Take up the True Cross

Jesus and the cross

The good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one. Spock

Christians are called to sacrifice. Without the Sacrifice of Jesus there is no Christianity. Without sacrifice there is no Christianity.

Jesus sacrificed all for others. Would you do that? Would you die for someone you hated? For a Muslim terrorist? According to most theologies, that is exactly what Jesus did. Well of course Jesus didn’t hate them but he did die for them and he calls you to do the same. 1) To love them and 2) to be willing to die for them.

Jesus calls us to Love our enemies. Democrats, Muslims, homosexuals, the liberal media environmentalists, believers in evolution, or anyone else you disagree with.

Jesus calls us to give out of our abundance. Mark 12:44 but all that is talked in church is make sure you follow the tithing rules. No Jesus wants more.

Jesus tells us to go beyond reasonable. Jesus says when you are made to go one mile, go two. When you are asked to give you robe, give two. When you are asked to bake a cake make two, when you are asked to serve someone you don’t like serve them twice as well. Matthew 5:41

Jesus says that we are to forgive. That means you have to sacrifice your pride and learn that you are no better than anyone else.

Jesus says do not be selfish. Yet most of us have the latest Cell phones several TV’s, the latest fashions, computers, toys etc.. etc… while people are starving, going without medicine and dying when we could be helping them instead of passing them by. In fact we often throw stones at them saying they are lazy, or need to get a job or that they are just faking it or using the system. Excuses we give to say we don’t have to help. Shame on us!!

Jesus says that he came for the sinners, not for the righteous and yet on average 97% of a churches income is spent on the people in the church. We are not here for the people in the church we are here for those outside the church. How did we get this messed up? We are not to be taking care of our buildings for the sake of drawing people in. We are supposed to be out in the world for the sake of drawing them. No cool music program is going to turn people to God but our sacrifice for them will.

Jesus said “Do not judge” and yet we continue to do that. Paul says “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 and yet we do. We constantly belittle others to make us better. Look at their sins I don’t do that. That’s kind of what Paul was saying in Romans 1-3 First he lists the sins the church people were complaining about in others, then (chap 2) he lists the sins committed by the church people then in chapter 3 he says “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” In other words, you are no different than someone else just because your sin is different than that of people you don’t like. So shut up because “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24

When Jesus says “Take up your cross and follow me” he means your life is over. And it has just begun, because when you truly take up the cross and sacrifice for your fellow man you have truly found Jesus.

In the view of Jesus, The good of the many is better than the good of you.

Church, let’s start on this Easter to be real followers of Christ.

More of the Tea Party Gospel

  • political-cartoons-tea-party

‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men’.”

Matthew 15:8-9

The following are some verses changed for you so that the Tea Party and Right winged Christian Republicans can here what they are saying with their speech and actions.

  • For I was a homosexual and you would not serve me, I was homeless and you told me to go get a job, I was different and you made racist remarks,  I was disabled and you called me lazy, I was sick and you and you fought against healthcare, I was in prison and you sentenced me to death. I was depressed and you called me sinful. “Then the right will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you as a homosexual, homeless, different, disabled, sick in prison or depressed?’“The King will reply, ‘truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:35-40
  • For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor if they are a white, straight, republican whose family was born in God’s country (America) unless you are Ted Cruz then we’ll over look that.” Galatians 5:14
  • For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall close your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ Deuteronomy 15:11
  • Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Devil, and God will repay him for his evil deeds.  Proverbs 19:17
  • For real christians will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. 2 Timothy 3 2-4
  • And he died for some, that those who live might live for themselves but not for Christ who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:15
  • Do everything from rivalry or conceit, but in false humility count others much less significant than yourselves. Let each of you look only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
  • Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: Homosexuality! That’s it. I didn’t like what the actual verses said, so I removed them, when I saw it. Ezekiel 16: 49-50
  • Above all, our rules and laws keep us loving one another earnestly, since laws covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
  • Do not give to the one who begs from you, and refuse the one who would borrow from you. Matthew 5:42

https://hadespotos.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/the-tea-party-gospel/

Crazy Life, Crazy Love

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People say I’m crazy doing what I’m doing,
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin,
When I say that I’m o.k. they look at me kind of strange,
Surely you’re not happy now you no longer play the game,

John Lennon

 

Nope, I no longer play the game. I don’t want to play the game. The rules suck and I want no part of it. If I could overturn some tables I would. I’m not crazy; I’m just not going to follow traditions to make everyone happy. Just like someone I admire and most of you do to.

