Christ Asks Us to Choose His Way, Not Caesar’s.

. . . switch sides from Caesar’s way to Jesus’ way – before it is too late.* – Brian McLaren “Caesar’s way” stands for secular, temporal government or authority. The usage derives from Jesus’ saying, when asked about paying taxes: So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. (Mt 22:21) Jesus does not promote treason – even against the brutal tyranny of Rome. He does not in fact promote the idea of protesting against the government by refusing to pay taxes. But Jesus clearly draws a line between God’s interests and Caesar’s. It’s obvious to us that 2000 years ago Jesus’ way and Caesar’s way were quite opposed to each other. It’s funny how today some tend to assume that Jesus’ way just offers support of Caesar’s way – as long as the Caesar in question is American. Is that too blunt? It seems to me that being good Christians is often assumed to mean being good Americans first, at least as energetically as we are Christ-followers. Some folks even, unfortunately, think those are one and the same thing. “Caesar’s” powerful way is powerfully seductive, … Continue reading

Freedom – From Fear

No government can ever guarantee that you or I will have nothing to be afraid of. And as the American Founding Fathers well knew, no government, not even ours, can be trusted with freedom to do just as it wants. The Founders built “checks and balances” into the US Constitution for very good reasons. Political parties, political movements – your neighbors – even your friends and family – can harm you in a variety of ways. It might be accidental; sometimes it is deliberate. Most of us have experienced it at some level or other. There is no law we can pass, no person we can elect, no agreement we can make that will guarantee that any particular person or group will never turn against us or persecute us or hurt us. So what is a Christian to do in this unpredictable and sometimes very dangerous world? It is precisely this problem that prompted Jesus’ disciple Peter … Continue reading

Wear Your Diagnosis Lightly – It’s Not Really You

A lot of us have “been diagnosed” with specific personality or mental conditions. I don’t formally have such a diagnosis (I’ve not yet seen anyone qualified to do it for me); but I’m sure there are several people around who’d be glad to offer suggestions! The thing I worry about is the effects I have seen such diagnoses have on people – the self-defining, self-shaping label it provides. It does affect one’s self-perception, expectations of what they can probably do, or not do, and how they are likely to behave. It really does, in my experience. So it narrows a person’s view of themselves and their world – and thus clearly restricts their potential. … Continue reading

“With Malice Toward None” – A Necessary Standard!

In pretty much his last words to the American people, Abraham Lincoln began the wrap-up of his Second Inaugural Address with these famous, beautiful ideals: With malice toward none, with charity for all . . . And I think he really meant it. In a nation that was an ocean of anger and blaming and malice, he asked us to move forward without malice. “Malice: Intention to harm or deprive in an illegal or immoral way. Desire to take pleasure in another’s misfortune.” [Wiktionary] … Continue reading

The Two Most Obvious Facts of Life

Here’s my ex-temp ramble in response to the line “momentum succumbs to entropy” seen elsewhere . . . + and you can say entropy succumbs to momentum. – but you have to have an energy source for momentum. + well, the plants and animals find energy to bloom and bear seeds and run and climb; so can we – but they all die + and more come – but the energy-supply machine (the sun) is running down

The Prophet Who Loves His People in a Bad Time – Like Jeremiah

Here are two very important words of advice we are not allowed to follow: 1. Pick your parents very carefully. 2. Pick the century and year of your birth carefully. Jeremiah, often called “the Weeping Prophet,” perhaps did ok in picking his parents, but he picked a horrible time-frame in which to work! Below is a list I found of short descriptions of this prophet.* 1. He was at once gentle and tenacious, affectionate and inflexible. … Continue reading

Thoughts About the Future of Religious Right Extremism (w/ Update Nov 14)

I. Pessimistic Here’s a sad quote from a good Catholic philosopher, going from his own knowledge of history: In nearly every historical case we can think of, the bias of a group lasts the lifetime of the group… Truly moral communities hardly ever result from the reformation of a previously selfish community. They nearly always spring from prophetic leaders who gather members from among the disenfranchised in other communities. That is, the institutions of the religious right are unlikely to reform themselves, and are likely to continue losing people to more carefully Biblical fellowships. … Continue reading

And Now? Hard Times and Good News.

Bad News Warren Buffett, the widely respected Omaha multi-billionaire, used the phrase “Pearl Harbor” to describe the significance of our nation’s current economic crisis, a phrase he has never before used about the economy. Many other very reputable people feel the same way. “Pearl Harbor” was a very damaging air attack on our forces in Hawaii and it got us involved in World War II. It was a surprise, deadly, and very frightening It took a demanding and costly effort, but we did pull out of it. The sense of things now seems to be that again we are in for some rough years, … Continue reading

“Bring Us Back To A Unity of Love”

God, good beyond all that is good, fair beyond all that is fair, in you is calmness peace and concord. Heal the dissensions that divide us from one another and bring us back to a unity of love bearing some likeness to your divine nature. Amen – Dionysius of Alexandria, A.D. 264 This is from another … Continue reading

Economic Judgment Coming, or Repentance – or Both?

The prior post (“Twillight of the Gods – Greed and Money“) mentioned increasing economic distress throughout our nation. This is for real. I expect it will continue, though the extent to which it spreads and strengthens, and it’s impact on our international positions, are very much debatable questions. We could be facing major tragedies in our economic life. That means major tragedies for millions of individual Americans and their families. But we could also be moving into a time of repentance. … Continue reading