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Sunday, November 11, 2007

The first lie : Seven great lies of Organized religion

I have subscribed to a really good newsletter called "The Seven Great Lies of Organized Religion" by Perry Marshall of CoffeeHouse Theology. I like the thoughts he has put forth. Here is the first installment.


Lie #1:

'If you live a moral life, deny yourself pleasure,
follow the prescribed rituals and give us enough money,
you'll have a decent shot at being accepted by God.'



Remember that scene near the end of the Wizard of Oz,
when Toto is pulling back the curtain? The sound system
is bellowing, 'Pay no attention to that man behind the
And There's a little man behind the controls, talking into
a microphone.

Kind of reminds you of certain religious institutions,
doesn't it? Short little insecure men, hiding behind
names and titles, sending everyone on Mission Impossible
while they themselves indulge in secret sin. The
preacher stands in front of thousands and shakes his
finger. Nobody else knows that he had a stripper
in his hotel room last night.

Somebody tells you, 'Here, follow all these rules and be
the best person you possibly can, and you might have a shot
at being accepted by God someday.' Then they string you along
and get you under their thumb.

No wonder people are cynical.

Well it's no accident that Jesus' own biggest enemies 2000
years ago were precisely those same self-righteous hypocrites.
When Jesus showed up, they were terrified of losing their cushy
jobs and political clout. Eventually they murdered him for
exposing their racket.

True spirituality had been buried in a big pile of bureaucracy,
and the religious establishment used it to gain leverage. To have
power over people, to get priority seating in expensive restaurants,
and to line their pockets with cash.

They had everyone thinking that pleasing God was a never-ending
performance marathon.

Well Jesus painted a totally different picture. He told this

'Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a holy man and
the other a tax collector.

The holy man stood and prayed, 'God, I thank you that I am not
like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like
this lousy tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes
of all that I get.'

But the tax collector, standing far away, would not even lift
up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be
merciful to me a sinner!'

Jesus explains: 'I tell you, this tax collector went home
forgiven, rather than the holy man; for every one who praises
himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be praised.'

Beware of the proud holy man who hangs a bunch of rules
around your neck.

That humble tax collector had it right. He was doing the only
thing you and I can do to be accepted by God. He just asked, with

Tomorrow I'm going to attack Lie #2:
'God is huge and unapproachable, and He wants you to labor, struggle
and live in guilt.'

Thanks for reading!

Respectfully Submitted,

Perry Marshall

The whole story about the Tax Collector is in Luke 18:9-14:

Listen to the Live "Uncut" version of 7 Great Lies:
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