A Corner On The Market For God’s Blessings??

I want you to know up front that I think there is a lot wrong with the practice of Christianity, especially in America. Despite the thousands of congregations and leaders who stick to the words of Jesus, it has far too often been polluted by the radical right/religous political extremists in our society. 

Now that you know where I am coming from I will explain the title above. I have come to be annoyed by the term “God Bless America”. It is almost as if we think we have a lock on Christianity.

The Bible is the story of an occupied and oppressed people trusting that God will guide them toward liberation. The main characters who modeled faithfulness most often were those OUTSIDE of power. Many of us have been taught (albeit subconsciously) to read ourselves into the biblical story as the protagonist when in reality — whether we like it or not — we have more in common with the antagonist.

We live in one of the most powerful and wealthy countries in human history. We don’t need to be ashamed of that, but we do need to be honest about it. And, if we are honest, we have more in common with Pharaoh than with Moses. With Pilot than with Jesus. With those on the side of empire extinguishing the good news of the kingdom. As my friend Tony Campolo says, “We may live in the best Babylon in the world, but it’s still Babylon.”

Source: Red Letter Christians

I love that the quote above helped me realize that America, me included, is more aligned with the antagonists of the New Testament stories than the oppressed. More in common with the Pilot than with Jesus. Those are startling revelations!

Getting back to my annoyance with the phrase “God Bless America”, yes I recognize that we in America are certainly blessed with material goods. We are all the 1% when it comes to the world’s riches. We need to claim that mantel and the obligations that go with it. We need to be our brother’s keeper, not just in our families or even country, but in the world. For that reason, I very much favor the phrase “God Bless Us All”.

So I close this post with the idea that everyone in the world is God’s family and

God Bless Us All

Crusaders For Jesus…

I want to end this fatiguing year of 2018 on a positive note about Jesus’ church. First of all, I want to celebrate all those thousands of congregations and religious leaders who have become the crusaders for Jesus in an otherwise very polluted spiritual world.

The term Evangelical has become widely accepted to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to spiritual matters. Their true agenda is man-made and very political in nature. But there are folks like John Pavolitz, Shane Claiborne, Philip Gulley, Robin Myers, Phyllis Tickle, Gregory Boyd, Harvey Cox, and Diane Butler who among many others stay true to Jesus’ words. They are true crusaders for Jesus in a time desperately needing them. No, they don’t get the press that Franklin Graham, who destroyed his father’s legacy, gets simply because they don’t resort to screaming falsehoods as he often does.

Another person who I want to single out in this regard is Pope Francis. He is stubbornly intent on putting the teachings of Jesus back to front and center in the Roman Catholic church. Yes, I recognize that the hierarchy of that establishment pretty much turned their backs on a sexual predator scandal. I also recognize that an establishment of that size has its institutional players who look out primarily for themselves and oppose much of what the Pope is trying to do.

We must always recognize that the Pope and all the aforementioned names here are human beings with their own frailty and biases. There are none that are infallible.

Finally, although I can’t name them there are very likely thousands of congregations in the US among the 350,000 or so out there that focus on Jesus’ words and reject all the man-made things that have wrongly been attached to him. I am convinced that they are a thousand points of light that will eventually take the church back to where it belongs. I celebrate them all at the end of this very tumulous year.

Merry Christmas

To all my Christian friends of the many different flavors, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  

Let us always every day, try to live by the teachings of our founder He and his teachings are the star to latch onto. 

Happy Holidays

I am not one of those Christians who complains that I am no longer allowed to say Merry Christmas. That statement is a cop-out if you ask me.  Of course, I can say Merry Christmas but I also recognize that there are many others around who celebrate this season in a different way.  To all of those friends of mine, I would like to wish you a very Happy Holidays.

Follow The Star

As I celebrate this Holiday Season I try to always remember what it is really about, at least to me.  365 days a year I proudly proclaim that I am a follower of Jesus. I have latched my life on the teachings he gave us while he was on this earth. 

I Follow The Star

  • He tells us to always put others ahead of ourselves.  Since all of us by our very nature are pretty self-centered, that is a hard one to do in practice.
  • He tells the rich to give all their money to the poor and that it is harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven!
  • He tells us the two most important things on this earth are to love our maker and to love each other, and “each other” includes EVERYONE else.
  • He tells us that those who are persecuted on earth are blessed, and will be first in heaven.

During this holiday season I need to proclaim that I truly believe he meant what he said.

I Follow The Star

Why Nationalism is Dangerous and Incompatible with Christianity

Being a follower of the teachings of Jesus, it befuddles me how the brand of Christianity who call themselves Evangelicals can be so intrinsically linked to the current Oval Office occupant (#CO3). Simply stated his actions and words are the antitheses of those teachings. Here are some words about that from my friends over at Red Letter Christians.

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Source: Why Nationalism is Dangerous and Incompatible with Christianity – Red Letter Christians

Of course, this is not the first time nationalists have tried to kidnap Christianity and the words of Jesus. The KKK claims to be a Christian organization but their total abandonment of Jesus’ teaching show that is a blatant lie! But still, in the 1930s the KKK dominated many States in conservative America. They controlled governments throughout the South and even in my State of Indiana during those years.

Why the current Oval Office occupant is so enamored to dictators/despots (Russia, China, North Korea, etc) while being disrespectful of leaders in democracies is very puzzling to me.  The only explanation I can come up with is that in his own mind, be believes if given total control, he could make the world perfect!  We followers of the teachings of Jesus need to adamantly stand up to this brand of nationalism and see it for what it is.