Posts tagged ‘Christ’

Christ in your Eyes – illustrated quote

Note: I take credit only for this original quote. I did not create this image. I downloaded it from someone who was using it as a profile pic. That person also could not identify the source. I have only adjusted the coloring slightly and added the text of my own quote. It is not my intent to violate the artist’s rights. I simply could not resist using this image that so perfectly illustrated my quote. I would be greatly indebted to whoever could tell me the artist. The only clue is an apparent signature of “Lu” and perhaps the automatically-generated tags and links below. Thank you.

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Religion and Christianity

Jesus on the Cross

Image via Wikipedia

Religion and Christianity are neither synonymous nor mutually exclusive. If religion is the outward manifestation of a person’s belief system, then any number of behaviors – those both of morality and ritual – that are identified with the followers of Christ would be identified as part of the religion of Christianity. What one must question is whether such behaviors are in fact founded in the teachings of the early Church and It’s “founder” Jesus the Christ. We also must bear in mind that the Scripture of Christ’s day was in fact the Old Testament writings and that the collective wisdom of shared rituals across the communities of the Early Church point to the importance of honoring Tradition and the entire Bible. With proper respect for these factor, it becomes quite obvious that being a Christian requires that we rely exclusively neither upon just the New Testament nor a single pastor’s interpretation of Holy Scripture. Also, no Christian faith disputes that salvation is ours to accept through the mercy and grace of Jesus the Christ. What people get confused about is the concept of justification. Some think that having salvation, they are guaranteed to be united face-to-face with their Creator. This is not so and the Bible makes it quite clear. Accepting salvation brings us through a door into the Light, but we must still walk in The Way to reach communion with God. While it may make no sense that anyone who believes in the Passion would not walk that path, some do not or, rather, do not stay on the path because they are not diligent. Most often diligence is lacking first and foremost in a desire to keep learning. Growing spiritually requires it.

I Could Not Say, I Love You – poem

rough heart crop of Windows Sunset sample pic

My Very Dear Friend,
I don’t know what to say, but I must say it
My Self is restless with words
so I will listen,
refrain from restraining,
speak the Truth the self conceals
I knew you before
I know you now

I left my body a couple of times
to a different place, plane –
I don’t know that it needs a name
I arrived into an emptiness so full
full of what? full of light?
We engaged face to face
I felt serene, unthreatened
looking into your eyes
it seemed a long while
and you heard me say,
I Love You, though I spoke
not one word

I hadn’t noticed
the light within us grew
until we were apart
but together
each a part of the fullness
that at once surrounds us and
fills us until we are emptied
of our selves
We are Christ for each other
Namaste, one Self to Another

Until now, I could not,
my ego would not
let me say what I did not say –
the words you heard, though unuttered
because I was afraid
the polluted definition of love
would prevail in your mind
and I’d lose the Love that I had
yet to feel or understand
We are Love to one another
I know Love now, but I’ll forget again

So I forgive the ignorance of my
trepidatious self
who would not, could not
choose Peace
who would not, could not
say I Love You
Now I have shared the Love
shared my Self, let my Self be seen
because in this moment
I choose to no longer
fear the Conqueror of All Fear

Our world has learned to be
afraid of love; me too, but
sometimes I love you so much
I cry and that’s the reason why
I have listened to my Self,
uninterrupted, speak the Truth
I love you, I Love You
Here’s to the memories,
– that they remain vivid
so the words never need
be uttered again

copyright 12/27/2010 by Callisse J. DeTerre

Words on the Words: Way, Truth, Life

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to Creator God except through me.” -The Holy Bible

The Way is the means to succeed.
Without the means, nothing is completed, attained, achieved.
The means are method, materials, and motivation.
The Way is the path, the journey, the direction, and the how.

The Truth, unchanging yet shaped by perspective, shall set you free.
To be free is to be without constraint or limit or price.
Truth, never easily perceived, reveals itself through faith.
Truth, never easily believed, reveals its worth through fidelity.

The Life is the example of righteousness and It’s reward.
Life is color, vibration, purpose, meaning, energy, reality.
Life is the source and summation of sustenance.
Breath, water, light, nourishment, and love sustain.

Christ told us the greatest commandment is love. Love is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. What is without love is without God.

Go Now: The 1st Disciples & Our Call to Proclaim

Calling of Andrew and Peter

Image via Wikipedia

The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 1 includes the recounting of the story of Peter, Andrew, James and John’s call to discipleship. These guys were wealthy fishermen. This is after Jesus has been baptized by John, of course. Don’t you imagine word about what happened had spread? This is also after Jesus had been tempted by the devil and prevailed. Still, though, would you just drop everything to follow a stranger? Jesus must have oozed of conviction and truth! We know the Good News, the Truth, and have all the more reason to be confident in Jesus the Christ. It is rooted in that confidence, that we must go now to proclaim.

