TXAB: The Christ Almighty Blog

06 September 2015

Wait, a new blog? What’s it about?

Introducing Christ Almighty!, your new favorite blog. Well, maybe in the top 10. Top 1,000 at least.

Yep, it’s a new blog. In full, it’s called The Christ Almighty Blog. In short, Christ Almighty! In even shorter, TXAB, or “Tax-Ab,” as the kids might call it, if kids ever got around to reading it, and of course we all know kids don’t read. Really, neither do adults. Not even sure what you’re doing here. Oh right; curiosity.

The purpose of Christ Almighty! is to talk about Christ Jesus. Or as Americans call him, Jesus Christ. In medieval times Europeans put titles after names, which evolved into last names, like Tom Butcher and Dick Baker and Harry Candlestickmaker. It’s why too many folks still think Jesus is Mr. and Mrs. Christ’s boy. We forget Christ means “anointed one,” an ancient Hebrew euphemism for king. Jesus is our king. He’s almighty. “Christ Almighty!” isn’t just a clever name based on a popular exclamation. It’s this blog’s point.

Authentic Christ-following is what I’m going for here. Hopefully you are too, and it’s why you’ve visited. Welcome. Sit a spell.

Getting religious.

A big part of authentic Christianity is religion. But for a lot of American Christians (’specially Evangelicals) “religion” has become a bad word. Somehow we got it into our heads it means empty, meaningless ritual, like the stuff our grandparents and parents practiced when they went to church Sundays, did all the rituals, figured they were good with God for the week… then came home and told fibs, gossiped about the neighbors, swore (yet told you to never), stole office supplies, cheated on their taxes, coveted everything in every ad, and otherwise behaved like pagans all week. That’s religion: Rituals and hypocrisy. Figuring going to church makes you Christian, but your faith is private. So private, nobody knows you have any.

That’s actually dead religion, folks. Properly, religion, the living kind, is where we don’t limit it to the church services. It’s those meaningful, powerful practices which legitimately further our relationship with God. Dead religion doesn’t grow us any closer. Live religion totally does.

Thanks to the mixup, a lot of Christians insist, “Oh, I’m not religious. Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.”
Yep, it’s widely available on poorly designed T-shirts.
We even put it on our T-shirts and bumper stickers. And in so doing, all the pagans we know think we’re big fat liars. ’Cause they look at our lifestyle of church attendance, bible-quoting, shunning a “sinful” lifestyle, prayer, and good deeds… and logically respond, “What d’you mean you’re not religious? You hypocrite. You’re totally religious.”

(Or they look at our lifestyle, notice it’s not at all different from theirs, and conclude, “Hm. No you’re not religious.”)

But we’re supposed to be religious. You know that sense of “religious” where someone is persistent and consistent about something?—like one who exercises religiously, or follows their football team religiously, or smokes weed religiously? If we’re not religious like that towards God, our relationship with him sucks. Sucks hard. Arguably it’s not even a relationship.

If I had a friend whom I never spent time with—never called nor texted, never bothered to keep up, never cared about what she liked and didn’t, only name-dropped her to impress others—she’d reasonably figure I’m a lousy friend. Kind of a jerk, really. What with all the stuff I do which she hates, kind of an enemy. What sort of “friend” behaves that way?

Same for God. Infinitely gracious and forgiving as he is, if we’ve never established any real relationship with him, we just don’t have one. Doesn’t matter how many Jesus fish we stick on the back bumper. Doesn’t matter how many bible verses we memorize. Doesn’t matter how many times we said the sinner’s prayer: Promising to follow him, and never following up on it, establishes nothing. God might save us anyway, ’cause he’s gracious like that. But plenty of bible verses state there oughta be some evidence, some fruit, of a foundational relationship. Without that, we may very well fall into the crowd who call him “Lord, Lord,” yet he doesn’t know us—and away with us. Mt 7.21-23

Jesus is king. Means he’s gotta take absolute precedence in our lives. Christ must be almighty. Other things must either come a distant second, or be phased out. We gotta get religious about him.

Me.

I sometimes refer to blogs as though they’re their own entities, separate from their writers. That’s not quite true. The Christ Almighty Blog is really me, K.W. Leslie, writing ’bout Jesus and Christianity. I might permit the occasional guest writer, or quote someone else a lot. Still, the blog is gonna reflect my worldview more often than not.

But let’s be clear: The blog isn’t totally me. I have other interests, like news and jazz and books and trying to see how many free refills Starbucks will permit me to get away with. But since these things aren’t primarily about Christ, I’m seldom gonna write about them here.

I’m gonna offend you. Not intentionally; I just say this preemptively. I’m not trying to offend people, but it’s just gonna happen: I’ll be too blunt, or forget to be kind. I’ll speak strongly about one of my convictions, and because you don’t share that conviction it’s gonna outrage you. I’ll mock something you consider sacred, or rub your politics the wrong way, or write a naughty word. And people will skip forgiveness or giving me the benefit of the doubt, and decide they’re done with me. The devil will mess with their heads till they blow my actions way out of proportion and find me unforgivable. It’s happened before and’ll happen again. Please don’t go that route. Laugh with me.

So, about me… I’ve been Christian since 1976, since childhood. Grew up conservative, Fundamentalist, Dispensationalist, into Religious Right politics, with youth pastors who were big on Christian apologetics. (So was I, ’cause Dad’s atheist.) Gradually left all that behind to become moderate and Pentecostal, and went to seminary to study theology and bible. I’ve been a journalist, schoolteacher, evangelist, and janitor. No, I’m not a pastor; got no plans to be, ’cause I can get away with way more when I’m not. I’m just a dangerously overeducated layman who leads the occasional bible study.

Part of the reason I started blogging more than a decade ago, is to share what I’ve seen and heard and learned. It’s not gonna do the world any good if it all stays in my head.

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