Shake, Rattle, & Roll…

Hancock, MA – Hancock Shaker Village Hancock Shaker Village is one of the original Shaker communities so it has much more history than the one I visit most often near Lexington KY.¬† The round barn as show above is their most distinctive feature. America is great because it allow so much religious diversity.¬† We are all seeking God in one manner or another.¬† To be tolerant of diverse religious views is uniquely American… Continue reading Shake, Rattle, & Roll…

SCOTUS Said So…

My religious belief strongly oppose war. I think our military budgets are totally outrageous! We, 5% of the world’s population, spend more on our war machine than the rest of the world combined.¬† With the latest ruling SCOTUS (Supreme Court Of The United States) tells us that religious groups can pick and choose which laws they choose to obey. Thanks to you my tax bill just got smaller. Thanks Mr Scalia and your co-conspirators for making it happen. You guys never fail to amaze me as to how far you are willing to go to reshape this country to your … Continue reading SCOTUS Said So…

Shaker Village…

Pleasant Hill is one of my favorite living history sites. I have been there probably a dozen time and stayed overnight in one of the restored common dwelling building on four or five occasions.¬† I am just fascinated with religious communities of the past. I seek them out whenever we travel. Pleasant Hill is located near Lexington Kentucky. It is a restored Shaker community. Being a lifelong fan of Shaker furniture is what originally attracted me to this site but the story behind the village and its past inhabitants is what keeps me coming back.¬† That and the totally serene … Continue reading Shaker Village…

Revolution….

Young and old, rich and poor, and people from every social, economic, political and cultural background are starting to rethink their faith. A fresh movement is happening, and in its purest form is about one thing: following Christ. This transformation is reshaping the Christian landscape. Believers are starting to simplify their faith in order to exemplify Christ‚ÄĒa simple yet profound way to live out the gospel. This has become a revolutionary concept. This ‚Äúnew‚ÄĚ Christianity is sick of culture wars, political agendas, hypocrisy and legalistic doctrines. They prefer inclusion over restriction, dialogue over debate, practice over preaching, and love over … Continue reading Revolution….

Revolution….

Young and old, rich and poor, and people from every social, economic, political and cultural background are starting to rethink their faith. A fresh movement is happening, and in its purest form is about one thing: following Christ. This transformation is reshaping the Christian landscape. Believers are starting to simplify their faith in order to exemplify Christ‚ÄĒa simple yet profound way to live out the gospel. This has become a revolutionary concept. This ‚Äúnew‚ÄĚ Christianity is sick of culture wars, political agendas, hypocrisy and legalistic doctrines. They prefer inclusion over restriction, dialogue over debate, practice over preaching, and love over … Continue reading Revolution….

Starry Eyed…

I know many think of me as one of those starry eyed liberals who doesn’t have any sense of reality. With this post I will probably cement that vision with many of my more conservative friends. But what would happen if we just refused to be enemies with those our leaders dictated us to hate. ¬†What would happen? Let’s look at maybe the worst leader in that regard in the twentieth century. What would have happened it the German people had refused to invade their neighbor in 1938? Would Hitler’s power have been erased? What would have happened if people … Continue reading Starry Eyed…

Jefferson And The Clergy….

This is a continuation about Jefferson and religion. As stated before, there are many especially in evangelical circles that say that Jefferson meant for our country to be founded on Christian principles. My posts on the blog are to show that although Jefferson was a follower of Jesus Christ at one level he was by no means saying the U.S. should be a Christian nation. In fact much of his writing said exactly the opposite. ¬†Here are some of his words about Christian clergy: They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in … Continue reading Jefferson And The Clergy….

Being Told What To Believe……

This is a continuation of my mini-project to strike down some of the myths around Thomas Jefferson. The myth at hand is that he intended the United States to be a Christian nation. ¬†If anything can clear up the misconceptions of Jeffersonian history, it must come best from the author himself. ¬†Here are some of his words about things religious: About Heresy Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782 Anyone who has visited … Continue reading Being Told What To Believe……

Intolerance….

Many times Will Rogers’ words are an inspiration to me. Of course he saw a lot of prejudice in his times. Maybe more so than even I do today. When I found these words from him about intolerance I found them indeed inspiring. ¬†No explanation is needed. These words stand on their own today as much as they did in Will’s day. I have sometimes wondered if the preachers themselves have not something to do with intolerance. You hear and read a sermon nowadays, and the biggest part is taken up by knocking or trying to prove the falseness of … Continue reading Intolerance….

