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 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
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.
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
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.