Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Jesus is a liberal
He put the poor and downtrodden first and cared not one whit about earthly wealth. He ate with sinners and the unclean, not the country club set.
He expected His followers to feed the poor, visit the sick and imprisoned, care for widows and orphans. In modern terms, liberal positions, opposite of the "every man for himself" school.
He was here to change people's hearts, too -- something today's "conservatives" refer to as "bleeding hearts". And just where do you think that term came from? Hmmm? From He Whose heart bled most, for all of us.
Many, many times Christ said it was more difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (no, not a sewing needle, but a needle in the wall of the cities. Camels had to kneel with full packs in order to enter through this opening.)
Christ came also to shake up society and the oppressive roles placed on the backs of the people. Class distinctions were wiped out. Gender roles were turned upside down. Shackles were loosed and people were free to be who God Himself created them to be.
Yeah, I think He was liberal in a major way. He owned everything and He gave it all away.
Also reminds me of a sermon. In a supposed newspaper somewhere in America the pastor's sermon title was published for the up coming sermon. The title read, "What Jesus thinks of the Republicans." Many people showed up and were disappointed to hear the sermon, "What Jesus thinks of the Publicans." (obviously misprinted) =)
Jesus did not come to change the status quo. He came to save sinners and build His kingdom. Was He for big government? No. Was He for welfare? No. Was He concerned for the poor, Yes. But not by keeping them poor and dependent upon big government. He was for the poor because no one thought the poor were savable. The common misconception of the day was that the poor could not enter heaven. That is why the rich man entering the kingdom of heaven was so shocking. Today, many have reversed and think that the poor are automatically given a pass into heaven and the rich are excluded. Not true. Only those who believe in Him and His works for salvation, by grace, are admitted to heaven... After all, it's His heaven. He gets to admit who He wants to, and that is those who are His sheep.
Remember, if you want to know about heaven, you must turn to what Jesus said and what it is like. If you want to know about HIs kingdom, do the same. And if you want to know about Hell, Jesus was the expert since He created it for Satan and all the demons. We know more about Hell because of what Jesus taught on it, than any other one in the Bible.
Was He a liberal? No. Liberal politics or conservative politics was not His bag. Kingdom and salvation politics were.
As for those things you mentioned, yes, conservatives do all those things as well. Especially conservative Christians. It's just we believe that the best thing for the poor and imprisoned is the gospel, not another handout. Their souls are more important than making them feel good about themselves, or dependent upon the government.
Do liberals help the poor and downtrodden? Well maybe... but the best message for both rich and poor is that they are all in need of a Savior, and Christ is the only one there to save them. Not some government program, or politics or whatever...
I'm talking only about the way Jesus conducted himself in the world and what he expected of others.
YES he did come to change the status quo! The status quo meant DEATH because people to that time believed they would go to heaven by following laws and rules and having particular roles in society. That was kind of the whole point of salvation, wasn't it? We cannot do it ourselves!
Christ came as a light to the world because the people were living in darkness. He shed His light -- shaking up the entire religious structure of the society, raising the least out of the gutter and giving them a place at the banquet table, knocking people down a few pegs when they needed it. All KINDS of societal rules were turned upside down and only a fool would say otherwise!
He also wanted people to understand that human beings have intrinsic worth simply because God the Father created them. People were all caught up in what they were "supposed" to be. Whores were "supposed" to be shunned. Jesus ate with them and forgave them their sins. Lepers and others were healed -- even on Sundays if that's when they needed to be healed.
Jesus said "forget the damned rules and listen to me. Take care of each other and pay attention to me."
1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
John 15: 12-15
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Not answering that question -- or worse, not even thinking of it -- is a shortcoming of many churches.
"Why, what have we here? A baby Christian! Now what?"
Now what? Now, act like Jesus!
How did Jesus act? That is the main thought behind the question posed in this post.
That whole give a man a fish vs. teach him to fish thing? That's like "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." It sounds good, but it ain't in the Bible.
Act like Jesus -- feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Take care of the sick and imprisoned, the lonely, the orphaned and widowed. Be socially responsible for one another. Don't let people be trapped by labels or expectations! (For an example of that, look at Pechur's response to me. A glib label which dismisses the need to deal with me as a human being.)
Preach the Gospel. Use words if necessary.
And remember, your "audience" won't listen to you telling them that they'll go to hell as long as they are hungry. They already have a taste of hell.
Feed them, and then you can tell them the message of salvation and they will listen. Damn those in need and you'll never, ever advance the Kingdom or spread the word to those who most need it.
Pech? Come on. Tell us why Tony Campolo is good, bad or sideways. Also, Hillary being a lifelong Methodist and a "social gospel" type, she actually would fit in the discussion.
You're like the short bully in fifth grade -- you keep pushin' everybody's buttons to start the fight, then sit back in the corner and giggle. :-)
In redneck: I do like to stir s--- up. ;-)
But, this is a good discussion so far -- and the fault line between liberal Christianity and conservative Christianity is real.
