he followed his calling

He was an associate minister at the Unitarian Universalist church from 1959 until 1964 after which Rev. James Reeb moved to Boston to work on housing issues with a Quaker non-profit.  Previously, he was the chaplain, a strict Presbyterian, at Philadelphia General Hospital.

“His theology had told him that if people were suffering, that it was God’s punishment for their sins.  But this judging voice was at war with another voice inside him which said, ‘These are your brothers and sisters.'”  Rev. Rob Hardies, pastor at All Souls Church Unitarian

In 1965 Martin Luther King, Jr. called for the nation’s clergy to join civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama.  March 9th was later called ‘Turnaround Tuesday” as Dr. King led the marchers onto Edmund Pettus Bridge, said a short prayer, then turned back.  He asked the clergy to stay in Selma should there be another march.  Rev. Reeb was one of those clergymen who decided to stay.

That night after dinner with two other ministers, Rev. James Reeb was attacked by a group of four white men of whom one was carrying a club.  Recalling the incident 50 years later, Rev. Clark Olsen said, “Four men came at us from across the street…..one of them was carrying a club and swung it at Jim’s head.

James Reeb died two days after the attack having lapsed into a coma from his head injuries.   Dr. King preached the eulogy, and hours later, President Johnson mentioned his death when he introduced the Voting Rights Act to Congress saying, “Many were brutally assaulted; one good man, a man of God, was killed.”

“He wanted to do good in the world and right some of the wrongs in our society.”   Rev. Clark Olsen

The three men charged in the assault were acquitted by an all-white jury after just 95 minutes of deliberation.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/03/11/james-reeb-died-in-selma-50-years-ago-today-he-should-be-remembered-for-how-he-lived/?utm_term=.353924c96bcd

 

 

 

 

Shrove Tuesday

“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”CANDLE

When I was a young boy, the house filled with the aroma of homemade donuts sizzling in a pan of hot fat on the day before Ash Wednesday.  We called them Fastnachts.  Nothing which Dunkin Donuts creates could ever compare to those pastry delights.  Our family was preparing for the six-week period ahead leading into Easter Sunday, the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection.  This time period, Lent, embraced a sincere endeavor to right the wrongs on our hearts and walk with Jesus to his death on Calvary.  Some families observed a weekly day of fasting during Lent.  Some eliminated a favorite pastime or a certain food as a means of sacrifice.

Shrove Tuesday is also observed as Fat Tuesday, Carnival, or Mardi Gras.  Over the past 500 years the call to be absolved of one’s sins on this day has evolved into a time of partying, drinking, and merry-making.  “Shrove” is the past tense of “shrive” meaning to confess one’s sins, repent and be absolved.  To me and my family it provided a path to clear our slates of wrongdoing and resentments within a corporate faith fellowship.  Personally it provided a time to carry a daily routine of prayer and forgiveness to an especially focused effort to take an inventory and cleanse the heart of wrongdoing.  We ultimately carry our crosses with Jesus through the season of the Lenten journey to a time of crucifixion of self, death of selfish motivation, and then spiritual renewal.

Contemporary Christianity seems often to be joyless and even dead because it has relinquished the joys of celebratory church observances to preach instead a Gospel which dwells on prosperous worldly achievement or social justice activism.  The “holidays” of the Church are meant to enrich the daily routine of our faith walk.  Jesus loved a party, a wedding, a time with friends.  I’m sure he would have appreciated a plate full of Fastnachts.  I know that today he shares our humanity, smiles and laughs when we do, celebrates when we celebrate.  That’s who he is.

 

Pope Paul VI

“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”orange tree

 

“If you want peace, work for justice.”

 Pope Paul VI

 

As a precursor to thinking about world peace, it is necessary to recognize that governments and government agents cannot enforce peaceful co-existence.  Governments desire power above peace,  governments covet profits from its nation’s war machine and munitions industries above peace, and governments employ military might as an insurer of peace within its own borders at the expense of violent oppression elsewhere in the world.  The great Roman Empire was created on this principle.  The American experience also became an empire in this manner.  Peace on an international level is unattainable without the intervention of a supernatural mediator.

