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.
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.
CANCER SURVIVORS DAY
CANCER SURVIVOR DAY 6-5-22
GOOD SUNDAY MORNING ALL
The day is starting as a nice sprummer day. Starting in the upper 50’s on the way to the 80’s. Some sort of rain is due for this afternoon and more aggressive weather tonight. As I often say “the excitement never ends”.
All by itself today is a special day. I have been so focused on my upcoming surgery that I just about missed Cancer Survivors Day. I know that our group here includes “survivors”. I am a survivor for 2 years now. How fortunate we survivors are to be moving forward from diagnosis to having a special day everyday. The norm has changed from the beginning. I appreciate all the encouragement all of you have extended. I remember a co-worker who said it best : “I have been blessed”.
There is a long story about how I became a survivor. I had moved back to Iowa in late 2019 and began working through a mutual friend just during the Christmas Retail times. Because of my move I got a new Medicare Advantage insurance company in 2020. I was scheduled to a doctors appointment as a new patient. I am, obviously, a follower of Jesus and manifested that in the creation of Unorthodox Christianity many years ago. That I had a relationship with Jesus and GOD and paid attention to places I had moved, and believe that I can have a warm friendship with Jesus and GOD. Many of our conversations had led to interesting and positive results. In this case it put me in Iowa at a doctors office with a new doctor I did not know and a simple blood test which was a normal visit for me over all my years. The visit was done and I left. I am physically well, and I exercise regularly and my work was active. A few days later I received a call from my new doctor to come by the office on my day off. To make a long store short the doctor said that my PSA test came back positive and that I had prostate cancer enough to take it seriously.
I had never tested positive for a PSA test before, let alone seriously enough to measure concern for the nature of the Prostate Cancer. I was forwarded to specialists and was fortunate to get treated quickly and am currently very positively ahead enough to be called a survivor. I followup a couple of times each year now. All of the events that led me to Iowa and the subsequent cancer treatment was a path designed by GOD and Jesus in the same way that they have impacted my life through our conversations over years and years.
For those of you who are searching to build a relationship with Jesus and GOD, do not believe that you have to wait until you die to go to Heaven and then talk to Jesus and/or GOD. To those who open the door to Jesus and GOD in FAITH you will have a journey beyond all others. During the every day of your life you will build that relationship to the point that one does not question a gentle nudge from GOD. Yes it is Unorthodox for sure. You also will say “I have been blessed”. I was loved at birth and have been loved every day since. Yes, today is a special day for many of us.
OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU ALL and I know that we all have been blessed every day.
ME, Mack and Jake
WHERE DOES HEAVEN ON EARTH HANG OUT
GOOD MORNING ALL
An interesting day so far. Running a bit late for today but slept in late with the dogs and it changed my pace for my day off. I kept watching “OLD” TV and with laundry in the background I became enhanced with the “OLD” TV that I watched while growing up vs the “NOW” TV and what it has become.
Life has really changed over the years and TV is no different than what politics has become. Technology as well as culture has changed considerably. From no TV to the INTERNET and SOCIAL MEDIA, life has changed considerably in a very short period of time.
I am becoming more comfortable with my old favorite, instrumental music only, that the dogs get to listen to when I am off to work. I am kind of like back from outer space and resuming my day off. I feel young watching “OLD TV” and old while watching how it has all changed.
One question that entered my mind is how GOD and JESUS and HEAVEN ON EARTH have changed. Between HEAVEN and HELL and SIN and REVELATIONS on the doorstep, the Christian religion has out paced HEAVEN ON EARTH. Just what kind of EARTH is HEAVEN supposed to be like by now? What changes would GOD present EARTH to be like since the FLOOD. Then JESUS was supposed to reset our mindset about HEAVEN ON EARTH.
The books of BIBLE, or REVELATIONS, as an example, is a huge business for the religion of JESUS the CHRISTIAN. It is hard to determine just what they are trying to accomplish with book after book after book about the end. The book people are happy, and there seems to be a Christian religious book for everyone irregardless of the different opinions of over 30,000 denominations of “Christians” ON EARTH. JUST AS IT IS IN HEAVEN? How does one decide just which book to read and what do I want to take away from the book I am reading. Where does HEAVEN on EARTH hang out? How are we to grasp which image is the future image or the past image.
I want to offer a very simple NEW IMAGE from an OLD, OLD LEGEND:
LOVE ONE ANOTHER. PERIOD.
NO SPECIAL BOOKS. NO special chapters. NO BIBLES and NO ANYTHING ELSE. Easy to remember. Covers all the grounds. DEALS WITH ALL CULTURES AND ALL COUNTRIES. One just makes it work themselves. Maybe even HEAVEN can’t be this difficult to make it work.
The weather is nice today and it is due to rain tomorrow. Have a wonderful day and enjoy all the opportunities that the day presents. OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU ALL.
