Be at this (itudes): A To Do List For Followers of Jesus

If you are poor we will help you. If you need something we will give it to you if we have it. We won’t hoard for ourselves and leave you with nothing. We won’t leave you homeless and hungry and without clothes. Seriously, do you want a sandwich?

If you’re mourning we will mourn with you. We will be with you. We’ll try to comfort you. But we won’t tell you everything is going to be okay because maybe it won’t. We won’t tell you it’s God’s will or part of his plan because we don’t really know (how could a human know such a thing?) but we sure hope he isn’t into suffering. We will probably bring you some comfort food because we will want to do something and that seems useful and respectful of your grieving process.

If you get pushed around by others or society, we will stand up for you. We won’t sit idly by while others bully you. We won’t stay silent while they take away your rights. We might not be able to stop them, but we won’t help them, and we will oppose them as strongly as we can without resorting to violence. But they will have to push us around in order to push you around.

If you long to see justice done, you should know that we do too. We hunger and thirst for it. It is the number one thing that we think God wants. We will do everything we can to help you satisfy your longing for justice.

If you think the most important thing is showing mercy to other people, you should know that we do too. We think God holds this as important as justice. We are all about showing mercy and we would love to partner with you in spreading it as far and wide as possible.

If you think doing the right thing is important, you should know we do too. We try as much as possible to be good people and do good things. We aren’t perfect but when we do bad things we either admit it or call each other on it. As far as we can, we don’t do bad things and we certainly don’t brag about doing bad things. We think what we do matters, that our actions define us, that everything we do is either good or evil. We embrace the good and reject the evil, especially in our own thoughts and actions. 

If you are committed to waging peace, you should know we are too. We are sure war is evil and only leads to more war. We once had a theory about what a just war would look like but violent people distorted it so bad it’s now meaningless. We learned nonviolent resistance from Gandhi (who said he learned it from Jesus) and we practiced it under Rev. Dr. King’s pastoral guidance but we’ve now nearly forgotten how to do that. We’re open to learning again because we’re sure we have to work for peace at least as hard as others work for war, violence, and oppression. 

If you have suffered hardships or oppression, especially for doing the things named above, we’re with you. The same was done to our leader and to us to whenever we’ve dared to follow his teachings. We always stand with the oppressed, never the oppressor. Our place is with the hurting, the abused, the disenfranchised, the outcasts. We’re not promising we can rescue you out of the mess, but we sure will stay with you in it.

true and false power

All forms of worldly power are false because they are always at some level coercive, self-serving, and manipulative Рand thus self-condemning and self-defeating. This is true of governments, businesses, churches, families, and personal relationships. A main theme in the Gospel of John is that the way the world rules is condemned.

True power is what empowers, what leads to human flourishing. It begins with trust which builds unity, a shared identity. It goes forward with hope, spreading freedom for each to flourish. It achieves and lives out the goal of love which creates real equality.

This is the social order we call the church. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection make this way of life together possible. His Holy Spirit makes it actual.