This a simple, beautiful affirmation I say whenever I need a reminder. Many times I add complete and perfect. We are all created In the image of God, whole, complete and perfect. When the world beats us up and tries to make us feel less than, we repeat these words.
Believe me I understand how many people feel about how Islam seems to be quite violent as to want everyone who is not of their religion dead. But it is a religion, now hundreds of years old, regardless what we or others call it. My intent in replying to a comment addressed to me in 2019, was not to argue with her nor anyone else, but to give another point of view.
Let me ask this:In reality, are any other religions truly much different? We know that the Islamic faith sprung from the tribes’ ancestors by two brothers’ conflict. Most people of faith have read the Christian/Hebrew (Jewish) Old Testament and wondered about the Hebrews being told to perform one battle after another, slaughtering whoever stood in their way, to take over the land promised to Abraham. And the Christians? From the time that believers in Jesus, the Christ, were forced out of Jerusalem in 66 A.D. Christians have stood at attention ready for military battle to defend our faith; believing that if they did not, then who would? This can be seen in international conflicts like the Christian Crusades, and more localized conflicts like the enduring war between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.
But have those armed military conflicts really settled anything? Oh, certainly you can point at the United States and proclaim that had it not been for the armed revolution against the British that the Freedom of Religion would not be known in states, or anywhere else. Freedom of religion? Defined how? While the whole purpose of this clause in American government was to sever the relationship between religion and government, it seems that today certain extremists Christian believers are proclaiming that instead the clause means freedom only for those who believe in Christianity. This, therefore, is an action toward establishing Christianity”as the state religion.And to make things worse, those who are shouting this should be done are also declaring that anyone who does not believe in Jesus as the Christ should have no rights or possibly even be killed. Now tell me, how different is that than what is found in the Qur’an,Islam?
Let’s take just a few moments and reason this whole mess out. WWJD?
Most certainly it is not a pleasant experience to suddenly realize that there are major, and I meanextremely major groups and forces who may feel it is their duty and responsibility to the God they worship to annihilate the rest of us. But, not to make excuses for these peoples’ actions nor to imply they are right, the Islamic/Mohammedan people have, in the past, experienced the same treatment at the hands of the Jews and Christians. The immutable conflict between the two brothers has been on an international, inter-religious battleground for millennial ages now and has spread worldwide with no foreseeable end in sight.
So just what is this battle? Is it really who owns a piece of land in the Mid-East? Is our battle really who has been given true access to the Creator, God of this physical universe?
I can tell you through my years of experience in the study of people, societies and human religions that the people who claim and try to live the Islamic religion are, in their hearts, no more naturally violent than anyone else – Christian or not. Now this can be offensive speech when heard by many Christian believers; but how many true believers have you ever known who would not explain away the words of Christ when it came to explaining their reasons for having a right, a duty, to defend themselves and their families? Yet is this the Christ message they are declaring? Or is it something each one of us learn from the time we are born that is our “sacred” duty to do – or be shamed? This radical declaration of possible violent defense of the Christian belief systems is actually no different than what I have heard from the few radical Muslims I have had discussions with. The teaching of ones right and responsibility to defend their religious roots and existence is universal, though the roots may be on different religious plants.
But there is a different group of people in every religion, every country, and every group of well-meaning individuals who are less than benevolent, less than pure, less than holy. While there are people in every religion in the world who try to live a pure, clean and holy life, Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other religions alike, there are others who would prefer to disrupt the balance and claim such spiritual riches as being theirs and their groups’ alone. These extremists are the ones who declare that everyone who does not believe as they do and/or serve their purpose should die. They are the political activists who consider no compromise. They are, in short, the terrorists.
Fear is a terrible taskmaster. But, instead of the popular t-shirts with the slogan printed on them stating, “No Fear,” we, as Christians, should be holding up a banner proclaiming “Pure Love.” We are in a spiritual battle during this age, as stated in one of the “Lost Gospels” where the conflict is over good vs. evil, light vs. darkness and truth vs. lies. The truth which Jesus proclaimed is to not fear those who proclaim that darkness and defeat is inevitable, because if we believe that then our actions will become such as to cause that fear to become reality. No our instructions given by Christ was to “occupy” until he returns. Notice there is no mention of doing battle or slaughtering everyone who refuses to believe in Christ. We are to simply occupy. (LUK 19:13)
Strange, isn’t it? If we were all to simply occupy and serve God, as we know him, in our own ways without attempting to say, as would little children, “My God is better, bigger, more powerful than your God,” then go about our daily lives serving God as best we know how, it seems that could be a taste of Heaven on Earth?
To see more of Bob’s writings click on the Free Library button here or at the top of the page.
New Year’s weekend seemed like a good time to take a good look at the blog and see if anything needed my attention. I found the old Espirational toolkit and decided to bring it up to date and back to active status on the blog. It will take awhile, there are a lot of dead links and I want to rearrange it and add some new links and categories.
Now, I have a few questions for you. Do you want the toolkit to come back? The links on the original were annotated with a brief description. Do you find these helpful or would you rather have just a list of links?
There is more work I want to do on the blog to make navigation easier and would like to get Bob to add some of his writing to the blog. I will also be deciding what to do wth my art gallery.
For many New Year’s Eve is a night to party. Alcohol, music and fireworks can be part of the celebration. Some may see it as one last night to go all out before the resolutions they are making for the new year kick in. For others the night is a time of reflection and contemplation.
I grew up with a New Year’s Eve Celebration that did not involve alcohol. It was what we used to call a “Watch Night Party” held at our church. It was a party that began at 9 PM and included lots of fun, games and food, until about 11:30. At that time we began moving into the Sanctuary to begin the New Year gathered on our knees at the front in prayer
Years ago, Bob and I would get up early on New Year’s Eve and drive across the city in the dark to be at Unity Church by 6 AM for the world peace mediation. A light breakfast followed.
We now gather with others remotely, but the tradition of beginning the year in some sort of prayer or reflection remains important to me. During the difficult times our world has been going through this is more important than ever. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
This is an older video, but I love the gentle way this song is performed.