Night Whispers - September 20

Night Whispers Devotional

September 20th

Dream word – REAL

Matthew 21:12,13

“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” but you have made it a “den of thieves.”’”  NKJV?


I am writing today from the Starbucks of Louisville’s International airport in KentuckyLouisville is a weird place; indeed, it tries too hard to be weird! It’s like a freshman student who isn’t really comfortable and at home in their own body and therefore being out of place, being out of their comfort zone, being out of sorts, they are always trying to too hard to be a student. “Hey look at me!” they say, “Goofy bag, Bud-beer, piercings, tattoos, ripped jeans and T’s with an offensive but cool print! Yeah, look at me! Look at me! I’m a student!” Louisville tries too hard to be weird. It needn’t try that hard, for the spiritual tectonic plates of the South and North of the USA meet right underneath the deep bed of the Ohio river and the constant rubbing and a grating of the old South’s past, always gripping like a spastic bowel on the North’s imposing present during the warm cricket creaking night, forces a noxious flatulence to break forth and bubble up across the whole Ohio river valley, the green bogeyman gas, filling people with an insane need to be different and be different in a very different but very weird kind of way! No, it’s not just the inbreeding that causes a weirdness in Louisville, it’s the titanic and continuing clash of two spiritual fronts, which in the end always sucks and blows people out to the West, even as far as Seattle. Kentucky has always been a jump off point for those heading West. Strange but true.

It is of no surprise then that such a place should produce a number of weird individuals, one of whom is regarded as the founder of Gonzo journalism, Mr Hunter Stockton Thompson. One of my favourite quotes of his is regarding the music industry where he says, “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” Ha! I like this quote because it belongs to any successful business, which whilst utilising the talents of artists and tradesmen, is in the end after profits rather than excellence. You can have both. If you have faith to believe I suppose you can have both! However, I often find that in reality, there is always a trade off between profits and excellence. Good grief, go into any Christian bookstore and the presence of yards and yards of shelving full of published and well publicised drivel is quite a testimony to that truth.

Which brings me tonight to a reality check for those involved in the Christian marketplace and God help us, in this consumer-driven Laodicean church age which we presently inhabit, we are all involved in the business of Christianity at some level. Unfortunately, those of us actually working in it, trying to make a living from it, know that it is more cut-throat, merciless, more forgetful, more rude and loveless, than the secular arena could even try to be and would be allowed by law to be. You know it’s true! How many of you would rather do business with Christians or non-Christians? How many of you have been well and truly burned by the religious industry? Give me a dollar for everyone I know who has the singe of the religious machine upon them and the smell of burning compost about them and I shall retire to Tenerife and live handsomely for the rest of my days.

God’s Kingdom is not of this world, though it would be nice to see an occasional manifestation of it in the Christian publishing industry, in the Christian clergy industry, in the Christian theological training industry, in the Christian local church industry, indeed, in all the many and varied Christian industries that we have created. However, in the money driven weirdness of it all, it’s rare friends, the Kingdom is so very rare to see.

I have made my piece with the religious Christian industry in recognising it for what it is. It’s like a freshman student who isn’t really comfortable and at home in his own body, out of place, out of his comfort zone, out of sorts, you know, trying to too hard to be a student. “Hey look at me!” It says to the watching world and the shallow masses that fill our pews “Look at me! Tungsten carbide laser etched personalised Bible, excessively long rat haired goatee, punctured piercings’ with nails of the cross, ‘Oh the wonderful cross’ keeping the holes open. Celtic, Klingon-style tattooed Scripture verses in Hebrew and in Greek,  ripped jeans and Ts with a thorny black Chez Guevara style Jesus, dripping blood on my Nike trainers, iPod ear buds filling my ears with the latest Christian bands! Yeah, look at me! Look at me! I’m a Christian and I’m armed to the teeth by the religious industry to meet the demands of the present age. Come and get it whilst it’s hot!”

Frankly, the religious Christian industry is all a little weird and if you don’t watch out, it will bite your hand off and I have observed that the infections from Christian industry religious bites are particularly nasty ones.

I’m not ranting tonight, honest, just using a little Gonzo, just mixing some fact and some fiction to prove a point and if you do not get the point yet, then let me speak quite clearly. All that we Christians buy and most of what we see, hear and build, has absolutely nothing to do with the Kingdom of God whatsoever but rather, has everything to do with business, with profits and with money.

Ride the beast if you will but do be careful you never fall beneath its pounding hooves. I wonder tonight just what Hunter Thompson would have said about the religious Christian industry? What do you think?

Listen: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24 NKJV

Pray: Lord, help us. Lord help me to touch and to taste, to hear and to see, to feel and to enjoy, the reality of Your Kingdom. Lord, may Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in my life, in our lives, at every conceivable level. Amen.

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