All Who Wander Are Not Lost -JRR Tolkien

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Sometimes it feels like we are wandering through a land of shadows alone but we don't wander about thus. It is in knowing that we don't wander alone on this journey but rather we journey with Christ- for Christ- through Christ; trying to sort out life. That is our reassurance. We are fellow travelers with their varied stories to share and many songs to sing. We are journeying along through these shadows together. For me I am journeying away from an evangelical ,conservative religion to ( hopefully) becoming a true Christ follower. I invite you to journey along with me. That if you are so inclined; then by all means feel free to wander and ponder.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Health Care & Chrst Part 2

{AUTHOR'S NOTE: in this posting I am laying framework for future postings]

Where to begin? As I have said earlier this is just my ruminations about what I think Jesus might have said about how his 'followers' have reacted to the health care debate before us. To be honest I don't think Jesus wold have let the issue become a political football it has become nor would he deny access to affordable health care to anyone. The yelling and rudeness displayed in the town hall meetings certainly didn't display how I imagine how Jesus conversed with those He disagreed with. In fact I might point out that the only people that Jesus did raise his voice to were the “ religious elite'”-the ones that thought they had the correct interpretation of Scripture. How presumptuous. Thinking that any interpretation other than the one Jesus gave was right. Jesus was very intimate with the author of Scripture. I would daresay that His teachings are the final word. We know from the apostles accounts that Jesus as a rule was decidedly non-political. That was never his mission nor did he endeavor to use politics as a tool to advance his mission. So it seems to me that any conversation amongst students of Jesus should be non-political as a rule. That being said I realize that politics plays a role in all our lives and some of us are more attuned to that than others. Truthfully none of us can escape politics or the role our faith ( whatever that faith may be) in political decisions. I contend that we all make decisions from a faith base- even atheists who claim to be believe in nothing or secular humanists , who believe in Humanity. It is still faith no matter what label you pasture on it. It is a faulty argument when you begin to politicize faith.. We may as well be honest and agree that we act on faith of some sort.

For me that faith is in the presence of a God who created us and the person of Jesus Christ who is the human manifestation of that creator God. Why should that matter in the conversation about what to do about health care reform. Well, in order to really understand what a person is saying you need to understand where they are coming from. I have a suspicion that is the flaw in the debate on health care, especially among “ Christians”. There is a fatal assumption that all ' Christians' are cut from the same cloth. Nothing could be further from the truth. We , as Christ followers, come from differing backgrounds, cultures, and racial make ups. We project our faith against the backdrop of what social environment we have been raised in and / or the denominational church upbringing we have acquired. I say all this to say this: no discussion or decision is made in a vacuum despite what strict secularists might want to have us believe. So any meaningful discussion we might have has to have the understanding , I am talking to fellow Christ followers here, that even though we may profess the same savior- Jesus Christ- we do not all see him the same way. Think of it this way. We are all on a journey, some to Christ;some with Christ. He is at the center and He is the goal. As we journey closer to our goal our perspective has to, and will, change. This has to be true especially if we are moving and have not stopped { actually this analogy may be better else where but it makes a point for here.] You and I as fellow travelers have a similar goal but since we come from different points our perspective will be different unless we are on the same or parallel path.

Since we are on paths towards Jesus and His Gospel we should at least try to be respectful of another's perspectives because we are all on a journey. We may not see the same scenery but we have the same destination. I am just sharing my experiences as my perspective changes. You are welcome to share yours. That being said. The following is my opinion and interpretation. I am not alone in my thinking. There are others out there who think along the same lines here. I am not presenting a 'new Gospel' but suggesting that perhaps we have been sold a perverted Gospel; one other than the one Christ had presented back in a dusty synagogue in his hometown of Galilee. Challenging? Yes , but bear me out. I am going to present three passages from the Gospels and base my conclusions from them. And building on that I am going to offer my thoughts on how we should approach any discussion that involving somethings as vol tile as religion and politics in r regards to the great Health Care Reform Issue.

My thoughts about where we are on our journey is not about changing anyones mind. That is not my job or inclination. I am , however, out to challenge some assumptions made in the name of Christ. I think I can safely do that coming from a being conservative background to the place where I now see that the conservative view of Jesus' Gospel is a corrupt one. There I said it and they are indeed fighting words but I stand by them. Any Gospel that leaves the poor and sick behind is a corrupt one. Sadly that is the type gospel that is being taught from the pulpits in America. It is burned into the minds and hearts of well meaning believers to the point that they hurt other fellow believers. The church in America, in many cases , preach a corrupt and selfish exploitation that is especially true during this national debate on Health Care Reform. The corrupt Gospel has become an issue that strikes at t he heart of the authentic Gospel of Jesus. Isn't the authentic Gospel be the one we should be retelling? Isn't the authentic Gospel a song of hope we should be singing at the top of our lungs from the rooftops?

