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, February 20, 2019

Not My Jesus

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I’m what you might call an “eclectic Christian.”  I take a little bit from here, a little bit from there, and kind of mush it together into a belief system that makes sense to me.  Having read the entire Bible, a chapter a day, I figured I’d continue my reading by exploring the books which the Council of Carthage didn't include in the canonical Bible.

I began by reading The Apocrypha, which is a collection of stories about the Jews of The Old Testament.  That was fine.  I found a series of tales chronicling a chosen people overcoming adversity through faith.  It’s some pretty inspiring stuff.

Once I finished The Apocrypha, I moved on to the Forbidden Books of the Original New Testament, by William Wake.  The idea of angels tutoring Mary, as a child, to prepare to be the mother of Jesus was new to me, but it made a certain kind of sense.  I could even buy the idea of Mary healing people with Jesus’ bath water.  Then I got to tales of Jesus’ early years.

The first Gospel of the INFANCY of JESUS CHRIST Chapter 19: 22-24 ~ "22 Another time, when the Lord Jesus was coming home in the evening with Joseph, he met a boy, who ran so hard against him, that he threw him down; 23 To whom the Lord Jesus said, As thou hast thrown me down, so shalt thou fall, nor ever rise. 24 And that moment the boy fell down and died."

Essentially, Jesus killed a kid for being mean to him.  Another story has a boy hitting Jesus, so Jesus retaliates by making the boy’s body to wither into a corpse.  These stories depict the power of Jesus, but dismiss the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus.

I don't think we worship Jesus merely because he’s powerful.  We worship Jesus because he's part of a loving compassionate God.  Power without compassion can be a human failing, but hardly describes the Christian God that I know.

Bottom line, not all books professing to be about Jesus are about the Jesus Christ which Christians have a personal relationship with.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Question Of Faith

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Psalm 18:1-2 ~ "I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." 

I confess, this is the hardest part of Christianity for me, as my Florida pastor can attest to.  I have an especially hard time with Luke 12:22-31 ~ "And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you." 

Having Jesus take the wheel is hard for me.  I see people who choose not to work, or who won’t take their children to a doctor, under the theory that “God will provide,” and it infuriates me.  Then, I feel bad;
1.  Because I’m getting mad at someone for having faith in God,
2.  Because I feel as if my faith doesn't measure up to theirs.

Of course, these are flawed ways of thinking.  Addressing #2 first, faith isn’t a comparative commodity.  I can't measure my faith compared to your faith, or vice versa.  Faith is a constant work in progress, which ebbs and flows throughout our lives, rather than being a stagnant thing that can be measured.

More importantly, at least to me, faith in God doesn't equate to letting God do things for us.  As Pastor Buchanan explained it to me, God blessed us with talents so we can do for ourselves.  Faith in God means to me, having faith that God has given the tools to solve our problems and provide for ourselves.

That being said, there's no substitute for praying for guidance and strength to keep us going.
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Keepin' It Simple

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I haven't written here in a while. Well... I haven't posted here in a while, but I've written here several times. I didn't post the fruits of those labors, simply because they were products of good ideas that, as I found out, which could not be stretched into full entries by themselves. Thus, I'm going to hit the highlights here, so I can move on.



Publicly traded MEME|
First, inspired by Psalms 30:5, I was going to write a blog entitled, "Weeping May Tarry For The Night, But Joy Comes With The Morning." I was going to write about the fact that in a world where our president is willing to hurt people to get what he wants and a cable channel is premiering a game show where participants win by not cheating on their lover, I feel like our society is running eagerly to embrace evil.

I was going to point out that even at our lowest point there's still good in the world. I was going to point to Penzeys, the spice retailer, who used their commercial newsletter to land blast Trump's address from the Oval Office. Usually, companies try to stay neutral, so I was going to use them as proof there's still good in the world. While I believe it to be true, a longer entry on the subject became too Pollyanna-esc sickening sweet.

Then I received 2 Corinthians 21:5 ~ "We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God." in my Verse of The Day newsletter, and I was inspired to write another piece about our role as ambassadors of Jesus Christ. I made good headway on it too, but I could not find a way to wrap it up with anything except, "Let's be good out there," as if I was a Christian version of Sergeant Esterhaus.

I was trying to say that we need to be loving examples of Christianity because we never know who's watching. I wanted to conclude with the idea that our role as ambassadors of Jesus Christ is a blessing, rather than a burden. When we live as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, we live in a way that helps us live happier lives.

My mistake was trying to expand each idea into a long drawn out piece, and losing the core message. From now on, this blog will feature short, to the point, pieces. Hopefully the change in format will make this blog more useful to readers. If anyone has suggestions for this blog, feel free to email me at  James@JamesKiester.com