Tag Archives: Jesus

Are you washed by the blood?

Wandering around today doing chores, a song fragment decided to rear its head into my consciousness. It’s a song that we used to sing in the church I went to. The bit I remember runs:

Are you washed, by the blood

By the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?

Are your garments spotless, are they white as snow

Are you washed by the blood of the Lamb?

When we used to sing it, I never really thought about the lyrics very much. They were familiar, they had some meaning – after all, Jesus’ blood cleansed us of sin, and that was what it was about, really.

Looking back now, the entire idea seems both disturbing and a bit bizarre. When you wash someone in blood, they are not clean. They may be ritually pure, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re coated in death waiting to attract flies. It’s pretty gross. Get that on a piece of white clothing and you sure as hell ain’t pure – you just have a long date with the bleach.

Purifying things in blood, is a very old idea, and it’s one that has fallen out of currency with most of the world. Christianity itself tried to stamp out the ‘pagan’ cults who still made animal sacrifices, because it was abhorrent to them. Gradually, the entire western world dropped sacrificial practices. Somehow, though, Christianity still clings to the idea of blood sacrifice, idealises it even.

It seems wrong that it’s idealised in the modern world. In an age where people argue over whether it is right to deprive an animal of life to feed human beings, there are people who celebrate that a human being was slaughtered to cleanse them of sin. To people who don’t believe in sin, heaven, hell, or damnation, Jesus’ death looks barbaric and pointless.

I don’t wan spotless garments soaked in symbolic blood. I want to symbolically end my life with the stains of the world that I’ve enjoyed. I don’t want to be pure – I want to live life.

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Raising pagans in a Christian home

I came across an article today. Just a wee short one, it says what it means quite concisely. It’s a message to Christian parents about how they are raising their kids. The article deals with teaching just what the Bible teaches versus teaching the fullness of knowing Jesus.

This sounds pretty ok to a fundamentalist Christian. Paragraphs like

Do you teach your kids “be good because the Bible tells you to” or do you teach your kids that they will never be good without Christ’s offer of grace? There is a huge difference. One leads to moralism; the other leads to brokenness. One leads to self-righteousness; the other leads to a life that realizes that Christ is everything and that nothing else matters.

Seems ok, because it’s about learning who you are in Christ and learning to lean on Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways follow him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6) and all that – the way unbelievers understand raising a child is not always God’s way. What is moralism when your child could taste all the gifts off the Holy Spirit?

I can’t go on, because the whole thing makes me feel sick. How can you want to teach a kid that the best they do will never be good enough? And why, in the name of all that’s good in this world, would you want your child to be broken?! Why break them down so that Christ can (but may not, because some people are never good enough to receive God’s grace) heal them, when you can instead raise a whole, happy, and good child? Teaching them they’re not good enough without meeting an arbitrary standard in any other case is straight-out child abuse. Why should a religious wrapper make it any better?

Teaching a child that they are not good enough like that is so cruel. It’s an unattainable goal, because there’s no visible sign that God’s grace has redeemed them. They will always be slipping and failing, and telling them to keep going back to God , makes them feel that they can never be good enough and that God just isn’t perfecting them the way it was promised.

I cannot abide by these ideas, and being raised in this culture makes me even more sick at reading these words. People believe this. People raise their kids like this. It breaks them. It broke me, and it was one of the things that pushed me out of the deep dark hole that was the church of my youth