We often hear about the "Christian Right," or "Conservative Christians." Yet, if you think about it, Jesus was the original liberal.  He cared about motives more than the deeds themselves (Matthew 23:5 & Mark 12:41-43) and more about compassion than adhering to rules (Luke 6:1-11 & Luke 13:10-17). This blog will reflect liberal Christian values of compassion, tolerance, mercy, charity, a thirst for knowledge & understanding, and, above all, love.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Stain On America's Soul

-
This entry will appear on my political and Christian blogs.

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” ~ Luke 10: 30-37

Publicly Traded MEME
Pundits are trying to hang America’s penchant for hate and killing on one political party or the other. Granted, having our fearless leader joke about shooting Mexicans in the panhandle in front of an eager crowd doesn't set an example of patriotic unity. Nor, does it help to have the same leader stand silent for 13 seconds as hundreds of his supporters chant, “send her back,” as if Minneapolis Representative Ilhan Omar isn’t an American citizen.

Surely, President Trump has contributed to racial tensions across the country. Many progressive thinkers have cited this fact to lay the rash of recent mass shootings at his feet.

Others blame Mitch McConnell and the NRA for preventing the passage of gun regulations.  While universal background checks would probably prevent a few people from buying guns, there's no evidence to suggest that such legislation wouldn't prevented any of the recent massacres.

By my way of thinking, the problem lies with us.  Say what you will about the powers that be, they're only personifications of an America which doesn't value life.  Yes, the president created the zero tolerance policy for our southern border, but it was ICE officers who detained am American teenager for three weeks for the color of his skin.  Trump may have been at the podium, but it was hundreds of “normal citizens” who were chanting for a member of congress to be deported for the color of her skin.

At this point, I know what you’re thinking.  What does the behavior of ICE agents have to do with racism at political rallies and gunmen shooting innocent people at garlic festivals and entertainment districts.  They're all symptoms of the same stain on America's soul.

Put simply, we’ve become a country of people who can view certain portions of society as beings less than human.  Think about it.  People who value people don’t shout, “send her back,” simply because her skin has more pigment than theirs.  People who value people don’t separate families, trying to escape oppression, and confine them to standing-room-only pens of squalor.  People who value people don’t kill random innocents in order to relieve stress or make a point.

People who value people embrace people and accept, even celebrate, their differences.  People who value people welcome asylum seekers with food and blankets instead of guns and handcuffs.  People who value people find a mugging victim along the side the road and pay the innkeeper to see to his/her needs.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Soap For The Soul

-

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” ~ Ephesians 1:7


| Subject: Jesus' Baptism | Artists: Otto Semler and others, 
based on the engravings by Carolsfeld |
| all in the public domain |
Other than the wonderful people in my life, the blessing I’m most grateful for is God’s limitless forgiveness.  I need it.  As well intentioned as I am, I find myself slipping daily. 

Many Christians believe that Adam's original sin makes us bad people who can only be saved by grace.  I prefer to think of myself as a good person constantly cleansed by grace via repentance.  I think of sin as dirt which stains my spirit.  Repentance is like bathing to wash away those stains away.


Of course, we try not to collect such stains to begin with.  Yet, no matter how hard I try, I seem to dribble proverbial pasta sauce down my front.  Thus, I’m grateful that God has an endless supply of soap for me to wash with, as long as I remember to earnestly use it.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

I'm No Judge

-
Matthew 7:1 ~ “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

This week, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across a post I’d never thought I’d see.  My former pastor announced she had left her husband for another woman.   I was floored.  It wasn’t her bi-sexuality which upset me, I’m good with all types of consensual sexuality.  I was simply shocked to “hear” their marriage had ended.

Actually, shocked is the wrong word.   I was angry.   It had been her sermon which helped me see that I could be a Christian without sacrificing my progressive values.  Now she was leaving her husband who had recently been in the hospital.  “How dare  she,” I said to myself.

Then I caught myself.  I realized I’d been judging her based on what they both mean to me, but in reality I had no more idea than the man on the moon what their personal issues were/are.  Even if I had known, it’s not my place to judge either them in any way.

Jesus loved unconditionally.  Prostitutes, tax collectors, and fishermen were all welcome within His fold; they were all loved for who they were.   As Christians, we’re called to love without judgment or condition.

To spite Seinfeld’s theory of the winner receiving the spoils, I will still count each of them among my list of friends, and will love them for who they are.  I’m just ashamed it took me a few days to get there.