Mark 3:21 and 22 When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him home with them. “He’s out of his mind,” they said. But the teachers of religious law who had arrived from Jerusalem said, “He’s possessed by Satan, the prince of demons. That’s where he gets the power to cast out demons.”

These verses make me think about what some family and many religious people think of me. That I’m crazy or out of my mind that I have changed my beliefs from what I grew up with. According to Mark, I’m in good company. Even the family of Jesus thought that he was a lunatic and we follow what he taught 2000 years later. Now that’s crazy! Those that knew the law (their holy words) thought he was possessed and yet now the words of Jesus are the holy words. Maybe that is crazier!   Guess the religious know it alls didn’t quite know it all.

I think often it is a lot of misunderstanding. I’m misunderstood because my family lives so far away and don’t know me like they think they do. They see through a cloudy window filled with visions of what they remember me as. But that window has been fading for 20 years.

You see today, all I want is to stand up for the helpless, hurting, oppressed, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, help the homeless, clothe the naked, help the prisoner etc.. What I got from religious people is “they are sinning”,” they want to be like that”, “they live in a scary part of town”,” and they are the wrong color”, etc.. etc… I guess my question to them would be “what is Christianity?”

Is it a set of beliefs and like thinking and looking people or is it how we treat one another? When I look at Jesus and his teachings, he doesn’t discriminate against the Samaritans. Those people who married the wrong person and worship at that other place of worship is basically how they were seen in Jesus’ day. They were hated much like an illegal alien who was homosexual would be hated by religious people today. Samaritans were not welcomed in the homeland and they loved the wrong person.

But I want to be like Jesus, so I welcome these people. I make them know that Jesus is for them and that they are loved. Is that crazy or what? I bet that is what the Samaritan woman at the well thought. Crazy that someone like him actually talks to me. That just doesn’t happen. The woman caught in adultery probably thought,” thank God, someone actually cares.”

A few verses after this Jesus asks, Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he looked at those around him and said, “These are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (33-35) So get this. The real Christian family is the ones who follow God’s will of loving, self sacrifice, acceptance, kindness etc… are the real family members. They are the ones the religious leaders and those that follow the religious leaders think are crazy.

I like this quote by R.C.Sproul . He said “Was Luther crazy? Perhaps. But if he was, our prayer is that God would send to this earth an epidemic of such insanity.”  Like Jesus and like many reformers Luther had to be different (crazy) to change the world.

So let’s get crazy and make a difference. Drop traditions, drop the my way or the hellway, drop your stones and learn to accept and love people unconditionally as Jesus did. Let’s go CRAZY!

Post Traumatic Church Disorder

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When I told you I was strong, and would not let someone break me, I didn’t mean it as a challenge…
Kat Church

I had never heard of Post Traumatic Church Disorder until recently, although I had often described my feelings about church as a kind of post traumatic stress disorder. I have since read several articles on the subject. Mostly they are from people who have gone through it or are continuing to go through it.

I am one of those people who are going through it. It was about a year ago that I told the church board that I was resigning my position as youth and children’s pastor. I simply told them that I needed a break, though I did not go into details about why. My wife and I simply wanted to walk away and not leave hurt feelings behind, but somehow that did not happen.

That last day I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I wanted to find freedom from religion. I wanted to begin to heal, but I wanted nothing to do with church. I still loved God, but could care less if I stepped into a church building ever again. Some people thought I lost my faith. In a sense they were right. I did lose my faith in the church, but never in God and not in all of God’s followers.

