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, March 15, 2019

God Is Not A Burger King

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John 14:13-14 ~ “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. ”

I pray everyday.  Actually, I pray multiple times per day.  When I find myself in pain, scared, or frustrated to my wits end I stop, quiet myself, and turn to God.  Doing so usually brings me a sense of peace which gets me through the moment.


| Subject: Burger King’s new Big King XL |
| Date: 01/25/2019 | Photographers: James Kiester & Dani Cogswell |

However, I often find my prayers becoming “lists to Santa” of things I want.  Then, I find myself getting irked when what I'm asking for doesn't happen fast enough.  Essentially, I’m treating God like a cashier at Burger King; I want it my way, right away.

John 14:13 implies that’s the way prayers work, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do,…”  Seems pretty straight forward, just ask for something in the name of Jesus and you'll have it.  Of course, if such were the case every Christian would have a million dollars in bank and instant revenge against our enemies.

I have no doubt God is real and He answers prayers.  If I prayed without believing that, I’d be wasting a good deal of time each day.  God DOES answer prayers.  I can see patterns in my life which could have only taken shape if an external hand had been guiding events.

Yet, God is first and foremost a parent, and every parent knows not to give a child a cookie every time they ask for one.  A good parent knows when to give the kid a celery stick instead.  Sometimes, I think God gives us a proverbial celery stick in answer to our prayers.  It’s not the answer we want, but it’s the answer we need.

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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