Posts Tagged ‘judgment’

stalkerMurphy, the non-disciple, is outside his public house sitting under an awning sipping tea. Jesus walks by with James and John. Murphy flags them over.

Murph (standing and motioning): Hey, guys! Come have a seat and some iced tea.

Jesus (motioning for the others to sit): Hey, Murph. What’s happening?

Murph: You know the blog I keep on the blackboard inside? I’ve hit a roadblock. I usually like to write about you, but I have a block.

Jesus: Hmmm. What’s the problem?

Murph: Well, I’ve just finished reading I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Jeremiah…I’m not seeing you in there too much. You see, I believe you are who you say you are–you’re God. Yet, you seem pretty violent in past.

Jesus (shrugging): I get this a lot. First, the big idea the writers were trying to get across is that I’m pretty jealous. No, I really jealous. Second, those folks who wrote about me, didn’t know me like you do. Plus, those folks had no appreciation of the value of a life.

John: I’ve wondered about that, too. A lot of killing and destruction back then.

Jesus: The Children of Abraham have been loved and warned about my jealousy from the beginning. I don’t like other gods before me. I can’t explain Old Testament violence in a way you’ll understand, so you’ll have to trust me. Just believe this: It’s going to all work out in the end in spite of all the suffering–I’m going to make all things new someday. You’ll get to see it.

Murph: So, do we need to be afraid of you?

Jesus: Yes.

John: Aw, come on, we know you. You love us and we’re good in you.

Jesus: Still, it’s not good to place others or stuff in front of me. You see, YOU guys are pretty good about keeping things in their place. I let you know when I want change.

James: True. You don’t pull any punches regarding truth and your expectations.

Jesus: Here it is: I want to be first in your life. I want you to be my disciples. I want you to think of me and then apply me in your life.

Murph: For example…

Jesus: For example, I don’t like it if you put your wife before me unless you put your wife before me because that’s what I want. Murph, you aren’t one of the Twelve. You could be, but that’s not what I want and you know it. You are committed, but you are also married with a family and influence in this community. What I want for you is for you to put your wife, family and community first because I want you to. It’s a paradoxicle–by putting me first, you put them first.

John: Sure, the first-last thing.

Jesus: Yeah, sort of.

Murph: So, when I don’t filter the rest of my life through you, you get jealous.

Jesus: Yes. The road to destruction begins with your turning away from me. Life is me, death is not me. Life is full of suffering, but I can guarantee that if you don’t put me first, the suffering will not only increase, but will seem all the more cruel and pointless. I am The Way, The Truth and The Life–no one experiences God except through me.

James: I guess I already knew this was true. You’ve been teaching us this from the beginning. I don’t see your jealousy much because I love you.

John: Me, too. You ARE love. We find abundant life in you.

Jesus: But beware. I’m not kidding. Don’t be like the Pharisees or Sadducees. I’m so disappointed in their love of Torah and traditions. My spirit groans for them. Their futures do not look bright. You guys will see–within your lifetime Jerusalem will be a wasteland, the Temple will be gone and Israel will be no more. If only they would see and hear, but they are stubborn and stiffnecked.

Murph: I hope to keep you first, Rabbi.

Jesus: You do well, Murph, but remember, I’m watching you.

Tr8: Jesus is watching and he is jealous. Keep him first and love according to his will.

JonahGod: Jonah, I want you to go next door and invite your neighbor to church.

Jonah: Umm, God, he’s mean and he stole my rake.

God: Just invite him to church. If he doesn’t come, I’ll rain fire and brimstone on him.

Jonah: He has tattoos.

God: Invite him. Jonah slips out the back door, walks down the alley and catches a local bus headed downtown. The traffic begins to pile up and pretty soon the bus is stuck in gridlock traffic. Nothing happening. 1 hour. 2 hours. 3 hours.

Rider: What’s the deal here? Are we cursed or something?

Jonah: It’s me. I’m running from God.

Others: Throw him off the bus!

The driver opens the doors and kicks Jonah out into traffic. He gets hit by a Smart car and is thrown to the side of the road. The Smart car is totaled. The driver calls 911 and an ambulance shows up shortly. The EMTs put Jonah on a gurney, slide him in the ambulance and they drive off. Jonah is dazed and confused. In transit the EMTs spot a two-for-one at Chick-fil-A and pull in. Then, the ambulance drivers drive around and park, drive around and park, and drive around and park.

