Monday, November 16, 2015

Redefining Jesus

I knew I'd eventually come around to thinking what I've heard from so many retirees before me: how did I ever accomplish all that stuff I did and still work a 40 hour week? I look back on all I used to do in the course of a week and I can't help but be impressed. But I do not want to go back to those days. This new routine is much more reasonable and appealing although it does at times lack in its ability to leave me with a sense of accomplishment. I'll manage.

The sun sets so early now that there's little time to waste even in the morning putzing online or whatever because the afternoon soon arrives followed by darkness all too quickly.

I spent the weekend working outside putting up holiday lights and mowing the lawn one last time to vacuum up leaves.  I'm pretty happy with the progress I made. The mowers have been washed and put away and I've got the snowblower positioned in its winter spot in the garage ready for use. Bring on the snow!

I posted this question to my Facebook wall Sunday morning on the heels of the terrorist attack by ISIS in Paris, France: "If we're unapologetically ready to go and wage war on ISIS, to answer violence with violence, can we truly say we're followers of Jesus?"

I asked it because I'm uncomfortably perplexed when I listen to our conservative politicians as they wave their bibles around for us all to see (literally and figuratively) while at the same time talking about how we need to get boots on the ground in Syria to kill and defeat ISIS. Perhaps they're just holding up the Old Testament but I don't think so.

What happened to the words of Jesus imploring us to love our enemies, not kill them? Were those just words that made for a good soundbite back in the day but were never intended to be taken seriously in today's world? I'm actually fine with people saying they disagree with what Jesus said. It's a free world. Jesus also taught that what we do to the least of these we do to him.

It's pretty simple stuff, really.

Yet, republican presidential candidates and republican state governors are making clear their intentions to seal our borders to any Syrian refugees who are trying to flee the terrors of Islamic State out of fear that a terrorist may slip through and inflict suffering on us. I get that but in our country which sees a similar amount of loss of life as was seen in Paris last Friday every two days due to gun violence, their concerns of terrorism fail to move my "scared" needle one iota. If I have any fear at all it's fear of a "good guy with a gun",  not fear of a terrorist.

It's disturbing to watch pretty much every republican presidential candidate declare their allegiance to Jesus and then in the next breath say something totally antithetical to his teachings while being applauded by a roomful of (most likely) Christians.

We've redefined what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

I own no moral high-ground in this but if you're going to oppose same-sex marriage based on one verse in the Old Testament while totally ignoring the many teachings of Jesus to love your enemies and care for the least among us, I trust you'll understand why I'm bewildered.

We either follow his words or we leave Jesus out of the discussion. That's what I'm really trying to say.