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Finding opportunity in challenging times

Discussion in 'Deeper Fellowship' started by RickardoHolmes, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. RickardoHolmes

    RickardoHolmes Active Member

    United States
    Greetings Brethren

    As usual, this post is to uplift, not to complain. 2020 is over, but the problem that started, Covid-19, political division in America, social unrest, are ongoing. For many, sadly, have thrown up their hands in defeat already. I am doing the opposite, looking at how we find the issues causing the problems and help find solutions.

    I thought of how the events of 2020 unfolded. Rather than rehash the negative, I thought of the many positives that have come about. First, It was around May of last year, that One Sunday morning, bored and unable to attend our usual Sunday morning festivities because the temple had closed due to Covid, that I searched online and was connected, via Facebook and Youtube, to a small, Baptist church which was holding all services online. The pastor seemed very different than most (all other?) Baptist pastors which I have encountered over the decades. First, he was not about himself. no ego, just Christ and preaching positive loving messages.. Second, he truly seemed to care about people, not money. And Third, he avoided dwelling on sin, focusing instead on love forgiveness and salvation. One of the things I heard from him early on was that people, in order to move forward, have to often get out of their comfort zones. It is easy to stagnate, spiritually, physically and even mentally without discovery, confronting fears and challenges, and looking at ways to work together to solve problems like racism and social disorder.

    Oddly, I have been tuning into his services, Bible Studies on Wednesday nights (which I always avoided) and even drove over and met him in person at Christmas to give him some $ to help fund a community project he was doing. (We had extra since the temple closed and had no funds heading that way) His church is far away from where I live. He is not allowing people in person into his church until the CDC and health department say it is safe. He also told me that he wants to see his members vaccinated before they resume services in person.

    As I mentioned, our Temple closed back in March and has no avenue of which to reopen at this time. I get a lot of hate on here because of my involvement with Buddhism, which I have proven by example leads to positive growth and does not interfere one bit with my Christianity. The problem is not Buddhism, it is the hate and fear which so many people have.

    Which is back to what the aforementioned Pastor is doing....he does NOT preach hate. he preaches Jesus gave a great Commandment to Love our neighbor as ourselves. That hinges upon all the Laws of God ! SO working to foster programs which epitomize the Love of Jesus Christ and the Love of our Fellow Man through Him is essential to ALL WORKS which we are now doing ! He also does not preach fear, doing just the opposite, encouraging people to get out of their comfort zones and do the works which Jesus Commanded, love one another, feed the sheep, take care of the blessed poor and those in need.

    Odd, but if Covid had never happened, I never would have left my comfort zone of attending the temple every Sunday except during Advent, and attending the Episcopal church for lunch on Wednesdays, which is not happening now due to covid, and I never would have connected with this man online. I never would have even heard of his church, his congregation and never heard one of his sermons !

    Now, no I am not going to run out and join his church when covid lifts. I do not do "memberships" I will continue to donate, to communicate with, to help with the insights and challenges to society though for as long as I live here. I will continue the opportunity to serve, to help to grow, because the Inspiration is there.

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  2. RickardoHolmes

    RickardoHolmes Active Member

    United States
    Interesting that over the past year, this particular pastor and I have talked via Email and in person and found that we have so many ideas in common. First and Foremost, Christ as Love But there is more. Minimalism, non-materialism, an open disdain for racism, a desire to help others, a love for God's creation, the satisfaction that comes from helping those who need it the most.

    One topic we spoke of was the teachings of Jesus, when talking to an obviously very unhappy rich man, who saw Jesus and wanted to be more like Him......peaceful, loving, concerned with humanity rather than wealth. Jesus told him to go and sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor, then follow Jesus and live as Jesus lived.
    Now we do not have to go to that extreme but if we look deeper into that story, we see that Jesus spotted a man who had wealth, money power and was miserable and unhappy with it. Jesus knew that the man was suffering from stress, having to keep up with maintain and house all his worldly possessions. He was probably worried about swindlers, con-artists, as we would be now. It sounds like the man was very unhappy in part or even mostly because of his wealth. Jesus knew that.
    Jesus knew that a minimalistic lifestyle does need to a certain peace, a certain level of satisfaction.
    I know today when I see boxes of junk hauled out of my house, on the way to be donated to the poor, I feel a little bit freer from having to keep up with some material object.
    The lesson, again, riches DO NOT bring happiness. Material wealth brings only a different set of problems. While our wealth does enable else to help our family, our neighbors, community and those who cannot help themselves, it is not nor should it ever be a source of distress, a focus away from the simple commands of loving ones neighbor and following the teachings of Jesus to Love God, Love thy neighbor as thyself, for upon these two commandments, all laws are based.