Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (and other religious cliches)

It's 3:14am. I can't sleep. I have religious things running through my mind. Ever happen to you guys? Forgive me if this becomes an incoherent rant.

When discussing Christmas with a family member, a Christian friend recently chided,

"Read through the New Testament and you'll simply recognize the need to celebrate such an important moment as the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."

This phrase has been running through my mind, and I can't get it out. Let me explain.

You see, folks, I'm at the point in my religious life that oft-repeated religious phrases are becoming meaningless and cliche.

"Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" is dangerously close to becoming another cliche for me.

You're probably worried about my salvation now that I've confessed that. But hold the phone calls and tell your pastor to wait on line #2, and allow me to elaborate.

I'm tired of religious people flippantly speaking without understanding. Religious people do this all the time. We say really important-sounding stuff but don't speak with any awe or really meaning what we say or thinking about what we're saying. No fear or trembling. We just parrot stuff we've heard in our church.

I've become aware of this fact to the point it's impacted my prayers. I deliberately use non-conventional wording now to avoid meaningless religious cliches. I catch myself using meaningless religious fluff phrases all the time, and it's disconcerting. Yikes.

It's like an old-time cheesy horror flick, where the whole town populace is turning zombie: I'm becoming... "one of them!" I don't want to become a religious-fluff-phrase zombie.

"Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."

Wow. Do any of you actually know what that means?

Lord is "master". As in, "master/servant" relationship. As in, "a disciple following his master."

Messiah Yeshua was a master, alright. He had disciples. But this wasn't some new religious hierarchy he invented for some new religion called Christianity. Rather, in Judaism, a rabbi would take under him disciples: men to whom he would teach how to live their lives down to the smallest detail, the teency-est aspect, every little triviality from how and what to eat, all the way up to the big stuff like when to show mercy and when to judge.

That's what a master did.

Want to be a disciple of a master? Then follow everything the master showed you. Big and small. Trivialities to fundamentals. You're not in a position to dismiss the stuff you don't like. You're not in a position to interpret his actions to fit your lifestyle. You do what he does, you imitate. You become as the master by living exactly the way he showed you. That's the disciple's life.

Yeshua was the perfect master. We are not perfect disciples. But are we even trying to be disciples of Yeshua our Messiah? Is he really Master? I mean, you're calling him "Lord and Savior" every 5 minutes in church. Should I believe you, Christian friend?

If He's your Lord and you're his disciple, why do you trample on every damn thing he did? I'm not talking about sin, friends. I sin too, and I repent for it, thank God. I'm talking about doing the opposite of what he did and being unrepentant for it. That's something different entirely. There's a difference between "Hey, I messed up" and "We don't have to do as the Master."

You piss on God's Feasts, calling them "Jewish", passed-away nonsense. You talk behind our backs when we try to keep God's commandments, saying how foolish we are, even cult-like, for trying to keep God's Torah. You tell others to steer clear from us crazies.

Yet the One you call "Lord", your supposed tutor who showed you how you should live down to the tiniest of tiny details, didn't celebrate your Christmas. He didn't celebrate your Easter. Heck, Jesus didn't eat pork. He didn't go to Church on Sun-day. He didn't start a new religion. He kept God's commandments, and God's Feasts, which you regularly trample.

You might protest and say you don't care about such trivial things, but remember, you are a disciple! Disciples do not get to choose which acts of the master to imitate. Start picking and choosing, and you're not a disciple at all, you're just starting your own religion with a select choice of the Master's teachings.

(Note to self: Hey, I've just discovered why we have so many Protestant denominations!)

How can you call Him "Lord" if you don't follow what He does?

You feign discipleship; some of you wear "What Would Jesus Do" bracelets. I read that book, too. But "WWJD" is a joke in today's Christianity. I mean, I can't take you seriously when you guys say that. Really. What would he do? Jesus would (did) celebrate Passover. He would (did) honor the Father's sabbath. He would (did) keep God's commandments. You don't do any of that. You don't follow the master. You say you do, you call him "Lord", but I don't buy it.

WWJD? A more accurate acronym would be,


(What should I do since Jesus did all these things contrary to my religion? Oh, I know, I'll just do whatever I want and say I'm being "led by the spirit!")

