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.”
dw-2-14-2018

GOD IS LOVE

GOD is LOVE. When Jesus (believed to be the ‘Christ’) preached amongst us He was Jewish. When Jesus died on the cross He was “King of the JEWS”. Jesus was never “Christian”, outside of the attachment of a term that was corresponding to his teachings. You will know the followers of Jesus by their adherence to his teachings and His primary message was to simply “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”. The true measurement of a believer in the teachings of Jesus is not the attachment to a philosophy that has grown out of a feeling of preference, but of an attitude of “Love One Another” as it is exemplified in their everyday lives. Jesus was not a fan of the religious implementation of the leaders of His own chosen religion, Judaism as expressed in his own words.

Many brand themselves to be “Christian” to garner the preference of a group of theoretically like minded individuals whose attachment to each other promotes a single secular agenda that Jesus warned us about: “Be careful of those who come in my name”.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER is not judgmental based on adherence to a group that is “acceptable” or otherwise. LOVE ONE ANOTHER simply loves. People of all cultures and races and religions have adherents that LOVE and adherents that HATE. A follower of the teachings of Jesus among any of them, is simply required to “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”. You will recognize them by THAT attitude, and by no other measure exclusively.

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)

“Been There, Done That”

Satchel-Paige-Dont-Look-BackSatchel Paige was a black baseball pitcher from a time when most black pitchers played in their own leagues and specialty leagues around the country and then into the big leagues after the late 40’s outside of their own specialty league. Commonly called the best pitcher of all time, he was known for many of his quotes on life. The one I have always remembered is “Don’t look back. Someone might be gaining on you.”

Searching the Past. It is often dangerous to search the past. It is too easy to fall back into it rather than move forward because of it.

“Been there, done that.” may be the better philosophy. Putting your mind in the past can challenge your decisions and can make it harder to leave the past in the past.

When you search the past for your future, you miss out on the present. Enjoying life is immersing yourself in the present, not searching out memories, or focusing on yesterday’s dreams.
Taking in what every day offers today should be more rewarding than looking back on what could have been and was not or what was put off for a rainy day that may not ever come.

As I have aged past that point where I often thought I’d never make it to, I reflect sometimes. You can literally get lost in the past of your life. What you thought you would have time do and what you maybe did and shouldn’t have. You can get lost in the stories of what happened ‘then’ when friends got together, and remember later that it was not really ‘that way’ at all.

The past was the formation of today, but today is the formation of tomorrow. The someone that might be gaining on you is someone who grew up with you. And “YOU” are not quite the same. Not the same goals and objectives, not the same demeanor, and a different attitude. When you look too far back you miss the time that is available to you now. There is a tendency to rush to nowhere. Perhaps a cup of coffee and a glance about the countryside of today is in order more than just once in a while.

Enjoy the day…They are too precious to ignore for the sake of other things.  dw