Better Than Paul?

I have been reflecting on the Pauline letters and how they are relevant today. Christians have had these important guideposts and the example of Paul and his cohorts for two thousand years. It seems to me that mankind, through the exposure to these insights, should have progressed in making the peace in the world that God intended through His sending His son to save us from ourselves.

Let’s reflect a little through the ages. The Bible seems to begin somewhere during the Iron Age. The people depicted in the Bible were largely nomadic, settling for short times to feed their flocks of goats and sheep. Then they would move on to the next grazing land. There were many wars between tribes, a propensity toward assuring a tribe’s ‘pedigree’, or their genes. Some of which would have enabled mankind to progress in the midst of hostile territory and a movement toward morality and peace.

Fast forward, and I do mean fast, to Paul’s time– then to the movement toward civilization in Europe, and finally the civilization of the world, including the Western Hemisphere.

What has changed? Has man remained static? Or has there been a progression in morality and a movement toward peace?

During the 1950’s people attended church in droves. Some would argue that there was resurgence in religion, and people prayed and stayed together. Yet, a black family could not take a walk in a predominantly white community without police scrutiny. It was commonplace for an employer to expect sexual favors just for hiring a young woman. (Yes, I have heard many such stories.) Men would spend hours in a tavern after work instead of going home to his family. (Also commonplace in that era.) But on Sunday, everyone went to church.

Fast forward to today. Race and sex bigotry are generally not tolerated. People have a fair shake at not being jailed for their beliefs. Child abuse is not tolerated in any community in the U.S. Yes, progress has been made.

The Apostle Paul, through the inspiration and wisdom of God, taught us the ways of Christianity. Perhaps, not perfect, but the best God could offer us at the time.

Through our thoughts and actions, we create our own worlds. For the most part, I choose the world of Paul. Have faith.

Wendy S.

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The Day of the Big Storm . . .

From time to time my parents would remind me that I was born during one of the biggest blizzards they could remember. The roads in suburban Chicago were nearly impassable as they rushed to the hospital. My mother must have had a horrible night because I was born at 4:11 a.m. Yet, I arrived as the third child of eight siblings as the storm subsided.

I can remember many storms in my life– some them literal, some of them figurative. Was it  George Carlin who once said, “Life’s a bitch—and then you die?”

The Christian Bible, New Testament recounts a miracle performed by Jesus. He is traveling in a boat with His disciples, and as He falls asleep, a raging storm almost swamps the boat. The disciples awaken Jesus, and He calms the storm and the sea. He chastises His friends for their lack of faith, yet, He saves them after all.

In my life, as I reflect on the storms, it is the same with me as it was with the disciples of Jesus. Storms can be terrifying, still, they usually pass. Sometimes quickly and sometimes it takes a while to see the end.

As I have matured, I have come to rely on the peace Jesus provides that passes all human understanding. Even during the torrents of life, Jesus is there with us, in Spirit, to guide us, reassure us, and rejoice with us when the storm is over.

Someone once asked me whether I believe that God visits us with these curses. I do not believe this, not in the least.

Our storms can be a result of poor decision-making. They can be a ripple effect of the economy. They can be our gene pool or our being in the wrong place at the wrong time. God endowed us all with free will, and that also goes for the people in our lives who may intentionally or un-intentionally do us harm. Perhaps I am over-simplifying. Sorry, it is my faith.

God is our lantern in our lives during the dark, scary, times. George Carlin may have had a point, but so did Jesus when he said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give your rest.” Have faith.

Wendy S.

The story of how Jesus calmed the storm can be found in Matthew 8:23-27;
Mark 4:35; and Luke 8:22-25.

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On a Personal Note . . .

It has been many months since I last posted. I hope my friends on Word Press have not forgotten me!

Those of you who have followed me for some time know that the working conditions with my employer were abominable. Since the economy has improved, I have secured a position within a thriving industry as a Customer Service Representative. That being said, the turmoil in my life is the reason I have been unable to focus on my blog. All that has changed.

I have noticed that quite a few more people have been looking at my blog’s past posts. My commitment to you as my readers has not changed. I will continue to provide thought-provoking answers to the person of God and spirituality in general.

In the coming weeks, my posts will focus on some of the questions I addressed in the past, and also some new material. Included in my future posts will be topics such as:

– What were God’s intentions for the Earth and mankind in the Christian Bible Old Testament, and how do they relate to the present?
– Was the execution of Jesus Christ justifiable homicide?
– Why do bad things happen to people, and what is God’s role?
– How does God answer prayer?
– What is better, full emersion baptism, or sprinkling?

