Look at this Pig

Luke 7:34-36

34The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at this glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and of sinners!’ 35But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” 36Then one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to eat with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.…

How often have you heard that someone couldn’t picture Jesus smoking a cigarette?  Well, I can’t think of Jesus driving a BMW either or a whole lot of things.

I can’t imagine Jesus operating a cola machine or flying in an airplane or dressing up in a suit or burping out loud or voting or playing a game of basketball or many, many other things that you and I think is natural.

If Jesus were to roam the earth today, yes I could see him drinking a Budweiser or snacking at KFC or even hiking through the Appalachian Trail or downtown huddled with the homeless and unemployed and deranged.

Funny though: I don’t envision him on Joel Osteen’s program, or Kenneth Copeland’s tv show and many, many others.

The real sad part of it is that I can’t imagine Jesus attending really ANY of our churches for truly for the most part, I don’t believe His spirit is there. Heck, they wouldn’t let Him come anyway if he were to bring His beer.

I see Jesus in the hospitals, on battlefields, in droughts and famines, and no, I don’t believe he’d attend any high school proms or visit the World Series.  All in all, I could see him around the burning barrels where workers and the aged and infirm commune together along with, once again, the homeless.

I can envision Jesus with the children.  I see Him in particular with sick children, children all over the world.  And no, once again, I can’t see Jesus rapping or singing country music or any of the other nonsense we do and think is important.  For sure, he’d sing gospel, but it would probably lack the fireworks and smoke bombs and other such staged acoustics and visuals.

I can see our friend Jesus at Joe’s Bar.  I see him with drug addicts and prostitutes and those who suffer and have been crippled by the actions of life.

Finally, I can see Jesus hosting a big, big barbeque, inviting all to come, replete with everything like corn on the cob, beer, iced tea, baked beans and fresh bread and luscious potato salad and great big, chocolate cakes and ice cream.

The children here, the deeds—all of which justifies what Jesus is all about is celebration.  We would celebrate health and food and companionship and goodness and purity and holiness—all demonstrated, illustrated by our friend, Jesus.

Surely, there would be those who would deride him, but for all of us who know His spirit, we would go to His feast just to be around Him if only for a short time.


(Giving Two Mites) Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is


Luke 21:1-4New King James Version (NKJV)

The Widow’s Two Mites

21 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,[a] but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

When it comes to giving we generally steer clear of the rich young ruler who was told to divide up his property and to sell it all and give it to the poor.  Why, because we really don’t want to identify with that guy.  As little as we may or may not have, we certainly don’t want to part with all our stuff.

Jesus emphasized the role the widow had who gave all that she had.  In fact, he said that she gave more than all the rest who had given their tithes.

No, I’m not telling you to divide your wealth and to give to the poor, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to part with some of your stuff.  In fact, some of the stuff is more than likely holding you back for a great wealth that comes through the experience of being one-to-one with God’s children.

More likely than not, our stuff separates us from people.  It separates us as we attempt to protect our valuables from others and to denote our prestige among others, our pecking order so to speak.  No one wants to reign at the bottom and so we put on a front to prove the worth of our existence.

Matthew 6:21

King James Bible
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

And we all know where our heart is.  Our heart is with our stuff:  it remains with our jobs, our identity, our cars and clothes and latest electronic gadget. It comes with a position in life:  with our family, our personal signature such as our haircuts, clothes and food.  No matter, we tend to gravitate around this for we need constant reminders of who we are.

This is the sole reason for mirrors.  The mirrors teach us, dictate to us who we are.  Even though we are actually located somewhere behind the pair of eyes we see in our reflection, we nonetheless proclaim we are that outward body, that forsaken soul that always comes up short and empty.

The challenge then is to muster up:  give a lot of what you have and witness the joy experienced that when you are broke, you must then become dependent upon God to supply your daily needs.

