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Diversity

For decades people have been prophesying about American Christianity’s demise. Church attendance is dropping, our culture is becoming increasingly immoral and the president is probably the Antichrist. Various pundits, experts and research groups have seemingly made a living predicting American Christianity’s downfall, and yet, while Christianity has become extinct in numerous parts of the world, it continues to live on—and sometimes thrive—within the United States….

There are faith communities for those who are conservative or liberal, egalitarian or complementarian, Calvinist or Armenian, traditional or modern, young or old, Norwegian or Cuban—you get the point. We often view are differences as a bad thing, as a sign of disunity and mistrust, but we serve as a sort of system of checks and balances. American Christianity is a beautiful patchwork of unique characteristics, all united in Christ, challenging each other, holding each other accountable and complementing our various strengths and weaknesses.

SOURCE: The Six Best Things About ‘American’ Christianity | Stephen Mattson.

I am a very strong believer that what makes the U.S. so unique is our diversity. Most of us celebrate our differences without attacking others who think differently than we do. I firmly believe that our ability to do just that is what make for our longevity as a democratic country. I am in awe of our founding fathers being able to create the framework to make that happen.

I celebrate diversity in most things but I have seemed to lack that facility when it comes to my spirituality. I have not been able to understand that it is also a strength when it comes to why we continue to be for the most part a nation aligned with Christian values while so many other countries are quickly falling away.

But I came to this game to have something to live/play, not something to offer/justify; to find the Teacher within, not teach others that they’re ignorant of the importance of an ideal; to belong with others united in comraderie, not divided by heritage or heredity. 

SOURCE: http://www.quakerquaker.org/profiles/blogs/the-quaker-game-of-life

Like my Quaker friend in the quote above come to this game play and not to justify my existence. I hope some of my words here are taken as teacher and not to just push my ideals on you.

Helping The Poor – Reason 2

December 29, 2013

2)      It’s Not a Sin to Be Poor

In a culture obsessed with consumerism, money is seen as the ultimate form of power and success, but it’s not a sin to be poor. For Christians, especially middle-class Westernized believers, it’s easy to assume the worst of the poor. We blame them for not working, being lazy, having drug addictions, making poor choices, and not trying hard enough.

We often equate financial worth with personal value, and we place the poor in the lowest system of our preconceived (often subconscious) human caste systems. We treat them accordingly—bad, and are continually blaming, humiliating, and shaming them through our condescending criticism, “instruction,” and judgment.

We need to remember that being poor in and of itself isn’t a sin and doesn’t make a person less valuable in the eyes of God—if only Christians could realize this.

SOURCE:  Stephen Mattson: 5 Reasons We Should Personally Help the Poor | Red Letter Christians.

This is the second post of five for reasons to help the poor as cited by Stephen Mattson.

I know the above comments are probably at the heart of many who have an ingrained prejudice against the poor. We blame them for things that at least partially are their own faults. We blame them for making poor choices that might have contributed to them being poor.

I, like many others evidently, was very turned off my Mr. Romney’s 47% comment. He basically said being poor was their own fault and we should let them stew in their own makings.  We Christians far too easily treat the poor as if their sins are somehow worse than ours and that therefore they don’t deserve grace from us or society at large.  Being firmly entrenched in the Quaker belief that there is the light of God in each and every one of us, I do my best to realize that being poor is not a sin and even if it were we should forgive that sin as God forgives ours.  After all isn’t the phrase “forgive us our sins as we forgive others” found in the Lord’s prayer applicable today as it was two thousand years ago.  It is about time we started living up to that pledge we recite so often.

To Be a Christian….

December 12, 2012

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To be like Christ is to be a Christian  – 1718   William Penn’s last words  

Although I have never attended a meeting I feel quite close to the Society of Friends known as Quakers. They are so throughly grounded in “being” a Christian instead of just proclaiming a set of beliefs.  To see William Penn’s last words here it is obvious that he was a faithful Quaker.

Eternal Peace…

November 18, 2012

Several years ago I came across a small book entitled Quaker Spirituality – Selected Writings. I’m still not sure what made me pause on the title but I am glad I did. Inside that book was an essay by Thomas R. Kelly (1893-1941) talked about the “Eternal Presence”. I didn’t know it then but this essay put me on the path to learning much more about Quakers. It gave me the most complete understanding of who God was that I have ever had in my life up to that point.

Here are some of the words from that essay. I am just going to give you bits an pieces but enough to get its message across:

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