Friends, I'm getting tired of meaningless religious fluff. I'm sick of religious cliches, folks. I'm also a bit tired of the Christian religion. Man. It's true.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, and now that I've undoubtedly offended 90% of you fine blog readers through my rash and overly-harsh midnite blog rant, I can finally go to sleep. :-)


  1. I think what you have just described is a frustration many of us have with "pop Christianity," much of it manifesting itself in a very cavalier attitude toward the Law. Many Christians today say things out of their mouth with little or no wisdom or understanding (or even common sense). They haven't studied the Scriptures in the detail they think they have, and so they just spout off sound bytes here or there, thinking that they are "so spiritual."

    One benefit of being acquainted with Reformation and post-Reformation Christian theology is finding out that historically most of Protestantism has *not* had the negative attitude toward the Mosaic Torah that it has today. Of the three main Protestant strata: Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Wesleyanism--the latter two have generally held to a very positive view of the Law.

    Things began to change drastically in the mid-1800s with the introduction of dispensationalism and German Higher Criticism. One taught that the Old Testament was only for the Jews, and that Christians really not need concern themselves with it. The other taught that the Old Testament was Israel's mythology--so not only was its Divine origin ripped away, so was the Torah's Mosaic origin!

    The good news is that today, because of the moral controversies evangelicalism is facing, the Tanach is making a serious comeback. It behooves the Messianic community to prepare itself to be aware of these trends, as a season of serious growth and expansion may be forthcoming in the days ahead. And of course, given our internal divisions at present, we likely have a ways to go.

  2. Deut. 6:13 Revere only YHVH your God and worship Him alone, and swear only by His name. JPS

    Just remember the above Judah and you will be alright.


  3. Judah,

    We have experienced the same uncomfortable, nagging confrontations in the past. Since we don't rub elbows with many Christians these days, it does not happen as often.

    But this time of the Gregorian year seems to bring out the little evangelist in most Christians as they feel they are standing in the midst of a crowd of agreement and incontrovertible facts.

    Add in all the emotional, traditional, tug on your heart strings cultural sentiments and you do have a force to be reckoned with.

    When asked what we do for Christmas we simply say that we do what our Master Yeshua did...nothing.

    There are many today who count themselves in with the "messianic" ranks who do the same thoughtless parroting of Torah that Christians do with the new covenant letters. We all like to feel important, part of something larger and ultimately correct in our adherence to that higher cause.

    Quoting scripture has always been a way for us to think that we have reached that goal.

    But, in the end it leaves our hearts empty, and we search for the life we know exists, even though it seems to elude us in spite of our efforts.

    J.K. is correct that there is a move among Christians to explore the roots of their faith and see if there just may be a connection with the Torah of YHVH. We do see those who hear His voice coming out of that religious system and seeking to know what they have missed.

    But when they do come out, what will they find? Various groups of people who can't seem to agree on some of the simplest points of faith.

    So while they will find an understanding about what they believe and why, they will have a difficult time finding a place to walk.

    It would be easy to say that the Christians delay their leaving because we have not built a place for them to rest, but I don't think that is the whole story. We have seen and been aware of the coming Exodus for some time as have others. And don't believe it is simply a lack of character on the part of the "messianic believers" that is holding things up.

    The timing is in the hand of YHVH. When He sends forth the command I'm sure we will stop milling around and go where He says.

    A very wise child of our Father in Heaven once told me this:

    "When you meet someone who has beliefs that are precious to them, those beliefs are like a bowl of silver. If you speak ill of their beliefs, then you are offering them a bowl of mud in exchange for their silver. A transaction they will not do. But if you simply tell them of the good things that YHVH has done in your life, then you are offering them a bowl of gold. And they will drop the silver to get the gold."

    Judah I hear what your saying. In an effort to keep it real I have to change what I say, think and do. Not an easy task.

    Hazak, hazak, v'nit'chazek!



  4. Hi Judah,

    "But in the end, it leaves our hearts empty, and we search for the life we know exists even though it seems to elude us in spite of our efforts."

