Category Archives: Jesus
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.
This week’s topic is ‘Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017’. The following, in no particular order, are the ten books I enjoyed the most (so far) this year, but I still haven’t decided which one was the best:
- Wenjack – Joseph Boyden
- Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World – Henri J.M. Nouwen
- 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff
- Letters from Father Christmas – J.R.R. Tolkien
- How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living – Rob Bell
- Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love So Much More – Janet Mock
- Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science – Mike McHargue
- Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism – Deborah Jian Lee
- The Marvels – Brian Selznick
- The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
I normally just use this blog for things pertaining to books, movies, sport, and other daily kinds of mundane fun things, but I feel the need to do something different today.
I think that the events in Manchester this week, along with the aftermath, have probably brought me to this, although it’s been on my mind for much longer.
It all boils down to this – our world needs more love. There is too much hatred and it comes from all sides everywhere and is not monopolized by any one group, nation, religion, or whatever tribe people align themselves with. There are fundamentalists everywhere, who will do anything, to the point of killing innocents, to make themselves heard. History repeats itself over and over again with the same results. I don’t pretend to understand everything, or have the solution to all the woes of the world, but our world could definitely use more love, along with some understanding.
Each day I read posts on Facebook and the social media platforms where people argue about everything and everything, where there often seems to be too much shouting and very little listening. Things often turn nasty when someone doesn’t agree with another person’s thoughts or ideas. It would be a boring world if we always agreed with each other, but why do differences of opinion often have to cause cessations of friendships or resort to name-calling, or worse. People often try to hide behind freedom of speech, but this freedom comes with responsibility and doesn’t mean that anyone has the right to continually put down others or destroy their character. It’s not wrong to disagree with another person over something, but it is crossing the line when the disagreement takes a personal turn. C.S. Lewis always enjoyed a good debate and had no problem disagreeing with others on a variety of matters, but he never allowed such disagreements to lead to personal acrimony (for a good article on this read C.S. Lewis and the Art of Disagreement).
It seems lately, though, that some issues have become more polarizing than others. One only need to mention the name ‘Trump’ and things can soon get out of hand. Some claim he is God’s chosen man, others say there’s no way he can be, and then the barbs start flying and things often get out of hand. By the way, from where I’m sitting, I can see no evidence that he could have been specially chosen by God. First of all, such a claim doesn’t seem scriptural to me, and secondly, his life certainly does not reflect it, in my opinion. Nothing that he has done so far as the leader of one of the most powerful nations on earth has persuaded me otherwise. In fact, with each passing day it seems like his actions take him further and further away from the possibility of there being any reflection in his life of being a follower of Jesus. Even this week at the NATO meetings in Europe Trump has shown himself to be an ignorant boor, as he pushed himself to the front like a spoiled schoolboy, in the process shoving Dusko Markovic, the Prime Minister of Montenegro and leader of NATO, aside, then beaming like an imbecile when he got to the front. This shows a severe lack of respect and dignity, and is behaviour that belittles the position he was elected to. It’s hard to imagine Jesus behaving like this.
There are two key passages in scripture which point to the conclusions that I have come to. The first one is in Matthew 22 where one of the experts in the Law asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is. Jesus replies: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” If someone fails to follow these commandments then everything else they do negates any claims they may have to be a follower of Jesus. There is very little love for anyone but himself in the way that Trump shows himself on the world stage.
The second passage that comes to mind is in Matthew 25 where Jesus talks about the separation of those who have fed the hungry, given water to the thirsty, clothed the naked, looked after the sick, and visited the imprisoned from those who have failed to do that. To those who did these things he says: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Then he invites them into their inheritance. However, to those who have failed to do this things he says: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Later he adds “I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Most of the proposals Trump has made so far will do little or nothing for the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, or imprisoned (i.e. the poor), so how can he be God’s chosen if he fails to follow the commands of God?
Basically, what I am saying is that it’s all about love, but not love of self before all else. If you are in doubt about the importance of this love thing, then take a few minutes to read the first letter of John. There’s enough in there to confirm, and add to, what I’ve already said. It’s not easy and I know there are times when I’ve fallen short in the commands to love, but I have to pick myself up and try again.
We live in a very broken world, but let’s not add any more hatred to it. Instead endeavour to follow the commands to love. In the end love will win. It may not seem like that at times, but it will.