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Live in God’s beauty, refuse to self-destruct | Church Corner

I made the comment in my sermon, a couple of weeks ago, that while I really don’t mind talking about politics, as a subject, or certain candidates or officials or issues specifically, and while I love to talk about the philosophy of religion and Christianity and any Biblical or doctrinal matter specifically, it seems there are so many hot buttons attached to them, and such possibility of acrimony, that I’d really rather you ask me about my sex life, because I am married, and have been for many years, and I do have my opinions about sex, and it is so personal and indisputable, because it’s mine, that I think I could get out of the conversation with better marks for my candor on the subject than either politics or religion!

Of course, an audible gasp ensued, and it took some folks several minutes to get caught up with where I’d moved on to in my teaching notes.

Catch up now – I’m not gonna talk about sex today, either – I’m taking exception to lumping Christianity with other religious or faith or political structures, and to the ludicrous and ridiculously broad definition that seems pervasive around so-called Christianity. So let’s first recognize that Jesus Christ is the progenitor of Christianity, through his life and teachings, and his eventual death and resurrection, and then that this unique life and teaching is the core of the unique faith structure which has come of it. The term Christian first showed up as a moniker for Jesus-followers in Antioch, probably by the locals, as a means to distinguish them from the other deity-followers, in about AD 55. While there are some who intimate this designation was derisive, I see no hint of disrespect in the context of the narration of Acts 11:26 to indicate there was some ill will intended.

It’s also important to recognize that, true to the moniker, only a follower of Jesus Christ is a Christian. On this basis, I assert that precisely because Jesus Christ – our namesake and the founder of this force we refer to asChristianity – refused to get all embroiled in either the politics or economics or morality of his culture, that a true Christian does not get all wrapped around the axle on most of the foolishness of our culture and politics and religion, or even the pokes at our Christian faith. I’m not suggesting that Jesus didn’t engage folks, because he surely did, but he carefully guarded himself from getting pulled into stuff that was only ancillary to his divine call. He didn’t come here to argue with the authority of the government, or to evade or avoid taxes, or to straighten out family feuds, or to right all the wrongs of his prevailing culture. He came to foment reconciliation between mankind – each individual, regardless of gender or race or color or stature or country of origin or familial background or propensity of any sort or degree of goodness or degree of badness – to our creator God, who has every intention of intimate and personal involvement with, and of meddling in, every one of these individual lives, in absolutely every detail of our personal lives, to bring us to life, which will then straighten out all the other issues!

I’m gonna vote – I have no clue for whom! And I’m personally incensed at the total disregard for reasonable accountability in either morality or finances – or any other area of their personal or public lives for that matter – of our political figures worldwide! I’m sickened by the carnage that one person foists on another all around the world, in every culture, at every economic level, in either the darkness of a personal encounter or on the world stage for all to witness.

And I’m most appalled at what we call Christianity and how God’s people seem unable to humble themselves at the foot of the cross, right along with two of the Marys and John and several other disciples, and the centurion, to simply avow that, “Truly He was the Son of God” and we’re with him, and that’s all!No political, economic or moral agenda, just the simple and profound spiritual agenda: “I will let Jesus Christ be Absolute Lord of every detail of my life!” I bank my life that we could feed the world, and bring peace to it, and heal every broken relationship, on this one agenda alone.

So I have only one hope for myself, and anyone close to me: I immerse myself into listening to the Holy Spirit and following Jesus like a true Christian. There is no other hope for this violence-ridden landscape we call our current world. No political, economic, moral or religious movement is going to pull us out ofour self-destructive nosedive into our own self-constructed mud hole. Yet I refuse to nosedive and self destruct, and I refuse to live in mud hole, because I choose to live in the beauty God has intended for us here, never mind what chaos ensues around me, and then, one day out of time, to live in the next phaseof beauty, again.

Got peace? Yes!

Want some? Shalom!

The author, the Rev. Dale Pratt, can be reached at dale@cedarcommunitychurch.org.

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