Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Way of Jesus

I've been doing some exciting reading lately about things that make a lot of sense. The Secret Message of Jesus by Brian D. McLaren paints a wonderful picture of who Jesus really was and what it must have been like during the point of history he lived in to hear his message and to see what he stood for.

Many Christians seem to have lost track of what Jesus' message was. They forget that he was a radical - a revolutionary - wanting to change the status quo. He taught forgiveness. He taught us to love our enemies. He taught us not to be judgmental. He ate with fraudulent tax collectors, prostitutes, and the poorest of the poor. He touched untouchable lepers. He preached that love was more important than a long list of man-made laws. He spoke up against hypocrisy.

I myself have been unhappy about some of the way things in the church are, especially the stigma that is still attached to people with mental illness. Followers of Christ are in such a good position to help people who live with these illnesses. Faith is important for our mental well-being and we need our Christian friends to encourage us. This is best done with compassionate, Christ-like love by people who will take the trouble to get educated about the causes of our illness.

All too often Christians are like Job's friends, blaming us for our disorders, telling us that we're not right with God. Some will tell us to throw away our pills. "All you need is Jesus." One evangelist even said that there is no such thing as mental illness. "All such problems have a spiritual basis." They're judgmental. They have not learned the lessons Christ taught.

Christians need to be prepared to be radicals in this world, not going along with the status quo, fighting injustices. In many ways we forget to follow the ways of Christ. We've forgotten what Jesus stood for. If Jesus was a revolutionary in his day, we as his followers need to be revolutionaries in our day....because there are a myriad of injustices.

In Matthew 5 Jesus preached that the kingdom of heaven is for those who:
  • realize their need for God
  • mourn
  • are gentle and lowly
  • hunger and thirst for justice
  • are merciful
  • have pure hearts
  • work for peace
  • are persecuted because they work for God.
This is the code of conduct for Christ's disciples. How many of us follow them? How many of us have forgotten?


Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Marja,
Please come over to my blog to receive your award as one of the recipients of the 24 Carat Gold Most Outstanding Bloggers Award. Thanks and God bless.

Dream Writer said...

Hi Marja- Hope all is well. I had some major computer problems and have missed all of you.

Thinking about you :)

marja said...

Mel: Welcome back. It's been a long time. And thank you so much for the award. I'm honored.

marja said...

Dream: It's so good to hear from you again! You know, I've had computer problems as well which has kept me from blogging as much as I'd like. I'm at this moment writing from my new computer, which I got just this afternoon. I'll look in on you right now. So good to have things back to normal!

P.J. said...

The Beautides way seems to be the opposite of what the world is telling us to do and be!! We need to remind ourself all the time that we should be trying to be as much like Jesus tells us to as we can.

I talked about you in my post tonight... ;)

Mental Health Blog Research Group said...

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marja said...

PJ: What neat things you said about me in your blog, PJ. I just melted when I read that. You're a dear girl.

Gianna said...

Many Christians seem to have lost track of what Jesus' message was. They forget that he was a radical - a revolutionary - wanting to change the status quo.

If Jesus appeared today preaching what he did then, he would be denounced by most poeple who call themselves Christian today.

Our government policies are excactly opposite of what Jesus taught.

One of my favorite blogs is written by a minister...

He looks at todays world from what I consider to be an honest Christian perspective.

I hope you like it.

I majored in Christianity in college and have a relationship with Jesus that I'm trying to figure out...for me the drugs took my spirituality away...

slowly my spirit is awakening again.

marja said...

Hi Gianna,

Welcome to my blog. And I'm so glad we can agree on this. I felt sorry about the way I must have made you feel on your blog, when my beliefs run so contrary to yours. But I hope we can be friends anyway.

I agree with you on your take of how Christians migh respond to Jesus if he came to walk amidst us now. Too many - but not all of course - are like the Pharisees were in Jesus' day: legalistic and judgmental - not loving in the way God tells us to love.

I'm glad you're recovering and finding your spirituality again. It's so important if we're to be whole people.

Gianna said...

Dear Marja,
I have other friends who share your feelings about meds.

Don't worry about how you made me feel. You are clearly a beautiful woman.

And of course we can be friends.

Peace to you.