Action Figures

Action Figures October 26, 2018

 

Nearly every Saturday morning I used to drive my two teenage boys up to a collectibles warehouse in Diamond Bar, California for the morning. It’s one of the main things the three of us loved to do together on a regular basis, and I loved spending that time with them as often as possible.

One weekend, as we drove underneath an overpass my oldest son pointed out a hand-drawn sign that someone had fastened to the outside of the rail. It read “Jesus Saves From Hell.”

What followed was a fascinating discussion about Christianity in America today.

One of my sons compared that message to something like “Buddha Leads To Nirvana” because most of the people in his generation today aren’t really sitting around thinking about things like Hell, or Being Saved.

We talked about how the Church today seems to be stuck on a script from the 1970’s that almost no one in our modern society is actually reading from.

That sign brought responses from my boys like, “Why is it always about hell?”, “Is getting saved from hell all we need Jesus for?”, “Even if Jesus does save from hell, what does that sign want me to do about it?”, etc.

From there our conversation went into another interesting direction. We started talking about the difference between promoting Christianity via a series of messages versus the idea of promoting Jesus’ way of life by the way we actually loved people, cared for the poor, served others, and became living examples of the kind of life that Jesus can offer us.

One of my son’s said, “If Christians were known for being people who took care of the poor, or who helped people in need, then even if non-christians disagreed with our faith they at least could respect the fact that we lived what we say we believe.”

This is why it’s so important that those of us who do understand this way of thinking go out of our way to demonstrate the love of Jesus to those around us. Because most Christians around us are not primarily focused on loving others. Most Christians in our society seem to be more concerned with being right and with proving that everyone else is wrong.

Of course, this sort of conversation is an easy thing to have in a moving vehicle on a Saturday morning on your way to shop for vintage video games and action figures and old comic books. But at least having these sorts of conversations means that there’s the possiblity that these very practical ideas about loving and serving and sharing and giving can actually spill out into our every day lives.

I get it. No one really lives this out in any perfect way. But the fact that we cannot live it out perfectly should not prevent us from living it out at all.

The world around us is desperate to see the real evidence of a living Christ. We are ambassadors of His love. We are His hands and His feet. If we, those who are called by His Name, are not willing and able and empowered to love as He loved, and to give as He gave, and to serve as He served, then who is?

I am reminded of a little verse that says, “If anyone claims to be in Him, he must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)

Being a Christian is about so much more than slogans. It’s about putting our faith into practice and stepping out daily to allow Jesus to live and breathe in us so that the world around us might experience the transformational love of God.

Breathe deep.

**

Keith Giles is a former pastor who left the pulpit 11 years ago to start a church that gives away 100% of the offering to the poor in their community. 

His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho.

BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.

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  • Herm

    Keith, I was hoping for replies that would succinctly compliment this, your worthy consideration. Maybe, there is no way to reply with any short feeling and/or thought, adding to why any human responds to a fear of eternal hell, meted out as punishment to 80 years old’s of flesh by an all powerful, all knowing, all loving, omnipresent deity who knows no beginning, and will know no end of life in the spirit.

    I found my freedom from that fear, which in truth was never more than superficial for me, on the cross, my cross not Jesus’. I live to humbly serve. I keep myself as healthy as I can so as not to be a burden on others. When I must, I accept in all humility service from others as did Jesus allow another to temporarily carry his cross. I deserve no reward for carrying my own cross, it is simply the most right and constructive thing to do for me and others.

    I found my direction on the path of promised never ending adventure, in company with a family that will never leave me orphaned, after I had bounced around applied intellectual philosophies and theologies for 50 years. I now am growing everyday as like an infant learning to share my heart, soul, strength, mind with, and in, like hearted and minded life in the Spirit. There is a certain, unexplainable in the flesh, sense of joy, peace and untethered freedom maturing in the spirit that could never be in the flesh. I am, now, very happy to be dying from this undeserved opportunity to live in the flesh on this earth, while slowly growing in this very real opportunity to live without end in this heaven, today.

    There is not one of mankind who does not have some little awareness of the image of God in them, which is spirit, not flesh. Most of my life was spent trying to understand and share the spirit in me solely within terms of the flesh. Today, my responsibility to awareness and influence (my life) is maturing as a nearly no nothing little child of spirit, faithfully nurtured by a Father, and more elder siblings than I can count, who know how to adventure together, savoring each moment, never becoming old, with and in all love of each our own heart, soul, strength, mind of spirit.

    No matter if my parents of flesh for me, or me for my children of flesh, desired to love all our own with all our hearts and minds possible in the flesh, could we ever have offered a promise of adventure together forever bound in all divine love. All life in the flesh is certain to die, returning all its elements to the earth, dead its graced awareness and influence, knowing nothing and to be forgotten. My family of God can and does promise adventure forever bound in all love (in terms of the flesh: empathy, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, care, caring, regard, solicitude, concern, friendliness, friendship, kindness, charity, goodwill, sympathy, kindliness, altruism, unselfishness, philanthropy, benevolence, fellow feeling, deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment, devotion, adoration, doting, idolization, worship, passion for, and from, each other as each would have for themselves).

    God does not forever punish their own nurtured temporal beings of flesh, graced the image of God, for their inability to love others as they would have others love them, no matter if those others were of God or Man. Why would anyone think they were that important to the efforts of an omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient deity to maintain a place where the offenders would be sentenced to endure torture without end, with no ability ever to adapt to the pain? The absolute worst possible consequence that God allows to happen to the unforgivable is to never again be aware of, and influential to, themselves and others forever more. I have already shared, above, what the absolute best possible consequence for those who, in everything, do to all others first as they would have all others do to them. The most loving and merciful action anyone can do for me, if I live, aware and influential of and to others today, in a hell on earth cursed with an inability to love my merciful neighbor as myself, would be to allow me to finally know nothing and to be forgotten. I faithfully trust my Father and Jesus, who know mercy in love, to correctly judge my ability to live in, or not, for the remainder of eternity.

    We can’t earn eternal life, or most especially, eternal hell. We can learn, only beginning with the humility of an infant child, to be receptive to live in harmony with, and in, all others of God if we allow the only one Teacher of God to live with and in us. That is the Gospel word of God, which is spirit not flesh, available to all who see to accept the Spirit of truth today, as it was written 1,900 years ago.