What is the saddest thing in this world???

Occasionally I like to revisit some of my previous posts that I think contains valuable messages. This is one of them.

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Originally posted January 15, 2011

That is a question that has been on my mind the last few days.  I have lived for more than six decades on this earth so I have been exposed to probably millions of different situations but what is the saddest?
The list initially was quite large but the more I have thought about it the more it shrinks. I think I am finally down the one thing and that is lazy minds. I know, on first thought, that seems a strange answer.  After all there are things like world hunger, hatred, prejudice, homelessness, constant wars, and many other things that seem more serious.  But the more I have thought about it the more I am convinced that all of the above mentioned things are a result of lazy minds.

Continue reading “What is the saddest thing in this world???”

Oh That Founding Father Origen…

As we have learned in several of my recent posts Origen was one of the most influential theologians in the early church who was later deemed a heretic and then after that a saint again. ¬†He spent quite a bit of time reading the “scripture” of his day. I put scripture in parens here because there was no Bible as we know it today in existence. Today Origen is definitely not one of the more popular early Christian figures with some in our establishment churches. That is particularly true of those that believe all of the Bible comes from God’s … Continue reading Oh That Founding Father Origen…

What do the Republican Party and the Christian Church Have in Common???

Religion and politics together!! ¬†Boy am I asking for it. But, thank heavens I am not going to be talking about abortion (I have done that more than enough lately). ¬†Maybe I am going to talk about how Evangelicals seem to make up the majority of the Radical Right? ¬†Nope, not going to talk about that either… The thing I want to talk about that they have in common is the practice of exclusion. Since Martin Luther started the first split in the church about five hundred years ago we¬†Christians have continued to fracture into smaller and smaller parts. Today … Continue reading What do the Republican Party and the Christian Church Have in Common???

Beliefs vs. Practices….

With this post I am going to introduce you to a book that has had a pretty profound affect on my faith. It is by Robin Meyers entitled¬†Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus.¬†Here are a couple of quotes from the book that will provide fodder for this post: Strangely, we have come to a moment in human history when the message of the Sermon on the Mount could indeed save us, but it can no longer be heard above the din of dueling doctrines. Consider this: there is not a single word … Continue reading Beliefs vs. Practices….

Fear of Death….

Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die to get there. I first heard the above quote many years ago but have never tried to learn its source. I looked it up and here is what I found: ¬†¬†¬†According to research by¬†quote maven and¬†Oxford English Dictionary¬†contributor Barry Popik, the earliest verifiable use of this insightful saying seems to be as a song title and lyric by Delaney. The date of the song‚Äôs composition is uncertain, but it was mentioned as one of Delaney‚Äôs popular sings¬†in an article about him¬†in¬†The Afro American¬†newspaper on October 16, 1948. Delaney … Continue reading Fear of Death….

The Church Is Not a Democracy….

We in the U.S. know that one of the primary foundations of our democracy is freedom of speech. That is being able to say something different from our leaders and not suffer serious consequences. In my opinion this is what has allowed our country to remain so strong over the centuries. Many times criticisms lead to change and though we might not realize it at that time that is good for us. It makes us better; it makes us stronger. Without freedom of speech I doubt our country we even exist today. Anyone who has studied church history at all … Continue reading The Church Is Not a Democracy….

God Is Not Dead But the Church Is On Life Support…

This is a cross post from one of my other blogs at RJ’s Corner. I thought it appropriate for RLL also. It is terrible to think what the churches do to men. But if one imagines oneself in the position of the men who constitute the Church, we see they could not act differently. The churches are placed in a dilemma: the Sermon on the Mount or the Nicene Creed‚Äďthe one excludes the other. If a man sincerely believes in the Sermon on the Mount, the Nicene Creed must inevitably lose all meaning and significance for him, and the Church … Continue reading God Is Not Dead But the Church Is On Life Support…

A New Direction…. Again….

In recent days I have been getting frustrated by the progress I have made into the parallel studies of the Roman empire and the Christian church. It is not that I am not learning things it is just that it is taking longer than I originally anticipated. My wife claims that I always underestimate these sort of things and maybe I do ūüôā ¬†I certainly like to blog on Red Letter Living as it keeps me centered on what is important in life. Having to put off posting here because I am not ready to do it intelligently is frustrating … Continue reading A New Direction…. Again….

