Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Responding to a Sermon

"I went to church the other day and heard a sermon. It was like many sermons I’ve heard in the past, giving a very moral point of view. The point was: “Love your neighbor but hate your enemy.” Well, that’s one point of view. That’s one morality. Here’s another: Love everyone, even those who hate you.
"If someone is in the process of destroying you, pray for their peace.
 If someone insults you, say good things about them.
If you don’t get along with someone, do good things for them (especially if they don’t deserve it)
Do this because this is what God does.
"You see, God sees the hearts and actions of every person, and knows who they really are. And he looks down and gives them all sunshine and rain and blessing. Every. Single. One. Even ISIS. Even the thief who took your car. Even the guy who curses God’s name on a regular basis. Even the cop who arrested you for no good reason. God grants them all peace and food and love. Every. Single. One.
"Now, we claim to be God’s children. But are we? If we only love people who love us, how can we claim to be godly? If we give only to the people who are in our in group, how can we claim to be like God?
"Here’s the deal, if you want the fullness of what God has to give you, then show love to everyone, without exclusion, like God."

(Matthew 5:43-48 with some help from Luke 6:27-30, SKV)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Jesus Lives!

Last Friday at a public transportation stop a couple miles from my house, two teenage women with hijabs were standing. A rough man came up to them, yelling at them, telling that Muslims don't belong in this country.  The train rolled up, and the quickly got on, but he followed him, continuing his insulting tirade.  Three men heard this confrontation and stepped in, protecting the two girls from their verbal assailant.

Suddenly the brash man pulled out a knife and quickly stabbed the three protectors.  One died there in the train, another died in the hospital and the other is recovering.  The man was captured by the police because another person followed him from a distance, calling 911. 
I've read a number of statements from some of my friends stating that they are disappointed with Portland, in wake of yesterday's attack on two Muslim women and the injury and death of three men trying to defend them. They are disappointed that anyone would feel comfortable enough to yell at or attack people of another ethnicity or religion.
It is true that we are in an hour in this the whole nation where the open, violent racists feel comfortable to verbally abuse and attack people on the open street. It is true that our city government treats the racist protesters better than the anti-Trump protesters.
But you know what? On that random MAX train stop last night, there was ONE violent racist, and THREE anti-racists putting their bodies on the line to stop the evil. And TWO people were able to arrive home safely. For Portland, that some decent math to occur on a random public transportation stop. This means that there's a fight, but it is a fight that we can win.
To those who insist that the Muslim women/community should be grateful to these men, that may be true. So should we all. Because they weren't just sacrificing themselves for those women, for Muslims in general (although that is true), but for all of us to live in freedom and peace in our community. They died for all of us.  Sound like someone you know?
I pray that we are all ready and practiced to stand up to abuse and violence against any oppressed people. Against Muslims, against African Americans, against Native Americans, against the homeless, against LGBTQ, We need to stand up against anyone who is directing threats against others, even if they are police, in a peaceful but firm rejection of prejudiced.
And may we stand against the just as ugly prejudice against these people created by our structure: the national and local governments, businesses, non-profits, lobbying agencies that separate a group and say, "These are the people we don't want in our society."
Let's use these three heroes as our model. Let's all stand to defend the outcast.
And if we stand, with out lives, then we can say that Jesus is here. Jesus who laid his life down for the rejected, overcoming the system that oppressed them through his sacrifice.  If we stand up for the outcast and the "sinner" ready to lay down our lives for their sake, then we become Jesus in that moment.

Jesus only lives if we live out Jesus.

Monday, May 29, 2017

King of the Perpetual Revolution

"Later guys, I'm outta here"
The ascension of Jesus, him leaving us with the Most Mystical God is a mystery. Why leave us without clear direction, a clear line of leadership, a clear set of commands that do not need to be interpreted? The presence of Jesus is assurance, it is all our questions answered, it is knowing exactly what our nation and religion is. And that's exactly why Jesus left.

The ascension is Jesus' guarantee that people won't put a temple around him, to centralize him and to stabilize him. The ascension means that our nation will never have a throne, a building or a city from which all commands must come. The ascension means that leadership won't be passed on through a lineage or a bureaucracy. It means that every generation must find their own leaders, reflected by Jesus' demand that they primarily lovers of the people and servants of the poor. It means that the only teacher we have are the commands of love and humility, and we have to work out the application for every sub-culture. It means that religion cannot be standardized.

The ascension means that Jesus is and always will be the perpetual King of the revolution. The Lord of change. The master of the always applicable law and government. He will always be the center of the nation that we immigrate to. Exactly because his physical presence is with the Father, and so we must always deem the earth's governments as inadequate, and we are seeking for the perfect love, the perfect rule, the perfect leader, always out of our control.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


A famous businessman became president and he invited thousands of peers to come to his inauguration.  Instead of being overjoyed, they made excuses.

"My job requires me to be in the office," said one.
"I just got married and... well, I'm too busy," said another.
"I promised to take my daughter out that day," said another.

The employees who took the RSVPs explained this to the President and he fumed and ranted.  Finally, he said, "Fine! Go downtown and invite every beggar, bum, cripple, wino and homeless to the inauguration." 

After a while, they returned, "We did as you requested, Mr. President, but the greens still look pretty empty." 

"Okay, then," he replied, "go to the day labor stations and the street corners. Find every immigrant looking for work or any foreigners who happen to be standing around. Give them some money, do what you must until the whole area is filled.  Let me tell you, though, not a single one of the ones who offered excuses will stay in my country."

Luke 14:16-24, SKV