ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Religion and Philosophy»
  • Non-denominational Beliefs & Practices

Eric's Sunday Sermon; How To Be Christian In An UnChristian World

Updated on January 9, 2016

A new day is dawning

That is not a bad view to accompany some good camp coffee
That is not a bad view to accompany some good camp coffee | Source

What is an unchristian world?

First let me shock you. Even Christians do not act like Christians most the time. Most the time they act secular. And that is fine. There is a funny line from somewhere: Don’t make me go all crazy on you. We cover that this way. Don’t make me go all secular on you. Or. Don’t make me go all Christian on you.

Nobody stays on script and in character all the time. I love getting my nontheistic buddies to get sucked into something mystic. I like getting my all uptight Christian folk to get a hold of some “let loose”. We are all a bit of something and something else. That really is a very neat thing. Oh you got your Bible thumpers on one side yelling hypocrite and your secularists on the other side yelling hypocrite at you. That is all well and good. If being a hypocrite means seeing both sides of an issue – please call me a Christian hypocrite. If it means not walking perfectly in line with what you are talking call me a human.

It is a beautiful thing this noble endeavor to be just complacent enough to feel the human side of life and not the dogma side of reality. I like my role in this human drama. My role is to be human and not perfect. I sure am glad I was not cast in a role requiring me to be a perfect something whether secular or Christian.

So when I say “an unchristian world” you know what I mean. I do not mean that there are not enough Christians out there. What I mean is that in the day to day there is not enough Christian attitude being shown by example. Yours truly is guilty. Could it be that all the “other stuff” Christians do gets in the way and takes a priority over the greatest of all commandments? John 13:34 “"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” And that which accompanies it: 1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” You see real Christian living does not mean we follow a dogma or doctrine, it means we follow Christ. Nowhere else does Christ issue a direct unequivocal command. And here is the real kicker. If you spend all your time and effort trying to live up to this command then you have not time to follow any other “rules”. Show me a man who is perfect in being “in love” and I will show you someone doesn’t follow any other rule. All the other rules are consumed in the one command. Try it for a week. And so that brings us to quoting and reading the Bible. If it is done in pure love then there is no conflict with anything else. All matters contained therein must be viewed as complimenting love. If you read it differently then you miss the point.

Keep it fresh

Look to something greater than yourself

Discovering the beauty of the world
Discovering the beauty of the world | Source

Through the lens of love

If you have in your head an angry and vengeful God, how can that possibly reconcile with love? Try it sometime. Go ahead. Be careful. Try to be angry and vengeful and in love at the same time. If God is Love and we take a single verse of the Bible to show vengeance then we must have misread it and should go back and try again. If that is just too simple for you you can go to a pretty all-encompassing verse from our pal Paul: 1 Cor 13:4-8 “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” I just do not see anger and vengefulness in that list. I don’t think that is a typo or something that was forgotten or taken out.

So what of this converting people because we are told to do it? Well that would be a secondary concept. It can only be done in love. So what of this eye for and eye business? Well that would be secondary and can only be done in love. Simply put: If you cannot conduct yourself or interpret the Bible in love leave it alone.

And here is the fun part. I am a bit of a scholarly dude. I can study books and texts from other cultures and religions. And I can take from those matters things that are helpful in my understanding of love. Well now if I can do that then so can an atheist. You see one does not have to be a Christian in order to gleam important good stuff from good books including the Bible. I actually quote it here as a good reference. What is cool about things that just are good is that you do not have to buy in completely. You can take the good in it and scratch your head at the rest. If I am a terrible man but say something wise, you can take my wisdom and leave the rest of me behind. And so it is back to the beginning here. How do I act as a Christian in an unchristian world? I can take love from just about anyone and leave the rest behind me.

I am not that great of a gardener

But with love I grow great children and great roses.
But with love I grow great children and great roses. | Source

What a beautiful thought

Peace be with you

My father told me that a famous quote from Will Rogers was taken and changed. “I have never met a man I did not like” Was really; “I have never met a man I could not find something to like about”. If you are a fan of such greats as Rogers and Yogi Berra then you know that the second quote is more in line with the speech patterns of such men. But the point is clear. If we look for the good we will find it, and we ought to respond in kind.

I know an atheist dude. I asked him how he found it within himself to do such good. He told me that he tried to follow the example of Christ. Does that make him a Christian? A follower of Christ? Interesting. But of course we say he must have faith in order to be a Christian. Let me tell you something real true. In my short time as a preacher man. Through questions presented to me I came to realize that about half the people in the pews had questions of faith. Most just would not admit it out loud. But almost all had some reservation or doubts. That is human nature. So we look at the proclaimed doubter as worse off than us regular old “keep it quiet” doubters? I wonder about the wisdom of that.