Perhaps that is what Pope Paul VI is inferring in this quote.  Wise men know that mankind is violent and warlike and that the governances created by man are equally so.  The peace envisioned is not going to happen in the halls of government but rather within the temples of man.  Man is a spiritual being housed in a physical body, his temple.  When that spirit is tuned in to a greater universal force, the process of peacemaking can begin.  It is a miracle of interior transformation which prepares each individual to journey to the destiny of enlightenment offered by his/her Creator.

The transforming process begins with a recognition of inherent ego and its continual demand to be self-satisfied.  Slowly ego is replaced by sacrifice and awareness of surrounding suffering.  The injustice of world systems becomes increasingly apparent as the individual reaches out to live in solidarity with all brothers and sisters, to seek justice for all people.  Justice mothers the driving desire to share resources equally, to treat others compassionately, and to extend peaceful co-existence to the entire creation.  Striving for universal justice becomes the life work which will usher peace into the worlds existing within the temples.  No government can deter or destroy that which dwells within.

 

bullying

 

“BULLYING – abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger and more powerful.”

In junior high school I weighed about 145 pounds, I was gangly and scrawny, and my oversized ears and nose made me an easy target for the big boys waiting in the gym where I had to go after lunch on my way to my next class.  Punching, poking, slapping, and pushing became such a stressful occurrence that I ended the school day with an extreme gastrointestinal disorder.  But the physical abuse was more tolerable than the name-calling and ridicule of my physical appearance.  I recovered from the punching and poking much sooner than the hurtful words.

The teachers were aware of the ongoing abuse.  Their advice was to fight back.  Not only was that a stupid idea, the big boys collectively weighed about 800 pounds, but it was an unacceptable option in the tradition of my faith.  The end result was that a young junior high school student blamed himself for the abuse and felt he actually merited the bullying because he was not only ugly but a coward as well.

We hurt each other with actions and words most often unaware of our indiscretion.  Mindlessness is not a virtue but it is forgivable.  Bullying is not mindless.  It is intentional, demeaning, diminishing, and tragic.  Today’s media headlines tell of young girls who are bullied at school and on social media and then choose suicide as the only option.  As young as twelve years old, they end their lives over an act of social injustice which tells them they are unworthy of living..

Yes, it is injustice.  Bullying is an action and an attitude.  It is an outrageous verbal and physical assault on those who are vulnerable, those who are unable to fend for themselves.  It is cowardice at its ugliest.  As a nation we are witnessing bullying in our highest government offices, in the powers seated in Washington, D.C., in the Oval Office of the White House.  We witness bullying in corporate offices, in the entertainment industry, in the factory, and in schools.  It is fed by bias, racism, discrimination, sexism, xenophobia, and unfettered ego.

We are building a world where bullying is not tolerated.  In that world the pain inflicted by words and actions on weaker victims will no longer exist.  The tears and sorrow suffered in grieving for loved victims will no longer exist.  The strong and powerful will be made to serve and the meek will be exalted.  That world will manifest someday, but until then it is our responsibility as members of a righteous humanity to oppose bullying at all levels of society and courageously expose it for the cowardice which it is.

REVELATION 21:4

rainbow-solidarity

massive indifference

“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”smiley 3

“To live a just life in this world is to identify with the longings and hungers of the poor, the meek, and those who weep. This identification and solidarity is in itself a profound form of social justice.”  cac.org

Who are the poor, the meek, and those who weep?  Who are the huddled masses, the vulnerable?  The homeless man standing outside Micky D’s waiting for a breakfast handout, the father working two minimum wage jobs with a wife and three school-aged children, the single mother with two children in elementary school trying to get her GED while working full-time for WalMart, the mentally challenged lady who is losing her group home setting due to government budget cuts, the retired man who tries to survive on his Social Security check and has to decide between medical care or food.

The Syrian refugee family living with relatives, the Muslim woman who is hassled daily on her way to school because of her head covering, the black man who has to take the midnight bus home from his job through a white neighborhood,  the woman who has suffered sexual abuse at work by her supervisor, the 13 year-old who is bullied mercilessly at school, the gay man who is threatened with death, the Mexican laborer facing deportation, the prisoner who is raped, the drug addict who lives on the streets, the jobless man facing eviction.

