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Mister Ed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-08-07 12:05 PM
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An Easter lesson for me
I seldom accompany my wife and daughter to church. Just a couple of times a year, on the holidays. During Easter service this morning, my eyes quickly gravitated to their customary focal point somewhere on the ceiling as the minister began her mediation.

After a few minutes, I drifted back to awareness as I heard the minister, in passing, refer to Jesus as "...that inconvenient man, that rabble-rouser, tortured by the state and killed as an example. That man whose words and deeds, his killers hoped and believed, would very quickly be forgotten."

That really made me think. No matter what anyone may believe about Jesus, this much is certain: the words and deeds attributed to him have been less "forgotten" than those of anyone else in human history. The government that thought it had snuffed out his flame had instead ignited a fire that would engulf the world.

My mind turned to the modern-day Machiavellian thugs who have taken over our government, who are now running in circles trying so desperately to stamp out the little fires of truth that are breaking out everywhere. They won't succeed, I realized. They won't succeed because they can't succeed. Ever. Just like that government in ancient Israel, so long ago. Even when it looks like they're winning, they're losing.

I snapped out of my reverie once more to hear the the minister, her voice both calm and resolute, saying these words:

"Say no to the lords of war, no to the forces of greed - say no by saying yes".

Yes to hope, she continued. Yes to life. Yes to truth.

Okay. I'm gonna try and carry that message with me this year. Makes think I might even get myself to church more often.


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Nimrod2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-08-07 12:07 PM
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1. AMEN........
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-08-07 12:19 PM
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2. AMEN
That is a hell of a message by the way
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bmbmd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-08-07 12:57 PM
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3. K and R.
A beautiful sentiment. Peace be with you.
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-08-07 01:03 PM
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4. he had a good pr firm working on his behalf. otherwise forgotten.
Edited on Sun Apr-08-07 01:05 PM by aikoaiko
;)

Happy Easter. :)
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-08-07 04:43 PM
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5. Read Jesus the Heretic and smile. He was a marvel, that man.
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checks-n-balances Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-08-07 09:08 PM
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6. What a GREAT POST for today and thanks for sharing it!! Just think of
even just one person who was reviled by many and eventually killed because he dared to follow the teachings of Jesus: MLK, Jr. And some of the most profound words he spoke have either been ignored or forgotten - especially about Vietnam and about the triple evils of Economic Injustice, Violence of War, and Racism. It's nice that we celebrate his birthday, but it's rarely a time that anyone publicly mentions these things, other than his leadership in the Civil Rights era. Here are some great quotes of his in case you hadn't seen them:

http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/about_king/warandpea...

You wrote:

"Say no to the lords of war, no to the forces of greed - say no by saying yes".

Yes to hope, she continued. Yes to life. Yes to truth.

Okay. I'm gonna try and carry that message with me this year. Makes think I might even get myself to church more often.


Yes, I hope you can go back because, first of all , they have female pastoral leadership, which doesn't happen everywhere. That says a lot about that church in particular already.

The pastor is gutsy, especially since many congregations and all mainline denominations are composed of persons with differing political views and differing theological views. Just about every denomination has an extreme right-wing element with desire and goals to take over that denomination, and have gotten more vocal about that in the past few years. Many of their actions and tactics parallel those at work in this country's national political life.

Any time someone can become more well-versed in what the Bible is REALLY saying, what the "Gospel" REALLY was/is, and can learn how to separate the bs that has been going around for decades vs. the true theology of Jesus, that person is in for a unique opportunity. It's even FUN sometimes, because God gave us minds and having an "Aha!" moment like you had this morning helps put everything more into focus. It's really energizing when so many aspects of life come together in a profound, meaningful and positive way. There has been such a disconnect between what Jesus intended and what passes over the airwaves and with so much of the public as "Christianity" that even just THINKING DIFFERENTLY about it is actually a REVOLUTIONARY ACT these days!

I spent years directing and coordinating educational programs in several mainline churches, and moments like the one you describe today are one of the reasons I hung in there with it for so long. In some ways, those who call themselves Christians are in a position similar to that of citizens of democracies - THEY MUST BE EDUCATED in order to make it work. Ignorance (and greedy, selfish goals & actions) destroys it.

Anyway, you just described a good understanding of some very heavy theological themes, like "God's Providence," for example. And it reminded me of one of the most profound sermons I've ever heard, next to two from MLK, Jr. himself. The theme was "When the Church rises up to be the Church, the World rises up to be the World." It described some of the ways that the Church fails to follow Jesus and is complicit with the Powers that Be (like what is happening today, which had parallels to the German Church in Nazi Germany). But when people REALLY do follow Jesus (by Speaking Truth to Power, for example), the sermon reminds us when Jesus is REALLY followed, what can be expected to happen next (like to be marginalized,etc, even by other people in the church - a lot of what Jesus describes in The Sermon on the Mount).

So the preacher keeps repeating that theme, but towards the end he says, "When the Church really rises up to be the Church, the World rises up to be the World, but Jesus Christ is Risen from the Dead." That is where the hope and the "Good News" comes in. What you described at the end of your post is what I view as one of the most profound messages of "the gospel":

That Good is ultimately stronger than Evil;

That Love (Compassion and Courage) ultimately triumphs over Hate (and Apathy and Fear); and that

Doing what is really Right is often HARD and can be very costly; but eventually,

A loving God ultimately does, and will, take care of us..


I think a lot of people at DU are already doing a lot of these bold and compassionate things, and they are much better at being followers of Jesus' than a lot of other people, even if they aren't intending to. Unfortunately, the most vocal people today (especially in "the media") who publicly call themselves "Christians" are creating images of God, Jesus and Christianity that are a real turn-off to compassionate people whose critical thinking skills allow them to detect BS when they hear it. (And I'm guessing that you've got a great BS detector yourself!)

(Sorry about this long post - be careful, if you give me an "opening" I'll end up preaching a sermon! And I've got a ton of work to get done tonight, too!)

Anyway, thanks for posting about your "Easter epiphany" today - because it reminds me of how much more I personally need to be listening, following, and taking risks. If you ever go back, I'd be interested to hear your impressions of that visit.

BTW, I'd love to take the time to discuss this kind of thing occasionally with fellow DUers, so if you or anybody else out there would like to continue this conversation sometime or occasionally, please feel free to send me a PM. Just not tonight! And I promise to be a better listener than talker, too.
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