Saltiness: Limits of Love

Often, very often, I feel like I am not making a difference.  Despite doing or being what I believe I ought to be, results aren’t always obvious or existing.  Yet something recently has me wondering about “results”.

My husband and I use to live close my parents, and I’d make frequent visits. Yet after 5 years, it didn’t seem to make much difference one way or another. I didn’t see us as building a relationship. I noticed my dad couldn’t tell an observational difference between me and my siblings. My parents would confuse my husband’s saying or traits with the other men of the family. Despite our best efforts, and many not-so-best efforts, my parents didn’t seem to notice much in particular, and this became a wear on my husband and I. We’ve moved. Not the big move that I wanted, but a small couple hours drive time. It’s been near a half and year, and I’m starting to see the difference now. Although it’s not the difference I want to see.

My parents show signs of not having us an influence in their lives. I see things like fear becoming more normal for them. Slowly, but much too quickly. I see a shift from my influence of more natural approaches (which they barely considered before) to a more store bought, doctor induced philosophy.  It’s not that they didn’t have some signs before, but now it seems to have quickly built steam in my absence of pointing out how absurd it is.

Is that it? Is that all I do with my life? I block out some bad. Perhaps I don’t even particularly bring good into people’s lives, but maybe I just block out some of the bad. It seems so little. It seems so ineffectual.
I turn my thoughts from  my parents to my husband. His parents are negative people. I’ve always been displeased to see that displayed over and over again in our short history together. The effects their negativity has had on his life were infuriating. But as of lately I’ve seen my man becoming something greater. It’s taken a long time, a lot of work, and continuing to challenge him in healthy ways, but it becomes more and more obvious. He’s stronger in many ways. Still becoming strong in a few ways. We’re good together.

Is it because I’ve blocked some the poison in his life and challenged him towards good? Perhaps I’ve become the large influence in his life, the influence where his parents once had their vice grips. Is that all that I do? Block negative with my influence?  I suppose it’s a useful thing to be, however lacking in gloriousness. Then I wonder…
Is this (in part) what it’s like to be salt?

Jesus talks about being “the salt of the earth” and many pastors and theologians have puzzled over this simple parable. What does it mean? Indeed there is some flexibility to what all it could encompass, but perhaps simple is best in this case.
My man and I watch some of the Food Network “game shows”. If the judges detect too much salt it’s considered bad to have a salty flavor, or too little salt is considered unseasoned.  Salt is mostly to showcase whatever else is happening with the combined food. It’s not meant to be prominent but it necessary to the dish.

Salt is also considered to have trace minerals, things that your body needs but it doesn’t need a lot of it. These little “trace minerals” make a big difference when they’re out of sync with what your body needs, too much or too little. Subtleties set the standard.

In relationships (of all kinds) its hard to wait for the subtleties to draw forth into the standard. It’s hard to see it add up into something. When my husband and I were dating, I thought for sure that I was going to get my heart broken. I didn’t see him taking it as seriously as I did. I knew I was risking beyond what seemed reasonable or safe, but I felt compelled to keep going until I actually did break. It wasn’t until he confessed that he wanted to marry me (and therein we got engaged) that I felt sure that he was in this too, and not just for convenience sake.

Subtleties, small things, they add up. Probably never as fast and securely as I want them to, but they do add up.

If my greatest gift is merely blocking out some of the negative of other people’s live, that means its still their choice to choose the positives. I can’t choices or add that for them. I suppose I was hoping that I could also do that, but I do not think my life has given my evidence of that. I suppose there are many things which we are grateful that they mere neutralize a situation, such as our immune system.
However it’s up to each person whether to work that immune system hard or to give it help, and then what kind of help from there. This is complication of working together, yet our lives were made to touch one another and interlock.  I can only do and be that which I am.  I can only make my choices. Other people must make their own choices. I wish I could help, but this is as far as I can go in touching their lives.

I am just a little salt in gourmet dish.

