Right now as I type, the inter-webs is still blowing up along the hashtag #ThingsJesusNeverSaid – This is a very clever thing. A place for progressive Christians, non-Christians, and conservative Christians to sling the proverbial spit and mud at their blind counterparts in 140 characters or less.

I have to admit many of the posts made me chuckle. Many made me angry. Many more made me quite sad. Again we’ve found a way to rob our ‘one anothers’ from civil discourse and meaningful dialogue. We continue to pursue biting memes and short-hand kvetching as opposed to sincere conversation.

We can stand around pointing fingers all day long but on this day (It is ‘Good Friday’ as I write) no fingers were being pointed by Jesus. In fact on this day Jesus said very few things…one of the more profound things that the New Testament declares he said is, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

It breaks my heart that the church that is to be known for its ‘love of one another’ is instead trotting around and showing its disdain for one another. This is always the danger of taking a religion that had a communal concept of life and salvation and allowing it to transition into a faith that is all about personal salvation and personal gain/growth. If we could only return to the time when the church was in it together…not to win rhetorical dance-offs but rather a time when the heart of the faithful was about lifting the oppressed, serving the marginalized, caring for the downtrodden.

Jesus, it is said, died for the entire world…not for those we like or agree with. Jesus exposes power structures that rob others of their fullness of life. Jesus served the oppressed in order that their hope might be restored.

The irony of #ThingsJesusNeverSaid is that most folks sincerely believe that Jesus is in full agreement with their quips. I find it hard to imagine that Jesus, who fought for the dignity of ALL people, would side specifically with any of us in our foray into Twitter fame.

Put down your hashtags…put aside your polemics…lift up your neighbor whether they are gay or straight, conservative or liberal, male or female, fundamentalist or progressive, religious or not, optimistic or pessimistic, friend or enemy.

Because the one thing we are assured of in the Gospels is that Jesus did say to “love our enemies” and on this particular Holiday we are even called to remember that Jesus not only loved them he also stood before G_d asking on their behalf for their forgiveness. May we learn something from this day of remembrance.

Peace to you and yours. Remember: Agreement should never be a prerequisite for loving others.

Dabbling in Discipleship

I’m thinking about doing a few posts on discipleship and so began to get some of my thoughts out in the video above.

I believe that discipleship is the key to the church and has been ignored or neutered in most of our faith communities. I’d love to have you ask some questions or share some of your own experience(s) with discipleship so that I can continue to grow in my understanding(s). If you post a question I will try and answer it – and may even make another discipleship video based on 1 or more of those questions.

Feel free to leave a comment/question here or on my FB page or email me at: don.schiewer@gmail.com

The Kingdom Needs Them

Diversity is what makes a Mosaic beautiful.

We spend most (if not all) of our time, within the church, expressing how people need the Kingdom of G_d. I whole heartedly agree with this…but (and it is a BIG but) that may be, only, half of the story. I’d argue that the Kingdom of G_d needs those people!

When I say that the Kingdom needs people, I’m not speaking (just) in terms of population but, also, of their influence. I’ve become convinced that the Kingdom of G_d is about hospitality as much, if not more than, as world dominance. In many ways hospitality is the acknowledgement that what I already possess and own is only made better when others have access to it…when they add their voice, talent, views, ideas, and creativity to it.

Who is welcomed at the the banquet table of the King? What does a guest bring to such and event? (Lk. 14)

The Kingdom is enriched by its broadness (Just search church history to get a sense of the broadness of the kingdom).

What would it look like if the way we engaged people went from: “You need the kingdom!” to “The Kingdom needs you!” What if we began to identify the beauty inherent in each person around us and declared, “You are exactly what the Kingdom needs to be better!”

I feel in so many ways that the way we approach the world about the Kingdom of G_d is to declare what isn’t ‘welcomed’ and therefore how the world should assimilate…

This reminds me of some of the tension that existed between Paul and the Apostles –> Paul welcomed the diversity and newness that the Gentiles brought into the Kingdom while the Apostles argued for assimilation (taking on the entirety of Torah) thereby making certain they knew where each of these ‘new’ believers stood in their commitment to the faith. [Makes sense when put this way – this is how I’ve come to see much of the church’s behavior over the years – we find ourselves arguing for the same thing as the Apostles]

**Paul obviously had some expectations of how one must belong to the Kingdom…but it was a short list – see Acts 15**

This approach will certainly add a great deal of messiness to the Kingdom but with any great and beautiful creative process comes a mess!

May we start to celebrate the diversity of the Kingdom of G_d and begin to welcome the world to add their voice! The Good News, in part, becomes the King welcomes your voice and your presence…and the Kingdom will be better for it!

ps. I pray that if this idea is new to you but the Kingdom isn’t…that you would know that your voice, creativity, and beauty makes the Kingdom better and I bless G_d for it.