Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

be great

Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
                                         Martin Luther King Jr.

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.
                                         Mother Teresa


You have heard it said, but I say
You have heard it said, but I say

Jesus taught a different way
A way counter to the way of the world

Make no mistake about it

The world teaches the way of power and privilege
Jesus teaches the way of emptying one’s self of power and privilege

The world teaches the way of accumulation
Jesus taught the way of giving

The world teaches the way of protection and safety
Jesus taught the way of vulnerability and risk

“You have heard it said, and eye for eye, tooth for tooth”
Get your “backs!”
If they hurt you, hurt them

“But I say”
“If any one slaps you, on the right cheek
 turn the left cheek to them as well”

No wonder so many have a problem with Jesus
They (we) have claimed Jesus
They avow their allegiance
They suggest that Jesus is “on our side”

They go to church
And pound Bibles
And wear crosses
And talk about Godly values

But then, fundamentally, ignore most of what Jesus taught

This is the great divide that has been revealed
in today’s “christianity’

Power versus service
Accumulation versus generosity
Grace versus merit

We must face this discrepancy

John at the beginning of his Gospel said the light has come into the world
And the darkness cannot overcome it


But the holders of the light can put it under a basket

We must face the fact that perhaps those most focal about being
The people of the light, are the ones hiding it.

We hide the light when we side with power over servant hood
We hide the light when we send drones rather than food
We hide the light when we oppressively shame those who are vulnerable,
rather than do the work of grace and love, and lift them up
We hide the light when we carry a gun into church
We hide the light when we think the Gross National Product is more important
than economic equity
We hide the light when we ignore the fact that minimum wage people must work two
or three jobs just to get by
We hide the light when we close our eyes to the presence of racism
We hide the light when we become addicted to military might, and spend more on
the instruments of death, than to health care and education.
We hide the light when we would rather profit from the earth rather than protect it.

The fundamental divide in American Christianity right now
Is between those who have chosen the way of power over servanthood
And wealth over generosity.

And there is no question, about which side of that divide
Jesus dwells

This is a powerful reality!
It is not a new reality
In the garden of Eden the temptation of the serpent was all about power
“eat this and you will be like God”

In the wilderness the temptations offered to Jesus were all about the
misuse of power
Not the use of power to do bad things
But the improper use of power to do good things
That would then turn bad

Because the way power was used, to thrill, to impress, to control,
Would be an affront to the way God works (as revealed by Jesus)

As we stand in America today
And watch the stock market soar, at great cost to the poor
And watch our government assassinate members of other governments
And watch politicians accumulate great wealth, while leaving “the people” in poverty
And see racism and nationalism rise

We have a choice
To choose the way of power and wealth
And align ourselves with the forces whose only agenda
Is “winning”

Or to choose the way of servanthood and generosity
And resist those forces with our voices, and our votes
But mostly by our behaviors

We must  believe in grace not merit
Generosity not greed
Freedom not coercion
Inclusive not exclusion
Lifting people up, not pushing them own (for our benefit)
Forgiving rather than retribution

For Jesus’ way is not our way
If is the way of love

And we need
Hearts full of grace
And souls generated by love

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