Compassionate Living

Freely love, but love with humility. By so doing, you’ll find personal freedom and comforting joy. You’ll be cultivating and caring for others, while progressing on the road for the living wisely. These will be qualitative moments and you’ll be embracing your true life’s calling. With pureness of living you’ll become like missionaries, gardens blossoming, and full of life. Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821 -1881), Swiss moral philosopher, poet, and critic, remarked, “There is no respect for others without humility in one’s self.” Such humility is having a clean mind and heart, a certain quality of life, and love that generates kindness. For then, we’ll be living good lives under God’s protection. These are enriched and be actively engaging to others in our communities.

The Liberating News

James A. Baldwin (1924 -1987), novelist, essayist, and playwright, revealed, “The question which one asks oneself begin, at least, to illuminate the world, and becomes one’s key to the experience to others.” With this self-introspection, such persons have to be free from guilt, and experience inner freedom. For as Christians, they must know the joys of evangelizing, by finding life-giving forces, for missionary work. We’ll then be living transformed lives which are illuminated. God will reign within us and we’ll be living to our fullest God-given potential . Such is having dignity which is found in the everliving and abiding truth of the Word. In short, it’s the Word of life, bearing witness in our circumstances, and affairs. This is how we’ll live deeply and effectively in the Christian faith.

Joy of Faith

To be faith-filled is to experience a quiet joy. Christians are joyful people expressing streams of happiness to those they meet. They give delightful praises, shine forth their lights, and are excited about living. They have been touched by the supernatural hand of God and tasted life’s diverse possibilities. These are those who live abundantly and have positive outlooks. Their blessings are found because of lives of prayers. Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), German-born theoretical physicist, saw, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Much of what Christians believe is through their faith. They dream putting thoughts in their actions and works. For they realized like Aesop (620 – 564 BC), ancient Greek fabulist, “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” These holy ones live, by giving thanks, and praising God, for his mighty works, and goodness.

Joy of Poor People

Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997), Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary, urged, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.” She and her Sisters of Charity would find great joy working amongst the poor and sacrificing for them. Their missionaries continue to be joyful witnesses, built on new lives in the poverty of everyday lives. They recognize human frailties and are willing to do their best as servants to beggars and lepers.

Being missionaries to the poor, we bring dignity, and fulfilled lives to forgotten people. Our main focus isn’t only the downtrodden, exploited, and heart-broken, but on every life, here and now. As we look ahead, their afflictions will be no more in the world to come, for in it, there will be perfect peace and happiness. Gods of money and power are false idols, and our answer to them, lie in living simply, and sharing. It’s such distribution of material wealth and dialogue to the least among us which matter most. These are what the lives of missionaries show us and compassionate living is all about.

When performing deeds Christians can step back in contemplation. Max Lucado (b. 1955), best selling Christian author and preacher at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, feels, “The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: ‘grace.’” In the end, it isn’t the dirt and squalor, deprivation, or the laws, but God’s ‘grace’ which means everything to us.

Minorities and Civil Rights

Minorities and civil rights have a rather interesting history, but it’s a story about our future hope. In the 1960s, the Civil Right Act as passed when the American Congress made it possible for some notable changes to occur in our society that had far reaching implications. Through this act, it was now possible to inspect voter registration rolls, prohibit discrimination, on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It also tried to ensure there was equity in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.

Some persons like Gwendolyn Brooks (1917 – 2000), who was a poet, teacher, and the first black to win the Pulitzer prize for poetry in 1950, thought, “When you use the term minority or minorities in reference to people, you’re telling them that they’re less than somebody else.” For a Christian, love is the greatest virtue, and there ought to be no distinctions between persons of different races. Whether we like it or not, Americans are still classified as belonging to a particular minority.

