If someone has to bleed, let it be me. Wherefore should I post?

2 Samuel 12:22-23 (KJV)
22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

Before the election I was posting everyday and I was posting everything I could to deter people from doing what is now done. Now that the election is over, there is no value in pointing out the President elect’s character flaws… now let’s encourage his better qualities and pray for his decision-making. Some may wonder why I’m not flooding Facebook like before… well to be honest I’m tired. I absolutely hate fighting and arguing. I know you think I enjoy fighting or arguing, but in reality I enjoy spirited debate between people who are interested in being stretched, learning, and growing. Discussions with people who have made up their minds aren’t something I enjoy.

David’s words have been on my mind since waking up on 11-9… “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” I’m not saying America is dead, or anything fatalistic… I’m simply saying there is no longer anything I can do.

Tensions are so high… since the decision I’ve been to meetings filled with stress, strange silences, uncomfortable jokes, and just general tension. Because I didn’t vote for the President Elect my faith has been doubted 4 times. Literally 4 people have been confused that I, a follower of Christ, didn’t vote for Donald Trump. I find that odd, but I don’t want to get stuck on that.

Here’s what I want to say… The real reason I’m blogging tonight is to get off my mind all that is on it…. so here are a few bullets:

— Followers of Jesus on the right and the left must PRAY.
— We should pray for blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Muslims, women, (I’m sure I’m forgetting some others) and our LGBT friends.
— We should pray for those who are here and don’t want to leave.
— We should pray for those who are here and want to leave.
— We should pray for those who are afraid when they get pulled over because of the color of their skin.
— We should pray for our homosexual friends and family.
— We should pray for Donald Trump.
— We should pray for those around Donald with the responsibility of keeping him from making a nuclear mistake.
— We must especially pray for the kids who don’t really have a clear place to look for models or examples.
— We must pray for the image of Christianity in America as it has been seriously damaged.

> After we pray we should love…. go out of our way to comfort those who are scared.
> After we pray we must get serious about taking stands against racism by calling it out anywhere we see it.
> After we pray we must be intentional about welcoming and embracing the immigrants here.
> After we pray, as followers of the Prince of Peace we must say, if someone has to bleed let it be me. This is key… we have an opportunity like never before to STAND up for those who get miss-treated around us. When we see folks bullied we have to step in. When we see people hurting we must step in. If we see immigrants gathered to be deported we may have to hide them in our attics. When we see an African America pulled over we may need to stop and be witnesses. When we see a police officer trying to serve and protect we may have to serve and protect with them for their safety. When we see an LGBT person being treated wrong we must put our arm around them and tell them that they are loved no matter what. When we hear fundamentalists preach hate we should drowned that message out with love. We can not be silent, but when we speak our message must be love. It must be LOVE and NOT JUDGMENT… WE MUST STOP WITH THE JUDGMENT TOWARD TRUMP TOO. The election is over.

If we had to wrap this up in a pretty bow, what would we say?
Is there any good news?
I think there are a few things:
–#1 – Hillary graciously succeeded…. we won’t have to have a war to change leadership.
–#2 – Trump’s most gracious speech was his first speech after he won the election.
–#3 – Trump is historically a passionate even extreme speaker…. so maybe he won’t be as extreme as he campaigned to be.
–#4 – We now know that racism is still an issue, and this election revealed some of the unhealthy problems we still have but at least now we know that there is work to do. If this campaign and election was a test of racism, we failed, but the first step to fixing a problem is knowing that you have one. Let’s take more steps toward racial equality.
–#5 – Non-violent followers of Christ will have opportunities to stand between the oppressed and the oppressors.

“Unsaved Neighbors” – Puke!

I had an “Evangelical Christian Republican” (my label, not his and this may be an unfair label and in fact, I hate labels so I am sorry for using one) arguing with me this morning on Facebook. He was explaining to me how Socialism is a failed system and we can’t level the playing field for those who were born without privilege. I’m not a socialist by the way, but I do believe that if we’re going to tax our society we should use those tax dollars to help EVERYONE not just the large corporation and in fact not at all the large corporation but rather the individuals in need. I also would argue that we as a society should do whatever we can within our power to make sure that both health care and education are human rights. There should be some limits… but we’ve got to have the conversation and not just shoot it down because we believe it is “communism” or “socialism.”

Everyone is born into different economic situations, and more importantly, everyone is born into different families and some of those families aren’t as caring, supportive, and as encouraging as others but everyone should have the same opportunity.

The following statement really aggravated me…

“The Kingdom of God is made up of believers that have a super-natural ability to love their neighbors as themselves. With this Spirit inspired ability comes the Wisdom of God. Thus the Kingdom of God is ruled by Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost. The early church in Jerusalem demonstrated this love in very practical ways. To expect our unsaved Neighbors to live this way without the power of God within them is extremely naive.”

I don’t have any unsaved Neighbors bud! I have neighbors. PERIOD. Although they may not have come to the same beliefs that I have about Jesus, they are humans and they are LOVED by God regardless of their theological conclusions. It is my job to show them and proclaim to them the love of God and I don’t love them more or less or differently because they are or are not “believers” in my mind. I realize that my friend here isn’t saying “piss on un-believers” but what he is saying without doing so intentionally is that there is a difference between us and them. That BS IDEA has to be crushed. It has to come to an end. I have to suppress the desire to label “evangelical Republican Christians” and “Religious idiots” and we all have to do whatever we can to love and leave the doors open for all.

Click here to listen or hit play below:

John’s safe home.

The messages of Jonathon Edwards and the message of Jesus Christ…

… are completely incompatible. Jesus came to show us what God is really like. God is not angry, God does not torture sinners. God is like Jesus, He has always been like Jesus.

Good Theology I was Taught as a Child Series

Over the past 10 years or so I’ve been growing and changing and living without the fear of an angry god that wanted to destroy anyone who decided to use the freedom that God had given them to think. During that time it has been very easy for me to sound like I didn’t appreciate the things I was taught as a child and young adult. That’s simply not true. While I do believe that many of my childhood mentors and friends are very desperately trapped in a Stockholm version of religion and theology, I also recognize that I was taught many wonderful things. Over the next few days I’m going to attempt to recount some of those good things.