Another Trite Matrix Analogy...

I was tired of Christian/ Heaven/ Hell/ Messianic/ Spirituality parallels and analogies related to The Matrix within a few months of the first movie releasing. Then the books came, trying to cash in on the blatant spiritual connections.

So forgive me, but as a "banker-by-day," this one has been burning away at me.

As American citizens in a consumer-driven society, we are slaves to a machine that is USING US TO POWER ITSELF. We are batteries for the American Economy. If we stop spending (rather, if we stop borrowing and overspending), America stops functioning. And I'm a part of it - or have been.

Trying to break free.

It's a slow, painful process. First, I have to admit that it's a problem. It doesn't matter that 99% of Americans are hooked on the same drug. It's killing us. Robbing our souls. The "Suicide Machine."

Then we slowly have to start making lifestyle sacrifices to get out from under it. Spend less. Save more... no! GIVE more. See, it robs us of our souls.

The Average American spends 101% of their income every year.

We are slaves.

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work... when you go to church... when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

* * *

Derek Web sings...
But I give myself to what looks like love
And I sell myself for what feels like love
And I pay to get what is not love
And all just because I see things upside down.

* * *
Statement from the director of the new documentary, MAXED OUT:
In the days after 9/11, I remember turning on the television and seeing politician after politician deliver the same message: keep spending! George Bush wanted us to go to Disneyworld. Tom Daschle wanted us to buy that new suit we'd been thinking about. I thought back to my fifth-grade history book. Didn't it teach that when we're at war, we sacrifice, not spend? The economics of our culture have clearly changed and I wanted to find out how and why.
* * *

read more about my thoughts on Christianity in the real world at www.essenceproject.blogspot.com/...

Sexual Diversity...

I have several non-Christian friends who are openly gay. I have a Christian friend who has "same-sex attraction" and is actively part of the "ex-gay" movement. And of course, I have lots of very conservative Christian friends who think homosexuality is akin to getting "I love Satan" tattooed on one's foreheard...

Well, something like that.

Recently, a friend and classmate from my seminary "came out" as a lesbian. She asked her friends to understand the time and prayer that had gone into her decision to openly accept what she was feeling. She said she could not even connect to God until she reconciled what was happening inside of her. And now she feels joy.

I don't know if she will continue with schooling, but I hope our friendship continues. I care about her, she has cool hair, and I value the insights she is learning in this stage of her journey.

I can remember at least half a dozen conversations she and I had, one-on-one or in small groups, regarding homosexuality. I can look back and see her wrestling, as I myself have done from a different vantage.

Like her, I never thought it was a simplistic question. I am sorry for the hateful things said and done, inside and outside of the church, and am ashamed that faith is so-often automatically associated with hatred, racism, homophobia or close-mindedness. All sorts of unchristlike behaviors and attitudes.

While I'm unwilling to universally denounce Scriptural references to homosexuality (there, I listen and wrestle rather than decry, denounce or assert) I am equally unwilling to accept the harsh or easy answers my conservative, Pentecostal background has offered. The Law without love is dead.

I believe there is gray area in the Kingdom of God, and I believe there is much none of us can or will ever understand on this end of death.

I am open to the idea that Scripture, God-inspired though it is, may still be replete with historical, social or cultural nuances from specific times and places that were never intended for GENERIC universal redistribution.

Most importantly, I believe that all good gifts come from the Father of lights (James 1:17) so that goodness itself comes from love itself, and that the God we worship is love incarnate - not in some metaphorical, ephemeral way, but in a real, personal God who manifested in history as a real, personal Savior.

I look forward to ongoing insights, exploring faith from my friend's newly-engaged vantage. I can't cookie-cutter myself with any of my friends: gay, ex-gay, homophobic, etc... we all have such different points of reference and experience. But that's the point: I don't have to agree with their entire set of bullet points to love and respect them for the experiences they've had, the struggles they've endured, and the journeys God has led them on (sometimes unwittingly).

I guess that just makes me a filthy, wishy-washy existentialist.


read more about my thoughts on Christianity in the real world at
http://www.essenceproject.blogspot.com/...

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