I still struggle with church. I want to be involved with people who reach out to others, yet I expect them all to hurt me. I long for a church that is deeply loving, but I expect that to be on the surface only. Whenever something good happens, I expect something bad to happen. At times I’m even afraid to share what I think about a subject because I’m afraid of getting shot down, simply because I don’t agree with the majority perspective.

I also thought that I’d be safe being myself on facebook, but I was wrong there. “Christians” (and I use that word loosely here) like those at the churches I’d been at seemed to flock to some things I’d post just to make sure I knew I was going to hell simply because I didn’t still believe exactly like they did.

Seldom, whether on facebook or at church do these types of Christians use love, instead they choose to condemn something or someone. Sad that they can’t see how UnChristlike that is and how it hurts so many people. But of course those people who are hurt like me are the problem. We have lost our faith (don’t believe the exact same as they do), we caused the problem (even though in our case we didn’t cause people to ignore us in a time of need), we are the mean ones (because we think people should be nice), we are the ones that won’t listen (because we think it’s OK to disagree or have another view).

I don’t know what it will take for these types of “Christians” to realize what they do, but I can’t help them. All I can do is take care of myself.

Recovery from hurt takes a long time. Especially when it comes from those that you care about and expect more out of. I guess I expected too much out of the church and those that claim to follow Christ. I wonder if I should lower my expectations, but I don’t think so, instead I need to be the Christ I want the world to see. The real Christ. The one of love and acceptance that he was and is and will always be. The only problem with that is that Jesus wasn’t accepted by the religious people and if I’m like him then they will simply continue to attack me.

Sometimes I wonder if he was actually happy to be nailed to the cross. Maybe that was easier than putting up with the religious “do it only our way” people of his day. That is the same type of people that “crucify” people today.

Someday I’ll be beyond these hurts, but it will take a while. So be patient as I try learning to trust again.

 

For those dealing with PTCD there are groups on Facebook designed to help you.  Just type in Post traumatic church disorder and you should find it.  Hope you can heal and heal soon.

 

Here are some articles on Post traumatic Church disorder. Google it and you’ll find a lot more, Maybe it’s becoming an epidemic.
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/14/my-take-5-ways-to-survive-post-traumatic-church-syndrome/
http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/christian-trends/is-post-traumatic-church-syndrome-real.html
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2014/03/its-called-post-traumatic-church-syndrome-and-yes-its-real/

Different

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In the past week I’ve heard a couple stories about kids being different. One student was asked to not bring his My Little Pony things to school because he was being bullied so much. Another student tried to commit suicide because he was bullied for liking My Little Pony. Both situations are sad. No one should be pushed to trying to commit suicide for being themselves. A school should be a safe place and not punish a child for being bullied, but should discipline those who bully.

I work with special needs kids that are often looked at funny because they are not normal. You can see it in the eyes of people around them. Not all, but enough people still don’t get it that they can’t help rocking or making sounds that are different than you and me or what we call the general public.

This week, one of my students painted my fingernails. My left hand red and the right yellow. This is not the first time I’ve had my nails painted and probably not the last. I don’t see a big deal with painted fingernails on a guy, especially when the student gets so much fun out of doing it. Yes, I do get funny looks from some people, mostly guys, but some people think it’s great. They even go on with stories of when they painted another person’s fingernails.

Still it is not accepted as the norm or even OK by some. But why is it looked down on? Is it because it’s not “manly”? Probably that is the reason. Men have to be a certain way and women have to be a certain way. Society puts us all in a box and if you want to be out of the box, you are bullied until you come back to your box.

I’m not one for boxes. I have never been that way. Secretly and quietly I’ve always pushed against the norm. I like to cook and I cry at movies. My wife doesn’t do either. I have worn more make up in my life than my wife has (since the only time she wore it was for our wedding). I wore a dress at my bachelor party. Is it that I have no pride or that I just like being me? It’s the latter.

Yes, I get made fun of sometimes and that’s too bad. People should learn to encourage instead of criticize. What would this world be if we could learn to accept differences instead of bullying those who are different? What if everyone on your favorite football team was six foot 4 and 300 lbs? Not too many wide receivers there. No cornerbacks either. In sports we want everyone to be different so that they can fulfill the different positions. In fact, it is those with extra special “different” skills that we marvel at. The coaches that think out of the box are the hall of fame coaches.

