Universal Salvation… If Grace Is True

Universal Salvation is not believed by many current Christian denominations but I became convinced to make it my worldview primarily by the book cited below. The following series of posts which will subsequently be compiled as an In-Depth report here on RJsCorner came from my other blog RedLetterLiving.net.

Gracae Book CoverI’ve never experienced a God of wrath. I’ve heard such a God preached. I’ve read of such a God. I’ve encountered wrathful people who claimed to be acting on God’s behalf. I’ve even allowed such sentiments to tarnish my view of God. Yet, in the midst of all these distortions, I never experienced a wrathful God.

The God I’ve experienced is the God of Jesus—a God of unlimited patience, infinite love, and eternal faithfulness. Jesus described a God who waits long through the night, with the light lit and the door open, confident his most defiant child will one day realize his love and turn toward home. Jesus revealed a God who loves the unlovable, touches the untouchable, and redeems those thought beyond redemption. He said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9). My earliest experiences were with the love of Jesus.

I want to start off this mini-serious around the book by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland entitled If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person with a quote from the beginning pages. Being I buy most of my books from Amazon I can review a few pages to decide whether I want to purchase the book.  When I read these words I knew this was a book I wanted to learn more from.

I must admit that most of my church experiences have not aligned with the assumption that God will eventually reconcile all souls back to him. Especially from my Protestant years, I was taught  that I was to fear a wrathful God who would send me to an eternity of pain and suffering if I didn’t do what the church leaders told me to do. I was told to fear the power and wrath of God or risk eternal damnation. I was told that God only viewed me as worth no more than a piece of snot but he loved me anyway.

I was told that all the bad things that have happened in my life was probably just God getting back at me for things I had done in my life. It was his retribution for not being perfect. But even with all this rhetoric about a vengeful God I, like the quote above,  can’t say that I have ever really experienced a God of wrath.  I have encountered wrathful people inside and outside the churches I have attended over the years. They insisted on telling me week after week that people like us, that is those who made a declaration of faith in the beliefs they espoused and attended their particular version of church were saved from God’s wrath but just about everyone else would not make the cut.

When I dared to go off on my own and study the words of Jesus without those fearful words being chanted in my ears I discovered a different God. Now I will admit that there are some words attributed to Jesus that I can’t yet understand (I will have to do another series on that topic) but the vast majority that I do presently understand is about a God of love. One who has an agape, that is unconditional and infinite, love for me and all those he created.  With this new view of God I am beginning to align with Mr. Gulley’s notion that God will save every person.  How he is going to do that is not up to me and my petty understanding of him.  I just know that he is an all powerful God and if he loves us as the Bible proclaims then he will eventually bring us all back to his fold.

Leaves Of Grass and Other Unfinished Things…

2017-07-16_08-41-25I’m sure there is a name for someone who can’t stop working on something and to call it finished. I looked around but couldn’t find the word.  One glaring example of this was Walt Whitman’s collection of poetry called Leaves Of Grass.  Never mind that it was a book of poetry that was very unconventional in its time and that the subject matter was often sexual in nature, the point of this mention is that he just couldn’t finish it. It did major changes throughout its eight editions or so.

 

RJC FlaSH.jpgNow finally getting down to the point of this post and that is to tell you that I have been spending quite a bit of time lately making the On the Road & In Depth Reports pages that now reside on the right side of my home page. These pages started out as individual posts but I am in the process of significantly expanding  and in some cases compiling several posts into one topic and turning them into more detailed stories.

Given my innate editor nature, they will likely be changed on a regular basis.  I need to tell the whole story and my five hundred word limit on individual posts just doesn’t allow that to happen. I, like Whitman, will likely not be able to  stop editing and expanding these reports.

The list of topics will increase as time goes by.  When I have added new ones or significantly changed existing ones I will likely feature them in the three boxes just below the Home Page blog header.  I hope a few of you will take the time over the coming months to browse through the list.

Not Good Enough For Me..

Snippet BannerI gotta send you this snippet about the Republican Healthcare plan that no one seems to like, except that 25% of us who ignorantly cling to this president. But the key that hopefully locks this plan away is that the Senate bill has hidden text that exempts them and their staff from having to use the plan they are trying to push down our throats.

See this link for a video about that.

Not Good Enough For Me

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I just pray that there are at least a handful of GOP senators who have the welfare of their constituents in their hearts. Yes, we need to be looking for ways to reduce our healthcare costs so that they are similar to the rest of the world, but taking away healthcare to 20 million of our citizens is NOT the answer.

 

Box Of Eggs..

Sometimes creative things sneak up on you. That was the case when I came across this picture in an Des Moine museum a few ago.  I don’t know who put this box of eggs together but they were genius.