When I care enough to look, I see the vulnerable everywhere.  They are my brothers and sisters who have not had the opportunities to prosper in a country which boasts itself as “the land of opportunity.”  They are the misdirected who took destructive paths of addiction as young people.  They are the ones who followed the wrong crowd.  They are the product of tragedies beyond their control.

But they also are you and I.  Those of us who profess a lifestyle contrary to the norms of society, who renounce Christianity’s Gospel of prosperity, who question the traditions of our forefathers are also vulnerable to the condemnation and persecution of the status quo.  We seek justice – not merely for self gain but, for the welfare of everyone and every creature and every aspect of our Earth.

Dr. Cornell West states in one of his lectures:

“America is suffering massive indifference to its vulnerable people.”  Cornel West

Dr. West’s focus is on the plight of African-Americans, but, his words are apropos concerning the “spiritual blackout” he sees occurring in a land which historically has welcomed the huddled masses, the poor, the meek, the weeping, the vulnerable onto its shores.  He attributes much of this to corporate greed, to short-sighted politicians, and to a population which has relinquished its spiritual backbone.

Jesus spoke of justice in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11) :

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice: they will have their fill.” 

Social justice is not the responsibility of our governments or our court systems.  That endeavor and responsibility belongs to us .  Working together in solidarity as people who hunger and thirst will fill our hearts with blessing.

rainbow-solidarity

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret

“If Muriel had said, ‘I am sorry, my father says no,’ I would have stayed in Vienna and they would have killed me.”

Muriel, my sister, corresponded with a pen pal from Austria, Edith Muhlbauer.  Edith was 17 years old in 1938 when the Germans crossed the border and occupied Austria.  That same year in November on Kristallnacht all but one of Vienna’s synagogues were burned to the ground by mobs, 8000 Jews were arrested and 5000 were sent to Dachau.

The Muhlbauer family lived in an area of Vienna where many Jewish professionals lived.  As the situation with the Nazis grew worse Edith wrote to my sister and asked if she could come live with my family.  We did not have the money but my father asked members of his Rotary club for the money to bring Edith to England.  They also agreed to provide money for her needs and to share hosting in their homes.

Edith arrived at our home in April of 1939 bringing 2 red handbags as gifts, one for my sister and one for me.  Our home was very small, didn’t have a proper bathroom.  She was accustomed to much nicer accommodations in Vienna and she was very careful with her wonderful wardrobe.  I remember Edith would not go for a walk in the countryside because it would ruin her shoes.

Our father was concerned that this worldly girl from Vienna would lead Muriel and me astray while Edith felt our puritanical lifestyle here in England revolving around church and work was repressive.  She was tall and beautiful with dark, styled hair and she wore lipstick.

I was brought up Methodist.  Methodism means method.  It means sticking to your guns, dedication, triumph over adversity, reverence for education – the very qualities Jews have always cherished.

MARGARET THATCHER, the Iron Lady, sister of Muriel, friend of Edith, served as prime Minister of England from 1979 – 1990

“When people ask, ‘What can one person do?’ Thatcher responded, ‘That is the question that people so often ask.  Never hesitate to do whatever you can, for you may save a life.’ 

written in 1st person narrative by larrypaulbrown from information credited to the following sources:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/margaret-thatcher-s-family-sheltered-austrian-jew

Sources: Robert Philpot, “How Margaret Thatcher’s family sheltered an Austrian Jew during the Holocaust,” (June 29, 2017);
Robert Philpot, Margaret Thatcher The Honorary Jew: How Britain’s Jews Helped Shape the Iron Lady and Her Beliefs, Biteback Publishing, (June 29, 2017).

 

 

 

 

the failing of Christianity

“Christianity isn’t a failure; it just hasn’t been tried yet.”  G.K. Chesterton.