I went on to read today from Paul’s really long letter to the Romans, Chapter 10.  Paul reminds us that Christ is the end of the law. Christ is the new covenant. Looking to be rewarded for righteousness that reflects only our ability to follow rules will be met with failure. Paul tells the Romans, “Hey, if you are willing to risk identifying yourself as a believer, if you really believe deep down, then whatever harm or hardship comes to you here on earth will be worth your great reward in heaven.” This doesn’t mean we say it, then do nothing. Paul continues, saying, “Christ is the good news people don’t even know to look for. If people don’t hear the truth, how can they believe it? Get out there and tell them.”

Questions for Contemplation
1) With whom have you shared the Good News?
2) What made you first really believe?
3) Where are you in your journey of faith?
4) When have you had opportunity to share the Good News and haven’t?
5) Why is it difficult for you personally to share the Good News?
6) How have you seen people share their faith and the Good News without being “preachy”?

Prayer of Devotion
Lord, Answer to Our Every Prayer,
You come to us with the gift of Your mercy and love
and ask only that we share.
Strengthen our faith that we hold no self-condemnation or anxiety.
Let our rituals be tools rather than distractions.
Embolden us with courage and Christ-like charisma to proclaim Your Truth.
Believing in the power of Your name, we ask You Jesus the Christ,
to grant these requests.
As it is Your will, so let it be.

The Way, One Truth, God’s Love

Doorway, Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Damasc...

Image by jemasmith via Flickr

[Note: This is a first draft, but I wanted to go ahead and publish it. Throughout this post, you will see “(link)” which is a note to myself to add a link or citation. I will eventually return to replace these, but if you have a question about a particular one, please leave a comment and I will try to respond more promptly.]

My mind is a whirlwind of thought and emotion. Like so many, I really do desire to do God’s will, but struggle to know what it actually is. I was listening to a book on CD by Sheila Walsh (link) during a recent road trip. She was explaining how the apostle Paul, then Saul, really thought he was devout and doing the right thing, persecuting the Christians, by keeping the Jewish faith pure. The Risen Christ blinded him, a physical manifestation of his spiritual nature, then showed him The Light. As I have been reflecting on the readings this Advent Season and thinking about the Second Coming, I’ve felt the responsibility to share the Word weigh heavily upon me, but I’m confused and filled with trepidation.

I want to boldly share the Good News. At the same time, I’ve been moved with empathy by stories of homeless persons who feel unwelcome at shelters that require them to participate in faith practices that differ from their beliefs. I am likewise disturbed by the declaration of some Baptists that Catholicism is a cult. The anti-Muslim sentiment of so many self-proclaimed Christians is troubling as well. I don’t want to be unloving in declaring God’s love for all.

I remember Pope Jonh Paul II, the Roman Catholic Pope, coming under verbal fire for declaring that the grace of Jesus the Christ is available to those who have not heard the Good News. Recently I read a blog (link) that insists that when Jesus Christ says “No one comes to the Father except through me, (link)” He meant NO ONE who doesn’t know and believe in the Passion of Christ will be admitted into heaven, so we must take the Good News to as many people as possible and accept that most of humanity will perish. Who is right? Both seemed convincing. I wonder, are we each just a story or are we the essence of our actions?

The song line, “They will know we are Christians by our love” (link) is sometimes spoofed by changing “love” to “T-shirts.” While the emphasis is to point out that a changed heart must be reflected in our actions, I’ve wondered if the original song line doesn’t reflect the Truth in its entirety. Does living The Way insist knowledge of its source or name or professor or rather adherence to its principles? Jesus the Christ said, “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life. (link)” The Son of God calls us into communion with God by showing us the perfect example in human form of obedience to God. I notice that The Lord never says “Be me.” Surely, you realize that would be in conflict with The Creator’s admonition of Adam and Eve for eating from the Tree of Knowledge (link). This leaves me with more questions.

Am I mistaken to now believe that being a Christian means living the example of Christ? The deepest question then is whether someone can know how to without knowing and understanding the totality of His life and Passion. I’ve come to a place of finding it easy to have empathy for and forgive others because I recognize the immenseness of my ignorance. How well can I know the heart of any person and how well can I know the depth of their understanding or even their potential to understand and apply the teachings of Jesus the Christ? How well do I know myself in these matters? This leads me to wonder, how well equipped am I to teach others, what is my responsibility to teach, what should I be teaching, and how should I teach it?