    I am borrowing this very wise quote from Efraim because I believe that anything we put in the place of Jesus in our lives leaves us empty no matter how religiously correct it may be. Our practice of faith should flow from our relationship with God and not be an effort to reach Him. He has already reached us through His Son. "Pure religion and undefiled is this:to visit widows and orphans in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted by the world." Jesus came to teach us how to live and how to love. He didn't come to teach us religion. Paul, who was also a practicing Jew, also didn't make teaching Gentiles the Jewish religion a priority. Instead, he took the gospel to them, the truth about Jesus Christ, and left the Holy Spirit to do the rest. Many millions of Godless Pagans have been made Godly through faith in Christ even though they never adopted the Jewish religion. That doesn't make the Jewish religion bad. It is the only one that God gave to man and all that comes from God is ultimately good. It just isn't a necessary part in saving gentiles. All we need is, Jesus, Judah.

    When I was a younger Christians, in my mid to late thirties, I became very concerned with how Christians practiced their faith. I became overly focused upon form and sadly, more focused upon the form of faith of others rather than my own. I think this was a stage of development but as any child who passes through a gawky and obnoxious stage, I later see how much damage I caused to myself and others by seeking to foist what I saw as the correct form of faith on others. Now I know that form is the end result of Christ working in the heart of individual believers and forcing any form on someone who isn't spiritually ready leaves only emptiness. It is vanity. Only Jesus can make men and women holy and that is through faith and not form.

    Judah, if God has called you to educate gentile Christians, then I urge you to continue in that calling but I also urge you to leave the outcome to Him. Don't fret over it. Don't fret over what babes in Christ say and do. Don't judge your brothers and sisters, just remain true to your calling. Only Jesus is able to seperate any of us from wrong practice or show us how to adopt correct practice. Only God knows the length of process necessary for each individual and also, what is priority for change in each individual life.

    I think there have always been gentile Christians who have known the truth about the holidays of the church. I first began to learn about them when reading Henry Ironsides, a commentary by that same fundamental preacher. It was written in the thirties and there have always been small groups of Christians who fervently sought out God's Will who have learned the truth. If God wanted us to be the mainstream of Christiandom, then we would be but instead, He has left us as a remnent. I believe, that at this day and time, the organized church is largely apostate and filled with many unbelievers. Jesus said that at the end of the age, He would come to individuals and sup with them and I believe that is what is happening now. His Kingdom is coming soon and if you have been called to educate us in the practice of the religion He gave to you and your people perhaps, the coming Kingdom is the reason and also the place He has given us to practice what you teach. Just remember, He is the potter and He lives in my Gentile heart just as He lives in your Jewish heart and He knows what we each need to become like Jesus. Neither of us is a potter and we are not allowed to punch, and pound, and pull, and twist the clay into the desired shape. That is work for God's hands only.

    Trust and obey, Judah and leave the rest of us to do the same. Rest in Him. God's Will can't and won't be thwarted.

    In Christ,

  5. Thanks for all your comments. I apologize for the post being overly harsh, but hey, I wrote what I was feeling.

    Thank you all.

  6. Writing a blog is a little different from writing an article--people expect you to express your opinion.

    Brief remark about Joyindestructible's comments that the Apostle Paul did not teach "Judaism" to his audiences. Until recently, it always bugged me as to why I did not have an answer why a letter like Philemon is included in our Bibles. What was its purpose, anyway? None of us read it, right?

    A letter like Philemon gives us *extremely important* clues as to the social structures present in the First Century Mediterranean world. The Apostle Paul does not deal with most of the specifics of the Torah like the Sabbath or festivals in his letters, because he is still trying to teach people the basics of Biblical ethics and morality. Philemon was written on behalf of Onesimus, a runaway slave. This should give us some important clues as to the kind of people who were a part of the congregations he planted.

    When we take into consideration that most of the early non-Jewish Believers were from the lower classes, we can adequately understand why big moral issues are those that seem to dominate Paul's letters. Big issues like not being involved in idolatry or sexual immorality--which stereotyped the Gentiles in much ancient Jewish literature--had to be resolved first.

  7. Judah and Family,

    I'm sorry bro, I don't know where I left my manners.

    Congratulations on the birth of your daughter.

    May YHVH give you His tender mercies and the hidden gifts from His storehouse of eternal love.