The silent minority of liberal Christians in this country, IMHO, need to 1., get off the gay thing., 2. get ioff the anti-war thing., 3. get on the Jesus thing and ride the evangelical-social-gospel train.
I agree with your response to my comments, but your first response was done on a political level. It came across as "Jesus is a Liberal, definitely not a conservative." That sort of thing "pushes my button" coming from both sides of the aisle.
And I would even define status quo a bit more precise, saying He came to disrupt sin and death because of the wickedness of man's heart.
As for the fishes and loaves, the miracle was more to point out who He was, not to say that we are to give handouts. Remember the context in John, they were saying that Moses was their father and they ate manna in the wilderness. Jesus was saying that He was the one who gave them the manna. The miracles point out who He is, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. It is nothing for the One who spoke creation into existence out of nothing, to multiply bread and loaves for the people.
As for the Law, Jesus did say that if we love Him, we were to keep His commandments. He didn't come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. Yet, in Christ we are to strive and keep the Law (the moral Law, not the ceremonial laws which Hebrews 9 sets aside).
Yes, we are to help the poor. AS a Christian, that is a resposibility and a privilege. But we are NOT to help the sluggard and most welfare programs lead those in them to live as sluggards. The poor are those who need help, not those who refuse to work, etc. I've seen a bit of both in my 10 years in ministry. The sluggard is the most difficult to help because all they want is a handout. The truly poor want help and desperately need it, but want to get out of their situation and not remain there.
Also, I must take exception to the comment "preach the gospel, use words if necessary." God's word preached is the gospel. You cannot preach the gospel without preaching by one ordained by God to preach. I know the intent of the saying, but it belittles preaching which God gave the church as a gift. He gave teachers and pastors as gifts and too many discount the necessity of the office for the edification of the church, so the church can do the work of the ministry. It was back in the late 1800s, that the position of the pastor began to be degraded. It was also as the same time that the churches started getting out of the business of helping the poor. I do believe the two go hand-in-hand.
Number one, I love the fact that in your opener you say that Jesus IS, not WAS. So far you're right.
Now, as for this business of being a liberal, you've got me thinkin'. You use the fishes and loaves example to say that He is for handouts. I would like to counter that with the passage of scripture that states those that do not work should not eat. I don't have my Bible in front of me, so I don't know where its found, but I can get it later if you'd like. I am purty sure that it is in one of Paul's epistles. The gist of the passage had to do with believers waiting on the eminent return of Christ who no longer worked, but allowed the other believers who were working, to feed them, too.
That said, followers of Christ are instructed to feed, clothe, and visit those in need. Rather liberal. But I think we can make a distinction between helping out and handing out. A fine line maybe, but a line none-the-less.
Another good example of liberalism would be in paying taxes. The ole "Render unto Caesar" bit.
Of course conservative "causes" abound as well - sexual purity, temperance, and the like.
Here's the biggie. Maybe I can stir it up a bit with this - Jesus was pro "right to bear arms". Prior to going to the Garden of Gethsemane (sp?), Jesus allowed His disciples to arm themselves. Now I guess you could argue that He was a Rosie O'Donnel type - that no one but those around Him should be armed. I'm afraid that that dawg just won't hunt, though.
I guess, if you add it all up, you'd have to say that Jesus is a moderate.
My question: If someone came to Jesus for healing, would Jesus ask whether he had a job? I don't know.
What Paul would do is another thing, by the way. Peter, too. Maybe I'll start another thread with "Paul was a conservative." ?
Have had other things going on besides bloggin'. So give me a little grace here.
First, this question can not be answered since Jesus was a politician in America. However, ER has provided a forum to discuss what a follower of Christ should do in society (per his own words in this comment section). So, in that sense I can put in my two cents and enage in the issue.
Secondly, you were not being "brushed" aside. I was answering the question to the original post, which I read to be, "was Jesus a liberal?" My answer had nothing to do with brushing you aside or anything of the sort. Sorry about the misunderstanding.
Here is my engagement with the issue. When Hillary runs for president she will try and be fairly successful in recapturing the "evangelical" vote. She will do this in several ways but one proposed way is to show conservatives that Jesus is more in line with liberal policies than conservatives moral issues. So, she will point to feeding the poor and other "social" actions to prove liberals and Jesus go hand in hand. This ploy will also bring back a couple of black votes. If there were black voters in the last election who were concerned about the lack of moral concerns (mainly abortion)and who have felt betrayed by this adminstration, then these will be pulled back into the Democratic (liberal, if you will) camp (along with other disgruntled "Christians". Basically, Hillary reads the Bible to get votes by showing Jesus was a liberal because he feed the poor. Then she will say that conservatives do not feed the poor and really don't care about them. Thus, if one reads the Bible as Hillary Jesus was a LIBERAL!!!! but one does not have to go to Hillary to find Christian liberals. They can them in the evangelical world of Tony Campollo. As to what he says exactly, I'll have to get my facts before I attempt to accurately state his position.
