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

 

GOD’s Open Door Policy

opendoorI read a bit. I read the news and read commentary. I pay more attention to the Christian take on things due to the name of my blog and do not, probably, write enough in defense of us.
The commentary I hear too much is that GOD, a loving GOD to me,  is also a judgmental, stern and harsh patron. The GOD I have grown up with is referred to as “LOVE”. LOVE does not close windows or lock doors. LOVE does not criticize, LOVE comforts. The office of GOD has an open door policy. One needs not require a judgmental GOD. The man in the mirror tells me when I have done wrong, made a mistake, or fallen short of my example  Jesus. Too often the mirror judgement is more damaging to me than any.
LOVE understands. No one on the face of the Earth has walked my journey, encountered my fears under my circumstances, made the same decisions for the same reasons. Save One. LOVE (GOD). If we knew everybody’s everything we may eventually learn to understand. GOD has walked the journey with me. Every minute, every day, 24-7. When someone says that you have to earn your time with GOD it is a lie. GOD knows EARTH. GOD knows that people are not always kind to other people. GOD KNOWS HELL. For too many that is EARTH. GOD knows what you have tried to accomplish, and what mountains you have had to climb. GOD (LOVE) does not stand on the sidelines of life. For all who ask, seek, or even irregardless, we have done the climb with LOVE’s help. Whether dressed as a parent, or a friend, neighbor or stranger, LOVE has helped with my climb.
LOVE will help you with yours.
Enjoy the day for the opportunities it represents, not lament it for the negatives of a past that has perhaps occurred. Make your corner of the world a nice one. A comfortable place to hang out for someone LOVE sends your way.

LOVE has an open door policy, let no one tell you otherwise.
“FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.” (Jesus of Nazareth)

Heaven and The Other Place

Heaven and The Other Place – 6-7-17

I have read and heard so many sermons over all the years. Many different church affiliations, as well as independent writers. Lately I have heard another set for discussion that has always sparked my interest. To simply paraphrase, “if you do not believe that Jesus is the son of God you are doomed to Hell for all eternity.”

That seems pretty straight forward. As someone who comments on occasion with my unique perspective, I extend some thoughts. My comments are usually blogishy short, bare with.

As I have read it, Jesus, long before He became the Christ of world renown found himself hanging from a tree with nails securing his hands and feet after a whirlwind trial which ended by committing him to death by crucifixion. On either side of him were two thieves. According to the Book of Luke, Chapter 23 verses 39-43 (The Jerusalem Bible) this discourse:

One of the criminals hanging there abused him.

Are you not the Christ?” he said. “Save yourself and us as well.”

But the other (thief) spoke up and rebuked him. “Have you no fear of God at all?” he said. “You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. “Jesus,” he said, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Indeed, I promise you,” Jesus replied, “today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Third Day, the Resurrection, the Books that became the NEW Testament had yet to occur. The people who had convicted him and the priests who had mocked him questioned his authenticity from below the cross, “Come Down from the cross and prove to us who you are”

But that one rebel, without the benefit of the history of those next few days, and the writings of 30+ years later, or all of the interpretations of over 2000 years, recognized that he personally was getting what he deserved, but this other, this man who had done nothing wrong, but the legend of him helping people was known in the area, had been whipped and staggered through to this conclusion equally. He felt that Jesus did not deserve this, and asked Jesus to but pray for him once he had died and his spirit returned to his Kingdom, whatever that Kingdom he believed it to be. He sought no favors, and probably expected none. And Jesus not only accepted him, but had him accompany himself into paradise. What a shock to his system must that have been.

One, at the very least, recognized Jesus as innocent, the other merely felt that Jesus existed to save him from the punishment that even his companion felt they had coming.

One was taken to the Kingdom, and one probably ended in “Hell”. But where was “Hell”?

My Father led a challenged life. The challenges compounded by my Father’s own approach to it. The week before he died he offered this advice. “This (Earthly life) is Hell”.

My point is this, two thieves, by their choices, lived a life that may have reflected what we might consider to be hellish. One felt it should be free of charge and another recognized that what he had done was his own doing, not to be paid for by someone else. I hear the news, I read the papers, I side a lot with my father. On those days that I agree I look over the results of my actions over the years and have to be honest with myself that much of it is of my own doing.

And then I reflect on this passage “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

I believe in the Kingdom. I try to be a good friend, and I enjoy my conversations with Jesus and His Father. I remember Lyle, a close friend who thought the diet he was on was the best diet he had ever had. And then he discovered it was a liver cancer that produced the results and at 53 he was gone to the Kingdom within a few weeks. But during those last few weeks he made a comment that has been with me ever since, “You know, Dennis, the roses are redder this morning, the grass is greener. Don’t miss the gifts along the journey.”

The ensuing 30 years has brought me closer to Jesus’ ideas, and friendship by Lyle’s example. I have never questioned His capability to comfort. The hell that many choose to bring upon themselves is balanced by a creation to be marveled at if we do our part to take it in and even to make it better.

Many do not require a Hell for punishment. They choose to live it today. I do not require the condemnation of a third party for any reason that I may pass on to a place called Hell or purgatory or underworld. When I leave, MY OPINION, is this, and this is the worst thing that I believe anyone may hear.

God invites me to coffee after I have died. He asks “Dennis, I haven’t done Earth for awhile. Tell me, what do the roses smell like on a spring morning, or the cool air of evening feel like after a hot summers day in the mountains? Did you enjoy the friendship of the people I sent your way? Did you learn to love?…”

If I can not answer the questions this way:
“The roses are sweet, the cool air in the summer is refreshing, the mentors you sent became great friends, and I learned to love, by loving and being loved also.”
If I can not answer that way, the time was wasted.

And I see God shaking his head a bit and says “That is unfortunate. It was your only opportunity to enjoy it.”

If I can answer the questions positively, the time was special and I might even choose to visit it once again...

Even in the midst of the most difficult of days, or tragic events that cross my path along my journey, I know to take in the gifts that have been given to me and cherish that opportunity.
Will it be Heaven on Earth, or the other place?
My Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
On Earth,
As it is in Heaven.

Make every day special…..