RESPONSIBILITIES

RESPONSIBILITIES

Responsibilities

(Updated from the Original Site in 1-29-2005)

With ministry in whatever form comes responsibility. Whether one is to prostrate oneself before the city gates and scream “REPENT”, or merely comment on the doctrine of the soothsayers and ‘Pharisees’. Whether Church Leaders, Ministers, Popes, or Prophets, it is not to be taken lightly. With thousands of references already on the “net” to unorthodox and Christian, there is but one unorthodoxchristianity.com.

It is humbling. For the seeker who finds themselves seeking through a www, you’ve stumbled upon this site. It is almost as though I have been granted some authority to present a ‘what it is’, I have not. I have no great expertise. I am a simple man. To me, the message of Love One Another is plenty succinct enough. This site is about love one another, and some of my views on what the ‘Pharisees’ say and interpret as truth. Doctrine must be weighed against the gauge of Love One Another. If doctrine doesn’t support that view, I find it hard to reconcile it as coming from GOD.

Many point out Old Testament texts, The New Testament Gospels are about the GOOD NEWS of a new teacher and a radical itinerant Rabbi. The leaders of His time did not exactly embrace his teaching and neither do very many of ours. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty for loving. Do not let anyone condemn you for caring, whether popular or not. And most of all, pay no attention to them when they attempt to judge the measure of your love, that is between you and your GOD. GOD will not condemn any who love, irregardless of their banner. Jesus said that any who love are with us, and can not be against us. Only those who profess to believe in love and who do not demonstrate it need be fearful of the results of their actions. GOD need not condemn for life itself is the greatest of equalizers.

And so I hope and pray that I present what GOD would wish. Unorthodox Christianity is about Loving One Another.

Enjoy.

Dennis Wheeler

The Circle of Existence

The Circle of Existence

The Circle of Existence

From the way-back machine in Unorthodox Christianity. Before there was WordPress there was the internet. In those earlier years was the original Unorthodox Christianity.com The theology was more than a blog. Much of it was much as the following content. I am setting up the reissue of that original .com that will be in the core of this site. One of the many early pages.

From 7-29-2007

The question of the nature of existence has been at the forefront of philosophical thought forever. From long before mankind could record thoughts on papyrus, and prior even to the cultures of hand me down legends of heroes in the past, where do we come from and where are we going has been the basis of theology and the world’s religions.

I have been reading a brief synopsis of the major theological movements over the past few days and have been intrigued by the growth of theological thought. The term cyclical comes to mind as theology and religious history follow an ebb and flow from strict dogma, to flexible reform and back into a strict religious morality when reform results in what the majority considers to be a rise in the incidence of `immoral’ behavior.

I have also noticed that there seems to be great periods of frenetic religious activity, followed by lulls of mere history, followed by eruptions of dogmatic supremacy, followed by periods of romantic flexibility and a return to dogmatic stigmatism.

From the most primitive forms of mythology that established multiple gods throughout the developing world, in Rome, Egypt, Mexico, Peru and others, man has constantly attempted to explain who he is and why is he here. Hinduism seems to predate and to begin establishing the modern era of a monotheistic theology. Hindusim seems to be followed by a dramatic influx of thought developed by Confucius and then expanded through Lao Tzu. Buddhism grows out of this and then on the western front shades of Mosaic law. Then the segue into Jesus and Christianity and then Mohammed and Islam expanding Christian concepts into cultural conformity. This continues to this day through Bahai and some of the more liberal new age inclusive conceptuals that try and appeal to a broader mixed cultural group.

Even within the buracracy of fundamentalist thought, each major religious turn includes its reformists and its liberalists, whatever name is coined for them, or about them or from them.

I am also amazed that each successive religion takes what it wishes from its predecessors and edits to suit a new crowd of followers or a new crop of leaders. I believe that this accounts for the ebb and flow from dogmatism to flexibility as it benefits the practitioners and their `chosen caste’.

As I read with a skepticism born of historical study, I am drawn always to the Christian writings of my cultural upbringing, the Judaistic drama of history, and the history of Hinduism, the more ancient beginning of current group belief. I see a lot of the writings of Jesus being an interpretation of the writings of Lao Tzu or Confucius or Mencius to a crowd that wasn’t familiar with or had disavowed these ancient writings in favor of “their own” Mosaic dogma and Pharasitic interpretations.