Box of Eggs

Religion Does More Harm Than Good..

It is interesting to see another country where the majority thinks religion does more harm than good, especially since this one is our neighbor. I’m not sure what the statistics in Europe are but I suspect that they are similar to Canada’s.

More than half of Canadians believe religion causes more harm than good, a new poll has found. The survey by Ipsos found the proportion of people who held the belief had increased in recent years, from 44 per cent in 2011 to 51 per cent this year. Less than a quarter of people, or 24 per cent, believed that religious people made better citizens, down eight points from 2011, Global News reported.

Source: Majority of Canadians think religion does more harm than good | The Independent

canstockphoto17505783I have been brave enough to openly hold this position for about a dozen years now but was kind of surprised that so many believe as I do.  Before you start flaming I want to explain my feelings.  It is not that we shouldn’t be praising God for everything he created but instead about the versions of religion that have sprung up over the centuries trying to do that.

If you are a history enthusiast it is hard not to come to the conclusion that religion does more harm than good.  We see so many wars started around one person’s view of God vs another’s.  By far the majority of religions believe that their vision of God is the only true one. That belief is the foundation for the Sunni vs Shiite, Protestant vs Catholic, Lutherans vs Baptists (I could go on and on..) and even inside the splits within a particular belief.  Personally I know that WELS Lutherans think that ELSA Lutherans are just plain ungodly.

I have come to believe in what I call the Woody Guthrie view of religions and that is that we are ALL just part of one big soul. We are all searching for God and far too many of us just refuse to believe that it is that simple…

We are all in this together

 

St. Lawrence Fisherman.

In my 20,000 photo database I have about 250 five-star pictures and the one above is in my top ten list.  Going beyond that level is difficult as they, like your children, are all special in one regard or another.  This particular photo has a unique story to go with it.

It was taken during our 2011 trip through eastern Canada. We started this three week venture east of Detroit MI in Windsor and ended up in Nova Scotia.  The first thing I want to mention is that Canada is much different than the US. There is practically no such thing as fast food places, especially outside the major metropolitan areas. About the only places to stay the night in the hinterland is in family owned places and they vary GREATLY from one to another.

Now, getting on to the picture. It was taken along the St. Lawrence Seaway south of Montreal. I don’t remember the exact location, my camera didn’t have GPS in those days. Since motels were far and few between we decided to stop in late afternoon. There was a small sign along the road with the motel’s name. It was basically a small house and what appeared to be a pretty long chicken coop.  The husband and wife owners at the small house office were friendly. We discovered that the “chicken coop” was basically about a dozen small rooms  for nightly rent.  The owner first told us not to drink the water.  He also said the shower was kind of intermittent depending on if someone else was using theirs at the same time. Since we were only going to stay that one night  and we didn’t know what was down the road we got a room.

The room was about ten foot square with a double bed, a nightstand and a chair.  After checking in we spent a couple of hours sitting along the river and eating the snacks we had on hand for supper.  As dusk was approaching we went to our room and discovered only one of the lightbulbs in the place worked and that the bed was basically a thin worn out mattress on some pretty hard bedsprings.  I settled in for what I thought was the night.  It ended up that I just couldn’t sleep with springs poking me in the back  so I spent a good deal of the night in the chair.

At the first glimmer of light I decided to watch the sunrise over the St. Lawrence and maybe get a good picture.  As it became lighter I discovered that I was not the only one who was up early. There was a fisherman with a very long pole sitting on a bucket about fifty yards away.  I very discretely took his picture and what you see here is the result.  I don’t know if he caught anything that morning but I know he never moved for the hour or so I was there….

Eventually my wife woke up, I don’t see how she managed to sleep through the night? We were on the road about an hour after sunrise but never to forgot our experience that night.

 

We Are A Country Better Than This!

2017 is proving to be a brutal year for the USA. The personal and very vicious attacks from the early morning Oval Office are so demeaning and what is happening in congress to take away healthcare from millions of us is almost evil. In spite of this I hold out the belief that we as a country are better than this and that the 45th president along with his congress will go down in history books as a temporary blip of insanity and poor voter judgement. It will quickly be forgotten when it finally ends.

But, will that really happen? I can only dream that on this very patriotic 4th of July.

We have been and will again be a country better than this.

 

It’s Nice To Know Where You Came From, But…

HavingMySay Banner  It’s nice to know where you came from but it is more important to know where you are going and we as a world and especially a country don’t seem to have any idea about our future.

We need to align ourselves with our fellow man.  A good way to start that is to quit thinking that those you disagree with you, particularly in political matters, are the enemy. Instead we should see them as just people like us who happened to have a different view on solutions to our problems.

