It may surprise some people to know that not all Christ-followers are conservative and vote Republican. I believe that Jesus calls His followers to love liberally.

Love Thy Neighbor …
Thy Homeless Neighbor
Thy Muslim Neighbor
Thy Black Neighbor
Thy Gay Neighbor
Thy Immigrant Neighbor
Thy Jewish Neighbor
Thy Christian Neighbor
Thy Atheist Neighbor
Thy Disabled Neighbor
Thy Addicted Neighbor

It is important to remember that we can love and accept people for WHO they are, without accepting WHAT they do.

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Excerpt, When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough:

Question: Where do women belong in the twenty-first-century church?
Answer: Wherever God places them.

God has carved out places for every one of his daughters in his church, and he wants us to occupy the places he chose for us. Whatever spiritual gift or gifts you were given, you were given for a reason and a purpose, and he wants you to use it for the purpose he chose for you. He does not want you to hide it. If you choose to hide your gift(s), God is displeased. In his book The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren states “You don’t bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. You only bring him enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you.”

Link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Going-Flow-Enough-Upstream/dp/1625860714/

Being a Christian is not about going to church, it’s about having a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and allowing yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit, rather than being governed by the law. Bruxy Cavey communicated this truth eloquently and clearly in his book The End of Religion (Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 2007). Some of my favorite quotes from that book are:

  • There is a difference, an important difference, between relating to God through systems of doctrine, codes of conduct, inherited traditions, or institutions of power, and relating to God directly, soul-to-soul, mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart. Jesus taught this distinction, lived this message, and was killed because of its implications.
  • Jesus’ call into a rule–free, principle–based spirituality is very difficult for religious people to fathom. Certainly, rule–less spirituality is only a constructive way to live if love is the guiding dynamic, the foundational principal of our lives. This is essential to Jesus’ message. Jesus never made rule–breaking a worthy goal in and of itself. His point was that rule–keeping should be a natural expression of something deeper, rather than a goal unto itself. Simply remove rules and you are left with anarchy. Transcend rules with love, and you are beginning to live like Jesus.
  • So here is the great irony – Jesus is happy to see his followers get organized in order to help spread the message that organizations are not the answer. Christ-followers read the Bible to learn of Jesus’ teaching that reading the Bible is not what makes us a Christian. We pray regularly in order to commune with the God who reminds us that praying regularly is not what makes us acceptable to him. We meditate to immerse our souls in the love of God that is already ours, not in order to somehow achieve a state of self-induced enlightenment. And we go to church to collectively celebrate the message that going to church is not what makes us God’s children.

Excerpt from When Doing Isn’t Enough:

Waiting is not popular in our modern society. Immediate gratification is popular. We want what we want now, and we do everything possible to get whatever it is we want now and avoid waiting…God appears to like waiting and seems to require it of anyone who will be used by him, particularly those who will be used in a significant way. When studying the lives of individuals in the Bible who have been used by God to accomplish extraordinary tasks there certainly seems to be a correlation between waiting and serving God in the extraordinary ways they were called to serve.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Doing-Enough-Waiting-Plenty/dp/1625860838/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1508523850&sr=8-3&keywords=books+by+mary+detweiler

I am currently reading American Gospel by Jon Meacham. The following excerpt grabbed me, speaking to me very loudly. I am sharing it with you because I am hoping that it speaks to some of you as well. Here it is:

“What is essential–and what has long been part of religious intellectual traditions–is to draw not only on scripture but on reason and experience when contemplating the nature and problems of the world. In the seventeenth-century battle between the Catholic hierarchy and Galileo over whether the earth revolved around the sun or vice versa, it was Galileo–a Christian–who understood better than his persecutors how to reconcile apparent contradictions between faith and science. ‘If Scripture cannot err,’ he said, ‘certain of its interpreters and commentators can and do so in many ways.’ In other words, if reason leads humankind to discover a truth that seems to be incompatible with the Bible, then the interpretation of scripture should give way to the rational conclusion. In this Galileo was echoing Augustine, who wrote, ‘If it happens that the authority of Sacred Scripture is set in opposition to clear and certain reasoning, this must mean that the person who interprets scripture does not understand it correctly.’ … Augustine’s work enables thinking Christians to take advantage of scientific and social advances without surrendering the authority of revelation. Guided by these lights, believers have (however slowly) removed the biblical support for the ideas that the earth, not the sun, is the physical center of the universe, that women are property–and that slavery is divinely sanctioned. The lesson is that purely religious arguments may not be sufficient to get us to the right result. The faithful should see that God meant for them to use reason as well as revelation as they make their way through the world.”

I just finished reading Tim Tebow’s book Shaken. I liked it very much. Parts of it resonated with me on a deep level in a very affirming way.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book are:

o So many times we are paralyzed from forward movement because we hold ourselves down. We compare our journeys, our losses, our victories, our marriages, our jobs, our dreams, our families with everyone else’s. And in our minds, in some way, we fall short…When our self-worth crumbles, when we’re not feeling confident, when insecurities overwhelm us, we have to remember whose we are…remind yourself how much God loves you and that He has a unique purpose and plan for your life.

o Trophies don’t last. Awards come and go. Impressive titles move from one person to the next. But how we live can make an eternal impact.

Excerpt from When Religion Isn’t Enough:

Followers of Jesus are called to love with a calvary-type love. What is a calvary-type love? It is a verb. It is a choice. It is a selfless love. It is choosing to do something for someone else regardless of the cost to self. It is not a feeling. It is an action. It is Jesus carrying his cross to Calvary in Jerusalem and allowing Roman soldiers to nail him to it, and then staying nailed to it until he died.

This is selfless love. Jesus did something for us that we could not do for ourselves—he created the way for us to get to heaven. He explained this to his disciple Nathaneal in the first chapter of the gospel of John, verse 51: “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

During the last meal Jesus shared with the twelve apostles before he died, he told them “I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13: 34-35).

This command still holds true today for all of his followers. Gregory Boyd, in his book Repenting of Religion, provides a description of calvary-type love. He says “While nonbelievers can be expected to love those who love them, disciples are called and empowered to love even their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. While nonbelievers can be expected to do good to those who do good to them, disciples are called and empowered to do good even to those who harm them…our love must be given without consideration to the relative merits or faults of the person we encounter…we are to love without strings attached, without conditions, without any consideration whatsoever of the apparent worthiness of the person we encounter.”

Bruxy Cavey, in his book The End of Religion, provides another description of calvary-type love. He says: “The way of Jesus is the way of risky love. Religion is the way of safety, security and shelter within the structure of rules, regulations, rituals, and routines. Jesus and his earliest followers were relentless in pressing people to see two things. First, loving people is the primary way we love God. Second, this love of humankind must always take precedence over religious ritual or ethnic obstacles… Christ-followers are called to be, according to the standards of this world, ‘foolish.’ Real love is, from a purely human, self-serving perspective, irrational…religious traditions can be a trap that keeps us from moving into unchartered territories of bold love and radical compassion. Irreligious people, on the other hand, are free to be more loving. Jesus calls people to love in such a way that all social barricades are broken, penetrated, subverted—including and especially those erected by religion. And to love like God wants, we must be willing to put practical service ahead of safety, comfort and convenience.”