Some days just seem like dark days when it comes to people. Some days it seems that people are on a completely different life path than I am. Here is an exercise for you to try.
Sharing a hello, a smile, helping with a door opens the world of information from the people around you. The people you feel will ignore you, say thank you. The people who you help can not be kind enough. The sheer number of nice people that you will discover behind faces you may never guess will respond, become hellos every day. Enjoy what you find out in the world with a simple smile or nod of the head. Test me on this one, you will be amazed and it will put a positive smile in a column you may never think of. Have a wonderful day and enjoy it. Just like the day will bring HEAT INDEX, so to can your day bring SMILE INDEX. OUR CARES AND PRAYERS are with you.
I see so many people today living what appears to be an artificial life. Trying to find ‘happiness’ in drugs, or alcohol, or cigarettes, or parties, or the bars. They want all the appearances of being ‘happy’, but there is no depth to their emotion, or substance to their existence.
I see so many people now a days, as we get farther and farther from our religious roots, no matter what the cultural religious structure, trying to get meaning out of life through artificial means.
Whether hiding in alcohol, drugs, sex, parties, or the trappings of success, the true meaning that grows out of a sincere appreciation of the gift of earth and life seems to be absent from many lives, young or old. We seem to live to feed our egos. We live to impress others and cultivate their worship of us. We focus on how we perceive others to view us and strive to make that the most impressive perception possible. Fancy cars, big houses, more of this or that, a false happiness, a paper mache image of who we aren’t rather than who we truly are.
The focus on success in sports or business or in the stock market, to be wealthy earlier and not to have to work to get it is the American litany. When the dream confronts reality we resort to artificial life, the trappings of happiness without the depth.
Authentic life requires respect for the gift that this creation is, the Earth, and respect and honor for the gift of the people that share it with us, and to whom it also was given. We have lost a lot of respect, for the Earth; for our neighbors, for their faiths, and beliefs. We have lost compassion for their toils, and their struggles, and their pains. The ‘me’ generation of the 70’s is now the ‘what’s in it for me’ generation of the new millenia. This hollowness is manifesting itself on many fronts, but the biggest hit is in relationships.
Relationships have become hollow, without substance. They have turned into reality plays, but the reality is not the real structure of emotion or love, but rather a reflection of what we feel happiness should appear to be like as seen from outside of us, not experienced within us.
This is probably an ages old dilemma, the basis for the Tao, or the Upanishad, or Proverbs. This search for true happiness comes from the spirit within us and not from outside of ourselves.
I call this Authentic Life. Enjoying and appreciating the gifts of this world and its people. Supporting these people as gifts and treasuring their hearts as your own. From this comes the full cup within, the life everlasting, the love spirit of which Jesus speaks, and Lao Tzu and Buddha. The eyes with which we view the world, see the majesty of the creation, and cherishes all of its elements. When we have achieved Authentic Life, we are living and appreciating creation in its fullest. Live from the heart, appreciate from the spirit, respect and cherish the gift. In this you will live an authentic life, and its fullness and energy will reside inside of you as a well for others to draw from.
I have heard a great many sermons in my life that are to tell me what heaven and the hereafter are like. I have heard so many that I now know one thing for certain; no one has a clue.
I do know that if I do not choose Jesus as my Lord and savior I am doomed to eternal damnation and life in Sheol (whatever that is). I do know that I cannot be saved if I am not Baptist, (or Mormon, or Methodist, or Presbyterian, Evangelical or Episcopalian and certainly I don’t have a prayer of heaven if I am not Catholic). This causes a substantial dilemma since I cannot be all of the above at the time of my death. Of course, I will also spend a life in eternal damnation if I am not Jewish, or Sunni or Sikh, or Moslem or Hindu or Buddhist or any of dozens of other religions that inhabit the Earth.
I guess that means that I may resign myself to the “bad” place.
ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
Jesus, as a teacher or Rabbi or preacher or philosopher or son of GOD, holds forth in his hand the ultimate carrot, “Why wait?”
I do not believe that Jesus came and sacrificed himself on a cross to merely extend promises of a fancy divine hereafter. Most religions seem to offer up Nirvana in some shape or form.
What Jesus did was to come and offer us insights as to how we can positively impact the here and now. Jesus taught us how to impact the heaven that lies within our grasp right now, daily, not the after.
Whether Heaven has mansions or refers to new bodies in different times as the Hindu believe (reincarnation) is irrelevant to me. Whether we sing in a divine chorus 24/7 (or whatever time-frame is the physics of heaven) is not as relevant to my living as the promise that I can experience heaven now, as Dennis, as me. It is equally important that you can live it as you.
Is it no wonder that Jesus’ teaching was so radical that most, not even those closest to him, could comprehend His meaning? The Heaven that Jesus prayed for is within our grasp daily. ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, what a radical and impossible dream. LOVE ONE ANOTHER, another impossible dream.
