Thursday, August 29, 2013

If You Impose Your Rules For Getting Into Heaven, Know That I'll Tell You To Go To Hell.


What if... 

What if the distilled essence of Yeshua is the very Love we reject whenever we fail to love our enemies?

It seems much more plausible that we become Christian through ongoing embodiment of agape rather than the widespread, supposedly "Christian" practice of "worshiping a name," proclaiming Jesus Christ as one's "Lord and Savior."

If the heart of Jesus is Love, and Love's lordship does not inspire us to love our enemies, then it seems we are rejecting Yeshua in the most fundamental way possible.

In comparison to believers who dedicate themselves to the actual, factual Incarnation of Love, verbal proclamations and dogmatic declarations are so many brain farts.

What if Love is The Law?

The only Law.

"Love and do what you will."  St. Augustine

The Christian challenge is not to "come forward" at a Billy Graham Crusade to proclaim -- once and for all -- that "Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior," but to incarnate Love all along The Way

This is also true for people who do not acknowledge "the historical Jesus" as Lord and Savior. 

Anima naturaliter christiana

Any approach to Christianity that does not prioritize "loving the unlovable" tends toward smarmy nonsense of a kind that is often used to justify the oppression and condemnation of others, starting with those unlike one's diminished self.

Smarmy Christians -- always eager to distinguish "the saved" from "the damned" -- tend to condemn those who live outside the self-reflecting tribe.

"You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do." 
Tom Weston, S.J.


Matthew 5:43-48

New International Version (NIV)

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Increasingly, I find meaning in The New Testament as rendered in a translation called "The Message."

Matthew 5:43-48

The Message (MSG)
43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”


Jesuit priest Tom Weston observed:
'You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do.' 


Last week, at Chautauqua Institution, retiring Religious Education director, Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, offered this petition: "Too often we pray for peace as if it was God's responsibility rather than our human obligation."


Those neo-puritans who push their morals on others are their own worst enemies.

Not to mention God's.

The chief impulse of theocratic fascists is the egocentric urge to feign worship of God through a process of deep denial that results in the apotheosis of themselves.

Once self-deification is accomplished, these self-created deities consider themselves authorized -- absolutely authorized -- to ride roughshod over every democratic process, always pretending they know the precisely delineable limits beyond which God will toast a sinner's ass in An Everlasting Lake of Fire. 

By distinguishing "the saved" from "the damned" -- and by portraying the torments of the damned as immeasurably beyond any torment a mere mortal could inflict -- these self-elevated demigods believe they have been ordained to inflict limitless pain -- both personal and political -- since whatever they do as God's "smiting agents" is not even close to what God Himself "has in store."

It's rather like beating someone unconscious before another party comes to sever their limbs and maim their sexual organs.

"The terrible thing about our time is precisely the ease with which theories can be put into practice.  The more perfect, the more idealistic the theories, the more dreadful is their realization.  We are at last beginning to rediscover what perhaps men knew better in very ancient times, in primitive times before utopias were thought of: that liberty is bound up with imperfection, and that limitations, imperfections, errors are not only unavoidable but also salutary. The best is not the ideal.  Where what is theoretically best is imposed on everyone as the norm, then there is no longer any room even to be good.  The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil.”  
"Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander,” by Thomas Merton


Trial by Ordeal
A Thriving Practice Into The 17th Century A.D.


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