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Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

He said What? – Difficult teachings of Jesus

I honestly cannot remember who wrote this. It went into my files in 2000 so I am pretty sure I put there when I was a “fan” of Usenet. – Ninure da Hippie

He Said What?


Difficult Teachings of Jesus, Part 1

Jesus said some things that we forget, some things some of us don’t know, and some things that wesometimes wish we didn’t know. ; ) For the next couple of weeks, we are going to explore some of the least-well-known and least-popular sayings of Christ.

(Mat 6:14-15 NNAS) “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will
not forgive your transgressions.”

Sometimes I believe the national pastime of the U.S. is lawsuits. People sue over hot coffee spilled at McDonald’s. Even robbers sue the people they have robbed, for negligence! Televisionalk show advertisements promise titillating shows where people “get even” with those who scorned them. Forgiveness is not exactly in vogue. But Christ’s words are as valid for us in 1998 America as they were in the Middle East two centuries ago. We are not to hold grudges. We are not to seek revenge. We are not to nurture grievances. No, we are not to be doormats. But bitterness is not the answer. If someone hurts us, we need to try to work things out.

What is the alternative? To not be forgiven ourselves. The word is clear. If we don’t forgive others,
God won’t forgive us. When you think about it, that is kind-of startling, isn’t it. And Christ doesn’t say “forgive them IF they apologize.” He doesn’t say “forgive them” if they deserve it. (Who of usdo
deserve it?) He doesn’t say “forgive those who don’t do heinous things.” Nope, he says simply to
forgive. No conditions. Sometimes we think we don’t have to forgive someone unless they are sorry, but that is not the case. And remember, Christ died for us before we were sorry. He suffered on the cross for us before we repented. He forgave those who did not ask for it, he forgave those who didn’t think they had done anything to need forgiveness for. And so should we. It doesn’t mean condoning what people do wrong. It doesn’t mean not pretending not to be hurt, pretending that all is well when it’s not. That would be dishonest anyway. It simply means forgiving in our hearts, deciding to not hold something against someone. Not being forgiven by God — an awful thought, and a great incentive to work on forgiveness. Of course we should aim to do it for the purest motive, that of glorifying God and having a heart like His.

Forgiveness isn’t easy. We can’t do it on our own. We need God’s help. We can will it. We can do
our part, seek reconciliation and pray for the person(s). We can act forgivingly. If we do this, and pray for His help, God will honor that and help us. And the side-effect is peace. There is a little poem I am going to try to quote. If anyone has the exact wording please send it to me, thanks!

Someone told me to forgive,
To set the prisoner free.
I forgave those who had hurt me,
Only to find the freed prisoner……was me.

Gandhi and Christianity

Gandhi and Christianity

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most respected leaders of modern
history. A Hindu, Ghandi nevertheless admired Jesus and often quoted from the Sermon on the Mount. Once when the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Ghandi he asked him, “Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?”

Ghandi replied, “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Apparently Ghandi’s rejection of Christianity grew out of an incident that happened when he was a young man practising law in South Africa. He had become attracted to the Christian faith, had studied the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, and was seriously exploring becoming a Christian. And so he decided to attend a church service. As he came up the steps of the large church where he intended to go, a white South African elder of the church barred his way at the door. “Where do you think you’re going, kaffir?” the man asked Ghandi in a belligerent tone of voice.

Ghandi replied, “I’d like to attend worship here.”

The church elder snarled at him, “There’s no room for kaffirs in this church. Get out of here or I’ll have my assistants throw you down the steps.”

From that moment, Ghandi said, he decided to adopt what good he found in Christianity, but would never again consider becoming a Christian if it meant being part of the church.

If the only thing a non-Christian knows about being a Christian is how we treat him/her and the way we treat our neighbor are we making sure that they see Jesus?

Do not be afraid – Fr. Richard Rohr

Do Not Be Afraid – Fr. Richard Rohr

One could sum up the Bible as an interplay of fear and faith. In general, people are obsessed and overpowered by fears; we all fear whatever we cannot control. God is one of our primary fears because God is totally beyond us. The good news, the gospel, according to Luke, is that God has breached that fear and become one of us in Jesus. God says, in effect, “It’s okay. You don’t have to live in chattering fear of me.” God’s response to Mary’s quaver at the angel’s appearance is, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 1:30), and in fact, I am told it is the most common one-liner in the whole Bible, appearing maybe even 365 times!

