What goes around, goes around, goes around and comes all the way back around. Here it is the life-death cycle. Experienced by joyful, and sad families depending where that family is at the moment, when that event makes its last cycle.
For sometime this padre has been thinking about a comment made awhile ago concerning the death end of that cycle. It is one of the least understood tenets of Christianity. It was instigate over the remarks made by the once globe trotting evangelist Billy Graham. Peddling his scare tactics of hell fires and eternal torments. Such doctrines have served to make Billy Graham and others like him very rich people. And, at the same time, contributing to reducing the Church of Jesus Christ to mockery and ridicule. Directing Christendom in a direction never intended by Christ.
The gospel of Jesus Christ when preached as taught from the Bible. Results in a gospel of action and deliverance from both spiritual and material degradation. Holding governing authorities accountable for their actions. While being equally, accountable for their failure to act. While at the same time not exempting, individuals from their Christ like reactions. When this gospel is preached, in its purity, it can have severe consequences. Those consequences have both positive and negative consequences.
That is not the gospel Billy Graham elected to preach and many like him because it would not have make him or them wealthy. Going to the streets, and getting down right sweaty and dirty was not their forte. No, the well groomed, and handsome Graham, with his exceeding charismatic personality. Preferred fine linens, and to wine and dine, in the halls of crystal lighted palaces of the rich and powerful. With the likes of President Richard Nixon and his corporate cronies. All Presidents have had such associations, as did President Obama. Interesting because President Bush’s adviser Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell was Obama’s adviser for a period of time.
For me, the first signal that Obama was cut from the same piece of cloth as Bush, was the ushering in of his as government as usual.
The criminal, President Nixon, admired Graham because Graham contributed to keeping Christians in check. That notion plagues most of Christendom today. The gospels picture Christ, as one, who never saw a government he admired. Christ advocated rebellion against such scoundrels. A far jolt from today’s call for the support of government.
The featured plank of the Graham ministry was about escaping hell and experiencing heaven. Followed with a duty to obey the government. One shared by most of Christendom, which the government really loves. It goes like this, Christians place yourselves in subjection to the higher authorities. That doctrine was first announced by the apostle Paul, Romans 13:1-7. Meaning this; when the government is in compliance with our scriptures, then honor and comply. And when not, revolt! Totally compliant with what Jesus taught. With this from Jesus himself, “Think not that I am to send peace on earth. I am come not to send peace but the sword,” Matthew 10:34. But because the Graham’s of Christendom have prevailed, Christendom has a Church that is mostly useless. Based around fear of hell and servitude of obedience to the government.
By contrast, examine the experience of John the Baptist. Along with how Jesus responded. John was in prison because he condemned a marital union. Which was unlawful, according to the law of the time. On Herod’s birthday, the sexy daughter of the women central to the controversy. Danced before Herod, and it pleased him very much. Knowing that for the moment she owned, Herod. With that ownership, he promised to give her what ever she desired. Which was the head of John, separated from the body, of course. And forthwith the head of John was presented to the dancer, Matthew 14:1-11. Later the disciples came, claiming the dead body of John, and buried him.
Then they journeyed to tell Jesus. Jesus hearing the news sought privacy. The people hearing of the beheading of John. Followed Jesus, perhaps to extend their sympathy. After all, the two were allies. With the baptism of Jesus, by John. Jesus launched his ministry. And, the heavens opened for Jesus. Seeing the Spirit of God descending like a dove upon him. With a voice from heaven saying, this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased, Matthew 3:16-17.
Note two extremely important occurrences. When Jesus removed himself from his solitude, no doubt grieving the murder of his closest ally. He was moved by the response of the people to the murder of John.
Here is what Jesus did not do which is part of his expectations for Christians today. Jesus did not tell the people that he looked forward to seeing John in heaven, as did Graham concerning the death of Ruth Graham, and many others separated from their loved ones.
This is what he did do! Emerging from solitude moved with compassion for the people. Who traveled to see them. He immediately proceeded to heal the sick among them, Matthew 14:13-14.
Nor did he say that John would be greeted by a great reception in heaven, as did Graham concerning his wife. Jesus knew that there was no after death experience, at that time.
The Graham hype was more about sympathy, for the staggering Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. It does not have the same swagger with his son at the helm. Sympathy generates generosity which in return generated $ for Billy.
As noted in verse 14, Jesus healed the sick. Which is one aspect of the Christ purpose, and expected of Christians today. In that this not a discussion about healing. That will be a topic for another time. Suffice for this discussion, the Christ purpose of healing today is for Christians to demand, and secure ‘free’ health care for everyone. Paid for by the nations corporate conglomerates. They have billions to spend in securing a government. That will legislate their interest against that of the people. Resulting in a demand by the people, for a revamping of the American unfair tax system. So that the needs of the people becomes the governments first priority. Obama’s heath care reform falls far short of meeting the health care needs of Americans. If Billy was able today to preach that gospel, he may have had his head presented to the Billy Graham evangelistic Association as a souvenir. As perhaps, would many other favorites of Christendom to their enshrined edifices.
If the dead are not in hell or heaven, then where are they? In the ground without consciousness. God said in Genesis, chapter three, “For out of the ground, you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return, verse 19b.
With out consciousness, or sight of occurring world events. As established in 2 Kings 22:20, where death is the final experience.
Is that grave their final resting place for all eternity? Where one is finally free from the struggle for existence and is at ‘peace.’
The answer is no! The journey concerning the ‘last enemy’ will be continued.
Perhaps now is a good time to say that no disrespect is meant to Mr. Graham, or his family over the death of Ruth. What is disrespected is Billy’s harmful results for the mission and purpose of Christ.
Secondly, this padre is a vocal critic of Islam. Again, no disrespect to Islam is intended. One of the three Abrahamic religions. Because Jews, Christians and Muslims, share common ground with the father of our respective religions, Abraham. We should be able to work together to make the world a safer and better place to live. Unfortunately, Islam is committed to the annihilation of the Jews. And, all people who do not convert to Islam, especially Christians. That is the aspect of Islam that is condemned. So Christians must wake up a deal with reality. Muslims are our enemies, and as such should be treated, as our enemies. Learn how by engaging this padre in some ‘how to’ lectures and workshops. I can be found through the navigation link by clicking upon the ‘contact us’ tab.
If Muslims want to practice their backwards religion in the mountains of Afghanistan and Iran. In Syria, Saudi Arabia, in other Muslims countries, fine. But the free world must force this Islamic menace off our streets. And Christendom must pick up the cross, as forerunners announcing the doom to come for our failure to act.
As an option, discussions can be centered around the ‘death experience.’ Which these discussions on death just scratching the surface of a much feared and not well understood occurrence. Discussions will take the fear out of death and provide scriptural understanding.
Or for others, how about a Christ like struggle to put government in it’s rightful place. As servants of we the people, who fear Jesus and keep his edicts. And not a government that serves the interest of the rich and their corporate cronies at the expense of we the people.