So with that accusation, I am attempting to say she (Hillary, and even he Tony Campollo) has (have) misread the Bible. So, how should it be read? Well, who knows the answer to that question? Conservatives tend to read the Jesus passages differently. And when they compare their "Christian" beliefs with the liberals policies they do not match up. This leads to the question HOW? How do conservatives read the Bible?
If you will allow me some time, I'll answer that too (by the end of the day) since that is the meat of this entire discussion. I just want to think thru this a little first. And I am hungry. (maybe if I were poor I could get some liberal to feed me) Hahaha That was joke my liberal buddies. Smile big =)
Act like Jesus? I don't think I am suppose to act like God. Thats been my biggest problem since birth. If I let Jesus be God to me then I don't need to act like anything but myself.
Jesus is a liberal?...........Jesus is our Creator and Lord and Saviour, He is God come in the flesh.
Once again, though, we have a fine line between helping out and handing out. Everyone gets sick/hurt. Everyone needs healing - physical, mental, emotional. But sometimes, Jesus is just going to let us reap what we sow. If I were to take my ole chainsaw and cut my foot off, I have no doubt in my mind that the Lord could heal it up and grow me a new one. He probably wouldn't though. If I'm stupid enough to cut my danged foot off, I better be man enough to live one-footed.
I guess I'll mention Paul once more as well. He had a job making/mending tents, in addition to his preachin' and evangelisin'. Paul was also a man of great faith. Still, Jesus never removed that thorn from his side.
There are two or three here, virtually, gathered in His name. Y'all all know what that means. (And danged if ain't gettin' chills).
Lord help us all love one another.
So do you, ER -- minus the cursing, of course.
Shaking my head, however, at Pastor Timothy's following comments:
"Was He for big government? No. Was He for welfare? No. Was He concerned for the poor, Yes. But not by keeping them poor and dependent upon big government."
Pastor or not, our friend Timothy can't find anything in the Bible to
justify his statement that Jesus is opposed to welfare and big
That is simply his own viewpoint.
Of course, as a pastor he's trying to inject the Lord into it, but it
doesn't stand the test of truth.
What Pastor Timothy is really saying is this:
"Am I for big government? No. Am I for welfare? No. Am I concerned for the poor? Yes. But not by
keeping them poor and dependent upon big government."
And that's OK. But it's his (lowercase his) opinion.
ER, you said "Oh, and I'm pretty sure Jesus was for handouts. Loaves and fishes, man."
That's what's known as a "faith based initiative" and that's a conservative concept.
Except, how do you manage to keep the spammers out?
Was Luke a communist/socialist? If so, then all Christians should support communism and socialism. That's sort of how I feel in defending a position such as is Jesus a liberal or a conservative. So, that needs to be kept in mind in the following comments.
In reponse to REM, for the record I used the past tense not to deny the eternality of Christ, but to look at the words and actions of Jesus while physically dwelling on the Earth.
I've skimmed thru the book of Matthew to try to get an idea of the purpose of Jesus' first advent. After his birth, he was baptized, which has nothing to do with either liberalism nor conservatism. So, from the beginning, Jesus' purpose was not political, nor how should a Christian affliate himself politically. Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread, so surely he could have wiped out world hunger by becoming a bread factory. He refused to turn stones into bread because He came for a higher purpose than feeding the hungry. His message was repentance. He then called for followers. He even asked these followers to leave their "jobs". So, he was not too concerned about the unemployment rate nor the indirect interest rate at the bank. And I am not saying liberals are. I am saying he had more in mind than JUST this world and its problems. But the world's concern were of some concern for Jesus. Because right after he called for followers, he healed diseases and sickness. So, his mission was to make the world and everything in it whole again (or so it seems). This does not mean he prefered liberal policies over conservative nor vice versa. Looking at who is doing the "healing" it is Jesus not the govt. But because he healed does that make him an American liberal or conservative. The answer is obvious. But what if America were a theocracy with Jesus ruling? What kind of government would it be? Who knows but one day the world will find out. But it seems that there will not be three branches of govt. It will be a monarchy. He will be the boss and whatever he tells people to do they will either do it by force or will willingly. Enough of that. He calls his followers, as His body, to continue to do what he began doing. So, his followers should be feeding the hungry and giving cold cups of water, clothing the naked, inviting in the stranger NOT THE GOVT. But alas the church folk have failed and are continue to fail to do this. Does this make liberalism the saviour of the world to fill in the gaps where the lazy church people are not? No, and I do not think that liberals are even thinking this way. They are not a Christian party (neither is the conservative party either) trying to do the job of the church.
