Thursday, August 19, 2004

Joy

Jesus Christ is alive and well and living in our midst. How's that for a reason to have a great Thursday?! Isn't it wonderful when you have one of those overwhelming moments of joy, when you appreciate the fact that Christ is in your life? Well, I just had one and thought I'd share. :) Make it a great day.

Now back to our originally scheduled program...

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

NOT politics as usual

So do we have to carry this "seeing Christ in everyone" thing all the way to politics? Does that mean we have to actually listen to people in the OTHER party? I'm not suggesting that loving people means you have to accept all of their opinions-- I love my kids but I certainly don't agree with all of their opinions (it just isn't healthy to eat candy for breakfast!). But I am not categorically dismissive of everything my children say either. And even if I find their opinions silly or absurd, I can still smile and feel affection toward them.

Yet I find myself dismissing just about everything that certain politicians say. I think the word "contempt" comes to mind. "Cynical" also fits the bill. I probably need to rise about categorizing people as "idiots" and actually listen to their positions. I think it is o.k. to dislike or even hate their positions or ideas, but not the people behind them. Ouch.

Wow, this is going to be tough. Sometimes wish I hadn't gotten on this train... would be easier if I hadn't.

I recently read some tips for good blogging on Bene Diction Blogs On. I think I violate them all. In particular, this stuff has gotten too heavy, too serious... don't you think? I promise I'm not always serious. This just happens to be the place where I come to do my thinking aloud about such weighty issues. I have kids to try out the low-brow humor on... but they are far less responsive to the Bible verses. :)

I'll be away for a few days, probably 'til Sunday. Someone mind the store for me, will ya? (Last one out, turn out the lights.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Part II: I detect a pattern. You?

The Great Commandments are clear: Yes, first and foremost, we should love God… But we must also learn to love others, even our enemies; and we must TRULY love them: serve them, meet their needs, forgive them. My take on this is that it is NOT enough to profess Christ as my savior, and then turn my back on His message. If you love Him, take Him AND His message seriously.

Matt 22:34
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together, 35 and one of them, a teacher of the Law, tried to trap him with a question. 36 "Teacher," he asked, "which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus answered, " "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the greatest and the most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like it: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself.' 40 The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments."

Jn 13:14
I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another's feet.

Jn 13:34
And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Matt 5:43-48
You have heard that it was said, "Love your friends, hate your enemies.' 44 But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. 46 Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! 47 And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! 48 You must be perfect—just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Mt 20:26-28
This, however, is not the way it shall be among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; 27 and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of the others 28 like the Son of Man, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life to redeem many people."

Mark 11:25
And when you stand and pray, forgive anything you may have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive the wrongs you have done."

Luke 6:27-38
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If anyone hits you on one cheek, let him hit the other one too; if someone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well. 30 Give to everyone who asks you for something, and when someone takes what is yours, do not ask for it back. 31 Do for others just what you want them to do for you. 32 "If you love only the people who love you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners do that! 34 And if you lend only to those from whom you hope to get it back, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount! 35 No! Love your enemies and do good to them; lend and expect nothing back. You will then have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God. For he is good to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.
37 "Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38 Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands—all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you."

Luke 20:46-47
"Be on your guard against the teachers of the Law, who like to walk around in their long robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplace; who choose the reserved seats in the synagogues and the best places at feasts; 47 who take advantage of widows and rob them of their homes, and then make a show of saying long prayers! Their punishment will be all the worse!"

Rom 12:9-21
Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. 10 Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another. 11 Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 12 Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. 13 Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers. 14 Ask God to bless those who persecute you—yes, ask him to bless, not to curse. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. 16 Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise. 17 If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with a wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. 18 Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. 19 Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God's anger do it. For the scripture says, "I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord." 20 Instead, as the scripture says: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink; for by doing this you will make them burn with shame." 21 Do not let evil defeat you; instead, conquer evil with good.

Part I: I detect a pattern. You?

Jn 8:31
So Jesus said to those who believed in him, "If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples;

Jn 8:51
I am telling you the truth: whoever obeys my teaching will never die."

Jn 14:15
"If you love me, you will obey my commandments.

Jn 14:21 "
Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them."

Jn 14:23
Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and my Father and I will come to them and live with them. 24 Those who do not love me do not obey my teaching. And the teaching you have heard is not mine, but comes from the Father, who sent me.

Jn 15:10
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.

Jn 9:31
We know that God does not listen to sinners; he does listen to people who respect him and do what he wants them to do.

Mt 7:21-23
"Not everyone who calls me "Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do. 22 When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me, "Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God's message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!' 23 Then I will say to them, "I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!'

Jn 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not have life, but will remain under God's punishment.

I love your blogs...

Just did a quick tour of Fr. Jake's blog to catch up... Wow! I love his posts. He recently wrote about homophobia, something I've written about recently as well. He quotes comments by Desmond Tutu on the issue. Excellent post... The hatred that Christians feel toward gays and lesbians makes me shudder. He also passes along a post about a recent National Council of Churches "Christian Principles in an Election Year." Anyone who has read anything here will recognize that I was nodding the whole time I read that one. I thoroughly enjoy his blog.

I also tried to catch up a bit on Only Wonder Understands... Rev. Jay turned me on to thehomelessguy.net, a blog written by a homeless person living in Nashville. I obviously wish this blogger didn't live in his current situation, but very much appreciate the fact that he can dispel myths about the homeless and provide solid advice/suggestions regarding how one can help homeless folks in our communities. I found only one post on the blog, but his FAQ has a pretty extensive collection of questions and answers, including a transcript of an interview about his situation. I found that blog intriguing largely because I have been thinking quite a bit about ways to actively live out my faith-- in particular, my desire to see Christ in all I come in contact with. I think this necessarily entails taking an active interest in the lives of the less fortunate, but so far in my life this has manifest itself only in donations (which I consider a cop out, in my case). I think I'll be making some of the kits that Kevin describes and handing them out.

I love blogging, and it feels sooooo good to get back into it again. I've still got a number of favorite blogs to visit, but it is getting late. I'll have to read more tomorrow.