ME, Mack and Jake
Unorthodox Christianity can cover a lot of ground. When I first started Unorthodox Christianity I followed a typical Church driven idea to tell people what you need to know to follow the scriptures and analyze them and maybe even debate now and then. The more I moved forward with it the more questions I asked myself. What I have written below is a more common writing of today vs then.
The more people I talked with, the more people fell into the category of disenfranchised. The more I heard about their first visit, or return visit, to a church environment was followed by comments similar to “I did not feel welcome”. “I did not feel that I belonged there”. “It felt that I wasn’t ‘their’ type”.
Analyzing scripture left something out for them to grasp and get familiar with. I wondered just what was missing.
The most common desire among most seemed to be a relationship. Not necessarily with the people in that church setting, but the building of a relationship with GOD, and JESUS. A relationship that they could grasp. One day a week for a couple of hours simply was not creating the environment of a relationship that some people would truly find trust in a short term setting.
Most every day I wake up with a relationship. It may be with family, or my dogs and wagging tails that welcome me every day. Not just 2 hours a week. Just about everyday I cross paths with the neighbors. I say hello to, wave at, smile with, talk about the weather. A constant feeding of relationship that builds familiarity. It also builds conversation and a measure of trust.
I feel welcome. I feel like I belong. I feel comfortable. And when life happens, I find the neighbors who help shovel some snow, or help with a problem, or asks me to sit down and they ask how things are going.
When I was very young I did Sunday School and such. I went because my family took me. We finished church and went off to lunch. I forgot all about GOD or JESUS and I remember how good the lunch was. I had the stories about GOD and JESUS in the BIBLE that came with the SUNDAY SCHOOL. I started thinking about GOD. I started to read the books at home. I stared at the night sky and thought about the huge creations before me. I was curious who GOD was. I decided to just ask GOD about why all people weren’t good. And the relationship started. I was never afraid of GOD. A friend asked me what I thought about JESUS. I mentioned that my dad, a sales manger, once said that the secret to sales success is getting right to the man (or female) in charge. I felt that I could just as easily talk to the man at the top. It started small and finally we had built a relationship. We covered a lot of ground over all these years. If you wish to build a relationship with GOD, go for it. I could keep going on and on about the years we have already built. But it started with my questions and it developed before me. How did it work? It wasn’t magic. You will discover that GOD has ways to communicate with you that you may never understand how, but you will understand by taking it to GOD. You will discover it. GOD will find many ways to talk with you. Many times you will be surprised by it. As far as I am concerned that is the purpose of the relationship with GOD. It is not a weekly event. it happens EACH DAY.
The message below is something I do every day to the people who are most important to me. Sometimes it becomes part of the blog. This idea of relationship can not be built with rules, it is built with trust that comes from familiarity. GOD will establish the relationship with you. You my get mad at GOD. You may thank GOD for something that gets pointed out to you.
This blog today is called EACH DAY. Enjoy it.
GOOD MORNING ALL
Just trying to relax and enjoy a day off. One would think that the older you get and the less “Work” you have to do, the easier life becomes. So far the easier part has yet to appear very often. When I was a young man the idea of a vacation was the goal of life. Today life is the goal of life. Fortunately each day is an achievement. Thank you all for your help, prayers, and encouragement. You have made it all worthwhile. OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.
Have a wonderful day.
ME, Mack and Jake
We hear a lot about when we get to Heaven and how our relationship with GOD is going to be something special. You are in Heaven each day right now. Heaven is not a new beginning. Birth was the new beginning. The relationship with GOD started years before your birthday. GOD appreciates you and encourages you. Not years from now but EACH DAY. As my Aunt Vera(my daughters namesake) said over and over again for years and years, “Isn’t that Wonderful”.
Enjoy EACH DAY. It starts that way, every day.
OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
The news this SUNDAY MORNING reminded me of the day, May15,1968 a tornado rampaged my birth town of Oelwein Iowa. My cousin and my Grandmother were about their day and the sirens went off and my Grandmother grabbed my cousin Tim and pulled him down into the basement of the family home and they found a safe shelter in the basement. The porch on the southside of the home was gone. Blown away and not found again. My Oelwein friends lived next door and a tree limb had blown right through their living room wall. The elm trees along their street had blown over. A corner of the high school had been damaged. Damage was everywhere. I sat in my home a couple of hundred miles away in Kansas City and made arrangements to get on the bus and head for Oelwein. Four had died, and the damage was extreme. I was 16 years old then. A friend of mine from Minneapolis met me there.
So many came to help. I fixed fences, the chimney on Grandma’s home. Cleaning and sweeping and very fortunate that the damage was minimal to Grandma and my friends there and my cousins from across the back-street were all OK. Today I think of years of writing Unorthodox Christianity and think of the so many who have died, so much loss of homes, workplaces, shelters, and so much more that happened in Kentucky and nearby. How fortunate I am for living in Des Moines Iowa and not being a victim of one of the 20+ tornadoes. I watched my morning Church show like I always do and thought “What DO You Say?” “What do you say, religiously?”
