A Changing God…A God Who Loves Us All

I am certainly one of those whose idea of God has changed drastically during my lifetime. I started out as a kid in a Catholic school in the 1950s who was taught that only Catholics would go to heaven. It is certainly not that God is changing but instead it is my idea 2017-03-22_09-32-03.pngof what God is. I have gone from the beliefs of “Only Catholics” to one of Universal Salvation. I deem this change as progress, others more fundamental (stuck in their ways) will say it is heresy.

Looking at the ages, the concept of God has changed radically. He started out as something to be feared, who demanded blood offerings to keep his wrath at bay. Jealous, wrathful, impetuous, incendiary would be good descriptions of God at that stage. He was feared for his almighty power. At least in some circles, these traditional concepts of God are being laid to rest in favor of a more benevolent being.

When Christianity burst upon the scene via Jesus Christ much of the wrathful God was replaced by a loving and caring God who told us to love each other as He loved us. He told us much of what we believed was wrong. He used the phrase “You have heard it said, but I say to you..” Sadly, his messages are being muted to one degree or another by different versions of Christianity still today. But there are some, like one of my favorite religious authors, Philp Gulley, who have come to the conclusion that if God truly loves us all and wants all of us to be with him in eternity then he will somehow make that happen. I am now one of that fold for I think not believing that possibility is to take power away from an omnipotent deity.

love-god-in-sand-1314534-640x480.jpgEspecially in our day, many struggle to find meaning and tranquillity through spirituality. That, not established religions is what is growing today. According to an article in Christianity Today, one-fourth of young adults said that they wanted a break from religion; another 26 percent said church members seemed judgemental and hypocritical of others; 20 percent didn’t feel connected, and 15 per cent felt downright unwelcome. When you finally grab hold of the idea that God will reconcile all of us to him, all of this judgemental and hypocrisy flys out the window. You no longer need to separate yourself from those around you. You have finally reconciled that all of us are children of God and are to be loved. All of us.

I am convinced that someday in the future the world will finally see the goodness of all people and be at peace. I realize that this is a pious dream that is very distant from the original concept of Deity but I dream it none the less.

 

When we Christians shun our responsibilities….

Jesus clearly told us to be our brother’s keeper but somewhere along the way we Christians unapologetically shunned that responsibility. During the first three centuries, Christians were very much their brother’s keeper. They often pooled their resources so that those neediest were taken care of. They not only cared for their own there is even documented evidence showing that they took care of those not even Christians.  But, of course, this is what Jesus did so they were just following his lead.

The vast majority of Christian congregations today spend about 95% of what they gather on themselves or their organization’s hierarchy leaving little for the kingdom of God work particularly in the brother’s keeper area.  When that happened the moral goodness, which I believe to be also a gift from God to all humanity, dictated that the kingdoms of the world take over that task. Some do a much better job of it than others. The government of Sudan seems to totally reject the “brother’s keeper” mentality.  Many thousands die daily of starvation and political genocide. Whereas, thank the Lord, the government of the United States has generally taken up this task in our absence, at least to a partial degree. Or at least one of our political parties carries that mantle.

Now I’m not saying that Christians do nothing in this area. Indeed some of the best humanitarian agencies in this area are Christian based. But, their total contributions is almost minuscule compared to the need. Having religious institutions take over all the care for the poor is beyond the realm of possibilities so I guess we must depend on our governments to do that for us. It is said that government instituted by God so I suppose you could say it is now their duty. To even suggest as some do that since we Christians won’t do it our governments should stay out of it also is a total affront to the teachings of Jesus. It is indeed a sad day that many Evangelical Christians seem to be saying that very thing today. Shame on us for shunning this compassionate responsibility!

What About The Soul??

With this post I am going to go deeply into philosophy and speculate on just what is life. I couldn’t decide if this post belongs in the “That’s Life” category or “Crayon Marks” so I put it in both.  🙂

2017-02-19_10-40-15.pngMan has spent ages trying to figure out what happens after we end our life on earth.  For Christians, Jesus tells us that our spirit leaves our body and goes to what we decided to call heaven. He tells us that marriages don’t count in heaven and we will live in one of the rooms in his mansion.  I kind of put these words as what a person who has infinitely more knowledge of a subject trying to explain something to someone who is ignorant in the matter. Kind of like a space traveling alien explaining to an aboriginal person what the stars really are.  They will put it in simple terms because they know we couldn’t fathom anything more.

What is heaven?  No one on this side of life really knows. But that doesn’t keep us, including me, from speculating.  So here goes…

When I die whatever causes me to be alive will leave my body and eventually my body will disintegrate back to the dust of the earth. That is if I don’t hasten the process by cremation. 🙂  My soul, which I choose for this post to call my life spirit will go to wherever life spirits go. If it is eternal as I think it is, it will either stay there or maybe get used for another body being born. Will it have memories of my past life? I would like to think so, that’s what reincarnation is all about, but if I believe the words of Jesus that we will not be married and other such social obligations then I kind of think my spirit will just be a spirit, the essence of life.

Much of my speculation hinges on the belief that life cannot be made, instead it is created by an omnipotent being. In past ages the heart, among other body parts, was believed to be the soul of a person, that is before it was discovered that all the heart really is is a muscle that pumps blood.  If life is somehow created in a laboratory sometime in the future then my concept of life spirits would like so many past ones will be thrown aside and replaced by something else.

Does it really matter what I think the life force is?  Not really, we need to concentrate on just living it to the fullest and watching out for each other. That is the real meaning of life to me.

If Grace Is True

After many years of resistance and finally accepting God’s love I find it strange to believe that so many believe he is going to damn the vast majority of those he loves to an eternal anguish.  We spend less than a century on this earth in one degree of happiness or another and then billions, if not trillions of centuries in total misery and anguish. That is just not the God that I have come to know.

I grew up in a very sheltered life in a small midwest town. There were no visible minorities there and there certainly were nothing but Christian churches of one flavor or another in the area. It was not until I went to college that I was exposed to anyone outside my usual cliche. Things would change rather dramatically for me during those years.  I learned that everyone who didn’t go to a Christian church were not bad guys. Many seemed to share the same level of morality that I did during those years.

It was later in my life than it was for Mr. Gulley that I saw the movie Gandhi but it also affected me greatly.  I went on to learn more about the man and the religious stands of his version of God. Gandhi was a man of infinite morals. He understood thing about loving your fellow man that I still can’t fathom. Why would God send him to hell while giving me a place in heaven.

I like the idea of emptying hell. Is God really going to eternally condemn those stubborn souls who fail to recognize him during their utterly brief time on this earth?