Not My Jesus?

thXNYB5Y5M

I listened to a podcast called Evangibros that I highly recommend.  I encourage all to listen to one in particular regarding the confrontation of racism.  The link is below:

https://www.facebook.com/evangebros/

Why? Because it is challenging, deeply thought provoking, and hopefully uncomfortable.  The hosts, Don M. Schiewer and George M. Benson invite a very close friend’s of Don named Chris Sanchez.  I have intentionally prayed, fasted, and gratefully sat in silence in hopes to see and experience the hurt in not just Chris’ eyes but also through the rejected Nazorean.  The hope of this podcast is to invite all respectful discussion with open ears, minds, and hearts.  For the ‘privileged’, like myself, it is simply best to be still and silent.  And so I have, for many days pleading in silent prayer to combine my experiences with Chris’ knowing we are more like Christ when we seek community despite our various differences.

The first stone cast by Chris towards my already broken glass house of piety crashed in as a reminder of how oppression blossoms within Liberation theology.  Ancient Jewish perspectives, and yes Jesus was a Jew, draws Western Christianity kicking and screaming into the forgotten Jewish mindset of the blood, sweat, and heavy tears wrought by enslaved captivity.  Way back then, daily life was lined with rotting corpses pegged and tied to crosses on many Roman roads dominating this culture of oppression and racism.

I have replayed the words gracefully spoken by Chris over and over in my prayers and recognized that beautiful portion of Liberation theology within my own reality and my personal intimacy with Jesus the rebuilds the castle in my heart starting with a rejected cornerstone.  Dare we consider that all lines measurements and lines founding this church are trued from this one stone? Boldly, I say “Yes!”  I bless the words and work of Chris and will continue to pray towards a reparation for the sins of our own nation.

I cannot help but see that Liberation theology is a very human hope firmly adopted by the promise revealed at Mt. Sinai.  It was a necessary theology of hope of healing the sickness of hate, greed, and power nurturing racism both then and now. My rub with Chris came quickly in the program when he rightfully said, “You don’t have a right to criticize the how he protests nor why (paraphrasing here). Furthermore Chris’ quote preceding this the program stated:

“If your not showing up where the oppressed exists and are moving, then I’m not interested in your gospel; I’m not interested in your Jesus.”

Ouch.

Seriously America, we have wannabe Nazis parading and spewing their hateful rhetoric. When did vomiting this vile ideology that our Nation (was way too slow) to war against now require police protection at tax-payers expense for a sick minority’s freedom of speech? Chris was there protesting. Thank you my friend. Chris also said it felt good to release his anger and yelling at the wave of right hands raised in salutes to “Heil Hitler!”

This is certainly not my America…

My rub with Chris? Protesting is a double edge sword glimmering with both edges of the sacred and profane. My very needed portion of my conversation with Chris is discuss the dark seduction of protesting even he unknowingly admitted to when it felt good to release whatever brought some catharsis.  So what would Jesus do Chris? ( I apologize for what may seem as a very trite question I assure you it is not.)  The sacred consciousness that inspires Chris to protest is surely from above since silence conspires with acceptance of oppression. Yet, I have serious concerns for limiting one’s Christianity to Liberation theology.  Jesus is still doing something new. The work of this living Christ of God is still perfecting holiness within. No?  Does the end justify the means?  Does trading violence with violence beget peace? “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)  Did not our Jesus conquer this darkness by solely trusting His Father by offering perfect love as a perfect sacrifice?

So… Do I know a different gospel or a different Jesus?

imagesCAV60KRO

His,

Chris (Clody)

 

