The song that you can listen to via the link below is called Ordinary People.
A number of summers ago I was asked to perform at an outdoor revival meeting called Break Down the Walls in Salt Lake City, UT. On one particular afternoon there was a fiery evangelist preaching his Full Gospel Message. In the best tradition of fiery Full Gospel preachers he jumped up and down and shouted and gestured wildly as he moved from one side of the stage to the other, “THANK GOD that Jesus came for us sinners. That Jesus came here, to the other side of the tracks”.
He went on to discuss how deeply we are in sin and why we suffer and how great it was that Jesus came for us sinners. I thought immediately of a young lady on a retreat I was on who commented that she didn’t feel she could find Jesus because she hadn’t been ‘hurt’ enough in her life to find Jesus.
I sat back and thought to myself, Thank GOD that JESUS came for the little lady who always sat in the back of the sanctuary and made a cake or a meal for every funeral at the little white church I had attended in western Minnesota. That Jesus came for the school teacher who stopped in after class to help clean, or mow the lawn. The neighbor who took a bar to the family next door when there was a loss or a celebration.
I thought, “Thank GOD that Jesus came for the ORDINARY PEOPLE. The ones who live ‘normal’ lives, who aren’t fallen angels or alcoholics, or from broken homes or live broken lives. ORDINARY PEOPLE, like you and I.
I was at the grocery store yesterday and was pushing a cart back to the store that someone had left in the parking lot where their car was. In my world of unorthodox christianity a thought came to mind. Would Jesus have pushed the cart back to the store? Would Jesus have left the cart in the middle of the parking lot in the first place under the assumption that it was someone else’s task to put it where it belonged?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Is it loving one another to expect others to complete the task that we find inconvenient?
To this day I see on my wife’s car the sizeable dent made by the shopping cart that blew into my wife’s car in the parking lot of Sam’s Club on one average windy day in El Paso.
Do I file that under Love One Another, or Take Advantage Of One Another?
On this day, Jesus of Nazareth, The Christ of GOD, was Risen. Hallelujah. Whether in his physicalness, or simply in our hearts, may Love One Another become a mantra we can learn to live with, abide in, and strive to attain.
We are a success oriented culture. Success, it seems, is measured in two ways:
- Name Recognition: My name shows up on search engines, in magazines, newspaper articles, commentaries (positively) or in all settings where people discuss successful people.
- Financial: My name shows up in all settings where people discuss financially successful people.
I was thinking about this the other day. In relationship to my unorthodoxy, there is a name that jumps out in the world of name recognition above all others. It reflects a life lived prior to news, papers, tv, radio, magazines and commentaries. It is a name that precedes our culture and crosses almost all cultural barriers. Agreed to or not most religions, nations, groups, atheists, politicians, leaders, philosophers, terrorists or whatever know and have at least heard this name. This person was so successful at achieving name recognition that his position at the time of his living certainly stood out above all others and was the center of most general discussion.
If name recognition is your measure of success do not follow his lead. He lived but 33 years, but most of the world recognizes his name, whether to debate his existence, his character, his position and even his reality. He owned nothing, lived off the goodwill of others. He did not hold public office, come from a wealthy family, Generaled a vast army, controlled any one person other than himself. He stood by a simple message. Love One Another. The concept was so radical it led directly to his demise at 33 years of age, in an age of no mass media, on a wooden cross in a rural town in a small country in the middle east.
If you desire to take his place at the top of the name recognition ladder, prepare yourself for an ordeal.
His name was Jesus.
One interesting interpretation that I have read focuses more on Jesus as the SUN of GOD, the LIGHT of the world and steers away from a divinity discussion and more into Jesus as a purveyor of the LIGHT of GOD with Jesus being the SUN of GOD. “Hide your light under a bushel, NO, I’m gonna let it SHINE. I Like it.
The teachings of Jesus emphasized hope to a people in a time of persecution. Whether it was political, physical or mental Jesus’ message was one of hope through hard times.
It is my desire that Unorthodox Christianity also carry that message to all of those who feel disenfranchised by a traditional church and reflect a Jesus that was giving a message for all those who followed and even came in contact with him, that hope is always available and can become a way of life. Too often we interpret the promise of Jesus is life after death. The reality is that the hope of Jesus was that this hope is yours to have every moment. Change in a world of a GOD who is LOVE, is accessible to all who are open to its possibilities.
When asked once about how he was going to celebrate his birthday, the Dalai Lama replied, “Why would I celebrate the birth of my sufferings day?” The message of Jesus is that the hope of Jesus is a message of the joys that are inherent and available to us every day of our living. Life is to be embraced, even when it seems as though the persecution is winning. Hope, as has been said, springs eternal.
Welcome to the WordPress blog for my site unorthodoxchristianity.com. This WordPress location will feature periodic posts of the thoughts of myself, Dennis Wheeler, from my perspective of a days events, news, or happenings through the eyes of my Unorthodox approach to the teachings of Jesus, a carpenter’s son from a small town in what is now Israel called Bethlehem.
It may require some ramp up time, and in the meantime I invite you to visit my site unorthodoxchristianity.com