I find tremendous hope in this quote from the British writer.  By reading and reflecting on these words I am able to redirect my assessment of my faith walk in the realms of “Christianity” as not so much a failure on my part but a misdirection on the part of the institution of Christianity.  The tenets of this religion founded in the 4th century C.E. on teachings attributed to  Jesus of Nazareth seem to miss the mark by a wide margin in its position of power in today’s world.

I cannot comprehend a Jesus dying on his cross so that I could rest comfortably in my recliner flipping channels between the football games on TV all day Sunday.  I do not understand a Savior who would tell me that I am closer to God than my Muslim neighbor just because their prophet, Muhammad, appeared on the world scene 500 years after he did.  I don’t believe Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,”  but then 2000 years later, “if thy neighbor is black, gay, Syrian, or Muslim, disregard what I said.”

Can it be that Jesus, the professed centerpiece of Christianity, would want to be simply defined as a radical love leading to personal transformation and renewal transcending to a mindset of inclusion and compassion for all of humanity and all of Creation?  Jesus did not exclude anyone in his ministry on earth, not the Samaritan woman at the well, not the hated tax collector, not the prostitute, not the adulteress about to be stoned.  He does not today exclude anyone.  If he is today what he was then, how could he?

I am not excluded because of who I am.  I fall far short of the enlightenment I am destined to behold, yet I know that though my neighbor may feel empowered to cast the first stone condemning me, Jesus does not.

That is powerful stuff.  If the Christian world truly followed its Messiah, its Savior, mankind would be witnessing a peace beyond comprehension, a brotherhood which encompasses all religion, race, creed, and sexuality under the widespread arms of a righteous, loving God.

My living faith cannot function on a religion based on a  a statue or picture hanging on the church wall merely to be worshipped and adored.  The historical Jesus did not die on the cross only to fulfill Old Testament prophecy and bring a future salvific eternity to man.  His death and resurrection are significant events to the Christian faith, but his life is the body and blood we celebrate as Christians when we receive the bread and wine. Living our lives as nearly to the life which Jesus lived is supposed to be the cornerstone of Christianity. Jesus was a zealot and a radical human who challenged the authorities of that time with a revolutionary view of man’s purpose on earth.  And he was crucified for his teachings.  What is more profound was the courage needed to live out his humanness and to go against the hypocritical hierarchy of his tradition, Judaism, suffering labels of heretic and blasphemer when he knew within his God relationship that he was right.

Yes, of course, there were many others who garnered the hatred of the Jewish and Roman authorities.  Many others were also crucified.  But Christianity is self-defined as the theology centered on one man. It named that man the Christ.  It is supposed to adhere to the teachings attributed to Christ. History tells us that the institution has failed miserably with this directive.  Sadly, I can’t change the 1600 year history of Christianity.  But, how am I doing personally as a professing  follower of Jesus, the one named Christ?  Am I radical enough to claim the following words?

“Well done good and faithful servant.”  Matthew 25:23

If so , then my life has been successful.  I am not here to build an empire, to claim riches, to embrace power, or to follow other ego-driven idols.  I am here to be a good and faithful servant to humanity.  I fall short constantly but I will keep on trying.

 

Irena Sendler

“The opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference.”  Elie Wiesel

The children called me Jolanta.  My real name is Irena – Irena Sendler.  I was born in 1910 in a small town to the southeast of Warsaw.  My father was a doctor and one of the first Polish Socialists.  Most of his patients were poor Jews.  I learned from Father to care for the needs of other people, especially the children.

Then in 1939 my country was invaded by Germany.  The Nazis were horribly brutal spreading  violence and terror throughout my home town and Warsaw.  I was a senior administrator for the Social Welfare Department at the time.  Our job was to provide meals, financial aid, and other services for the orphans , elderly, the poor and the destitute.  However, with the Germans here, we soon were needed to provide clothing, medicine and money for the Jews.  We registered those people under fictitious Christian names and to avoid the Nazis’ inspections we often reported the families as being afflicted with very infectious diseases as typhus and tuberculosis.

But, conditions got worse for the Jews.  In 1942 the Nazis herded hundreds of thousands of them into a 16-block area and then sealed it off from the rest of the city.  We called it the Ghetto.

