Tag Archives: Christian

nonviolence is a lifestyle

Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Jesus said that if we hate a person we have already committed murder in our hearts. There are far too many of us who need to ask for forgiveness for carrying murder in our hearts.

As Christians we are asked to love without limits, and to be bearers of grace and reconciliation in every situation. We need nonviolent spirits. We need the peace of Christ in our hearts.

truly offensive

A brief, yet powerful sermon we all need to heed. Having just returned from a trip that included both India and Nicaragua, this resonates with me more than ever. We all need to stop being so sensitive to personal affronts and far more sensitive to the real pain, greed, and injustice that fills the world.

a Christian response to terrorism

The Dalai Lama, long an advocate of peace and reconciliation among various faith traditions, recently declared that once a person or a group decides to indulge in violence they are no longer being true to their supposed beliefs. He pointed out that the Koran even states that once one commits bloodshed that person can no longer be called a follower of Allah.

Christians need to take a lesson from the Dalai Lama. In a time when so many are promoting divisiveness, here is one spiritual leader who continues to seek reconciliation. As followers of the Prince of Peace, we are called to be “ambassadors of peace and agents of reconciliation.”

There is no room in Christianity for hate speech, xenophobia, and divisive rhetoric. Faithfulness to Christ means we love and accept each other even as we have been loved and accepted. Violence, even in response to violence, is not part of the Gospel.

Faithfulness to Christ demands more. The faithful Christian response to terrorism is love. The faithful Christian response to terrorism is forgiveness. Anything less, as the Dalai Lama would say, is to be untrue to what we proclaim we believe.

for some reason

Vonnegut nails it. There are far too many who call ourselves Christians that still live with Old Testament values. As Christians, we have been set free from the law of retribution. We live in the grace of a crucified and resurrected Christ.

The four Gospels in the New Testament are our fullest accounts of the words and teachings of Jesus. Nowhere in those four Gospels can you find Jesus blessing anger, hatred, malice, revenge or even justice. Instead, He lifts up, both by word and example, the values of love, caring, compassion, forgiveness, nonviolence and living in peace.

It’s far easier to seek revenge, to retaliate and resort to violence in response to wrongs. But, that is not what Jesus taught. It’s not Christian.  As Vonnegut says, give me a break!

Vengeance, retribution and the need to return violence for violence are all born out of fear. Perfect love casts out fear. It’s just a shame more of us who claim to follow Jesus cannot live as He taught us. Our world would be a far better place.

it’s all about our priorities, isn’t it?

All one has to do to see what is important to a person is to look at their checkbook. We spend our money on what’s important to us, don’t we?

Our federal budget reflects the values of our nation. What is very clear is that the values reflected by our spending do no match up with the values of Christ. The way our government spends our money (and remember, the government does what we direct them to do), reflects the values of selfishness, greed and fear. And none of these are Christian values.

We can act as if we are disciples of Jesus Christ, but our checkbook says we talk better than we follow.

does motivation matter?

It is within my power to serve God, or not to serve Him. Serving Him I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving Him, I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good which was within my power to create. – Leo Tolstoy

Not all of us come from the faith perspective shared by Tolstoy. Statistical studies tell us that such a spiritually oriented viewpoint is no longer the worldview of the majority in our country.

While this is not exactly a surprise it is does provide a good reflection point. Having lived my entire adult life as a practicing Christian, I totally understand and appreciate Tolstoy’s comment. Yet, at the same time, I recognize that there are those who would argue that doing good has nothing to do with spirituality or a specific faith tradition.

I cannot separate my spirituality from my lifestyle. It’s who I am.

I live the way I do because of my understanding and my love of God. I try to serve those most in need out of a deep desire to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. I want what I do to reflect God’s love.

Yet, I totally get it that my way is not the only way. The important point for me is to live for others.

In the end, however, motivation doesn’t matter. Action does.

The power is within each of us to serve God, or not. The power is also within each of us to serve others. We all, every single one of us, have the power to help change the world into a better and more just place.

Regardless of our motivation, let’s live so that we do not deprive the world of the good within our power to create.