Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama recently gave a talk to his church convention in which he claimed, "Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked."
Political points? Score one. Score two. In the first place, we all want to feel joined. We all want to feel we are one with our brothers, no matter what religion or non-religion we happen to be. Secondly, when we look at the huge chasm between various church teachings in America we have to admit it seems like someone has hijacked at least some denominations.
It seems odd, however, that Obama would attempt to pin the hijacking on traditional Christians. One wonders if the Democratic Senator is merely illustrating the old truth: "it takes a hijacker to believe he sees a hijacker in his brother."
In fact, Senator Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ, a denomination of about 1.2 million members that is considered on the far left statist-socialist end of the mainline Protestant spectrum. This church champions the teachings of Karl Marx under the label "Liberation Theology." The Wikipedia Encylopedia states, "In Christianity, liberation theology is a school of theology that focuses on Jesus Christ as not only the Redeemer but also the Liberator of the oppressed. It emphasizes the Christian mission to bring justice to the poor and oppressed, particularly through political activism."
The United Church of Christ pretty much throws out altogether the teaching of Jesus that salvation is individual and personal, in favor of entering politics and attempting to create a "Christ-like government." Since Jesus totally did not concern himself with governments, there is an appearance that it is Obama and friends who have hijacked the teachings of Jesus.
"But doesn't a Christ-like government sound great?"
Ignoring for a moment that only individuals, not governments, can become Christ-like, ask yourself what kind of government would be created by individuals who have not sought first the kingdom of heaven and who have not first become Christ-like themselves?
All statist-socialist governments are dictatorships, either by gunpoint or by means of a tyranny of the majority at the ballot box. Such governments must use threats of legal confiscation and jail to foist their programs on non-believers. Since wealth production in a statist-socialist society is "rewarded" by the robbery of heavy taxation, impulses to be productive are deadened. There seems less and less reason to work hard to produce wealth that will be taken from you and "redistributed" to those who are willing to benefit from such theft.
In a statist-socialist society, a huge portion of the booty stolen from producers is used to support politicians, bureaucrats and a political elite class which have a vested interest in continually redefining poverty and "oppression" so there will perpetually be need of government programs. Eventually the "pursuit of happiness" is reduced to the "struggle to meet all regulations," and the society becomes stagnated and spiritless.
But never mind reality. The United Church of Christ will not want anyone to examine too deeply the immorality of government use of guns and jail cells to impose their "do-gooder" programs.
Churches like the United Church of Christ are attempting to popularize the idea that Jesus was a statist-socialist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus didn't preach to governments that their job is to give to the poor. He spoke to individuals about their personal salvation. Governments cannot be saved and experience heaven. The kingdom of heaven is the unbounded joy and peace and love available to the individual soul.
If an individual's salvation is earned by helping the poor, any seven or eight year old little boy can figure out that if governments took care of all the poor, then there would be no poor left for individuals to help voluntarily. Governments would thus be robbing individuals of the opportunity to earn their salvation.
A few years later, by the time he reaches 12 to 14 years old, the same boy would see through the Marxist pretense of stealing from some in order to ostensibly help others. He would see that stealing is not the way to salvation; that forcing people to pay taxes by threatening them with a gun or jail cell, is not the way to heaven.
By the time this same boy reaches voting age, he is asking: "If the United Church of Christ is so interested in government being Christ-like, then why aren't they waiting for Jesus Christ to actually appear and set up a government, so they know it's done correctly according to divine law?"
By now the hypocrisy is thoroughly exposed in this young voter's mind. Obama's church brothers are not really interested in praying and pleading to feel the presence of Jesus Christ, or in beseeching and begging to hear inside themselves the words of Jesus Christ ... because it is a church with a predetermined agenda, the worship of Marxism.
Meanwhile, what Jesus Christ actually teaches is that government functions have nothing to do with spiritual functions:
Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him [Jesus] in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
Shew me the tribute money.
And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
In His modern-day revelation for the Twenty-first Century, A Course in Miracles, Jesus doesn't talk about government specifically but about ego in its every form. And he makes it clear that there is an entire spiritual world which has nothing to do with the ego's world.
Can you imagine attempting to introduce Senator Obama's Marxist church brothers to the following actual words from Jesus in A Course in Miracles:
(ACIM Lesson 128)
Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world, and it will serve no other end but this. For everything must serve the purpose you have given it until you see a different purpose there. The only purpose worthy of your mind this world contains is that you pass it by, without delaying to perceive some hope where there is none. Be you deceived no more. The world you see has nothing that you want.
Escape today the chains you place upon your mind when you perceive salvation here. For what you value you make part of you, as you perceive yourself. All things you seek to make your value greater in your sight limit you further, hide your worth from you, and add another bar across the door that leads to true awareness of your Self.
(ACIM Lesson 128)
Such words introduced to members of the United Church of Christ would trigger powerful defense mechanisms. Obama's friends would scream bloody murder that now Jesus Himself was attempting to hijack their faith.
This time, finally, they would be close to correct. They have worshipped government, not God. Their faith has been in worldly solutions, not spiritual solutions. Jesus would not steal their faith from them by force or fraud, which is the definition of "hijacking," but he would redirect their attention and focus to a much higher plane, and encourage them to place their faith in something altogether beyond this world.
(ACIM Lesson 129)
“Beyond this world there is a world I want.” You cannot stop with the idea the world is worthless, for unless you see that there is something else to hope for you will only be depressed. Our emphasis is not on giving up the world, but on exchanging it for what is far more satisfying, filled with joy, and capable of offering you peace. Think you this world can offer that to you?
It might be worth a little time to think once more about the value of this world. Perhaps you will concede there is no loss in letting go all thought of value here. The world you see is merciless indeed, unstable, cruel, unconcerned with you, quick to avenge and pitiless with hate. It gives but to rescind, and takes away all things that you have cherished for a while. No lasting love is found, for none is here. This is the world of time, where all things end.
Is it a loss to find a world instead where losing is impossible, where love endures forever, hate cannot exist, and vengeance has no meaning? Is it loss to find all things you really want and know they have no ending, and they will remain exactly as you want them throughout time?
Such is the choice. What loss can be for you in choosing not to value nothingness? This world holds nothing that you really want, but what you choose instead you want indeed! Let it be given you today. It waits but for your choosing it to take the place of all the things you seek but do not want.
(ACIM Lesson 129)
Was Senator Obama correct in implying that Jesus teaches joining, bringing us together? Oh yes! But the joining, the coming together as one, can only happen when we look beyond the appearances of this world, and look far outside of this world for solutions. And yet far outside this world is also within, as in a hologram, for Jesus tells us he is with us always.
In fact, Jesus is with us so fully always that true government is within each individual, as is true prosperity. We can release from thought the illusion of salvation offered by man-made government programs, knowing that we need only teach that everything truly useful is provided to everyone by the presence of Jesus Christ.
Senator Obama will learn this truth someday because ultimately it is the only lesson that need be learned. Like the young voter who saw through hypocrisy by listening to his inner reality, the Senator will hear inside that each individual must finally choose to accept his own salvation and unimaginable prosperity from God. Then a new and stronger and far more heroic Barack Obama will teach this most powerful affirmation of truth given by Jesus Christ in A Course in Miracles:
My salvation comes from me.
It cannot come from anywhere else.
My salvation cannot come from anything else.
My salvation comes from me and only me.
Nothing outside of me can hold me back.
Within me is the world's salvation ... and my own.
"...nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)
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Holy Instant Christian Fellowship- Salt Lake City