Welcome back to the Joyful Community blog by City 616 and Peculiar People and Charlie & Ruth Jones!
Happy Monday! Or maybe I should say Lovely Monday. And the reason I say that is because of my decision to blog on loving others every Monday. Why do that you ask? Well, I'll tell you. It has always struck me as an odd contradiction that every Sunday at least 52 million people in the United States go to church where they learn about a Savior whose #1 command is to love. As a matter of fact, He is even called "The Lord of Love." Yet many times it is the religious type o' people who are the most unloving and/or ungracious people you could ever bump into. Just ask any waitress who works at a popular restaurant from noon to 6pm on Sundays... oh, the stories she could tell!
We not only show a lack of love to those outside the Church but we've got some pretty nasty feelings to those within the Church, too! And don't think I am only speaking of the Evangelical types either. Liberal Christians have as much disdain for conservative, "Bible-bangin'" Christians as the more conservative Christians judge and have comtempt for the wishy-washy, "anything goes" Liberal Christians.
But spats within the Church are not what I want to focus on. I want to have a dialogue with you about how well or how poorly we love those all around us in everyday life. Jesus said that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And when someone asked for the definition of "neighbor" He made it pretty clear... our neighbors are everywhere; next door, across the street, the man in the next car at the stop light, the homeless guy panhandling on the corner, our family, our enemies and even the grouchy lady at the DMV! There is no one who is NOT our neighbor -- Democrats, Republicans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Muslims, Blacks, Whites, Hispanics and even the Kardashians! They're all our neighbors and our Lord tells us to love them. And love them sacrificially!
I've always marveled at how various religious groups try to ascend to political power and use their influence to get "our laws" passed or to impose "our morals" on the populace. How necessary would such arm twisting be if half of our group were like Mother Teresa? Can you imagine the influence we would have in the world? People would be changed. Lives would be changed. Minds would be changed. Laws would be changed. Ok, ok... maybe half of us Christian-type folk acting this way is too much to hope for. Let's say 10% were like Mother Teresa. Still too much to hope for? Okay, let's take it down to 1%... what about that? Well, let's do the math. There are approximately 300 million people in the U.S. About 45% of that number say they believe in God and they hold the Bible to be His Word. (BTW, about 89% of Americans say they believe in God... but I am just interested in the Christians for this illustration.) So 45% of 300 million is 135 million. So 1% of 135 million is 1,350,000. So you tell me -- what would happen if there were 1.35 million Mother Teresas in the U.S. Do you think that would make a difference? But let's not stop there. Let's spread the love around! If we took all those Mother Teresas and sent equal numbers to each state... well, it would mean that each state would have 27,000 Mother Teresas! Wow! If we send 27,000 Mother Teresas to Rhode Island... they'd be tripping over each other! No kidding, I think you begin to see my point. So now I ask you this: what if the 52 million of us who are regular church goers would start to love radically? That is something to think about.
So on Mondays I would like start giving us ideas and talk about ways that we can love our neighbors. We'll look at how radical love can change a city, a state, a nation.