The sermon on the mount is about the poor in spirit (not physical), mourning with those hurting (not FEMA handouts for example no matter how good FEMA is), the meek (which leaves me out), those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (not just the hungry and thirsty),showing mercy, pure hearted, peacemakers (not war mongers nor pacifists), those persecuted for righteousness (not those oppressed by society). Then followers are to be salt and light, and do GOOD DEEDS, then follow his commandments. This purpose is above an liberal or conservative agenda. Jesus' mission was to try to make people good people and restore the whole of creation . So does being a good person mean being a liberal? No but neither does it mean being a conservative. Can a liberal be a good person? Of course. The same is true for a conservative.
What does that mean to do good deeds? Follow the commandments. Love God and your neighbor as yourself. The recepient of these commands is not the govt. It's me and you.
And then what does a government offcial do if he is a follower and wishes to be a good person? Does he make laws to protect the environment, feed the poor, clothe the naked, build houses for the homeless, spend money on the military, or gain revenue thru taxes? What does s/he do? That is something I can not answer. I have a few friends who are aspiring politicians and they want to "do good deeds" as a politician. All well and good. Even for Hillary.
Politically, I do not believe big govt. is the answer to societal problems. I think the church doing its job is. Conservatives read Jesus and say, "He's about being moral upright." Liberals read Jesus and say, "He's about fixing society." So, when conservatives see things legislated by the govt. that goes against their moral standard, they look for a candidate who agrees with them morally. The same is true for liberals. They see conservatives' emphasis on morality (and conservatives being immmoral) and cry, Where is the social justice? We want a candidate who will save society with govt. programs and helps and handouts etc etc etc. In reaction, the conservatives see the liberal issues not having as high a priority because of them (conservatives) holding their values higher. Ultimately, that is why we are what we are; our values and beliefs. If I value this I am conservative leaning person, if I value that over this I am tending to be liberal. It's not an issue of both/and (i.e. I love small govt.and hate the environment). It is an issue as to what is more important to me in my value system. One may hate big govt. but see the need to feed the hungry. The emphasis will then be on getting the govt. down to size with little attention to soup kitchens. On the other hand, a liberal may see it necessary to stop the use of pesticides over military spending. It's all about values.
Fish and bread handout? I think that may be stretching it a bit also. The point of the story was not feed the hungry because Jesus feed people (maybe in the feeding of the 4000). Was it? Wasn't it about something else?
As a somewhat conservative person, I have been trying to read liberal evangelicals, like Tony Campollo to understand them. (And why I keep coming back to this blog even though ER may have said that he is not a "liberal." He is nice to all of us no matter what we think or say). I am wondering how do I stay conservative and Christian.
Must say to REM, I like your comments.
To Anon re:
"Pastor or not, our friend Timothy can't find anything in the Bible to
justify his statement that Jesus is opposed to welfare and big
That is simply his own viewpoint." of Pastor T.
The exact thing can be said to you. NO SCRIPTURE supports either big or small govt. It's how you wish to read Jesus. Jesus was above eartly governments of any kind. How people are governed are personal preferences due to various influences and experiences. Jesus is against big and small govt. however you wish him to be.
Good point and I will refine it.
Was Jesus for big government? Yes, but the government He was for was the Kingdom of God. No where does He say that He is for the big governments of the world/man. His focus was on His Kingdom and not the kingdoms of the world. Does He say that specifically? No, but it can be inferred since that is one of His main topics.
Is He for welfare? I say again, no He is not. Paul did write that if a man will not work, he will not eat. Paul was an apostle and was speaking directly for Christ, just as the prophets spoke for Christ in the Old Testament. Welfare in this country is a handout since no work is required. So would He be for it? I don't see it.
Anon, let me put it back on you... find something in the Bible that shows He is for welfare and the big government. And I mean welfare that requires no work for the recipients.
Even the OT law allowed for helping the poor, but the poor had to get off their back sides and go glean in the fields. They were not just handed the wheat, they actually had to work for it.
Again, I don't accept the fish and loaves as an admonition for a handout. After all, Jesus quit doing it and rebuked the people for not understanding the miracle.
"Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled."
He is rebuking them for missing the sign, which pointed to Him. Had he been for your welfare, would He not have performed the miracle again, so they could have their fill again?
The whole point of me starting this thread was to counter the idea prevalent among conservatives and conservative Christians that one cannot be a liberal and a Christian. That just wears me out.
Timothy, BTW, the premise was "Jesus is a liberal," "Not Paul is a liberal." You can say Paul spoke for Christ, but that is debatable. Paul spoke authoritatively. But I do not put the same weight on Paul's words as I do the red-letter ones.
I think Pech's latest offering is right on, too. Jesus is above all of this. But as a device to get people thinking, "Jesus is a liberal" is great -- and it's a reminder, I hope, to those who hang out only with conservatives, read only conservative writing, listen only to conservative teaching and preaching, that there is a whole big part of the Body of Christ on the Left.
I don't care about the size of government. What I care about is what the government does, and for whom.
Also, remember the conundrum: In this country, we are "the government." Big or small. Effective or ineffective. Efficient or wasteful. It's us.
I have been thinking about your subject here and what others have posted. I have one final thought:
Jesus is Liberal? What does it matter.
