Monthly Archives: January 2016

Maybe I Haven’t Really Tried Christianity Yet (Edited and Expanded )

I have struggled off and on throughout my life with the statement: “Christianity hasn’t failed. It just hasn’t been tried yet.”
Because over the centuries there have been individuals that took Jesus literally about not killing, even in self-defense. Many more have been willing to lay down their own lives by serving others. In my own times, I remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie Ten Boom and her family, the lone unarmed Chinese student standing in front of a line of tanks, the students killed while protesting at Kent State.

There are unsung heroes that have given their lives in different ways for others in every century, of every gender, from every nation, religion and walk of life.  In the 13th century when the church with the help of the King of France began a crusade to wipe out the Cathars, a  heretical group in the Southwest of France, the Cathars’ Christian neighbors and friends tried to protect them by joining them when they sought sanctuary in the Cathedral at Beziers. Unfortunately, the “Christian” military leader decided to let God sort them out and burned the Cathedral down with both heretics and Christians inside it.

On the public stage three people come to mind immediately who changed governments by putting their lives on the line for justice and mercy without counting the cost.  They inspired others to do the same. One, Gandhi, admired Jesus, but didn’t claim to follow him, though his actions spoke louder than his words. The other two, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela did claim to follow Jesus. None were perfect, but they all were willing to lay down their lives for others and not to return evil for evil. And they changed their worlds.

Frankly, when I look at history and listen to Jesus Christ, this is what true Christianity looks like to me.  Yet most Christians cannot seem to accept the reality that not only was Jesus non-violent,  but throughout history violence has never put an end to violence.

The main difference between Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and militia protest groups now on our front pages is that the first three didn’t come to confrontations armed and Mandela came out of prison determined to lead people to forgive and reconcile.

The difference between Jesus and some of our loudest nominal Christians is that he invites, “Come and follow me.” He was never deluded, as centuries of Crusader Christians continue to be, that people can be forced to truly follow Him by law or fear or discrimination.

Who are the “bad” guys in your eyes? ISIS?  Obama?  Militia Groups?  Gays who want to get married?  Donald Trump? Muslims? Immigrants who take our jobs. American companies who out-source American jobs to foreign countries? Christians who want to deny other Americans religious freedom. Tea party members?  Liberals who risk putting compassion for foreigners above Americans’ safety?  Billionaire CEO’s of Conglomerates whose greed threatens America’s economic survival? Gun toting Christians who think violence is the answer to conflict of opinion? All of these are the “bad” guys in someone’s eyes.

As a follower of Jesus  I’d like to think I’d risk my life at least for those I love or admire and hopefully for a helpless child.  But Jesus died for the bad guys, everybody’s “bad” guys.  Isn’t that a bummer?

I admit that I’m not there yet. But, I’m not comfortable with just accepting that. My struggle isn’t over. Maybe I haven’t really tried Christianity yet.

Unlikely angels #1000speak

I believe in angels with and without wings. This is a lovely angel story.

The Silent Eye

white rose

Four days after my son was attacked and left in a coma in a hospital over a hundred miles away, we had a major water leak. It was our second trip home to bathe, change and comfort the rest of the family, and the leak was the last thing we needed. I had all but screamed down the phone to get help, desperate to get away, back on the road south. By the time there was a knock on the door, I was wound as tight as a spring.

The plumber was huge, a veritable giant of a man… a Rastafarian, who seemed to fill the entire doorway. He came in and set to work lifting floorboards. It would not be a quick job. I sat at the computer, trying to update everyone who was seeking news…and there were many. Messages, prayers and kindness were pouring in from all over…

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Grow, Lord Jesus, Grow

Face book pulled up this old post today. A perfect reminder for me as I struggle to get over this debilitating respiratory virus.

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Had an interesting dream last night. I discovered that I had a new baby. At seventy-five this would not necessarily be good news. But this baby was simply awesome. He could talk and had eyes that sparkled with intelligence and love. All he seemed to need was some food, so the baby and I set off to find food for him.

When I remembered the dream today, I thought maybe the baby represented a new part of me that needed nourishing.  I couldn’t figure out what in me needed nourishing, until I was looking at my Nativity Scene, debating whether to put it away.  The figure of the baby Jesus resembled the infant in my dream.

I love Advent when I spend each day praying, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come” and watching for glimpses of God’s love and grace in each day.  This hope and expectation suit my personality perfectly. And I am seldom…

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The Blind Leading the Blind

I simply can’t help weeping as I watch Christians crucify Christ all over again. I feel like if I identify with Christianity as it is so loudly and cruelly being forced on people, I am joining in that crucifixion. Yet my very heart lives in the gift of unconditional love that is Jesus Christ. Getting to know Him as friend, companion, healer, source of forgiveness and grace has changed my life, continuing to free me from my fears and to challenge me to grow in love for all of creation, including wounded, frightened, hate filled Christians and Muslims. I can only pray, “Father, forgive us for we know not what we do.”

Monday Meeting — Homeless Man Surprises Police

Once in a while, something renews our hope for humanity.

Soul Gatherings

A homeless man in Langford, B.C., who turned in $2,400 he found on the street has also rejected thousands more that were raised for him after his story drew media attention, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

The owner of the lost $2,400 was later found. But that wasn’t the end of the story. The homeless man’s honesty led others to start up a fundraising campaign on his behalf.

“After hearing this story and seeing how this case touched so many people, I took a personal interest in finding this man, looking for him everywhere while on and off shift,” Constable Alex Bérubé of the West Shore RCMP said, according to a RCMP news release.

“It’s not easy tracking down a person of no fixed address and no phone, but I kept trying because I needed to tell him about how the community had rallied together to help him,” Bérubé…

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The Future is no Scarier than the Past / Old Age has its Perks

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

at 18 at 18

at 20 at 20

jeep_elf3 at 36 with my family

at 75 at 75

I finally figured out that all the people I ever was from infancy on still live inside me. It makes for an interesting group most days. And if I don’t like how I feel today, I just return and watch the world when I was having a better time. Young people actually seem impoverished, because they haven’t got a clue about the riches we old guys carry around within us. I wouldn’t trade, because we can go back and be their age inside our memories, but they can’t come forward and enjoy the pleasures of a party without having to drive miles, spend hundreds or pay later with a hangover.
We do know more dead people and we have seen more tragedies up close and personal, so sometimes we hover protectively over our grandchildren. But we can look back…

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