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Come and sit by my side if you love me

Saturday, April 1, 2006

John 7:43

The people were divided because of Jesus.

For two years in the '70's I was a member of the Moonies, named after Rev. Sun Myung Moon from Korea. Moon's father was a Presbyterian minister. In 1954, the young Moon formed an organization he called the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity.

The "Unification" church teaches that Christians need to unify around the Rev. Moon as the "Third Adam." Jesus was the "Second Adam." Adam, of course, was the First Adam. Each Adam was born "sinless." Each time mankind is ready for a new "Adam," God's goal is that this man remain sinless throughout his physical life. He then becomes the center of "restoration" for the rest of us sinners. Jesus accomplished much of God's task; Rev. Moon intends to accomplish the rest. Based largely on his own personal visions, this Korean "visionary" sees the human race gradually becoming sinless as we choose to center ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually on the Adam of our time. That be him, of course.

I don't know how much sense that makes to you. It worked for me for awhile, and I passionately pursued people who wanted unity among mankind. Peter, Paul and Mary sang the anthem for world peace and unity: "There is only one people, there is only one name. We are all one spirit, all one name." I learned the chords to the song.

But actually, most people I met thought I was serving the devil. Unity around Rev. Moon? What a joke.

Jesus and Rev. Moon both divide people; their words, their presence tends to elicit love or hate, and not much in between. But unlike the current "Adam," Jesus never expected us to unify around him. In conversation ... while teaching ... as he told stories - Jesus emphasized the opposite. "Brother will betray brother to death because of me" (Matt 10:21-22). God doesn't seem that concerned with unity: "Two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left" (Luke 17:34).

What does matter to God? Jesus speaks volumes when he says "I am the way, I am the truth. I am the life. No one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

Two things jump out at me from these words. Jesus is offering me Everything. I need nothing more than way, truth, and life. Money, sex and fame don't even touch the value of way, truth and life. This kind of fulfillment is what I live to find.

And the second thing? I think it jumps out at everybody, and that's why Christianity is accused of being much less than accepting of other religions. If I don't choose Jesus, I choose death. As he said elsewhere, if you're not for me, baby, you're against me.

Well, actually it was Eldridge Cleaver who called me "baby" ("you're either part of the solution, baby, or you're part of the problem"), but Jesus said the same thing. Jesus eventually drew Cleaver to his side, by the way*. But he doesn't draw us all.

Jesus' last words to his disciples encouraged them to reach everyone and tell them all the gospel, the "good news" of the freedom available to them through him. But Jesus has also given his warning. It is not easy to choose him. Not everyone will choose him. When I choose him, I will discover that many people actually Hate me.

Putting flowers in the barrels of guns that are loaded and cocked and pointed at my head. That's what it means to be a Christian. One of those guns just might go off.

Lord Jesus, I am with you and for you. I will not be against you. Come What May.

* (and check out the link to the CNN obit too)

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