In music and business we love those who are innovators. If we didn’t have people who were and are innovators we’d still be walking everywhere and having our own big farms so we could live. We love it when they can do things for us, but when we don’t think it helps us, we criticize.

The more that we encourage different ways of thinking and being, the more chance we have of creating greater scientists than Einstein or musicians than Beethoven or leaders than Gandhi. But most of all we will create people that love themselves and love others, so that we can create a better world and neighborhoods. Imagine towns where people care about their neighbors no matter what their differences are. We could cut down on a lot of unneeded suicides and bullying and make this world a better place – one encouraging moment at a time.

So if nothing else, I hope that you will allow yourself to be a little different and that you will accept others who are different.

Feeling Trashed

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Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?

Confucius

It’s been about four years since one family member stopped talking to my wife and me.  At that point we asked what we did wrong and we were told that we knew.  Umm, NO WE DID NOT!  Sigh.  That’s why we were asking.  Of course that really seemed to be a way to say “I’m not talking about what the problem really was”.  I send them friend requests, birthday greeting etc… but without response.  I am still hoping they will respond someday.  Once their entire family came to the town where I live and everyone but that person came to see me.  This made me feel like trash.

Recently another family member got ticked off at us when we came out of the closet in support of gay rights.  Never did any family member ask us why.  In fact this is really the only member that talked to us about it and all they did was quote Leviticus 18:22 and say “it’s a sin.”  When I tried to explain my thoughts and what the Bible said through the Hebrew, Greek and its original time period, I was told that I didn’t listen.  (Sigh).  And now we have been cut out and tossed aside by yet another.

This past week a family came to my school.  I work with special needs kids.  The students we have are the students that the general school districts can’t deal with.  This family has had two children in our program.  The mother is in her 40’s, dying and now in a wheel chair as this disease slowly takes her away.  When the mom and dad came into the school she motioned to me and slowly asked me to go get her son and do it quietly.  So I went to his room and got him without telling the teacher.  The reason was that they had roses to give to the teacher and they wanted it to be a surprise.  That’s the kind of family they are.  They truly love everyone.  They have support from both sides of the family as they take care of their farm, two kids, and everything else that goes along with what they are going through.

I wish my family was more like that.  I wish my family took family more serious.  I wish they cared about me.  They aren’t the only ones but they are the ones that most affect me. I don’t know what it will take for my family to get anywhere near this point.  I’m guessing it will never happen.  My grandmother spent 50 years not talking to her daughter because my aunt married the wrong guy.  By the way my uncle and my aunt were married for 50 years.  Guess grandma didn’t know everything.

That’s the thing.  Others don’t know how you or I feel or why you or I do things if they don’t take time to ask and REALLY listen.  Instead they have just thrown us into the trash.  They make us feel totally that we are worthless to them and they don’t seem to care one iota.  The second sibling above even posted on my facebook page how wonderful it was to be able to block people from his life.  This bragging (at least it came across as bragging) came shortly after blocking my wife and right before unfriending me. I can find no other reason for writing that other than they wanted to hurt me. They did what they wanted.  That hurt me a lot!  But when I confronted them, they again said they did nothing wrong.  And again I felt like I was tossed out like all the other refuse they had tossed to the trash.

Why is it that people don’t talk out their problems?  Why don’t people care about family?  Why do people just want to hurt others?  I will probably never know.  I really doubt that either of them will ever tell me.  I doubt I’ll ever hear from them again except at funerals.  Then again I doubt they’ll speak to me then.  Wonder if they will even acknowledge my presence?  Would they come to my funeral?  Would they even care?  I’m sure they wouldn’t come to my wife’s funeral.  They made it plain with their actions as well as words that they both hate her.  Again I have absolutely no idea why they would hate such a loving person.  And if they don’t come that’s ok.  I’d only want people who actually care to come, but maybe something like that will have to happen to wake them up.  I hope not.