Jesus is a conservative? What does it matter.
Jesus is a Sooner fan? I think there is no doubt about it!
Have a great day all!
I'm pretty sure that, with his references to mustard seeds, and sowing seeds, and harvesting and such, it is abundantly clear that Jesus has to be an aggie. And Oklahoma STATE Aggie. ;-)
I think I have pointed out on your blog before that there was both Matthew the tax collector and the Sons of Thunder, or zealots wanting to be rid of the big government of Rome at the Last Supper. Matthew was for big government before Christ came and snatched him away for a greater purpose.
So, please remember that I do believe liberals can be Christians too. I've held this position for a number of years now.
AS for Paul's words vs the red ones... Paul was an apostle of Christ and that means that his words carry the weight of being directly from Christ. He was sent by Christ to do what he did, therefore His words carry the same weight as the red letter ones. It is the same in the OT, that the prophets and their words carried the same weight as when God spoke Himself. This is a constant throughout Scripture, that is why Paul wrote under the power of the Holy Spirit that all of Scripture is "God breathed."
Thanks for the comments and the support. You took the time to say what I wanted to say.
As for Anon, it's hard to give him/her/it a lot of weight since they won't give us a handle.
ER this was a good question. Thanks for posting it. I'm going to my mother's memorial tomorrow and this has been a pleasant distraction.
First off, you are both off your rockers if you think God is a Sooners or Cowboys fan. He is too gracious, and we know neither Sooners nor Cowboys fans are gracious. I will give the nod to the boys in orange, though, because they at least care about something other than OU football.
Truth be known, God is a Chiefs fan, for He allows me to pray on Sundays even when I'm not in his church but in Arrowhead Stadium instead. He loves me anyway.
And while I'm at it, the song America The Beautiful, the words "For purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plains. America, America, God shed his grace on thee ..." That means God's special on K-Staters. :-)
As a true, sooner bred, sooner born, and sooner fan... I have to say it makes me shudder and chills me to the bone to even think about the Lord wearing orange and black. I have no intention of turning this thread of yours to bedlam. I just had to have one final comment though :)
First, despite any differences we may have in our thoughts on any secular topic, I want to say without equivocation that I do love all my brothers and sisters in Christ. No matter what we may say on topics, that doesn't change! Along with that, Pastor Timothy, my sincerest sympathies to you on the loss of your mother. I did not know you were dealing with such a loss.
Second, when I made my first post, it clearly says in the first sentence "I think so." It even has the little quoty marks so you know I'm doing that finger motion saying "this is my opinion."
Third, never, ever ever did I make any mention of GOVERNMENT in any of my postings. Government is completely irrelevant (as well as irreverant) in my discussion of this subject. I said HE EXPECTED HIS FOLLOWERS to do these things. Period. HIS FOLLOWERS. Boys and girls, that's you and me. Take off your bibs and put on your aprons and work gloves and let's get busy!
And fourth, throughout the Gospels the parables are talking about spiritual hungers and needs as well as the physical. But Christ knew exceedingly that the physical needs of the body MUST be tended to before any efforts could be made to reach the spiritual side of people. That's why He fed the masses before starting the Sermon on the Mount and before other gatherings of large groups. He knew those people had arrived to hear him and had come without preparations. And it wasn't like they could stop at McDonald's and grab a Happy Meal. Christ provided the Happy Meal so they could pay attention and learn!
He knew also when He and the Disciples needed to tend to their physical needs for rest and down time, and frequently took them off into the mountains for rest away from the crowds. We need not just the Sabbath for rest, but other times when we can tend to this mortal body.
Timothy, I simply have to disagree with you on preaching the Gospel. Since Christ came as our Mediator, there no longer is any separation between the people and the priesthood. Some have credentials, and there is good reason for that. But they are not the only ones allowed or required to preach the Word and teach. I understand Apostolic Succession and the lineage provided for by the laying on of hands at the ordination of the priesthood. But every believer is called to make disciples of the world, so those gifts are given to many who do not stand in the pulpit or have a divinity degree.
Let me also raise the issue of the story of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32). To do a quick summary, the youngest son went against social custom and demanded his split of the inheritance when he was still a smart-mouthed youngster. His father let him have it. Son went off and lived the wild life, carousing and spending every nickle (or talent) he had. So after he goes broke, he hires out to feed a guy's pigs, and isn't even given any of the pigs' food to eat. He starts remembering how good life was at home -- his dad took care of the hired help as much as anyone. And he figures he can go back and ask Dad for a job and at least get fed.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.[a]'
22"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
Older brother gets ticked off about all of this. After all, he stayed behind and honored his father. He worked for him -- hard labor -- and couldn't even get a goat to roast for his buddies.
Dad sees the discontent.
31" 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "
Let's also remember Luke 11:5-13, the story about the neighbor who knocked on the door in the night, asking for bread:
 Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,  because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.'