Advertisements

The Alien Within And Among Us…

“Where are you from?”File photo of displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walking towards the Syrian border
This questions seems innocuous enough and at the least a good conversation starter. Yet as immigration policy rages, what first seems like a harmless ice-breaker has devolved into an interrogation. The thought of one’s ‘legal’ status may soon infringe on inalienable rights inseparable from all humanity.
The quick answer to my inquiry could be, “from my mother’s womb. Duh.” Yet as phobias continue to grow from the little seeds of isolationism, it shows itself as the weed it truly is. Actually, the big picture of the garden of humanity draws another conclusion to that there is the only one answer to the query above: “We are from the mind and heart of God.” Let that sink in…
Immigration is a serious and difficult question living amongst the few with violent intentions. Violence is draining our attentions from the better ideals of man as resources towards protection seem to justify responses from the beat cop trolling gang territories to strong language tweeting provocations from the Oval office.
So is this a religious argument, secular, or both? If you think that question is as easy as the first producing the misunderstood “church and state debate”, then I hope these following words haunt us:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr., 1963.
So what does this have to do with immigration? Everything and nothing at all. It clearly sums up the ideals infused into man and has everything to do with the perspective towards immigration. It has nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with the treatment towards every citizen.
The question above dares us to plumb our very understanding of our nation’s creed, that equality, dignity, and justice belong to all. Although this statement was made about fifty-five years ago it isn’t novel but rather breathed into the American fabric embroidered by our founding fathers.
Fear has an insidious grip causing hesitation towards the things we might lose. Remember Lot and Abraham? Lot held to the weeds while Abraham was grateful to experience and peace of mind of God’s work in the garden.
I contend we therefore are all aliens becoming more forgetful of our immigrant history. We are learning to justify the selling of the soul of inalienable rights for the delusion of fearful isolation written as ‘rights’.
So what exactly is the alien within titling this post have to do with this writing? Everything and nothing at all. Before I answer consider the following scripture:
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”(Luke 1:41-42)
What (fetus?) or who (child?) were dwelling these two wombs? What is the big picture? The miracle of created life and treatment with dignity blessed by inalienable rights or the concern of our ‘rights’ drawn up by the hand of man?
The question, like our judgment, has no negotiation with the mind and heart of God. Maybe the words of Mother Teresa can help neatly tie these thoughts on immigration and abortion together when quoted as saying, “The so-called right to abortion has portrayed the greatest of gifts, a child, as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience.”

th5KFFQ804

Are aliens a competitor, an intrusion, and/or an inconvenience to the to life we now experience upon the roots of our alien ancestry? Are inalienable rights degraded by the rights of man? If equality, dignity, and justice destroyed for the most vulnerable then how can the mind and heart of God flow towards any neighbor blind to their personal identity that makes them grateful to be created? What phobias are we stubbornly housing that deny another human the right to experience true freedom?
Exactly who is our neighbor?
He (Jesus) replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50.
Can we contest that the will of God comes from His very mind and heart?

Is it not our grateful duty to welcome the stranger, feed the poor, cloth the naked, visit the sick, and care for the widows and orphan?

Have we forgotten that the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
written-bottom-statue-liberty_289345c7c12bcc74.jpg
Become Love.

Peace,

Chris

To Hate Evil

I believe this is our greatest struggle, especially returning evil with good. I was moved by the following video:

I hoping against all hope that our culture is evolving towards redefining this word tolerance. As mentioned in this short clip, “Tolerance is a cold, dead term…even dismissive.” The video concludes that this ‘problem’ and resolution begins with each of us.
How does change for a better society happen? Leadership. Society needs brave voices both politically and spiritually. Faith promotes the most unlikely solution to this problem that seems to kick against the goads. Found within our human history, an enticing contradiction collided with our hearts and mind. From the revelation at Sinai to its climatic and mysterious fulfillment in an itinerant man, in a G-d, named Jesus. This single and profound thread of repaying evil with good seems to have no place to lay its weary head. Whether upon the Palestinian-Israeli border, Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, or within the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort.Jason-Aldean-fans-flee-the-scene-after-Mandalay-Bay-shooting-in-Las-Vegas-670x454 What good can be considered tribute towards carnage in the hearts imprisoned by faith? Seriously, what would Jesus do? What could we do when killers have committed suicide? How in hell can parents explain this to kids fully informed and influenced by the rabid and biased social media? How can even the highest platform of leadership, the president of the United States, who is disregarded, discounted as ’45’, and devalued as a person by half the country as without virtue or character, inspire leadership? Where do our hearts and America turn from here?

Restrict guns or ‘weapons of war’? Maybe…but that argument, despite America’s heritage and fascination with guns, holds both little promise and very little water.
Promote Conceal and Carry? Maybe…but carrying a gun changes the human psyche for it weighs upon the soul to employ its use. Remember when you first learned to do the Heimlich maneuver or CPR how you felt somehow responsible to save a life in need? Imagine the burden of taking a life – something that is repulsive to our souls. Could one with proper training and attitude help in taking down a shooter at Orlando or Las Vegas, surely that possibility exists however slim. I can only assume adding more fire to the flames of gunplay would only add to the chaos adding only to the victim count as people run in all directions. I would hope our first reaction focused on attending to the wounded and dying.

To be clear, I don’t believe in passivism but cling to a nonviolent perspective; there’s a difference.

Maybe the answer lies unexpectedly between the Palestinian-Israeli culture. It is bred within both cultures to defend what is believed rightfully theirs. From Kindergarten, especially Palestine, the formation of a child’s will is forced to hate. Both sides kill each other without hesitation over a narrow strip of land. I honestly cannot fathom the sadness and regret if the a repentant conscious was awakened to the dignity inherent within both cultures. Unfortunately the violent legacy continues in throwing rocks, spewing lead,  and launching mortars as the genetics of hate and intolerance dictate.

