Lyle Says..

GOD’s Mentors create actions. Such was a conversation I had the other day with a couple of workers in a testing center. We were discussing the rush rush of everyday life and how it seems that much is missed during it. I related a story of one of my mentors, Lyle.

Lyle was a neighbor and a great friend I had about (many) years ago. Lyle worked as a guidance counselor at a state hospital dealing with recovering alcoholics and had done so for 20+ years. In addition his faith was Methodism and I would refer to Lyle as a Christian. We had stopped for coffee one day and Lyle was somewhat distant, immersed in thoughts. I asked him what was going on.

“The great diet that I have been on and I have lost a lot of weight, has been liver cancer. It appears as I have just a few weeks before it wins. As a 12 steps counselor I find I have been going through all the steps. Today denial gives way to acceptance.”

I chose to spend my time with Lyle on  morning walks with Lyle during the ensuing days. I will never forget one of the last days. We met outside and were walking around the neighborhood. I asked how he was doing. “It is interesting, Dennis. The greens have never been greener, the roses never more fragrant….”

Not too much later Lyle passed away at 53. We had shared a number of great moments together. Leading a summer parks ministry program, and retreats. He got me to begin thinking and that ended up with my launching Unorthodox Christianity.com some years later when the internet took over the universe.

So I was sharing this story with the two workers during a lull in their testing and no one else about. THE RUSH RUSH OF EVERY DAY. I mentioned that it got me to thinking.

“What do you think is the worst possible thing that you could ever hear from GOD?”

I went on, “I hear and read lots about GOD’s judgement. I hear how judgmental GOD can be and how strict and difficult GOD can be to those who do not ‘toe the line.’ So I have developed this scene that better describes what Lyle says and I believe that developed from this incident. I image that I have passed away and am in whatever place one passes away to. I have lived most of my life as a human being. I am fortunate to be one of the few who knows what GOD looks like. GOD has a big dent in GOD’S forehead from the many times GOD has struck GOD’s forehead and has said, “Dennis, you have done it again. I had made all the plans necessary to answer your prayer and you have changed your direction and now I have to start all over again.” The truth is that GOD started over again, next to me the whole way. Providing new mentors, new friends, new jobs, and more education. On this day, I am now at GOD’s spiritual home. I have been invited to have coffee with GOD and I go in. I reiterate:

“What do you think is the worst possible thing that you could ever hear from GOD?” 

GOD sits back in the chair and asks me a question. “You know Dennis, I have not been to Earth for some time now. Tell me, what does a rose smell like on the first bloom of spring?”

I look back on my life and think. “I am sorry, I can’t say I know.”
God  shakes GOD’s head and says, “That is so unfortunate, for this was your only opportunity to find out.”
There was no hell or damnation. There was no screaming or hollering. There was a simple truth. I am ready for GOD, because Lyle says..’The greens have never been greener and the roses have never been more fragrant…… Stop and smell the roses…Lyle says.”

Today those ladies know what the roses smell like on the first bloom of spring. Feel free to share this story with your friends, Facebook and any other encounter. These are the messages all of us are given to share. We are the spokespeople for GOD. We are the mentors.rose-3756985_960_720

 

Forgiven

There seem to be so many requirements of us Christians for us to be ‘Forgiven’. Often the requirements manifest themselves in the commentary of pastors and the prophets that it can overwhelm us. It creates such a monstrous anxiety to bear the burden of our humanity that doubt becomes the driving force versus a very special force that comes from within. 
One of the two thieves who hung from crosses in the company of Jesus prompted Jesus to use his “power” to save all three. The second thief, in all honesty, said that “they” were being punished for things that they had done that were knowingly wrong and could have been avoided by choices. Jesus, on the other hand, had done nothing to deserve what he was receiving. In addition ‘he’ asked Jesus to remember him in heaven. Jesus response was that this person’s request would not only be observed, but that “today you will be with me in “Paradise”. The Gospel is not “fake news” but GREAT News and GOOD NEWS.

To the crowd that followed Jesus’ journey to the cross and made fun of Him and chastised Him, Jesus had a simple prayer. “Father forgive them,  for they Know NOT what they do….”  and then “Into thy hands I commend my SPIRIT.”  
The mockers, the bullies, and the Judges have instincts that are driven by their instinctive humanity. They are products of the human culture. Win at all costs. “Success AT ANothers expense”. Jesus recognized this and had a unique foresight to put the conflicts of the spirit vs the human instinct into a perspective to be approached by LOVE vs culture. “Many will come in my name and will lead even the elect astray.” Jesus’ example should not be reflected of a position of power, but rather an example of the kingdom of the spirit. Many who fly the flag of Christianity do so from a political perspective, Jesus did it from a cross. Your spiritual journey may win no human conflicts, but your spiritual journey will stand the test of eternal life.

