Yesterday I had the interior of my 2007 Toyota Camry detailed at our Toyota dealership. They did a superb job considering that we had transported our three dogs to the Veterinarian and to the dog groomers for ten years in it. Many cigars and pipes have been enjoyed by me in the confines of the Camry. Since I have given up cigars and pipes…accept on the rare occasion…I thought that it was hight time to let the professionals have a go at my old faithful automobile. They also changed the oil and were to repair the air conditioner…but that was not to be as the labor alone was twelve hours…or a bill of $1,745.23. The kind attendant told me that I could go to Auto Zone and that they could sell me, the replacement for freon, and an adapter to facilitate charging my air conditioner myself. This I did today and the nicest young woman showed me how the product was to be used and where to attach the adapter.
Many people have said to me that they are turned off by the Bible because so much hate has been perpetrated in the name of the Book. Groups who claim to be representing Christ… preach a gospel of exclusion and hate for those who do not believe their narrow doctrine and dogma. It has been said that some churches believe in a god that hates all of the same people that they do. One of the saddest commentaries that I have heard in history is that when two countries are at war…the one that won is the one that God favored. I would ask that since we lost in Vietnam…did God favor the North Vietnamese? When we landed in the New World of North America and there was a rush for ‘Free Land’ how was it free when Native Americans had been living on it for generations? How is the Anglo Saxon white race superior and therefore heirs to the Earth that god has given them…when Jesus was Jewish? How would we be the sovereign protectors of what it means to be American when none of us came from here…unless you are Native American?
When we define our faith according to who we do not let in to the fold to participate…who would want it? Suffering abounds in our land and is magnified by many of us standing at the door of the church to perform a total bodily inspection to ensure that a prospective member fits the concrete and rod-iron form that we have constructed for them to wear.
Jesus message was of inclusion and love and forgiveness. ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.’ Luke 4:18. KJV
Humans have warped the good news of he scripture. the Bible is a group of stories that are written by men and inspired by God. At times what they wrote was inspired by the culture and geographic area in which they lived. When someone is kind to me…I see God. The wonderful fellow who came to pick up my Aerator sewer pump that went out Easter Sunday and returned and installed it the next day and stuck the bill on my front door. It gives me a warm feeling to be trusted. When I was a child trust was a common commodity. Now it is as rare as the biblical ‘gold of Ophir.’ For my 32 year and 2 months and 3 week career at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale…my word was my bond. I believed everything that my colleagues told me, unless I had substantial evidence not to, and I never lied to them. During my youth in Eldorado, Illinois we had seven little family owned grocery markets. You could walk to the market and easily walk back home. Not everyone had a car. Many Eldorado residents worked in the coal mines before the mines paid good money. Many had retail positions or worked at the lumber yard. The markets conducted their business on the honor system. People would purchase the groceries that they needed and pay some on their ‘Due Bill’ each week or month. We watched President Kennedy on TV…tell us that we were going to land on the Moon before the end of the 1960’s…and we believed him…and we did. Our love of story and of movies, which is nothing but story on the silver screen, and in those days our supreme love of books and reading kept us entertained and our minds enlightened. We did not believe, wholesale, in Live Action Role Playing and conspiracy theories that threatened to destroy our democracy. When I was a boy we read our Bibles and most of us were members of one church or another. We believed that, ‘Jesus loves the little children…all the little of the world…Red Yellow Black and White…All are precious in his sight…Jesus loves the little children of the world.’ In some ways we had little…in other ways we were rich beyond measure…