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God & Church are Not Synonymous: Pt 1

I think it’s taken me near 10 years to realize, that despite the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago, most people assume church and God are synonymous. They are not.  They never have been.

It took going back through the memories of being inside the church system to realize I believed it once. It was never spoken out right, but it has always been implied.

When I started weaning away from the church system my brothers had really critical things to say to me over the smallest detail. Stupid things that have stuck with me like thorns under the skin since that time. But I think I get it now. I think they saw the way I acted at or towards church was synonymous in their mind to how I was acting or respecting (or lack of {in their mind}) towards God. Not even that  it was connected, but it was a directly linked together in a full embodiment. If I didn’t mark the sign-in sheet correctly I was mocking God, not the sign-in sheets.

I never realized that this side of Protestant Reformation that there was still such a direct correlation in the minds of the masses of church goers. I mean I know that’s how masses of pastor think. I know the people are trained to associate the two. However, I just didn’t realize how much that is the reality within the church system.

There has long been this thought that if someone leaves their local church building and gathering times, that they’ve walked out on God. For many this does happen, because there is no separation between them.

I can’t emphasize enough that God and church are not synonymous.

Sometimes it takes looking at history to realize, that something that holds a scared title isn’t always what it seems. For me, the most simplistic words that really spelled this out for me was when Jesus said: “If you were Abraham’s children then you would act like it.” (John 8:39)

God judges someone by their heart, what’s on the inside, the true character which we develop within ourselves, our true motives and intentions. God sees that clearly. If that’s how God judges us, is it any different for an institution or an assembly of people?

God knows that our true intentions and our heart cause for us to do all things that flow out of us. All of our actions. The way we perceive people comes from our heart and our inner being. I believe this is also true for any system, corporation, community, assembly.

Now in a matter of speaking, a system has no heart, no inner being. Therefore those who align themselves with any given system become the heart therein. Yet so often we trade our minds & hearts for a go-with-the-flow mob mentality. We create a system to unify and drive us to our intend goal, but often it’s not long before we sacrifice our own goals, our own drive for the sake (health and sustaining) of the system.

I see this is still the reality of something called church. I too was part of  that once.

This is the strange thing about “church”:
It starts by saying that you can have a personal relationship with God. But then the whole time is spent telling you how to interpret God, how to serve God, how to do these things through more solidly aligning yourself with the local “church” and its “ministries”.  This happens so much so, that for those who actually do learn to grow and interpret on their own, they do not become the prize pupils, but instead are consider the ones who need to be corrected, or even broken in.
My husband and I have heard multiple stories like this. We’ve both been in these situations. We know it happens everywhere. It is not an isolated event.

We also know this isn’t God. This isn’t how God works. This isn’t the relationship that God had in mind.

A healthy body works together. Period. A body with auto-immune disease attacks itself. This is not consider healthy or normal. This is considered to be something that is in need of cure and of treatments, as there is often no known cures for many auto-immune diseases. Maybe especially spiritual ones which go unidentified. 

This thing calling itself church attacks itself. Am I to believe that is the resemblance of the body of Christ?

500 years ago (and more) there was something that was calling itself The Church. It was taught that this was the one way to know God, to honor God, to get to heaven, to be safe in this life, to be a responsible admirable citizen of your country. The Church was the guardians to Truth, or so it was taught.

But there arose men and women who disagreed with this thing called The Church. They disagreed that this system was not doing what it said it was meant to do. They disagreed that this system was honestly, openly, freely leading people Truth and to God.
To them the cruelties of the opposing a well-established system were unleashed. There was no mercy for such trouble makers. We are not too far removed from this history.

As a matter of fact, we maybe standing in the middle of an era where history repeats itself. We maybe at a crux of guarding and regarding the sacred words and descriptions back unto their true intentions. System or no system, when a people want to know God and want to know truth, there is an unquenchable thirst for the authentic thing.

Yet we have seen in history that the artificial thing will defend it’s stolen/assumed throne. The price for truth is high. Very, very high. Yet for something so priceless, we’d be fools to settle for anything less than the whole truth.

