Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Servant of All.


In what way was Jesus a servant?

Did he do the dishes?  No.
Did he cook the meals?  No.
Did he clean the house or do the washing?  No.
Did he visit the sick or the elderly?  No.

He did feed the hungry.  Yes.
He gave sight to the blind.  Yes.
He did make sick people whole.  Yes.

But this is not what is traditionally thought of as service - being a servant.

So in what way was Jesus the servant of all?

My understanding of this is that Jesus gave to those who sought him out exactly what they needed.
He was in the unique position of knowing what God was like.
And he was able to communicate this to his followers.
(Although they constantly misinterpreted him.)

He was able to see how God thought we should act.
And he communicated this through parables.

But he was not a servant in the sense that he did people's chores for them.
He did not work in the worldly sense.

He was able to see.
And the Father answered his prayers.


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Friday, 29 August 2014

The Glass Curtain.


The barrier between the First World and the rest of the world can be likened to a Glass Curtain.

You can see into the First World via the mass-media and the internet but you cannot enter.

This glass curtain contains a disproportionate share of the world's resources.  And it is supported by superior military strength.

Those in the towering glass skyscrapers rule the world.

But as we enter the Age of Aquarius this will begin to change.

Aquarius is about equality.
So the gap between the First World and the rest of the world will begin to close.  We have already seen this with China and India.

We can only hope that this will take place gradually so that we in the First World can adjust to less.

But if we dig in our heels and refuse to budge then change will come in sudden, shattering blows.

So be prepared to live with less.

You may even find that less is more.

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Good Fairy.


Deep in the Enchanted Forest

lived the good fairy.

His name was Beneficent

and he lived in a little cottage

surrounded by flowers.

He spent his day

watering the flowers

and praying for

the inhabitants of

the City.

Many of the city-dwellers

thought he was a demon

and they warned their children

to stay away from him.

But others thought he was

an angel who was close to God

and they told their children

to pray in his name.

But Beneficent was not moved

by the opinions of others.

He prayed for the good

and the evil alike.

For Beneficent knew

that God does not judge us

He wishes the best for us

and always helps

no matter what.

So Beneficent's prayers

were often answered

and he lived in a blessed state of grace.


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Monday, 25 August 2014

Expectations.


In a world that is increasingly secular and atheist what idea of God is relevant?

Firstly it must be intelligible.
It must satisfy our intellect.

Secondly it must answer the questions.
The big questions about life, the universe, and everything.

Thirdly it must be real.
It must be something that we can experience.

We are trained from childhood to use our intellect.
We are encouraged to ask questions.

But purely scientific thinking leaves a gaping hole in our lives.

This hole is filled by God.

And what does God expect of us?

To treat those around us with loving kindness and mercy, to be honest and truthful, to act with justice, and to show gratitude and respect.

But most of all to love.

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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Bedrock.


I had a dream in which I was in a huge cathedral full of worshipers of all kinds.

In the center of this cathedral was an excavation which was digging down into the rock below the floor.

On these rocks were beautiful carvings which seemed to me to be very old even though they were being carved as I watched.

My interpretation of this dream is that the ideas and dreams of Progressive Christianity are older than the doctrines of the Church as we know it.

The basic idea which all Progressive Christians seem to agree on is that the bedrock of Jesus teaching is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and to love your neighbor as yourself.

So the edifice of Progressive Christianity is being established with a cornerstone of Love.

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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Free.


In his book God is not a Christian Desmond Tutu says that once a people has decided that they will become free, then nothing, absolutely nothing, in the world will stop them.

Gay people have decided that they will be free.

And nothing, not any setback, not any hateful placard, not any adverse court decision, not any hell-fire preacher will stop them.

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Contradictions.


When confronted with a contradiction like the one over gays and lesbians in the Church - i.e. passages in the Bible which seem harsh and violent conflicting with our understanding of Jesus' sympathy and forgiveness - we would do well to pray.

Having prayed every day for 25 years since the beginning of the AIDS crisis I now realize that it is not God that is rejecting us but His servants - those who have hardened their hearts out of fear.

I  have come to believe that where there is a conflict between the law and the heart preference must be given to the heart.

Ask yourself, "What does my heart say?"

God is not a rule maker who rewards and punishes us according to our behavior.

God is Love.

And he dwells in our hearts.

So we have triumphed when our love is greater than our fear.

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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Jesus' Tears.


When the AIDS crisis first struck the gay community my first reaction was to pray.

I thought that what was needed was the care and sympathy of Jesus.

But his Church had hardened their hearts against us, perhaps out of fear, and most Christians abandoned us.