I see where the tribe develops its own school of thought for its own culture and then takes ownership of its relevance and correctness. Jesus, as a great teacher, embraces the whole world of theological thought at the time and proclaims that “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE”. The Way, being the Lao Tzu world of Confucianisms, The Truth, being the world of Mosaic Law, and the LIFE, being the reverent respect for all living things of Buddhism and many of its interpreters. This he conjoins all at once in one convenient itinerant package we came to call Christianity.

Centered amidst the confluence of many trade routes, Jesus was no doubt exposed to much theological thought in his day. I do not believe that one such as Jesus would have been content to merely accept the Mosiac dogma in light of the Eastern beliefs.

The question that seems to gnaw at me is just how much inclusion Jesus incorporates into his world of thought which is buried in his words, thoughts and deeds. In addition, I see how much of our interpretation of Jesus is being contained in a vessel of religious dogma that appears narrow minded and `self’ contained. By this I mean that we interpret Jesus’ sayings in light of what our modern culture wishes for us to believe and not enough of our belief looks at what the world in Jesus time was believing. Because our theological bureaucrats find some beliefs to be `profitable’ we are missing the hidden code of history. Dan Brown only scratches the surface of the code in a haunting mystery novel about political religious history. The real drama lies in the clues to our existence that Jesus came to reveal to us through the disciples and the scribes within his entourage and their families’ oral traditions.

All of this hyperbole to reach this point: where do we come from, where are we going, what is life?

From The Gospel of Thomas within the Nag Hammadi library:

Lesson 18: The Disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us how our end will be.”

Jesus said, “Have you discovered then, the beginning that you look for the end? For where the beginning is there the end will be. Blessed is He who will take his place at the beginning, he will know the end and not experience death.”

Lesson 19: Jesus said, “Blessed is he who came into being before he came into being. If you become my disciples and listen to my words, these stones will minister to you. For there are five trees in Paradise which minister to you in Paradise, which remain undisturbed summer and winter and whose leaves do not fall. Whoever becomes acquainted with them will not experience death.”

Moses, Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu, Buddha: All predate Jesus. They are 5 pillars of religious thought that have founded countless schools of theology and represent a core of thought that one could reasonably call, the ancients. Within each lie the prodigy which expanded and interpreted their ideas. These are cores whose beliefs have not fallen out of favor (among the `enlightened’) although they have always been threatening to those who desire power. The stones are the beliefs, the sayings, the proverbials that have been tested and reviewed and found to be valid through the ages.

The mysteries of Jesus have always been enigmatic to scholars. “Even these stones will minister to you.” There is a proverbial that I like from Ecclesiastes, “a time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together.” I noticed in my reading, as obvious as it is that I missed it, the order of the saying seems odd. A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together. Common sense would seem to support that one gathers stones and then throws them; but not in this sense. The stones of beliefs are often
“ read and then cast away, discarded into the cavern of memory”. Later in life an event occurs that brings that old `stone’ to the surface, gathered together so to speak in light of new knowledge or understanding.

An example are the many events of our lives that are lived and cast out of our conciousness in favor of each new event. Upon the death of a loved one we then sit back and pull these stones to the forefront of our memory that we may derive comfort from the memories once discarded and now retrieved.

The pillars of heaven are also not stone pillars, but the knowledge passed along by these great theologians and their theologies of the time. If you become familiar with their teachings and the meanings of the teachings, you will not experience death because you will recognize the mysteries of life. So what mystery do you discover?

I believe that Jesus told us, straight up.

Lesson 18: The Disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us how our end will be.”

Jesus said, “Have you discovered then, the beginning that you look for the end? For where the beginning is there the end will be. Blessed is He who will take his place at the beginning, he will know the end and not experience death.”

This is a simple and common philosophical question. What line has no beginning and no end? A circle. There is no discernible beginning to a circle and no discernible end unless one establishes an arbitrary beginning, which also becomes its own end.

Is it possible, let alone conceivable, that the circle of life: birth, living, death is reflective of the circle that is existence itself. Can the circle of spring-summer-fall-winter-spring- summer-fall-winter be a reflection of existence. Is time a circle not a line? That would explain prophecy, invention, science fiction, people. Another philosophical question, what came first, the chicken or the egg.

In the beginning was the word and the word was with GOD.

If Jesus was the word, did the circle begin with Jesus, or the beginning with GOD. Was it ‘poof’ all at once,everything?

 Ecclesiastes also says, “everything that is, was, and ever will be, has already been.” To expand on that idea, imagine a globe made up of an infinite number of circles of varying widths that whirl about each other always maintaining the globe as the perfect circle. Which microscopic dot on one of the circle lines are we, now, at this time? We are all at once someone’s future and someone’s past.