 "Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.'  I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
You know, I think Jesus recognized that feeding the spiritual needs were so important that he didn't much care what it took to get people to the point of hearing His words. So someone is hungry? Then, FEED them for pity's sake. Let's get past that so "I" (Christ) can get them across the divide to Heaven! I don't care how you do it -- here, give me those stinkin' fish and those buns that kid brought and I'll feed 'em. POOF.
We're at a wedding and out of wine? OK, fine. I'll handle that. POOF. Done! Miracles! Now listen to what I have to tell you... God loves you so much He sent Me to cover your sins. You won't believe what's going to happen next, but hang on and believe in Me, and I'll have the rest of eternity to fill you in on the details...
Oh, and by the way, not to detract from this, but y'all need to review our current political and social policies. You'll be surprised to find that TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) does indeed require people to work in order to qualify for assistance. So let's quash this nonsense about "sittin' back and gettin' welfare," OK? Thanks.
"So, please remember that I do believe liberals can be Christians too. I've held this position for a number of years now."
"AS for Paul's words vs the red ones... Paul was an apostle of Christ and that means that his words carry the weight of being directly from Christ. He was sent by Christ to do what he did, therefore His words carry the same weight as the red letter ones. It is the same in the OT, that the prophets and their words carried the same weight as when God spoke Himself. This is a constant throughout Scripture, that is why Paul wrote under the power of the Holy Spirit that all of Scripture is "God breathed." "
As with just about everything else in this thread, if that is an argument you want to make, feel free to make it. It is not self-evident, and reasonable Christians can disagree.
Myself, I have a real problem with any assertion regarding the validity of Scripture, within Scripture itself, because the epistles, as letters, weren't "Scripture" until the canon itself was formed. That's not to say I dismiss such claims out-of-hand. But I do insist on more than the Bible itself to make claims as to the Bibleness of the Bible!
Anyway, except for some minor squabbling here and there, I'm right proud that this thread has stayed on such a high plane.
Now. Here's the political angle to all this.
All of us here seem to "know Jesus." In the voting booth, some of us, after taking that into consideration, will vote one way, and some will vote the other way. In good conscience.
We HAVE to stop berating those who vote the way we don't. We have to stop being mean to one another -- that ain't brotherly love.
We really do have to get along, we who believe, but who disagree so fervently on the best way to use our vote and our American birthright -- the say we have in how this nation uses its resources.
We do not have to agree. But Lord help us if we can't find consensus where possible and let God sort out the rest of it.
Re, the following:
“Anon, let me put it back on you... find something in the Bible that shows He is for welfare and the big government. And I mean welfare that requires no work for the recipients.
Even the OT law allowed for helping the poor, but the poor had to get off their back sides and go glean in the fields. They were not just handed the wheat, they actually had to work for it.”
You and others have asked me to justify a position that Christ backed big government and welfare.
I am misunderstood here, because I make no such contention and have no such belief.
My point was that you cannot use scripture to justify YOUR political philosophy that he does not.
But if you are really insisting on being provided evidence that Christ SERVED the poor, the widow, the orphan – even the despised OUTCAST – without any means test whatsover, and wants us to model that same behavior, your Bible must be missing quite a few pages.
Here, Brother, is a few of the several hundred verses that have to do with the attitude God expects us to have in regard to the destitute:
Prov. 29:7. The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern.
1 John 3:17. But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
Luke 6:33ff. "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same."
2 Cor 9:7. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Mt. 6:2-4. "When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you."
Mt. 6:24. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money."
1 Tim. 6:10. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.
Gal. 2:9ff. Recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John... gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we might go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. They only asked us to remember the poor-- the very thing I also was eager to do.
Acts 2:44. All those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began to sell their property and possessions, and share them with all, as anyone might have need.
Acts 4:32-35. And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles' feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.
I submit that grace is the free gift of God, not dependent on our behavior. ALL who call on the name of the Lord WILL be saved. We, too, are to give freely to one another in response to God’s generosity toward us.
It’s not rational, popular, practical and may not make good sense. But it is The Good News.
And by the way, on the verse that keeps being thrown out about working to eat, I would like to humbly point out the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:28, which notes yes, it is important for everyone to have a job. But then check out the reason why:
Eph. 4:28. Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, IN ORDER THAT HE MAY HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE WITH HIM WHO HAS A NEED.
Grace, and Peace,
The passage to which I referred is thus,
1 Thessalonians 3:11-14:
11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Conservatives are not all rich. We just believe in working for something rather than getting it for free. That's the only fair way for things to be. I'm all for helping someone who is down and out get back on their feet, but I do think that they should show some iniative to support themselves. What I have is not much, but I worked for it and that's something to be proud of. I believe the conservative stand-point to be just that, help those you can, but help them to gain the ability to do it on their own as well.
Now, to address this question. Was Jesus a liberal? Maybe. In that he bucked the establishment I would agree. He did come to shake things up. And I can equate the Pharisees of his day to some conservatives. After all we do get wrapped up in moral law more often than need be when in reality Jesus was all about two things--FORGIVENESS and LOVE.