There was, and still is, however, an element within the Church of Jesus who began to question the legalistic Phariseeism into which the Church had fallen.

The Jesus Seminar and John Shelby Spong laid the foundations of what is now Progressive Christianity.
It is notable that almost 100% of Progressive Christians support acceptance of gays and lesbians in Jesus' Church.

I continue to pray in the hope that the tears of Jesus will trickle down and melt the hearts of his followers until gays and lesbians are free of the persecution and violence that his Church has inspired.

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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Young Gays.


My greatest concern is for young gays who only ever hear negative messages from the Church.

Whenever the issue of gay rights comes up the media set up a conflict between gays on the one hand and Christians on the other.

This means that the only message that young gays hear from the Church is condemnation and damnation.

There are Churches which accept gays and affirm their rights, but unfortunately they will not speak up in the public domain.
They are never invited to air their views in the media.

I have also written several letters to the gay press outlining my message of acceptance and love from God, but none of the publications involved would publish them.

It is as if they don't want them to know.

So to any young gays who may read this post - know that you are loved by God and accepted as you are, and that you will enter into heaven when you die.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Brown and Pink.


After reading Desmond Tutu's book God is not a Christian, in which he talks about black theology, I came to the conclusion that, rather than talking about black people and white people, it was preferable to use the reference which was given to me by an Indian yogi: that we are brown and pink.

By doing this we sidestep the negative associations with black and white which have so plagued race relations in our world.

In fact people come in a variety of colors: brown, pink, yellow, red.....
Some brown people are so dark they are almost blue.

I see this as a good thing.

Each color of this spectrum has equal value.

By calling ourselves pink instead of white we circumvent the logic of white supremacy.

Much better to be equal.

And say that we are brown and pink.

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Inhumanity.


What is the cause of man's inhumanity to man?

Rather than ascribing this to some kind of evil, I believe that the cause is fear.

This may not be immediately apparent, but the ultimate motive of violence and oppression is fear.

This is the kind of fear which hides behind a mask of toughness and strength.

It is the fear of being dominated which makes people dominate others.

It is the fear of violence which makes people violent.

It is the fear of being humiliated which makes people humiliate others.

This is the law of the schoolyard.
It is the playing field of bullies.

And it extends into the realm of international politics.

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Standards of the World.


From the time of our birth we are taught to aspire to success.

This, however, is to judge life by the standards of the world.

We watch sports to see the winners and read books about high achievers.

We watch T.V. and read newspapers which continually tell us to get more and better things.

We praise the winners and abuse the losers.

But God's way is different.

God is on the side of the losers - the nobodies, the weak, the poor.....

No one teaches us to value these.

But God values them.

They are equal in His sight to the rich and powerful.

Cry out to God!

And He will deliver you.

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Saturday, 9 August 2014

Good and Evil.


The problem with categorizing things (or people) as good or evil is that one immediately has to win out against the other.

No good person is entirely good and no evil person is entirely evil.

So to begin a war between good and evil is to condemn us to perpetual battle.

This is the cause of much of the violence in our world.

Better to say that those we call evil are motivated by fears that have been learned or inherited.

Those who choose evil are usually those who have internalized the violent, vindictive God of the Old Testament and rejected God on false grounds.

These ideas about God are projected fears.

So, rather than battling against them, we should seek to liberate them from their fears.

And offer them the true image of a loving God.

There are only two things in the world - Love and Fear.

Where we find evil if we do the calculus we will find fear.

What motivates them?
Who told them?
And why did they tell them?

Blind guides motivated by fear.
Beginning and ending with the fear of God.

But we have nothing to fear from God.
God punishes no one.
He wishes the best for everyone.

Only good comes from God.

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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Hearts.


In the Bible and other religious texts you will often find references to good and evil hearts.

For example the New Testament talks about good or evil treasure in the heart.

But my contention is that the heart is for love alone.

Evil comes about because of fears which lock up the love in our hearts.

These fears are mostly located in the subconscious mind and may have been learned or placed there by others acting according to their inherited fears.

So to overcome our deepest fears is to set free the love that dwells in our hearts.

To love God is to be set free from fear.

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love."  1 John 4:18 (NRSV)


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Do you Love Me?


On that last night Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?" three times.
Peter replied that he did then Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times before dawn.

The significance of this passage can not be overlooked.
For it was love that Jesus taught them.

But it is one thing to hear the message and another thing to put it into practice.

Jesus knew that people accepted the message and then did not put it into practice.
So he asked Peter, "Do you love me?" three times.
As if to query whether he had heard the message to love one another and was putting it into practice.
Because if he could not love Jesus how could he love others?

Do you love me?

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