Daily? A fantasy for sure. Jesus has been the object of great debate since the beginning. Those who do not wish to change much look forward to the end of their lives firm in the knowledge (or belief) that the hereafter has the mansion they couldn’t charge here. They look toward a magic place where grace takes them and places upon them a robe of authority or position and extends divine preference based on the sign in front of the building they visited on Sunday morning or Saturday afternoon for an hour or two out their week.
And yet no one can tell me what they will do all day, every day, for eternity. More than that, they wish me to believe that they can perform this function for eternity when they get fidgity now after 60 minutes out of each week in GOD’S own house, which they built with their own money. How do they expect to be satisfied with that heavenly life when a half hour of prayer daily is a challenge. How will they adore GOD every day, all day when they can not accept the Muslim on their knees 5 times daily when they are reluctant to extend thanks at the dinner table with GOD’S blessing of food to eat before them daily.
I do not believe Jesus was about hereafter. All kinds of religion handle the hereafter. What was unique about Jesus was his preaching about the hereNOW.
Jesus did not say to the blind man, “Your sight will be restored in the hereafter”.
Jesus did not say to the lame man, “You will walk on the heavenly shore”.
Jesus did not say, “Kill your neighbor and you will be great in heaven”.
Jesus did not stand before the tomb of Lazarus and yell “Lazarus, have a great time.”
Jesus did ask of his spiritual father, “On Earth as it is in heaven”.
Jesus was about the hereNOW.
The great teachers teach us how to live the here and now. They teach us how to make the best of who we are, appreciate what we’ve been given, share the blessings of our wealth be it physical or spiritual, and enjoy the journey of our living. Jesus says to me, appreciate, share, and enjoy for the Father has tomorrow handled. Whether I play a harp for eternity, or return to this place again and again and again is GOD’S venue, what Dennis Wheeler does with His appointed days is mine. I can live an example of a Jesus or Jimmy Hoffa. I can appreciate all I’ve been given or be driven to power and it’s ultimate corruption. I can share what I’ve been given or horde it until that day when it lies in a yard sale weeks after my passing, or worse yet, is tossed into a dumpster and becomes buried with countless other lives under tons of dirt fill.
The reality of life is the hereNOW, the speculation is the hereAfter.
If GOD was less concerned for us He would not have utilized Jesus to promote a better hereNow. GOD would have left us to the Jewish law, or paganism, or mythology. We would be eternal passers by, the bad Samaritan, the righteous priest or the self focused CEO or CFO.
What if I’m in Heaven now? Do I help its dream, or hinder it? Am I promoter of it, or a thief? Am I an encourager of living or a prospector of dying? What do I feel that Jesus would have me do? If I call myself a Christian, to be true to my Jesus and myself, I should be living the best hereNOW I am capable of. I should appreciate it, share it, and enjoy it as the gift that it is.
What Is Your Day Like ? I often ask what is life’s purpose? Is there a gap in your life that can be filled with GOD? Is your relationship with GOD or Jesus filling, or empty? Is your everyday life fulfilling? I find my everyday in messages I forward to a few friends, and relatives. I find the messages of a personal purpose that many of you have appreciated. Here is another.
GOOD SATURDAY AFTERNOON ALL
Enjoying rest with my dogs this morning as I try and get a truly restful day. No laundry today, no vacuum, no grocery, just a little lunch at the ice cream shop to recover from a busy week in 100+ HEAT INDEX. The cool front has arrived and I am catching up on email, as well as regular mail. I notice that the USPS still stops by on a daily basis (except Sunday). Each one of you has contributed to this day for my well being. Cynthia has contributed the coffee, Sandie has contributed the insight to slow the day down, Glenn has contributed the lunch menu, Carol has contributed Special chocolate via the warehouse store, and my sister has made shopping suggestions for my meek sewing skills. It is so interesting to see just how active GOD can be on any given day. You all enjoy the gifts that others have contributed to this day for you that you didn’t even request. It puts a smile on my face and a warm fuzzy from the dogs. Be safe and enjoy our CARES and PRAYERS as they be with you today.
So many of your days activities are surrounded by people whom GOD has shared with you at no charge. GOD doesn’t make a big thing out of it. In most cases you do not even know it has been done. Enjoy your day.
I have been writing for many years now. The notes that have become Unorthodox Christianity. They go quite a ways back. Why did I even begin with the writing. It seems I need to remind myself to write more articles. Why?
It largely began with the conversation with a Sunday school teacher I have referenced before. In second grade Sunday School, in the midst of teaching about GOD creating the world and GOOD and EVIL, the teacher asked an open door, “Do you have any questions?”
“Yes”. I responded. “If GOD created everything, why didn’t GOD just make GOOD PEOPLE?”
That was the end of my religious question and answer period. I was embarking on a life where I asked questions and I looked for answers.
First question became IS GOD JUST A REALLY BIG GUY IN THE SKY? Then I touched on JESUS. Should I simply ask the questions to the BIG GUY AT THE TOP? Why Work around the middle man. My dad had worked with professional sales representatives. I guess I got it from him.
I looked up at the sky one evening when I was about 13-14 years old. I began asking GOD questions, with help from the middle man. I could not imagine a BIG GUY IN THE SKY. Too Big. Too many planets. Too many people, too many questions. Too fixed.