Time travel is perhaps just locating a spot on a globe of circles that roll within itself, a huge globe beyond our conception. The other side of  time may, in fact, be an arms length through the globe. Then, what is beyond the globe?

Whooooo,, so deep for a simple guy.

Do not worry about the future, Jesus says, God will take care of the future, the present day has enough concerns of its own.

What a good time to gather that stone together and allow it to minister to me.

Just some thoughts.

dennis

IN HEAVEN AS IT IS ON EARTH?

IN HEAVEN AS IT IS ON EARTH?

IN HEAVEN AS IT IS ON EARTH

Jesus said: When you pray, pray this way:

“Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done

ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN” …..

I have always been intrigued by this prayer offered up by Jesus. Over all the years I have heard so many threats about what can happen as a result of having been born. As an example: The mysterious ‘they’ mentioned to Jesus that it would be better not to marry than to risk sin and damnation should it not quite pan out the way it was originally intended.

I have heard so many sermons and ‘Bible’ studies of losing favor with GOD and being subjected to ‘HELL’ for being the ‘wrong’ faith persuasion and being subjected to eternal damnation as a result.

There are actually an estimated 2.2 Billion people who proclaim Christianity as their faith.

Major religious groups

  • Christianity (31.2%)
  • Islam (24.1%)
  • Hinduism (15.1%)
  • Buddhism (6.9%)
  • Folk religions (5.7%)
  • Sikhism (0.29%)
  • Judaism (0.18%)

“As of 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth,” the Pew report says. “Islam was second, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 24 percent of the global population.” Apr 2, 2015

Interestingly enough, Judaism, which is the foundational faith of Jesus, is very much outnumbered by the others. I point out again:

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will will be done, ON EARTH as it is in HEAVEN.”

Why would there be such an emphasis ON EARTH when many professing Christians live their lives worried about living on EARTH while waiting to enjoy life in HEAVEN. Living ON EARTH as it is in HEAVEN, which was created by GOD for some purpose to be enjoyed at the very beginning. Jesus prayed for EARTH to measure up to HEAVEN. If HEAVEN on EARTH was such a priority to JESUS I would have to ask why it is not a priority for mankind which has 31% of the entire population as adherents?

Earth is certainly a flawed location. WAR is an industry on EARTH. Illness is a part of world history. As of today no one in the world should be ignorant of the suffering of a pandemic, not just now but throughout world history. Politics plays to a select crowd of the wealthy and select voters. The priority of business conglomerates seems to take advantage of as many humans as possible to create income, chasing money, money and more money. Nations rebuild the armies of other nations to fight more wars to make more money. Is this truly our answer to the prayer of Jesus, whom 2.2 billion people profess to follow?

“ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN”. It is pointed out that it will be more difficult for a rich person to enter Heaven then a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Many of the world’s wealthy profess to be Christian to get elected throughout the world and yet “ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN” is either a mistaken prayer by Jesus for Heaven would not be my cup of tea if they reflect each other.

So let’s take it a step further. One dies. I could take myself. What have I done to make the world a world that reflects Heaven? What have I done to make HEAVEN like a reflection of myself in a mirror?

What are you going to take to Heaven with you when it is your time. When you walk through the pearly gates what do you expect to bring to the table? Will you debate which religion is right? Will you enter Heaven as a Baptist, or a Catholic, or a Methodist, or a Mormon. The entire religion of Jesus was Jewish, will you accept Heaven with a Jewish background? Will you follow your political leader’s leads into Heaven, behaving just like they are here on EARTH? Will you look for the purple robe that you feel you should be given because of all the good that you have done? What sort of a Heaven will you be creating when you get there? Will it be socialist, a democracy, or an anarchy or a Communist?

IN HEAVEN AS IT IS ON EARTH?

There is an answer. Two thieves were crucified with Jesus. One lobbied for Jesus to save himself and both of the thieves. The other said “What we have done was our doing, what He has done was nothing wrong. We deserve what we get, He does not deserve this for what He has done.” What did Jesus reply to the second thief? “Today you will be be with me in Paradise.” No question from Jesus of his faith, if he had any or not, no color, no tribe, no particular affiliation that Jesus was even concerned about. What did that thief do to have the opportunity to be taken to Heaven by an itinerant Rabbi named Jesus? He believed in what Jesus said about how to live your life ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. It is a difficult door to walk through. You must walk through the door to HEAVEN believing that ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN is the prayer and the purpose. Jesus and this thief were GOD’S examples of how to accomplish the dream.

