Healing Power

Running commentary on how Jesus' Healing Power is affecting my life - and helping me to help others.

Monday, April 02, 2007

V for Vendetta

This weekend, I watched my new favorite movie. Well, it hasn't replaced Star Wars Episode III, but it has joined it at the top (along with Pink Floyd's The Wall and others - I'm not a discriminating person! :). Like most of my favorite movies, they are not really suitable for viewing by youngsters (Star Wars being the exception). They are all full of deeper philosophy and meaning than what appears on the surface. V for Vendetta is no exception.

The thing that struck me about it, however, is different from all the reviews I've read this weekend. I was struck by their portrayal of Christians. Is that really what the rest of the world thinks about us? Is that really what we want them to think about us?

In the movie, England is run by a radical Christian theocracy, in all reality no different from the Ayatollah or Taliban. The "Voice of London" says at the beginning how he hates the "muslims, hawma-sexuals, terrorists... I'm a God-fearing Englishman and I'm [g-d] proud of it!"

To many, he is the image of Christianity. He is what they've seen of us. And they want nothing to do with us because of it.

At first, I was a little offended at what I saw. I mean, they're really making Christians look bad. But what they portrayed was simply what many non-Christians see when they look at us.

Let's take a look at the Gay Rights issue in the United States. That's not a very hot topic. LAUGHTER

At the root of it is the desire of two people who care deeply about each other desiring to be joined in a civil union. These people believe that their rights are not being honored simply because they are of the same gender. There are many in the Christian community who agree with them. What is so wrong with this - so that one can provide the other with all the rights and priveleges of a spouse?

Along come some Christian leaders who point out that this is a slippery slope (a term many Christians like to use in situations like this). If these "civil unions" are granted to the homosexuals, there will be nothing to stop bigamy, bestiality or NAMBLA-type unions. Much of the taboos that prevent sex offenses will be lifted. In fact, consent will no longer be an issue and sex-crimes will be erased from the books.

Who is correct? (I was going to use the word right, but that can be taken two ways...) Who, in God's eyes, is being faithful on this issue?

The truth is, neither is correct.

The Gay Rights community is acting against the will of God by engaging in behavior specifically condemned by scripture. The Christian community is retro-acting because of a failure over the last forty years to remain a vocal force in America (and elsewhere). In response, they are trying to legislate morality.

Legislating morality cannot work. Forcing people to behave in a manner that is pleasing to God has been proven time and again to fail. Christ, Himself, condemned this practice in Matthew 15.

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!"

Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honor his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
" 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"
- Matthew 15:1-9, NIV
God's Law was to ensure morality. The tradition of the Pharisees was to try and force the people into God's good graces.

Legislation to force non-believers to act as if they were believers will only drive them further from the truth. Enforcing such legislation can possibly lead to a world portrayed in the movie V for Vendetta where anyone deemed to be outside the will of God by the fascist theocratic ruler is condemned to death.

What, then, is the answer?

Turn people to Christ the way He turned them. He openly condemned those who believed they could see (the Pharisees - Matthew 23). But to those who admitted they were blind, even in their sin, He showed perfect love (the woman caught in adultery - John 8:1-11).

When a Christian demonstrates even the tiniest disdain for a person they believe is a "sinner", they have lost their right to reach out to that person. The "sinner" can detect this disdain and will openly rebel against the preaching.

For at least the last forty years, American Christians have fallen down in their job of spreading God's word with love. Facing a society filled with deplorable pleasures, American Christians have responded with rebukes and threats of hell that scripture reserves for professing believers. The face of Christ in America is no longer:

No, the face of Christ in America is rapidly becoming:
Chancellor Adam Sutler from 'V for Vendetta'
Here he is surrounded by his disciples: note Peter (actually "The Voice of London", Lewis Prothero) smiling at his lord...
Sutler in center of image

In the opening lines of the movie, the "Voice of London" talks about the demise of America (so embroiled in a civil war that basic services like food and medical are no longer available) is because of "Godlessness. Judgment." He's not far from the truth. It's as Anne Graham Lotz said on The Today Show shortly after 9/11. She was asked, "If God is good, how could God let this happen?" Her answer:

I would say also for several years now Americans in a sense have shaken their fist at God and said, God, we want you out of our schools, our government, our business, we want you out of our marketplace. And God, who is a gentleman, has just quietly backed out of our national and political life, our public life. Removing his hand of blessing and protection. We need to turn to God first of all and say, God, we're sorry we have treated you this way and we invite you now to come into our national life. We put our trust in you. We have our trust in God on our coins, we need to practice it.
- Thanks to snopes.com for the quote!

We are in a dilemma, and it is of our own making. By cramming our ideology down the throats of everyone we see, we serve not Christ but ourselves. We are trying to prove to ourselves that we have not let this country literally go to hell. We cannot prevail on our own. We need to work on the crumbling situation in this country one person at a time. We will not succeed by hitting the entire country in one fell swoop.

To those who believe otherwise, I'm sorry. I can no longer support your efforts to legislate morality in this country. I do not believe it will work. I've been saying it for years on other issues, and now I will say it on this as well.

Prayer:

Almighty Heavenly Father, quick with judgment and mercy, guide our paths today. Show us the way to bring Your love and compassion into this country. Help us to love others into Your fold. Remove our contempt for those who are different. It is only through Your perfect example of love that we can succeed in bringing this country back to You.

Father, we acknowledge that we have slacked off in our commitment to keep this country close to you. We confess our sin of omission, for not doing a good thing is just as wrong as doing a bad thing.

Help us, Father. Help us to reach out to the hurting. Help us to make You real to those who do not know You. Help us to teach them how to heal. You told us that if we believe we can see, we will be made blind. And if we are blind, You will help us to see. Remove our blindness. Help us to see the true path You have made for us. It's time to inspire revival in America, and around the World.

Thank you, Father, for blessing us, even in our failures. Thank you, Father, for giving us Your presence. Thank you, Father, for being here when we don't even realize you're here.

It is in Christ's name we pray,
Amen.

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