We can no longer bow our necks and bear this a little further in history. We cannot continue to plow for a master who is not our God. We must consider who and what we are truly serving. What do we truly fear? Whom do we truly want to serve? Are we interested in God? Or are we interested in our own rewards and security?

God and church are not synonymous. They never have been.

But woe to you … For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
– Matthew 23:13

Matthew 20:20-23

There’s something I love about “the Sons of Thunder”. In the Bible, around Matthew 20:20-23  these two men/disciples come before Jesus asking for one of the highest honors they could possibly fathom.
Now most of modern day Christianity would consider them selfish jerks for doing that, but what I love about it…they were totally sold on whatever Jesus was doing. They were in for the long haul -whatever that would look like- and they wanted to be two of the biggest supporters Jesus would ever have. Okay so maybe it sounds a little selfish. But it also sounds completely dedicated.

So Jesus asks these two brothers, do you really think you follow me down this path?
And they both wholeheartedly agree that this is exactly what they mean to do.
I imagine at this point Jesus might have let off a little chuckle. He could see their dedication, and he could understand how innocent they were to the things that were coming. Jesus was able to look into their hearts, past these words and outward brashness, and see that they really did mean to follow him committedly to the end.

While they might have had some trip-ups along they way these brothers became renown for their lives as disciples. As a matter of fact, out of the twelve apostles James was the first one to be martyred and John was the was one. I’ve often wondered if that’s just what Jesus meant when he answered them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with

Although they may have not reached the highest honors in the way they conceptualized, I imagined they reached higher honors than they hadn’t previously imagined in their younger years.

I suppose this is one of the things that God does for us. Although our ideas of glory maybe over-simplified, God often sees and understands our hearts, and as long as our hearts remain willing, God helps leads in a way that does bring a true honor or a true glory. Better than we’d previously dreamed.

 

Loving the Unlovely: Christian Conflicts With Israel

There ought to be things that still break our hearts. IF we consider ourselves to be in some relationship or acquaintanceship with God, then there definitely out to be things that still break our hearts in very tender ways.

I struggle to find the words of what I saw.

There are a people within Christianity who claim to love the Jews people, but they believe that something just like the last Holocaust is possible or even likely to happen again. These said people wish to do their part to protect God’s Chosen People. They believe a redeemed Israel will come out of the calamity, albeit a drastically reduced number.
Some times these people speak so factually it scares me to here their casualness.

But it got worse. …

I once heard a vehement Jew…maybe rabbi, I don’t remember right now…say something along the lines of, “Christians just want to use Jews to bring back their Christ! They don’t care about us!“. As if one religious culture could use or manipulate or sacrifice another. I hate how right he may have been. I could only imagine what he’s seen and heard. I know what I’ve seen and heard makes me sick to think about it, even as I search for the words.

These select group of Christians (fore mentioned) had a portion of them give a message/sermon which I heard about after the fact, although I was at the same camp…I skipped this particular “teacher”.  He spoke from Ezekiel 39:9-16, and he spoke words of mockery.

One of the other seminar attendee’s gladly recount the summary for me. The theory went something like this: after the Jews survive (barely) another world war, then they’ll see Christ and be humbled, then they’ll have to be on cleanup duty for seven months from all the Armageddon that just occurred, and they’ll become even more humbled. Then after that, maybe they’ll be truly reconciled with God.
My heart broke.

These are the Christians who claim to love Israel and love the Jew? What love is this, that delights in their being kept out of their own Holy City and having to do humiliating unclean work of peasants? While what..? The “Christians” get to hang out with the Messiah, partying because they’re so much more fit to be in the Holy City?
No. I do not hear the heart of God in this. No. I will not be with that crowd.

If that was the only way such scriptures could be read, then let me just say, I would set aside “party time” or “ruling and reigning with Christ” and I would go help the Jews with the disgusting, unclean work of picking up corpses and bones left rotting months after the most horrific battle of history.

