When people these days think of the “the Way”, they have visions of Mandelorians jumping in their heads. However, there are many “ways” since antiquity. The one, I’m going to be referring to is Christianity.
Back in the day, Christians, called themselves many things, but the teachings of Christ were called “the Way”. They had tenants and they were based on word of mouth and a few scattered documents.
“Oh no! Another preachy article from the mouths of Christians!”
I’m not going to do that. I’m going to likely talk about a divergent path from mainstream American Christianity that has a screwball “judge not unless you yourself are judged unless you’re not like me.” If you’re reading this and are of that persuation, I invite you to read on. If you’re not and are curious, read on. If you’re just curious what I have to say, read on. Everything else, I encourage you to read on. I’m planning on a bunch of these.
Why another document?
On 4/2/2023, Pastor Adam Hamilton of Resurrection, a United Methodist Church gave a sermon about Palm Sunday and some of the meanings behind it. It inspired me and I made a few notes and interpretations of my own. This blog entry, and possibly more, will draw from that source. I’ll probably do a “sorry, dude, I didn’t quote the Bible verse-by-verse, but you can check out your local search engine” maneuver. Forgiveness in advance is asked from my utter laziness.
Jesus often spoke of many things. One of these was love. Is this the central teaching? If you thought that, I did, too. It’s not. It’s the kingdom of God. That’s fine. It’s expected. So now that’s established, what exactly is the kingdom of God? It’s everything and anything. It’s the smallest atomic particle to the grand universe(s?) that existence exits in. Cool! But isn’t that all sciency and isn’t that antithema with Christianity? Not at all! In fact, many early scientist, and some today, are Christian. They’re fewer and fewer but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Thanks, William! Now, what’s this ethos you so directly title the section with? It is straight-forward, powerful, earth-shaking, and difficult: what is the most loving thing I can take?
Loving Thing I Can Take?
That’s fine! Explain:
- Someone you’re not in fellowship with, which is basically a fellow Christian in the eyes of you or your church?
- Who cares!? Love them anyways!
- Someone you’re in fellowship with, but disagree?
- Who cares!? Love them anyways!
- Someone you’re in fellowship with?
- Love them!
So this is the central ethos of Christianity. But does this means having feelings for them? No, it just means treat them with agape love, which can be translated by a bunch of smarter people than I as unconditional love. So, does the Christian need to love someone that pisses them off? Sure do! What about their enemy? Sorry, pal, they do! What about those who have hurt them severely? They do, but this doesn’t mean that they need to make them a part of their life. Don’t be a door mat, buddy! Do they need to go out of their way to help people? Again, sorry, but you do! That person on the side of the road with the hazard lights on? They need to help them, and this is rough because I’m admittedly guilty of driving on by out of fear some weirdo stranger is behind the wheel, and not a human being in distress.
Who is your neighbor?
Christ preached a lot about the kingdom of God and he preached a lot about neighbors and loving them. When pressed, he told a lawyer that a neighbor is basically everyone. So this means, you got to love every human. This makes sense and many religions preach this idea. And Christianity is no exception.
So this short blog entry is to remind the Christian, and possibly the non-Christian, of what is the central ethos of Christianity. The blog talked about the kingdom of God and what entails it. The entry talked about what the central ethos is. Next, it talked about loving things you can do and a rubric that can be applied to who to love. Finally, it was touched briefly who is your neighbor.
I understand many Christians of the past, present, and into the future have and will fall dramatically short! I know this myself in my life and would encourage these abusive people to be loved but from a distance and please don’t let them mess with your perceptions of what I would argue is “true Christianity”.
Because…this is the Way!