January was a much needed Sabbatical @E4Unity

I don’t know if you missed me, but I sure missed posting for you. I have been busy refilling the tank, as they say, by reading a lot of blogs and tweets and adding new friends.

from phoenixmasonry.org

So now I think we’re ready to get back to blogging about humankind and the universal conditions we’re all faced with in the new year. To start us off, with an eye to the Lenten season coming up fast and the present situation in Egypt and the mid-east, I hope this will interest you. Comments from the Letter to the Hebrews:

The preacher finds in these antitheses the basic truth of the matter. His weakness in dying defined his power in ruling. With all other New Testament witnesses he was obsessed with the paradox of the passion story. It was by sharing in flesh and blood that Jesus became a faithful and merciful high priest; it was by being tempted that “he is able to help those who are tempted” (2:18). The devil had tempted him to fear death and thus to become enslaved to the devil; but by resisting this temptation Jesus had received power to free men from that fear, that bondage. So, in the sequence of images by which the preacher gave tribute to Jesus’ glory in 1:1-4, we must give full weight to the mention of the “purification for sins”. This action of expiation explains Jesus’ power to uphold the universe, his work in the creation of the world, his appointment as heir of all things.

Paul S.Minear writing in “God’s Glory in Man’s Story”.

 

 

Can any Good come out of conflicts?

Not all conflicts can be avoided. They seem to be a given of our human condition, and given the pressures in say matters financial, there is likely to be an increase rather than a decrease of wounded hearts.

I’ve been thinking of a little talk that I wanted to have with my own grown children on the subject and I think I’ll post the essence of it here and invite you to listen in. Attitude they say is the key to a lot of things in life and I really think that is the beginning of harvesting good out of the conflicts that we can’t avoid. So whether we’re thinking of conflicts in our professions, in our families and neighborhoods, or even in our faith communities, what I’m thinking of just now will probably apply.

Where do all these conflicts usually come from? Don’t they all come from something we do or say in the hearing of those we are in community with? And doesn’t it always involve hurting or being hurt by oneanother?  I am not thinking now of conflict resolution but in the attitude we should have about conflict in the first place if we are to be able to receive the “silver-lining” of even the worse situation.

If we really learned this, we could see a lot of conflict coming and be prepared to make the best of it. I have learned so much from my wife and children about this whole human activity. I learned not to get in a shouting conflict with the one I adore, complaining about something she has said or even some little thing she does that offends me for the simple reason that once I started I knew she could always pull out her list about me and then we would really be in for it.

And here’s the point: even with the ones we love the most we have to expect and be prepared to handle the C word-conflict. In fact it is very logical once we think it through: the ones we love the most are exactly the ones who know us best, and that includes our weaknesses or our vulnerabilities which is what allows them to hurt or offend us more deeply. In our relationships, the closer we have been, the more we have let the other know us, our hopes and dreams, the more we have exposed ourselves to real hurt and the more likely we are to hurt the other without even knowing it.

There is a simple solution if we are ready to agree that the conflicts are usually fueled by trying to defend ourselves, by avoiding a direct hit on our self image by defending and or retalliating. Chances are we would diffuse a lot of conflicts by not reacting in this way but rather deliberately choosing to take a hit, to suffer even a loss financially and get on with the positive things of living.

So what I want to say to those that love me, conflicts are inevitable simply because we are both involved in the human condition, and even more so because we know oneanother so well. So we will minimize the conflict by not wearing our feelings on our sleeves-out where they can be so sensitive and easily hurt. Then we will Know that because we love oneanother, and respect oneanother, we will spend our energies on seeking the good fruits that peacemaking brings to all.

Respect oneanother. Treat oneanother with dignity. Listen carefully to oneanother tell you what they really mean, how they really feel. Seek peace and unity even when it seems to fly away from you. Remove the hurt from the conflicts and the good will come flowing in to replace it. Shalom. Salaam.Paz.

Peace Window-United NationsThe Church’s Gift to the World

 

As declared earlier on this blog, the Church of Christ, according to the Christian Faith, is the most powerful force on earth when she is healthy. The Church has been given a life and a message to give to the world. Because of all the dissonance in what the world is hearing today from the churches, that very gift is turned into something unlovely and undesirable and more than a few are rejecting what they perceive as the message.

 

As a recent post was meant to show, the message is not about do’s and don’t do’s nor is it about the externals of religion such as rites, ceremonies, and creeds. No, the message given to the Church for the world’s healing, is all about a person: the Lord God’s Anointed Son, Jesus. He himself is the one that must be communicated in our message and if He is not, then we have failed. It’s really that simple. He alone is the one who brings true and lasting peace to the nations. He is the Prince of Peace. The Gospel of Peace is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

T.M.Moore, in his column, Second Sight, wrote a series on the very subject of the good news of the Church’s message of peace. He began in the Advent season and concluded it in January of this year. It is so good that I quote from it and if you like what you read, you can follow the link back to the final article in the series.

 

The Good News of the kingdom of peace is certainly that—Good News—but it is not exclusively that. In the same breath that Jesus granted the gift of peace to His disciples, (John 16) He warned them that trial and tribulation lay ahead. The record of the apostles, and of the entirety of church history, is that our Lord knew whereof He spoke.

The prospect of peace, while available to all, is extended only to those who find favor with God. This was the announcement the angels made to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth. Frequently mistranslated, the angels’ announcement was not, “Peace on earth, good will toward men,” but, “Peace among those with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14). God parcels out His peace, from the depths of the soul to all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities, through all of culture and society, to those with whom He is pleased—to those, that is, who seek His peace in the kingdom of peace and through the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ. And this, of course, large numbers of people are manifestly unwilling to do. We may expect many of them, therefore, to oppose our agenda of peace, not because they do not wish for peace, but because they want peace on their own terms, apart from any obligation to Jesus or God…

In view of the certainty of opposition to our agenda of peace, how shall we keep peace as a priority within the community of faith? And what shall we do to seek peace, pursue the prospect of it, and allow it the primacy in our lives, in every area of our lives?