These things should not be taken so light-heartedly.
Did this teacher even stop for two minutes to consider God’s heart on these things? Or how Christ works over and over again? How is that Christians can take verses like, “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” or “And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses“, but they are only for Christians?
How is it that there is still this idea that one must clean themselves up before God will accept them? How does one clean themselves up with God’s help?

In case you should become curious what is in Ezekiel 39:9-16 and what does it say… may I just offer another point of view? It’s not about Israel going through more disgrace and humbling. By this point in the eschatological story (end of times story), the remaining People of God have already beheld and meet their God in fullness. They are already a priestly people. Now God has put a new love in their hearts where they can’t stand the idea that something -even something defiling- would stand in the way of anyone coming up the Mount of God and meeting with the true God. Therefore, they’re so fervent, that they willing go out, work as hard as they can, for as long as they can, and they will clear the Traveler’s Valley, so anyone…absolutely anyone can come and meet with God.
They are not doing this to earn merit, but out of Love…the Love of God, which we only gain when we experience a personal encounter with God.

I don’t understand the words “I love you” or “love” itself when people hook with circumstantial requirements. Although maybe we all do. Maybe we’re a people who forgotten how to love other just because …just because there is some unmistakable beauty in the depths of another person’s soul, which our soul notices even before we see it or understand it ourselves.
Even if we fail at this… can we just, please, not put God’s name on it?

Can we just have enough respect for a being that would qualify as God to not try to make him into a tyrant or monster at every other turn? Can we just admit we want points for our deeds? Can we just stop putting other people down even though we find disappointment all around us? Can we have a little respect? Can we hope in beauty? Can we stop being mean to those who brought us here?

If we’re going to were the title Christian, could we just believe in the way Christ Jesus lived, and they things he taught? Could we just look at the scriptures without trying to find our own treasures, and just search for God’s heart instead?

Could we stop saying “I love you” just to make it easier to use people? Please… Please stop feeding your hate.

Can we wash one another’s feet just because Jesus called us to servanthood? Can we just act like the thing by which we identify ourselves as?

Something changes when you know God’s heart beyond the best doctrinal choices. When God doesn’t fit into our given options, we have a chance at expanding our world, our minds, and our hearts.

When Jesus had his infamous “angry moment” in the Temple, flipping tables and driving out the money changers… you need to understand the unspoken things that happened there. The context, if you will.  In those days, people sold potential sacrifices just outside the inner temple area, in an area known as the court of Gentiles. It was all the closer Gentiles were allowed to get towards the Holy God of Israel. Whether out of spite, commerce greed, or necessity of the day this area (the court of the Gentiles) had become so packed that barely anyone could walk around in it -because of the buying, selling, and trading taking place- let alone have a quiet moment to worship a still distant God.
So Jesus comes in see all this taking place and quotes the scripture, “My house will be called a house of prayer” …and the rest of the sentence is “for all nations”.

Hebraically, this is how you quote scriptures, in part. Because ever elementary age child learned the scriptures by heart. …or nearly. It’s iron sharping iron to quote part and have those around you quote the rest to you and still understand the greater picture of what’s being said. Kind of like we do with movie quotes nowadays.

So in this famous “angry moment” of Jesus at the Temple, we see God’s heart is broken in that Israel (and their religious system) isn’t taking seriously being the People of God and priestly to all nations. So I can only imagine if there comes a time when the Messiah shows up, and restores the fullness of all things, then these people too will see the truth about even this detail in the covenant.

When God shows up everything changes.

It would be absolutely impractical to have a half love for the Jew now, merely waiting for Jesus to come and rub their faces in it, and to think that will be enough to be a catalyst for their “full salvation”. It’s absurd!
If we want to make a difference in the darkest times, we must know God’s heart. We must know God’s heart beyond doctrinal correctness. We must not despise one we call our brother. We must see the beauty of what God is doing beyond our own selves and our reward.

