Jesus and Politics

December 25, 2013

In his own time and place, one would say that Jesus was a Liberal. Today, it seems, the people who claim to follow his teachings are Conservatives.

If Jesus came today, he would not be siding with these Christians. He would be standing up for the weak, the disenfranchised, just as he did centuries ago.

It is sad to see that the edifice built, supposedly, on the teachings of this man has now become exactly what he struggled against.

Yes, the Christianity of today is the Sadducees and Pharisees of the past. Unfeeling, unyielding, intolerant of the broken among us.

Thankfully, I am more liberal minded.

Sort of like Jesus.


Joel and Francis

December 24, 2013

I have often commented that Joel Osteen resembles Jesus more than most contemporary preachers in that he talks a lot about your relationship to God rather than your relationship to Jesus.

Though modern Christian belief is all about cozying up with Christ, that was not what Jesus’ message was about. He was all about you getting closer to God.

I know a lot of people say they are one and the same but that is a Catholic view, not the universal view, of the situation.

Speaking of universal views, I am continuously amazed by the new Pope. Francis seems more like what a Pope should be about unlike those politicians who have been sitting on the Papal throne for the last few centuries – well, all except John Paul I whose reign was entirely too short. Francis is so UNpolitical that I’m amazed he hasn’t been bumped off yet.

Rather than pushing the typical Catholic agenda on abortion and birth control, Francis preaches more about our removing our concentration from the things of this world, the politics, the money, the greed, and learn to strengthen our personal relationship with God.

It is almost as if Joel and Francis went to the same school and learned from the same teacher.


Oh, yeah, they did… his name was Jesus.


Religious Fundamentalists Give Religion a Bad Name

December 23, 2013

Espousing a religion in which the central savior preaches tolerance and loving nature to share among all your fellows, to judge-not lest you be seen as a hypocritical charlatan, and to love your neighbor as you would love yourself is a tough call it seems.

It is so much easier to snub and belittle people you think of as different, or inferior, or as not walking in the ways of the Lord (as you alone judge it to be). So very easy to act high and mighty as though the Universal had given you specific license to point out the idolators and fallen angels in our midst.

It is admirable that such people can constrain themselves and their abiding passions to quietly follow God’s ways with fairness to all God’s creatures, great and small.

It is unfortunate that some fundamentalists appoint themselves as judges of mankind and usurp the power of God in condemning their fellows. And all this based on only a few passages in scripture which they interpret as giving them such power… while ignoring all the parts of scripture that deny such a thing.

Cherry-picking the justification for mean-spirited treatment of others falls far beyond anything Jesus ever spoke about, nor anything he implied by any action. Where does it say he turned his back on the needy or the broken? Where does it mention him not sitting down to break bread with the sick and the sinners.

Fundamentalists give Jesus a bad name.



Too Free in His Speech

December 22, 2013

As one commentator said, “Yes, we have freedom of speech but with that right comes responsibility.”

Surely, the founder of the Duck Dynasty knew this when he made his comments about homosexuals.

A person remarked that he should have realized that by being a high-profile person that his comments would make some waves.

Yes, I am certain the fellow knew about his status and that’s why he was using his position to further his views – very strict Christian views – on the subject. He is doing what many Christians through the centuries have done: used his public platform to further what he considers the “Word of God” even at the risk of public disgrace.

Just like Tom Cruise always pushing for his own religion: Scientology.

It is merely unfortunate for his career that he holds himself to a stricter brand of Christianity than what is considered politically correct at the moment.

Even Joel Osteen and Pope Francis are more progressive than the Duck Dynasty people.

One might wonder if this new, more tolerant form of religion has just not made its way into the bayous yet.

This attitude of loving tolerance made its way out of the backwaters of the Roman Empire some two thousands years ago and I am pretty sure it has made its way into the depths of Louisiana.

Only, in its original form, I believe it was a heck of a lot LESS judgmental.


Someone suggested the Robertson family might think about moving to Russia as Putin has the same attitude toward gays.


Killing the Messenger

August 10, 2013

crucifixion

It is an ancient request, to not kill the messenger.

That request was put aside in the case of Jesus and the messenger was killed.

Since practically everyone who has ever heard of the crucifixion knows this fact, why do I mention it?

In the Christianity of today, we greatly revere the act of extermination of the messenger. The crucifixion is pointed to as the reason for Jesus coming at all. Oh, all the magical goodness that came from that foul deed!

But what seems to be forgotten here is the message.

The church tells us that the message is the everlasting life and the redemption of sins. They tell us that was the message.

But again, that is focusing on the murder of the messenger, not the message.

The message that Jesus brought: that God is with you and in you always, that your life’s journey is about getting closer to Him, that you can do all the things that he, himself, did “and greater”… all this is lost in the resounding message from the Church.


It seems the messenger was killed and the message was forgotten.

What a waste.

Why the Suffering?

August 3, 2013

suffering

This is one of the major complaints I have seen written by atheists or those who have left the faithful.

In his books about the scriptures, Bart Erdman mentions this one thing as the primary reason he fell away from religion.

If God truly loved “His people, His children”, why then would He permit such suffering to continue in the world?

Some writers have answered that this is the realm of Satan and God pretty much lets the Devil have free reign down here.

Others say that this is a testing place and those not strong enough are broken. It is for “testing faith” and so forth.

