You suck.

you-suck

 

Anyone who eats blood must be cut off from their people.’”  Leviticus 7:27

For the past several weeks Jan and I have been watching the 90s/00s cult favorite show “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.”

It’s our third time.

The show may or may not be your cup of comedy/horror/drama, but we tend to rank it as some of the most clever writing ever on TV.  I’m not recruiting new fans, so don’t go snooping on my account.  I just wanted to explain why I’ve got vampires on the brain.  (on the neck?)

In the show, vampires are evil.  Mostly.  They are undead creatures that literally suck the life out of their victims.  I am convinced that you and I have some vampire in us.  I’ve never met someone who doesn’t.  In our most unhealthy moments we can leech other people’s energy and power. We’re needy like that.

I can recall a dating relationship from my high school and college days.  I could never figure out why we stayed together so long.  We always fought, we weren’t compatible.  We didn’t even much like each other.  She’d hurt me, and I’d hurt her. It wasn’t healthy, but for some reason we just kept feeding off each other. It was a bloody mess.

In my later life, there were times when I felt weak, helpless, and powerless.  Instead of asking for help or reaching out, I found myself manipulating people to my own ends,  unhealthily trying to steal their trust and energy.  I’ve scared a few people away that way.

Think about the energy flow between you and others.  Who gets fed from the relationship, and who leaves feeling a quart low? When a healthy balance of give and take doesn’t exist, who is feeding on you, or who do you find yourself stealing life from?

In Leviticus, we learn about ancient Israel’s system of sacrifice, in this case, a pigeon:

 The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. –Leviticus 1:15

This was how people dealt with their sins and deficiencies, by splashing the blood of an animal against the altar, and barbecuing the meat as an offering to God.  All the way up through the time of Jesus, this was the practice.  We look at this as an archaic and perhaps misguided practice, but instead of stealing an animal’s blood and energy, today we tend to steal each others.

Do you think this pleases God?  Not at all.  No more than killing animals as an empty sacrifice did.  Blood, more than anything, must be associated with life.  God given, precious life.  To misuse another’s life is to deny God’s purpose and power.

The next time you feel that unholy thirst to take what isn’t yours, look at the cross.  It repels vampires, after all.  And as for blood?

Jesus is offering his for free.

Have a great week,

Mitch

BuffyReligion

 

Check out my new book:  “barefoot.: devotions & discussions by Rev. Mitch Todd.”

130 devotions, complete with study questions! Perfect for individual reflection or group discussion. Get yours on Amazon! CLICK HERE

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Jesus Yelling

Jesus_Calling_Devotional

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

And Sarah.

It seems like any time I’m in a small group and someone is asked to share a devotion, they pull out Jesus Calling, or one of the spinoffs. You’re familiar, right?  Jesus Calling, the devotion book written by Sarah Young that is as if Jesus were speaking directly to us?

It’s great.  Prayerfully written, and thoughtful.  As if Jesus were stepping out of scripture, pulling us aside, and whispering something wise in our ears.

As of 2015 15 million copies have been sold, along with additional books in the series. (As someone who put out a book of devotions this year, I can attest she kind of corners the market with this stuff!) I dare say there are many who pull out Jesus Calling more often than the Bible!

To the millions of Sarah Young fans out there, can I offer a thought?

The Jesus of our faith doesn’t (shouldn’t) have just one voice.  Did you know that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John present very different voices for Jesus?  Matthew points to Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.  Mark offers a mysterious account of the savior.  Luke reveals a Jesus who cares for the sick and the oppressed.  John reveals Jesus as the Light of the World, the Good Shepherd, and much more.

Sarah’s Jesus?  I’m honestly no expert on her writing, but Jesus seems to be a tender, wise mentor who speaks to us where we live in our daily lives.  It’s a good Jesus.  A welcome Jesus.

It’s a valuable spiritual exercise to listen for and share Jesus’ voice, as Sarah does, but I need more.  On my bookshelf, along with Jesus Calling, I’d like to see:

Jesus Yelling.  Words of a frustrated savior saying things like “Get behind me, Satan”, desperate for His followers to actually follow him.

Jesus Weeping.  The voice of Jesus crying over Jerusalem, and any other place on Earth that punishes prophets and turns a blind eye to justice.

Jesus Laughing.  The delight of daily living expressed in the kinds of in-between moments Gospel writers might not usually catch.

Jesus Prodding.  A not-so-gentle reminder of the need for pruning, the danger of hypocrisy, and the urgency of the mission.

These books, if they existed, could accentuate the work the Gospels already do so well.  They could remind us that Jesus is more than a one-note Messiah.  The Christ of our faith has many voices that speak.

Nothing is going to replace the Holy Bible.  But Sarah has pointed us to a more intimate conversation with Jesus than we may have previously imagined.

How is Jesus calling you to speak on his behalf?

Thank goodness…

devotion writing isn’t just for the Young.

Have a great week,

Mitch

faces-of-jesus

Check out my new resource:  “barefoot.: devotions & discussions by Rev. Mitch Todd.”

130 devotions, complete with study questions! Perfect for individual reflection or group discussion. Get yours on Amazon! CLICK HERE