Whispers to Action

     On a recent Saturday morning I received a phone call from an acquaintance.  At one time I would have considered them a close friend and mentor, but as the years have passed and opportunities to meet somehow aren't available, acquaintance is more accurate.  He called because during his morning prayers he'd received a message from God: "Jesus wants you to know that He forgives you and He wants to make you whole again."

     This week a high school acquaintance (having attended four different high schools in three districts, they're all acquaintances) who is now a pastor posted a message one of my Facebook posts. I have devoted an hour or so a day when possible since early July to creating motivational posters if you will.  Quotes along with common licensed pictures.  In the case of this one to the right, she wrote "even though we differ in theology we have similar visions of building community."  I responded that our theologies were probably not that far apart, but would be an in person discussion.

     Having many years ago worked for First Assembly of God on 44th street in Grand Rapids I'm quite familiar with other individuals expressing a "word" they believe God gave them to share with another. While not as far suspect to be labeled a cynic,  I question the judgements we often make about others based on ten second sound bites, hearsay and gossip that then leads us to "share" something we believe to be holy.  Which doesn't mean we don't receive God's wisdom from others.  After all, none of us wrote the books now contained in the bible and numerous other works clearly inspired by the Holy Spirit.  But "God told me to tell you," makes me question one's motives and relationship.

     After all, it is that kind of  theology which led to the persecution, expulsion, and execution of Jews that began nearly 2,000 years ago.  The Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, Hitler's abomination, the justification of slavery (globally, let alone in the United States), the Klu Klux Klan, McCarthyism, discrimination and persecution of minorities, women and same sex partners - were (and are) all based on someone's interpretation of the bible.  In case you aren't aware, there's only one unforgivable sin according to scriptureso clearly most of the time those judging and interpreting get it wrong, as Lewis Black would say.   They've twisted a phrase or paragraph to suit their purposes, which has nothing to do with God and a lot to do with insecurity and discrimination. There are some who would use such acts by humans claiming to be holy to deny the existence of God.  I have seen too many miracles in my life and in many others through faith in Jesus Christ to even consider such a fallacy.

    Whatever faith one believes in (and believing there is no God is still a belief system), we never convince others of the value and truth of our theology by condemnation, persecution or expulsion.   
      "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." (I Kings 19:11-12).  
We do so by listening, by sharing, by giving and by speaking softly and clearly. 

     If you want to know the fullness, depth, width, compassion, mercy and joy of my faith then we need to have a one-on-one conversation in whatever format you choose.  Before we do, you might consider reading some of the following in addition to the bible as primers to start.

  1. The Science of God - Gerald L. Schroeder 
  2. Science and Religion - Alister McGrath
  3. The Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren
  4. Choosing to Love the World - Thomas Merton
  5. Between Man and Man - Martin Buber
  6. I and Thou - Martin Buber
  7. The Confessions of St. Augustine
  8. Dawkin's God: Genes, Memes and the Meaning of Life - Alister McGrath
    Most days I wish the self-righteous would quit trying to legislate what they think over what other humans have a right to believe both biblically and constitutionally.  Morality can't be legislated, it has to be taught speaking the truth in LOVE.

     May your day, week, month and year be filled hope, joy, peace and the ability to hear clearly the whispers in your heart and mind that choose service to others over self.  For that is the essence of a relationship with God. We, not me.

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