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?
ON GOD’S PORCH
So let me see, SUNDAY, October 2. I am still here and I have the sharing of Two Guardian Angels keeping track of me. This morning’s walk included about 7-8 squirrels as we walked to the park and back. It is interesting to have squirrels stop what they are doing and then up the tree to the closest limb and just stop and stare at us as I stop by to say hello.
Each one, different trees, as we made our way to the park and back.
“You’re doing well, have a great day, take care of yourself”.
They were making my day as I moved about.
We are not alone in this Iowa universe. The Owls chat, the squirrels chat, the other dogs say Hi, and I smile and say hi. They record my progress one to another, to another to another. We are all entities that watch the sunrise and sunset. They feel the air get cooler and the wind blows more, or less. A human walks by and says “What a beautiful day”. The journey of more than people.
As you go about the day see all the creatures that GOD has provided you, as well as the people of a world that GOD enjoys. OUR CARES AND PRAYERS GO OUT FOR ALL OF YOU, AND ALL OF THEM.
THERE IS ALWAYS A GIFT ON GOD’S PORCH
ME, Mack and Jake
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
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
I have learned so much being back in Iowa. An appreciation for Ethanol, a whole new world of doctors and excellent nurses, as well as Wind Chill, and now “Snain”. I discovered it during this morning’s walk with the dogs. As we were walking it suddenly got colder. The Wind Chill had raised its ugly head instantly. I pulled the built- in hood of my winter work coat over my light weight ball cap. I could hear something falling onto my hood. I looked around and could see nothing. I saw no birds flying overhead and no squirrels were about. No bugs or gnats. And then, I saw it. “SNAIN”. An almost invisible drip combination of RAIN droplets becoming SNOW drops before my very eyes. It didn’t create the little drops of rain that creates a wet spot on my cap or jacket, it was “SNAIN”. I am amazed at all that Iowa has to offer. I shook my head and went inside and got a cup of coffee. Who knows what a day will bring? First Wind Chill and now SNAIN. Where is Tony Randall when you need him? (This last piece is a test of your overall knowledge of word development).
Enjoy your day and be careful should the SNAIN start falling in your world. OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.
ME, Mack and Jake
It is Easter this week. A prayerful time and a thankful time. It is also an every day time. I looked at the news this morning. For sure this day’s response above was light headed. I did so because the day is still with me and all of us. Each day is a gift from GOD to approach each day with thanks giving in spite of what the lead news is on TV. Others who choose to live in the negative and harm the innocent for whatever reason they choose. Be it greed or power or in spite of we have a world of difficulties every morning. It makes me often wonder if my dad was correct in his assessment that Earth is Hell.
And then I see something. I watch the news and find so many people helping so many others. They are not responding to a rule of law. They are not helping their family, relatives, or neighbors. They are helping people. More people that they do not know and they will never meet. Each one they help will say thank you without even knowing their name. These helpers may change their regular day, in their regular location. They start off their Normal day. A joke at work. A funny story remembered from some book or word or picture or nice day. In today’s technology they are helping people in nations around the world. They are LOVING ONE ANOTHER. Not because they have to, but because they want to. They are not all Christians. They are not all Buddhists, or Hindu, or Tao or even unattached to religion of any nature. Somewhat hidden in the day, the day came about. Life has been done however it has happened. How we approach it is how we become. Approach it FOR LOVE.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER and appreciate the opportunities the day has brought with it.
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.
GOOD SATURDAY MORNING ALL
A very bright and sunny Saturday morning in Iowa. It started at 9* and is now at 25 on the way to the mid 30’s. The snow is melting from the bright sunshine and I am doing well from the adventure of a prep procedure at the hospital on Wednesday. It is a unique feeling to try and grasp the anesthesia as it wears down and it becomes less and less and then you discover all the things they did in a short period of work. Many people believe that GOD is enough and that belief will carry the day. As I watched the teams at the hospital and the camaraderie of the staff and their attitude of helpfulness they were defining the word GRACE to me.
Nothing is as valuable as GOD’s Grace through the hands of people and our animal companions. GOD requires hands, and voices and smiles and vision. So many times a wagging tail has changed my entire attitude as life moves on.
When I look back on my life I can remember the times that GOD has handed off the Grace to others to teach me, correct me, and put a smile on my face. When I am asked by GOD to help others, it is often those previous examples of GOD’s GRACE through others that I invoke to put a smile on a face or a lesson from the background. I often get asked how I am doing and I respond the same way, every day and time. “I have made it this far”. Whether young or old, whatever race or culture, whether female or male, blue collar or white collar or no collar, they say they understand and “Yes we have” is a sign behind the smile. Each of you have a wonderful day and enjoy it.
OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.
Mack and Jake (THE GUARDIAN ANGEL DOGS share GRACE with me every minute and everyday. It is a goal of mine to be more like them, everyday.)
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.
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.