In the absence of doing any of that:  reduce yourself to giving two lousy mites.  And what would be two mites, today might be the small sum of merely two dollars.  Give that to homeless person and what the joy on his face.  The outcome is somewhere between being stingy and experience the thrill of having given more than anyone else.  For a while we would possess the statue of the widow who only gave her two mites.



“I Would Never Do That” (I Am Not Like That)

In the discovery of the diary of Hermann Goering, historian thought they would have a field day about a man who was obviously warped and deranged.  However, after studying his writings, it was discovered that Goering wrote about all the things a normal person would to include concern for his family.

Ancient Biblical Kings too, when approached about the evil they would do disclaimed their nature to do so.  However, when it was all over, the prophets were correct and many horrendous deeds were done under the authority of the kings.

To paraphrase Faust, he stated that if he were to be examined for all the evil deeds he had committed inside his head, then he would be found Guilty of them all.

We say we wouldn’t lie or steal or kill.

Hosea and Amos tells us that even God would rip out the babies of pregnant women to avenge the evil deeds done against God. In actuality, here, God didn’t literally do this, but it was a metaphoric expression to mean that the people would be killed and brought to ruin.

But with us as people here on earth, we utter,  that no, we would never rip out an unborn baby from the womb of the mother, yet it is done all the time through abortions.  In fact, in this country many profess this is as a fundamental right of a woman to do so.

However, if a child is lost in the course of a crime against the woman and the fetus dies, then that person is charged with murder.

Like Peter, we would NEVER deny Jesus.  However, we do it daily.  We crucify the good name of Jesus by insisting on our own way of doing things.  We carry our modern swords, cutting off body parts that are not immediately healed.

No, we would never do that.

But, of course we would do that.  Of course, we will lie, cheat and steal to come out ahead.  We’ll perform our wicked deeds in the cloak of darkness.  That is why we lust and then divorce.  Why we covet and sin and claim our innocence through praise and song.

We do all of this and more and then point to the world as an example of darkness.

We blame our emotions and the devil and the environment and childhood and any other alibi we can muster to fault anything but ourselves.

In the end, even though we are the worthless rags as the Bible says we are:  Jesus is still willing to accept us.

And in order to be drawn to Jesus by our Father, we must first admit that we are as bad as they come and yes, we would do anything to advance ourselves and need an intercessor to redeem us.

And in admitting the sin that separates us from our Father, Jesus washes us of all the bad things we say we are not and transforms us into a spiritual entity that is acceptable to our Father in Heaven.

In knowing that we are capable of any type of sin or transgression, we should know that is all the more reason we need Jesus to step in the gap to recuse us.

So before vowing all the things we say we won’t or wouldn’t do.  Examine all the wrong we have already done and envision how bad we can truly be.  The only answer we have left is to surrender to the power of God’s Holy Spirit.  In this way we can begin the first steps of being all the things we truly should be.

Mercy or Justice?

Romans 5:8

King James Bible
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Whenever we are grieved or possess an injury from others, our demands are for justice.  We demand justice from the courts, from our neighbors, businesses, schools and yes, even from the churches.

Our wails and moans are loud and clear:  WE, it is WE who are hurt and demand justice!  How DARE society treat us this way! We petition the newspapers, the courts and finally, we take our suit to God; at this point, we are humble and meek, requesting an audience with our maker to intervene on our behalf.

The flip side to this:  If it is US who have caused the mayhem and injury.  If it is us then we are remorseful.  We claim naivety: we pledge repentance and in short, we fall to our knees in order to AVOID justice for it is not justice that we then seek:  we then seek MERCY!

Jesus gave us a new commandment to cover these events. Love one another as I have loved you as you love one another.  And still: love your neighbor as yourself.

To complicate matters from a legalistic approach and in attempts to wiggle out of our responsibilities, we state:  Well, he’s no neighbor of mine so the rule doesn’t apply.

