Tag Archives: Christians

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.

the low road

Listening to the current Republican presidential debates one can draw a frightening comparison to the early growth of Hilter’s Nazi Germany. The hatred, racism, bigotry and name-calling is ugly, divisive and wrong.

Such rhetoric appeals to the fear and baser instincts of the unintelligent and uneducated, but does not reflect the moral and spiritual foundation of our nation. No nation will be called great that demonstrates the values of greed, fear and zenophobia being so loudly proclaimed by the two remaining Republican candidates for the highest office in the land.

Turning a blind eye in the late 1930s led to the deaths of untold millions and a global war whose impact is still being felt. All of us need to open our eyes and see what is happening. We need to open our ears and truly listen to what is being said.

Then we need to do whatever is necessary to insure our nation doesn’t take the low road. It’s the road that leads straight to hell.

 

being a good person

The night before He allowed Himself to be crucified Jesus gave His followers a commandment that we should love one another even as he has first loved us. If Christians would be obedient to this command there would be no question about our goodness.

sacrificial giving for Lent

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Christians around the world observe Lent as a time of introspection, sacrifice and preparation for the coming of Holy Week and Easter.

Traditionally, it’s a time when Christians “sacrifice” by giving up something during this period. Fasting from favorite food or drink has always been high on the list, as has abstaining from enjoyable activities like books or movies.

But Lent can also be a season of service, as well. What if Christians “sacrificed” personal time and gave that time to working with the poor in their communities? What if Lent became a season of joyful giving of ourselves to those needing a friend or companionship? Why couldn’t Lent become a time when Christians daily shared the love of Christ with those most in need?

The season of Lent can be observed in a variety of ways. For me, however, there’s no better way to prepare myself for the observation of Christ’s sacrificial love than to practice that love with the poor, the hungry and those most in need.

seek and you will find

Embedded image permalink

Mother Teresa once said that true love doesn’t measure, it just gives without counting the cost. I totally agree with her. And what a perfect time of the year to accept and celebrate the incarnation of that love.

As we draw ever closer to the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, my prayer is that all of us, whatever our spiritual path may be, may come to the place where we find that true and perfect love that casts our fear. I pray that we go through that open that door which leads to peace and justice for all, and that we finally realize that we are all one gloriously disfunctional family.

the globalization of indifference

The following piece is an article by Christopher Hale. He is a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and is also the co-founder of Millennial. Ash Wednesday was last week, and marked the beginning of Lent.

Christians around the world mark the beginning of Lent with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. This ancient day and season has a surprising modern appeal. Priests and pastors often tell you that outside of Christmas, more people show up to church on Ash Wednesday than any other day of the year—including Easter. But this mystique isn’t reserved for Christians alone. The customs that surround the season have a quality to them that transcend religion.

Perhaps most notable is the act of fasting. While Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during the Lenten season, many people—religious or not—take up this increasingly popular discipline during the year.

But Pope Francis has asked us to reconsider the heart of this activity this Lenten season. According to Francis, fasting must never become superficial. He often quotes the early Christian mystic John Chrysostom who said: “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

But this isn’t to downplay the role of sacrifice during the Lenten season. Lent is a good time for penance and self-denial. But once again, Francis reminds us that these activities must truly enrich others: “I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.”

So, if we’re going to fast from anything this Lent, Francis suggests that even more than candy or alcohol, we fast from indifference towards others.

In his annual Lenten message, the pope writes, “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”

Describing this phenomenon he calls the globalization of indifference, Francis writes that “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.” He continues that, “We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”

But when we fast from this indifference, we can began to feast on love. In fact, Lent is the perfect time to learn how to love again. Jesus—the great protagonist of this holy season—certainly showed us the way. In him, God descends all the way down to bring everyone up. In his life and his ministry, no one is excluded.

“What are you giving up for Lent?” It’s a question a lot of people will get these next few days. If you want to change your body, perhaps alcohol and candy is the way to go. But if you want to change your heart, a harder fast is needed. This narrow road is gritty, but it isn’t sterile. It will make room in ourselves to experience a love that can make us whole and set us free.

Now that’s something worth fasting for.