Originally From 4-16-2005: Now 9-6-2022
I remember the story of Jim (James as he grew to prefer), my best buddy growing up. James was taking a philosophy class in college and the topic of the term paper was to be “What is Life”. James pondered this during the class and when the time came he turned in his paper. Not long after, the papers were graded and handed back to the students. James had received an “A” on his paper. What was it? It was quite simple actually, on the cover was written
“What is Life by James XXXXX”,
On the next page it said:
What is Life?
That was it. It said it all.
I have read so much that has been handed down ‘by GOD’, the Sabbaoth, the Zeus, the Mars, the Erik, the Allah, the HIM, the HER, the great I AM, Sophia, the great colloquial (depends on the era), the Buddha, the Tao, the whatever.
In the same terms that James expressed life, I see GOD.
Jesus tells us “GOD is love”, others tell us “GOD is a Great Spirit”, and others “GOD is judgmental, vengeful and retributive”. Still others that “GOD is all knowing, yet uncompromising or non-understanding of personal circumstance.” For many GOD is forgiving in that He sent Jesus to tell us that we are forgiven, yet the same people would say we can’t be forgiven if we don’t accept Jesus as our personal GOD. Did Jesus come as GOD or merely a reflection of what GOD is like?
To many, GOD is just a really big guy in the sky. We die, we go to a gate, in or out is the judgment and then off you go, there or there, door number 1 or door number 2.
GOD created all, yet what created GOD? GOD cannot be within itself, yet being the all. GOD is more than we can comprehend. For the sake of discussion, let us say we could.
If we knew, for sure, who or what GOD was, would that then cause us to act any different than we act now?
We so seek to discover who or what GOD is so that the new knowledge will be the catalyst for change in our life or circumstance. Why?
If our lives or circumstance needs to change why must we somehow authenticate GOD to change it? Why do we need to hear “THE WORD”, or see “THE HOLY SCRIPTURE” to become a ‘better’ person, or find peace within ourselves where we are currently at war with ourselves.
ALL RELIGION HOLDS THEIR WRITINGS TO BE AUTHENTIC, HOLY, INSPIRED, AND THE TRUTH. HAS THIS CREATED ANY MORE LOVE, PEACE, CARING, UNDERSTANDING OR HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD.
The Christian in America, as an example, while preaching the gospel of LOVE ONE ANOTHER, risks other Americans lives to believe as we choose to, at the cost of what we have been given by GOD to satisfy ourselves not other Americans as though our freedom to worship GOD (however we construct GOD) could be taken away by other Americans. Our teacher freely allowed himself to be crucified, yet we, disciples, justify murder (or war) to protect our right to believe what we couldn’t take away from the black by enslaving them, or the Native American Indian by stealing their land, or the Muslim by invading their country or another. We are apparently so weak in our faith that it can be taken from us by any conqueror in any guise and with any promise.
We can not abide by our own laws, of our own country, in our own land, in our day to day, under our own form of government, with our own chosen leaders, freely elected to represent us. We can’t pick up our own trash, take care of our own property, respect our neighbors’ privacy, quiet, property, safety or security. What makes us believe we can create a better government for anyone else’s country with our own soldiers, on their land, in their country, against their religion or their culture? This led by leaders that fly the flag of Christianity in their personal lives yet cast it aside in their professional lives.
In His time, I believe, that Jesus referred to these as Pharisees.
For a people who believe in an all powerful GOD, certainly GOD must seem to be powerfully weak when we feel that what we believe to be GOD’S HOLY CHARGE to LOVE ONE ANOTHER is weak and inadequate and can not be improved upon by us.
We have a nation that knows how to help each other. We know how to help others throughout the world. We have been challenged as a nation to care for each other, to respect each other and their needs and their choices and not make everyone elses . The morals of years behind us have been replaced by social media and lost souls. We are losing our faith and have become scared to enjoy life and just what it represents in our day to day.
I guess that is just too complicated for us to truly embrace, “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”. We have pushed the envelope to see suicide as a choice to make life easier instead of finding the gifts that we have been given by GOD and people GOD has approached for you. Because it has been so complicated we have yet to implement it where it is most needed. As a result, the Earth we live in is hardly to be confused with the Kingdom of Jesus’ promise. On Earth as it is in Heaven will truly elude us for quite some time to come.
What good is our ‘religion’ if we fail to implement it? Not much, I dare say. IF we are to bring people to CHRIST by our example, perhaps we need to reexamine what our example was and is. Certainly we don’t need the world to be one big East LA with 200+ gangs and more murders each year than most foreign countries experience. Even our small towns and rural communities are challenged. What can we do?
Let us build our own houses first and people will flock to the kingdom to experience its fullness. Not take advantage of it. Maybe, just maybe, the world would reflect LOVE ONE ANOTHER freely, if they could just see it in action in one place, in its fullness, and all its glory. Just maybe.
So I am moving forward from therapy and rehabilitation and now preparing to head back to work. I have been blessed by doctors and nurses and house cleaners and my dog watchers and on and on. GOD reserved more than one person to help me. Every day the neighbors were saying how have I been doing. How are the dogs? How have I been motivated by so many nearby. I have had more smiles from people I share walking the dogs with.
Many people ask “Where is GOD” because of Unorthodox Christianity. They can’t find GOD, or Jesus in their every day and I am supposed to know all about it. As I get a smile for the dog “Liberty” or give a treat to “Daisy” or have “Harry and Chloe” run up to me to share a treat that I get called the Candy Man can. It is the smile on a 3 year old when Mack or Jake smile with them. It is the smile of a mom and dad playing with their kids at the park. There isn’t enough space to write down all the smiles, all the concern, all the friends who started as neighbors and have become friends.