Media and Civil Rights

The Civil Rights Movement (1955 – 1968) was in full swing and its aim was abolishing discrimination. Its successes were made possible to the sights and sounds of TV, church groups, protestors, and sympathizers. Viewers were able to witness brutality against demonstrators, sit-ins, freedom riders, marches, and clashes with the national guard, depictions which impacted our national conscience. The Black Power Movement (1968 – 1980) endeavored to counter stereotypes about blacks, while trying to instill dignity in its race, by pushing for economic, and political parity.

In the late 1960s, came the 11-member Kerner Commission appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson (1908 – 1973), in response to the riots in American cities. A national Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders attempted to find out what really happened. What caused the riots? What could have be done to prevent future occurrences? What was media’s role in the unrest? How well did it serve blacks?

The Kerner Commission concluded that the media failed in its mission to the black community. It was felt that America was moving towards two separate societies – one white, and the other black, which were unequal. The media failed to report the underlying problems which led to the riots. There was a predominant presentation of while images to the detriment of blacks. The culture, history and activities of blacks were ignored, and the mass media was considered shockingly backward in its coverage of issues.

America’s Diversity

Whether we like it, or not, Americans share a common destiny. Ron Kind (b. 1963), who did serve as the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s 3rd congressional district, and a member of the Democratic Party, feels, “For as long as the power of America’s diversity is diminished by acts of discrimination and violence against people just because they are black, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, Muslim or gay, we still must overcome.” With prayer and perseverance, Americans have come a long way, since that time. Now they are examples of blacks being more visible, having a voice in government, business, the world, and national affairs. With the election of President Barack Obama (b. 1961), to the White House, some conditions have changed for the better, but blacks are still viewed as perpetrators of drug and criminal offenses disproportionally to whites. Black leaders are often seen criticizing government, the media, for these failures, and pointing out police brutality.

Window Dressing

It’s true, we’ve passed the stage of being seen as “window dressing,” alluded to by the United States Commission for the Study of Civil Rights (1977), but women and minorities still have a way to go, to be equal in America. It was Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948), the preeminent leader of Indian independence movement in British-ruled India, who observed, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Christians must continue promoting the goodness of all people. Our world and spiritual future depend on the efforts, of all ethnic groups.

Christianity is Marvelous

Christianity is a marvelous religion. There are five truths which are worth mentioning:

      1. It’s known for its timelessness of ideas
      2. It’s eternal concepts greet believers
      3. God shows his all-encompassing nature
      4. He reveals his interconnectedness of creation
      5. Humankind is shown to have natural limitations

Timelessness of Ideas

Throughout the millennium of our existence such notions have evolved which are traditionally and culturally bound. From age to age, these ideas have been passed down orally and have become part of the world’s literature. About timelessness, Paul Rand (1914 – 1996), art director and graphic designer, wrote, “The principal role of a logo is to identify, and simplicity is its means … Its effectiveness depends on distinctiveness, visibility, adaptability, memorability, universality, and timelessness.” Inevitably, Rand, although he was referring to graphics, touched on the characteristics of Christianity, which have lasted throughout the ages.

Eternal Concepts

In all cultures, there’s a belief in an eternal existence. From the beginning of time, people from different faith traditions debated and expressed confidence in this reality. Christianity stands out prominently as one of these faiths, where our creator is worshiped and adored. Clearly, the promise of living in an afterlife is central to this faith. In Jesus Christ – the son of God, our greatest teacher, who died on the cross at Calvary, rests our eternal hope. Henry Adams (1838 – 1918), historian and member of the Adams political family, reminded us: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Undoubtedly, Jesus was the premiere teacher of all time, his life’s history, and teachings are vividly recorded in the Gospels.

God’s All-Encompassing Nature

Christian religious leaders focus on the omnipresence of God. Jesus Christ is part of the Trinity and a monotheistic God. Because of him, Christians can deduce, according to Albert Pike (1809 – 1891), attorney, writer, and Freemason: “One man is equivalent to all Creation. One man is the World in miniature.” Interestingly, it was sin that came into the world through Adam and Eve, when they both ate of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. To this day, as their descendants, we continue to be harmed by their defiance. It was through Jesus Christ – the new Adam, who later became the pioneer of our salvation.