Are those liberal concepts? Well, maybe. But that is not to say that they can't be conservative concepts as well. There is no definitive answer to this question. But is it really important? As long as we remember that Jesus loves us all, no matter what political affiliation, I don't think it really is.
No definiive answer, right, but you can read the comments and see that people are thinking and that is always worthwhile.
Again, my aim was to try to dash the idea that it's impossible -- or even difficult -- for liberals to be Christians. I consider it dashed. :-)
Rem, 1 Thessalonians 3:11-14 is an admonishment to Christians on how to deal with Christians in a Christian community, isn't it? That's one thing. How Christians should treat the needy in general is another, I think.
And what I think is this: If someone asks for help, it is the obligation of the Christian to render it -- not that I haven't oooched my way past some particularly snarky beggars on some urban streets. To my shame.
And another thing I think is this: One of the two political parties in this country, in my judgment, is more attuned to the needs of the poor and destitute, heck, even middle-income people, like myself, than the other. One of the parties tends liberal, and the other tends conservative.
And I vote accordingly. That's how I interpret my obligation as a Christian: to vote in ways that I think will encourage the use of our national resources to help people -- whether, strictly speaking, they "deserve" it or not.
Others think differently, and vote differently. Fine. My complaint is not with the heart-felt beliefs held by conservative Christians. It's with the condemnation, or derision, usually heaped on liberals, which includes liberal Christians, BY conservative Christians.
Since you touched on it, maybe the next topic should oughta be "Street Beggers: Brother, can you lend a dime?"
First - I mis-referenced the scripture - the passage came from 2nd Thes., not 1st Thes.
I think you are right - the Democratic Party tends to be more concerned with the plight of the less fortunate. So in voting to encourage such help, I can understand your point, but at what cost? Near as I can tell, the Dems are for helping folks physically, but on the flip side of that coin, they (generally speaking) encourage ideas that are harmful morally (abortion, homosexuality, the removal of all references to God under the auspices of sep. of church and state, etc.).
I do not agree with everything the Republicans stand for, but my views (especially my views for the role of government) tend to line up more with their platform than with Democrats. I do not believe it is the role of government to redistribute wealth. The national government should (by its very charter) concern itself with trade issues and national defense. I believe it is the role of individuals and organizations, such as churches, to help those in need.
It's too bad we (Americans) don't seem to be capable of moving to a viable multi-party political system. Perhaps then we wouldn't see such a venomous split in this country
Re, Dems "(generally speaking) encourage ideas that are harmful morally (abortion, homosexuality, the removal of all references to God under the auspices of sep. of church and state, etc.)."
I don't think anyone encourages abortion. Most liberals tolerate it; what they encourage is letting women make the decision for themselves. I admit that it saddens me. But being FOR laws that allow women to make the choice is being FOR freedom. In a free society, individual people make many such moral decisions. Being for this freedom, in my opinion, does not make me part of the decision any individual woman makes to abort, any more than it makes me part of another woman's decision to carry a baby to birth. On the other side, the right side, is something I find as repugnant as abortion: capital punishment. But with capital punishment, since it is the government making the decision to abort a life, I DO share in the decision, because of the nature of our government. I am not Solomon. But I prefer to hold my nose, stand to the left and tolerate the repugnancy (is that a word?) of abortion, for which I am in no way responsible, than to hold my nose, stand to the right and tolerate capital punishment, for which I am, arguably, partly responsible as a citizen. Make sense? Maybe not. It'a a tough nut to crack.
On homosexuals. Only homosexuals are really "for" homosexuals. The question here, again, is one of tolerance (as far as I'm concerned) and, again, freedom. Freedom means free to make moral decisions that can land one's heiny in hell, or it ain't really freedom, is it? Again again, THEIR decision, not mine.
On images and references to God on government property, including public schools. Get 'em out of there, unless it's in a class on religion or literature, or a historical display or something giving recognition to all sources of law. Otherwise, I really do not want to have to give Allah equal time. Or a cow (for Hindus) or trees and crap, for animists. There is a link to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State on this blog for a reason.
Re, "my views (especially my views for the role of government) tend to line up more with their (Republicans') platform than with Democrats. I do not believe it is the role of government to redistribute wealth. The national government should (by its very charter) concern itself with trade issues and national defense. I believe it is the role of individuals and organizations, such as churches, to help those in need."
Cool. I simply disagree. I think that the general (federal) government, keeping the rights and responsibilities of the states in mind, DOES have a role and resonsibility to "help those in need," since that, IMHO, falls under the umbrella of "general welfare." Which, I'll bet, is where the now negative term, "welfare," comes from.
ALL TAXES constitute a "redistribution of wealth." All of them. Even if that just means taking welath and giving to the government for basic operations What people usually mean is they are against the redistributon of wealth when it goes to people they don't want it to go to. Not saying that's what you mean. But many do mean that.