Hopefully those that read this aren’t people tossed in the trash.  If so, remember you are not alone.  Maybe we can lean on one another.

If you’re one that has tossed others in the trash, please figure out what is really important.  And it’s not whatever grudge you’re holding on to.  What matters is family and friends.  It’s love.  It’s caring, kindness, listening and spending time with people.  Hopefully you’ll understand that before it’s too late.

“Strength of character means the ability to overcome resentment against others, to hide hurt feelings, and to forgive quickly.”  Lawrence G. Lovasik

Let Him Die

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“Animals don’t hate, and we’re supposed to be better than them.”
Elvis Presley

Think of that person that you just can’t get along with.  Jesus says love them. Pray for those that actually persecute you.

Why do people wish evil on others?  “I hope they die!”  I know as kids we threw that around, but what is it that keeps that mentality in adults? “I hope they die!”  What if they do?  Wouldn’t you be sad?  Could it be possible that you’d actually be glad?  That would sicken me if that were true.  What would it benefit you if that person you think is so bad died?  But I don’t really think that’s the question.

The question may be “when did your heart die?”  When did a person’s life become so unneeded, so worthless that it would be OK to wish them gone?  If you are one that is wishing someone dead it may just be your heart that needs the help and not them.

This has come to mind a lot recently with several people that I know saying something like that about our President.  Why the hate? Most likely you don’t even know him personally.  He didn’t call you names or stab you in the back by telling your secrets.   He simply made decisions that you didn’t like. Then most likely you listen to your chosen biased media feeding into what you want to believe (and all media is biased) and you still wish him dead?!

There isn’t a president yet that has pleased the entire nation.  No one can and no one will.    I’m guessing you’d do no better.  Not because you have worse ideas but because it’s impossible to please everyone.  Even our Greatest presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, TR etc… had tons of opposition.  Who knows, maybe in 30 years Obama will be among them.  We don’t know what his decisions will bring in time.   Heck, Truman had one of the lowest approval ratings when he left office and he’s considered close to the top ten!

I could sit here and bad mouth Obama about his presidency.  I could have also openly bad mouthed every president since I’ve been alive.  Born during the LBJ presidency until today there would be plenty of impeachable offenses that we could name for each president, but wishing them harm or death?  I’m still not getting it.

When I was growing up we had respect for the office of the presidency.  I still do and often get attacked for asking people to relax on Obama.   We should start thinking about the good things our presidents do.   I liked Carter.  Still do.  Maybe not as far as his presidency but as a humanitarian he is someone to look up to.  Reagan was funny and brought our country together.  Bush H.W. didn’t like broccoli!  Clinton did well on the economy, Bush W. made me laugh, and I like the idea of the affordable care act.  If you screw up trying to help the poor, it’s better than doing nothing for them.   I applaud Obama for that effort.

If you truly look hard enough you can find good in people.  There is no reason to be mean or say hateful things.  No reason to speak about that guy on the corner asking for a hand out. Maybe he’s been laid off for a while?  Kicked out of his home?  Maybe they are a vet with PTSD that can’t deal with civilian life?   Maybe he really needs help.  No reason to belittle that woman in the grocery store with the screaming kids.  Maybe the kids are sick or she is just stressed out trying to make it on her own.  Instead pray for her.  What about that speeding driver?  Are they on their way to the hospital?  Did an emergency call come from home?

St. Paul says in Philippians 4:8 “Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.”  When you think on these things the hate for your fellow man will start going away.  It is simply letting go of the anger that is inside you.  Not that I’m perfect because I’m writing this article because things tick me off, but I don’t wish hate or pain on those that say things I disagree with.  I wish them peace.  I feel sad for them that they can’t get over their anger.

James 1:20 says for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  When we are filled with anger we are unable to truly love the way that God wants us to.  We can’t love our fellow man or woman.  We can’t even love ourselves.

Someday I hope that those without love will be able to find it.  Maybe the only way that they can find it is if they see it in us.  Let those of us who are able to love, let it shine and maybe we can overcome the hate of others.

I leave you with the words of another hated black man that I love.  MLK JR.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Live out the Dream!