian Fundamentalists illustrates this well.

    No one should have the right or platform to dictate the beliefs to others; including the people whose beliefs we share and agree with.

      gemmieboo responded:
      April 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      A lot of what you said here, needs to be said again at a larger venue where more people can hear it.

      maann, listen. i would broadcast this to the ends of the earth if i could.

      Banning gay marriage will not make us a moral society anymore than banning alcohol did. We are no more or less moral with the ban of either. And no law can change what anyone feels “is right” and “should be”.

      !!!!!!!!!!! not enough !’s to co-sign this.

      And just because groups might have some shared goals doesn’t mean they have shared agendas; the right wing’s marriage to Christian Fundamentalists illustrates this well.

      agreed. its not just a political thing. but thats whats on my radar given all the buzz for Election 2012.

      thanks for sharing your insight, homes!

    nicknotnikki said:
    April 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I haven’t read all the comments, please forgive me..

    Every time I think of this argument, my blood boils a little bit..

    The fact that some would use Christianity as the governing basis REGARDLESS of the fact that this country guarantees freedom to practice whatever religion baffles me.. The argument is usually, “the country was founded on Christian principles, that’s what I stand for” is often used. This country also had laws that made us 3/5ths of a person. If we can benefit from the laws that now say we count for a WHOLE person, then why you decide to ignore the one that says “separation of church and state?”
    (these arguments make more sense in my head, I don’t always articulate them properly)

    It annoys me, that the loudest, most ignorant Christians are what the world sees as the ambassadors of the whole group. Would they be fighting so hard to “return this country to its roots” if this country was founded on Buddhist principles? Suppose the things that Christians practices/believed was considered immoral? How does that make this any better than the countries we send missionary money to?

    to use God’s name and practice the opposite of everything that HE stood for makes me puke.. Not only that, but it makes me not want to stand anywhere beside you in case He decides at that moment to strike you down.. I don’t understand it. For God to give me free will and for you to take it away somehow means that you’ve placed yourself above the rights that my Lord has given me.. How can you think your religion is the most moral one? Just because I believe in Christ doesn’t mean everyone else has to in order for me to consider them worthy of my friendship and love.. Get outta here with that…

    I love you for this post Gemmie Choo!!!
    and ya know I love you…

      gemmieboo responded:
      April 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      The argument is usually, “the country was founded on Christian principles, that’s what I stand for” is often used. This country also had laws that made us 3/5ths of a person.

      word. ppl only use their Christianity when its convenient for THEM and THEIR AGENDA. smdh

      For God to give me free will and for you to take it away somehow means that you’ve placed yourself above the rights that my Lord has given me.. How can you think your religion is the most moral one? Just because I believe in Christ doesn’t mean everyone else has to in order for me to consider them worthy of my friendship and love..

      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! say it again…

      thanks for sharing, nickerz! :)

    That Damn African said:
    April 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Great post!

    “But when I think of Jesus and His teachings, I don’t think of politics, alienation, control or hatred. I think of him as my homeboy an extraordinary being who embodied the true meaning of LOVE.”

    A-effing-men. This whole “us vs them” thing that certain Christians have has always rubbed me the wrong way. To completely misunderstand the teachings of Jesus like that is just depressing. His entire life, He brought people to the Kingdom through compassion, inclusion, and love. Not through segregation, judgement, and superiority. Half of these Christians hide their racism and bigotry behind these beliefs and the other half just enjoy the feeling of superiority it gives them. It hurts the most when you realize how many people they turn away from Christ by their actions and words. Of course, I still believe that a majority of Christians are of Jesus’s ilk, but unfortunately, like many other social groups, the minority is far louder than we are.

      gemmieboo responded:
      April 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      His entire life, He brought people to the Kingdom through compassion, inclusion, and love. Not through segregation, judgement, and superiority.

      word. its really unfortunate that this very simple principle is lost or neglected by sooooo many “Christians”. i can see why Gandhi said “i like your Christ but i don’t like your Christians” (paraphrased). smh we cant even represent Him right!!!! ugh

      thanks for commenting.

        Wu Young, Agent of M.E. said:
        April 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm

        “i like your Christ but i don’t like your Christians”

        And there it is

        gemmieboo responded:
        April 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm

        i believe the whole quote is – “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    I Am Your People said:
    April 5, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Am I alone in this? Does one nation under God mean we must spread the gospel through government force?

    What I love about these so-called ‘Christians’ running for office – their religion instructs them to legislate on gay marriage and abortion, but not on programs to save the poor? Isn’t the latter the group Jesus explicitly said needed our protection and love? Wake me up in late November, please

    breezy9791 said:
    April 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I am so glad I found your blog Gemmie!!!

    “It’s overwhelming” Yes what God did for us thru the atonement of Christ on the cross is overwhelming!

    I was just thinking this morning about just how much we are LOVED, loved before we even existed..provision made before we ever had a need. The grace of God is overwhelming and because of what Jesus did on the cross we have an abundance of God’s everlasting grace and mercy.

    So it doesn’t matter what twisted religious folks try to say I know that He loves us, oh how he loves us, oh how he loves us, oh how He loves!

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