Friday, September 9, 2011

An Invitation

There are some people who think their religion ought to be mandated for every one on earth. I believe that you can not force or mandate a particular religion. For a faith to be real it must be freely chosen not forced by law or threat. An adherence to a religion based on force or fear has no place in the heart.

I am aware that Jesus did not force faith on others. Jesus was one who gave out invitations.
“Come follow me and I will make you fishers of me.”
“Come with me and I will give you rest.”

It is the nature of invitations that allows one invited to accept or reject it. When one hears an invitation to faith there is a pause in life to think about it and consider the value of faith. Then when there is free acceptance the new believer enters into a relationship with God fully and the faith means something.

If you have faith be invitational with it. If you do not have faith, listen for the invitation and consider its value for you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thirty Three Years of Christian Marriage

Today my darling bride and I have been married for thirty-three wonderful years.

Last night we started a three day celebration of our anniversary with dinner and a play. Over a sea food dinner we remembered events of our wedding as though it happened last week. We are more in love now than we were then and I can feel the touch of her mind on mine at all times. I can hear the beating of her sweet heart and know the power of her love.

Because we are both ministers in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) our wedding was a little different than most. We wanted to symbolize the full partnership of our lives and our ministries. In the wedding Odom and Groh became Odom-Groh and following the marriage ceremony the Regional Minister of Texas presided over a ceremony of joining our ministries. He blessed our stoles and she placed my stole on me and I place her stole on her. We then presided together over Communion for our wedding guest.

Last night we went to Actors Theater to wee a Jane Austin play “Sense and Sensibility” about two sisters finding love. A most fitting and wonderful play.

Looking forward to tonight

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thoughts on a Changing World

What is the relationship between Christianity and the New World Order that is slowly evolving all around us? The world is quickly becoming a single economic unit and that could lead to a single political unit. Some people see this as a terrible thing and others see it as a major blessing. As we are attempting to understand the almost incomprehensible essence of what it means to be a human being with an infusion of spirit, mind, and body in all of our relationships what difference will our faith make? There are so many ways of looking at what the characteristics and problems of our relationships both human and divine.

The ideas and concerns which are the foundations of different peoples views of themselves and the world around them can appear decidedly odd to people from a different tradition. What is self evident and proper behavior to some of us is often an anathema to others; and we must understand that we need to open up our thinking to embrace and analyze the concerns of others, rather than simply insist that our ways of thinking and doing are the only reasonable ways.

What is critical in seeking understanding between Christian groups and indeed between Christians and non-Christians in this modern [ugh post-modern] world, with its increasing impetus towards globalization? One of the very real problems we face is the tendency and danger of reducing everything to a form of religious short hand. It is so easy to generalize our faith and then dump all our presuppositions, all of our assumptions, all of our prejudice and characteristics in to one big basket of simple faith.

We say amen when something we see or hear confirms our impression. We also become agitated or furious when something we hear is out of kilter with our personal beliefs. What are the truly basic beliefs of the Christian faith? There is a sense of beauty in the ideals of the total commitment and submission to God, the ideal Christian community, Justice and peace. It is sad that these same ideas are frequently corrupted to justify and legitimize the authoritarian and even brutal actions of people who contend that they are right. We must not confuse the ideal of the Christian faith with its misuse and abuse by people with political or power issues. This problem is not unique to Christianity as other religions are also hurt by mean spirited, power hungry, ego centric people who miss apply the tenets of faith to their own perverted needs.

Human beings often fail to live up to their most important ideals. The failure to realize ideals is often a mixture of apathy, baseness, cynicism, self-interest and ego. Even in our increasingly secular culture there is a conscious desire for people to find a spiritual dimension to their lives. Early Christians were first called the “People of the Way.” Christians are in essence members of a community of faith who follow a definite and certain path of the way of Jesus the Messiah. Church traditions sadly sometimes confuse the issues of the way of Christ.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Then On The Eighth Day

The book of Genesis tells us that God created the heavens and earth in six days and rested on the seventh.

Now comes the eighth day after creation and we might say what happened next? At that point the book begins to tell about human activity but we also learn that God was still busy overseeing creation perhaps even adjusting things a bit here and there.

Astronomy tells us that new stars are constantly being created so one might conclude that God is still working on creation even now. One would not want to limit God's activity so we can not say that God has stopped creating. This of course brings up the idea that perhaps God has created other beings in other places in God's image like us.  They may not look like us but still have the spirit with in them. We have to say we don't know but that it is a possibility.