Recently I ran into a link to The God Article’s “10 Things You Can’t Do While Following Jesus” Personally, I think it’s a spot-on reminder of what scripture says, which is often contrary to the way Believers live. (BTW: as a guy who follows both religion and science, I love the name of that site!)
OK, I should say almost spot-on – I did have one nag about it: Rule #6 is that you can’t let people go hungry, which is true. However, there should be a sort of conditional on it: those who intentionally sit on their butts, doing nothing when they are ABLE to do something aren’t supposed to get fed for free (2 Thessalonians: “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” It’s goodwill and welfare, not a free ride, which is different.) And, really, it’s important to remember that part about being able to work – there’s plenty of people who can’t. Take my friend Jeff – he can no longer physically work, has dialysis three days a week, and isn’t trained for anything else (though, if I have anything to say about it, I’m going to get that fixed 🙂
The list, in my opinion, shows the wide gulf that’s developed between how we execute our lives -vs- what scripture says. I’ve heard some folks from other religions say it before, but it’s very true: “Your Jesus is a heck of a guy, but I can’t stand his followers.”
To further highlight how much we’ve gotten away from Yeshua’s (Jesus – Yeshua would have been the original Hebrew pronunciation, just like Paul wasn’t Paul originally) words, the hate mail started rolling in for the author, Mark Sandlin. He pointed out a couple of them, and one of them nearly made me fall out of my chair, laughing: “Mr. Sandlin, I hope that you come to know the real Jesus someday. The communist Jesus you have manufactured is not real.”
I’ll not get into the political leanings of Jesus – in fact, I’m gonna save that for another day, and I’ll probably end up with my own source of irrational hate mail when I do. I’m good with that, I’ve dealt with it before.
I said 10 (x2), because Mark Sandlin ended up writing a second article, as a sort of response to some of the hate mail claiming he couldn’t use the pulpit to further political goals. “10 Political Things You Can’t Do While Following Jesus” is his response to that – if people are going to accuse him of using the Bible for political goals, why not just take them head on and to exactly that?
It’s again a really good article, and again I had one nagging bit: #3 is about immigration, and the Bible has rules for immigrants, but there’s not really any steadfast rules put down about allowing outsiders in, though there’s an example or two in there of Jesus’s actions and words: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,…” But I find that one to be a tenuous example at best.
Overall, both are well worth the short read, and worth going back and looking at from time to time!
As a side note: it’s funny, but, both of these lists encapsulate why Believers are disliked by some people. Those of other religions that I know are often better examples of the values a Believer should follow on a daily basis than many of the Believers I have known over the years (I’m glad I’m with a group of people now who are better than that! 🙂
Also, I’ve gotten quieter and quieter about religion over the last couple of years. Why? Because I still feel like I’m a heretic for some of my beliefs. I’ll have one-on-one conversations about religion and express my beliefs fully, but I don’t do it in a wide, public way. After a fairly lengthy discussion on Facebook, I pulled out the stops and threw down some of my beliefs publicly. And it felt “right” do do so, though it made me uncomfortable from a social point of view. But, I realized how quiet I was becoming, despite having one of the books in my writing queue be strictly religious in nature! 30 seconds after I posted that Facebook response, I saw the 10 Things You Can’t Do While Following Jesus, and suddenly I felt a lot better about it. Then, I go to services on Friday night, and Kent was teaching, and when he started he pointed out that what he had to say could make people angry (I picked on him a bit later) He pointed out some of the things I had been thinking. It’s time to quit being quiet, and quit worrying about what my friends or congregation might think. I’ve got a sort of “introduction letter” drafted for posting about my beliefs, and why I feel that some of the things we do and say are wrong. Maybe I’ll finish that up today sometime.