VIDEOS

THE BRANG CHHANG STORY

My falling out of Grace was a gradual process that spanned the first sixty years of my life. However, if I had to choose the one straw that broke the camel’s back, it would have to be the death of Chhang… or perhaps I should say the reaction I got from my Pastor when I wrote about it.

Chhang’s death was different from any of the other hundreds of deaths I have witnessed in my lifetime because in his final breath he called out my name loud and clear. In my writing, I likened it to him calling out to Jesus in the only name by which he knew him and my Pastor became furious. He shot back an e-mail to me saying, that Chhang had gone to Hell with his parents, who also died of AIDS related causes, because I had failed to teach him how to call on the name of Jesus, and that if he had only said the name Jesus, instead of my name, he would be safe in Heaven, instead of burning in Hell. I was devastated at first… but as I pondered what my Pastor had to say, I realized how full of shit he was.

This was one of my first attempts at using video to get a message out and so the quality is not great… but I have decided to resurrect the original video instead of changing it, partly because of a friends request to see it, but also in the hopes that it will cause others to re-evaluate their conception of God.

9 Comments

  1. Wayne, I feel very sad at your pain over what the pastor said about Chhang. Let me be the first to say, he’s wrong. Dead wrong. In fact, he contradicts the words of Jesus himself: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” In fact, Jesus pretty much dismisses the whole “accepting Jesus as my personal savior” argument over and over again in the NT — in Matthew 25, he makes the condition of your Last Judgment the way you treat other people. That’s it, plain and simple, couldn’t be more clear if you asked me, but I’m amazed how many clergy fail to grasp this simple point. I’ve never quite understood why the whole, “accept Jesus and you’re saved” argument got so far — maybe because Luther was reacting to the excesses of the Catholic Church in his time, and latched onto Paul’s statement about faith sufficing. But Luther, I believe, did not understand what Paul was saying — he was merely stating we’ll always fall short of measuring up to God’s standards, but God’s love for us is enough to save us from our own selfishness, so have faith, in other words, have a sacred imagination and keep trying to improve your behavior. I know you no longer consider yourself Christian and can’t ask you to “come back” if it’s not in your heart — but please consider that you might have
    been taught a false Christianity from the word go. I don’t mean the people who taught you were evil or malicious, but I do think in the Protestant church’s zeal to reject Catholicism, they threw out the good works baby with the faith bath water, so to speak, and kind of created a completely new series of errors. Fortunately, I think many Christians eventually realize following Christ has nothing to do with simply praying to him and saying his name, it’s acting like him. I’m fairly sure Chhang is in heaven, and I’m certain your compassion was part of God’s way of bringing him there.

  2. I kind of like what he said, especially the part about you may have rejected a false version of what Jesus taught. I’ve said the same to you before. One thing, I don’t think it’s faith or works, but that faith is a verb. It really is but since we don’t have that verb in English it was translated as believe, which really skews it. To faith as Jesus showed us is an action the comes from trusting in the Father Love, or Mother Love of God. I also don’t think the Father I’m writing of has lessened his/her grip on Chhang or you or me.

  3. Wayne Dale Matthysse

    Thanks Rob and Andy for your responses. I am in total agreement with your assessment that I was taught a false Christianity or version of what Jesus taught. I unfortunately, am also guilty of teaching it to the children I raised. Any pain or suffering it has caused me however, is of no importance, for it has brought me to the awareness of myself. We would have to go a long way back in our history to discover how our need for a personal God has developed over the years. Is there, or can there be, a True religion? Is it possible to experience Now while tied to the doctrines of the past? True freedom has no authority… to deny one’s self is to deny God but to accept one’ self as the ultimate authority is to realize the God within you.

  4. If a personal God means a God small enough for me to understand and fit into my pocket (or some larger box), then I don’t believe in such a personal God. But if God being personal means that the love of God is real and bigger than myself, then I believe God is personal. Some writers have said the love of God is “Wild Love” — meaning a love that can’t be boxed or tamed or trained. I like that, too.

    What I appreciate about Jesus in scripture is not “Jesus as a solution for sin” or “Jesus as the whipping boy for God’s anger.” Rather, I see Jesus telling and showing us that the God of Love has entered into our self-inflicted suffering and shame with us. You seem to want God to prove himself by solving our suffering or at least explaining it. I think the greatest thing we get from Jesus is that God joins us in our suffering and that God suffers with us until the suffering is complete. That is much more personal and real than watching us suffer and then solving it.

    “True freedom has no authority.”

    I can’t agree with that. How about this? True authority comes from love. True authority gives freedom rather than needing control. No authority means no connection.

    The contradiction that I sense in your view is that no authority and no connection does not mean freedom from ego, but instead means to be alone with ego.

    As for true religion… Religion is, at best, a sign pointing to truth, but not truth itself. The truth that Christian religion (at it’s best) points to is Jesus. You can know Jesus without religion, but you can’t know Jesus and the way of Jesus without faith (as a verb).

  5. Wayne Dale Matthysse

    Thanks for sharing your views Andy; I don’t think we are far off from each other, with the main difference being our perception of God. I do not see God as being a separate Entity but as being us all. Life not Love is our connection and the Ego is what separates us. When we make God into a separate Entity we must compete for His Love, as did the fabled Cain and Abel… but when we acknowledge that He is Us, we no longer have to compete for His Love for We are His Love.

    Assuming Jesus was a real person, I think he did a good job of showing us how we should live a Godly Life. When we make him out to be a demigod who bridges the gap between God and man however, we create a third kind of Entity… and that leaves the door open for creating other entities like Angels and demons, none of which I have ever seen, except in shadowy places on dark cold windy nights, or in the movies. The Truth does not require Faith. Faith is wishing on a star and believing that the star had something to do with granting your wish when it comes true.

  6. A fab video which brought tears to my eyes . Enya is always wonderful .
    But I am now getting confused in all the stuff at the end and quoting from the bible .
    why do we always have to look for or expect there to be a spiritual explanation for something we dont understand ? You gave him the love of another human being and that was his rock . What greater love could he give you than to call for you whenhe needed someone . A wonderful memory for you to treasure .
    I am in P.P and will be down to see you soon .

  7. Wayne Dale Matthysse

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for watching the video. I wrote it at a time when I was still a “Christian” and it was in response to my pastors comment that Chhang had gone to Hell. That is why I quoted the Bible. That incident was the proverbial straw that got me to leave the church and eventually all organized religion. Hope to see you soon.

  8. John R. Nicholes

    Wayne, thank you so much for sharing the video about Chhang. You are a man of heart, and please allow me to say, you are a man of God. Chhang nor his parents went to hell. They went to the world of spirits where they rest in peace.

    I just finished the book, “In a Rocket Made of Ice.” You remind me of a scripture:

    Matthew 25:34-40 (KJV)

    34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

    36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

    39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

    40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    God bless you and all those you help and have helped.

    Sincerely, John

  9. Wayne Dale Matthysse

    Thanks for the encouragement John… it means a great deal to me.

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