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.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Political Disagreement Shouldn't Equal Hate

"But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, 'Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.  Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?' So he turned and went away in a rage." ~ 2 Kings 5: 11-12 (ESV)

Last Sunday my pastor told the story of Naaman.  She explained that Naaman let his ego get in the way of the curative advice which had been given to him by God's prophet, simply because the aforementioned advice hadn't been delivered with the proper pomp and circumstance. 

Ego: noun, plural e·gos.
  1. the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.
  2. Psychoanalysis. the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.
  3. egotism; conceit; self-importance: Her ego becomes more unbearable each day.
Pastor Crow was, of course, referring to the third definition; the definition which allows a person to feel superior to others.  I don't think the timing was accidental either.  As I pen (OK type) these words, Americans are voting in our nation's midterm election.  Yes, I know this is my Christian, and not my political, blog.  But what's bothers me is more spiritual than political. 

This election is centered around several hot button issues, and emotions are running high.  Believing in issues is fine.  However, we're becoming a country of people who are willing to vilify our fellow citizens for holding an opposing opinion.  Liberals, like me, have a tendency to think of conservatives as being greedy bigots keeping their collective foot on the necks of minorities and the poor.  Meanwhile, conservatives can see liberals as lazy perverts who haggle over child-slaves in the back rooms of pizza restaurants. 

Of course, none of these labels are accurate across the board and some are laughably false.  We let people's political views keep us from knowing, and loving, one another.  The thing is, we miss out on knowing some really great people simply because they hold an opposing political view.  

"If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." ~ 1 John 4:20

Friday, August 5, 2022

Sources of Inspiration


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

Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Importance of Puppies


"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.