Love is nothing if it is not lavish and strong to those who are weak and far off. And if our love is nothing, than so are we.

Form vs Function

If we were people who we really interested in living like Jesus, what would that look like?

“Blessed is he who takes no offense on account of me.”

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’  But wisdom is proved right by all her children.

Luke 7:33-35

Our piety does not surrender us to the humbleness of allowing ourselves to look like “a glutton and a drunkard”  instead we tend to be people who find our Godliness in fasting and prayer. But it’s amazing who Jesus often identifies himself with.

Many of us like a religion which permits us to be individuals who can learn, perceive, and enjoy God in a way of “personal experience”.  We like to conquer our ideals of God, moral, and doctrine without taking into account those around us. We find the nicest Jesus jeans in our preferred style, and we slip them on. We look good, and we feel confident. What could be better?

Form vs Function.

Jesus seems to have this crazy idea that the Laws of God are about helping people come into fullness. We perceive the Laws of God as borders. Instead of growing into fullness, we grow into the Laws of God. …or in modern day Christianity we grow into the acceptable practices of our local congregation or denomination.

In fitness, there’s a debate about form vs function. Many people workout to achieve a specific form and to look a certain way….but other than looks, it holds no purpose, and often holds no commitment.
Other people have hobbies or jobs that are physically demanding, and therefore they workout to stay at the top of their game: function.
Idealistically, it’s better to take up a new hobby which is going to keep you moving and preforming and working towards a specific function. …But realistically, most of us just want the looks aspect.

Jesus seems to believe the Laws of God are for function…not a form.
Jesus seems to believe that there is freedom in living according to the heart of God.

…Yet…we look for our “spiritual growth” in things that appear pious. We look for spiritual fervor in outward dedications and declarations. We believe that the “straight and narrow” is a toll road. We do not think of setting our sight on the things of God to be a widening view. But why?

Who told us what spirituality and maturity look like? Have we based these examples on the examples of Christ? Do we base our character on the words of Christ? Or do we find it more permissible to follow the example of the religious people next to us? Afterall…who can be like Christ…right?

Maybe the truth is, you simply can’t master the things of God by way of “OR”. Maybe we weren’t meant to complete our spiritual based on our own individual experience of God. Maybe God created us to be woven together; those who fast & pray along with those who drink and eat well.

Maybe God created the quiet to interweave with the chatty and those who laugh nervously at silent moments. Maybe God created those with clean hands to embrace those who struggle with addictions. Maybe… maybe we learn from one another, and the stories that each of us have to tell. Maybe we find God when we listen to the stories of the brethren and allow our hearts to beat a little faster, a little more achingly, a little harder when we hear these stories.

Maybe we were meant to meet with God face to face, instead of just having one representative tell us how it’s all suppose to be. But maybe we didn’t understand this God is different. But maybe there’s time…

Remember Thy Neighbor

“There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right
And it comes in black and it comes in white
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it”

-Avett Brothers

 

“If you fail to see a problem,
Which I find hard to believe,
Or if you’re hanging on the branches,
Licking honey from the leaves,
You say: The hopelessness of living,
And the childishness of suicide,
It puts a call on my brother, that could never be destroyed”

– mewithoutYou

 

Recently I picked up a renew interested in modern day Native Americans. I want to know what’s happening. Sometimes we get so caught up in our day to day lives that we fail to see where we are in history, or where history has brought us. Whether that’s a on a personal, individual level, or in the grand scheme of things.

In my own life I feel it’s necessity to “check your pulse” once in while. To consider where I am, where I hope to be, what I want to do, what my life has become up to this moment, and perhaps even to consider how far I am from certain things. …for better or for worst. I feel like this is part of being a healthy adult.

In a similar fashion, once in a while I just want to know where history has brought us.

Racism is a foreign concept to me. As many times as someone could explain or some of the origins of it in this country, I simply can’t fathom it’s justification. I have to look at history to even have a concept of why it’s still around. And then when I do, I realize, just like so many other things, racism is only a suffers issue.

