Speaking of writing, I've decided I'm going to get published before the QCS Tests come Hell or high water. Seeing they're on August 31 and September 1 (oooh, twenty years to the day since some cool U2 concerts in NZ), I don't have a tremendous amount of time, but it's still enough. I need to find a publication to be published in and fast. I was a member of the Queensland Writer's Centre, but that didn't help much, and I think most people in the writing world are negatively weird anyway. The only really good thing I got out of that subscription was the superb article that turned me against Harry Potter for purely literary reasons. But I'm getting beside the point. I've suddenly been hit by a burst of writing desire because I want to prove to myself that I've still got 'it', and for once I have topics. I'm going to talk to Mrs Hugo today about it at school - she's the only English teacher I have any respect for left (I am incensed that I was not even considered for any help to further my writing ability, ESPECIALLY SEEING I'M THE TOP DAMN ENGLISH STUDENT).
By André Withoutalastname
Christianity and legalism are diametric opposites, and yet some in the Christian community have turned Christianity into legalism. These people, claiming to be so versed in Scripture, would appear to have missed the example of Paul the Apostle, and instead of humbly serving non-believers, they self-righteously look down upon potential converts.
There are some people who think that the Internet is filled with nothing more than pornography and illegal music sharing. They are wrong, but if they were to look a little deeper and find the large Christian community, they would most likely be just as disgusted. The sad part is that this community is not confined to the Internet.
Legalism, rules and regulations have risen to popularity in Christendom today as a result of tragic misinterpretation of the verse reading ‘be in the world but not of it’. Some Christians will parrot this verse at anyone who will listen, but do they know anything about the man who wrote it? A legalistic desire that harks back to the Pharisees condemned by Christ has resulted in a sickening attitude of self-righteousness. One question simply begs to be asked – how can anyone possibly expect to win converts when the very people chosen for conversion are being looked down upon?
The fact these people are looking to win converts already shows they have missed the point. Christianity is not a game of numbers where the man with the most numbers in the Saved Heathens column and the least in the Sins Committed column wins. It’s a direct relationship with God where a sinner is justified through freely given grace and is progressively sanctified, with their faith made evident with fruits of the Spirit. There is no contest to save a certain number of people, there is no standard to be lived up to, there is simply a God who loves. Sadly, many of those who call upon the name of God fail to show this attitude.
Some do think that Christianity is a game of numbers. They will look at a church roster to determine the spiritual health, they will judge the strength of someone’s salvation by whether they go the cheap Wednesday night movie or the Wednesday night prayer service, and they will place quantity above quality when it comes to time with the Lord. They develop an attitude of superiority, even to their fellow Christians. Though we are all wretched sinners and there are no degrees of salvation, they act like there are.
With an attitude like this, is it any wonder they act poorly to non-believers? The Bible is filled with examples of Christian behaviour, and the most remarkable part is that this Christian behaviour is dramatically different to what some think it is today. It is saddening every time a Christian looks down on a non-believer simply due to differences of religion – just because one knows God and His truth does not mean they are better or have a higher status than another. But some act with a superior attitude, flaunting their supposed holiness in every direction, and attempt to shove Christ down throats in a bid to improve the numbers of converts.
What example is there in the Bible for such behaviour? Absolutely none. Instead of flaunting holiness and acting high and mighty, we see humble men and women, honestly and lovingly presenting the truth in a sincere manner. They are not looking for any gain, they are not like televangelists of a famous impromptu mid-song speech by U2 lead singer Bono, “stealing money from the sick and the old.” Like Bono, the God they believe in “is not short of cash” but abounding in grace and love, and through their lives, they reflect this.
One need not look further than Paul for an inspirational example. This man, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, made his calling clear, but he did not try to make himself look good. The truth is much the opposite, for he would call himself the worst of sinners and he did not hide his Pharisaical past. He humbled himself before non-believers, working for them, treating them with respect, and showing the love of Jesus Christ. He sought no riches or praise, he simply sought to represent Christ, and one only needs to look at the result of his humble, servant attitude to see the fruits of this. He founded numerous churches across the Roman Empire and laid the foundations that we build upon. He didn’t enforce legalism or act superior because he was saved; instead, he humbly served God and His “fearfully and wonderfully-made” people.
Sadly, this example is lost on many. Instead of looking at Paul’s life and learning from it, people seek to look holy and spiritual, but only repulse the non-believer by appearing arrogant and holier-than-thou. Instead of being humble, they raise themselves up and make themselves better than those who they are attempting to win over. They set regulations to live up to, acting as if grace is somehow insufficient, and they bring in the legalism Christ condemned the Pharisees for. They may claim tremendous Biblical knowledge and be able to quote Scripture on cue, but do they truly understand it? They may present large lists of church attendance, but is this demonstrating fruits of the spirit or a competitive attitude foreign to Christianity? They may invoke God’s name and strut around their salvation as if it’s something to be proud of, but it must be asked, where is the humility and servitude of Paul?
I need some help from those of you opposed to WWJD - I've gotten myself into a debate about it and I seem to be thoroughly unable to formulate any persuasive arguments against WWJD. Help?
I have officially determined U2 videos are good for your health. If I got hyped up every day like I do to them when I put them on, I think I'd get fit rather quick.
Aaaaachtung, y'all. The following is officially on your to-buy list, in order;
1. Under A Blood Red Sky: Red Rocks 1983
2. Rattle And Hum
3. ZooTV Live In Sydney 1993
4. Popmart Live From Mexico City 1997
5. Either of the Elevation 2001 DVDs (Boston or Slane)
Hmm ... isn't it interesting that my ranking is in direct chronological order, with the earliest first? Pre-ZooTV will always be the best. I'd say pre-JT, but then I'd cut out the incredibleness of Bono's voice on the JT and Lovetown tours, and the simply awesome 26 December 1989 performance of One Tree Hill.
I've also realised that I have grown up that surrounded by U2 that the world simply would not seem right, fair, or reasonable without their music. I cannot believe I was alive for two months and The Joshua Tree did not exist. When I realised I had a U2 related memory from before Achtung Baby, I nearly collapsed. It's almost like, in my mind, U2's music holds the world together. It probably explains why I became a fanatic - their music was simply always there, it was part of a balanced, existing world. If the streets got named, Sunday was no longer bloody, I found what I was looking for, it wasn't better than the real thing, the mysterious ways were discovered, one had two added to it, New Year's never came, love never came to town, or I no longer just wanted you, the world would quite fairly come to a grinding stop. Sure, I grew up with other bands, but people like Queen, REM, and Dire Straits aren't necessary to keep the world of my mind turning like U2 is.
Oh, and what was the memory from pre-AB? I remembered when I was three, going to my Uncle Richard's house, who we all knew as the U2 fanatic, and even then I knew that U2 was a Very Good Band Indeed. This was in 1990, most likely early 1990, so Lovetown had just finished and The Fly was merely something you squashed on a wall, not a man begging or crawling on the sheer face of love like a fly on a wall. Achtung Baby? Achtung, what are you on? This was most remarkable to me because I cannot imagine living without Achtung Baby in my life. Not having One or Mysterious Ways is like not having oxygen or water. When there's no Even Better Than The Real Thing, there's no real thing. It's a very strange idea for me, life without U2, and despite the fact I fiercely love pre-JT the most, it's JT and AB that I truly could not live without.
I fear my computer is rather unwell. Uh-oh. Need to burn U2 archive. I've got ... well over forty gigs of U2. Hmm. I have 120GB, only 40GB left, and most of the used space contains U2 files. So what does that say?