I was sitting at my computer in our sunroom laughing and swearing at the same time watching a TV video replay.
It was a humorous yet indicting expose’ of some prosperity preachers showing clips of their preaching and interviews.
Some was so ridiculous it was pathetically humorous.
One preacher reached out towards the TV camera and told the audience to reach out and touch the screen to touch his hand.
I’m thinking, “Wait, what? His hand isn’t there folks, even if this was a live broadcast.”
Another prophetically described an illness that someone watching the program had and he was praying for that person right now.
Well, first this program was recorded, who knows when. And second the illness described was so general that about half the adult population of the U.S. could claim it on any given Tuesday.
One greasy pot bellied southern preacher bragged about buying a corporate jet for several million dollars cash. Then said, “And now I’ve bought a bigger one for all cash. And those who criticize me are just jealous.”
And I thought, “No, I’m not jealous. First, I really don’t want a corporate jet. And second, I don’t like you because you make me feel like throwing up.”
They fill whole TV networks with programs and send out endless high pressure letters to raise millions. They prey on the most vulnerable and often the least illuminated pressuring them to send money to “invest” in God’s blessings.
I was angry for those who were duped.
But I was also sad for those who see this and think this is Christianity. And it’s crazy.
Frankly, I don’t blame them. I’ve been there and thought the same things.
Yet, I see contrasted with this drivel the ministry of Jesus who they say they represent.
After Jesus healed a man in a synagogue one Sabbath the religious leaders plotted how to get rid of him.
Then it says, “Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was.”*
Wow! Now that’s a contrast.
Jesus, instead of launching a major media campaign, goes into hiding. Then he quietly goes about teaching and healing.
Frankly, I find that’s how Jesus still goes about his ministry. Quietly offering his love and wholeness to one person at a time.
Then Jesus told those who were healed not to go out and start some campaign. Sure tell those you love what’s happened. Like they’re probably going to notice you left sick and came home well. But leave it at that.
Yet, people followed him. Because that kind of love is the most attractive thing in the whole world.
And the result?
Jesus healed everyone. He ignored no one. He required nothing from them except acceptance.
Now that’s the kind of God I want to live with.
Cutting through the garbage of Christian religion is hard. But finding God in the quiet places is a clue.
How have you found this to be true?
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*Matthew 12: 15-16 (NIV)