Category Archives: social justice
God asks 3 simple things. An audio teaching on Isaiah 52:1-12
God Feels Your Pain. an audio teaching on Isaiah 51
Religion: Good or Bad?
Religion can give us a higher purpose, a divine purpose, a cause worth dying for. Motivated by religion, we develop compassion, empathy, charity, and a sense of fairness. When religion is the impetuous for justice, great things can be accomplished. Emancipation, civil rights, medical care, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
But, when religion is amalgamated with empire disaster occurs – wars, persecutions, oppression. Globally dominant empires rise, expand, and maintain power with the assistance of religion. Religion provides legitimacy, moral justification, divine sanction, and makes people willing to sacrifice their lives.
Empires claim to be ordained and favored by the gods. Their leaders claimed to be divinely appointed. Empires have been supported by popes, priests, imams, holy men (it’s nearly always men) of all sorts. Whether it’s Roman Pax Romana, British Manifest Destiny, or the Euro-American Doctrine of Discovery, empires believe they have a special calling from the Divine to expand, control, and rule. Killing for the empire makes you a hero. Dying for the empire makes you a martyr. National holidays and foundational documents are considered sacred. God and country are inseparable.
Religions are seduced by wealth and power into supporting empires. Every major religion has at some time traded foundational truth for a share of might, mammon, and official protection.
Look at Christianity. For 300 years after the resurrection of Messiah Jesus, his followers were mostly poor and marginalized. They loved others, served those in need, rescued the rejected, tended to the sick (even in times of plagues), refused military service, welcomed everyone, judged no one, fed the hungry, clothed the poor, and forgave those who slaughtered and persecuted them. They lived simple, nonviolent, noncoercive lives of loving service.
Then, in 313, Constantine issued the edict of toleration and the persecution stopped. In 380, Theodosius made Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Suddenly, Christians had power and wealth. With the blessing of theologians and church officials, the Church not only supported, but declared it to be the duty of every faithful believer to take up arms joining the ranks of those who rape, pillage, and kill. The official church supported torture, theft, and slavery for centuries.
In modern times, people claiming to be Christians infected and slaughtered native peoples, stole their land, worked the land with slaves, invaded sovereign nations, declared wars, and burnt villages. And they often did so with the blessing of their churches.
When Christianity became the state religion of Rome, it traded the God of Israel and God’s Messiah for the gods of militarism, mammon, and nationalism. In medieval France and Italy, it led to the Inquisition. In the first half of the 20th century, it led to the Holocaust. Today, it has led to Christian nationalism. Freedom, democracy, diversity, pluralism, and tolerance are all under attack. During Holy Week 2023 while Trump was in court being indited on 34 felony counts, Margery Taylor Greene was outside comparing him to Jesus. Christians are demonizing anyone who might disagree with them on social issues. It is not likely to end well.
Those of us who want to faithfully follow Jesus need to live by the Sermon on the Mount like never before. It is time to embrace the cross, serve the least, care for the broken and bereaved, wash the feet of the marginalized, welcome the alien and stranger, feed the hungry, heal the sick, house the homeless, and, perhaps above all, love, pray for, and forgive our enemies and those who despitefully use and persecute us. It’s past time we eschew wealth and political power, give up coercion, and lay aside nationalism. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God. We pledge allegiance to God alone. It’s time to show the world what a follower of Jesus looks like.
Posted in anabaptist, kingdom of God, social justice, Spirituality
They’re not under your bed, but they’re monsters. A video teaching on Isaiah 46-48
At best, prophets are ignored. Too often, they are mocked, persecuted, or killed. Ask Jeremiah or Isaiah. Prophets warn of the consequences of our collective actions. Mostly, we do nothing to correct the situation and suffer the very consequences they warned us about. Captivity. Destruction. Displacement.
There are modern prophets. Rachel Carson warned us of a silent spring. Greta Thunberg keeps telling us the world is on fire. Gene Robinson calls us to love LGBTQ+ folks. William Barber and Pope Francis call us to serve the poor. Martin Luther King, Jr. warned us of the consequences of America’s original sins. César Chávez called us to treat migrant farm workers with respect. At risk to themselves, they spoke out against all forms of injustice, whether it be racial, environmental, economic, or sociopolitical.
It behooves us to listen.
Posted in Kingdom Life, Prophecy, social justice
A New Exodus. Audio. Isaiah 43
Strength to Love. Audio. Isaiah 41&42
Wings of Eagles. Audio. Isaiah 40
Nationalism is dangerous.
Christian nationalism is toxic.
White Christian nationalism is deadly.
Nationalism is the belief that my particular country is superior to all others. it is therefore the natural order of things that my country should rule over all others by having the biggest, strongest military, and the biggest strongest economy. Everything in the nationalistic nation is seen as superior – we have the smartest people, the best educated, the fiercest fighters, the greatest …
Christian nationalism is the belief that the Creator of the universe has especially chosen our country to not only be superior to all others, but to be God’s favorite, God’s chosen, God’s especially blessed and guided. God is on our side. We rule, we control because it is our divine mission. God has revealed to us the way of righteousness. We are God’s appointed moral police. It is our duty to impose God’s laws on others.
White Christian nationalism is the belief that God has not only chosen the United States of America to be God’s beacon to the world, but God has specifically chosen light skinned people (usually white men) whose ancestors came from northern Europe to be in charge – to rule the land.
Nationalism mustn’t be confused with patriotism. Patriotism is love for and appreciation of one’s heritage. All cultural heritages have things within them worth preserving and celebrating. They also all have things in their pasts that call for repentance and reconciliation.
Nationalism is the sin of pride on full display. It makes the nation an idol. It rewrites history, promotes national myths, ignores and denies national sin. It is arrogant. It is contrary to the Kingdom of God, which is made up of people from every nation, tribe, and tongue.
Christian nationalism reinforces nationalism by giving it imagined divine authority. Christian nationalism conflates the teachings of Jesus with tribalism. It is unbiblical. In no biblical sense is Christian nationalism truly Christian. It is the homogenization of state and institutional religion. Christian nationalism ignores Jesus’ self-sacrificial cruciform love, as well as his teachings on justice, peace, nonviolence, service, denial of self, generosity, forgiveness, reconciliation, and grace. It aligns itself with ungodly political views.
White Christian nationalism stirs racism into the poison stew. It also typically adds xenophobia, homophobia, and misogyny as well. White Christian nationalism produced the Crusades, the Inquisition, chattel slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and the Third Reich. It is spreading rapidly in contemporary American politics, and will, if it comes to fruition, lead to national demise.
I am a follower of Jesus. Not the imaginary Jesus of White Christian nationalism, but the real Jesus, revealed to us in four historically accurate gospel narratives. Following Jesus means pledging allegiance to him alone, not anyone’s flag; being a citizen of the Kingdom of God before any nation. Following Jesus means doing (with the enablement of the Holy Spirit) what he said to do – turn the other cheek, eschew war, killing, and violence, serve the broken, marginalized, and disenfranchised, promote justice, lovingly embrace all people, take care of creation, forgive all, wash feet, extend God’s love to all.
Posted in anabaptist, Christianity, creation, Jesus, Justice, Kingdom Life, kingdom of God, Life Coaching, social justice, The Cross