Hey.. you know what? I can no longer TOLERATE you INTOLERANT Christians. You HATE gays, and your neanderthal treatment of women and her right to.. 'choose'. You are all right winged, second ammendment nut jobs voting blindly Republican every election like one big line of lemmings heading off your political cliff. The only progressive thought in your life is considering a Progressive Insurance policy.
Ok the above rambling is my paraphrase of your average 'progressive' thinking 'Secular Sam'. While I have overstated the views of Secular Sam, BUT the negative perception by the media and secular society is too real.
This whole INTOLERANCE label is concerning me. I agree when the heart and mind of the church becomes judgmental we are merely legalistic in our words and actions... living breathing CLANGING CYMBALS. BUT when we truly love God, we naturally honor Him with obedience in our words and actions. Truth in Love where we do not force our faith on others, BUT in all our ways acknowledge him first.
So this all leads me to my INTOLERANT JESUS. Of course Jesus healed the sick, the blind, the lame, and raised the dead. BUT he also lovingly told TRUTH to a compromised world. Jesus admonished his disciples, spoke frankly to the rich young ruler, and the woman at the well, and instructed Nicodemus he must be born again.
Jesus also shared clearly the ONLY way to Heaven, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me". John 14:6. In all his words and actions Jesus was TRUTH IN LOVE. The end result, the world rejected him and Jesus was crucified by basically the same people who were praising him just 5 days earlier.
Let me leave you with the words of my 'INTOLERANT JESUS' to his disciples in John 15:18-25 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
I pray we remember these words as encouragement to stand strong for TRUTH, but but but also to remember to be Truth in Love always.
A popular saying in the 1980s was "He who dies with the most toys wins." The quote is attributed to flamboyant millionaire Malcolm Forbes.
In stark contrast to the advice of Mr. Forbes I recall as a kid in Sunday School learning the story in Mt 19:16-26 where after the dejected rich young ruler leaves Jesus he tells his disciples "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven."
This was GOOD NEWS for my lower middle classed family and BAD NEWS for those 'blessed with bucks' living on the other side of the tracks. AND.. It was clear even to my elementary school understanding of physics no big ol' hairy desert beast of burden will pass through an eye of any needle.
I later learned the 'eye of the needle' Jesus was referring to was a small gate in Jerusalem a camel could only pass through if it stooped and had its baggage removed. This is a great analogy of wealth which can be a great blessing and resource for self and others in this life, but.. "you can't take it with you." .
So clearly the smirky advice of 'Rich Man' Malcom Forbes (even if true) pales in comparison to 'Poor Man' Jesus words of eternal perspective.
But as a relatively poor man I find myself strangely affected by many of the same issues of the Rich Young Ruler.
Mt 19: 16-22 (my paraphrased conversation with Jesus)I
Jeff: Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?
Jesus: keep the commandments.. don't murder Jeff: CHECK
Jesus: don't commit adultery Jeff: CHECK
Jesus: don't steal Jeff: CHECK,
Jesus: tell the truth Jeff: CHECK
Jesus: honor father and mother Jeff: CHECK
Jesus: and love your neighbor as yourself Jeff: CHECK.
Jeff: So far so good..
Then Jesus says "Give yourself totally to me, trust me when life is good and when it is difficult, then follow me."
Then when I heard this I become sad because my faith, my commitment to prayer and time in the word, and reliance on God in good and bad is too often not what is should be in fact my life was too often simply about ..
Ok, good news I plan to not walk away from Jesus instructions. I prayerfully desire to pursue God with my time, my heart, and to be a witness in words and deeds. When I fall, when I fail, and/or when circumstances have me in life's valley I will prayerfully trust in him.
To all of you rich and poor folk may God find you faithful in the lives you live and the resources you are blessed with. May we all be about the business of sharing Jesus to a world that is lost. One body, many parts.. God bless y'all!
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson