Sunday, March 8, 2009

All You Need Is Love

Thank you for all of the thoughtful comments. I really appreciate you all giving my thoughts some pondering time. Now out of the comments I noticed and underlying theme. LOVE. And a great question was asked: What does it mean to love your neighbor? Now there is also a connecting questions which is how do we love God but I will assume that this question though complicated can be met with some fairly quick conclusions. Where as the former question seems to be the most fuzzy. So this is where I would like to go.

Jesus already defined who our neighbor is when he told the story of the good samaritan. Anyone we come in contact with is our neighbor. With that out of the way we move to the more difficult part. As a Christian, it is very easy to love my neighbor especially if that neighbor is my friend or another Christian. Though we are not perfect, Christians do an ok job of loving one another. But how do we love those neighbors that do not follow our beliefs. How should a Christian love a homosexual? How should a Democrat love a Republican? How should a pro-life supporter love a pro-choice supporter? These are the questions I am more interested in.

So how do we love those whom we disagree with? The first thing that comes to my mind is being right. We as Christians sometimes focus so much on the fact that we believe that we are RIGHT, that we forget that that is not the point. Besides some people don't believe that we are right and may need convincing. Now is the way to convince someone that they are wrong by holding up a sign that says "God Hates Fags"? To quote a John Mayer song, "Is there anyone who ever remembers changing their mind from the paint on a sign? Is there anyone who really recalls ever breaking rank at all for something someone yelled real loud one time?" I really think we miss the mark when we focus on being right. And when I truly think about being right I am not all that happy. Thinking of all the people that never knew God and have to suffer the consequences, what ever it looks like, does not make me happy but sad. So once we get past the need to be right I think that we can begin to move closer to love.

Now the more and more I think about this question of love, the more cloudy it gets. The way I love John is going to look very different from the way I love Jane. Every person is different and has different needs. What I do think it comes down to is having a sensitive heart. A heart that is not only sensitive to the needs of others, but also sensitive to the Holy Spirit. I really feel that if we try to truly become sensitive to the Holy Spirit, God will lead us in the correct direction. We should approach everyone and every situation with the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13. With patients, with kindness, with humility, with a short memory, with generosity, with a heart toward truth and with hope. In all circumstances and to all people, friend or foe, if we can strive in this direction I believe that we will go a long way and people will no longer see Christians as haters of sinners but lovers of people.

Now I feel like I only scratched the surface with this post. What are your thoughts and comments. Love is so big I don't want to stop here but feel that I have run out of brain capacity for the time being.

Grace and Peace

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ok Here We Go

So for my first post I am going to take it deep. I have been reading a series of books called A New Kind of Christian by Brian D. McLaren and they have been blowing my mind. Now I will not try to describe the content of these book because: 1) It would be too difficult, 2) If I tried I would do a horrible job and you would think I'm crazy and 3) I would rather Mr. McLaren do the job. But to quickly explain how I came to read these books might give an insight into why I have found these so helpful.

Over the past few years I have slowly become more and more frustrated with religion. Now those of you who know me, know that I am a Christian and have been for a while. It is not the message of Christ that has been frustrating me nor the way God has worked in this world over the ages.(Though sometimes it is quite confusing) It has been what "Christians" have been doing in the name of Christ that has frustrated me. Now I know that not every Christian falls into this category and I would rather not judge anyone for that is not my job but God's. I can only truly speak for myself and those who I have seen make the same mistakes that I have. So here has been my problem.

I as a Christian am supposed to live up to a higher standard. Not because I am better than anyone else or because I HAVE TO but because I have seen what Christ did for me on the cross and my only response is to change the way I live s that it mirrors Jesus. Now, This is something that I fail to do everyday. I forget or I get lazy and I don't live up to the standard that I know God would want from me. So why do I keep failing? Why do I, when I get around my friends who are Christians, make comments that I know are inappropriate just to get a laugh? Why when I am in a car all by myself I feel it is ok to call the guy that is driving crazy a hurtful name? The bigger question is: In seeing what Jesus did for me, why am I not desperately trying to be like Jesus? Now I don't mean the kind of desperate where I see my sin and turn to God for forgiveness, but the kind of desperate like when someone is playing in the ocean and they are hit by a huge wave and are thrown down deep and the person begins to panic and struggle for the surface to take a deep breath of life giving air. Thats the kind of desperate I am taking about.

Now I know I sound a little harsh. You might be thinking "But Casey you are only human. Only Jesus was that kind of perfect." I am not talking about being perfect and sinless. You wold be right in your statement that only Jesus was without sin. But why do I seem to forget what Jesus did for me so easily? Maybe I am only human and maybe that is the reason. Maybe I am just a prodigal son who needs to keep coming home.
But I feel deep down inside of me that there is something missing in my perspective that keeps me from the sense of desperation I seek. Now here is where the books come in.

In talking to one of my closest friends about this very subject he suggested that I read this series of books as a way to maybe get some perspective. The basis of the series is to look at the Postmodern church in comparison to the Modern Church. It is written in a fictional story about a pastor who is thinking about leaving ministry to become a school teacher and he seeks advice from one of his daughters teachers. There relationship turns from discussing how to become a teacher to why the pastor wants to leave the ministry. The ensuing story is very difficult for the pastor yet very fruitful as well. These books have really opened my eyes to how I have viewed Christianity in the past and I am beginning to feel that desperation that I have longed for for so long.

Now I do not take anything in this series of books as Biblical truth. But the questions that are raised make me think and keep me stretching closer and closer to Jesus. And I do believe that if we become spiritually stagnate in our beliefs, not trying to discuss difficult topics because they are uncomfortable or aren't politically correct, we become just like a puddle of sitting water that overtimes becomes void of the properties that bring life.

So with these thoughts in mind, my question to you is: why are we as modern American Christians, so quick to forget the work of Jesus and his two most important commands which are: love God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself? Please don't go for the easy answer but try to stretch yourself to dig a little bit deeper.

Your thoughts please.
Grace and Peace

Saturday, February 28, 2009

So Here We Go

So I am going to try this blog thing. I have thought about blogging for a while now and I figured the best way to see if I like it is to just try it. So here I go. My hopes for this blog is that it can become a place to for discussion about all sorts of topics from religion to politics to to interesting things that are happening in my life and in the world around me. So I am not really sure where this will go. All I can say is I will try to direct it in a direction and maybe God will take it where he wants it to go. Please feel free to comment and bring up questions for myself and others to ponder. More to come soon... I hope.