Why are evangelical christians so gullible?
Prone to conspiracy theories?
Ready to take a stand for something/someone having no idea where the truth is?
While I was filling up our coffee pot this morning, it just sorta dawned on me.
I read a meme last night which said Donald Trump is all about us trusting God.
Joe Biden is about us trusting government.
Donald Trump is a “hero” because he talks about God.
There it is.
Somehow christians have become really good at believing what comes out of someone’s mouth.
It starts with our confession of faith, yes?
Did they say they wanted to invite Jesus into their heart?
Did they come forward?
Raise their hand?
Make an outward expression of an inward decision?
Something like that.
It’s all about the right words.
Say the right prayer.
Repeat after me.
Say this prayer and your name will be written in the book of life.
One little prayer gets you into Heaven.
And I bought it.
Hook, line, and sinker.
For most of my life I believed it was about a prayer.
I actually had young people repeat after me.
And then told them they were good to go.
They now had a passport to an eternity with Jesus.
It was all about the words.
And how about this one?
If someone says “I’m a Christian”?
We will buy whatever that is person is selling.
We will do business with this person.
We will automatically believe this person is safe.
Get our car fixed by them.
Buy a cake from them.
Listen to their music.
And on and on and on and on.
We people who have said the prayer have got to stick together.
And follow our leaders.
You know, the ones who say all the right words?
We blindly follow… right into the pit of hell.
I’m not talking about a “literal” hell.
More like, hell on earth.
A place where anxiety and depression reign.
Where we learn to hate.
And most importantly?
Fear everything and everyone outside of our circle.
The circle of people who have said a prayer.
Maybe, just maybe, I’m oversimplifying it?
Maybe we would say it’s about a prayer AND about fruit.
But…. What fruit are we talking about?
Love, patience, peace, kindness, gentleness, etc?
Or… maybe the fruit of telling others to say the dang prayer.
The fruit of following the ones who tell us to say the prayer.
The fruit of listening to the music of the ones who have said the prayer.
Going to the right school where all the people who have said the prayer go.
How did we get here?
How did it come down to words?
When I read the Bible and Jesus told us to “Love God and Love others”.
He didn’t say to “say a prayer”.
He said to “Love”.
This is how people will know we are Christians.
By our love.
I remember having a priest counsel Kevin and me before we got married.
He told us that God is love.
And because we love each other?
We can know that we know God.
I pushed back.
I pushed back hard.
Twenty-three year old Karen talking back to a priest.
It’s not about “loving each other”.
It’s about praying a prayer.
I truly believed I knew more than Father Ed.
I was mistaken.
And I kept being “mistaken” for years to follow.
Until one day, it just became clear.
Our pastor told us he had talked to someone and that person had explained “the gospel” to him.
And because this person had been able to describe a court room scene where Jesus took the penalty?
This person was in fact “a Christian”.
Everything began to unravel for me.
God is up in Heaven, writing our names down “if” we say the right words?
If we get our theology correct?
It started feeling like up was down and down was up.
I would shake my head.
I would stare out my bedroom window and wonder if there was even a God at all.
My world was falling apart.
Nothing made sense anymore.
And I’m so very glad the whole thing unraveled.
I started using the common sense which God had given me.
I stopped believing that words were the ticket.
I read my Bible for the first time without the framing I had been taught.
I saw Jesus.
I read about love.
His words got ahold of my heart.
Love one another.
Care for the poor.
Tell others of my love for them.
The Kingdom of Heaven is now.
Rejoice in this.
It’s really good news.
Turns out, salvation isn’t some words we say and a ticket into the pearly gates.
Salvation is here.
He lives in us.
When we can start thinking for ourselves and stop believing the lies.
Jesus will become real to us.
And to the people around us.
The greatest compliment one can give me?
“I see Jesus in you.”
Not “I hear Jesus in the words you tell me or in your great theology”.
Just a simple “I see Jesus in you.”
Karen R Shock resides in Fort Wayne, IN with her husband and their youngest son. She had three more children who are married and four beautiful grandchildren. Oh, and a dog name JT Barrett (Go Bucks). She is a retired homeschool mom and is now a high school teacher and cheer coach. Life is hard, but fun.