GOD is all over Sunday television. Prayer and the sermons about Jesus and the stories of His birth for us to share that has become Christmas, and gifts and get togethers and families together now changed forever for those affected by 20+ tornadoes. Thousands affected both there and relatives and friends who heard from the relatives of friends that they grew up with and hearing of the devastation of their home towns and all the people who lost their lives. The TV sermons are talking about the birth of Jesus and the gifts of GOD. “What DO you say?” How do I, sharing Unorthodox Christianity, answer the questions of WHY? There will be lots of “Why’s” in the lives of so many.
GOD BEGINS IMMEDIATELY. So many who survived. So many first responders. So many who started immediately checking on their neighbors, their neighbor hoods, and their relatives. So much power of prayer to fill the voids as the phone calls are made, the homes and lives to be rebuilt. The stories of miracles after miracles that saved so many from a tragedy brought on by the physics of nature. GOD IS AT WORK IMMEDIATELY. The world is a world of constant change. GOD NEVER STAYS AWAY. GOD DOES NOT STOP HELPING. GOD knows the physics of the world. GOD knows the natural risks of LIFE. The instant power of the prayers of millions go to work to console, to help, to care.
“WHAT DO YOU SAY?” “OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.” “OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU ALWAYS.” We can not be everywhere, we can not offer as much help as we would like, but OUR CARES AND OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU ALWAYS because GOD HAS BEEN AT WORK IMMEDIATELY. The power of your prayers feeds miracle after miracle because GOD NEVER STOPS CARING FOR ALL GOD’S CHILDREN, YOUNG OR OLD.
GOD BLESS YOU EVERYDAY.
SHARE THE MOMENT
A beautiful sunny day in Iowa. Cool enough to be fall and bright enough to be warm.
The opportunities of any day happen when you least expect them. Take advantage of all the gifts that come your way, not just for today, but every day.
When you can not see people as the gifts and treasures that they are, you are missing most of life’s blessings. Too often, I believe, that GOD borrows one of us to touch bases with someone we least expect. It may be that child that smiles and waves at us. It may be someone who can use our help without asking for it. It may be a thank you. My dogs may say hello ask for a small treat. There is no reason to believe that GOD never stops by to see how things are going. Too many think that GOD prefers to be untouchable. This is not the picture of Jesus on the Cross. We have a tendency to believe that Heaven is one place and Earth is another. The desire for GOD is ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
There are a lot of places on EARTH to visit. There are a lot of nice and caring people to meet. GOD can borrow anyone GOD wishes for as long as GOD requires. If you can feel the wind, you can feel GOD on the visit. Do not think GOD could care less. GOD cares for all of us. GOOD, Bad, or indifferent. I have often said that GOD watches out for the ignorant and uninformed. Why? Because I am often the ignorant and the uninformed. GOD is an active and caring energy. GOD could hide in Heaven, except for it being HEAVEN ON EARTH.
Share the moment. You may never recognize that the moment you share is designed to make HEAVEN on EARTH what it is that GOD has created. A work in progress that you are a part of.
OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU ALL.
ME, Mack and Jake
GOOD MONDAY BIRTHDAY
GOOD MONDAY BIRTH DAY ALL
Years ago the Dalai Lama was asked how he enjoyed his birthday. He Responded “Why would I celebrate the birth of my sufferings day?”
I personally have been blessed every day of my life. All of you who get this are a most important part of my life. All 70 years of it. Of course I would celebrate it. GOD has been very good to me. I intend to enjoy another bunch of years to share with you.
I have moved forward during the time I have been given every day. It has been a gift from day one. Others in my family made different choices. Some called it hell and made their decisions accordingly. I have outlived them. I have called it LIFE.
I have been blessed by GOD helping others to develop vaccinations and medicines and surgeries to be available to follow the choices of myself and others. GOD has provided the doctors, the nurses, the caring from others. GOD has provided the pharmacists and more friends I could ever count.
We all make choices. I choose LIFE and the opportunities that GOD has provided for every day.
I share with you that your choices are for LIFE. ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN is a choice YOU make. The results of YOUR LIFE are from choices YOU MAKE. HOW YOU make your choices affect the LIVES of others whether you wish to accept the results of your choices or not.
LIFE is meant for living. Be the BEST that you can be and share as much of LIFE as you can.
Have a wonderful day and know OUR CARES AND PRAYERS go with you every step of the way.
ME, Mack and Jake
ARTIFICIAL LIFE or AUTHENTIC LIFE
Artificial Life or Authentic Life
Originally From July 7, 2005 Updated 8-22-21
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.