This goes on for three days.

At the end of three days the ambulance is in an accident at a drive-thru and the doors crash open and Jonah’s gurney shoots out. He coasts to a stop a few blocks from his house. A street person trades his grocery cart for Jonah’s gurney. Jonah pushes the grocery cart home. It has a wobbly wheel. Crossing the driveway, he climbs the steps to his neighbor’s door and knocks.

Neighbor (opening door): What?

Jonah: God told me to tell you you are doomed. You can visit my church, if you want, but you are screwed.

Neighbor (scratching his chin): Is this over the rake?

Jonah: No. God’s sending fire and brimstone your way.

Neighbor: Hmmm. Yeah, I’d like to visit your church. When are services?

Jonah (swearing under his breath): Tomorrow morning. Service is at 11:00. You’ll need to go early ’cause parking is sometimes complicating, but there will be folks directing traffic.

Neighbor: Okay, I’ll leave at 10:15.

Jonah (turns and walks away): Yeah. Whatever. 10:15.

The neighbor and his family go to church. They love it. After a couple of weeks they go to Starting Point and Next. The neighbor begins volunteering with a parking team and joins a small group. Not long afterward, the whole family is baptized and their video testimonies get a standing O.

Jonah missed all of this because he’s in a snit. He’s in his backyard working on his grocery cart hoping God will strike down his neighbor. As he adjusts the wobbly wheel, his neighbor comes out and waves.

Neighbor: Jonah! Thanks about the church thing. We’re loving it. Jonah storms toward the front yard, pushing his grocery cart.

Jonah (furious): God! I knew it—when I first heard your plan, I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I got on the bus! I knew you were full of grace and mercy, not easily angered, abundant in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to forgive this creep!

God: So, what are you angry about? But Jonah just left. He pushed his grocery cart across the street and sat down in the grass median to pout. He put together a makeshift shelter of newspapers and cardboard and sat there to see if anything would happen to his neighbor. It was hot. God arranged for clouds to come and turned on the sprinklers. Shade and a mist swept over Jonah to cool him off and get him out of his angry mood. Jonah was pleased and happy with the shade and mist. Life was looking up. Within 30 minutes the sprinklers stopped and clouds passed. The sun came out and God sent a hot, blistering wind from the east.

Jonah: @#$%^& this is terrible! I can’t stand this! No fire and brimstone and now, no sprinkler! Jonah goes in his garage, gets in his car and starts it.

God: What are you doing parked in the garage with the car on?

Jonah: Killing myself.

God: Why?

Jonah: The sprinkler. YOU turned off the sprinkler. I LOVED the sprinkler mist. And YOU turned it off. AND you saved my neighbor. He deserved fire and brimstone. Makes me so mad I can’t live another minute. And the sprinkler. I’d be better off dead.

God (turning off the car and opening the garage door): Seriously? How can you be so happy with sprinklers, then be so ticked off when they’re off? All you did was sit there next to your pathetic cart (which belongs to Kroger). So, why can’t I change how I feel about your neighbor and his family, to say nothing about his cat and dog?

Tr8: Don’t rejoice in another’s pain or judgment. Be gracious and merciful. “When theology becomes an obstacle to your mercy, adjust your theology,” Andy Stanley.

—- Read how the author nearly kills himself.

Originally blogged on April 29, 2012.

joes crabshackMurphy (the non-disciple) and his family are eating ‘al fresco’ outside Joe’s Crab Shack on Augustus Avenue in Caesarea. As they’re eating, Jesus sees them, stops by, and pulls up a chair–orders a Coke to go. As they sit in the shade of the awning a pharisee, Ben Zadrene, and two scribes pass by.

Zadrene (stopping, pointing at Murphy and his family): YOU are going straight to hell!

The scribes are startled and scoot behind Zadrene with eyes wide open.

Murphy (looking up): Say what?

Zadrene: I said, YOU. are. going. straight. to. hell.

Murphy (smiling): I’ve heard that before, but why’re you sending me to hell?

Zadrene (wagging his finger): First, you are a gentile. Second, you are eating crab legs–hell spiders from the bottom of the sea!