All these questions and many more. Thank you for your patience during my difficult transition, and please honor me with your presence in the future of this thought-provoking blog. Have faith!

Wendy S.

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The Most Important Passage in the Bible?

What would you consider to be the most important passage in the Bible? John 3:16? Of course, our faith is predicated upon that verse. But, going back hundreds of years before Jesus visited with us on Earth, God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah, offering to takes God’s love a leap further. (Back to the future!)

God’s covenant with His chosen people indicated that if the people followed the precepts of God, they would be blessed. If they refused to follow God’s rule, then bad things would happen. Again and again, God’s people turned away from God and the laws that would save them from punishment.

The prophet Jeremiah warned that if the people did not repent and turn back to God, they would be taken away from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and Israel and into exile. Those who would be left behind in Jerusalem would suffer the most agonizing misfortune. All of this punishment was meant to refine the people, and in the end make them stronger in their faith and able to live harmoniously with God and mankind alike, forsaking all false gods including their harmful superstitions.

Smack in the middle of Jeremiah’s prophesying doom and gloom, we find Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Here Jeremiah prophesies about a New Covenant. After His people have been refined, God’s laws would actually be written on the hearts of His people. They would no longer have to wonder about doing the right thing, they would have God right there, inside their hearts to guide them.

Jesus took this New Covenant one step further as He instituted the sacrament of Holy Communion. At Communion we symbolically take the Body and Blood of Christ into our beings, to nourish our hearts, and to nourish our souls, and to experience God in our beings. Have faith.

Wendy S.

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It’s Like Existential, MAN!

Not long before my time a subculture of our society known as the Beatniks thrived. Sometime during the 1950’s to early 60’s marked their era. One might find the stereotypical beatnik frequenting a basement coffee shop in a big city with barefoot, leotard-clad waitresses serving up espresso. There might be a stage where folk singers trilled the pains and joys of society, and there were often deep and contemplative poetry and prose readings accompanied by bongo drums. This vision of beatniks fits the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes to a “T”.

The book of Ecclesiastes is deep, but offers a surprisingly simple message:

– We may be cradled as infants in the arms of our parents, but
This will not last. We will all die and the cradling will be forgotten.
– We may make childhood friends and enjoy their company, but
This will not last. We will all die and our friends will be forgotten.
– We may attend school and become studious pupils, but
This will not last. We will all die and our studies will be forgotten.
– We may finish school. We may get married. We may raise a family, but
All this, too, will be forgotten. We will die.

I guess the bottom line in the book of Ecclesiastes is to enjoy what life has to offer, and follow the precepts and guidance of God to our grave. The blessing of relationship with God is the only thing we will take with us.

Have faith.

Wendy S.

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Living on Borrowed Time

Imagine a world where:

– Each and every child is welcomed into the world with a warm and loving embrace.
– Imagine a world where husbands and wives learn to appreciate each special gift they bring to the marriage and neither one tries to lord it over the other.
– Imagine a world where the only wars are just skirmishes.
– Imagine a world where parents understand when a son or daughter must spread their wings and are tolerant of adolescence with all its pain and difficulties.
– Imagine no stealing.
– Imagine no lying.
– Imagine no terrorism.
– Imagine a world where each individual contributes to society and does not take advantage of a welfare system.

All of this would be approaching the Utopia Jesus meant for our globe. We are certainly not going to accomplish all this by sacrificing a bull.

I have been studying the Christian Bible Old Testament for some time now. Personally, I believe the people living during that historical time, the time of Moses and the Prophets, got it wrong.

The covenant between God and mankind centered on blessings as long as the Israelite population followed the precepts and laws of God. In the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy we may read of many, many rules and regulations. What happened? What went wrong?

Then, as now, mankind seems to be searching outside themselves for these rules and laws instead of looking inside and meeting God within our souls. Then, as now, people did not seem to know how to access God’s personal will for the individual.

By looking inside, we all would learn how to follow God’s rules and precepts. These rules and precepts may change a little as mankind progresses, evolves and is better able to comprehend God’s will, which is for our better good.

By learning to look inside, meeting God there, every human would be able to move toward living a Utopian existence. We are living on borrowed time. Have faith.

Wendy S.

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