The Book of Us … March 18, 2012

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“The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.”

It is part of a verse from the Gospel of John, describing the mission, purpose and life of Jesus. But I must tell you, as dynamic as Jesus’ life was and as valuable as it is for us to study it and appreciate his deeds and desires, it has been a long time since he was human.

We often hear the phrase, “birds of a feather flock together”–usually used as a pretense for keeping the races separate. But if you apply it to the fact that human beings crave human contact, then I think we might be onto something. Candidly–Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Moses or any human being who used to walk on this planet, gain credibility when we are transported into their time and visualize them as living beings who had contemporary problems requiring practical solutions. Even though we sometimes object, people need people, and require “people stories” about “people solutions,” handled in a “people way.”

It is the weakness of religion that it requires of its adherents that they pursue God without finding that divinity in themselves or the lives of those around them. Incarnateto place something in the flesh to give it proof of existence.

I guess you can feel free to study the life of Joshua or the deeds of Elijah or the predilections of John the Baptist one more time if you are so inclined, but human beings are much more likely to be moved by the stories of those who are still living and breathing than they are by the tales of those who have already passed on to their reward. How can we make spirituality emotional enough that we actually think about it and when we do contemplate its workings, apply some facets of that experience to our everyday lives?

Rather than offering another series on the end of the world, the tabernacle of Moses or a deep, introspective look at prayer, the church would do better to publish The Book of Us. Every six months, merely put together a small booklet of stories from people in the congregation who have discovered that the word is still living. Simple. Easy to understand. Vulnerable. Human.

The stories should be three-act vignettes.

  •  Act I–this is who I am.
  • Act II–this is how I screwed up.
  • Act III–this is how God helped me find a way out of my mess.

This type of story reaches humanity. It is when the Bible becomes of use to the congregant–on those rare occasions when we actually allow Jesus or one of those fellows or gals who walk the pages, to emerge from the holy of holies to display their spots and blemishes, but also to proclaim the victory they received through their faith in God. But don’t you think it would be so much easier if the person who told the story was still alive to confirm it–an ongoing example of transformation?

It wouldn’t be hard to do. Why do all the heroes of belief have to be in the Bible? Why can’t they be our next-door neighbor, who like us, has frailties, but also like us, can be uplifted through love and understanding? If we do not find ways to make truth incarnate–in other words, evident in flesh and blood–all the greatest concepts of true Godliness and righteousness could be lost to the ages.

Yes, if every church in America would put out a small booklet every six months called The Book of Us, with a handful of wonderful stories telling the immediate evidence of God’s presence, then people would have a reason to believe that the mercy of the Almighty is not merely extended to the prophets.

Each one of us profits from the experience.

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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