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.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Sources of Inspiration

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All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, ~ 2 Timothy 39:16 (English Standard Version).

Here, the author of 2 Timothy is telling readers to trust scripture; to lean on it, teach it, and take inspiration from it.  And I do.  The Holy Bible is a very inspiring text, let's get that right.  But I find inspiration from other sources too. 

  • Good poetry inspires me, the poems of Robert Frost being among my favorites (although, if one more person quotes the line from Mending Wall, "Good fences make good neighbors," to support building a border wall, the men in white may have to fit me for a "special" coat).
  • Watching two hard fighting, clean fighting boxers duking it out for twelve rounds can be very inspiring. 
  • I'm constantly inspired by the people, family & non-family, who selflessly take care of my physical needs.  It's not an easy job and the do it with love every day.
  • The Vlogbrothers
A record screeches and the room falls quiet.

| Subject: Vlogbrothers - John on the left, Hank on the right | | Date: 06/22/2021 | Photographers: Vlogbrothers | | Permissions: This screenshot was part of a video originally uploaded to YouTube under a CC license. Their website states: "YouTube allows users to mark their videos with a Creative Commons CC BY license." |
Don't feel bad if you don't know who John Green and his brother, Hank, are.  I'm probably the only member of their YouTube audience who remembers Bill Clinton's presidency.

John writes novels for young adults.  To promote his brand, in 2007 John and Hank began posting five-minute videos, addressed to each other, to help young people understand the world around them.  

Today, 3.4 million young people, known as "Nerd Fighters," belong to an online collective called Nerdfighteria.  Rather than using the videos to simply promote John's books, and subsequent movies, the brothers use their unique celebratory status to, in their words, decrease "world suck."  In other words, they actively work to make the world better place. 

And I don't mean making the world better by advocating for one political party, or religion, over another.  Since dropping their first video, in 2007, the brothers have raised millions of dollars for such causes as Save the Children, The Against Malaria Foundation, The Ocean Cleanup, and so many more.

I guess I'm a fan because they're actively trying to make the world a better place.  Perhaps if more of us took their lead the world would actually be a better place. 

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. ~ James 1:22
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Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Importance of Puppies

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"The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.  And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.  And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves." ~ Mark 6:30-32

I had my quarterly Botox injections done this past Friday morning.  The doctor saw, from my pain log, that my headaches had taken a sharp upswing lately.  I told him I'd been under some stress lately.  I was referring to the fact that I'd recently given up my 14-year-old food blog in response to being put on a low sodium diet, and that two days prior my niece's, Natalie's, baby died in the womb, and she had to deliver the dead fetus, named Phoenix, weighing 1.3oz.  Fifteen minutes after my niece had gone into twelve hours of induced labor, a friend from my Mormon childhood died from cancer. 

My body tensed.  Seeing I was having trouble relaying the causes of my stress, the doctor began to tell me how stressed he was over the plight of the Ukrainian people.  He went on to give a rather

uncomplimentary critique of Vladimir Putin's character.  Then, I was treated to his, less than flattering, opinion of pro-Putin Americans.

Suddenly, his entire body relaxed as an aura of piece enveloped the man.  He said, "it's OK though, because at the end of the day I get to go home and look at puppies."  He was telling me that we all need that one thing that gives us pleasure and gives us a break from the rigmarole and negativity of the world. 

He was right.  For him, it was cute little puppies.  For me, it's an art form which utilizes a series of images, deployed in a specific order, for the purpose of graphic storytelling, i.e., comics.  Even the apostles needed a break from spreading the Good News. 

Sure, we need to be responsible and deal with the unpleasant parts of life.  However, we need to take time to enjoy the pleasant things life has to offer.  

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Was Jesus Perfect?

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"The woman came and knelt before Him. 'Lord, help me!' she said. But Jesus replied, 'It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.' 'Yes, Lord,' she said, 'even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.' 'O woman,' Jesus answered, 'your faith is great! Let it be done for you as you desire.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour." ~ Mathew 15: 25-28 (ESV)

I was raised to see Jesus as the only perfect person to ever have walked the Earth.  I'd accepted the idea as an axiom (if religious axioms are a thing).  Then, I actually read the Bible. 

In Mathew 15: 25-28, Jesus makes a racial slur, comparing Canaanites to dogs.  Unfortunately, this moment of racial insensitivity wasn’t the only tarnish I found on Christ's armor of perfection. 

In John 2: 1-11, when Mary tells Jesus the wedding they're at is out of wine, Jesus calls her, "Woman," and essentially tells her it's not His problem.  He talked back to His mother. 

Then in Luke 8: 22-25 His disciples wake Him during a storm at sea, and He grumbles at them, "Where is your faith?"  Jesus woke up cranky.  

By my way of thinking, perfect people don't make racial slurs, talk back to their mother, or wake up cranky.  By my way of thinking, perfect people are kind and pleasant one hundred percent of the time.  Ah, but there’s the rub, I was holding Jesus to my idea of perfection without any objective reason to believe my idea of perfection was correct. 

I still think racial slurs, flippant remarks, and post slumber crankiness are things to shy away from.  In the end though, it's not my idea of perfection that matters.  Like I said in a recent blog, I think it's a perfection we don't understand; it's a perfection we need to accept on faith.