Tag Archives: Christianity

Politics and Christianity: An open letter to Christians

This is not a topic I plan to touch upon often in this blog, or an audience I will be talking to directly, but I think the current situation in the US and the part that Christians around the world are taking on it, merits touching upon it. I  commented in some forum regarding these issues and I now base this post on that comment.

I  don’t see Jesus defending his faith like many Christians do today. He simply was, he showed truth, and those who had eyes to see, saw, those who were willing to go into the light, did.

This comes from what is being observed lately as part of the US contention for a president and from not so much the stance, but the attitude that many Christians take in relation to these issues. This of course happens in varying degrees in other countries and has happened for centuries all around the world; the present case in that country simply brings the topic for discussion.

It is pitiful not having atheists and agnostics being the main attackers of Christian stands or even Christian beliefs in general. Such people more often simply express their concerns for their society without having experienced the God their reactive mockers claim to have experienced—a God that showed us the way through Jesus, not by attack, but by mercy and authentic love.

What is pitiful  is having Christians attacking such atheists and agnostics and entering into silly discussions to defend a faith. It would be less pitiful even to have atheists and agnostics being the main attackers of Christian stands or even Christian beliefs in general. Such factions more often simply express their concerns for their society without having experienced the God their reactive mockers claim to have experienced—a God that showed us the way through Jesus, not by attack, but by mercy and authentic love. How necessary is it really to create factions to defend a faith that claims not to pertain to this world and its affairs. Will this give anyone a taste of the God who taught his followers meekness and a heart set in heaven and not Earth? Or will it just make them look better as part of this worldly system as they try to show the world they are in the right?

Do not live to defend your faith or your morals against others, be strong enough to live them and let God do what he will while you remain with a willing heart. Isn’t this what the gospel is more about? Jesus was not recorded entering long heated theological discussions to prove He was the Son of God, he lived being the Son of God. Jesus didn’t create political movements for Roman law to change, he loved individual sinners into repentance.

The society of that time belonged to this world as, in this case, America belongs to this world and is limited to it. Through Jesus came a new society whose members have to be born again to join, but not be forced into it through laws. The society Jesus formed will never be a specific country in this age.

Now, if you believe that the biblical apparent disapproval of gay union (to cite a divisive example) means that such a thing could cause damages to the society you live in, it might be your duty at least with yourself not to support such things. Yet, as a follower of Christ, it is your duty not to viciously fight against the people who support them and to not be driven by emotional instead of spiritual reactions.

Your responsibility is to live with discernment and prayer, with humility and prudence. One of the worldly responsibilities of each person might be to work for the betterment of their society (and consider here that some people “outside the church” carry out this responsibility by promoting homosexual marriage, or by promoting women to have a choice over the unborn). Still, according to the life of the One they are supposed to follow, Christians participate in their worldly duties differently—with true meekness and love and not by the means of those of the world—having in mind that in the end (that is, if you believe the Bible) the world will still go wrong as is and has been its nature through towers and floods and kingdoms and crucifixions and holocausts and wars and all sorts of institutions–religious or not. If you follow God, then your ultimate fight is not for any government at hand to be God’s government. I think that a well-versed Christian will tell you such a thing will not happen, and hence, such a fight is worldly, not heavenly, especially if it is vicious.

God wants souls, not offices. Do not become of this world fighting for a religion or worse yet, to defend your beliefs (does God really need your defense, or do you just want yourself to be justified in the world’s eyes?). Instead, actively be God’s child. America has a problem? Yes, it is, after all, part of this “doomed world”. Yes, it has Christians who live as if they were part of that doomed world. It has Christians who are willing to draw swords to cut ears or wprse, just to see their own morals established. So are we going to be light amidst these problems or conform by being  part of them? Study Christ, do you see him debating? Protesting against governments? Dictating how society should live? He dictated how God’s children should live. He cleansed the church, not society. He never showed the need to defend himself or his faith.

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What can there be so bright and sunny as a rainy day after all

(This was written on Easter Sunday and through the eve of Monday and published on myspace as a first formal blog, but I decided to use one of these cooler blog things instead, so I copied and pasted it here so that I may already have something here).

I am a little embarrassed to say that Easter has never been a really big festivity as such in my life or in the way it itself affects me personally or my week. Easter has, sadly, mostly meant a time when I get vacation, when I get to be free of school–or now, work–for at least some time. As a child, everyone cherishes days off; and I as a teenager despised my High School and College experiences. Most of the moments endured there, the responsibilities that came with them, the environment which wasn’t particularly hostile against me but which I contemplated with sadness and pity and certain disgust, all caused a certain despair and frustration in me. I appreciated teenage years, but I felt I was wasting them in my particular schools and city and worse yet, I felt they were only driving me to a future I didn’t want. Needless to say, once in college, I wasn’t happy with my major. I loved my teenage years and many things in my life, but mostly those which I lived outside of school time. Hence, vacations were my life; and school—especially through High School and the first year or so of college—was just like a parenthesis in that life; I was just living through it in wait for “life” and I was constantly fearing it as I knew that even when this “life” arrived, the start of a new parenthesis was just around the corner. Easter in some way represented the coming of that “life” or of a small break from that long frustrating “break from living” that seemed to be school.

With all this, in the actual days that celebrate the main events towards Easter Sunday, the memory of the sacrifice was still present. You hear about it on TV and it is obviously touched upon at church, which I usually attend. I would say some prayers at random times of the day or sometimes make an effort to remember early in the mornings and make a special prayer regarding that sacrifice. Through these weeks, I did often feel terrible for living a life I shouldn’t be living and realizing in some way that I wasn’t fully embracing the sacrifice when I resumed my uneven life. A few years in my late teens and early twenties, I was able to work in missions during Easter week and the Easter topics were touched upon, but the mission activities and what God was doing in those days was still more pervasive than the celebration. I guess, thinking right now about it, that that is the true spirit of the celebration in some way. It should go beyond a day and a church service into a life in which the duties performed spring from that sacrifice and that resurrection; and life itself is about living the outcome of those Easter events. Still, I sustain, the celebration per se was never in itself such a huge thing going on in me.

