Posts Tagged ‘theology’

We have our rules

Posted: September 26, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Confession time.. I have not read “Cider House Rules”, I did watch the movie and I absolutely loved it. The movie made me wish I had read the book but I still haven’t maybe I will when I finish reading the book I am a quarter of the way through now. It remains to be seen.

The movie “Cider House Rules” is a heart warming tale centering on an orphan raised by the doctor who ran the orphanage. The orphan grows and learns how to be a doctor. He finally grows old enough to leave on his own and woks at someones apple orchard. Did I mention spoiler alert? Well I will try to keep from spoiling the movie. I only want to mention how the movie got it’s name. He lived with the Apple pickers on the orchard in the cider house and the cider house had the rules posted on the door to the house.

The orphan is told to tear down the rules because they were made and set by men and women who didn’t work or live in the cider house. The house which is the men and women in it had their own rules.

The idea that doctrine being created and defined by those living in the situations for the doctrine is not a new one. The idea for a representative government hinges on this idea. A man or woman of the people decide what is best for the people.  Am I suggesting that we throw doctrine to the wind and create our own versions of right or wrong? No, but let me say this, other than the sanctity of life many of the ideas that we have about right and wrong have been constructed through our individual shared and learned experiences, and it is this attitude that should keep us from passing judgement on others so quickly.


A family does not have to be a Mother Father and 2 1/2 children to be a proper family. A family must exhibit and show love, that is what makes it proper.  The list of doctrine that has been passed down as absolute right is long and maybe a big part of what causes intolerance.

Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with a personal code of ethics or morals. This is something to admire, but it is wrong to force personal morals and ethics on others and foolish to assume that everyone has the same set of morals ethics or even doctrine. Of course in all of this we can never forget the sanctity of human life, this is something which is and should be universal.





It was Sunday morning and the word used by the reverend was  covet. The subject in our religious text coveted some treasure and stole the treasure he coveted because of the sin the tribe suffered and then the family and he suffered.

As parents we teach our children to do their best to want better for their own children to strive for the American dream but when is this striving or desire for this American dream more than an innocent ambition? When does wanting better turn to covet. Covet means, wrongful desire, to want and work towards something with no respect for anyone or anything else.

Whenever I think about the word covet I remember a scene from the Indiana Jones and the last Crusade movie.  The movie is great the hero finally finds the challis of Christ. The ground splits open and the challis as well as hero fall into the chasm. The hero holds onto a precipice with one hand  the other hand is touching the coveted challis. His father needs him to give both hands over so he can pull him out of the chasm.

That would be more than ambition for the cup of Christ. If he continues to reach for it and grasp at it he will destroy his own life and break his fathers heart. Sometimes when we chase our dreams we can lose sight of what our dreams we can lose sight of what our dreams should be. When we look  back and gain perspective we can sometimes realize that we could be living our dreams instead of chasing them

just a thought




So It is Tuesday and Sunday seems like an eternity away but I am drawn back to the words from the preacher’s Sunday morning service. I am not sure what religion or denomination of faith you are or if you are even someone who believes in a god and after life. I am of the Christian faith and the Baptist religion and I know that Christianity has gotten somewhat of a bad rap lately, what with the debate about acknowledgement of homosexual relationships among other things but two days ago our preacher used John chapter 11 as his text.

In John chapter 11 we read about how Jesus was told that his best friend Lazarus was very sick. Jesus goes to the house and is too late because Lazarus is dead. Jesus then comforts the sisters of his best friend, sheds tears for his best friend and resurrects Lazarus from the dead.

The preacher tells us in part of the scripture that what Jesus did for his friend and his sisters was more than a theological thing, or a spiritual thing it was something out of love.


Listening on the news, today about the “Arab Spring” and Israeli Palestinian violence I can’t help but think that the ones involved have to somehow learn to look beyond, tradition, religion, race all the divisive things and find love. Love like that which Jesus possessed when he cried over his friend and then resurrected him from the dead. Love like that of a mother for her children. This is the love that is needed. This love is bigger than morals and values that are often used to separate people who should not be separate.

If our species plans on surviving we have to get away from things that divide.




imagesSo yesterday the preacher used I john, again. For anyone not familiar with this book of the bible or the Christian religion, I john is a book of the bible, and the bible is the religious text for the Christian religion. The book of I John, is at its heart a book of ethics for the Christian religion. I John also outlines the reason for the ethics to be employed by one of the Christian faith.