I suppose too, in like manner, that we are NOT God’s neighbor either, but still, we seek mercy from him in our petitions.

Finally, it comes down to the point where we should hope that justice is not invoked on us for if it were, then we would be doomed.  If we really, truly received what we should receive then, we would be found GUILTY! 

Death would be our sentence for our sins against our Father and this wouldn’t even cover the sins against our brothers.

In other words:  don’t be in such a hurry to be heard for justice.  To play it smart:  always seek mercy—to include forgiving your brother as yourself.

Go out and Join Them

An important scene in the 1956 movie, Lust for Life shows Vincent Van Gogh and fellow artist and friend, Paul Gaugin arguing over the common worker who toiled away, slaving in the wheat fields.

Gaugin told Vincent, “If you love them so much, then why don’t you go out there and be with them?”  To which, there was no reply.

As I see it, that’s how we as Christians are at times.  We love the missionaries who go out in the ‘fields’ and do the work for us that we should be doing.

We love witnessing the destitute, the down trodden and hearing their stories of courage and struggles.  In short, we love the underdog and have a supernatural urge for them to succeed.

Yet, when it comes right down to it, we are as the rich young ruler who was told to sell all his stuff, give it to the poor, and to take his cross and follow Jesus.

If we Loved Jesus the way we say we do, then in the words of Paul Gaugin….“If you love them so much, then why don’t you go out there and be with them?” 

And from all of us:


No Reply

Get Yourself a Job

Job 38-41 New International Version (NIV)

The Lord Speaks

38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm…

Insomuch we could probably make an effective argument that God was playing with Satan and using Job as a pawn, we can never argue that God enjoyed the fact that Job was suffering.

Notice here that God spoke through a storm.  This was anything but a clear day.  In other words, it was not a Mr. Roger’s neighborhood.

The truth be known, Job had every good reason in the world to complain, and of course, complain he did.  Who wouldn’t have in his situation?

Yet, in all of my 68 years on this earth I have yet to see one illustration for anyone every wanting to be in the shoes of Job.  Too, we NEVER see a photo of him in all his misery and enduring like a champ, all the while encouraging us to do the same. No, more often than not, we avoid Job for we don’t want to be attached to the mission of Job too much.  Sure, sure we all complain that we are facing trails just like Job, but then again, we know better.

The merit here is that rather than whining and complaining all the time, we should get down to earth and get a good Job.

If we had a Job in our midst, then we could put all the hard stuff on HIM!  Since we already know the end of the story, we can hoot, howler and rave for our man, Job, the good guy who will win in the end.  Then again, where he did get new children, how do you really replace the first ones?  Wow.  They must have really been some bad kids.

But sure, we know the routine.  WE all love David and Goliath.  We love Jonah and the whale and Daniel and the Lion’s den and naturally, we love too the three friends in the fire.  We love all that good stuff just as we love Job.  And we love them all because it was THEM that did all that rather than us.  Sure, I don’t wish any of that on anyone.  How about trying out raining fire down on idols in spite of drowning the wood with water?  How about many or even ANY of that stuff.

And the truth is, no.  We won’t do it cause we can’t do it and we can’t do it because we lack that type of faith or special relationship those prophets possessed.  All I say is that we should admit it.  When it comes to faith: w e such.

When it comes to suffering like Job, other than making a good write-up or perhaps a good movie, we such at suffering too. The answer:  We should get ourselves a good Job so that he could do it all for us. Clearly, we are not up to the task

Isn’t that Cute? By any other Name

Earlier today I ran across a photo article that addresses the ins and outs of photographing street people.

In the 1930s Doretha Lange b/w photography, photo-ed many of the down and out, those going through the Great Depression.

Often highlighting Church efforts with those deemed disadvantaged, we’ll see a poster punctuating a person struggling with life.  Many times this is usually a hungry child with a grossly distended stomach, or on other occasions a black and white child touching hands as the good church people hand offer a fresh baked cookie.