And that brings me to the present. The celebration is still the same, I remembered it, I’ve heard talk about it and I am aware of it, but I can’t say it tinged my week, though, thinking now about it after having typed the last paragraph, I now don’t know how much it really should have. After these thoughts I guess I wish I could really live this memory everyday in a way that honors it. As I think about it, I do think the sacrifice and resurrection are actually somewhat present in my life at any time of the year (very different to the Nativity celebrations which do bring to mind some specifics about Jesus in a different way than during the rest of the year). After all, a very realistic part of the Christian life is to have that sacrifice and resurrection in mind. That’s what it’s all about when you hear a sermon or sing a song of worship; when you pray and use Jesus’ name to be able to reach the Father as a son of God, or when you ask for forgiveness; that’s what you are constantly reminded of when you read the Bible even when you read the Old Testament. So I guess there is some justification in me for not living a very specific, noticeable highlight about the crucifixion every Easter. Yet, my life hasn’t in quite a while really been what it should be, not on Easter, not on most of the rest of the year. Remembering the sacrifice more often than just on Easter is no justification for getting to live so lowly on so many Easter weeks—and well, that’s if we decide to leave the judgment about my life on Easter weeks alone.

But back to the topic about my Easter experiences or about how the remembrance about the events related to the Easter celebrations affects me specifically during this week. What I really wanted to talk about when I started writing this is about one little thing that rather fascinates me regarding this week. About this special connection I feel there is between the week it lands on in our calendars and the actual week that is remembered. A connection that has to do with the weather.

Where I live, almost every single Good Friday brings about dark clouds and often rain. Even when it has been dry most of the time surrounding it, we usually get a wetter and darker week, or at least a wetter and darker Friday. It is a something extra that reminds me of that day and I mostly appreciate it (I say mostly because perhaps I should appreciate it with more enthusiasm than I actually do?). It’s a cool reminder in the cases I just go through the day as through any other day. It’s a kind of proof to the people around that this day matters though it might feel of little value or a coincidence to many, especially if this specific thing doesn’t happen all over the world. Most of all, it is just, personally, a really cool connection to that actual day.

This year was a big exception.

Good Friday here carried with it clear, sunny, dry skies. In fact, I don’t think there was one cloud in sight from Wednesday to Friday.

I didn’t make a big fuss about it; I just coolly thought it a pity to lose that cool thing about Easter I enjoy observing. However, later on, on Easter Sunday, I did find and felt a particular special connection to that week.

Let’s start from the beginning. Weather wise, this week was not in the least normal. Monday was a warm, average day (well, average to what was to come, but still considering that a week ago it had been cold). Tuesday started the same way; I think there weren’t even any clouds early in the morning. At around ten in the morning though, the skies suddenly became very dark—but brown instead of gray—and the wind was blowing quite madly. The northern area is very dry and the soil is very loose. I am guessing that the winds picked it up and covered the mist and clouds that were near the ground level with brown, maybe the clouds and mist were mostly made of soil and dust, I don’t know, but more than feeling the particles, you could smell soil in the warm wind blowing strongly against you and against trees and billboards, many of which ended up falling against cars and causing a small chaos in a city which due to this phenomenon had many power outages, some of which took days to repair. The city seemed desolate by the afternoon; the winds went on at varying strengths (taking into account it calmed down during the evening for some hours) until around four in the morning of the next day. The whole day had been brown, warm, dry, and… soily.

Oddly enough, by the early morning, the sky was blue, not clean bright blue, but blue after all with not one cloud in sight and no dangerous wind to be felt. Among the problems that this small phenomenon left behind was that due to the lack of heavy rains for some five months and the heat, a fire had started somewhere near the south, the winds of course blew up the fire out of manageable proportions and some towns nearby were put in danger as it extended more and more with the days after having been dispersed terribly to begin with on that Tuesday. By the north there was an explosion in some plants that treated or extracted gas. The fire there also seemed unquenchable due to the continuing explosions the first one caused; I don’t really know if they controlled it by the weekend (they probably did). Anyway, the blue cloudless skies remained blue and cloudless for days while the fire kept consuming more land. This means that Good Friday, which had usually brought some rain, did the opposite of what was not only expected but this time also desired. Rain resolved not to bring refreshment and ease to this area that needed it. Darkness decided not to arrive this time when it would actually bring some cheer and refreshment instead of gloom while also bringing to those of us who cared about it, that typical connection with that day in history.

What I go to is that maybe, those depressing, dirtily clear bright blue skies were that Darkness that rainy clouds had brought before; while rain took that form of refreshment and ease of Dust and Fire on the Sunday that would commemorate the day of the resurrection of the savior of the desolate and desperate. On Friday there was fire and desolation combined with despair regarding the hoped for arrival of rain. On Saturday, the clouds were already assembling—white scattered ones showing through a moon that seemed still full. Early Sunday was receiving light refreshing rain that subdued for some time making the city sunny and safe to transit. This rain came back evenly and calmly later in the afternoon and through the evening to continue that refreshment process. Life was renewed. Jesus came back to life and gives us new life.

I know these comparisons might seem to some idly poetic and foolishly contrived, but I just regard them as a nice personal poetic reminder to savor.

And maybe for the first time, Easter was more of an actual and more special remembrance of the events for me. Not only for the welcome Sunday rain instead of the dark one expected for Friday, but because I actually ended up writing this and thus perhaps reflecting on it more distinctly as a celebration.