Thursday, December 28, 2006

The greatest gift is Love.

(Warning: Much seriousness follows)

Christmas has gone and New Years is approaching fast. I used to hear my parents and their friends lament "Where does the time go?" Well, time accelerates with age. The first 4 years of my life seemed to take about about as long at the last 40, and the last 40 will be about the same as the next 400. I'm not over the hill, I started at the top and the trip down is getting steeper.

I have to say though that I'm not in a mood to complain. My job now is much better than it was at the start of the year. I'm home more with my wife and dogs and that is where I want to be. We need to start going back to church and that will be a good way to start the new year.

Some of my poker playing friends will be surprised by the last comment or think that I would go for my wife, but they would be mistaken. You see, I get a lot out of going to chruch. I enjoy the cerimony, though I don't think it is required to get God's ear. I enjoy the friends I make at church. I enjoy the activities. The teachings about applying faith in my daily walk mostly make sense and serve as a good reminder. I'm not really sure about how in control God is, but we'll know in good time. I'm just trying to behave like a fellow human until that time comes.

I'm not some christian zealot, but I do consider myself a Christian in that I believe the teachings of Jesus of the bible. Those same teaching are available in many forms by many names, but all with the same message. Sin is thinking of yourself. Love is thinking of others first. Love is the opposite of sin. Jesus is the love you have for your fellow man. Jesus of the bible is trying to tell us to think more about our fellow man than we think about ourselves. I believe it is really that simple. Many teachers throughout time have taught the same message. The Golden Rule is the same love.

The Christian church teaches that all men are sinners. All men are sinners if thinking about yourself first is sin. Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride (seven deadly sins) all involve thinking of one's self first. Love, pretty much by definition, is about thinking of others. In the bible, all of the lessons of Jesus are about this type of Love in one form or another. The Gospel of John has one commandment, which Jesus calls a new commandment: "Love one another."

I've always had problems with the way the faith is taught in church. They say we need to know Jesus and let him into our hearts. That is true, but they show us some painting of some white guy with long flowing hair who is supposed to be from Nasarath, Isreal. They talk about angels and ghosts, but none of that is real to me. I just keep quiet during those parts of the service. They don't answer the question, "What is Jesus today?" They say he left, but he is with us, but he will return. That confuses me.

(Boy, this is really getting deep for a blog.)

I think Jesus, the way to paradise, true peace, Zen, Nirvana, or whatever you want to call it is nothing more that loving others. That's it and that is something I can apply. It also works better for some other nagging questions.

I've always had a problem with the teaching that you must know Jesus (the son of God as taught in church) in order to get into heaven. What about all those souls that lived before Jesus walked the earth? What about the souls that never ran across a missionary or never saw a bible? Are they damned because of when and where they were born? I don't think God changes the rules that quickly. I don't think God changes the rules at all. Love has been available to all men for all time.

Here are a few versus from the christian bible just to drive home the point that this is what Jesus taught:

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn.13:35)

"Anyone who says "I love God", but hates his brother, is a liar. For whoever who does not love the brother whom he can see, can not love God whom he has not seen" (1Jn.4:20)

"If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" (1Cor.13:1-3)
"God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them" (1Jn.4:16)

It's still hard as hell to do, thinking of others all the time, that is. I am a sinner more than most. I know some folks who are way better at love than me. Many wouldn't even call themselves Christian, but they get it. Knowing what I'm supposed to do and still not doing it nearly enough makes the sin all the worse. But it does make going to church and talking to the members much easier, even if I don't try to explain what I just wrote. I can tell them I know Jesus with conviction.

So the next time someone asks you if you know Jesus, you might have a different answer. You might smile knowingly and say "yes." You might not. Probably not. Just don't let "religion" get in the way of faith.

Jesus is love. You probably already know him though perhaps by some other name. The more love we have in the world, the better. When we all love all the time the world will be a paradise and isn't that what the bible promises us will return? Please remind me to do my part. Thanks.

And Happy New Year to all.


TripJax said...

Nice post K.

Write what you's your blog and it is refreshing to get the new year started with some good vibes.


Lets play some live poker together sometime in 2007, mmmkay?!


Special K said...

Looks like we will start the year playing live poker together (according to Falstaff). See you at BadBlood's.