I have not intentionally put off the last post in my series against Gaia, but only because I have not had the time to do so. I'd have sure procrastinated given the opportunity. :-) This weekend, I have the time, and I've already written about tennis, so I guess I'm out of excuses.
My key assertion is that Gaia, the earth mother, the meta-being formed of all living stuff on this planet, is forcing her way into the church. She's not displacing Christ there, but she's forcing us to talk about Him using her vocabulary.
It's killing us.
I feel it more than think it, and cannot put it into words yet. I am at a complete loss for a way to express this thought. No matter what you find beneath this point, rest assured I am not happy with it. But, I am going to give this my best shot.
It is scaring me that humanity seems to be finding its voice. More and more, whether you are in Asia, Africa, the Americas or Europe, you hear the same message. Save humankind. Save the earth. Give everyone a fair start in life, and a fair chance. These things are good, and I wish them for everyone too, but when the chorus is the same from every corner of the globe, it catches my ear.
The message itself is the thing I've named, "Gaia." To me Gaia is not a demi-god, but the combined voice of humanity everywhere.
Have you ever been at a European event in which the crowd really got excited, and broke into spontaneous applause? After a short while of wild, enthusiastic clapping, everyone is suddenly clapping to one beat - everyone. It's an odd experience for an American, hearing 10,000 people transition from a wild cacaphony of applause into 20,000 hands striking each other as if controlled by one brain. The crowd is going nuts, and suddenly thousands of people are clapping in perfect time with each other. In the space of mere seconds the people become a thing, one single entity, clapping in one rhythm.
It seems to me that this is what I hear happening around the world. Science, philosophy and art are all converging around the idea of "One planet. One people." And they are doing it at Internet speed.
Gaia is the single worldwide entity, clapping in one rhythm and telling everyone to get on board for the good of everyone. Gaia is the united voice of of every person who believes that the world is divine and worthy of our love and sacrifice.
And the church is struggling to decide how to react.
Gaia keeps whipsawing the church with her questions. When the church draws a line, she asks why we're not compassionate. When the church reaches out to those in need, she asks why we don't just join in her service to humanity. When we fight amongst ourselves she asks whether we are united, and when we unite she asks whether we're just a bunch of mindless robots.
Before long, we are doubting everything we do. We're ashamed to be "exclusionary," and afraid to seem old-fashioned. We're terrified of representing Christ as less than merciful - especially in front of a world that is working so hard to extend a helping hand to everyone. God so loved the world that we had better always show Christ as winsomely as possible.
It's killing us.
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
Jesus came once to Israel meekly. She would only accept Him on her own terms, which was the same as rejecting Him.
Jesus did not long pine for her, nor did He turn aside from his path.
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?
His purpose is unchanging, and His goal is all-consuming.
Pilate was wrong. Truth can be known, and He was standing right in front of him.
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
This is the age when it is determined what offends and what does not. What is iniquitous and what is righteous is being proven today.
There is that which offends, and no persuasion will be offered to it.
1 Peter 3:22
[Jesus] is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
The kingdom is now. It is only in part, but it is today that Christ is taking all into subjection.
1 Cor 15:23-25
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
The kingdom ends with judgement, and utterly without remorse.
Gaia says there is only, "us." Gaia reminds us that we are all in this together, for better or for worse. There's only one planet, and one people no matter how many tribes, creeds, or borders there may seem to be. She is deceived, and she would deceive us.
There are two "us's." There are those who are His, and those who offend Him. And the latter group He will cast into a furnace without remorse. His kingdom, though, is His. We are His, and we are separate from those who are outside the gates.
But somehow that message is not getting through to even the members of our own churches.
I have met people who attend mainline Christian denominational churches and who were amazed when I told them the gospel. They were amazed to learn that God is holy. They were amazed to learn that Jesus was harsh with seekers ("Sell all you have," "Let the dead bury their dead," "You follow me only because I fed you"). They were amazed to learn that their kindness to others does not change their position with God one whit.
I tell them about Adam's sin, and about how God cannot accept them into His presence due to their dirty rags. I tell them about mighty seraphim covering their faces and their feet before God, and Isaiah collapsing in His presence. I tell them about the wrath of God unleashed against Christ on our behalf. They have never heard of these things.
They have never heard of these things!
They know all about Christ loving His neighbors, but they know nothing of the love it took to save us. They know about the noble sacrifice of Christ at calvary, but they know nothing of the divine wrath of God that Christ swallowed for us.
Why are people in our congregations ignorant?
I won't kid you. I'm plumbing for a reason here. I'm not declaring the word of God here, nor any revelation or vision that I have received. I'm digging hard to find an answer. I've not yet put my finger on it, but it's out there. There's something wrong.
Whatever it is, the clues are in our vocabulary.
Gaia speaks of "humankind."
Christ speaks of "the living and the dead."
Gaia unites her own around their humanity. Christ divides His children from humanity. His children are divine as He is divine, and the rest of humanity are "the dead."
Gaia speaks of "believing."
Christ speaks of "knowing."
Gaia wants us all to believe, because beliefs stabilize us. That we believe in Christ is no skin off her nose. Christ's brothers are His because they know Him specifically. They believe in Him, but they do more than believe. They know Him.
Gaia speaks of "unity."
Christ speaks of "oneness."
Unity is presented as transcending truth. Oneness is founded within truth.
Gaia speaks of "a personal experience."
Christ speaks of "a new life."
Accepting Christ means that I add Christ to myself. Being born from above means that I quit being who I was, and become someone else completely.
Gaia speaks of "centering."
Christ speaks of "approaching God."
Centering ourselves is presented as the highest work of humankind. But those made alive in Christ are pure, and they no longer need to center themselves within themselves. They approach the throne of God boldly.
Gaia speaks of "equality."
Christ speaks of "His kingdom."
Gaia would have every person get a fair chance at life, and get an equal opportunity. Christ would have every man, woman and child submit to Him, and He will have exactly that, one way or another.
These differences are significant, but I'm not sure whether they are the core of the matter. I suppose the core to be humanism in Christian garb, but I'm not sure yet. I'm watching. I'm a strong, strong fan of the humanities, and yet utterly oppose humanism.
When I see church members blithely unaware of what they do not know about the Christ of Christianity, it scares me. It scares me for them, but it scares me for us, too. If we said we were blind, then there would be mercy for us. It terrifies me that we say we see.