Author: admin

Spiritual Quick-Check: DON’T IGNORE JESUS

       There is absolutely nothing        in what Jesus himself or his early followers taught        that suggests you can decide just to enjoy forgiveness        at Jesus’s expense        and have nothing more to do with him.        – Dallas Willard   Why would anyoneever IMAGINEthat such an insulting behavior toward Jesus would even be ok – let alone that it would gain one forgiveness and eternal life? Well, sad to say, it seems we’ve actually been TAUGHT to think of Jesus in that cheap, immoral way. False teachers, it seems. But Jesus is clearly worthy of a much morehonest, direct, personal, whole-hearted response....

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Freedom From Those Who Rule Us – Freedom to Not Always Fear Them

One of the great achievements of free society in a stable democracy is that many people, for much of the time, need not think about politics at all. We need some people, of course, to think about politics, and help us keep aware. But the great achievement has been that many Americans have not felt compelled to stay on top of it out of fear that “the authorities” are likely to blow the world up, or attack us directly on any random day. The president of a free country may dominate the news cycle many days – but he...

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Spiritual Quick-Check. IT TAKES SILENCE

God is the friend of silence … We need silence to be able to touch souls. – Mother Teresa   … because, I suppose, it calms US down. Wow. Even GOD likes it when we seriously calm down. It enables us to be comfortable with ourselves (or FORCES us to be!), so then we can be more calm and comfortable with others. Are you having trouble touching other souls beneficially? “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 It does not require long sessions of silence (like hours, or days) – though that might be helpful sometimes...

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The Moral Priorities of Jesus – What Does He Want From Us?

He said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ but do not do what I say?” Maybe he meant it. This short book (40 pages) is available as a free pdf, or as a paperback at (see the links below). It treats the following issues.  Here, each chapter title is followed by a representative quote from the chapter. Ch 1.  Jesus’ Love for God and Religion “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity” … “You do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with truth.” Ch 2. Jesus Inverted Common Moral Ideas...

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Spiritual Quick-Check. THE LORD IS NEAR

        “Let your gentleness be apparent to all;         the Lord is near.”         – Paul, Philippians 4.   “Gentleness,” OR patience, or kindness, or forbearance, or – we get the point 🙂 So is this cause and effect? BECAUSE God is near, we are gentle, kind, patient, etc? The cause, or reason, is mentioned after the effect. Near. Very very near. Jesus clearly believes that God, the Kingdom of God, is very very near. So does the apostle Paul. Like, maybe, looking over our shoulders to observe how we are behaving toward other people? Like, maybe, working all around us, all...

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New American Bad Bible – Not What Jesus Wants (Pt-2)

These sayings may have a Biblical sound to them. But they are not Biblical.   They set aside the teachings of Jesus, the apostles, and the Hebrew prophets, but unfortunately fit well with current neo-con (new Republicans’) or neo-lib (new Democrats’) American values. They were written by Eric Mader in the early 2000’s during the Bush years. This is list 2; you may also want to see list 1. The column on the right shows how some of the original sayings actually appear in the Bible. Please compare!   “The New American Bad Bible” Spirituality, God When you pray,...

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Spiritual Quick-Check. DO WHAT OTHERS WON’T

  “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” – Jerry Rice   If you want personal change to appear in your future, work on it in your personal present. Or, as has been often said, if you aim at nothing you are likely to hit it. This is one good reason to make a New Year’s Resolution or two – if you work on it, you change. That’s actually very good news! It’s a good reason to at least seriously consider one’s own life as it is now.     “Today...

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Hope, and Mourning in America under President Trump

A new era begins in America. We have reason to mourn, and reason to hope. Let’s do both. We’ll likely get the same old stuff, but much more blatant; and that’s not good. And there may well be some good things happening. That IS good. It’s already “more blatant,” making us all more realistic, and that’s good. But that’s not the hope I mean. Old St. Peter offers some good clear guidance – whether you are optimistic or pessimistic about Trump. “First Peter” was written to people under stress, under threat, or experiencing mistreatment by their governments and their...

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Spiritual Quick-Check. GIVING ATTENTION!

    “The first act of love is always the giving of attention.” – Dallas Willard     He was writing about our love for the Lord, in his book, The Spirit of the Disciplines. But it is a broadly applicable truth. Have trouble with love-relationships in life?  This may be part of the problem. Your spiritual life is bumpy and weak?  This may be part of the problem. No time to attend to God?  That leads to spiritual emptiness – at best. School – or work – not going well?  Is attentiveness an issue? St Paul wrote, “Love...

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New American Bad Bible – Not What Jesus Wants (Pt-1)

These sayings may have a Biblical sound to them. But they are not Biblical. Setting aside the teachings of Jesus, the apostles, and the Hebrew prophets, these revisions unfortunately fit well with current neo-con (new Republicans) or neo-lib (new Democrats) American values. They were written by Eric Mader in the early 2000’s during the Bush years. This is list 1; you may also want to see list 2.. The column on the right shows how some of the original sayings actually appear in the Bible. Please compare!       “The New American Bad Bible” Society; Relationships Why take...

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New Year’s Resolutions – The Work of Christmas Begins

The Work of Christmas Begins When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart. – by Howard Thurman (Thurman, a mentor of Martin Luther King Jr, was Chaplain at Boston University when the young King was doing his Ph.D. work...

