Sunday, March 2, 2014


In his post titled "More Songs About Buildings and Food", Rmj, who blogs at Adventus, asks a question at the very end.
What is, or should be, the core concern of Christians?
Is it all right if I quote the Scriptures? :-) Below is my answer:
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8)

He [Jesus] said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22: 37-40)

In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)
For me, the only way to begin to live the teachings I quoted is "in Christ". Some days, the only way I get out of bed in the morning is "in Christ" - Christ working in me. For me, that is salvation, which I need every single day. Thanks, Rmj, for making me think about my faith.  To my surprise, answering the question was not difficult, because my response came easily.  It was almost as though I was waiting for the question.

The passages I quoted are touchstones that work for me, day by day, to keep me focused on being not only a speaker of the words, but also a doer of the words I quoted.  Also, I like to keep things simple, for I am a simple person with a simple mind.  "In Christ" is where I find strength and courage (salvation), especially in difficult times (literally, on occasion), to put one foot in front of the other to keep going.

Rmj quoted my response at the beginning of another post, along with very kind words.  Whoa!  And then he asked another question.  After thanking him, I left the following comment:
You ask: ...what if, instead of coming into the presence of God for a spiritual recharge or refill, we came into the presence of the living God with fear and trembling? ...the existential awe that creates an awfulness (in the old sense of the world, being filled with awe) at the nature of God, an awe that would put the world in perspective.
What if? Might it be with an attitude of the heart like the imagery of the twenty-four elders in the passage from the Book of Revelation (one of my favorites)?
...the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,
‘You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created
.' (Rev. 4:10-11)
Then you ask: Would that be a religionless Christianity?

I don't know, but I believe such an attitude of the heart has little to do with a person's membership in a particular Christian denomination.
Those of you who read what I've written may wonder how well I live up to the fine words and ideals and how often I worship God with all my heart.  My answer is easy: Not very well, and not as often as I should.  Still, I believe I do better living my life "in Christ" - not better than anyone else - but better than I would otherwise.

Rmj, thanks again for the nudge to ponder and write a bit about the present state of my faith.

Image from Mouse Runner.


  1. Perfect answer to the first question, just what I would have said. Love is the beginning and end and the point of it all. Which so many forget.

    1. Thanks, Russ. I wanted to have my words accessible, rather than hidden in the mists of Rmj's comments, so I could refer to them from time to time as reminders.

  2. If by religion, one means participation in a community of people trying to share one belief system, one cannot be called a Christian without communal worship. A priest once told me that I would have to choose another designation for my belief if I could not tolerate being "in community" with other believers, meaning regular attendance at services. I pointed out that my "issue" with attendance was the apparently inherent competitiveness of human community that made attendance difficult for me as I found no basis for competition in the scriptures except the insecurity of the Apostles in demanding to know whom Christ loved the most among them (which seemed entirely human and anathema to the big L love that He embodied ... rating and ranking a rancid version of understanding that Love) ... and so I wandered off to think alone about what belief, or trying to believe, might mean. Too much baggage under the Christian banner for me now ... just the lingering hope that in Christ-I-can be in harmony with the meaning of Creation.

    1. Marthe, I understand. Alas, where there are humans, there will be competitiveness. I can't speak for everyone, but being part of a community works for me. As I see it, worshiping with difficult people or people I don't particularly like is part of the Gospel call to encounter and love those who seem unlovable.

  3. Good idea. Like I said, not everyone has gotten the message:

    1. All too true, Russ. Those of us who have must continue to speak out in favor of the way of love, justice, and equality

  4. Not meaning to be a pest, but just ran across a semi-related essay here, and thought you might find it interesting:

    1. Russ, I have never known you to be a pest. The author of the article does well to remind us of the Beatitudes in which Jesus' blessings have nothing whatever to do with worldly goods. "I've been blessed" is not a phrase I tend to use, but in some circles I hear it often. The Beatitudes are also among my favorite passages in the Scriptures.


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