Do You Practice What You Preach?
Today I found a FB Share on my feed that annoyed me. It was an image from an extended family member that attacked people in general who are not Christian and don’t believe in Christ as they do. It made me wonder if some people really understand what it means to Walk the path you Talk. Do you understand how to put into practice what you claim to preach? Or even why do they think they have the corner market on morality, intelligence, being a good person or living a respectable good or positive life?
Now I don’t mean all Christians are like this. I know quite a few who are accepting and loving of all people. They are what I would call true Christians. They practice their faith in every moment of their life without judgement. While others are only “Sunday Christians” or Christian when it suits them. They don’t think about the implications of their actions or words, or FB shares and it doesn’t represent what they would say is a “Good Christian”. They simply push a button and move on.
Reverend Troy Mendez is the Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix Arizona and he said something on Anderson Cooper 360 this week that impressed me: “we believe we are to seek and serve Christ in all people.” You can watch his interview on AC360:Mendez. I highly recommend it for everyone. It’s a beautiful example of what I would call a real Christian. In the interview Rev. Mendez was talking about the Bill in Arizona that allows businesses to discriminate based on their Freedom of Religion. But his comments apply to life in general and in every situation we may face, not simply for this controversial bill.
The Christian Bible talks a lot about judgement. It cautions followers not to judge others when they have not first looked at their own lives. He who is without sin can cast the first stone and all that. So does that mean that a righteous person has the right to pass judgements on others? Well show me a righteous person and I’ll ask them.
No where in the Bible does it talk about hating people because they don’t share the beliefs of Abraham. Even in the Old Testament, Pagans are written about with kindness. Especially those who were kind to the Hebrews and even later those that were kind to the Christians. Along the way, that ‘righteous’ indignation came along. Probably because those in the seat of power within the early Church forgot what it meant to be Christian. Power and ego became the idol of worship. Hate and oppression replaced compassion, kindness and loving thy neighbor. And sadly those days of power and control over others became a dominate force in the Church and all of its subsequent evolutions into new denominations. Attempts to point out these fallacies were met with calls of heresy and treason.
I’m Pagan. I will never convert to Christianity. It’s not who I am and it’s not what I believe. But sometimes I find myself acting more “Christian” like than some of the Christians in my own family; extended or otherwise. I learned a long time ago that I cannot please everyone. But that being true to myself is more important to my path in life than it is to their expectation and assumptions of me as an individual. My words and my actions will be the evidence of my faith. Not your narrow-minded and often hypocritical view of my path and my life. I will not become what you assume me to be, in order to satisfy or confirm your arguments of the contrary.
One reason non-Christians are often so hard on Christians is because of that air of righteous indignation that seems to be growing here in the United States. It doesn’t come from all Christians. It comes from the people who go to Church on Sunday and then come home to a case of beer and sports. The gluttony of getting drunk and over doing it simply because “It’s my day off!”. The begin yelling at the TV and calling the opponents of their favorite sports team names and making false allegations about cheating.
Then they’re the ones who talk about “Christ would say this” or “oh bless Jesus for that”, and in the next moment text the person they’re having an affair with so they can meet up later. The bank teller who pockets $10 from their cash drawer and then covers it up for a week or two. The office worker who slips a package of printer paper into their briefcase to take home for their kids to print their art work. The person who sees someone drop $5 on the ground and instead of saying hey you dropped this, puts it in their own pocket. All those people who defraud anyone, the government, the community or another family member are the same people you might see in your local Church on Sunday praising Jesus and screaming about the sin of others. Yet they forget about the mirror and the person they look at everyday.
Are there non-Christians who do these things? Yes, of course. But they aren’t often pointing fingers and making judgements against others by waving a bible in one hand and an accusing finger from the other.
As a Pagan Minister, I don’t care about your gender, your color, your disability, where you came from, your sexual orientation or your religion. Your karma is yours to face and deal with through out your life and spiritual existence. My karma will judge how I responded to you as an individual or as a group. Did I respect your choice to live your life and believe in what you selected to follow. Did I support you with compassion and kindness and speak up for your right to express your view? If you did so with love, I sure would. If you did so with discrimination and oppression, don’t count on it.
Of course there are many things in life that all people shouldn’t remain silent about. Violence against anyone or anything without just cause. Today some might think that just cause has become a very blurry line and I might have to agree with that. But there still situations where we must stand up, regardless of belief and say No! Violence against children, women and animals being only 3 of those more important ones in my view. But so is violence against a group of people who believe differently than someone else, who look different, who love different. Those attacks be they verbal or physical must also be labeled as unjust and unacceptable.
What you say is equally important as the moments you decide to remain silent. What you share without a thought on FB, can be yet another measure of your own actions of faith. What you talk about and then turn around do, will be held for or against you depending on the manner in which you are true to your beliefs. Even the thoughts you think, will generate energy that manifests through your words, tone of voice, you facial expression, your body language and over time even your actions.
Look for the beautify and love of the Divine in all things around you. Who or whatever that Divine force is to you. Leave the judgements of everyday life to that higher spiritual force you look toward every morning as the sun comes up. Look for the good in all things and you will be able to say I walk my talk and live my faith in every moment of my day. And so it is.
© 2014 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.