And then someone asks, “Just where is GOD”.
Times get tough. Tragedy stands at doors, in the weather, in the floods. “Where is GOD”. Of all the things we have happen in our lives to say, “Where is GOD”. I watch the news and can not see where GOD isn’t.
My surgeon, I found out, came to work on me on His Birthday, to be sure that the procedure was done in a timely manner rather than run a risk for having to wait until the surgery fit the schedule. It would have been very risky over a wait until the schedule was in my schedule. Every day the news reflects GOD in motion. Every day people are helping others, rescuing people through the floods, fires, and they wrap their arms around the ones whose family, friends, or neighbors to not make it here. Not for the sake of GOD or JESUS not being there at the right time. For the sake of GOD and JESUS are there helping the helpers. Not just a few who come home.GOD and JESUS are busy every day, and every where and every moment in every place are the helpers of GOD and JESUS.
A cohort at rehab asked me the other day just what will I do when rehab is over. I put it this way:
“For right now, for me, it is better to make some progress daily, then have no daily to experience at all.”
GOD and JESUS are everywhere. All the time. Some days life starts over for some in a new experience. Some days life is a gift of the every day. GOD and JESUS know what life is. Don’t miss those who’s job it it is to care. NO one should question where GOD is or where JESUS just might be.They are so far beyond your capabilities do not measure them by who we think they are. Just look at the every day no matter where you are. GOD and JESUS are there. And they are doing just what they do always.
AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE ALL CAN SHARE THE GIFT OF THE EVERY DAY.
GOOD MORNING ALL
Doing a bit more research today getting ready for surgery next week. I am not supposed to eat herbal supplements prior to surgery. Not being a dietitian, I looked up the National Institute of Health on “supplements”. There went my entire diet. (Not really). It is interesting all of the “supplements” we all have access to. Some, though, are very helpful to know about. I think I am doing OK. Good water is safe.
Today’s word reminded me of a dear friend from years ago who had been diagnosed with liver cancer and was told he had just a few weeks to live. We were walking one morning (As we did every morning since he was told) when he mentioned “You know Dennis, I’ve never seen the leaves greener, the roses are redder, the smells are more sweet and intense, it is simply a beautiful day. Do not miss any of them in your everyday life “.
Life is a beautiful place to hang out. I have been so blessed by that profound commentary from my friend at a cherished time in his life. My entire life was changed since that day. We rush and rush and work and work. The magnificent world we have been given is often ignored or passed by for the sake of other things. With next week ahead, the reminder to see the beautiful in the everyday is a blessing. May all of you see the beauty in nature that surrounds us in some way every day. The list of all the supplements of life is the gift for us all. They affect each of us in some way. More than just food supplements there are streams of water, sunrises and sunsets. I have been blessed to be in the mountains with the giant sunsets and lakes and fountains. Looking over the ocean, a morning fog (even in Iowa). GOD created all the supplements of life, for each and every one of us. In billions of different ways and billions of unique smiles.
As I watch the news I am reminded of what JESUS forwarded to us from GOD. The most important supplement we have been given the opportunity to share:
LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Have a blessed and a beautiful day and know that OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU EVERY DAY.
ME, Mack and Jake
GOOD SATURDAY AFTERNOON ALL
I have had an interesting day. So different from the weatherman over the last many days. Cold and wind chill and wind chill and cold creates its own image of how the day proceeds. When I woke up at 6 AM to take the dogs out there was no wind and the sun was waking up right along with us. Make no mistake, I did not dream it.
We all smiled and the day changed to the TV after a long morning walk to the park. The computer expanded the TV to catch up on some reading and writing. The lunch treat became a couple chocolates, coffee and cinnamon rolls and a monster cookie. More habit than good idea. (You have to remember that GOD goes shopping with me once in a while). The computer led me to more reading and it is now 1:40 PM as I have tuned in to the WORD. IMAGINATION.
Most of you know I write this blog and a music blog and have for years. I would love to be able to sit back and take the credit for my imagination. The guardian angels (Mack and Jake) take me for walks. Go left, go right. Let’s go this way or that way. The clock tells me what time to go out, before the rain or after the snow stops falling. GOD helps me write the music via the people that GOD has entered into my life. Some to say hi and have a nice day. “Nice to touch spring”. Years of others to share parts of their lives with a part of mine. The blog and the music is merely the result of my interest in what GOD has shared with me over many, many years of choices and decisions and opportunities. Where credit is due, credit should be recognized for those who GOD has shared with me and my journeys.
Today there is a smile on my face that overlooked laundry, groceries, cleaning and assigned the day for what it is. A day off and moving forward. Have a wonderful day and know that OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.
ME, and Mack and Jake
Trying to get back to Weds off. No need to rush, so I pick something to rush about. On the computer with “what about this or what about that”. Long rest or short rest. Fill up the Brita (Water purifier) full or still ok. Walk the dogs or “They’re OK for a while longer”. Just what to do today? Start new or start later. I am sooo confused. I should think nap, or maybe total gym? Throw paper up, then one has to pick paper up. Why do people retire anyway? There are always things to do. I guess that days off are way too time consuming for a guy like me. Have a wonderful day and stay safe. Have to get the dogs their sweaters on and the insulated coats. Wind chill is -12. Life. It is a never ending story. Know that OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU. “A nap you say?” Hmmmmm.
ME, Mack and Jake
Artificial Life or Authentic Life
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.
Take in the life that has been created for us.
Heaven, Hereafter, or hereNOW
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.
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 that have 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.