Jesus is your advocate. Jesus walked the walk, talked the talk, and took the hits. And yet Jesus has stood the test of time and the others are names that need to be looked up to be remembered. Do not underestimate the power of LOVE to reconcile differences. Do not underestimate the power of LOVE to discover inner peace and tranquility. And do not believe in coincidence. GOD is active, GOD provides, GOD teaches, and GOD pays attention. And GOD asks. GOD asks for your help. Life is different once we can say “What can I do?” All of the things that tempt you, tempted Jesus. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”
“Father Forgive Them, they know NOT what they do..” 

Do not beat yourself up for being human, seek out the spirit within you and wake up to a new day. You HAVE BEEN forgiven, when you accept it for yourself…

Casting the First Stone

Been busy with work and all. Thinking of what messages to write and have been disappointed with the content. I do have some thoughts about life in ‘tweetdom’.

I am a firm believer in the message, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

I see our politicians, especially the ones who fight for the ‘Christian’ vote, are having a tough day with that one. It is always easier to throw stones than put yourself on the line. When you are afraid to put yourself on the line you have perhaps missed that whole part about “The GOOD NEWS”.

Religion is not a feel good concept, it is a lifestyle not a sales pitch.

What was it Jesus said once? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

For Whom The Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls………

So its like this….. I used to start many of my sermons this way…

We seem to be narrowing down the ‘great again’ reference point. I am confused by it.

When were we free from illegal immigration?

1491 (not counting the Vikings from Norway.) That was quite some time ago.

Which group has brought the most productive people (not necessarily citizens, few blacks were legal citizens, all of the English were not initially, and the Carolina’s were reserved for the criminally inclined illegal immigrants.

Perhaps it was the Irish.

The Germans (We fought two world wars against the Germans).

The French? They sold us much of the west way over priced.

The Spanish. We took a big part of the Southwest from them and now whine about the people that came with it.

The Italians. Criminally inclined? Mafioso? Fought them in World War II also.

The Middle Easterns? They are comprised of some of our most astute money lenders and investment contributors, as well as oil suppliers. They also didn’t contribute much more than that plus a native Jewish carpenter that has become the centerpiece of our primary religion that we so staunchly protect that we have forgotten His ascribed teaching of Love One Another. (Leading by the example of dying on a cross from a middle Eastern native, doesn’t hold much weight in the new “Great Again” forum of one of our more prominent “Christians” and associated political factions.) I must be missing something.

The Nationwide railroad system was built by orientals, legal and illegal. And we fought wars against them also..

Whose children stayed or were deported with their parents? None that I have read much about until we have since decided to be “Great”.

Who was Tom Sawyer?

Doesn’t “Trump” mean to Succeed AT ANother’s expense?

Things that make you say hmmmmmmm.”

Free Will – NEVER FREE

I read this the other day from a posting person that I admire . “Christ says we are made to serve Him and allow Him to make the choices in our lives.”

The first thing that came to my mind is a story I tell about my relationship with “GOD”. I know what “GOD” looks like. There is a large bruise on “GOD’s” forehead where GOD’s palm has struck the forehead as “GOD” utters…..”Dennis, you’ve done it again. I had it all planned out and coordinated and now you change the direction of your life…”
The choices of GOD are not always so apparent that my choices coincide with “GOD’s” plan for me. My favorite poem talks about ‘The Road less traveled.” Why do I so often settle on the road less traveled?
Because “GOD” has never failed me in my choices. “GOD” mentions after saying how I have “Done it Again, Now I have to rewrite the plan I set up for you the last time.” Right, or wrong, the journey takes many twists and turns. This is not news to “GOD”. Perhaps “GOD” is pre-aware of the directions I will take and the design of my personal tapestry has already been prepared for the seemingly new direction I am moving in, which “GOD” has been aware of since the beginning. I have been allowed a second chance.


Each one of us is the architect of our own individual journeys. Often times the choices are less than wise, but always based on events within our own lives or compared to that of others. Where we do not always do well at predicting our own future, GOD can. The tapestry that surrounds us is too complex for us to sort. Consequently ‘free will’ often gets the best of us. How many times does GOD come across this over the history of the universe and the entities that reside there?
Have you made a mistake? Many? GOD understands what you even cannot see.

