HOW DO YOU KNOW
I have listened to, watched on TV, blogged and much more as I have heard the words of people and clergy and various churches from so many different Christian denominations throughout many years over my time in life. I must be a Christian as I decided many years ago that I just could not pin down one group and say to myself “These folks are RIGHT ON”.
HOW DO I KNOW HOW GOD WILL REACT TO ME?
So on 8-04-02 , as the internet developed, I believed in UNORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY and established my own internet theology. It has grown tremendously as the questions developed from all over. Yes, NO, Maybe?
Initially I looked at my website and ran across a few readers until one day my website developed a surprise. Instead of a few readers the number overnight was 45,000 instead of 5 or 6 and the website was frozen. I had to move beyond my original hosting service and the site became a WordPress host. I still owned the original domain as well as a WordPress domain for Unorthodox-Christianity since I moved beyond my original host. In the last 20 plus years the whole discussion on the internet expanded into different versions of Unorthodox Christian whatever as well as what does Unorthodox mean?
As one listens more and more to a great variety of denominations building themselves over the internet the variety that started 20 plus years ago has become a thundering debate about what Christianity is about. I do not have the time or experience to cover the 45,000 denominations that are known about in the entire world. I can guess that there are many doorsteps that question and debate their own beliefs which go on and on to claim themselves THE RIGHT ONE.
“THE RIGHT ONE” idea developed immediately apart of the original message of GOD and the legends of the victories or the losers in a single culture over thousands of years. The stories and the debates have not existed in agreement since the beginning of the stories.
I have mentioned before the story of my question to my 2nd grade Methodist teacher in the fifties about how GOD dealt with people. She asked if anyone was questioning how GOD dealt with people. I raised my hand. “What Dennis” she asked.
“Why didn’t GOD just make good people?” I asked. It seemed like a logical question to me. History was just too full of war and death and it did not seem to be getting any better as we went on and on with war. As I got older in the 50’s and 60’s no one could answer my question? FREE WILL was the answer I got most of the time.
In the original book that many churches handed out to their children when they graduated from Sunday School (and the still do, throughout the world) the book I received started with Genesis 1 when GOD explained in verse 1 – 26 GOD said: “Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves”.
And then in verse 27: “GOD created man in the image of himself, in the image of GOD he created him and female he created them”.
I guess that is what UNORTHODOX may have been meant to mean.
Today there are many versions of Orthodox Christians. Most tell different stories and different legends. And there were wars and there were winners and losers. There are pages of excuses as to why and where “Like us” went away, or “Us” was different than what we know of GOD.
The story of Jesus developed lots of debates in the corners of his conversations. I have come to be very simple about GOD and Jesus. Father, Son, all in ONE, it makes no difference to UNORTHODOX. The message has been simple and strait forward,
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF
DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.
That is my story of UNORTHODOX in it’s simplicity. The NEW TESTAMENT can exist with these few words of peace and one more.
FATHER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.
AND FROM UNORTHODOX:
HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW GOD WILL TREAT HIS CHILDREN MADE IN HIS OWN IMAGE?
HOW DO YOU KNOW?
Unorthodox Christianity is getting more pronounced as time moves on.
What was once a beginning of one culture is now 30,000 individual denominations of Christians, in churches around the world and wanting to decide the lives of others from their pulpits. How many churches wave a banner that says “WE ARE THE “REAL CHURCH”. “WE KNOW WHAT GOD WILL DO TO YOU”. “IT WAS WRITTEN IN A BOOK FROM 2,000 PLUS YEARS AGO FROM A CULTURE IN JERUSALEM ABOUT A CULTURE THAT NEVER ACCEPTED A CHRIST ON THEIR OWN GROUND”. That culture fell in love with with an itinerant preacher whose beliefs resulted in him being crucified by many of those leaders who are clueless about JESUS, a good Samaritan who was born in Bethlehem in what today is Israel.
And you wonder why I called it UNORTHODOX.
