So-called Christians who can't/don't/won't distinguish between hating the behaviors that insult God's holiness that always injure others and yet still extending unconditional agape don't really love Jesus as evidenced by not really loving like Jesus.
I no longer make excuses for myself or others who don't love like Jesus while pretending to love Jesus.
My patience for that kind of hypocrisy has diminished.
I'm tired of left and right winging "Christians" who parade around like they're that much better than their counterparts as they more than hint at an unseemly self-righteousness bordering on blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
It's O.K. to hate PBHO's barely detectable principles when they contradict the righteousness of Holy Scripture; but it's never O.K. to hate him personally and not pray His best graces for him.
It's O.K. to hate the Yankees because they buy all of the good players in the spirit of free enterprise; but it's never O.K. to hate 'em personally like some Christians hate each other for Christ's sake.
Parenthetically, if you hate the Yankees because they buy all of the good players, what does that say about your commitment to capitalism as the catalyst of America's pre-eminent position, prestige, possessions, and power? I've always thought revenue sharing as opposed to free enterprise was straight out of the Communist Manifesto; or, uh, Acts 2 which nobody really takes that seriously.
Besides, with the Yankees back in the World Series for the gazillionth time, order has been restored to the universe and free enterprise is safe for another year or at least until PBHO proposes another government takeover.
I have a theory.
If the Yankees aren't in the World Series on a regular basis, it's just another metaphor for the end of our empire.
Some people actually reason like that.
The pastors in our family of faith were treated really well on October 25.
We got nice notes and generous gifts from everyone except for those who hate us in a Christian kinda way for calling out their boorish behaviors.
Our Doves (youth choir) and congregation sang a song to us that was awkwardly disarming and touched us in deeper places to know we're not as bad as some people have been saying.
While I don't like to boast even in a Christian kinda way about what's happening in our family of faith because, uh, well, geez, holy cow, KDs, as I tried to explain to our family of faith recently, are for everybody who wants to read 'em, these are exciting days on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois as we receive His fresh wind and fire to be a beacon pointing to Him and pray/labor to be a safe haven for everybody. Truly, His Holy Spirit has been sweeping us up into unprecedented unity and unconditional love.
Be that as it was on Sunday and is every now and then, I wrote a personal pastoral letter to our family of faith last Friday that may mean something to ya'll:
Though I often fail, I pray and labor to be sensitive to the, uh,
sensitivities in our family of faith; especially when writing KDs
which, for better or worse or whatever, extend far beyond the
boundaries of our family of faith that is so cherished by moi.
I hope that was addressed to your cognizance in the last
I also know many of our family of faith friends do not receive
KDs because they are not cyberspaced-out.
Be that as it is, I thought you'd enjoy these two comments
that arrived very early this morning from Ohio and Minnesota:
Buckeye: "You wrote, 'No one forced me to act like a
self-righteous...' I didn't realize you were freed
already! Tee Hee! Just HAD to say it!"
Gopher: "You have the strength and understanding of
grace to know the power of forgiveness. I am still
seeking to find it and someday will cherish it.
While I have grown a great deal in the latter over the last
decade, the former brings out the Pauline confession in
Truth is I know I fall and fail and still need Jesus; which makes
me just like you.
When we dare to assume we don't fall, fail, and always need
Jesus, we blaspheme against His Spirit.
I must also confess to you that my greatest struggle these
days is with people who are judgmental speck-inspectors
who see everybody's faults but their own; inhibiting the
forgiveness expected from all of us in honor of His forgiveness
extended to us.
It's a journey, friends; and when you think you've arrived, you
Yes, the graph of our lives and ministries should show gradual
improvement; or as I like to say in a Vonnegutian gutting of
grammar, "More intimacy with Jesus makes us more better
than more badder."
So here's the deal in the words shared with me by an old
African-American elder many years ago after I lamented
the racism that she had suffered: "You love 'em! Let God
Blessings and Love!
P.S. BTW, the deal is an offer we can't refuse from Jesus.
I got two responses:
A regular worshiper: "A big thanks from one imperfect
soul to another. I should start every day reading
this. I am going to put this on my desktop."
An irregular worshiper: "I don't have anything to
confess! Before you came over four years ago,
everybody followed my ideas and nobody
questioned my judgments. They knew how
faithful I am until you started asking everybody's
opinions on how to run the church."
Some quotes from notes directed at moi on October 25:
Anonymously attached to a can of Chock Full o' Nuts coffee:
"From one forgiven nut to another! I appreciate you!"
Anonymously attached to a Harley-Davidson mug: "I know
you're into freedom but I still wish you'd wear a helmet
so you can be our pastor for another 20 years."
Postcard slipped under study door: "God loves you and
I'm still trying!"
Adult: "I actually miss you when you're away."
Matthew: "Thanks for preaching to me in church and
at home. Thanks for loving me unconditionally."
Child: "See you on Wednesday! And thanks for
bringing Sunday School back! I need it."
Child: "Thank you for letting new people come to
Child: "Thank you for always taking time to talk
Adult: "I appreciate you all year long because
I know you try to be like Jesus and love
and care for me and my family without
judging us like some others in the church
who were leaders and hurt us because
they talked like they were so much better
Adult: "Thank you for not making me fit into
a predetermined criteria to be your special
friend in Christ."
Child: "You make church fun! Isn't that what
Adult: "Thanks for hanging around with us!
Now is the time to break loose!"
Adult: "We're happy you're happy!"
Adult: "You probably don't remember this,
but thank you for returning Him to His
place in our church and putting them
in theirs! I don't know if you've got guts
or are just crazy in love with Jesus!"
Now that's a lot to pray about.
Speaking of prayer, I haven't written out a whole prayer since I heard Him say, "Bob! We went over that on Friday! Don't you have anything new to say this morning?"
Be that as it was, I don't have anything against folks who write out their liturgical prayers; but I just outline 'em these days and let...
Well, too many folks have asked for a copy of yesterday's pastoral prayer for me to ignore repeating the outline:
When we grow up, O God, we will worship together with
all flavors and fancies; respecting all people who love You
and all giftings for worship that come from You...
When we grow up, O God, my way will yield to Yours
and silly words like traditional, contemporary, Baptist,
Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Methodist, whatever, and
even Presbyterian will be replaced by Church...
When we grow up, O God, I, me, ours, and mine will
be replaced by You and Yours in selfless, sacrificial,
serving, and cross-bearing...
When we grow up, O God, we will be more prone to
give than take, love than hate, forgive than hold grudges,
and recognize our judgments, angers, rages, discontents,
and contentions cannot come from You; but, rather, as the
apostle warned, satiate sick appetites...
When we grow up, O God, we will love like You - mercifully,
generously, indiscriminately, inclusively, unconditionally...
Yes, there is a day coming when we will say with the apostle,
"When I was a child...When I grew up..."
Until that day comes, we will not experience the fullness of
Your grace or glory but only hints of the heavenly...
Until that day comes, we will forfeit the rivers of living water
Until that day comes, Your lament will increase, "O Jerusalem..."
In the meantime, we beg Your mercies for...
...knowing it's infinitely good that Your love is so much more
inviting, welcoming, including, and unconditionally loving
that its reflections through Jesus with Whom...
Blessings and Love!
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