It seems like the modern media news is indulging its viewers with more and more propaganda of racism. Seemingly saying its bad, but then promoting it anyways. It’s like when an illusionist has you looking in one direction is preforming the actual trick in another direction.

I don’t understand the concept of racism, but I understand nullification. I understand being forgotten. I understand some people are just mean. I understand a Silent God. I understand pain.  These are things that transcend all cultures, races, up-bringing. These are area where I believe I can sit down and draw in the sand, without out right answering the religious “authorities”.
These are wounds I believe love can heal.

As I search around for some information about the current circumstances of some Native Americans, I came across a continuous mention of a place called “Pine Ridge” reservation.  After seeing it up pop up multiple times, I looked into it a little bit. The Lakota people. South Dakota.

The statistics were bad. I looked up videos, volunteer opportunities, ministries, blogs, whatever stories I could find. (For me this a normal form of study). And it’s only been a week since I’ve started searching through this, but I’m so taken with the stories the people tell. …beyond their words. There’s a culture of pride and of pain. There’s hopelessness and yet severely strong spirit calling for life. There’s smiles and agony. There’s beauty there. It’s like seeing the face of Jesus walking along the dirt paths of Israel.
That Jesus who said “foxes have holes, and eagles have nest, but the Son of Man has no place to rest his head.”  That Jesus who was tried from travel and sat down at the city’s well, while his disciples continued on into the city to find provisions.

The story is so familiar, I know it already. And yet, there is so much I do not know. There’s so much information I can’t find. There’s so much I wonder about.

So much of what I have found is some church that went there for about five days, did some physical labor, smiled at some people, and left feeling better about it all. …Mission trips? In America? What the hell I am missing? Why is this place like another world?  These people are our people. South Dakota is part of the United States of America. These people speak English, and yet a “one week” visit suffices as showing the love of God to our neighbor?

My husband and I have been blessed to have friends in many states, and even a few other countries. We visit those who are closeby when we can, and we keep in contact with those who are further way, because we love our friends. Although South Dakota in the lesser densely populated area, it’s not exactly nowheresville. So I can’t understand why I’m only finding things like “mission trips” to this area. It’s a little frustrating.

But somehow, I think this is a quintessential expression of what we have become in our modern convenience Christian world. Isolation. Scary isolation.

I remember asking a youth pastor, I knew, if he did activities with other churches in his town or other churches in his denomination. And I was astonished when he answered neither.

On one hand, I am worried. Another hand, I just want to go out there, and find out for myself. Do these people really believe themselves to be forgotten more than any other small town area? In a modern world like ours with internet, social media, podcast, telephones, cellphones, and…. mission trips?
I can’t stand the thought of it.

Yet, with the stories I’ve been able to dig up, I wonder if there is something to it. I wonder if there is a historical prejudice that has made these people sit in silence, even though the are our very own people.

I am not looking for social justice (as they call it). I’m looking for the body of Christ to be the body of Christ, and to make sure the needs of the saints are meet. To remember your brethren in prayer; to love one another.
But with so little information available, I wonder if this is happening or not?

The few videos I’ve watched speak of a sorrowful, isolated, people who want to live but have been told there is nothing for their future. I know that’s a lie. I’ve heard it before. I know who tells those lies, and it’s absolutely false.
Because of the severity of the circumstance I have heard of, I believe there is an equal or greater importance to these people. And I can’t stand the thought that they might not know. Would God send me to tell them? I don’t know yet. But they’re in my prayers, and I love them so dearly.

 When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God  because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ.  I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.
Philemon 1:4-7

Love: What Does It Do?

I’m losing my grip on the things everyone around me seems to believe is reality, and falling into a devasting black hole of desiring love to be true.

Living a life based upon an occupation, that merely pays the bills and then defining yourself by your job, holds no interest for me. Getting a big beautiful house with latest technology and comforts so that I can live in comfort, does not appeal to me. Moving to a place for better pay, better “opportunities”, or comfortable living, is losing its appeal quickly.