    Shalom to you and yours,


  8. J.K. McKee,

    When I look at the culture surrounding me, it seems that those same big issues still abound. I think of my own salvation and how much work God had to do in me before I was anywhere near to even wondering whether or not certain holidays were important to Him one way or another.

    Salvation is the work of God in this present age but in the age to come a greater work of refinement will begin when the Kingdom is fully established. We are on the cusp of that, I think and these times are confusing.

    Judah, no apologies necessary. It is good to be real and I hate religious cliches also. So in many ways I agreed with your original post but somehow, it seemed more important to speak to some of the feelings of frustration behind it. All of us who are serious about our faith feel that frustration from time to time.

  9. Hi Judah

    Don't apologise for being overly harsh, you weren't. What you say is quite correct when in the context of responding to those who idly question your focus on all "that Jewish stuff".

    Which does not negate what Pam said. There will always be babes in Christ, and there will always be those who abuse their freedom in grace. God is working on them, we hope ;)

    I've started to cop some of "But you're a Christian, you're not Jewish" from people very close to me. I still attend a conventional fellowship and for Christmas service I had to listen to a youth pastor bang on about how he's sick of hearing all that stuff about the pagan origins of Christmas and Santa etc because hey, he's gonna "use Christmas to win souls for Christ".

    All you can do is sigh, hand it to YHWH and pray that He will explain it all to them...on whichever side of life.

    Funny you mention the WWJD thing. I blogged about that too so I'll quote from mine: Jesus was a Torah observant Jew. You wanna know WWJD? Start by learning the Torah!"

  10. I loved your post, Judah. I agreed with Joyindestructible's comment about refinement. However, as a new Christian, if I am taken in by the misunderstandings about the commandments, what they are and to whom do they apply, dispensationalists, replacement theologies, anti-Semitism and bad teachings, me and my salvation are now on a slippery slope.

    Question for Judah and J.K., if I’ve just been saved and spirit filled, am I still a gentile? And what if I was a gentile, but could trace my lineage back to Ephraim? What if my dad or grandfather was a Jew, but I’ve lived as a gentile all my life? I don’t think we are supposed to dwell on such lineages, are we? Aren’t we one in Him? Am I not grafted in to Israel and the heritage, promises and blessings that go with that? These are not Jewish traditions taught by a Jew. These are my Lord’s appointments. His Feasts, Sabbaths and Torah provide me with a heritage and a promise, and ways to safeguard my salvation and ground me in His ways and His Word. He’s provided me with a way back. He’s thrown me a life raft amid the choppy waters as I was being pulled out to sea. ARG! I sure hope I’m no longer a gentile. I don’t need or want to remember and dwell on my old nature because He’s shown me who I really am and who I really belong to.

    I heard something once that really stuck with me. I know I've shared it with you before, "People without a heritage are easily persuaded." How true. I believe God knew that was a fact. That's probably why "remembering" is such a common theme in Scripture. He knew that if we didn't remember who He was, what He did and who we are that a generation later, we would forget and history would be rewritten. I believe this lack of any real heritage is why Christianity is flailing and why we live in an ever increasing Godless society. We've been asleep at the wheel, cruisin down easy street while anti-Christ like people have rewritten history and persuaded believers down precarious paths.

    One more question. Joy also said that Jesus came to teach us how to live and how to love. Didn’t Jesus “live and love” by the Torah? I know a lot of Jewish people who care for the down-trodden, widows and orphans. They are selfless, kind, generous, and forgiving...all precepts of Torah??

    You are such a good man, Judah. Thanks for being honest and for making some really good points.

  11. Anonymous,

    Jesus came to do the Father's Will and not His own so of course, whatever He did was lawful. I did not mean for anything that I said to be misconstrued as Jesus teaching us to love rather than obey God's laws. God's laws are fulfilled when we love Him above all others and others as ourselves.

    My comment was not intended to dispute anything Judah said but to encourage him in Christ. Sometimes, we all try to carry burdens that are too big for us. All we can do is what God leads us to do as He equips us to do it and leave the outcome to Him. If He is working in our own heart and life, we have to trust that He is doing the same for others even if they are not at the level we desire them to be. It is God's work and not our own.