The Sermon on the Mount was Ghandi’s “go to” text for the Jesus way of non-violent resistance. These three chapters (5, 6, and 7) of Matthew’s Gospel crystallize the most valued ethical teachings that have been attributed of Jesus.
Jesus says in his society there is a new way for [people] to live:
You show wisdom, by trusting people;
You handle leadership, by serving;
You handle offenders, by forgiving;
You handle money, by sharing;
You handle enemies, by loving;
And you handle violence, by suffering.
You are no longer Jew or Greek, no longer slave or freeborn, no longer “male and female.” Instead, you all have the same status in the service of God’s Anointed, Jesus.
While my deconversion has been very difficult for him, he’s been incredibly understanding and our relationship is still strong and mutually supportive. In fact, we’re working on a book and documentary film together right now, which capture our ongoing conversation about faith, values, and the wisdom of loving people even when you seriously disagree with them.
The Chinese Bamboo seed when planted will not break ground for four years. You can water it, and you don’t see any result, year after year. Then in the fifth year, the bamboo grows up to 90 feet within a few weeks.
We can learn some things from the Chinese bamboo tree. Things are happening now that we do not know and cannot see. As Jesus said in the Gospel of Thomas: “The kingdom of God is spread over the Earth but people do not see it.” Then, unexpectedly, surprisingly, like the bamboo, we may be fortunate to see what emerges.
It isn’t so simple as Christ versus Culture as some of my fellow Christians frame it. Sometimes culture is a better option than Christian doctrine. One might say, that sometimes Christ is culture over against Christian doctrine.
“Dare to be a Daniel.
Dare to stand alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm.
Dare to make it known.”
There has been much discussion in the news about the monuments to confederate soldiers and leaders. I think this is an opportunity. This is an opportunity to build new monuments. Monuments to those whose history has been ignored and suppressed. Monuments of bridge- builders and peacemakers, monuments to people of color, the diversity of the rainbow who made life better and more whole for everyone. Monuments to people in Beaverton’s own history who built bridges and homes of peace.
Privilege, simply put, means there is work to do. If we don’t learn the ways we are privileged, check our privilege, and use our privilege to enact change, then we perpetuate an unjust and unfair society.
Some people have stepped up. White people get involved in Black Lives Matter. Straight people get involved in gay rights. Cisgender people fight for transgender rights and awareness. You get the idea.
Ecclesiastes and Job offer a minority view to the covenants and theology of the Law and the Prophets. It is a minority view that challenges the majority view that life has a plan and a purpose. The minority view says, “Probably not.”