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Saturday, October 20, 2018

The New Jerusalem (with Brief Words from Our Sponsor)

Matthew 6:9-13 J.B. Phillips New Testament

 And then, when you pray, don’t be like the play-actors. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at street-corners so that people may see them at it. Believe me, they have had all the reward they are going to get. But when you pray, go into your own room, shut your door and pray to your Father privately. Your Father who sees all private things will reward you. And when you pray don’t rattle off long prayers like the pagans who think they will be heard because they use so many words. Don’t be like them. After all, God, who is your Father, knows your needs before you ask him. Pray then like this—‘Our Heavenly Father, may your name be honoured; May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day the bread we need, Forgive us what we owe to you, as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us. Keep us clear of temptation, and save us from evil’.


I encourage that you view the following video in it’s entirety.  Humor can make serious points while simultaneously imbued with no less than Holy Grace.  Note remarks regarding evil towards end of speech.   Certainly to the extent that America has a special role in the human family, it is not based on power or a scrooge-sequestered pile of gold, but rather that we avoid evil most effectively when we set aside the damnable evil of self-righteousness.  We can avoid religious wars in America (and this includes the temptation to see opponents as bogymen rather than as people made from the same cloth as we ourselves.) Lincoln advised us to have charity (goodwill)l for all—simply another way of saying that never should conflict—even a civil war—separate us from seeing our own flawed likeness in the composition of others. 

Since as a follower of Jesus, I will never deny that evil exits, yet I often remember that we are called to act in a world that gives new opportunities to love ourselves and others in new ways in each sweep of time.  For example, many tools are available for helping ourselves and others today that were unavailable 2000 years ago.—antibiotics…one example of many. 

I have commented before that in my view America remains deeply committed to equality—not to enforce uniformity but to encourage opportunity for each of us to excel in whatever unique purpose each of us is assigned.  Of course , the Golden Rule and a sense of humility . is a simple requirement for our democracy:  e pluribus unum (out of many, one: motto of the U.S., appearing on most U.S. currency and on the Great Seal of the United States.

Much of what is evil can been seen more helpfully through the lens of camouflage behavior.   Think about it—when I lie to you—”no doctor, I have not been picking at this pimple..."it is because I desire to hide the truth, basically not unlike using camouflage in deer hunting.  Therefore, perhaps, rather than see an opponent as a lying bogyman, it could be more fruitful to study the nature and mental processes  of camouflage within our mental structure.

Even though we like to think of America as a unique laboratory of creativity and love, never for a second should we see ourselves as anything other than an equal member  of the human family worldwide.  In my view, informality is the American expression of authenticity ( lack of camouflage) to the maximum extent possible without triggering hurtful treatment of others. 

 [Suggested possibilities for "Hot Button" emotional issues--examine that which most deeply offends us--that which would slime-ball those who succored and sustained us in childhood.]


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