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Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer – Good Values

This prayer is online in a number of places. It was read in our church a while back by a professor of livestock management. (Yes, there really is such a discipline, and it takes some brains to master it.) Cowboy poetry does give you a different perspective if you can just get into it for a minute or two – and some of that perspective is true and valuable. When this was read in church, in a very unromantic and unpretentious way as part of the advent candle-lighting, it was really quite a moving event. There are some quotes...

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Kingdom Manifesto – Sermon on the Mount Summarized

It might be a good project for each of us – to try to summarize the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7) in 209 words. Brian McLaren has done so in his The Secret Message of Jesus (chapter 15, “Kingdom Ethics”, p 136). Each of us would no doubt change the wording in some places, or the overall emphasis. For example “The Golden Rule” is quoted in full but “The Lord’s Prayer” isn’t even summarized. McLaren undertook a difficult project, and this is worth reading and thinking about a bit. Here it is:   Be poor in...

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War on Christmas? The Real Issue Is How CHRISTIANS Behave.

It’s about Christ – so it’s really a holiday (holy day) for any who love Christ. How could we expect those who do not love and follow Christ to be super sensitive to the religious, or spiritual meaning of the season? Why should we harass them about it? We should not! That’s not very welcoming, and the Gospel is about welcome. What really matters is how WE, ourselves, respond to these holidays. Or more to the point – what really matters is how WE are responding to Christ week in and week out throughout the year. What if someone...

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Is Trump a Christian? What Does it MEAN to Believe In Christ?

There was some excitement among certain Republican Christians when Dobson said Trump had become a “baby” Christian and should be cut some slack on that basis. Two observations: A novice at practicing the Christian faith is not someone we should automatically admire, and trust, and therefore surrender top leadership posts to. Paul says to beware of promoting novices. Well, of course. Democrats can win elections and do evil without pretending to be “born again” Christians – but Republicans pretty much have to profess Christian faith and in some way or other make good with the evangelical vote. So, for...

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Recent Most Popular Posts (late Nov 2016)

“Letter from Birmingham Jail” – Short Quotes from Martin Luther King’s 2nd Most Famous Literary Production. Samaritan Lives Matter – Jesus and Racism Kid’s Version of the Declaration of Independence “Turn the Other Cheek” Means “Resist Them Non-Violently” I’m Relieved Clinton Lost – But Trump is Still Dangerous Why Many Christians Do Not Vote Republican Veterans Day – Those Who Serve Democracy are Mostly Non-Military Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer – and some Good New Year’s Values I’m Ticked at Bernie but WOW – Good Response to the Election Hitler Defended Christian Morality and Family Values Was Jesus Violent? The Temple...

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Give Thanks Wisely – for All That is Good

It’s (almost) THANKSGIVING We appreciate food, and housing, clothes, and transportation. We prize friends. We are very grateful for family. We live by faith and fellowship. We feel – and express – thankfulness for many wonderful blessings. But there are some things we should not be thankful for! I expect we can each make a pretty impressive list. The confusing thing is that some believers think they will offend God if they are not thankful for EVERYthing.  I believe that is wrong. Should we really thank God for abuse and murder of women and children, and men? For cops...

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Samaritan Lives Matter – Jesus and Racism

Samaritans in Jesus’ day were both religiously and racially despised. The phrase “Samaritan lives matter” would have been very offensive to the Jewish culture in which Jesus was raised and in which he was a teacher and doer of good. But to Jesus, clearly Samaritan lives did matter. Today, to Jesus, clearly “Black lives matter,” and Hispanic, and immigrant, and Muslim, and atheist, and imprisoned, and gay, and African-American, and Native American, etc.  It is true and appropriate to say so.  We must emphasize the value in God’s eyes of excluded groups.Jesus is just willy nilly stepping on all...

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I’m Relieved Clinton Lost – Still, Trump Is Dangerous

I am no fan of Donald Trump. But I felt a strong sense of relief as more states turned red last Tuesday and it became obvious Hillary was going to lose. It surprised me – but not greatly.  But Trump is dangerous in several ways, to all of us. Hillary – the Clinton Cartel – is Dangerous So I’m glad they got pushed back hard.  Hillary was Deliberately stirring up tension with Russia It was unnecessary, based on fabricated concerns, and could easily and quickly have led to a major world-wide disaster. On board with the TPP If you...

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About PublicChristian

This blog was an active Christian Democrat site for a few years in the mid-oughts (around 2005). It seems to be coming back to life in late 2016.  I am still a Christian, but not a registered Democrat. The “Christian” part means I take the Bible seriously as a profound guide in matters spiritual and moral, with special concern for the teachings by and about Jesus of Nazareth. That implies reading it carefully and honestly, and responding to it honestly. And that includes self-criticism before, and often in place of, that which is much easier – the criticism of everyone else. So I try not to write what I am not personally, spiritually engaged with to some real extent. I was a registered Democrat from 1968 into Obama’s time. And still, much of the perspective here might be described as Christian Democrat, as long as we take “Democrat” to mean something more like FDR than like what we’ve been seeing lately. I am an old preacher’s kid from Nebraska, currently pastor of an American Baptist church. I have also been a high school and college teacher (history, philosophy, etc.), a dairyman, and a rural mail carrier, among other things. My cute smart wife and I have 6 kids, plus kids-in-law, in their 30’s and 40’s, including a severely handicapped daughter. We have a nice bouquet of grandkids scattered across...

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Wish I’d Said That!

The truth can only be spoken by someone who is already at home in it; not by someone who still lives in falsehood and reaches out from falsehood to truth just on occasion.~Ludwig WittgensteinTweet

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