I may comment on my dogs, or my help from those who have helped me for so many years that when I hear of an Orthodox debate about just what GOD is going to do to someone else, I wonder how they figured that out. Or the result of some situation that shakes your head and a life decision is expected to be made by someone that you will never know who that person is. You will never know, and that you are basing your judgment on a religious or political decision from a Church or a judge or a Supreme Court that is going to allow many to decide a decision based on how someone who GOD has known their entire life, every day every hour and who GOD will be with every day and moment for the rest of their lives vs. any judge or church or politic whose knowledge of this person is unknown to them and yet fully known to GOD. That person from birth has thought about that decision and every day has asked GOD for help. GOD gives GOD’s reasons and GOD’s Reason alone. If GOD enters your sphere and says LOVE ONE ANOTHER and an Itinerant Rabbi says “FORGIVE THEM FATHER THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO” How do you know what GOD is thinking?
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO SAY?
A light rainfall in Iowa this morning. Hoping for a break in the clouds so that the dogs can go out. They were out at 5:30 for breakfast and they did their thing for now. The most common conversation in Iowa goes “WE NEED THE RAIN”. I have laundry drying and trying to think ahead. I will have to test exercise for inside like in rehab. I have plenty of examples to utilize.
When I wake up in the morning I meet life for another day. I am grateful to have another opportunity. The things I have to concentrate on is taking time to quietly sit in my chair, take as much time as I can and simply say Thank You GOD. I do not believe that I truly need to say more than that. I like to think GOD smiles when I take the time to say Thank You. I may just say “Have a nice day” also.
In the midst of all the business that surrounds GOD in whatever day, having someone say “Have a nice day GOD” followed by my Aunt Vera reminding GOD “Isn’t that wonderful” can help GOD to break out in a smile and say “Thank You”. Life is the gift I wake up for.
I think I will take some chair time when done with this and share a cup of coffee with GOD. I am sure He (or She or Whatever) will enjoy it. For my everyday friends, Have a wonderful day and KNOW THAT OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU also.
ME, Mack and Jake
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.
“ORDINARY PEOPLE” Click on music if it doesn’t start by itself.
So on July 15th, 2022 GOD stopped by while I had Open Heart Surgery at GOD’s own bequest. GOD didn’t want me to do this just with the help of some excellent doctors and nurses. GOD always prepares and never gives up on a project. The first thing GOD did was prepare the project with GOD’s gift in the hands of the people that the above song is all about. Not just me, not just a few. Once GOD had put all the pieces of this project together over a period of a year and a half. GOD got so many people to help me, to watch the dogs, to drive me here and there, and a whole team of encouragement givers appeared. As I was talking with a couple of the encouragers the other night they asked me a question. “You have done all of this so well with your surgery, and your positiveness. Just how did you do it?”
I thought about the question for a few minutes and the word came to me. “CONFIDENCE”. I was getting ready to be off to bed and I found myself remembering with a group of people from a song I had written years ago. The song at the beginning of this writing. “Ordinary People.” I talked to my encouragers. “Confidence is not just a gift. If you do not mind me sharing. Confidence is not born of one event. It is born of a lifetime of events of “Ordinary People” who have shared their “Confidence” in hundreds of events in my life. ORDINARY PEOPLE who have shared my lifetime in so many situations”. I shortly left for bed. But I was not done with this note for this lesson.
You see we often make a huge mistake when we miss the values of Unorthodox Christianity. We think that the Bible’s have all the stories. We write them down and memorize them from Bible school to Bible College to Sunday School and all kinds of Bible Studies. There are all kinds of Churches and stories about what will happen if you don’t believe this story, or that story. The truth of GOD is this:
THE BOOKS ARE NEVER FINISHED. THE “ORDINARY PEOPLE” ARE NEVER DONE. GOD has provided us with enough encourgers and personal stories of so many events over lifetimes of stories that they have become libraries that have filled the ages of writings, and stories, and songs for you to share with and lives to learn from. They surpass the few books that we ascribe to our Bibles and we miss the thousands of books that have become thousands of years of events throughout the world. GOD knows that the few books we attribute to the “Bibles” are such a small volume of the works of GOD and “ORDINARY PEOPLE” that telling people what GOD has in mind for our lives doesn’t scratch the surface of just one ORDINARY PERSON, let alone thousands, let alone billions that have become just who we are.
