Again I need to give you a disclaimer. I am not a bible scholar and I am not a theologian. Agree or disagree these are my views on a subject matter that I feel has been greatly abused.
Writing down the make and model of the new car you want to receive and then placing the piece of paper in the center of a room for people to circle around and pray over is not faith – it is magic! For a few years now I have been really confused and frustrated because I see people being taught rituals and not truth. Tithe, pray facing west, fast, make a collage of all the material junk you want, add some scripture, and presto chango God will honor your WORKS.
This type of teaching gives people false hope. For one, if we don’t receive the miracle we are praying for we blame ourselves thinking we did the ritual wrong. We then try and correct our wrong searching for a new ritual instead of resting in Him. People also get hurt because their neighbor was blessed doing the ritual, why not them? Yes, there are testimonies of the “miracle check in the mailbox” that basically result from the law of averages. But the majority of these type “miracle” testimonies are exaggerated, evangelistically speaking that is, to prove to us the rituals work.
I also find it interesting the people that teach these “faith” rituals that borderline on magic are the first to speak out against Harry Potter, or have a medicine cabinet filled with drugs quickly prescribing meds to people for any ailment, or are overly scared of legal action to the point of paranoia. Behind the scenes most demonstrate little faith as if their teachings are all a charade.
When I was homeless I didn’t tithe nor did I pray yet I was delivered from living in a park and homeless shelters to a good paying job and new car. From April 07 to early 08 I had crisis after crisis in my life that made homelessness seem like Disneyland. I not only tithed my offerings were another 10% making my total giving a little more than 20%. I fasted, I prayed, I believed with EXTREME faith, I wrote my needs on paper for others to pray over, I even had the collage on the wall with scriptures just like I was taught, I spoke the right words and believed for the very best. More importantly I became passive, I started to work harder and harder, I did my best to keep my mouth shut yet my circumstances kept getting worse. I was doing everything right yet wrong kept on happening. I became more confused. Why was the magic faith not working? I tried it both ways and life keeps coming at me! Could it be rain falls on the just and the unjust?
My eyes opened this spring while I was dining with a friend at a Chinese buffet in Columbus Ohio. Another opportunity had just fallen through and for the most part I was beat down hard. No money, no food, and it looked like things were going to get worse, which they did! In that moment of clarity I knew God loved me and that as long as I persevered He would take care of me. I might not get the car I wanted, but He had something better, which he did as I type this from Los Angeles, my home, the place where I belong! I never prayed to move back here nor did I sow a seed. The more I surrendered giving up my WANTS and desires the more He gave me just what I needed. That simple and no magic! Just rest in Him!
Please know I am all about positive thinking. Positive thinking, especially changing my self-talk, is what made all the difference in my recovery. Positive thinking is great and needs to be encouraged yet we can go too far and remove reality. We are also not healed by works. Miracles don’t happen because we prayed a certain way or claimed our seed on the offering envelope. All this crap does is mess people up, alienate unbelievers and sell warehouses full of product.
Let’s be honest here. All this faith ritual magic is selfish. People don’t sow a seed for that drug addict or prostitute; they give money in the hopes of receiving a new house, car or other material possession – selfish! I believe that the church will continue to be without any real power and continue to lose people as long as the church focuses on receiving and not genuinely helping others.
Real faith is not magic. Real faith is knowing that God truly loves you no matter how bad your circumstances seem.