The Beginnings…..

Time Period: ¬†573BC I am about three weeks into my study of the parallels between Christian church history and the history of the Roman empire. I was hoping to find a “people’s history” of Rome for a source but have been unsuccessful in that regard. I now have about five sources of info but there really is little documented evidence of how the common man lived during this time. There are a few accounts from Roman soldiers but they are pretty much limited to their time in the military. Here is what Simon Baker in his book¬†Ancient Rome: The Rise … Continue reading The Beginnings…..

Nudges….

This is another aside post that is somewhat linked to the previous one. In that post I discussed how I replied to some fellow Christians Facebook comments about how it was not the government’s job to take care of the poor. These Christians admitted, but it seems not many of them do, that it is the church’s job to do that. I then went on to agree with them fully. I’m sure they were surprised with my agreement. But I then went on to say since the church presently only takes care of about three percent of the need the … Continue reading Nudges….

Official Christianity….

I am going to jump ahead a little here so that I can put something into your mind before we tackle early church leaders. To illustrate my point I want to once again use a quote from The Future of Faith by Harvey Cox: Thus, it is now clear that the ‚Äúofficial Christianity‚ÄĚ that eventually emerged was only one among a range of ‚ÄúChristianities‚ÄĚ that thrived during the earliest years. The distinction we still make today between ‚Äúorthodox‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúheretical‚ÄĚ movements did not exist. There was nothing inevitable or preordained about which version, if any, would predominate. It is very … Continue reading Official Christianity….

Ashamed Not to be a Heretic…

Source:Ashamed Not to be a Heretic: Harry Emerson Fosdick – QuakerQuaker. ‚ÄúIf the day ever comes when men care so little for the basic Christian experiences and revelations of truth that they cease trying to rethink them in more adequate terms, see them in the light of freshly acquired knowledge, and interpret them anew for new days, then Christianity will be finished.‚ÄĚ Here is an interesting post by a Quaker about a Presbyterian minister who was driven from the pulpit by fundamentalists in 1922 due to straying from the established doctrine of the time. He fought the first waves of … Continue reading Ashamed Not to be a Heretic…

RLL Blog Announcement

I am just posting a quick “aside” here to let you know that starting today I am posting again over at RedLetterLiving.net. The posts will primarily be¬†about a study I am currently engaged in on how the Christian church got from its beginnings to where it is today and what the future might be. ¬†If you are interested in that sort of thing pay me a visit there. I will be posting at least a couple of times a week for a few months. ¬†This study will be historical in nature and I will try as much as possible to avoid theological discussions ¬†and “church-speak”. Continue reading RLL Blog Announcement

My Evangelical Friend…

I just went another short round with my radical right gun totting evangelical friend on helping those less fortunate than us. ¬†Here are some of his words replying to a post I made on FaceBook. The root cause of most of our deficit problems is still those that work and produce must pay for the existence of all those that do not work or produce goods and services. Few functions in the government produce a good or service worthy of a salary. My conservative evangelical friend very very often shouts that there are just too many “free loaders” in our … Continue reading My Evangelical Friend…

What Language Did Adam & Eve Speak??

Some Christians believe that each and every word in the Bible is literally true and without error. Even though I did not believe in a literal Bible I belonged to one of those churches at one time. I often asked¬†embarrassing¬†questions during our weekly bible study. Questions the clergy leader really didn‚Äôt care to try to answer. ¬†Asking those questions is probably one of the reasons they tossed me out. I never got to ask the question in the title of this post but I would be very interested in knowing how they might answer it. According to the biblical account … Continue reading What Language Did Adam & Eve Speak??

Many say ‘So What?’ to God, religion, atheism

Source: ¬†Many say ‘So What?’ to God, religion, atheism ‚Äď USATODAY.com. It is no secret that those who claim to be “religious” in the U.S. has been shrinking every decade for more than 50 years now. But in the last ten years the people who check “none of the above” have been increasing almost exponentially. Here are some statistics from the above article: ‚ÄĘ44% told the 2011 Baylor University Religion Survey they spend no time seeking “eternal wisdom,” and 19% said “it’s useless to search for meaning.” ‚ÄĘ46% told a 2011 survey by Nashville-based evangelical research agency, LifeWay Research, they … Continue reading Many say ‘So What?’ to God, religion, atheism

Our Sheltered Lives…..