Myself, I do not oppose or begrudge wealth being redistributed to business, or to open overseas markets, or to the Small Business Administration to help new businesses get off the ground, or to others on the producing end of this market and society. So we should provide assistance to those on the other, consuming, end of life, the bottom -- and the middle -- too.
Re, "It's too bad we (Americans) don't seem to be capable of moving to a viable multi-party political system. Perhaps then we wouldn't see such a venomous split in this country."
Dude, I am ALL FOR multiple parties. I'm hoping that during the '08 presidential elections the freak right wing breaks away from the Republican moderates with its own freak candidates, and the freak left wing breaks off from the Democrat moderates and runs its own freak candidates.
Then, with no extremes pulling at the moderates on both sides, some kind of real consensus can form. Otherwise, we're screwed for a long time.
I HOLD MY NOSE and tolerate the extremes of my party. But I can tolerate those extremes easier than I can tolerate the extremes of the other party.
Blanche Lincoln for veep in '08.
I'm gonna have to let my energy banks recharge before I can take it on. But the idea that Jesus would be "for lower taxes" is stunning in its hubris.
Still a stunning thing to assert, though.
I agree, this is a very worthwhile topic. What is more worthwhile than spending time evaluating who our Savior really is and what he would want us to be?
I need to address this point: "My complaint is not with the heart-felt beliefs held by conservative Christians. It's with the condemnation, or derision, usually heaped on liberals, which includes liberal Christians, BY conservative Christians."
Not all conservative Christians are trying to heap derision on liberals. Most of us are just very defensive of what we believe to be morally right. We feel a bit threatened by the left on matters such as abortion and homosexuality because we believe that these things are wrong and that allowing the "freedoms" you describe to be legal implies that they are okay.
I believe that abortion is murder and that no one should legally be allowed to commit murder. I also believe that if someone commits murder they should suffer the utmost penalty for it under the laws of our land. We differ on those points but I have no right as a Christian to judge you for believing differently. God is the ultimate judge of all of this.
I think one of the biggest mistakes conservatives make is in being to quick to judge according to our moral laws. I think lots of liberals believe that conservatives just want to throw sinners away instead of forgiving and loving them. While I believe abortion to be wrong, I also believe that the woman that makes that choice is still loved by God and under the blood of Jesus made acceptable for His service and eternal life. I also believe that the murderer who gives his heart to Jesus while on death row, while still subject to the penalties of the laws of land, will receive forgiveness and be accepted into Glory.
I also realize that being for or against one thing or another doesn't necessarily make me conservative or liberal. Most of us are not completely one way or the other. That's true of Jesus as well. To define him strictly as a liberal or a conservative puts him in a box. He's bigger than that.
1. Anyone who honestly believes that abortion is "murder" but isn't on the picket line, clawing at Congress, marching on the Supreme Court and leading or participating in rescue missions to kidnap pregnant women, hold them captive and give them medical attention through birth, then take the babies and turn them over to someone to take care of them, or take care of them thesmselves, is an accomplice to murder, in a real socio-political sense.
2. Anyone who believes abortion is murder but makes exceptions for rape and incest is a wimp. If you're against abortion because it's murder, then you should be against murder in all cases. Period. Otherwise, what you really want is to tell others what to do.
("You" is not directed at Daffy; it is meant to be the univeraal "you.")
As for the accomplice thing, well I guess I am an accomplice. But I'm less of an accomplice than the person who says that abortion is just a "choice." And I realize that you don't want this to turn into an abortion debate, so I'll shut up now.
Feed the poor
Heal the sick
Clothe the homeless
Wash a tired mans feet
Turn the other cheek
Love thy enemy
Love thy neighbor
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone
It is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to thread the eye of a needle.
He certainly wasn't a Republican
“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”
~ Thomas Jefferson, 1813
“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
~ Thomas Jefferson, 1814
“Say nothing of my religion. It is known to my god and myself alone.”
~ Thomas Jefferson, 1817
Such statements are not anti-religion, they are simply pro-freedom.
Bush’s belief in God has never been questioned; it is Bush’s belief in good government that has.
and dwelt among us.
And we have seen His light; The light of the only begotten Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not deem equality with God; something to be grasped at.
Rather, He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. And it was thus that He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
and today, 3:00pm...
"Forgive them, Father! They know not what they do."
"I tell you this: Today you will be in Paradise with me."
"Woman, here is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother."
"Elo-i, elo-i, lama sabach-thani?" which means, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
"It is finished."
Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last".
Can you even begin to comprehend the sacrifice and Love of Our Lord for mankind?
Can you even imagine what impossible grief peirced the heart of His mther, Mary, as she knelt under the cross, seeing her child crucified?
Can you imagine having a son who knew only how to love others with unconditional love, always!! and then to see him put to death before your eyes?
My God, My God, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!!
1., REVISED*; 2., RETRACTED, 2/10/08
*Revised: Let it simmer for just awhile, is all.