Dare we see the other side of the coin with hope? This is what best depicts the contradiction found hidden in Jesus. First and foremost, is to trust that love has no equal. None. Prayer is also the flipside of distrust. Prayer is a power we cannot understand just like forgiveness. The combination of faith, hope, and love is irresistible to both the human psyche and heart. To trust this power that we cannot feel is the gift patiently waiting to be unveiled within us all. Although we may not understand its practicality, love that is experienced can embrace it. If we just submit to the courage to embrace love then we can begin to redefine tolerance from its cold, dead, dismissive state.

Life, in all forms, is precious. It helps me imagine that I would not exist is G-d stopped hoping for my priorities to return to His higher will. Consider how patient, hopeful, and compassionate this same perspective of Christ who promises to unveil this newness in each and everyone of us when we seek this higher will.

So America is racing towards or running from a new definition of tolerance. We are all patiently given time to reflect or distrust the possibilities of adopting this culture of Heaven.

Remember, the greatest authority we are given is forgiveness not slander, a rock, a mortar, a bullet, or worse. America was solely founded in the hope and trust that our forefathers seeded in community. Community can only come about when we love G-d through our neighbor.

I’m a reminded of the words of Dorothy Day:
We love G-d as much as we love those we love least.

Maybe… that’s how we should redefine tolerance.
Just maybe….that’s how would should also hate evil.

Become new.
Become change.
Become love.

Peace,
Chris

America’s Checkpoint Charlie

crossdeath

What is the greatest human construct that defies Jefferson’s Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Was it slavery and its destructive legacy? Without hesitation, the long fingers of racism continue to claw through generations with its mauling intentions of targeted brutality.

Was it the Trail of Tears? Another repulsive, historical scar that forced the undignified relocation of the Native American nations following the Indian Removal Act of 1830? Does our prejudicial genetics still spew that racism even after Hitler? What about good ole McCarthysm? Are families living in this country today cowering from the threat of their Removal Act? Really! If I hear that justified through another ‘Christian’ living in their this ‘Christian Nation’ I’m gonna’ vomit.

Certainly, the aforementioned nausea caused by our malignant, American insecurity towards anything ‘other’ than one sees in the mirror has raped the potential for a robust national community. Prejudice can be both overtly hostile or passively aggressive in words, actions, and deeds. Take a moment to consider our ‘others’ that prevent benevolence from our heart to another or cause… yeah, ouch.

Still, there is no greater wall that not only prevents a chance at the hope but intends far worse. I am speaking about abortion. It is premeditated murder. It is a slow, calculated killing. There is profound suffering. The consideration of abortion with ‘meaningful’ language reflective of an ‘intimate choice’ is vulgar and more befitting of a squalid dissociation from reality. Is this now a steel claw rising from slavery transformed through Margaret Sanger’s dim view of equality? Can a discourse of Eugenics vs. Equality ever be deemed civil and rational by a sober society. Outside of this veiled ‘solution’ offered to the poor (who are intentionally kept poor!), is prenatal diagnosis with the intent to abort not on the slippery slope down towards the sick doctrine of Aryanism?

Let me be clear. Abortion is not simply the greatest border; it is America’s Checkpoint Charlie lined with over-caffeinated, snipers painting red dots on another little girl or boy’s pursuit of life. If life is not a central core perspective then why fear any mortal consequence one may experience through war, slavery, prejudice, poverty, or shame (God forbid). Remember, despite the deplority of slavery – there still was life.

So I ask you, do you believe in the Declaration of Independence?
Is life be a surrendable inalienable right? Are there even inalienable rights before life itself? Does any (possible) mortal consequence outweigh the chance to experience mortality?

…Sorry, had to go there today.

Become Peace,
Chris

Inalienable rights ~ Freedoms that each individual in the United States have which cannot be transferred to another person or surrendered except by the individual having those rights. Fundamental rights of United States citizens include right topractice religion, equal protection of laws and the freedom of speech.

A Cost Beyond: Memorial Day

A Cost Beyond

memorial-day-remembering1
Freedom isn’t free –
Amidst: Duty. Honor. Country.
This unhesitating creed,
Bearing sweat and blood a soldier bleeds,
Paving freedom’s road while widows grieve.
Allegiance pledged still believed,
Hands over hearts; this flag flies free,
While remembering a cost I concede,
One Nation under God yokes our liberty.

God Bless The Brave.
God Bless America.

Memorial-Day-Image_iStock

By Chris Clody Memorial Day 2014