In your own corner of the world try to make “ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN”. That is the prayer of JESUS and the prayer of GOD.

We need that prayer now more than at any time in the history of the world.

I pray this for all of us.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

1-25-02 (updated 8-31-20)

‘Their GOD is not our GOD.’
“Our beliefs are the true beliefs”.

So many times have I heard this come out of the mouths of Christians I am reminded of what Jesus said, “It is not what goes into your mouth that defiles you, but what comes out.”
I was involved in a discussion once with a Christian acquaintance and the topic came up of whom GOD loves more.

Who are the true chosen?

I asked him to list the people on Earth whom GOD did not create. You see we are ALL the children of GOD.

I related a story: when my grandmother baked cookies for me she always made more oatmeal raisin cookies than chocolate chip cookies. Why? Because I liked oatmeal raisin cookies more than chocolate chip cookies. If we believe that GOD shows some sort of preference for one group over another, certainly the chosen people are Asian, for there are many more of them than anyone else.

I believe GOD is big enough, intelligent enough, and loving enough to speak to all people in their own language and in their own culture. I believe there is a measure of truth intertwined within all the religions of the world and that we are missing the entire message when we exclude one faith journey vs another because of our tribalistic propensity to hold our own ritualistic faith as the entire truth of GOD’s teaching. How much wisdom has been lost in such ignorance.

Jesus taught, ”Love one another”, No caveats, No claims of exclusivity of membership. “By this [love] will they know that you are disciples of mine”, LOVE is a common destination that leads to peace. In fact, it is the only destination that leads toward peace. Until we can embrace our diversity of culture, religion, and faith with the understanding that GOD speaks through many tongues, our destination will be one of division. Until we learn to focus our energies on a common destination of loving one another, our world will never find peace. I believe that:

GOD WILL NEVER DENY HEAVEN
TO ONE WHO LOVES.
 THIS IS OUR PROMISE, IT IS OUR HERITAGE,
 IT IS OUR TEACHING, AND IT IS OUR GIFT.

FEAR OR FORGIVENESS

FEAR OR FORGIVENESS

FEAR OR FORGIVENESS

In my world of Unorthodox Christianity the lesson of Jesus that I feel comes from GOD is written from the cross.

FATHER (GOD) FORGIVE THEM THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO”.

I am certain that my two dogs are GOD’S chosen gift to me. They represent the very example of GOD who has given me free will. When I get frustrated in a moment of stress and get upset with them, they lie down a number of feet away for awhile. Soon after that ‘while’ they come and sit down bedside me and whisper “Forgive him GOD, he does not know what he is doing”. I can not help but ask their forgiveness and recognize that nothing is free of response. Everything has consequences. I consistently meet good and caring people to offset the influence of the bad. But I would have a different GOD if I believed in a GOD of retribution. That is not the example of my dogs. Nor is it the example of JESUS. I have seen too many examples of a loving GOD that jumps right in to help at a moments notice even if I did not have time to ask GOD for it.

If I were to fear anything from GOD, I would fear GOD leaving me.

The prodigal son was afraid that his father would desert him from what he had asked and done……..His father welcomed him for the son he thought was lost was found. (Luke 15:11)

It is written “GOD would never desert you, or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8)” . For me GOD is a force always at work preparing the Future for me as my life moves forward to embrace it. I do not ever wish to have to FEAR GOD’S wrath, I would fear GOD turning GOD’S back on me because I have failed to pay attention to the consequences as a result of my actions that disappointed the one who has given me so much to be grateful for.

UNORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY is about being forgiven by LOVE. By living my life knowing of GOD’S forgiving LOVE and concern for me. To me, there can be no such thing as a retributive ‘LOVE”. Retribution is a human emotion and subsequent judgment. If I suffer the judgment of human instigation for actions that I have brought upon myself, my advocate argues: “FORGIVE HIM GOD FOR HE KNOWS NOT WHAT HE HAS DONE”.

When I recognize that FORGIVENESS has to be MY COURSE or PRAYER, I recognize that GOD would not approve of what I had done and I pray “DO NOT TURN YOUR BACK ON ME”. I can choose a GOD whom I respect and do not want to disappoint, or I can selfishly embark on what I want to do to satisfy myself. I am too grateful to GOD for all GOD has done for me to ever fear GOD turning GOD’S Back to me.

Do I choose FEAR or FORGIVENESS?

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23)