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Jesus was not welcome in churches, synagogues and temples. When he spoke there he was attacked. He was booted out.Often people tried to murder him.

He was welcome in public houses and taverns. He was called a friend of drinkers, gluttons, prostitutes and sinners.

I am 100% certain that among those who not only made him welcome but also listened to him were more than a few of what today would be termed LGBTQ people.

For some reason this awareness seems not to dawn on everyone whose writing I read on Jesus and on Christianity.

The problem is not Jesus nor is it Christianity. There is nothing with either that can create a problem just as there is nothing in Beethoven that can create a problem. His music is great. The ideas of Jesus and of Christianity are great. There are none better.

The problem comes with the individual people who claim to follow those ideas just as it comes with individual people who perform the music of Beethoven (or any other artist). With some the performance is dead. With others it is living.

I feel LGBTQ people have a unique perspective which can offer valuable insight. Jesus taught that if we walk with him (I like that better than follow) our father, mother, brothers, sisters, EVERYONE WE KNOW, will turn against us.

Many LGBTQ people have had their families and friends turn against them. When I first read those words (in 1981) I thought, “Everyone already has turned against me. If I add this nothing will change and it will be for a better reason.”

Now let us turn to this passage from Matthew 18:

King James Version

18 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Consider that wicked servant who was forgiven but who refused himself to forgive.

People who say they are Christians and think you are a sinner are like that wicked servant. Come the judgement they are going to learn that. Hopefully they will learn it before that.

For decades I have been the target of focused hate from people who say they are Christian. They are not.

Hatred without just cause is the greatest sin of all. When is hatred just? Never. In Christ we are called to love them who do evil to us, to do good to them who persecute us, to forgive that we may be forgiven.

This is not easy, I know, but then neither was the passion of Christ from the garden to the cross.

Jesus said, “Why do you worry about the dust in your neighbor’s eye? Look to the log in your own eye. Remove that and you will know how to get the dust out of your neighbor’s eye.”

Charlie Chaplin said, “We only need power when we want to hurt people. For everything else love will do.”

He’s right.

Jesus said, “When you loan loan not to those who can repay you but to those who have no hope of repaying you then God will repay you and given you the gift of eternal life.”

Think on that. Then think on the bankers who park their butts in church but in their office daily turn away the helpless.

They can go to church 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That does not make them Christians. That will not save them.

What makes us Christians, what saves us or damns us is what we do or do not do outside church.

Said George Orwell, “As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.”

He’s right.

Many of us are the worst advertisement for Jesus.

Finally, if we, ourselves, did not suspect perhaps those folks are right they would not be able to wound us.

They are not right.

They are as wrong as it can get. There are a lot of folks like them.

Christianity, it seems to me, is a car that needs a first rate tune up.

Lend to those who have no hope of repaying you.

That is what in Jesus we are called to do.

Otherwise shut up.

The following is from the Talmud, Tractate Yoma. (Yoma is Aramaic for the Hebrew HaYom, The Day, referring to Yom Kippur.)

Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 9b

מקדש ראשון מפני מה חרב? מפני שלשה דברים שהיו בו: עבודה זרה, וגלוי עריות, ושפיכות דמים. . . . אבל מקדש שני, שהיו עוסקין בתורה ובמצות וגמילות חסדים מפני מה חרב? מפני שהיתה בו שנאת חנם. ללמדך ששקולה שנאת חנם כנגד שלש עבירות: עבודה זרה, גלוי עריות, ושפיכות דמים

Why was the First Temple destroyed? Because of three evils in it: idolatry, sexual immorality and bloodshed . . . But why was the Second Temple destroyed, seeing that during the time it stood people occupied themselves with Torah, with observance of precepts, and with the practice of charity? Because during the time it stood, hatred without just cause prevailed. This is to teach you that hatred without just cause is deemed as grave as all the three sins of idolatry, sexual immorality and bloodshed together.

Far too many murdered Black men, Jews, gay men and others will testify at THE LAST JUDGEMENT that the murderous thing that rose from the pit and calls itself Christianity isn’t. Jesus warned that after the foundation had been laid would come a false church that would so much look like the true even angels will be deceived. The parable of the tares and the wheat deals with this. Paul, in his letters, wrote of this. Both state we would know which is true and which false by their fruits. The fruit of the false church is death.

If your enemy sues you do you call your lawyer or do you give him your coat AND your shirt?

If forced to walk a mile do you walk two?

If you do not, shut up.

In David Mamet’s book BAMBI VS. GODZILLA I found these words from St. Francis: “Preach Christ constantly. Use words if you must.”

To my surprise many “Christians” disagree violently with those words.

I agree with them 100%.

Practice speaks more loudly than any words.

Decades ago I saw thousands of posters on the streets of Toronto designed to bring violence upon their subject, a man who had done nothing to win my help and everything not to. But I was faced with one hard truth. He was helpless:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJoZMZQpqCU&feature=youtu.be .

“As you do not to the least of these you do not to me,” said Jesus.

I had no choice but to help.

The man behind those posters says he is a Christian. He isn’t.

Then he put up flyers designed to bring down violence upon me. This was documented in Canada’s newspaper of record: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/toronto-alternative-theatre-founder-stands-up-to-bullying-threats/article549053/ .

Did that article move people to help? Some, yes. Not many.

Many, far too many, are passers by.

Let that passer by be not you.

Today I find myself in court.

My lawyer said, “This is textbook innocence.”

Some are helping.

Most are passing by.

Lawyers need to be paid.

Some have helped.

Many are passing by.

 

Help the helpless. Years ago on my bike I saw a blind man trying to cross an intersection. I said to myself, “Someone will help him.”

Then a voice welled up that softly said, “Why can’t that someone be you?

God is not found in buildings made by human hands.

God is found in our hearts and on our tongues.

I am grateful to those who seek to harm me.

They have led me to a far deeper understanding of Jesus and his message then I could have had without them.

Jesus taught the kingdom of Heaven is like leaven in bread.

We put a little bit of leaven (yeast) in the dough.

When it rises we pound it down because it is full of air bubbles.

Each time it rises we pound it down.

Again and again and again we pound it down.

Then, when at last, it is ready we put it in the fire.

That fire is now upon us.

I have been, God’s grace, been made ready for it.

If I am not let me be pounded down again and again until I AM.

Love your enemies. Do good to those who persecute you. Pray for those who do evil to you.

All things work to the good.

Hopefully the people who foster hate will have a change of heart for the better.

If not I pray for them.

–Reg Hartt 416-603-6643. reghartt@gmail.com

There is no shortage of the willfully uninformed eager to share their opinion. They are called gossips.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YonLUG7gRyY&feature=youtu.be

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