Was Jesus a Democrat or a Republican?

 

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What would Jesus do? This is the focus of this article. I listen to so many folk spouting Christian doctrine and using it to support their individual causes and beliefs, so it has become apparent to me that Jesus may not have at all approved of some of the ways he is used to defend their point of view. Probably tops on my complaint list is the pointless killing of other people. Our propensity for war is, with few exceptions, rarely justifiable and quite insane! The number of wars over the last 1000 years is obscenely high. The number of humans killed in combat is likely equal to a surprisingly large percentage of the current population of the earth! The quote cited below appeared in the New York Times:

“At least 108 million people were killed in wars in the twentieth century. Estimates for the total number killed in wars
throughout all of human history range from 150 million to 1 billion. War has several other effects on population, including
decreasing the birthrate by taking men away from their wives.  Jul 6, 2003.”
Assuming all these people reproduced, it would be hard to even guess what the current population of our planet would be otherwise. So, in a sense, war has been a form of population control. That strikes me as very sad and cynical. Additionally, ‘going to war for Jesus’ or killing people in a Planned Parenthood facility is not something I think Jesus would approve. Not to forget, it is pretty obvious that the number of children that survived childhood in the past was extremely small; I doubt that Jesus ever thought about the current issue of over-population on planet earth. I believe Jesus was a left-wing, tree hugging, anti-gun, liberal pacifist, and under no circumstance would have taken another’s life. I am pretty sure he also was against accumulating large amounts of natural resources and wealth like many of the mega-churches do today. His disciples were very poor and little interested in monetary gain or status.
Recently there have been numerous books describing Jesus’ potential return to earth. In most of these novels, Jesus is quite disappointed over the current state of religion. All joking aside, if we are his chosen people, he has to be wondering why he chose us; we are destructive, mean, ruthless, bellicose and generally paranoid about anything we consider alien. We even fight over the color of a person’s skin! We are destroying our beautiful planet at a pace some think is breathtaking! Yes, sometimes we show compassion and caring for our fellow beings, but that usually occurs when they have been subjugated by another group of humans or nature’s fury. Maybe it is something like rooting for the underdog. If we see someone being beat up by others or blasted by nature’s relentless show of force, we step in to help out. I am not sure why; maybe we are thinking into the future where we might possibly need some help.
So anyway, Jesus, what would you say about the current human condition on planet earth if you were to visit us? I can not believe it would be good.

Come sing a long

The DIng-a-Lings
The Ding-a-Lings.  Steve Bailes, John Hott and Charlie Streisel

 

I got this crazy idea that people might enjoy singing Christmas songs out in front of the courthouse, right in the middle of Romney, WV.

So,  I gathered some friends, dusted off my guitar and we have been practicing whenever we can so we can create some Christmas cheer!

On December 21st at 7 pm on the courthouse steps you, yes you…can come sing with us as we celebrate community and friends right in the middle of

Romney.  Hope to see you there!

A Christmas story told again and again and….

 

This is one of my favorite stories and it helps me remember what Christmas is really about. If you read it last year or the year before, read it again and if you are new to my blog, I hope you enjoy this touching story. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! You can find Naotaka Maehara on Facebook. Maybe someday parents will sit around the fire and read this to there children…or maybe not…

Naotaka Maehara arriving in Augusta

The other day my friend Steve Bailes called me up to ask if I would be interested in housing a young man from Japan for the evening. He is riding his bike across America, having left from Vancouver 70 days ago. He was coming from Clarksburg and would arrive on Saturday if things worked out. I agreed, and contacted Nao (pronounced NOW which is short for Naotaka Maehara) by email to invited him to stay with us for the evening. He replied that he would like to stay with us Saturday evening. The next two days were interesting as I stayed in contact as much as possible via e-mail. If you remember, this past Wednesday and Thursday we experienced our first major snow fall of the season so Nao was right in the middle of it with the continental divide directly in front of him. To make a long, involved story shorter, he made it across the mountains to our home by 4pm on Saturday. I quickly suggested he take a bath to get warm. He agreed and headed for the bathroom. About an hour later he emerged, hungry, relaxed and anxious to get to know us. Steve had asked if he could come over and meet Nao so I suggested that we do dinner ; at about 6pm Steve and Terry arrived. It was one of those magical evenings that happen so rarely. We talked, exchanged stories and ate until we were ready to pop. Nao turned out to be charming, pleasant and a very gracious guest. I will remember the evening for a long time. With my fading memory that could be months from now. After dinner, us guys went down stairs to give Nao’s bike some tender loving care, which it needed badly. We reattached the front racks, cleaned and oiled the chain, pumped up the tires, and gave it a quick inspection. Later Nao and I went upstairs to spend almost two hours planning his route to New York City. He was ready for his journey to continue in the morning. After I went to bed, Sue stayed up until midnight talking with Nao about who knows what.