“Forgive them…..they know not what they do.” This is a quote from the GOOD NEWS.
Jesus brought a new perspective on GOD that we today call “GOOD NEWS”. It has never been FAKE NEWS. ‘FREE WILL’ comes with challenges, and is never “free”. Whether others judge you or not, you judge yourself. If you never judge yourself, your actions have their own judgements. Free is never free. A poor concept to extend.
This is where “Forgive them, Father…” comes from. The harsh Father who theoretically casts out the lost from the path to eternal life has given us an advocate. Jesus. A Jewish carpenter from a town called Nazareth.

“For they know not what they do….”

Those calling for Jesus’ Crucifixion did not know much more than they were told what to say in the middle of the night by armed advocates.
(At the risk of censure, our politicians perform about as well as the disciples did, and they theoretically know ‘the rest of the story’. )
Knowing “What A Friend I have in Jesus” and His stance on forgiveness does not make the mistakes free, it makes them forgiven because whom amongst us has not done things that “we know not what we do” or the repercussions as a result of our choices. For those mistakes will never be “free.” Not to me… And at some point in time our stewards will discover how not “FREE” their decisions have been. But they are understood and forgiven by one who lived the reality of life on Earth. One who has seen the powerful place self before others. Somewhere in a book I read years ago it is said the “The meek shall inherit the Earth.” Perhaps because only the “meek” shall survive the”Powerful.”

“FREE WILL” is a lie. Our actions cause reactions whether we like the results or not. It is to me, in those moments, reassuring to know that 2,000 years ago a mentor of mine pleaded for my forgiveness even in the place where I judge myself. And He will do that for me forever. “What a friend I have in Jesus….”

By Example

“You lead me along the right paths, those of your own choosing, that I might serve you there. Even now, this very day, you are preparing the future before me, even in the presence of my enemies. Your word and your example strengthen me.”

In my world of Unorthodox Christianity,  Jesus becomes my Example, not by his divinity, but by his perseverance. I remember a sermon given on a retreat that was based on a very simple concept. “Isn’t the blood of Jesus enough?”  I don’t need divinity to sway my opinions, I need example. Mentorship has always been about example. Jesus’ example was to follow the teachings that he had been given over the years via the mentorship of those that GOD (LOVE) had placed before him for that very purpose.

“Even now you are preparing the future before me…”  He had a unique vision of his place in the journey of the world and that future was based on an all abiding faith in LOVE. If only all of us could learn from his example. Not fixated on the Cross but abiding in our own resurrection. His example of persevering on through the challenges of life in spite of setback (in his case quite extreme, as was the result for many others) becomes my example when the hardship that I perceive in mine pales by comparison.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled for thou are with me…….”

Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord (LOVE) forever.” 

Who has GOD led you to be a mentor for? There is no coincidence, just a curve or right turn along the way. Why else do you think your here? Your spirit has been given eternal life, use it wisely and, yes,  it will be challenging. Appreciate it and you will be blessed beyond your own belief. Not by “divinity” but by being led by example.

Relationships

HeartOn this Valentines a note that I carry over from my signatures.

“Who you know is not as important as how you treat the people that you meet.”

This carries over from “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

Valentine’s Day is about “love”. It is about how we build and maintain relationships. Whether these relationships are deeply personal, workplace, casual or a simple hello, how we interact with people we have known for years or moments defines us as a human being. From the stand point of Jesus, “Love One Another”” was never followed by exceptions. If there are those who are not inclined to the golden rule, or simply do not grasp that humans are basically chameleons who reflect their environment, one must simply move along, do not force a reaction and do not look back. (“Wipe the dust from your feet”.)
Ours is a role of reflecting our Teacher’s message. When we accept the banner of “Christian” we accept a powerful message that people should recognize by how we interact with them.  If we do not reflect Jesus’ message in our own actions, the message we are teaching send the wrong message of what it is a “Christian” is. It is because of what I have seen in others who proudly raise the “Christian” banner that “Unorthodox Christianity” was born.
What makes “Unorthodox Christianity” unorthodox are its roots in the red print of a concordance Bible. No caveats, no exceptions, no exclusions, no racism, no sexism, nothing other than “Love One Another”.  It is much more difficult to be an “Unorthodox Christian”, than it ever will be to wear the banner “Christian”.

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadows of lost souls, I shall not fear them for thou art with me. Thy word and thy example comfort me. Even now, this very day, you are preparing the future before me. In the presence of my enemies, even in the midst of my own personal struggle. You anoint my head with oil and once again my cup overflows with your bountiful blessings. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever…” (the 23rd Psalm applied to me.)

“Who you know is not as important as how you treat the people that you meet.”
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