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.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

I Thought I Was Smart

"Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me." ~ Matthew 25:45

I think this is one of the first scriptures I knew verbatim and internalized.  It made sense to me, and still does, that serving the poor and needy is akin to serving God.  It's one of the cornerstones of Christianity.

By the time I got to college I was somewhat grounded in science. Thus, I had a hard time reconciling the more "paranormal" parts of our religion. I was all there for the moral lessons, but I saw most of the miracles as primitive man's misunderstanding of the world. I wasn't sure what to do with the most pivotal moment of our religion though, namely the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

American 18th Century, Christ on the Road to Emmaus, c. 1725-1730, NGA 50692|Subject: American painting of Christ on the Road to Emmaus | Date: 1725-1730 | This image is available from the United States Library of Congress. |
Luke 24:13-34 tells the story of two of the apostles three days after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. They met a man, but didn't recognize as Jesus until they fed him.

I connected the story with the verse from Matthew, and I reasoned that when they fed the hungry man it had been like they had fed Christ, and at that moment His teachings and Church had been resurrected. 

When I put that together I felt as if I deserved a proper pipe for having unmasked Professor Moriarty.  The problem is that I was wrong.  I was trying to take God's power out of the Bible.

I've come to realize a critical part of believing in God is accepting that God's nature and power are beyond our understanding.  I'll never be able to fully grasp how He can be His own son, or how a third of God can be killed and resurrected.   It will never make logical rational sense to me, but that's OK.

I've come to realize that, at least for me, being Christian requires me to have faith in the facets of God which  I can't understand.  This Easter I'll take grateful joy in the fact that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again to show us that death is not the end.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Truth IS Truth

In 2018, Rudolph Giuliani appeared on Meet The Press to explain why the president should not testify for special counsel Robert Mueller for fear of being trapped into a lie that could lead to a perjury charge. “Truth is truth,” Chuck Todd responded. “No, no, truth isn’t truth,” Giuliani said.

About a week ago, a good friend of mine posted on Facebook that, “Gen Z is so hopeless and depressed, and I think I've stumbled upon the answer..... Gen Z has no TRUTH. Everything in their lives has been subjective, temporary, or untrustworthy.”

Unlike most Facebook posts, this one stayed with me long after I’d logged off. While I agree with her sentiment, I don't think the upcoming generation is the first to be swept into moral subjectivity.

When I was in college, back in 1992, a fellow student explained, the holocaust was right for the German people therefore we shouldn't label participants as being “evil.” My, normally subdued, philosophy professor turned beet red as she explained that if morality was subjective enough to excuse the sadistic murder of 6 million Jews then there's no such thing as evil.

She was right. There's a line between what is good and what is evil; what is true and what is false; what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. The line is real, it exists.

Yet, we live in a society which embraces subjectivity to the point some new parents don't want to list a gender on their baby’s birth certificate . Don't get me wrong, as far as I’m concerned you can love whoever you want, but I'm sorry; if you're born with an “innie” you're a girl, if you're born with an “outtie” you're a boy. It's as objective as truth gets.

Granted, sometimes there are ambiguous gray areas in life. However, there are many black and white areas as well. Sometimes I think we tell ourselves a decision falls within a gray area, when we know it's wrong, as a way of justifying our actions. If an action is good though, we don't have to justify it.

I live by the idea that if an action helps someone it's good, if it hurts someone it's evil. It sounds overly simplistic, I know, but it works for me.

Truth IS truth.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Price Of Justice

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” ~ Matthew 18: 15-17

|Subject: Courtroom, Robert N.C. Nix Federal Building, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Date: 2007 | Photographer: Carol M. Highsmith | This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division. |
The practice of law has always been of interest to me. Heck, when I was a kid my hero was Perry Mason. I like the idea of being able to use well-reasoned argument to trap someone in a lie. Even today, I like to end the day with an hour of Judge Judy. Seeing her embarrass obvious liars is pure entertainment to me.

Yet, there are two things I hate about the show.
  • 1. They'll introduce litigants as being, “former friends.”
  • 2. During their exit interview, someone will inevitability say, “I’ll never help anyone ever again.”
  • “Former friends?” What's that about? OK, sometimes we have to axe toxic people from our lives. It’s painful, but sometimes it's necessary. Granted. But, friends, real friends, shouldn't let a single disagreement sink their friendship. Life's to short to lose even one friend over an insurance deductible or a hole in the wall.

    And, if the moral of a story is, “don’t help others,” the story is fakakta. If we’re not helping others, then what are we doing here? Seriously, I sleep much better if I know I helped someone that day. I believe it's, literally, why we're here.

    My best friend and I will never agree on politics or religion. She refers to God as, “that fictional guy on the cloud.” We agree on the important things. We agree on how to treat people and put them first. At the end of the, our relationships are our most prized possessions.

    People of good conscious can have genuine disagreements, and sometimes we need the courts to resolve such disagreements. Yet, when we allow the adversarial system to cost us friendships, and/or make us jaded toward helping others, we’ve paid too high a price for the resolution of our dispute.