Resting after dinner

Relaxing after dinner

The morning came; Nao had several bowls of cereal and began to ready himself and his bike for his journey to New York City where he was scheduled to arrive on December 23. We created a Skype connection so that he could contact us with his computer, if needed. Shortly thereafter, Nao headed down the driveway.

After Nao had left, we found a note in his bedroom. In the note was a twenty-dollar bill. At first I considered getting in the car and catching him to give back the money but after reading the note I decided not to. This is written in Nao’s own words. He has only been learning English for three years. I’m impressed!

“I met woman in that time. (before he met us) She listened my serious talking and gave this $20 to me. She gave money and I received money. And also I received her kindness. She said, “I can’t help you now, but use this money and stay in hotel. I want you guys receive this $20. I mean it is not a staying fee, it means a woman’s kindness.”

I will keep this twenty and pass it forward when the time comes. Experiences like this one only intensify my belief that life is about the people you meet and the memories you take from those meeting. My only hope is that someday I will get to see Nao again!

What is wrong with America?

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When I meet people from other parts of the world, I often ask them, “What do you believe is wrong with America?”  I get different answers, but the answer that has impacted my thinking mostly is the one I received from my new friend from Australia;  not just because it was right on the money, but its grand simplicity at addressing our core issues.  Before I tell you what he said, I want you to consider some of the nightmarish things that go on in our great and prosperous land.  Take the recent events that are transpiring in Baltimore, Maryland where groups have taken to the streets, vandalizing, stealing and threatening the very fabric of the city.  This has occurred supposedly because a black man was killed in transport to a police station.  Since a large part of the Baltimore police force and administration is black, I think this falls outside the scope of racism and is a much more deep-seated problem in our inner cities.  If this occurred as reported and the police were responsible for this death, there should be prompt and serious action taken against these officers.  There is little doubt, based on recent videos and accounts, that many of our police departments have small rogue elements who are capable of all kinds of barbaric behavior.  In Baltimore it began as a peaceful protest, but our press wanted little to do with such a non-spectacular event.  This is when it gets very interesting.  The angry, poor and unemployed decided that this would be a great opportunity to act out and maybe get a new TV or just have some anger-induced fun!  These are not people with jobs and fulfilled lives but people who have lost hope in the system that has poorly educated them and so, given them little hope for the future and generally subjugated them to a life of getting high and selling drugs for a living.  People with decent jobs and families are generally not out on the streets causing mayhem, but people who have lost hope are screaming loudly in the only way they know that their life in America’s inner cities suck!

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Now consider the folks in our country who are trying to survive with a job at Wal-Mart or McDonald’s on a meager wage that provides only a modicum of what it takes to live a respectable life in this wealthy country.  Try to raise kids, have a home, pay the heat bill, buy food, service a car, see the doctor when needed on a salary that amounts to as little as $14,000 a year.  There is no doubt that we as a nation spend countless billions of dollars on programs to help people struggling to survive, but the results of these programs are difficult to assess accurately and spread thinly over a large range of problems.  Somehow, we as a people must find a way to allow all to have dignity and self-respect. No longer can we allow more and more people to “fall through the cracks” and become less likely to be a useful member of society.  If we do not change our ways, Baltimore and Ferguson will become the norm is this country.  Inner city riots will be routine events. Eventually the media will lose interest and riots will become a small byline, but the riots will escalate until someone in power listens and is willing to do something about it, or the problem will migrate from our the cities to our gated communities that the rich believe offers them a sanctuary from civil disturbance.
So, what is wrong with America? As my new friend said to me in his Aussie way, “You folks don’t take care of one another.”  When he said this, I sat there for a few moments taking in the grandiosity of his simple statement.  Isn’t that what the bible says in Matthew in 22:39?- “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”  Aren’t all men our neighbors in the eyes of God?  So, what is wrong with our country?  The answer is right in front of us if we could only open our eyes to see that we need to start caring for all people.  Thanks, Gerry, for the incredible insight!

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