I am a frequent visitor to several Christian blogs. One of the bigger ones I recently visited was discussing¬† Matt 26:11¬† The poor you will always have with you.¬† There were the usual posts saying that Jesus was inferring that “since the poor will always be here why bother to do anything about it”. These types of comments used to get me upset but I know that is NOT was Jesus was saying so they don’t get to me like they used to. But there were several comments the to post from people who clearly don’t understand what it means … Continue reading Our Sheltered Lives…..

Is Religion an idol??

Is it possible for the Christian Religion itself to be an idol? I believe it can be and here is why. ¬†¬†Yes, if it’s point is to show our superiority over others. Many of us Christians sit in our churches and seem to snub our nose at those who are not like us. We are convinced that we have all the answers to life and everyone else just needs to come to us to get it right. When we have this kind of mindset we have turned our religion into an idol. We must realize that we are all in … Continue reading Is Religion an idol??

It’s Just a Face

¬† ¬†We have all seen many pictures such as the above portraying Jesus. Most show him as a fair haired blue eyed person of European descent. Of course in reality that is likely not what Jesus looked like. He probably looked much more like most of the 9/11 terrorists than what we are used to seeing.¬† Let’s get over what Jesus might have looked like and spend more time thinking about what He tries to teach us. Some people, including I think C.S. Lewis believe that any images of God, including statues of Jesus is a form of idolatry. We … Continue reading It‚Äôs Just a Face

The Twenty Piece Shuffle

¬†¬† Subtitle: Some very inspiring words I just finished a book entitled “The Twenty Piece Shuffle” by Greg Paul. It is about a ministry to the poor in the Toronto area. Greg Paul has done such a great job in putting us inside this ministry by telling stories of those who have frequented the mission over the years. It is a very worthwhile read to anyone who would like to understand more about these types of missions and the people who frequent them. At the end of the book Greg bears his heart via the following words ******************* God, I … Continue reading The Twenty Piece Shuffle

The Thing about Mary

¬† ¬†I have always wondered why Catholics are so focused on the Virgin Mary and Protestants, except for Christmas Eve, almost totally ignore her? If we read the Gospels and the Book of Acts, besides for Jesus’ birth Mary is mentioned only a couple of times in the text so that doesn’t lead us to believe that Mary had a very prominent role among the early Christians. Some say this is because the culture at the time of these writings treated women more or less as property of men and therefore their accomplishments were downplayed in the writings. Maybe that … Continue reading The Thing about Mary

The curse of riches

¬†Matt 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” ¬†¬†Putting a camel through an eye of a needle sounds like an impossible task! That is unless the needle is the size of a building. Will there be no rich men (or women) in heaven? These types of words are among those used by some who say Christianity is just to appease the masses and is otherwise useless. There argument goes like this: Everyone who is currently poor (often … Continue reading The curse of riches

How about those mega-churches?

There is a wide disparity of opinion about how true to Christ mega-churches are. I probably fall somewhere in the middle of that opinion. As I see it, the pastor of the small church that I currently attend doesn’t have much good to say about any of them. He seems to say that, in order to appeal to the most number of people, they dilute the words of Christ almost beyond recognition. And, of course, they would never show a cross in their building because they believe is just too much of a downer. He doesn’t seem to differentiate one … Continue reading How about those mega-churches?

About Christmas

Most of the information about Christmas is found in the Gospel of Luke. Luke was probably a gentile by birth and was believe to be well educated in Greek culture. He was a physician and was probably a good friend to Paul. Luke’s account was believed to be the most accurate historically; it seems he took extra pains to be sure that everything was just right. It would be interesting to learn where he got the Christmas information. Did he get it from on of the apostle’s lips, strictly from divine inspiration, or from verbal accounts of others? We will … Continue reading About Christmas

An Ordinary Radical??

Let me start out by telling you that this post is not about Jesus being a radical but there is definitely some truth to that statement and I will address that in a future post. I know this title is kind of confusing. Is there really such a thing as an “ordinary” radical. I don’t know but that is what Shane Clairborne calls himself. Shane is one of those few people who really seems to live out the words of Jesus Christ. Yes, he is an out-of-the-box thinker and doer who is part of an organization called “The Simple Way”. … Continue reading An Ordinary Radical??