In Luke’s infancy narrative, Mary is presented as prototypical and archetypal, because God comes into her life and announces the Divine Presence within her. Through the same Spirit, God comes into our lives and announces the Divine Presence within us. This annunciation event is a paradigm of every mystical experience. God offers the Godself to us even before we invite God to do so. There is no indication of previous holiness or heroics in Mary’s life. All we can do is be present and open. When Mary manifests this presence and openness, she becomes the Christ-bearer to the world. It is the same for us.

Adapted from The Good News According to Luke: Spiritual Reflections, p. 66

Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
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John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Essence Of Christianity

I have been/am blessed to Rowland personally, and he is one of those rare people who is always learning. growing, and asking the hard questions This is one of his sermons….

Essence Of Christianity

by Rowland Croucher

Human beings have three basic needs – for unconditional love, a sense of belonging, and a purpose for their lives.

When I was asked to speak about the essence of Christianity tonight, I thought of these these three basic human needs – they partly explain why I am a follower of Jesus.

1. ACCEPTANCE / UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

When a child is born – and, indeed, from conception – it receives messages, non-verbal and verbal, from the significant people in its life about its worth. A person’s mental and emotional health right through life is built on that foundation.

An article in the March 2002 issue of Scientific American, ‘The Neurobiology of Child Abuse’ (Dr Martin Teicher, Harvard Medical School) claims that child abuse actually affects the structure of the brain. Later in life this causes depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, post-traumatic stress disorders, etc. Dr. Teicher: ‘Early maltreatment damages the hippocampus by over-exposing it to stress hormones.’ Research into all this has produced the discipline of ‘biopsychiatry’. So all the little, caring inputs to a child’s life are incredibly important. When you cradle your child gently and sing ‘Rock-a-Bye Baby’ there are long-term effects of that gift of gentle love…

Is this negative process curable? To a considerable extent, yes (which is one reason why the motto of our little counseling practice is ‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood’!) And that’s one reason I believe in Jesus. He set us an example of relating to others in terms of their being made in the image of God. His habit, when meeting ‘damaged’ people, was to offer them unconditional love – love-before-worth, not love responding to worth.

The Pharisees and other religious leaders in Jesus’ day didn’t understand that. (They still don’t). Some of them taught, for example, that Gentiles were created to be fuel for the fires of hell. They defined people in terms of their sinfulness or their otherness. To the woman caught in the act of adultery Jesus first said ‘I do not condemn you’ before ‘Go and sin no more’. Even the early church fathers couldn’t understand that, which is why the story went missing from many manuscripts between 140 and 400 AD!

At a prayer breakfast in Melbourne a year or two ago I offered a little prayer which included the line: ‘Lord, thank you for loving us before we change, as we change, after we change, and whether we change or not.’ The emails I received were astonishing. Many experienced Christians had never thought of God like that!

2. BELONGING. A child – indeed anyone of any age – needs a sense of belonging to be a whole person. ‘This is my family, my people, my place.’ The institution Jesus founded to fulfil this need is the church. Which raises some interesting and disturbing questions. Why are there more people who claim to pray, and who believe in God, NOT in church these days than at any time in the church’s history?

That’s a complex question, and there are many articles on the John Mark Ministries website about it all. Briefly: our commercial culture has rejected the ‘one size fits all’ notion, and people’s expectations have become highly specialized in terms of ‘what they want’ from church. Also, I believe, there’s more ‘projection/transference’ going on as the tender fabric of our community life unravels. We want the church to be a substitute for the ‘family values’ we did not experience, and are usually disappointed.

‘The church is full of hypocrites’. Of course it is. That’s what the church is for. The people in it are not yet fully redeemed. They’re in process of becoming whole, and that includes those who get into leadership in the church.

