LAST NIGHT, I WENT into a Christian book and supply store to try to find a gift for a couple family members who are getting baptized tomorrow, and the Spirit within me began to grieve.
Every item in there felt hollow, clichéd, fear-based, condescending, or arrogant, whether it was a trinket, a figurine, a wall hanging, or a book. Such a lack of inauthenticity or even the presence of God—which is Love, Grace, Gentleness, Peace—on every shelf brought tears to my eyes and made it difficult to search the next shelf.
Where is the sincerity?
Where is the genuine connection to All That Is?
Where is the Life?
The inspirational day by day calendars were shallow with quotes and Bible verses that inspired no deep calling deeper, and even the daily prayer ones were belittling little prayers of “O how pathetic I am” that encouraged no actual relationship with the Divine. The artwork and statuary were all overly-dramatized scenes and poses that also failed to communicate and remind that we are holders of the Breath of Life. Each book and devotional that seemed promising on the cover opened its pages to reveal more self-loathing, shame-fostering, and endless criticizing judgments that do no good and bring no Light—much less Love—into the Heart. Each one clearly only cultivated fear and darkness, was cranked out to make more money off people, or spewed sugary fluffy abundance-themed promises. The one daily devotional I know is quality and authentic, Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, had no nice gift-quality copies available in either the classic language version or the modernized language version, but only cheap-looking paperback copies printed crookedly on the paper without respect.
How were any of these things going to be a gift of baptismal congratulations for someone choosing to embody a new and joyful life of Oneness with God?
The Spirit grieves.
I know some people are at this level of things, and I totally realize these things are a stepping stone for them in their journey, and I respect and honor them for that—I do not wish to come across as arrogant or uppity myself by any means… but God my Heart cries out and I pray for a deeper connection and authenticity in these areas…
These things shape and drive my future work…
And the bottom line is LOVE.