In all faiths of the world, there are some common truths. Surely this is no accident. Coincidence is often evidence of God’s presence in my mind. How can we acknowledge a God of unfathomable wisdom and yet seek to limit that same God’s power to present The Way to people in the cultural context that would make sense to their/our tiny minds? I propose it would serve us all best in preserving the good of humanity to respect those common truths. Further who am I or you but a peer to all others of which God is the Creator? Who am I to judge the work of the Master? The Bible instructs us only to judge those of our believing community and even there to do so through a construct of law and justice (link). Further we should bear in mind that no matter how inspired the Word, God did not write it by His own hand and it has been translated in multiple ways. Therefore we should look to the traditions of the Church for guidance as well.

In all matters of serious moral judgment, the original Church taught (to summarize from the Catechism of The Roman Catholic Church, link) that we should seek wise counsel (from one or more persons well-versed in Biblical languages and culture, literary interpretation, Scriptural study, etc) and examine an issue from all sides and in every intellectual field (historical, philosophical, social, psychological, theological, scientific,etc). God gave us brains and the collective gifts of humanity to USE. Then we should pray long and thoroughly (most especially that God’s will be done and with an open ear to the echoed answer of the Spirit from at least 2 entirely different sources lest we be deceived in our haste). Finally, we are obligated to act in accord with OUR conscience even if our actions would be in conflict with “official teachings” because ultimately we are responsible for our own salvation (link). On the topic of evangelizing, this has been an ongoing process for me.

I’d like to share some seemingly disconnected but relevant truths revealed to me in prayer, study, and conversation with counsel on the topic at hand. Love and hate cannot coexist. Temptation does not foreshadow sin; it merely warns of it’s potential presence. A Jewish philosopher (link) taught the Golden Rule this way, “Do NOT do onto others what you do NOT want done onto you.” In matters of morality, majority does not rule. I cannot consciously hate in word or deed because it conflicts with the Truth of Love.

So, because Christianity makes sense to me and It’s teachings are what my conscience most often leads me to profess and follow, I am bound by my conscience to spread the Good News for my own salvation. But I am committed to letting my “speech” begin with acts of love and then continue, as opportunity allows, by relating the example of Jesus the Christ. I believe that the Truth will make itself known to whomever answers the door. Somebody’s knocking. Will you let Him in?

Dwindling Church?

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Image via Wikipedia

[Note: What I’ve written here is partly in response to another blogger’s thoughts; see the link  just below this post.]

Our growing world challenges us as faith communities to grow with it.  Persons create organizations, religious included, to do together what none of us can do alone. Organizations organize, allowing efficiency and productivity in meeting needs, including spiritual, to prevail. Jesus first organized his disciples about him. He set the example for further organization in the distribution of the loaves. He rarely sent anyone out to preach alone. He gathered people together. He sent his disciples to do the same as they spread the Good News. Organizations serve people by serving the purpose for which the people created them. As our world changes, expanding across the miles, we must learn to clarify our mission and modify measures for living it out.

I’m 39. Social media IS social because social means connecting. Connecting flows in many currents but the common conduit is communication. We must have both a voice, eyes and ears to connect. The only communication entirely lost in the cyber-world is touch, which could be another blog topic entirely. I attend services at as many as four different spiritual communities per week because they each communicate God’s message to me. They each fulfill a different need at different times. I am most disappointed and unfulfilled when I expect more than an organization or person can offer me.

One of the greatest needs I have is to exercise my spiritual gifts. Countless times I’ve told the admins of religious communities, “Here’s what I can do for you. Here are my limitations. How can I give?” The most common answer I receive is…nothing. Eventually, I move on. Recently, I joined a new community. I like to sing. I get sick often. Their answer, “Come sing with us (the choir) now, whenever you want. Sing what you know. Lip-sync the rest. Praise God. Come be WITH us.”

That church‘s population is dwindling in size, but recent statistics show they’re giving more financially per person than most other churches in the area and they run a homeless mission that serves far more than the church’s population. Across the street, I attend services at a different community. It is large and growing in population. It found the resources and faith to embrace multimedia and cyberspace.  It’s giving percentage is small but sheer numbers sustain it. The smaller church could continue as it is, but it recognizes the need for change. It will soon band with others near it to share resources, including staff, collectively.

Both communities will survive for now. BOTH are actually growing, just in different ways. I am quite sure the larger will never shut its doors. I’m equally sure the doors to the smaller one’s heart will never be closed. Its mission will remain the same, while its methods may mold themselves to the modern world in a different and ever-changing way. My questions are these: How will each of us as co-creators, having been given choice, mold and remold ourselves to live our personal missions as Christ‘s followers in the modern world? How much am I willing to change in order to grow? By what means will I be so moved in the Spirit that I am joyfully able to proclaim the Good News? Am I ready to thrive? Am I even surviving? Make me a channel of Your peace, O Lord. God made us to love and be loved. How am I loved? How am I loving? Love your neighbor…

“A Painful Experience” at the OpenPath blog

 

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