So here is God, a spirit that envelopes all created order, galaxies and universes we may never see. There are spiritual dimensions that we can’t even imagine and entities that even Hollywood can’t conjure up. Is GOD a celestial humanoid that only speaks one language and favors one race. A spirit (Whatever that is) that came before all physical creation, affects every single human on Earth to some extent. I have no problem believing in God (whatever a GOD is), but a God with limits on just what [HE] can or can not do?
Then you have the question of the power of Christianity, which is removed from the culture of the legend of Jesus a Messiah for what became a completely different culture that didn’t exist before Jesus? A Messiah that has yet to be accepted by the culture that refuses to accept Jesus as its own Messiah. The CHRIST of Christian is very much a separate entity from the culture Jesus came from and built around converts and Gentiles. In fact the Christian culture of early Christianity created power around an individual who preached LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
It is a wonder that a child in Bethlehem was chosen to carry the spirit and message of God to these people? When these people didn’t listen to Jesus, Jesus sent his insight for LOVE ONE ANOTHER through others who did believe in the life and story of Jesus into other cultures that didn’t speak Jesus’ language or have Jesus’ customs. Groups of other believers that translated Jesus story into their own and patterned their own beliefs along with Jesus. Could there be unconditional love in the midst of all religions without respect of culture, origin, skin tone? We have created racial preferences on EARTH which was created by a single entity to be made in “Our image”.
In the midst of it all GOD has already created that entity to be among us.
It comes in the framework of our pets, our animals, our disenfranchised friends that have a language of their own yet understand our emotions more than we understand our own. They understand our behavior and love us in spite of ourselves. They forgive us more quickly than we can respond. And there have been many millions and billions of followers that have moved forward into Jesus’ message of LOVE ONE ANOTHER, plain and simple.
GOD IS CAPABLE and HAS CREATED GOOD PEOPLE. The truth is that even the GOOD PEOPLE have been around since the beginning.
When we strip away the pious posturing and self beneficial exclusionary doctrines of certain elements of mankind thathave made religious structures that make no sense in the in light of a loving GOD that created everyone to made in “HIS IMAGE”. A disciple of JESUS put it this way, GOD IS LOVE. GOD is a force of energy that too many people have refused to participate in. Look around you. Let us not forget an evil side of Succes AT Anothers Expense within the creation of the energy of LOVE that GOD has to compete with for individual attention.
And eventually UNORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY became a bit more than a question and answer period of a Second Grade United Methodist Sunday School student who asked a simple question. Why?
Because just CHRISTIANITY didn’t fit what I discovered. It didn’t fit the answers I heard of on TV. It didn’t match with JESUS.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER seemed much simpler than what I heard on Sunday mornings in church discussions. AND TOO MANY THREATS. If you do this, your off to hell. You will never go to heaven. Initially there was only HEAVEN in the first place. In the followers from different cultures who embraced the Jesus of LOVE ONE ANOTHER there was a different outlook. A LIFE IS OUTLOOK.
I discovered other things. They were shocking things. LIFE IS TEMPORARY.
Not only that, YOU CAN NOT CHANGE THAT. The opportunity you have been given ON EARTH comes with no time frame. GOOD, BAD, INDIFFERENT, a car accident, a war, a flood, a pandemic, a tornado, a world war. For many A diagnosis at birth, or in the middle of it. This life, with all of its challenges, is here and it is TEMPORARY in this format. We may follow the adherents from other cultures who believe in reincarnation, or do it over until you get it right. There are others who believe that you need to get it right and that is it. I, personally, have never imaged a day I do not get up to enjoy the journey over and over again.
UNORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY IS LIFE IS MEANT FOR LIVING, TAKE YOUR FAITH OFF OF THE SHELF.
LIVE IN THE DARK or LIVE IN THE LIGHT. YOU CHOOSE.
The variety of what you can choose is beyond my scope.
But I have always remembered one thing. “WHY DIDN’T GOD MAKE ALL PEOPLE GOOD ?”
BECAUSE THAT IS OUR JOB.
By the way we act, FORGIVE ME MY TRESPASSES (easy enough) AS I FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE TRESPASSED AGAINST ME (real tough).
LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU
(Way Complicated in it’s depth).
To me, the purpose of living is to participate in the adventure of life.
How you do that is what you choose. You do the best you can while you are here. I have always wanted UNORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY to give you a place where you can MAKE JESUS AND GOD WORK FOR YOU. If you so wish, have a conversation with an entity most of us call GOD. Or a carpenters son named JESUS. Wisdom is not exclusive to just these two. You will meet the wisest people at the most opportune times in your life. It will not happen by coincidence. It will happen for you by asking and recognizing it. It may be your lifelong adventure or at your last breath. You will be forgiven for what you know not what you do. And you may enjoy every moment of the journey. GOD has made all people good, it is just a matter of time.
GOD BLESS and I pray you can make your best life work for you.
It is your gift from GOD and a carpenters SON named JESUS.