 Full article at Parceling Peace. 

 

 

 

 

 SPRING IN KENTUCKY

I was going to write a blog about “To Blog or not to Blog, On the Sabbath.” It seemed like a great way to introduce my quest to find some Jewish blogs to interact with on e4unity. My reasoning is pretty simple, as usual.

  • When you add the number of the world’s population which includes those who count themselves as Christians or Muslims, you have a sizeable number, and if we hope to ever make progress towards those goals that all greathearts yearn for (see, Unity worth blogging about) it seems obvious that we begin here.
  • But another significant group of Bravehearts in the world consider themselves Jewish, and these have more than one thing in common with the other two groups. To start with, they are mono-theistic, have a common tie to Father Abraham, and are bound to their God by some form of covenant. I’m going to add one more that may surprise some, but I think if you’ll give me a hearing at some future time, I can make a case for-unless I have completely mis-understood the core beliefs; they all believe in one way or another that part of their covenant with God involves the call to rule the nations. This is a dominant idea of Kingdom of God in the Jewish and Christian scriptures as well as the Koran. True, the manner in which each group envisions how that rule will actually come to pass are very different. But if we can get this out in the open and on the table, we’ve made a huge jump.

I don’t know if that hits you with the same force as it does me. It suggests that at this stage it is just unthinkable not to learn how to talk to oneanother on those basic humanitarian fundamentals I’ve brought up before-respect, integrity, dignity, and the worth of each precious life. It also demands that we listen with the intent to push past all the sterotypes and half-truths we seemed destined to keep passing on generation after generation, about one another, and finally get to know our neighbor as they desire to be known. 

And so I’m on a quest and I’ve already found some very interesting work going on. For example I’ve discovered a group of Jewish blogs for justice including strong advocacy inside Israel protesting the present government policies towards the Palestinians. I’ve also found significant peacemaking being attempted by mixed groups of Arab Christians, Muslims, and Jews. The wonder of the dynamics of the blog for good, leads me to have real hope where there was no hope before. The conversation, no the actual working for significant progress has already begun. More to come. Much more. There is more than a little urgency to our work.  

 * The Mis-understanding is in full swing -watch the clip at MediaMatters (ok I’m guilty of a little play on words in the use of “Light” in the title of the blog)

Time to say something about the passion behind my e4unity blog. You have been transparent with me on your blog, and I want to reciprocate in good faith and let you know what my hope is for this blog.

Am I wrong to assume that there is some purpose, something you are passionate about that you want to share with anyone who will pause long enough at your blog to hear? Is this in fact what generally makes some blogs stand out more than others; not just aimless wandering about whatever is blowin in the wind that day, but something very personal, something you have invested a significant part of your life in? No, you say I’m getting a little carried away here; chill out, relax, “It’s just another way to entertain yourself.”

I don’t think I’ve misread you. If so, I’m sorry and will blog somewhere else. Because there is passion in my blog, and for me, I want it to be a blog worth the time and effort. That’s why it must be about integrity, about mutual respect, about the ultimate worth of every individual we encounter here in the blogging community. It is all about the unity of the human community that is becoming more and more evident. Some have called it the new reality of this generation. Oh there have been plenty who have admitted it in previous generations, but they were for the most part ahead of their time.

Simply put, e4unity blog is about the reality that we are now as never before in the history of the world all in this together; we are in the same historical narrative and we are our Brother’s keeper. What affects one life on the other side of the planet, affects us all in some real way and we must find ways to share our pains and sufferings as well as our resources, our wisdom.

Now so that you who read this will not jump to conclusions about the unity I’m speaking of I want to begin to clarify it. How did I arrive at what I’ve stated thus far? I would say that while we are very different we have all come more or less to the same observation pragmatically and from realizing that it is fundamental to some very basic needs that we all face, starting with survival itself. The pyramid is constructed upward from there- the need to make some sense to life and what happens to people we love and care about; to find solutions to the injustices, to give us significance and purpose to go on living, not simple existing.

We all want to believe that the greatest satisfactions and enjoyments in life are found beyond instant gratifications of material or physical attractions but something that goes down to the level of the soul and spirit.

 

The way we are made

I firmly believe that is the way we are made, created. Yes, I think we suspect that those who keep telling us that there is in fact a Creator God are probably right. Forgive me, if I’m taking too much for granted at this point.

I consider every human being on a path moving towards belief in God. At any given moment, in any given life, where along that path we might be, may in fact be impossible to know; but we are all moving in the direction of an inescapable encounter with the God who made us. That is what my blog insists gives us a unity as the human race that says we really have much more in common, regardless of who we are, than we can imagine.

And this gives us a lot to write about and have some very interesting and hopefully profitable conversations along the way. And it does much more than that; it places eternal worth of the individual into the equation-

which I think is exactly what is often lacking.

Thus far I think there will be much agreement; I have confidence in my fellow world citizens that there is indeed not only the desire for such unity but a commitment to be among those who work for it and not among those who would destroy it.

 So whether you visit regularly or abandon the blog altogether, that’s our starting place.

Obviously within this unity, there is another very specialized and universal unity which I hope to tell you about among those who identify themselves as belonging to the new humanity that is being formed in union with The Christ of God. I wouldn’t be completely honest with you if I didn’t put that out on the table at this point. I hope you will stay- you are important to me and I’m looking forward to walking a while along the path together.  

For related post: I belong to the True Church