Interconnectedness of Creation

There are linkages all around us that clearly demonstrate our interconnectedness, to all living, and non-living entities. Such matters appear simple, but still they are complex. Just image the existence of energy fields, the air we breathe, the water we drink which sustains us, and our relationships with other animals, creatures, insects, and plants. Let us celebrate the solar systems, galaxies which are vital to our lives, and existence. What a great God he is, who has brought into existence the elements, landscapes, of the earth – mountains, valleys, seas, oceans and rivers, putting our unique ecological systems in place.

Limitations of Humankind

Humans are finite beings, unlike our creator who’s infinite in every way. Our minds are limited. Individuals who depend only on their logical minds in making decisions are considered by theologians to be rather foolish. Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943), Serbian American inventor and futurist, explained, “It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations. Precisely one of the more gratifying results of intellectual revolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects.” It’s clear that men and women tend to stress their minds, as the primarily seats of knowledge, and learning, but God looks at our hearts. This is why the Bible reveals how God bases his knowledge of us, in determining the condition of our souls, concerning if we’ll be fit for his eternal blessings, in heaven.

Children of God

“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18: 16-17 (NRSV). In heeding Jesus Christ’s admonition, we can clearly see that children are featured prominently in God’s plan of eternity. The key therefore, for raising children is on their upbringing in spiritual ways, through education, understanding, and experience.

Parents and family members teach them the rules of the home. These are good and necessary for the entire family. Because kids are young, standards are taught in simple ways which are easily understood. Children of average intelligence will have no problems knowing the dos and don’ts taught them daily.

Italian author, Pieto Aretino (1492 – 1556), who wielded immense influence on contemporary arts and politics, observed, “I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.” This realization not only goes for the children who parents love, but for the relationships of dads and moms.

Team Spirit

As our children grow older they have more holistic goals. In kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school, they begin to learn about growing up, which are important in cultivating well-rounded personalities. Parents and teachers move away from reading, writing, and arithmetic, but to going to church, doing physical exercises, studying, and participating in team sports. Parents take time to explain the merits and demerits of activities. They tell kids why “getting adequate exercise is necessary, and how it’s also meant for developing team spirit.” With special programs, they will develop the skills of playing, working, and understanding why sharing, and cooperation, are essential for building community spirit.

Babe Ruth (1895 – 1948), baseball player, explained, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together the club won’t be worth a dime.” Ruth like parents realize that although individual performance is desired, it’s for kids to understand success lies with the team. As Christians we are first of all a community and that’s what matters most.

Nutrition and Tests

Growing up as children we often are told by our parents, “Drink your milk. It’s perfect food with lots of protein and vitamins.” We will hear, “To be strong, you’ve got to eat your vegetables.” Other advice comes to us, “You mustn’t eat so much candy, it isn’t good for you. Watch your fruit juices, soda, and be careful about additives.” These ingredients children are told are harmful to them, if they are to grow into healthy adults. Parents remind them, “Be sure to get your sleep, rest, and exercise, for they benefit your growth, spirit, and emotional health.”

Throughout their lives there will be tests. Tests at school make kids anxious, concerning whether they will pass, or fail exams. Playing on teams make them wonder if they will be good enough players. And, then again, going to their doctors for shots and in times of illnesses. With these tests they are ready for college.

A Life with God

Yet, parents and teachers will be amiss if they raise children not knowing of a loving God. It’s true there are many denominations from which a family may choose a faith tradition. When they attend church with their children they continue to teach them vital lessons about life. They demonstrate to them that what they do are important. In life it’s good to let them see that living without God is meaningless. It’s for parents to teach children about Christ’s advice, to love one another, and be of service to mankind.

Thomas Paine (1737 – 1809), English-American political activist and revolutionary, reminded us, “Those who want to recap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it.” Living in a Christian nation, we have to bear crosses. It’s our weight if you like, as we journey onward while working for the advancement of our societies. This is being like children, living in the simplicity of Christian vocations.