Once again back to our beginning. You can do it and it is not a battle to be Christian in an unchristian world. There is no great conflict. The battle between good and evil does not have to be fought in order to be won. Good just needs to be our focus and good will win. Love is the answer to all our problems today, tomorrow and yesterday. Interpret and intercede in this secular world with love and you shall live a Christian life. The other stuff is just stuff.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 7 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi John, thank you much for noticing. Absolutely I was thinking of his conversion. Such a very interesting story.

    • JohnPLyons profile image

      John Lyons 7 months ago from UK & USA

      It's interesting that you feature Cat Stevens (beautiful voice and beautiful words) considering he went on to reject his Christianity and became Yusuf Islam when he converted to Islam in 1977...had you thought of this when you used him in the article? Kind Regards, John

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence, just a second ago I was acting without proper intentions of love. It is ingrained so I felt edgy. Quick repent and good to go again. I do not always act right but I can always right what I act.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 22 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Reading this I was reminded in my Bible reading earlier I read the verse Jesus quotes for the 'golden rule!' But here's tge strange bit, he only quotes the last half!

      It's in Leviticus 18 (yes I actually read Leviticus!!) And the first bit says "Don't. take revenge on your kin, but love your neighbor as yourself"

      Kind of a double whammy in some ways!

      I also thought of a quote from Ghandi "The greatest attraction to Christianity is Jesus Christ but the biggest deterrant is Christians!"

      We're not perfect that's true, and God still loves us, so lets seek to be like Christ! (No matter how many times I'll fail I'll never stop trying!)

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Denise, I really enjoyed your article yesterday. It is good of you to come by and leave such a thoughtful comment. When someone convinces me that love is not the medicine this world needs -- I will let you know.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks a bunch Frank. I suffer a bit from clay feet and your gracious comments always lift me up into action. That is a really nice thing to do.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 22 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I love that dichotomy, "The battle between good and evil does not have to be fought in order to be won." Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." The converse of this statement would be - All that is necessary for the triumph of good is that good men do something! We have the power within us to change the world, but it will not happen by force, it will happen by love. Well said!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 22 months ago from Shelton

      Eric I do enjoy your sermons... love the photos and the thrilling chase for answers have to admit it but this is a sermon one cannot stop reading half way through... it is a great little ride

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, let us give it a shot this week and do our best. A wonderful world.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      The Leader of Christianity, for whom the movement is named said it this way, "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another" (John 13:35). You stated the same thing in your conclusion, "Love is the answer."

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What was the name of that place? Papillon? Oh the good old days. Clive your idea has merit, it just lacks a good plan of operations.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 22 months ago from Nibiru

      its a pity you cant weed out the bad and isolate them like weeds in grass.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ann you made me pause and think. Why is my first reaction to violence more violence? I guess there is still a lot of primitive left in me.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 22 months ago from SW England

      Thank you, Eric. It was my partner who suffered. I agree about vengeance creating pain too so we've just handed the issue over to the police and we hope they catch him! I appreciate your concern and your prayers.

      Ann

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ann, that is terrible to hear of your encounter with violence. That desire for justice is very normal and you should probably go with it. But not too far. It can be as unhealthy as the original attack to focus too much on vengeance. Make sure the perp does not cause you anymore pain by self inflicting it.

      For me I give thanks that you are here and well enough to write. My prayers are with you.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Clive now don't go all doomsday on me. But your point is well taken. Sometimes it does seem like we are going to hell in a handbasket. But I choose to look hard and find the good. I know you do to.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 22 months ago from SW England

      A wonderful point, that if we do everything in love the whole of existence would fall into place. Even with hate, oppression and violence all around us, if we try to look for the good then we might find it - not easy though!

      I'm trying to find the good in someone who used violence against us on New Year's Eve - I have great difficulty with that as it was unprovoked and came without warning. I guess we're supposed to leave it but shouldn't the perpetrator be brought to account?

      Great thoughts and wisdom here as always, Eric. Happy New Year to you and yours!

      Ann

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 22 months ago from Nibiru

      You are right when you say un christian world. The attitude of the world sucks and even animals are living more decent than us humans. We scoff, we push, we discriminate, we hate, we kill, we be greedy. Humans are a dying breed and they will bring extinction to themselves if we do not learn to live with each other. Good hub eric.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana, this thing in our heart we assume is love -- is love. Our doubts shine a light on our weakness. That is so cool. We just planted some flowers and vines. It will take a few weeks to see our effort. I cherish that. We will anticipate growth and love. I really don't care what the end result is. My young son will. So is our giving if love, I may not care but others will. So I care. Let the garden of love grow within you.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Val, call me a prude. Just go right ahead and call me a spiritual empath. I do not even care. Maybe listen to what I have to say -- but watch how I walk. Judge me on that, and damn well judge me critically. If a prophet were to tell me today not to love, I would shoot the prophet and be done with it. Christian for sure -- but perhaps that is only because I see Christ as pure love. I have a couple of degrees. They all have to do with philosophy. Big deal a Doctorate. What I know is not in my mind but in my self. I love to read it all.

