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JUST ANOTHER TRIP AROUND THE SUN

 

19 of 52Trip Around The Sun - The Broadway Baptist Church of Escondido

 

Sunday, September 8, 2002

 

Have traveled about 213,500,000 miles.

 

Thoughts during the week:

 

It's becoming ever more clear to me that there are thousands of beliefs that donít matter - and just a few that really do matter. The ones that matter are the social beliefs - the ones which affect the way we feel and act toward others.

 

Christ said that it is when we do for others, that's when we do for Him. Perhaps it is also true that what we think of others is what we think of Him. Since He told us that we can't be for and against Him at the same time, perhaps it would be a good attitude to realize that when someone has a different way of being for Him, that it is still for Him.

 

Here are some examples of what this thought implies:

 

Beliefs that just donít matter - they can be correct or incorrect - and corrected later as makes sense, and as data comes in and is understood:

 

1.God has a body - or is a spirit without a body - or is the whole universe - is male or female or genderless.

 

2.The first man lived a mere few thousand years ago - or the evidence of science is more correct on this.

 

3.This church or that church or this other church is the correct one.

 

4.The name of this guy or that guy in the scriptures.

 

5.Baptism must be done by immersion - or not - or not needed at all.

 

6.A prayer must be word-correct to be of use.

 

--

 

--

 

1000.Etc.

 

 

Beliefs that do matter:

 

1."Whatever Is" loves all of the people and other living things of the Earth. Christians might say this is "I Am," or "Jehovah," or "God." Others might say it is "Allah," or "Buddha," or "Nature," or whatever. My new name for Him is "Whatever Is." This may have been what was meant by, "I Am That I Am." I have been convinced for some time now that "Something amazing is going on." I just donít know what it is. But whatever it is, "It Is."

 

2.His interest is in the love we have one for another.

 

(I should care about others - and not judge their correctness or incorrectness on technicalities.)

 

3.What we think of others' religions is important. If we think to judge another religion, it ought to be by the fruits of its followers - and not by their technical correctness. When these fruits are negative, it is always (essentially) because they believe they are the correct ones, and that the others are incorrect.

 

4.Those who donít know who Jesus is - can still do all the important things. And for those who have religions that do not include Jesus - recognize that the ones who do love Jesus also are just fine - if they do the important things.

 

(The need for "conversion" is only with regard to these important issues - and has nothing to do with the unimportant ones. It is not about finding the right denomination.)

 

I noted my own report on the Jehovah's Witnesses. That was not a very nice report - probably coming via my experience in youth with a girlfriend, whose mom was afraid of the Mormon influence. Here are some of my thoughts not expressed there:

 

I personally believe that the Jehovah's Witnesses are correct that war is an illegitimate method for use in determining who is right or wrong - who should have control, etc. It's just plain dumb to think that by determining who has the most might, one determines who is the most right. We, the United States of America, definitely currently have the most might. We, who love America, may also view ourselves as being the most right, but it is a dangerous belief. We see things we regard as bad in other countries - and recognize that these things are a lesser problem in our own country. In a country with a low adultery rate, we may be viewed by them as evil on the basis of our higher rate of that particular sin. Their view of us would be just as negatively useful as ours of them. They may even be technically true beliefs, but technical is not what is important.

 

 

All punishment should be about improvement of the one being punished. Revenge has no value at all. Nobody should ever punish one whom he does not love. God's punishment is this way. When we punish someone we hate, we sin gravely. God punishes only those He loves, and it is for the good of the one who is punished. Saul was holding coats as Christians were being killed - God's punishment? Struck him blind, brought about his conversion, gave him back his vision, and made him an apostle. Now that's punishment.

 

We call those big jails "Penitentiaries," but we have forgotten that these are named for "Penitence." We need to change the name to "Revengaries," or change what we do there.

 

I've been hearing on the radio people talking about this current case - they're hoping for life in prison rather than for the so-called "death penalty." (There's that word penitence again - in penalty.) They hope that his punishment will be by way of felonies committed against him for years within the prison. They appear completely unaware that they are in favor of the commission of felonies - when it serves their purpose. (Revenge.) They have no interest in repentance, and they are by wish, felons themselves. What this man evidently did was horrible. What the Apostle Paul did before he was an apostle was also horrible. God's way is not our way. When he punishes, it is for a purpose - and it is not for the useless fun of revenge. (I know - the Old Testament - but that's not my God - that's a God described by a people in great trouble themselves.)

 

The Visit:

The Broadway Baptist Church of Escondido.

I expected this to be a large church - it was more like visiting the church on "Little House on the Prairie."

The little chapel would hold about a hundred - attendance was about 60.

 

For about 45 minutes, it was all singing. A guitarist led us - with a lovely girl that reminded me of our youngest, Sara, at the piano. She was tall and very quiet - and quite good at the piano. In this church, she needed to be able to play a little formal along with quite a lot a little bit jazzy. Nothing was load or boisterous - but we Mormons could have danced to it. (Not the Baptists - they leave the dancing to us.)

 

Some songs were sung from words printed in the program - others were projected up front. You donít need a big fancy church to have this capability.

 

One of the songs was, "I Come to the Garden Alone." I like this one.

 

Most of this meeting was informal in character. The song-leader/guitarist was dressed in Levi-type pants and short sleeved shirt. Many in the congregation, as I'm noticing is quite common, were senior citizens - possibly two thirds of them. I think I was greeted by nearly all of the 60.

 

The Message:

 

"Two questions:""Are you in a rut?""Do you want out?"

 

"Stop waiting for ideal circumstances.""Take responsibility for your situation."

 

"Think: Who dug the rut?"

 

"Stop being concerned about what others will think.""Do it boldly and dramatically."

 

"Clarify your needs.""Write it out good."

 

"Be honest with yourself.""You gotta believe."(These two often contradict.)

 

"Do something about your rut today."

 

 

Some thoughts after coming home:

 

We all know the adage that if we give a man a fish, we feed him once, but if we teach him to fish, we feed him a lot.

 

If we get out of a rut, we get out of a rut, but if we repair a rut, many others also do not fall into it. We may stop smoking, but if we don't stop the selling of tobacco, many will smoke.

 

But again - principles that compete. Without the availability of the tobacco, agency for the choice is gone. We can't always be sure which path is best. The savior's plan appears very dangerous at times. This must be why the other plan was so attractive to so many - a safe plan, but, we think, with much less opportunity for growth. God's having selected these two speakers to present these two plans, in such an important meeting, I have to wonder if there is really only one plan - with two parts - that maybe this whole thing is going to be "inclusive," rather than "exclusive."

 

 

This was a "simple" group of people, appearing to care about one another - each knowing everyone. The minister greeted each one going out the door. He called me "Chuck," though I had not been introduced. (At least not while I was present.)

 

There was a man who wanted to know the year of the Model T hotrod. I told him 1923, and he was delighted, as he had been born in 1923. He said that my hotrod and he were the "Same Model." He also knew much about the real Model T. His grandfather had one - learned to drive it. Then when the Model A came out, his grandfather said, "I'm too old to learn how to shift that thing." So they found the best used Model T they could find, and he got him another one. I took this nice man for a hotrod ride that he's not likely to forget. (Safely - not too fast - just a little jazzy - as any self-respecting Baptist would like it.)

 

 

19 of 52Trip Around The Sun - The Broadway Baptist Church of Escondido

 

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