I tend to stay away from the emotionally charged issue of religion but this is one opportunity I can not resist. I am so happy and excited about the three articles that were published in the Hampshire Review on January 23rd 2019, I could just bust! The first article was written by Don Kesner who confronts a popular TV evangelist who claims Jesus is on his stage in person (I thought it was an altar)! Conveniently, only the TV evangelist could see him. For a minister to pull this kind of stunt shows that our religions have ventured far from the teaching of Christ. Don goes on to point out that the Bible says that “judgement begins at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). In other words, it means that Christ’s first action would be to denounce the exploits of many religions! The next time I see Don, I am going to give him a big hug and thank him for writing this great article.
If Don has not gotten your interest, Alanna McGuinn, the Minister at the United Methodist Church in Capon Bridge, went on to say this: in Corinthians 12: 12-31a, Paul urges us to work together for the glory of God by recognizing and celebrating the diversity found in the body of Christ, i.e. the church. In other words, love and respect every human being regardless of race, ethnicity or religion! In a time when many folks focus on our differences as something to be afraid of, Paul would say that diversity is necessary for the advancement of the kingdom. Just saying Alanna…Jesus should go to your church! It is so exciting for me to hear religious leaders in our little community acknowledging the errant ways of some in the religious community! Said simply, if you are going to espouse that you are a Christian then your behavior should be Christ-like in all ways!
Finally, and certainly not least, we have the Rev. Roy Knight who says that ” the Bible is inspired by the word of God, but that inspiration is ultimately telling us that salvation comes from Jesus, not the Bible!” He goes on to say, “At some point, Christians need to decide whether they value their interpretation of specific verses over the actions of Christ himself”. So well said! Explained another way, “Christians can overemphasize the importance of the Bible and under emphasize the life of Jesus”. I really love this next part, ” Quoting Jesus saying things like “love your enemies” and “love your neighbors as yourself” is now seen as “liberal” among many political conservative Christians”. Wow Roy, I do not think anyone could have said that better but, I wonder how far some of the evangelists have wavered from the teaching of Christ.
Folks, since the beginning of civilized man, religions have played a major part in helping us survive in what often seems like a chaotic world. The gods of the American Indians explained the stars were holes punched in the sky by ancient trees. At one time people had a god for everything they did not understand. Even today there are a multitude of religions around the world with varying interpretations of what God is and how he wants us to behave. Religion plays a major part in modern society creating a place to congregate and share or discuss thoughts and ideas. It also creates a community of people who support all people in need, not just the ones who believe the same way! In today’s world I fear many of our churches are not using the actions of Christ as a guidepost in their everyday decisions. I am not a religious person but I try to live my life in a way I think Christ would have approved. If I were asked if I am a Christian, I would have to say yes, I follow the teaching of Jesus. So, if you see any of these local ministers walking around, make sure you tell them how much you enjoyed their column in the Hampshire Review on January 26th…even if you do not go to their church.