Well, I couldn’t just stand by and watch those people die.  I became involved in the underground resistance movement, became one of the first recruits of Zegota.  Our job was to rescue the Jewish children.  Because I was issued a pass from the Epidemic Control Department, I could enter the Ghetto legally.  I took food, clothing, and medicines to those poor starving people.  But 5000 of them were dying each month and I then decided that I must help the Jewish children get out.

Several of my friends and co-workers wanted to help me.  We smuggled the children in ambulances hidden in whatever was available.  Gunnysacks, body bags, potato sacks, coffins, even a mechanic’s toolbox were used to hide the children.  They had false documents with new identities awaiting when they arrived to safety.

I knew I could count on the Sisters and the churches to help me place the Jewish children.  They were placed in homes, orphanages, and convents.  None of them ever refused to take a child from me.  I kept record of their original names and new identities in a jar that I kept buried under my neighbor’s apple tree.  At last count there were 2500 names in that jar.

Oh sure, the Gestapo finally caught up with me in 1943.  They broke my legs and my feet and threw me in prison but I didn’t tell them anything.   I was sentenced to execution but one of my Zegota friends bribed one of the Germans and they called off my execution.  I escaped from prison and spent the rest of the war running from the Gestapo.

After the war, I dug up that jar and tried to contact the names and reunite them with their parents.  Most of the parents died in the Holocaust.

The children called me Jolanta.

In 1965 Irena Sendler was accorded the title of “RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS”  and in 1991 was made an honorary citizen of Israel.  She died in 2008 at age 98. 

Written in 1st person narrative by larrypaulbrown from information credited to:

  JEWISH VIRTUAL LIBRARY

 

 

 

 

racial thoughts

As a young man I always knew it was out there somewhere in the nether regions.  I saw it in movies and television shows.  Sometimes it plastered the front page of my newspapers.  But, it was always in somebody else’s world, not mine.  My world was orderly, civil, simple, and pleasant.  Neat, uncomplicated, unthreatening, predictable.

I liked my life that way.  It gave me a sense of assurance that tomorrow would be just as uneventful as today.  Life was unexciting, unchanging, uninvolved, unemotional when it straddled that fence-riding, noncommittal country lane to nowhere.  No threats, no worries, no anxieties, no challenges, and certainly no engagement with that demonic something that was out there in the backwoods waiting for an opportunity to destroy and devour my world.

But, it inevitably happened.  It came charging out of the woods screaming, “Here I am, you stupid bastard.  Your ancestral nightmare is coming out of the shadows of generations past to turn your contrived, serene, peaceful, simple, orderly, civil world into a pile of dung.”

“I am loud.  I am cruel.  I am vindictive.  I am dangerous.  I am violent.  I am judgmental and I am screaming in your face to destroy your perceived sensibilities.  I will make you angry, then depressed, then guilty, then sad, then angry again and I won’t go away because I am that vile, force of darkness which you have denied in your stupid little Pollyanna world.  Now, white boy, deal with it.”

The voices of past hatred, intolerance, and bigotry rocked my white man’s world.  I felt the pain of those who had been oppressed for so many years.  I heard the suffering cries of a black man who was lynched.  I smelled  the horror of the Jews being turned to ash in the incinerators.  I saw the tears in the eyes of the native Americans forced to relinquish their lands to the white invaders.   And my ancestors, white men, were responsible.  Guilty as charged.

Responsible for the genocide, the murder, the decimation of indigenous peoples, the plight of slaves, the hoarding of earth’s resources, the destruction of nature’s beauty.  It was my people who pillaged and plundered everything which God had intended for all mankind to use wisely. It was my people who claimed to be superior to all other races, who believed they had a God-given right to dominate, who believed their God was the only true God.  It was my people.

Oh Lord, hear this white man’s cry.  Chastise, discipline, punish us as a people for closing our eyes and shutting our ears to the needs of the world’s oppressed minorities.  I ask your forgiveness but I also accept your righteous judgment.  Grant me the courage to personally right the wrongs which I can and to walk shoulder to shoulder with all brothers and sisters in shoes of equality and compassion.

