2 men named Jesus?

Picture1.pngconfession (2)

The days are many when I question the foundational principles learned in youth, when I retire to bed at night more uncertain than certain, when I, like a child, want to hide under the bed covers to escape from the world.

Those stories I read as a young boy – the miracles, the healings, the parables, the inspiration and hope, the guidance and correction, the ancient shared wisdom – I remember all that.

I think of numerous personal crises endured and conquered, unmentionable forays into darkness, the return from the far land, a prodigal son reunited with his inheritance, testimony of a life resurrected, forgiveness extended – I think of all that.

And yet, tonight, the term Christian confuses me.  Don’t all Christians honor and revere the same Jesus?  Or is it possible there were two homeless vagabonds roaming the lands of 1st century Israel?  Both named Jesus?  Both from Nazareth?

Is there another version of ancient writings telling of a hateful and vengeful Jesus?  Have I somehow not read the Gospel of Exclusion, the one that tells white Americans they are better than the other children of God?

And all the verses that I know by heart, maybe I should not believe that “Love thy neighbor as thyself”  is truth straight from our Lord.  Or maybe “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” was intended only for white folks, not brown and black skins.

Some of you tell me that white Christians are God’s chosen people, that only those who congregate in certain churches will get to heaven, that it is okay to persecute others who follow a different path or those who name their God differently.

Is it really okay?  Some of you say that caging children is acceptable under Christian principle, that denying those seeking safety, security and hope is biblical, that the man and woman who happen to be brown-skinned are not part of your Kingdom.

Others say that destroying our earth’s ecosystem in the name of profit will be justified in the end times because Jesus will rebuild our earth, that those who know the true God will be saved from annihilation.

Are we reading the same scriptures or do you have a different version?  Did the other Jesus speak privately to you and not to me?  Tell me what verse gives you the right to judge and condemn men who are not exactly like you?  I must know.

My Jesus heals the sick, how about yours?  My Jesus mends the broken, how about yours?  My Jesus feeds the poor and hungry, shelters the homeless, welcomes the refugee, how about yours?

“For many will come in my name….and lead many astray.”  Matthew 24:5

“Watch out for false prophets.  They will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15

cropped-candle.png

 

 

truth

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

truth

Do we know what truth is?  In today’s worldly rhetoric, truth has become a relative concept.  Truth depends on circumstances, truth is shaped by one’s environment, truth  can be bent to fit one’s personal ambitions.  We are told that trusted news sources are untruthful and mankind is not inherently honest.  Political views are castigated by those professing a different truth, spiritual bearing is challenged by sects who claim theirs is the only truth.  So, the question is, “How do we know truth?”

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”  Buddha

Must we search?  Should we read scriptures?  Do we need to find a spiritual guru?  The Buddha says the sun and the moon cannot be hidden for long.  We know this to be truth because, when we look at the heavens, there we see the sun and the moon.  That fact is evident, it is obvious.  The  Buddha also says truth cannot be hidden.  It is as evident and as visual as the sun and the moon.

In the tradition of Buddhism, a path is offered.  It is called MAGGA, the eight-fold pathway to enlightenment:

  1. right understanding
  2. right thoughts
  3. right speech
  4. right action – nonviolence
  5. right livelihood – nonviolent
  6. right effort
  7. right mindfulness
  8. right concentration – meditation

We should note that none of the eight-fold path involves deeply secretive, spiritual practices to finding enlightenment or truth.  It is totally a manner of lifestyle which we undertake to the best of our abilities.

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32

This directive set forth by Jesus of Nazareth is clearly specific.  Know the teachings and lifestyle of the human manifestation of Christianity’s God, follow that example known as “the Way” as best as humanly possible, and we shall know the truth.  Hallelujah!  Truth is not relative to circumstances or environment.  It cannot be manipulated or bent to one’s personal needs and desires.  Truth is attainable by adherence to a lifestyle of love and compassion directed toward others, to ourselves, and to the Earth itself.  It will be as evident as the sun and the moon in our skies.

“Watch out for false prophets.  They will come to you in sheep’s clothing , but inwardly they are as ferocious wolves.”Matthew 7:15

It is our mission to share our truth.  When attuned to the spiritual presence which defines each of us, we are able to share and communicate in a kindly manner the truth which has set us free.  Jesus and the Buddha in us will always portray as  non-violence in thought, word, and deed.

 

 

CANDLE

 

 

 

 

 

“WAGON TRAIN”

larry6My keyboard has been inactive recently.  My mind has not been able to wrap itself around spirituality or sobriety in writing.  It’s not a depression which I am feeling nor a sense of disconnect.  I see this as a time of self-appraisal.

I was a huge fan of the TV series “Wagon Train” many years ago.  Ward Bond as Major Seth Adams led his trekkers across the plains to a new life following the Civil War years.  He was the essence of wisdom and patience.  Many dangers threatened the wagons and their occupants during the months-long trip.  Whenever the hostile natives appeared atop the surrounding hills, Major Adams would signal the wagons to circle and form a defensive front to fight the attackers.

That describes me today.  I’m circling my emotional wagons in anticipation of difficult times ahead.  My focus remains on my Lord, my sobriety continues to be a mainstay of life, but, as David lamented in the Psalms, my enemies surround me and appear to be preparing an attack.

Some of those enemies are real and imminent.  One is declining health associated with aging.  The oomph disappeared several years ago being replaced by aches and pains.  Today, upon reminiscing over accomplishments of the 45 year-old me, I am truly amazed that I had the energy and capacity to do those things.  My focus now is fighting off the numerous maladies which are inherited gifts of DNA.  If I allowed it, I could easily wallow in those things over which I have no control.  I would do well to embrace the “serenity to accept the things which I cannot change.”

Another pervasively disturbing realization is that my idealistic world view is not shared by all of humanity.  Many of my species do not want peaceful co-existence nor spiritual enlightenment.  Many do not uphold the value of each human experience nor the equality of all human beings.  Seriously, I question what Pollyanna world I have lived in for much of my life.  Until recently I have imagined that the entire world dreamed of world peace and brotherhood just as I do.

So, I circle my wagons.  I know that I am not alone, that I have Major Adams to console and calm me, that I have other trekkers crossing the plains to share my ideals.  But, those enemies of a life which we hold dear to us are on the hilltop horizons with tomahawks ready to scalp and arrows ready to pierce.  They despise our ways, they want to destroy our values.  They disguise themselves as world leaders and church leaders, as politicians, as patriots, as sheep.  Beware!

MATTHEW 7:15

“WAGONS HO!”

smiley 3