After decades of Biblical study, I continue to discover there is much deeper meaning than I had ever imagined.
Christ calls me to
-people I'd not expect;
-be politically active for justice;
-love without restriction;
-accept those from whom I would normally recoil;
-be a student of the Bible and also the society in which I live;
-see the economic, social, and spiritual struggles of others;
-be a prophetic voice for justice, mercy, compassion, grace, and love;
What about you?
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Believe Also in Me
Trusting God is not an easy process. Oh, it is easy and even simple to claim to trust. Allowing the reality of trust to infuse and overtake every aspect of our lives is a completely different prospect, however. In place of trust, we make claims about trust. In place of faith, we parrot the words and creeds of faith, hoping that somehow that will be sufficient. On some levels it is. On other levels, however, it is more a cry for help.
Jesus’ disciples struggled to understand his words and the intent of his teaching time after time. In Jesus’ concluding discourse with them in the Gospel of John, we find them at a loss to understand what Jesus meant by going to the Father and preparing a place for them. They had come to trust that Jesus spoke for God and had been teaching them effectively and faithfully to better understand God and God’s purposes for their lives. They had seen divine action in Jesus’ ministry they simply could explain no other way. On certain issues, however, they still struggled to accept what Jesus told them.
“You believe in God, believe also in me.” Those were simple words. They were hard to apply to the realities of living.
Often as not, that is also where we find ourselves. We accept the words that tell us God is love. We accept the words about eternity with God in some unexplainable reality beyond the material existence we know. We accept God’s grace, mercy, compassion, and love. We accept the words about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The problem we have is with allowing those words to change how we respond to the fears and concerns we have regarding what our society teaches. We struggle to allow the priorities of Jesus overcome the priorities of our cultures and traditions.
We still want to look at the world from the perspective of power, wealth, and strength. We still want to assess what matters on the basis of control, force, and influence. We still want to hang onto the security of wealth, comfort, and tradition. Faith, however, would call us to find our confidence elsewhere in what we consider weakness and foolishness.
Jesus calls us to give ourselves away. Jesus calls us to place our confidence, hope, and trust in eternal priorities, rather than in the priorities of this world and this existence. Jesus calls us to place a new confidence in God’s priorities of living for the benefit of those around us, rather than for ourselves. That calls for a new assessment of what really matters. It calls for new priorities. It calls for making the words of our faith become a new slate of actions and attitudes. It calls for doing more than claiming the words of faith. It requires acting upon them in visible ways. That is not easy, but it is the way of the cross Jesus set before us.
Are we ready to allow the claims of our faith claim our actions and alter our priorities? That is where faith is truly born.
constantly hear folks talking about how horrible socialism is. In the
USA, we have fashioned a definition of socialism that has little to
do with socialism and much to do with the vague ideological enemy of
the cold war era red scare.
of all, socialism is an economic system, not a political one. It is
on the continuum with capitalism. Communism lies on a different axis
with democracy, theocracy, autocracy, and such. While capitalism
elevates capital as the most important element in an economic system,
socialism elevates the public welfare as the most important and
valued element. This is often looked at as labor versus capital, but
my understanding is that it is more than labor. It is the social
sphere that includes labor as well as those who are unable to provide
labor in the economic system.
to theology, doctrine, and Biblical witness, however, we find those
attitudes cast against the nebulous enemies of the nation from our
Red Scare days greatly impacting our attitudes …
Almighty Gun, we worship you. It is in you we place our trust and hope for our security. Where fifty-eight or more lie dead, We pass legislation for more of your presence. We hope you will protect us from our fears, Our fear of the "Other," the immigrant, the stranger, the colored ones. We fear our lives might be taken by those marketing terror. All the while, we are the ones in terror. We are the ones who instill, promote, and extend our own terror. We live in fear. We pack heat to make us feel stronger, more virulent, more protected. We return to the world of make-believe, in which we are the heroes standing up to the enemies all around us. We pray you will provide the energy and the aim we need. We pray you will protect us from our fears of unknown enemies. Then one of us takes a last stand, firing rounds from automatic weapons. "No, the guns are not to blame!" If only there were more gun worshippers present to stop the hail of lead! If only there were one more gun to halt the a…
are hard-wired to feel compassion on an individual level. We see
needs around us and are moved to offer a meal, a pair of shoes, a
shirt, a pair of pants, a coat, or a sleeping bag and willingly offer
them to meet an individual's need. At least momentary needs within
our grasp are elements we readily and willingly address. In so doing
we often fail to address the larger issues that bring people to those
conditions from which they may seek escape and the comfort of our
band-aid compassion. The
Bible is an ethical document in many respects. It is a compilation of
ethical documents that are religious but advance very specific
ethical teachings. We can't say the Bible is always consistent, for
it includes various streams of thought which come from diverse
traditions within the bounds of a Yahwistic faith. What we find
ourselves having to do is read these various streams of doctrine,
ethics, and tradition to determine the higher standard among them and
so apply that to our lives. …