But what if the Almighty doesn’t see it the same way? What we consider bad, He might be using for some specific purpose?

We know trial and error are the best methods to learn anything… “no pain, no gain”… you hear it all the time.

And how in the world could we ever understand compassion if there was no suffering for us to witness?

I’m not saying any of these may be the reason for the suffering as I am certain there are many factors involved. Far too many for someone with my limited view of the universe to begin to understand.

But I am willing to wait for the understanding to come.

I suppose some people are not that patient.

Modern Martyrdom

July 31, 2013

martyrs

A very few decades ago, an author by the name of Immanuel Velikovsky was pilloried by the scientific community for his popular book Worlds in Collision. And most of the scientists who commented on the volume loudly proclaimed that NO, they had not read the book nor would they even bother to read such unmitigated rubbish.

How could they know it was rubbish without reading it?

Years after the “Velikovsky Affair” had ended with the scientists declaring that they had “behaved poorly” one might have thought lessons had been learned… well, somewhere at least.

Dr. Reza Aslan’s new book, Zealot, attempts to examine the historical Jesus and expound on his personal insights into the matter.

Billy Hallowell, of the Blaze, wrote a critique on the book and included what he termed “responses” from Christian authors and theologians.

Uniformly, the Christian scholars scoff at the author for rehashing all the standard Islamic interpretations of the Bible, or for resurrecting Albert Schweitzer’s Historical Jesus. They claim he has not brought anything new to the table and most complain that he is not, strictly speaking, an historian.

What these scholars also uniformly proclaim is that none of them have actually read the book they are bashing but feel they can bash it anyway because of what they have heard other people saying about the book, or what they got off the blurb, or what one of their friends condensed from some television interview.

In other words, theologians have proven that – in truth – they are no different from scientists.

They, too, can condemn a heresy before they even hear it.



Imagine what progress we’ll make tomorrow.


Atheism

July 27, 2013

nocross

One of the fastest growing segments of the “religious” landscape is none other than atheism.

The Christian community is disheartened over the numbers and wonder what they can do to turn the tide against the “non-believers”…

Actually, they don’t have to do anything. Since the journey on this realm is really all between the Creator and the individual, is has nothing to do with all the Christians around, despite their “do-gooder” attempts to “save” everyone around them.

That was really not what their Jesus was talking about. Paul, perhaps, and the early Church Fathers for sure.


One thing that need to be understood about atheism is that there isn’t just ONE branch of it, there are quite a few.

And just like all the variant forms of religion in the world, so too with atheism: it is not set in stone.

As many people leave the ranks of atheism to “get religion” as those who “lose faith” and leave the church.

And there are many followers of atheism who are still actively involved in the search for whether or not there is actually a God.

So cut all these people some slack – both those in or out of “God’s favor”.

We are all on our own journey anyway, wherever it may lead us.

And people find their comfort in many varying philosophies.

There has to be said something for all the diversity under creation…


Among the Many Names…

June 29, 2013

darkmatter

Scientists are studying a very large subject these days. It is also a very old subject.

They call it “dark matter” and claim it makes up 95% (give or take) of the universe itself. The parts of the universe they can see (and measure) are the remaining 5%.

So, why is science – who prides themselves on only studying what can be quantified – worrying about something they admit they cannot measure? They say the existence of the “dark matter” can be inferred in many different ways but they cannot get a hold of it.

In their researches, they have noticed patterns that imply something behind the tangible, parts of the processes that cannot be stopped and studied.

It’s actually a little humorous.

Early philosophers noticed patterns in nature that underscored such a concept. Pythagoras built his philosophy on the subject. Isaac Newton designed his calculus in the same fashion.

It is the reason why mathematics has always been known as the “universal language”.

But the ancients and renaissance thinkers did not call this stuff “dark matter”, they preferred the much more common term: God.

By whichever name you chose, it is the bulk of the universe surrounding us and establishes all the patterns we can measure.

It is this subtle interchange, this background interactive structure that I call our Conversation with the Almighty.

It has always been around us, awaiting our notice, acting as an invitation to join in the conversation.


DOMA and Done

June 27, 2013

supremecourt

Now that the Supreme Court has rejected DOMA and the California Proposition, many people are coming out screaming “foul!”

One Senator from Missouri said the Supreme Court is going against the will of the majority. And she claimed it sets a very bad precedent.

It is always sad when our elected officials show such obvious ignorance of what America is supposed to be about.

Certainly the rule of the majority is the law of the land but only after the other boxes have been checked off. Legalizing discrimination, as Bill Clinton put it, is a very bad precedent and flies in the face of “liberty and justice for all”.

The very religious sector of our country appears to think that somewhere in their scripture they are commanded by Jesus to “go out and tell everyone else how to live” rather than worry about their own relationship with the Almighty.

Legislation of this stripe is what sets a bad example.

If this type of “majority rules” discrimination were allowed to run rampant, we would soon outlaw left-handed people, blondes, people who like cookie-dough ice cream, blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics, Jews, Neo-Nazis, gun owners, Catholics, and any other various groups trying to practice living a free life pursuing happiness as they see fit.

And there has already been legislation on each of those things at some point.

Discrimination should not be legislated.

Period.

No matter what percentage of the population wants it.

Perhaps they should find another country which allows such atrocities and move there.



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