But I believe that a follower of Jesus has to ask another question: What does he think of the church? He loves it. It’s his bride. He delights in the church. We humans have been infected with this ‘you get the love/esteem you deserve’ mentality. Jesus doesn’t think like that. He offers the church – even the church! – unconditional love. We live in families to experience love-in-the-midst-of- imperfection. Ditto the church. As we mature in the faith of Jesus we too will love the church, in spite of its imperfections.

If sociology has taught us anything, it has affirmed (in the words of Robert Merton) that ‘all institutions are inherently degenerative.’ The evil in institutions is greater than the sum of the evil of the individuals within them. Institutions organize themselves to organize the behaviour and beliefs of the humans. So the church-as-institution, for example, offers us creeds to regulate our beliefs and constitutions to regulate our behaviour. Part of it is explained in the notion of ‘the routinization of charisma’: where prophets bring us life, the commissars step in after a generation or two to regulate everything!

Jesus comes into this fallen world of institutions and invites us to be realistic and penitent. Realistic about the effects of our sinning when we relate to institutions, and penitent about our lovelessness in not handling the imperfections of people as individuals and in groups as well as Jesus did. But there’s hope! If we allow the spirit of Jesus to rule our hearts and motivations, we can change and grow and become whole.

3. COMMITMENT.

Humans need a cause to live – and die – for. The best cause I know is to be committed to doing in our world what Jesus did in his. A summary can be found in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 – pursuing justice, loving God, practising compassion, and encouraging faith. Justice is relating to others as being made in the image of God (rather than primarily as sinners, in the image of the devil). It is the urgent task of followers of Jesus to resist evil and the abuse of power (as when, for example, Jesus ‘cleansed the temple’ of those who ‘ripped off’ pilgrims).

Justice deals with the causes of pain; compassion with the symptoms of pain. Compassion asks ‘What kind of resource can I be for you in your need?’ Faith helps us believe that the world and our lives have meaning. And love for God is the spiritual dynamic/energy which fuels the process of becoming more like Jesus.

The ‘essence of Christianity’ hasn’t got much to do with creeds and constitutions and liturgies and religious formulas for this-and- that. It’s all about turning from whatever in our lives impedes our becoming whole (the traditional words are ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’) committing our lives to Jesus, following him in a sad and disintegrating world, belonging to a community-of-faith which can strengthen those commitments, and, perhaps above all, ‘accepting our acceptance’.

Shalom! Rowland Croucher http://www.pastornet.net.au/jmm

It’s the sick who need a doctor (via The Gadsden Times)

It’s the sick who need a doctor (via The Gadsden Times)

Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 at 7:12 p.m.
(Shared on this Hippie’s blog, 2013)

The Pharisees and teachers of the law prided themselves on being God’s chosen nation and on their strict adherence to the Law of Moses. Most of them were extremely critical of the sins of others, but saw themselves…

(more…)

Even Jesus didn’t know…

One Sunday morning, an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn-out old hat and an equally worn, dog-eared Bible.

The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and fine jewelry. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled by his appearance and did not attempt to hide it.

As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. “Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship in church.” The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.

The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored. The preacher approached the cowboy and said, “I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church.”

“I did,” replied the old cowboy.

“And what was his reply?” asked the preacher.

“Well, sir, God told me that He didn’t have a clue what I should wear, that He’d never been in this church.”

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Romans 13:9</i>

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary — the evil it does is permanent.
– Mahatma Gandhi

In many parts of the world the people are searching for a solution which would link the two basic values: peace and justice. The two are like bread and salt for mankind.
– Lech Walesa
from his Nobel Lecture

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“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”

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Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Meeting God – a story

This is one of my favorite stories…

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of Root Beer and he started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie.

He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer.

Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy? “He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? God’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked,” Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” However, before his son responded, he added,” You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

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The cynic and the optimist both think they are observing reality.
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People often say with pride, “I’m not interested in politics.” They might as well say, “I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future, or any future.”
    — Martha Gellhorn, writer/journalist   (1908-1998)

Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

‘God does not share his love between all of his creatures; He gives *all* of his love to *each* of His creatures!’ (Hugh of St. Victor).

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FAIR USE NOTICE:

This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc.

This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

This material is distributed without profit

“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”


Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

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