Still at other times, we love to zoom in on the homeless.  Photo instructions say NOT to ask them to smile. If you think I’m kidding about this:


So then, by now you’d probably like to know where I’m going with all of this. And what I’m actually doing here is expressing outrage over our fascination with people who are in great desperation, pain and suffering.

Who do we think we are?  What the hell do we think we’re doing?  Are we at a zoo and we’re examining the animals for a pet project? I have written this before:  there is no such thing as a homeless person.  Yes, we have PEOPLE who are homeless! Nonetheless, they are PEOPLE FIRST and homeless among an entirely different line.

People are NOT clients.  People are NOT patients, or wards, or specimens, or data, or a host of any other stupid thing we dare call them.

And no, no and hell no.  It isn’t cute.  NO!  A person suffering is not adorable for us to put in our National Geographic Magazines.  I’m going to say it again:  NO, NO, and Hell NO.

By any other name, agony is horrific.  It is terrible.  Loneliness is intolerable!  The feeling of isolation and rejection is crucifying.  We can label people, photograph them and make adorable pictures for us to admire: to ooh and ahh over, but by any other name, it is NOT cute.  It is BAD !

The Lord is NOT His Name

The Lord is NOT His Name:  Here are 16 of them

The above is not the exhaustive list of God’s name, but it would do for a start.  To begin:  the name ‘god’ is a title not a name.  Lord is the same:  it is merely a title and one imposed when translating the title in English.  In fact, I think this title is the worst as it refers merely to a person on earth and not deity.

So then, what is in a name?  Of course, you are the same as me.  We were raised with speaking of either Jesus or His father as Lord. That seems natural to us and we mean no harm in speaking it in this way.

Actually, we could say that we aren’t even to speak His name as it is forbidden.  At least it was in ancient days and when a name was attributed to Him then it was only four letters containing no vowels.  In order to make a word out of it, we say Yahweh or Jehovah, but in reality, only four letters.

Again, what’s in a name?  What if our friend, Jesus merely referred to us by the title of Human?  What if this non-specified name were addressed to us our entire lives? Wouldn’t most people assume that there would be an entire lack of respect as a result? Most of us desire for people to personalize our names.  In doing so, we demonstrate respect.

I think the same is true for the person who is our God, Elohim or Eloheem. It is also nice to know that if we call upon his name then He will answer us.  Finally, we are instructed to pray, in the name of the Father.  How much more respect can we show when we call him by name?  Possibly we could also conclude that in this sense, there is everything in a name, for there is no name more wonderful than His, our God Elohim.

And What Do You See?

Jeremiah 1:11

Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, “Jeremiah, what seest thou?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.”

And this is why as a prophet, I would suck.  For where the prophet Jeremiah saw the branch of an almond tree, ignoring all of the wickedness in the city beyond him, I would have concentrated on all that I had seen.

For if someone were to ask me what it is that I see, I would tell them…

I see fatherless children, and drugs, and lack of morals.  I see a godless society all over the world, and death and suffering and guns, and planes and cannons and poisons and propaganda and worthless wisdom.

Moreover, I see a stiff-neck people who believe their answers are greater than God’s.  I see poverty and despair and dejection and rejection and false answers and false gods.

I see money and division and strife and hopelessness and despair and robbery and mayhem and drive-by-s and angry fists.

I see the imprisoned and the divorced and the homeless and the graveyard—all those expecting the resupply of those of whom are killed and who are yet unborn.

I hear noise and music and false prophets and empty words, empty sermons, empty souls reaching out to dead men’s bones.

I hear the false cry of victory of pride of wealth and of accomplishment.  And witness children demanding rot and the wilt of any of the material ‘things’ which can’t promise anything at all.

And in spite of all of these things, I see Jesus with outstretched hands.  I see His children, His church, His actions and deeds and too, I see hope and redemption.  But I also see all of these things, not in this world, but in the world to come.