The part of I John that the preacher honed in on yesterday was a part involving reciprocity. Reciprocity Reciprocity is a social construct which involves repaying a good deed with another good deed. The idea of reciprocity in a religions ethics is not exclusive to the christian religion. Basically ever major religion has some sort of rule, which makes it clear that mankind has to employ reciprocity. Most go a step further and demand what I like to call preemptive reciprocity, or as most others call it compassion.
There are some interesting abstracts that deal with the idea of reciprocity as a needed for species survival. That is, if reciprocity and compassion are not employed then the species cannot survive. Despite how much sense the concepts of reciprocity and compassion make, it can often be tempting to take the easy way out. Treat others without compassion and greedily take without giving back. It is important to remember that, when we take on this attitude of superiority and greed we are in a way, devolving.
Depending on whom you speak with, the human evolutionary process took about 200,000 years. When we act as our Homo habilis, ancestors and do not employ compassion or reciprocity, we are shrugging our shoulders at all that time and effort. We are also setting down precedents for our society to fall apart.
I know! I am laying it on pretty thick. But shouldn’t I? I mean shouldn’t reciprocity and compassion be personal?
I will end with a verse from the preachers text yesterday and my wish that everyone employ and experience both compassion and reciprocity this week.
I John 3:16(b.) “And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters”


faith-in-humanity-restored-8227If given the opportunity men will usually do the right thing. I have thought this to be true for most of my life and I still do. I have heard it argued by some that man is a wicked race, but even with wicked actions in humanity there are still far more instances of good than evil.
The idea of hope in man is a common theme in all major religions. The christians have hope for men in the man and god jesus christ. Greek mythology brings hope through the science of fire a gift from mans creator Prometheus. The muslim religion has a path to salvation through confession and faithful service. Hinduism has a belief that through enlightenment humans will attain an afterlife. It seems every religion which believes in an afterlife has a path to gain a blessed afterlife. Even philosophy which doesn’t believe in an afterlife like atheism believe that, humans can help themselves and each other solve the world’s problems.
There was an article in Time magazine which stated that ”
both neuroscience and social science suggest that we are more optimistic than realistic. On average, we expect things to turn out better than they wind up being.” Really good article I suggest giving it a read, but we are wired to be optimistic and it is important that we believe in humanity and each other and I am convinced when we don’t well we are not living the way we were created to live.


So I am not sure what religious affiliation you are but I am of the Christian religion Baptist denomination, and we Baptists spend our Sundays in church. Yesterdays service was from the book called I John which is a book written for christians as a guide to ethics and conduct toward fellow believers and all men and women on earth. The central theme of the book of John is love. Yesterdays sermon on Sunday was on the second chapter of 1 John. The second chapter of 1 John is all about love and the idea that love should be our basis for our treatment of everyone.  Love in the Christian faith is an action word, love is helping and not causing hurt.


The idea of love is so important that the writer of 1 John goes so far to say that if anyone who claims to be a christian and hates anyone is not truly a christian. Now right away when I hear the word hate I thought well I can’t think of anyone I really hate!!, but as if the minister could read my thoughts he went on to say that “not helping and therefore withholding love is a form of hatred”. So know I can think of times when selfishness, apathy and a litany of other reasons has caused me to not help others.


I have been since Sundays sermon thinking about the idea of withholding as being a form of hatred. This seems like some radical thinking, but last year the United States had the highest poverty rate in its history. Currently 50% of the world lives on 2.50 dollars a day. Those are some radical numbers that just don’t seem right. To fix radical problems we may need some radical thinking, like the idea of labeling withholding as hate.

Maybe if everyone felt that when they can they should help and that if they don’t help they are displaying hatred, maybe then we can see some change.



Upon opening the bulletin at the church one is greeted with a page of announcements some literature about the importance of family and a prayer request list. The prayer list is updated and prayed over on a daily basis, there are sections for prayers to be made everyday of the week.  The list has prayers for the health of friends and families, traveling mercy for friends and families, there are a few requests for financial help from the lord there also. Then there is the testimonial section of the prayer list, here is where the miracles are listed.

A miracle is defined as an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause, or for those of us who love the simple and succinct, a marvel or a wonder.

I often wonder if based on this definition for a miracle that maybe the section of the prayer list should contain much more testimonials.

The Earth is the perfect place for creating and maintaining human life and while there is a fiery debate about the future of the Earths climate it remains the only one that can sustain human life. This fact in and of itself is miraculous. Am I saying that I should speak to the church committee for the prayer list and have the earth’s climate added to the list? No but when I pray and acknowledge God perhaps it would benefit me to  keep in mind the presence of “everyday miracles” and if  I can make this my prayer as well as my outlook on life itself maybe I will enjoy each moment a little more.

maybe the miracles I am looking for are right in front of me