Once again there are certain of my people who would return us to the horrors of centuries past.  Do not let this seething anger which I feel rising today over the words and actions of my misguided white brothers overwhelm the work which needs to be done in active non-violent confrontation.  Calm my soul, focus my attention on your faithfulness and righteousness in the days ahead.  As they sang it in the 1960s, “We shall overcome.”  Hatred, bigotry, intolerance, racism shall be overcome with you, Lord, leading the charge.

Amen

 

 

 

 

….and my neighbor is ?

Refer to the good Samaritan parable from the book of Luke 10:25-37namaste rainbow

“25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26 He (Jesus) said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?                                

2And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28 And he (Jesus) said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him.

Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”

King James Version (KJV)Public Domain

“Go, and do thou likewise.”

From the first time I heard this story in Sunday School and VBS about the good Samaritan, I have been intrigued by the characters and the roles they played in Jesus’ lesson on Christian behavior.  In it Jesus defines the meaning of “neighbor”.  Obviously it is not limited to what we in contemporary society would consider a neighbor, i.e., the couple next door or the man down the street.

In Biblical Jewish culture, the Samaritans were a race to be ostracized and avoided at all costs.  At the well, the Samaritan woman drawing water was shocked and probably miffed that a Jewish teacher (Jesus) would ask her to draw water for him. John 4:7-26 In all probability, the Samaritans hated the Jews just as much as the Jews despised them.

So when Jesus uses a Samaritan traveler as the pivotal character in his parable, those hearing his message were undoubtedly shocked.  And when Jesus takes this heresy further to cast a favorable light upon the Samaritan, we should not be surprised that the ruling hierarchy of Pharisees desired to be rid of him and his teachings.  Their hatred and intolerance was justified by centuries-old racism supported by an archaic system of religious righteousness.

Jesus reckons with this racism by first stating that a priest and then a Levite came upon the traveler (we are not told anything about his background) and kept to the side of the road in order to avoid contact with him.  Perhaps they feared for their own safety should the robbers still be nearby.  Or perhaps they did not want to contaminate themselves by touching a corpse.  The priest and the Levite, although holy men of the Jewish faith, lacked the compassion to lend assistance to the dying traveler.  The Samaritan, however, even though a despised citizen of a neighboring country, felt compassion for the wounded man and gave immediate assistance to the point of ensuring his safe passage to care and recovery at a nearby inn.

“And who is my neighbor,” asked the lawyer of Jesus in the scripture, verse 29?

Jesus tells his story and then the lawyer in verse 37 answers his own question, “He that shewed mercy.”

Which character of this parable do I play?  Am I the priest or Levite, men unwilling to be involved in saving another’s life?  Am I the good Samaritan who cares enough to risk his own life for that of a stranger?  Or perhaps I am the traveler, wounded and left to die on the highway of life, saved only by the grace of a compassionate savior.

Who is my neighbor?  Certainly John next door, my tax accountant at the mall, the restaurant owner at my favorite Italian place, even the Muslim couple who smile to me whenever they walk by my house.  I consider my pastor my neighbor, my car salesman, my insurance agent, and my local sheriff.

OK.  What about the strident atheist at school, the repugnant Republican congressman, the white supremacist in Georgia, the drug dealer in the city, and the redneck who flies a Confederate flag on his pickup truck?  Are they my neighbors?

Jesus was not categorizing anyone when instructing us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Jesus does not see anything but a person’s heart and the innate love and compassion within that heart.  Jesus wants us to do the same.

Who, then, is my neighbor?  The Nazi who would kill a gay man?  The racist who would lynch a black man?  The Jew who would harm a Palestinian?

If I were to come upon an injured man on the highway and that man was Trump, would I stop to assist or pass by on the other side of the road?  Yeah, it gets really funky now, doesn’t it?

I am supposed to love my neighbor.  Love is not always a warm, fuzzy feeling that tingles all over.  It is also a willingness to be actively compassionate toward every creature of God’s creation.

“Go, and do thou likewise.”  I know that if I just carry the willingness, God will honor my efforts.smiley 3