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, October 3, 2020

Loving My Enemy Can Be A Tricky Proposition

-
“But I say to you that listen: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.” ~ Luke 6:27-29


Subject: President Trump at White House garden podium | Photographer: White House Photographic Office |As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
I'm an American liberal Christian.  Right now my President, the President who often mocked people for wearing Covid-19 preventing masks, is a patient at Walter Reed General Hospital stricken with Covid-19.  When I first heard the news I cheered.  Being a liberal, I've viewed President Donald J. Trump to be an enemy of everything I believe in.  Thus, I was looking for Champagne to pop.

30 minutes later, I found myself embarrassed by my initial reaction.  As an American, I should have respect for the office of President, if not for the man who holds the office.  As a Christian, I should love my enemy, even while I fight against their ideas and actions. 

I'd failed on both counts.  I need to do better. 

Don't get me wrong, I won't be buying a red "MAGA" cap or voting for him any time soon.  Yet, I will pray for him as I'd pray for anyone with this awful disease.   I will also pray that this experience will increase his empathy for others. 

Yes, I'll be voting for Joe Biden.  However, I don't need to wish Donald Trump dead in order to wish him out of office. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

God Is In My Corner

-
"Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, 'Are you for us or for our enemies?' 'Neither,' he replied, 'but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.' Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, 'What message does my Lord have for his servant?'” ~ Joshua 5:13-14
Muhammad Ali during a Boxing Match in Washington
Title: Muhammad Ali during a Boxing Match in Washington | This image was taken from Flickr's The Commons. The uploading organization may have various reasons for determining that no known copyright restrictions exist.

Have you ever watched a professional boxing match?  Before the fighters are introduced, each boxer will kneel in their corner and pray for victory.  Of course, there can only be one winner.  I often wonder if the defeated pugilist feels abandoned by God?

Praying for victory isn't unique to boxing.  Soldiers pray in the trenches during times of war.  Both armies genuinely believe God is on their side.  But, soldiers on both sides are killed.  Then, either the war drags on indefinitely, or one side eventually triumphs.  Does that mean the defeated populace has been abandoned by God?

In roughly six weeks, Americans will select a new President.  People on both sides of this bitterly contested race are praying that their candidate will be sworn into office in January.  Does that mean God is a few weeks away from abandoning America's conservatives or liberals? 

I don't think so.   God doesn't take sides in the contests we, as mortals, assign supreme importance to.  Personally, I can't picture God fixing the results of a sporting event, election, or war. 

According to Romans 2:6-11 God does not show favoritism. "He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality."

OK, I think He steered, NAZI sympathizer, King Edward VIII toward, American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, so he'd abdicate the throne before WWII.  For the most part though, He doesn't take sides.  God is rooting for each one us to grow into the best people we can become. 

No matter which  political ideologically and/or flag we fight for, God wants us to fight honestly and nobly with compassionate regard for the welfare of others.  God is in the corner of each one of us, serving as our cutman between metaphorical rounds, so we can continue to fight the good fight, the fight for personal growth. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

An Accidental Racist

-
"But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  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.  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.  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. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’" ~Luke 10:29-35

I'm a racist.  Don't misunderstand, I don't hate people of color, nor do I believe in segregation.  However, I do benefit from white privilege.  My home is built on land which  Native Americans hunted on before white soldiers claimed the land on behalf of a white government.  As wrong as the theft was, I'm not willing to give the land back to its original users/owners.

Likewise, our country was built, in large part, by slave labor.  According to a May 5th, 2019 article in The New York Times, the value of the labor stolen from slaves was estimated to be in the neighborhood of 500 million dollars in 1969.  I can't even fathom what the debt would be in today's dollars. 

Without getting to political, my point is, none of us have the ability to erase the sins of the past.  Yet, we need not be shackled by the original sins of our  predecessors.  We can pave a kinder nobler future for our inheritors.  To that end, we must take a lesson from the Good Samaritan, and treat everyone as being our neighbor.