“Christianity is meant to be a loving way of life now, not just a system of beliefs and requirements that people hope will earn them a later reward in heaven.” Richard Rohr—Daily Meditations-Summary January 6, 2017
Heaven on Earth
Our mission is to build Heaven on Earth. Instead distain has replaced respect in many people’s minds when it comes to the topic of the Christian Church. Some people will not even entertain the subject. They walk away shaking their heads. Or worse, they allow their anger against the Church to take over their thinking and their words.
The non-violent way
All this distress is quite understandable. Christian churches have strayed far from the loving way of life Jesus proposed. The Beatitudes in chapter 5 of Matthew in the Bible lay out a non-violent, patient and caring life-style few undertake. Some exceptions do exist. The best example in the last one hundred years was a Hindu: Mahatma Ghandi.
Offer no resistance
Ghandi put Jesus’ teachings into practice. Unfortunately, he paid the same price Jesus did. We are still unwilling to offer no resistance to the evil doers around us. “But I say this to you: offer no resistance to the wicked.” Matt 5:39 Tit for tat is still the name of the game. Being ‘right’ consumes us.
No reward system
There is no way we can earn our place in heaven by joining the ‘right’ church or doing the ‘right’ things. All of us make mistakes. Some mistakes have a higher price than others. And we have been forgiven. Done deal. All that remains is choosing a peaceful path by creating a peaceful heart within ourselves.
Peaceful hearts create heaven. They are also rare. Instead of concentrating on personal sin, how to repent and how to earn a better standing in the eyes of a judgemental and exacting God, churches could teach practices leading to peace, like centring prayer, meditation or contemplation exercises. They could teach us how to love ourselves again, as God loves us. We need to hear about a loving God, one without the little black book.
Acts of loving kindness
Acts of loving kindness birth Heaven. It works well with a reciprocal flow of love and kindness. Like in the Trinity. The Trinity is the finest example of self-giving and self-receiving. This circle dance of love overflows into more beauty and peace. We see examples in the newborn babies of loving parents and in the joy of elderly couples who have made a life-practice of this way.
Heaven on Earth is possible. Respect must replace distain, guns transformed into plowshares. Refusing to participate in acts or words of violence, we stand in solidarity with the poor and the marginalised while denouncing the systems destroying our peace and our planet.
Non-violent engagement in social justice is not for the faint of heart. One could get killed. On the other hand, heaven moves a little closer. Peace is more possible. Life is good.