Archives For Christians

In a half-dozen nations, tyrants who once ruled by fear and repression have been toppled, unleashing centuries-old sectarian rivalries and bloody struggles for power. Syria’s horrific civil war is spilling into Lebanon and threatening Jordan and Turkey, while Iraq has effectively devolved into three nations — one Shiite, one Sunni, one Kurdish. In the chaos, a particularly malignant form of radical Sunni Islam, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq….

Why is that rivalry raging now?
It has fueled conflict and repression since the dawn of Islam in the 7th century, but was ignited into a bonfire in 2003. That’s when the U.S. overthrew the Sunni-dominated regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Hussein had long brutally suppressed Iraq’s Shiite majority, and his fall turned that power dynamic on its head. The new Shiite-dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki marginalized Iraq’s Sunnis, denying them any real voice in the new national government.

SOURCE: The grand Shiite-Sunni struggle.

I recently read an article about how Islam needs its own Reformation. The Christian Reformation began with Martin Luther posted ninety-five complaints against the might Roman Catholic Church over 500 years ago. Up until then there were only a handful of dominant Christian churches around and RC was the major one. They told you what to believe, how much money they wanted, and where you go after you die. A lowly monk just didn’t buy that and visibly told them so.  That started the flames rolling and the many different belief systems sprouting out that differed with the Roman Catholic church.

Today I am told that we have over 14,000 different versions of Christ’s church each saying they are the ones who have it right. We went from a handful to thousands because of the Reformation. Isn’t that what is currently happening with Islam. Isn’t ISIS just another version of Islam that has sprouted off the Muslim root? In some ways we don’t need an Islamic Reformation but instead an Islamic consolidation. We need some overall authority to reign in all this centuries old fighting among the Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, and all the other out there.

As the article above says some think the we the U.S. is responsible for much of the latest fighting in Islam. Before we invaded Iraq its leader kept an iron grip on the various Muslim sects.  Since that overthrow the Middle East has exploded into one religious sect fighting another and hating all the other versions of spirituality.

We don’t need a Muslim Reformation, but just the opposite. While that is happening it would be nice is somehow we managed to get all the 14,000+ Christian sects to agree to some core beliefs but that seems almost as impossible as the former. At least we are not fighting and killing each other as our Muslim brothers are doing..

Helping The Poor – Reason 1

December 22, 2013

2013-12-12_12-10-451)      Jesus Calls Us to Help the Poor

Jesus wants us to help the poor—without qualifications! He doesn’t command us to help just the responsible poor, the Christian poor, the likeable poor, the sober poor, or the hardworking poor, He calls us to love and help everyone—no matter what!

It’s amazing how we’re quick to recognize that God loves us unequivocally, that His grace covers all of our sins, and yet we put so many stipulations on helping the poor. If we accept God’s infinite mercy in our lives but refuse to pass it along to others—whether we think they’re deserving of it or not—we’re the worst of hypocrites.

SOURCE: Stephen Mattson: 5 Reasons We Should Personally Help the Poor | Red Letter Christians.

On this blog I pretty much reserve my spiritual affiliations (or maybe afflictions) for Sunday posts. I am going to spend the next five Sundays going through a list of reasons from Stephen Mattson over at Red Letter Living about why we Christians should help the poor. I haven’t run across a more heartfelt list in my life.

Reason number one is that our founder Jesus calls us to help the poor.  We Christians seem to be readily able to accept God’s grace but very reluctant to do the same with each other. There should be no qualifications attached to helping the poor. Jesus didn’t stipulate which poor to help and neither should we.  There is good reason to call many who claim the Christian mantle hypocrites. This is perhaps the primary one.

Fixations….

March 5, 2013

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PrintWHY??   I ask that a lot, especially when it comes to how we choose to live our lives.

I simply can’t understand how we Americans are so fixated on flexing our muscle throughout the world when we have so many thing that need repair in our own country. It is almost as if we are willing to sacrifice our own well being in order to exercise our power. We must realize that the world didn’t assign us to be policemen of the world, that was a choice we made, often times much to our own detriment.

Since I hold on to Quaker roots I understand that I am more averse to aggression than many in my homeland. I understand that much of our culture is based upon violence and domination. I understand that this type of a world view dictates an overwhelming military superiority. I understand these things but I just don’t accept them as the way they have to be.

We claim to be a nation based on Christian principles. When I read the Bible Jesus tells me very clearly that means we are to love God and love our fellow man. These are the two foundational laws of that religion.  God did not put nation barriers on that list. Our fellow man is a worldwide concept; maybe even beyond our little globe? The dichotomy of being an aggressor vs a Christian is troubling to me.

If only we could take some advice from one of my heroes Will Rogers and tend to our own business instead of poking our guns and military might in the rest of the world we might just be able to fix some of our own problems.  Why do we need to continually make enemies of the rest of the world in order to give ourselves some sense of security? When will we understand that often times flexing our muscles in the world is a cause not a cure for our insecurity?

If we must be fixated why can’t we fixate on curing our own ills. We let many of our citizens go through life without sufficient healthcare because we have not figured out how to dispense it efficiently. We have more of our citizens under lock and key than any country in the world.  Why can’t we figure out the root causes of that?  In order to maintain overwhelming military superiority we let our education system fall behind much of the world.  Why do we allow guns to destroy much of our society?   Thousands die every years due to suicides with guns. Thousands die because of random violence with guns. Thousands die due to gun accidents. It just makes no sense to me that we continue to ignore simple solutions to this problem.

Why are we so fixated on solving the  world’s problems when we have so many of our own to look after?

But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know…..

If God Is Love… (Part1)

October 21, 2012

I am going to start a series of posts around quotes from some of the many books I have read. One of the favorites is the book “If God is Love” by Philip Gulley. Here is the quote for today:

When Jesus redefined kinship, he was challenging their exclusive circle by declaring that anyone in any place who did the will of God regardless of social standing or religious affiliation, was his brother or sister.  Kinship is not a matter of racial, religious, or cultural conformity. It was the by-product of a commitment of the will of God — to love and care for all. Continue Reading…

I am starting a new category here for some Sunday posts. As some of you know I have been blogging about living by the red letters, meaning the words of Jesus found in the Bible, for several years now. Since that blog, even though it has been running longer, does not get the readership of this one I thought I would bring a few of my favorite posts here for your thoughts.

***** Posted September 20, 1012 **********

Many of us Christians never seem to give up our childhood views of just who God is. We think of him as that white bearded guy up in heaven. True, we do add some things to this vision as we get older we see him as that guy who spends his day saying “You go to heaven; you go to hell”.  We often view Jesus in the same childhood comprehension. Jesus is that long-haired, brown-bearded guy who sits around all day playing with sheep and always has children gathered around him. Continue Reading…

The best God joke ever …

February 4, 2012

Source:  The best God joke ever – and its mine! | Stage | The Guardian.

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump.

I said, “Dont do it!”

He said, “Nobody loves me.”

I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”

He said, “A Christian.”

I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”

He said, “Protestant.”

I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”

He said, “Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”

I said, “Me, too!”Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”

I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

Sometimes the funniest things are those that have the most tragic consequences. I think this is one of those. We Christians have divided ourselves so much that if being a “Christian” still has any meaning it soon won’t.  Between the hijacking of the term “Evangelical Christian” by those with radical right political agendas and our constant separations we have pretty much done in the term.

For those of us who simply try to follow the words of Jesus Christ and try to basically ignore where so many current Christian establishments stray from it, what should we call ourselves?