Murphy: Whoa! Settle down, partner. It’s just a bit a crab dipped in butter–no harm here–best food on the planet.

Zadrene (looking toward heaven): Deuteronomy 14:10! “Anything that does not have fins and scales you MAY NOT EAT!”

Murphy: Well, how ’bout that! Jesus, is this true?

Jesus (gazing at Zadrene): Where you headed, Ben Zadene?

Zadrene (frowning): Ah! You know me! Well, I’m completely clean today. I’m going to the synagogue and then to the Herod’s Forum to pray out loud in front of the unclean heathen by the fountain–may God’s justice be done when they burn in hell.

Jesus (smiling, stands and walks over, takes Zadrene’s hand and puts a crab claw in it): How clean are you now?

Zadrene (violently throwing the crab claw down): Doggone it! You just uncleaned me! You, sir, have totally ruined my day AND you are going to hell, too!

Murphy smiles and scoots his bench back. The scribes step back, too.

Jesus: Ben Zadrene, if you knew who you were talking to, you wouldn’t say that. Your heart is full of crabmeat. I’m tempted to make your legs grow together.

Zadrene (sputtering indignantly): What?! Who do you think you are?

Jesus (holding out his hand to shake): I’m Jesus, Son of God. Messiah first class.

Zadrene (heatedly): Ha! You’re a crabmeat toucher! Impossible!

Jesus (sighing): Yeah, you’re right. You’ll never get it, (turning to Murphy and his family) I’m headed down to the port to see Peter and the guys. Catch you later. Bye y’all.

Jesus walks off.

Zadrene (angrily stomps his foot): Well, I never!

Murphy: Bud, you came real close to havin’ your legs growed together.

Tr8: Don’t be superficial and judgmental. Clean the inside of the cup, then the outside.

choices

Tr8: What’s in the title, do that. Work on yourself, seeking the Spirit of Christ, and draw others into wanting the same Spirit in themselves.

Jesus and Murphy (the non-disciple) are stopped at the Eastern or Golden Gate of Jerusalem. They just walked up the hill and stand looking at the gate. Today this is called the “Mercy Gate.”

Jesus (pointing to a large rock nearby): Murph, take a load off. Let’s rest.

Murphy: Sounds good to me, I have a wine skin, here, want a sip?

Jesus: Sure (sips). What do you think of those Pharisees coming up the hill?

Murphy: Which one?

Jesus (smiling): All of ’em.

Murphy: Hmmm. Hard to say. I have two ways of lookin’ at things.

Jesus: Tell me about it.

Murphy: If you’re talking about one Pharisee, I’ll withhold my judgment and try to be as gracious as I can. If you’re talking about the whole pack of ’em. I’m down hard on Phariseeing.

Jesus: What’s the difference?

Murphy: I’ve watched you a bit and you’re hell on institutions and gracious with most individuals.

Jesus (nodding): Hmm. I guess I can see where you’d get that.

Murphy: Yeah, you always shoot straight with the truth, but you always end up inviting folks to follow you — to join up.

Jesus: Murph, I’m glad you made this trip. You catch a lot some of the others miss.

Murphy: I’ve seen clouds from both sides now.

Jesus (smiling again): …yet still somehow, you don’t see clouds at all….

Murphy: That’s probly true. I love plenty of people in groups I hate. I even like people I don’t like. The Chief of the New Faith Tabernacle, Molar Wisenart, is a piece of work, but he takes good care of his family and is a veteran. He has things to answer for, but I can’t say as I hate him.

Jesus: You always surprise me Murphy. I’m not crazy about what’s going on with the Temple, leaders and Judaism in general, but I do love the people. I sometimes wish I was a mother hen and could take Jerusalem under my wing.

Murphy: And what about the Jerusalem Masonic Lodge?

Jesus: Same deal. Did you know Peter was a member of the Lodge in Capernaum?

Murphy: Seriously? There’y’go.

Jesus: Wait until you see a church. It’ll make your head swim for all the inconsistencies.

Murphy: Yeah?

Jesus: Yep. So-called ‘Christians’ will do sooo many stupid things in my name.

Murphy: I wouldn’t join any group that’d have me for a member.

Tr8: Know the difference between institutions and people. Institutionally, stand with integrity. Personally, love with graciousness.