Just what are people looking for when they seek out GOD for their own relationship with GOD? What do the “Ordinary People” ask of GOD? More and more people have a harder time with a GOD who criticizes everything from a journey that GOD will sort out and that GOD will see lifetimes of challenges and changes. GOD will send ORDINARY PEOPLE to encourage so many encourgers over so many lifetimes to support so many. And suddenly it becomes lifetimes of forever lifetimes of “Life after Death”.
One thing I have gotten out of Unorthodox Christianity over all these years is pretty simple. ” Lifetimes of CONFIDENCE”.
THE BOOKS ARE NEVER FINISHED. THE BOOKS WILL ALWAYS EXIST. THE BOOKS WILL ALWAYS BE FOUND NO MATTER WHERE THEY MAY BE HIDING. THAT IS WHAT CREATES CONFIDENCE. AND CONFIDENCE IS WHAT CREATES FAITH. AND FAITH IS THE HALLMARK OF GOD.
“HE CHOSE ORDINARY PEOPLE TO BE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST.”
As I was sitting down the other evening, and thinking about just what “Life Is” some 70 years into “Life Is”. Some things came to my attention. I found myself thinking about just what have I accomplished so far in my life?
I thought about my debt to asset ratio after all these years. I have seen many of the retirement preparations shows on the TV and how I have made it to this point. I am in the Social Security part of my life. I still work and probably will for the rest of of my life. The question rambled throughout my head just what have I accomplished?
I explain it to people that I am independently poor.
That word ACCOMPLISHED seemed to jump out at me like I had just entered into a boxing ring. Just what have I accomplished in my life? I have a long list of what I have wanted to accomplish. What I wanted in elementary school, or high school, or college. How about that first job, or the last one.
In the world of religion and GOD and JESUS and BUDDHA, and many more different religious groups and beliefs is UNORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY.
WHAT HAVE I ACCOMPLISHED?
How many of us ask ourselves what have we accomplished so far in this Life? People I have talked to in my life have asked me, religiously, in different ways, what have I accomplished in my life? So I asked GOD for a clarification.
“Just what, GOD, have I ACCOMPLISHED in 70+ years so far?”
As though it was written by an ancient prophet from somewhere, GOD wrote it like this:
“Life is not about all the things you may have wanted to do. Life is about all of the things that you have done. The people that you have met. The opportunities that you have had a chance to help of or be a part of something important or just fun.
Life is not about what I may feel that I have missed in life. Life is about the journey that I and you have been on as individuals. That is what started on the day I was born and won’t end until I have the opportunity to start over again, and again, and again. That has been called eternal life. It is a thief sharing a cross with JESUS that recognized that JESUS should not have been punished for being good, and Jesus’s response was “Today you will be with me in Paradise”. For a thief, It was recognizing that it was not for accomplishing the great things that he may have wanted, It was now about what he had ACCOMPLISHED in the journey. “Today I will be with Him in Paradise”.
The journey starts every day. It is all you have done and enjoyed and what has become your journey. It is about where you may have crossed the path with someone you will forever remember. The smile someone else brought to you face. The bottle of water that came over to you when you were working to help someone next door. It was watching a baseball game of the kids playing next door and the smiles on their faces. It was opening that first box of girl scout cookies.
It is not about me, it is whatever you have done and what it has become. It has become your life, your friends, your challenges. Your decisions. It is your story and your history for you. You have accomplished more than you recognize. You have worked on LIFE since day one. You can sit in your easy chair and smile at the things that have come your way and made you smile, or changed a disaster and met a friend you will only meet once and forever remember.
Unorthodox Christianity is rooted in an opportunity to take a tremendous journey through Life in what has been and is your world. Just what have you accomplished? You are on your way there, everyday.