      I walk unlabeled except by others. It is freedom. There is no crede, mantra or litany that constricts, it all frees.

      Sorry I must go make a super duper cheese, salami, tomato and lettuce sandwich for my son. I wonder what zen I will find in that. No matter I will make a sandwich in love and it shall be eaten as such and life is right.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 22 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Eric, I am so glad I am a human-Christian and consider myself a follower of Christ more than anything else. I know that no matter how good I am, I can never be perfect. If we were able to be Jesus would not have had to die for us. When I see my fellow- Christian's going self-righteous on me I always think..." If we can be a fly on the wall"

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby my first shoes were moccasins. I hope my last ones are also. This beauty that lies within us is love. Love creates harmony. If I place my foot gently and do not create havoc then I have found some harmony. Christ is love. If I love even the ant beneath my moccasin then I have found some peace and that is which is sought for all. Thank you for being with me on my journey for a companion is a best friend.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 22 months ago from Canada

      Those without a spiritual flexibility will always seek their comfort zone in certainty. So they will insist on defining you as a follower of this or that belief. What they don't realize is that you don't owe to anyone to explain yourself - and even less do you need their approval.

      It's only for those mental beggars, desperate to "belong", to be accepted, that approvals mean something. You have a freedom not only to partly be a Christian and partly not, but also to believe in one part of the Bible and not in the other. For example, where it says that slaves should be loyal to their masters, (in those times slavery was simply a reality), you don't have to agree with that.

      People don't understand that being spiritual means being FREE. There is no love without freedom in your heart. I can't say "I love humanity", because penitentiaries are filled with characters that I can't love. My own definition of love is about generating love, cultivating that ability to love, and then finding those aspects of humanity that resonate with that love by their beauty. And when alone, I love for sake of loving, because it's the most noble emotion I can produce. It's equal to happiness, to harmony and peace. But don't ask me "where I find inspiration for loving".

      NOWHERE. I don't need anything or anybody to guide me into loving a flower, a baby, a song, and the mysterious night sky sprinkled with stars.

      So, if any of this matches Christian teachings - fine. If atheists can cultivate it too - fine again. Categorizing and labeling our faith is a silly custom. They want to know "where you are coming from", they want you to be "recognizable". Why would you care? Are their established labels making them better humans? "I can quote the Bible, so automatically I am a better man than you are". Or: "I find my closeness with God in the depth of my meditations" - like I happen to do, and that, my friend doesn't give me any "advantages" over your faith.

      Eric, sometimes it all looks like a silly spiritual competition among people, instead of junking all of it and just nurture that warm human closeness, compassion, willingness to accept the totality of one another. We should really stop playing "sinful judges".

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Thank you Eric. That is a beautiful thought. ( " To walk in beauty. " ) My father's mother was an Indian. She died before I was born. I guess that's why I feel close to the Indian teaching.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby, I don't get the gruesomeness of the Old Testament. Shoot I don't get the gruesomeness of the Crucifixion. Call me new age if you want to, I don't buy into the mayhem. Those must have been terrible times for people even to relate to that madness. But us spiritual people are not caught up in the past -- we are in the present. That presentness allows us to see the beauty in Jesus for now. That sure as green grass grows is good enough for me. I had an old squaw women (that is what she called herself) tell me to walk in beauty - I pray that for you.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

      First let me say how much I love that picture of your child and the roses. Beautiful! I think I can classify myself as more spiritual than Christian. there is much to love in this world. After all God is love. Jesus came to teach us more love than hate. There are some scripture in the old bible that scares me, but I choose to believe love overrides anything bad.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hey thank you a whole bunch John. You do this old heart real well. That love cures the world's evils and will place us in good stead. I feel it in your poetry.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 22 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Eric, you just said it like it is..or should be anyway. .how can I not follow the commandment John 13:34? None of us a perfect, and no religion is either. I say take the best bits from every one and be a better person. If we all love one another everything else will fall into place. You do grow great children and roses :)

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill if we keep trying then hate will be dying. No one paved this road of love but it is worth the potholes for the view. Thanks for sending some my way today -- happy weekend. And say howdy to the Hollis' for me ;-)

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks much Linda, and thank you for your nice note yesterday it gave me the impetus to publish today. You do not just talk the talk you walk the walk and that is inspiring.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well you had me laughing with the opening sentence. Like I've said before, I think Christ and I were on the same page....the page of love. I'll let others label me any old way they want. I'm a disciple of love, baby, love!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 22 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric - There was only one perfect man on this earth (well actually 3 if you count the two who loused everything up for us). Am I a Christian? Yes, but am I perfect? Far from it (just ask my family). Nevertheless, it all comes back to what you state (so very well, I might add) in so many of your sermons--all you need is love.