It’s crazy, I know.

One of my favorite quotes is: “The call of God is like the call of the sea; no one hears it, but the one who has the nature of the sea in him.”

Comforts of the world don’t call to me. At least not like they once did. Not like I might have imaged as brand new adult. Yes I’d like nicer place to live, I wouldn’t mind having more convent appliances in my house, and generally I have a list of things that could be great to have (or do) one day. But my thoughts and heart have been captured by the stories of people who think their life vain, their existence forgotten, their souls unseen, and yet in hearing the stories I hear Jesus. I see Jesus. I love them. But “how can I help?” is the ever begging question.

As I consider their plight, our hope, and perhaps our difficulties, I think of the words of Jesus. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor, then you will have treasure in heaven.” And it occurs to me, this verse is preached totally wrong. It isn’t about giving money to the poor, because you sold your possessions. It’s about getting rid of the things that are keeping you from giving yourself to those you consider “poor”. Your treasure in heaven is the brethren. It is the love of God you’ve taught your soul to wrap yourself in and identify yourself as. It’s being meek -that’s the treasure! Your treasure is beholding God.

If we don’t see God now, will we see him as God in heaven?

It always mystifies me how Jesus identifies himself, and who he identifies himself with. “The least of these my brethren”, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?”, “whoever welcomes one of these little ones, welcomes me”, “I am the Good shepherd, my sheep hear my voice”

And yet, in the church buildings they teach about Jesus riding the white horse, Jesus the prince of peace, Jesus the king of glory, Jesus the conquer. …But it isn’t how Jesus describes himself, and I’m worried that we’ll miss him, if we don’t know who we’re looking for.

Sure, God can essential wear many hats or be known by many names, but there is something quintessentially important about how God describes himself.   And that important for me to know. I think there is a key to living the Christian life that is found in understanding who God describes himself to be, and as Christians that should go doubly for who Christ Jesus identifies himself as or identifies himself with.

I worry that to miss this is to miss being a Christian, or maybe it’s just to miss out on sainthood. I don’t know. But is seems so pivitiol, so compelling, so counter-culture that I feel sure God has left this evidence on purpose.  That call to “love one another, even as I have loved you”, the call of “no greater love has any man, than this, that he should lay down his life for his friend” these things compel me beyond the surety of how I’ve seen my own forefathers live. It calls me to move beyond modern Chrisitiandom.

It calls me to question love. Not if love is safe, but is it real? Is it worth risking ones own welling being to change the lives of others? Because if it’s not worth that, what exactly is it worth?  I’m afraid I don’t understand.

How can the comforts of a couch and cable outweigh the strong call of love? Even at the price of tears, it still seems like a bargain to choose love. To risk love. To find out if what God has created us to be is enough when we come together. My reality says its sufficient to start, and that’s how the kingdom of God is built.

Does anyone else in Christianity believe this stuff anymore? Does anyone hear and reply to the call of God? Or has Jesus become or moral sprinkles on our happy life? I fear a people who don’t want to know the God they say they serve. Who don’t want to look into his face and love him. Who don’t want to come together to help. Who think the government will legislate morality, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, befriend the lonely.  I fear a people who don’t desire to do, because they so lavish themselves in “grace”.

The parable of the sheep and goats, scares the hell out of me, because the difference is so subtle that the people themselves didn’t know it. But it comes from the same man who said, “if you were children of Abraham (the father of faith) then you would act like it.”  It seems so easy. It seems so obvious. But are we paying attention? Are we willing? Or are we already so invested in the proper things, that we do not have time for extracurricular Jesus activities? But it’s not extracurricular, it’s essential core to life …a life of love. But are we a people who believe in the power of Love? …In our dark world?  Or do we only believe in love in our safe confines, and according to our modern day systems?

Can the love of God really change the world, just because Jesus believed in would? Does modern Christanity really believe in Jesus anymore? …Do we?