The Positive of the Negative
John Lennon met Yoko Ono at the Indica Gallery in London in 1966. She had just installed an exhibit and since Lennon was a friend of the owners, he was invited to a preview.
One of works was a very small piece of paper suspended from the ceiling by a thread. The viewer had to climb a ladder, unfold the paper, take a magnifying glass and read the message. On the paper was written only "yes." Lennon was overwhelmed. He was going through one of his dark periods and the idea of finding a positive message at the end of the climb touched him.
I ask you to climb my ladder, open the paper, and read "NO" and be energized by the message.
NO is a positive force for good in our world.
Our church is founded in "no." No need for the intercession of priests. No more Papal indulgences. No more hiding of the gospels from the people. Protestantism was born out of "no."
Our country was born out of "no." No Divine Right of Kings. No taxation without representation.
Without the power of "no" there would be no Reform Church, no USA, no Civil Rights movement, no justice and no freedom of religion. Remember, the First Amendment starts with "Congress shall make NO law..."
Christians have always been compelled by faith to stand up and say "no."
We must say "no" to the popular media perception of Christianity. We have an uphill battle bringing people to the faith because we are perceived as closed-minded and judgmental.
We serve the God of Love. We serve the Prince of Peace. Whenever someone spews a message of hate, exclusion or condemnation in the name of Christ, it is our responsibility to say "NO." We have a duty to get up on our hind legs and say "no" when some clown spits out hate in the name of "Christianity."
We get tossed in with the Jesus-on-a-Dinosaur Creation "Scientists," the bumper-sticker theologians and the inerrency crowd who cherry-pick scripture to justify sending their neighbors to hell. No. That is not Christian.
Believe in God, think positively and He will send you a Mercedes Benz. Sorry, no, wrong god. The Prosperity Gospel is not in the canon. That message might get you 20,000 members, but it is not the message of Jesus.
Jesus was pretty specific about what was to be done with riches. Most of us are richly blessed, but we are not followers because it makes us money. When Jesus called the fishermen, Andrew did not ask "what's in it for me?"
Allowing the Christian "brand" to be sullied by idiots is a minor annoyance in the greater scheme. It's a personal pet peeve. I'll continue to email PBS and NBC when they present some Rev. Dr. Bozo as a spokes for Christians, but, in our true assignment to love our neighbors as ourselves, there are more important "NOs" to be shouted.
No to the acceptance of childhood starvation.
No to hunger in our own backyard.
No to the glorification of a "survival of the fittest" philosophy. As Christians, we should know that we aren't even close to the fittest.
No to the poisoning of people in the name of profit.
No to ignorance, hate and want.
No to those who prey on the poor.
We all wish that those in power would read the Bible. If not that, could we at least hope they would read Dickens?
Positive thinking has its place as long as you're not delusional about it. Being a well-known little ray of sunshine, I think positively every day, but I still don't place bets.
As Christians, we must continue to shout "NO" because we are charged while on this earth to work our way toward the ultimate "yes."