Sadly that is not the case for some. I have know of professing 'Christians' who would deny care to the illegal immigrant, (the 'stranger' in Matt 25). or the poor.I have seen words posted on social networ-king sites that demean people that need help in getting health care. I have read stupid statements about the people must die before they are helped. I am shocked at the “ I got mine and the hell with the rest of you “ mentality that exists among us. One of the most shocking comments I have read is one that posted as follows; “100% of Americans want jobs you see any? As long as we are wanting gov to be the solution to the problem(health care,car industry,etc)...we are the problem....but the primary problem is the lack of Christ in everyones life.“. I am not making this up. This was a post made to someone close to me from someone they had considered a friend. What a hurtful un-Christlike thing to post. What balderdash and arrogance.

That is not the authentic Gospel of Christ. Not by a long shot. Has the conservative right won the battle for their version of the Gospel? A version that denies compassion and a willingness to be the hands and feet of God , I hope not. I pray it isn't so for the sake of Christ. Because if that is true. Then we need to cry out to GOD in repentance for having been taken in by the corrupt gospel. The church in America has been lulled to sleep by a corrupt Gospel and we are the lesser for allowing it be so. It is time for us non-conservatives to wake up and to speak up. The stakes are to high to allow one side to dominate the conversation. It is just to important an issue to let one side dominate.

So in the next post I will be looking acouple of passages of New Testament scripture [ Luke 4:15-21/Matt25] to see what Jesus might really say about the goings on by so called “ Christians”


Health Care & Christ pt 1

{author's note: this was a response to some postings on Facebook and my reply]
Since the debating started I have been wondering ,how or even if, I should post make a public posting of what I think Jesus would have us to do in reforming what we all agree is a broken and unfair health care system. I have chosen to remain quiet until recently. The reason I have decided to wade into the fray is because I have seen some well meaning ' Christians' make some damn fool statements and expect that they can do so in God's name. They [the well meaning " Christians'] have are literally attacking some one on the same team just because that those people do not march in lock step with the conservative Christian right but rather want to look at the Issue from a more liberal stand point and I ,for one agree with them. I had started suspecting about a year ago that the traditional church has been hijacked. Not just recently but it was hijacked some time back by those who would have us on the same team fall in line with the conservative uprising aimed at the then disenfranchised Christian voter. Veiled in the idea that the conservative thought and anti abortion protesters were really the new heralds of God's message. And God help anyone who disagreed with them or even had the audacity to question their interpretation of scripture. I can say this since I was one of those conservatives. Or at least I tried to be. I really wanted to have the right interpretation of Scripture ,and the Gospel. After all who doesn't want to understand what the Creator/God wants from his chosen? But as I studied and meditated on His revealed will [aka the Bible] the realization began to sink in that One, no one person can ever to hope to really hope to have the 'correct' interpretation. Two, only Jesus was capable of that. Three, all we are left with then as student/followers of Jesus is the need to examine what Jesus said and did since Jesus was the only reflection of God we have available ( Heb 1:1-3) . It is only through the accounts of His deeds and words can we really get a grip on what the Gospel really is. Jesus proclaimed what the Gospel is in Luke 4:15-21 and His declaration of the true nature of the Gospel had nothing to do with family values or banning abortions ,as some conservative Christian commentators would have us believe. He declared a Gospel that gave hope to the poor, freedom to the captive and release of the oppressed from then oppressor. In short Jesus was proclaiming a Gospel of restoration and redemption. So what does this have to do with the debating of the Health Care Reform Issue and the position of the Christ follower?

I have some ideas I am willing to share but I must warn you that I am not taking the position of being an authority. All I am offering is my interpretation of what I read and don't want to be augmentative . I just am wanting to open a conversation among students of Jesus. After all, we won't really know who is right and we stand before the Judgment to answer the question [ Matt 25:31-46].


Thursday, June 4, 2009

who would jesus shoot?

WE Christ followers live in interesting and puzzling times. WE have fellow 'Christians' who think it is OK if not imperative that they shoot people with whom they disagree with in God's name. And, we have Muslim shooting people with whom they don't agree with in Allah's name. Mind you I think abortion is reprehensible and anything military is morally wrong but more than that I think that someone thinking that they somehow have a god given right to dispense justice as they see fit even if someone has to die is reprehensibly wrong and stupid to boot.Good grief! WE are humans created by the smae creator and destined to coexist on this planet even if we don't agree. WE may believe we have a hold on the 'truth' but that truth may be peculiar to some one who isn't us. Does that give us the right to eliminate some one who may looking for another[and/or clearer] part of the "truth"? Haven't WE been told to Love each other as we love ourselves and haven't we been told to love God? so this begs the question--who would Jesus shoot?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

just peeking in

I was just surfing the net and chatting with my GF who is sitting in the same room next to me and we were discussing blogs. She reads them, I write them-occasionally and on the most part loathe them as being self indulgent. However having said that I realize that as a writer Blogging may serve a purpose other than mere self indulgence. Blogging can be a way to practice my craft and to put out thoughts in a semi-coherent manner.

As a consequence I am now making an effort to blog here more than every few months. Hopefully I can offer some insight I have been having or share an amusing tale to help you fritter away some time you may have. All in all I am approaching Blogs from a different point of view that I hope you may find interesting.