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Books:
The Heart of Christianity : Rediscovering a Life of Faith
by: Marcus J. Borg

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  • Issue 58:
    "Behold I am Doing a New Thing" - A Vision of Harvest

  • Issue 59:
    Allowing Abundance
    Asking and Receiving the Harvest

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  • The Original Offering

    Suzie Chamness


    What Christianity offers to all is the availability to share in the life of Christ. God already lives within us. I find that God is in all of us but many do not acknowledge that presence. What God wants from us is the invitation and the recognition. Along with inviting God in, goes witness and good deeds. For without good deeds and witness, God cannot be recognized in us.

    When we do this, we can then share a life that is born of the spirit available to each of us and will always be ours for the experience. The difficulty in our humanness is that it gets in our way of accepting in faith what God has to offer. After all, today we back away and do not believe in anything that is free. Something must be wrong there?

    When we are introduced to God's love, we are disbelievers. Who can believe Jesus existed and is born of the spirit of God? How do we believe that Christ is the Son of God?

    We accept it in faith. That is the way. But then that faith comes through the spirit of God. We have difficulty in realizing this. I can accept the will of God because I have grounded roots in my theologies. But for those who may not have that grounding, try imagining that God built us and then gives us the gift of discernment allowing us to choose if we accept God that created us.

    God could have chosen not to send Christ to earth. There are infinite ways in which God could have revealed himself, but God chose to be a person, a human just to let each of know that we are made in that glorious image. God wanted to let us know that living on earth would not necessarily be easy and that we may at times suffer because of our beliefs.

    We look forward to seeing God because Jesus was crucified for us. The crucifixion was necessary. Through that short ministry of Jesus, God presented options to us. These options were not without pain and suffering. The pain and suffering was our humanity created by God and in God's image through Jesus Christ.

    If we share in Jesus' life we shall be people of God. Sharing in this life means acceptance of a life that radiates outwardly and originates within us. God's spirit is available within but only through faith in that inward spirit can we recognize and accept God. That seems complicated when you hear it and read about it and if you deal in today's realities, it falls short of human wants. It is difficult to hold in your hand and head, and we continue to battle the logic and love of God.

    This is the greatest commandment, "to love one another as I have loved you". It is a simple but uniquely complex statement. This is made complex once again because of our humaneness. We can't see the love of God so it is a challenge to accept. God gave us choices. God even gave us the choice of acceptance of that supreme love. What greater love is there than for a parent to allow the choice of acceptance of them or not. Most of us don't think of that when we think of our parents or our children. There is nothing written that says parents must love their children and children must love their parents. And unfortunately, it doesn't always work.

    One thing that makes God unique as a parent is that no matter what, God, our Parent will continue to love us and live within us waiting for an opportunity to come alive to others. God waits within for acceptance, unconditional acceptance and love.

    God became a man in order to spread to all of us the kind of life that is available. This is done by what C. S. Lewis called "good infection". I look at those words and believe that it means a communicating of qualities that we see through the life of Christ.

    Christ set the example for all people to work together in peace. I believe God sees the pain that comes for others when we do not love one another. God is bigger than any shortcomings we may encounter in our life.

    Our goal is to become Christ-like which means we follow the teachings of the prophets and of Jesus. The Bible is one of the best selling books. That is so because there is hope in the readings and in the sharing of the meanings. Each of us has the opportunity to read and to find what the words can mean to us individually and collectively.

    We have the freedom to select a community that holds to similar interpretations and convictions of the writings of the Bible. I find it difficult to condemn other interpretations of the Bible. It is a book that will bring peace to each of us only when we see what each of us need in our life to make peace with God and others.

    The aim of Christians is to become as much like Christ as we can. That means each person decides this through their relationship with God. They learn what exactly Christ looks like in them. The time of religious rules and church interpretation of the Bible is unacceptable. As we learn and love together, we grow and accept one another in the image from which we were created ... God's image. Through that remembering and through our faith journey we can know Christ. We can strive to be a person and witness for that life of Christ through the life we lead.

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