Now don’t get me wrong here, our history/past is important.  I have spent a large part of my life learning about America’s history. I have visited hundreds of historical places and read hundreds of book about our country and particularly its founding fathers. A big part of this blog is dedicated to history as shown in the InSearchOfAmerica section.

Our personal history known as our heritage is also important to understand how we got to where we are. But, on a priority level our history/past/heritage must take a back burner to where we are headed. Being very brainy here, you can’t change the past or do very little about the present, but we have the ability to change our future if we don’t like the direction it is headed.

I know there are people out there that scream if we give up what we were then we have no heritage. To that I say poppycock.  Sometimes our heritage needs to be forgotten if we are to move into a more peaceful future. One of the examples in this area are that many born-deaf people think that giving a deaf child a cochlear implant which would allow them to hear is child abuse in that it denies them their heritage.

I, for private reasons, have never been very interested in my personal heritage. But if I found own that I was a descendent of a serial killer I think that part of my heritage would quickly be forgotten.

Let’s end this post with  a more lighthearted view of future change, especially world change:

We need to start driving on the same side of the road — It is kind of silly, not to mention dangerous  when one country drives on the left and another drives on the right.  Maybe a good first step is to  drive on the same side of the road.  I know this won’t result in world peace but..

canstockphoto21701079.jpgWe need to start speaking and writing in the same language — I know the Christian and Jewish bibles say God mixed up all our languages because we were starting to get too smart.  That really doesn’t make a lot of sense, particularly in today’s world. 🙂 All our different languages just get in the way of communication effectively with each other.  We as a world need to pick a language and then all agree that everyone must learn to speak that language in xx (you fill in the blank) years.

 

Nauvoo IL – Mormon Settlement

ISOA Banner   Nauvoo Village was one of several settlements established and then all but abandoned by Mormons due to battles with their neighbors.  The first was in Ohio, the second in Missouri, and then came Nauvoo in Illinois. This was the site that it’s founder Joseph Smith was killed and Brigham Young took over the leadership.

Mauvoo has recently been been called the “Williamsburg of the Midwest” and to some degree they deserve that title but in others they fall short. Many of the building have been restored to the 1840s but many are still in private hands. Unlike Williamsburg there are obvious places that the 21st century invades including cars parked throughout the village.

I think most, if not all the employees are of the Mormon faith so some don’t take criticisms lightly.   All being said however, I found all the people in the village to be very friendly and more than willing to accommodate my deafness.

Before I close I want to get in my “having my say” mode and talk a little about religion and Mormons particularly.  During the 1800 years or so between the beginning of Christianity and  the settlement of Nauvoo there were thousands of different version of Christianity invented. Many happened after Luther started the Protestant Reformation.  And of course there have been about 20,000 or more different version since that time.   I kind of find it ironic that there was as much ambivalence toward Mormons that there has been.  Why were they driven out of so many settlement locations before they finally reached Salt Lake City? Are they that threatening to other Christians?

I have become a “live and let live” believer in Jesus Christ.  That is I just don’t believe that any of the 35,000 version of this religion have a lock on what to believe. They are all just one person’s view of religion starting with St. Paul who had never seen Jesus and spoke little of the lessons of Jesus during his lifelong ministry. One great thing about America it that we, at least figuratively, believe in freedom of religion. Believe what you want as long as you don’t try to force your beliefs on others.

Finally getting back to Nauvoo, this village is well worth it if you find yourself in the area.

Here are some pictures from my visit.  As usual click on any one to see a larger slideshow view.

 

 

$600 Billion, But….

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$600 Billion Annual Spending

Annually we spend in excess of $600 billion on our military to protect us from foreign invaders at the same time the GOP is not willing to spend $20 billion to keep millions of us from dying of treatable diseases and ailments. I don’t know maybe it is just me but I don’t see an ounce of logic in that fact.  For one thing, we have not been invaded by more than a handful of discontents since 1812.

Yes, I admit that by some fluke in structural design a handful of USA haters managed to kill three thousand or so of us some sixteen years ago , but ten times that number of people will likely die annually because of denial of adequate health care from the proposed TrumpCare lack of funding. I don’t know but this just doesn’t make any sense to me. Somehow or another there seems to be zero empathy, or maybe “brother’s care”  in this fact.

canstockphoto10436672.jpgIt is totally ironic to me that many, perhaps most, of the 25% who voted these guys in office are Evangelicals who supposedly follow the words of Jesus.  I spent seven years thoroughly studying his words and it is crystal clear to me that his PRIME message was to love God and to love each other. Does anyone but me see the dichotomy between the words of Jesus and current Evangelical actions?

Maybe, its because of my Aspie traits that I just can’t understand this at all.  Maybe I am just too logical in my thoughts?  What do you guys think?