Practical Kerygma

     Wondering through the alphabet this week on K for the A-to-Z Challenge Kerygma caught my eye as not typical.  It's a derivation of the Greek relating to preaching the good news of Christ, and more specifically translated in the New Testament in  Luke 4:18-19, Romans 10:14, Matthew 3:1.

     My spirituality is not a hidden characteristic, having portrayed Jesus for the Berrien County Council of Churches as well as Paul, Moses, and others for drama ministries around the turn of the century.  My theology also doesn't fit neatly into the boxes many denominations prescribe after having taught every book in the bible for adult studies for many years, and leading seminars on prayer as well.  Some theoretical discussion is available at Losing Common Knowledge, a previous post.

     This post isn't about converting anyone from what they believe to what I may believe, which continues to grow and change with both study and relationship.  My honest intention for this post is the hypocrisy exploding out of what is supposedly the most Christian nation on earth, and in particular the leadership of my party, Republican in Washington, D.C. as well as in many states.

    Let's take Matthew 25:34-36 "Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

    Consider I John 3:17-18: "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."

    We'll just skip the "Harder for a rich man to get into heaven than a camel to go through the eye of a needle" scripture.  In part because I have nothing against those who have been granted tremendous financial blessings, as long as they didn't harm individuals or society in achieving their wealth.

     The problem lies in supposed leaders who spend all of their time protecting and providing tax benefits to the wealthy, while destroying and ignoring the needs of the poor in this country.  The wealthiest country in the nation has these undeniable facts in 2013:
  • 25% of Americans don't know what they're going to eat today or how, because they can't afford food.
  • 50% of the children born in this country last year and this year will be born into poverty.
  • The 47% who may not pay federal income taxes make less than poverty wages to begin with.
  • The federal benefit poverty threshold, set in 1964 based on the 1955 census, hasn't kept up with the cost of living since then (try looking up the cost of goods, housing, etc. in 1964 for comparison).
  • The poverty level of the next 25 industrialized nations doesn't add up to half of the U.S. population poverty level in the United States.
    One can't claim to be a Christian, or any other spiritual theology outside of Ayn Rand (who hated Christianity and said so repeatedly) while creating policies and budgets that increase the assets of the extremely wealthy while causing increasing suffering on the poor.  After all, beyond loving the Lord Your God above all others, the instructions are pretty clear to give up your assets and serve the needs of those less fortunate than you.  Quarterly bonuses not included of course.

     The point in choosing the word Kerygma is that "preaching" the good news is not about what one says from any pulpit, legislature, or television program.  Those are just words.  Real preaching is done as Jesus did:  most of time time in smaller groups and individually, meeting people where they are, healing them, and making a difference in their lives in ways that brought hope, faith, love and opportunity.  Unfortunately that's not what's happening in the agenda of the party that claims to be both Christian and pro-family.  In fact, they do the exact opposite every day.  As Kid Rock said recently, it's getting really hard to remain a Republican."  And I have been my entire life.

   Fortunately I can find ways to actually DO what the major religions require of believers daily, because I'm never running for government office.  And of course that's just my opinion.  I could be wrong, but I don't have to answer to those who disagree.  We might have to answer to the same higher power down the road though.  I'll stay my course and take my chances.

Watch Poor Kids on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

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