Wayne Jacobsen on his blog today:
Until you know you are loved you will be sucked into every religious activity and performance treadmill that exists, hoping against hope that you can do the right thing to merit that deep affection from the heart of the Father. But you already have his affection! The great lie of the universe is that you are not loved by the Creator of all. The question is only do you realize how loved you are?
If you’re interested in hearing more about living loved and loving others, Wayne has a wonderful series of audio teachings called Transitions on his website in the audio library section, or from iTunes, or I’ve uploaded them all in one zip file that you can download here.
I liked the mother and her son from the moment I saw them, and I love this series of photos. I took them in Andong Village, a slum that I often visit about 25km outside Phnom Penh. The people who live there have been through great hardships, and they are still in a tough place. The stress of living in such conditions often erupts into fighting within families and between residents. Yet a mother’s love for her son will shine though almost any circumstances.
Jim Palmer is a former pastor who left organized Christian religion and began to discover the reality and fullness of his own faith. He has seen terrible injustices firsthand, including child slavery and forced prostitution. He directed a non-profit in Nashville serving abused and abandoned kids, and he has befriended many homeless and poor people in his community. His own childhood was a story of abuse and abandonment. He has always struck me as a person authentically journeying toward truth and love. I was very struck by something he wrote about compassion and justice awhile ago.
He begins saying, “Increasingly it seems that too often we (at best) are alleviating symptoms instead of initiating the cure, and (at worst) exacerbating the problem, despite our well-intentioned efforts…What follows are some of the things that I’ve been wrestling with. As you will see, I’m not even sure how these below points are all connected or if they are at all…”
With apologies to Jim, this a very long excerpt. Following are seven points that are worth reading and discussing more if you’d like:
1. Technology and the media makes our world a “global village.” Screens everywhere shows us the conditions and crises
Today Don Rogers writes:
How many times have you as a member of a “church” heard: Do we have enough faith? Are we good enough? This may be something not preached from a pulpit every week, but the implication is there. If you are religious, chances are you see your standing before God as dependent upon your earnestness in your religious life.
I grew up understanding in my head that “grace” means a free gift. If you asked me, I believed that we could do nothing to earn God’s grace and forgiveness. But I totally relate to Don’s words above. Only in recent years have I begun to grasp the reality of being loved by God without strings attached. I always thought those “strings” made everything work, and without them we’d just sit around doing nothing. What I failed to understand is that perfect love is much more motivating than fear and it’s associates, guilt and obligation.
Justification by grace is not about who goes to heaven and how you get there. I believe that this preoccupation with heaven came about in the Middle Ages when life was a tad tough and everyone, well almost everyone, looked
Greg Boyd writes compellingly about the catastrophic failure of Christianity. It’s a long article that’s worth reading. Here’s an excerpt (with some parts highlighted in bold letters by me):
A recent Letter to the Editor in my local newspaper went as follows:
When I read letters sent in by Bible thumping Christians telling us how sinful we are and how right they are, how God is on their side, not ours, how God hates gays, liberals and other evil people, I close my eyes for a moment and say a quiet prayer. “I thank thee oh Lord that I am not and never will be a Christian.”
I confess that I am entirely sympathetic to this editorial comment. In my own life, and in the lives of multitudes of people I’ve come across, the best and strongest argument against the truth of Christianity has been the Church…Just recently a young man responded to my invitation to faith by telling me, “I admit I feel the need for a savior, but I honestly just can’t stand Christians!” While he has perhaps not had a well-rounded exposure to Christians, I completely understood where this young man was coming from. Indeed, I’ve