I sometimes pray my real mom has found peace for her soul. I never met the woman that birthed me and loved me enough to know that she could not care for a baby as she was not much past dolls. What ever the reason she choose life for me. For that I am forever grateful. The preacher and his wife at East Point Christian Church near Atlanta was where he was preaching when the new baby was found to be with out parents. Aunt Katherine was older than the age of caring for a newborn with cancer and other health issues the couple decided to find someone else with too much love not to share. I am thankful for my moms. The one that raised my sons and those that held me when I cried.
When Jesus washed the disciples feet as they were arguing who should set where based on rank and Satan filled Judas with bitterness, we see in action what Jesus will, does and has done many times with His bitter tears. Jesus will pick up our muddy, filthy feet and wash the world’s dirt from our life. (Hebrews sez Jesus’ blood sacrifice paid it all) Sometimes He uses the rod of discipline on me, sometimes it is His staff pulling me back from the danger I just do not see because of the bright lights and glitter of the golden idols the world has for me.
I found these 10 quotes on a clickbait site. I quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer and add a thought of my own numbered and bold before Dietrich’s. The more I study the writings of God I find gentle souls that looked outside the box. Especially today when many realize that the lukewarm worship of entertainment and the sage on a stage is not fellowship with Jesus we see in the Gospels or the Ekklesia in Acts or the letters. I hear many voices saying similar things. Numbers say the mainstream model is broken in many places and for far too many sheep that are wandering. I pray for unity. Unity will take the Holy Spirit to melt prideful hearts and gently break soft ones.
1. Mutual respect for another means I love you too much to sin against you or God in your presence or to allow you to continue in sin against others or God. Not about judging, but about saving.
“Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.”
2. Jesus was/is a friend of sinners, lived with the poor and least of these. Who is going to serve the “least of these”, dones, nones, ?
“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. ‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people.”
3. Being forgiven is a gift, not a title of rank. We are servants of Jesus, yet a royal priesthood of the least of these of equal rank. That is what “Wash feet” means.
“If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. … How can I possibly serve another person in unfeigned humility if I seriously regard his sinfulness as worse than my own?”
4. We can build a church of sticks and bricks, or as Jesus did with living stones on the foundation of the Rock of Ages.
“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”
5. Prayer in the name of Jesus separates the Ekklesia from the “religions of the world”. Our redeemer lives!
“A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.”
6. Be prepared to be used, if one time like Ananias with Saul or thousands like Phillip.
“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions.”
“There is a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes already to know what the other person has to say. It is an impatient, inattentive listening, that despises the brother and is only waiting for a chance to speak and thus get rid of the other person. Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by Him who is Himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.”
8. Who are you compassionate about? Wash the feet of your brothers and sisters. Be kind to neighbors. There is a difference.
“The Christian, however, must bear the burden of a brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had to endure the Cross. God verily bore the burden of men in the body of Jesus Christ.”
9. God is in the details, watching.
“Who can really be faithful in great things if he has not learned to be faithful in the things of daily life?”
10. Thankful, and able to be thankful of others.
“If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.”
What happened to tooth for tooth? In the Mayflower book the invaders (Pilgrims, Puritans, French, Spain, Dutch, English and a few others) are using the old testament to justify killing and enslaving the natives. Many christian nations, groups, used selected Old Covenant rules, rituals, and practices to justify slavery, rape, wars, genocide and more. During the 60s-70s we were eyewitness to the hatred that can come from “Church people” towards people of another race or culture. We saw congregations split over the race issue when we invited all the children of the neighborhood to our summer school on a Church bus. Many people showed that evil is alive and well in the pews. We see cults today building temples and claiming high ranks in priesthoods drawn from the old covenants, The old covenants had many details , many explanations for everyday issues, like what to do if someone is injured in a fight. Or what town to run to if you accidentally killed another person, or how to plant and farm your land. How to destroy a town and all its inhabitants. Rules for land ownership and dietary rules. We pick and choose which rules fit our agenda. We need cash? break out the OT support of the priests, the temple & associated festivals, and the feeding of the poor. Tithing was 23% or more, giving was mandatory to every male head of household to present before the Lord and not have empty hands. Next time you do the tithe give it before the Lord. (where is He? Hint, he might be that bum you passed on the street or the child that is hungry, or mother that has no food for her children) Give the way Jesus taught. If you want to do that via a local ministry, shelter or homeless person, Give from the heart freely with out compulsion to the the less fortunate. Let the fans support the entertainment on game day. The Jewish male had a outward, if hidden sign of the covenant of Abraham. Female circumcision was never practiced by the nation of Israel, that is a pagan practice. Circumcision was a cutting off, showing mastery over the flesh. In the Ekklesia we have no distinction or seperation of male and female. All are now Abraham’s children in Christ. All serve as parts of the Ekklesia on equal terms as servants of the High Priest. Women teach and are evangelists, prophets as much as men all under the oversight leadership of the elders selected by the ekklesia
Paul also said “Not with hands” Col 2:11-12, We put on Christ, what else do we need? Rules, rituals, temples, altars, reverends, titles, money, power, control? When we must, have to, make a rule or set up a ritual that we are required to follow that has the origin in the old covenants not repeated but fulfilled in the new final covenant we are saying Jesus is not enough, I must do this _________(fill in what they say you must do)
If Jesus is not the Alpha and the Omega of all creation then we are a people most sad. Jesus is my all in all. I need nothing more. What does Paul suggest for the Ekklesia to do? Corinthian letters are examples of direction from the apostle to the Church/Ekklesia/Body, not the building.
How many “One Anothers” did Jesus say as commands? “One another” is two words in English, but it’s only one word in Greek: ἀλλήλων (ah-LAY-loan). It’s used 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. 47 of those verses give instructions to the church, and 60% of those instructions come from Paul. See the “One Anothers” in the Word https://overviewbible.com/one-another-infographic/ If I take action on these?
The story of the two bad guys, called thieves, maybe criminals or just poor homeless people trying to survive in a hard world. The gospels record the story of two theives are crucified and died with Jesus Christ during the same execution day. The trio hangs from the nails, ropes, and wood the Romans used to affix humans to wooden crosses, trees, scaffolds and anything handy in time of war. Two have been tried and convicted by Roman law to die by the cruel mode of ending human life in an especially painful, degrading manner of crucifixion. The place of execution and Judea saw 30K+ according to Josephus, a Roman historian of the era. The trials of Jesus before the execution were jokes. Neither Pilate or the Jewish puppet ruler said Jesus was guilty of a crime against the state or people. The Jews wanted Jesus dead because of the blasphemy of claiming to be the “I AM” When the Jews heard that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah/Almighty God of Isaiah https://www.biblehub.com/isaiah/9-6.htm they plotted the death and fulfilled every prophecy concerning the sacrifice on the Cross of the lamb of God.
Jesus, of course, has all power from the Father and way back then on the cross had the power to forgive the sins (and raise the dead) of this poor man on a Roman cross alongside Him on that day of infamy when the Jews gave up their King for Rome.
Was the other thief saved? He saw Jesus (or he was blind). Did he believe? We don’t know. I would never place God in a box and tell him what he can or not do? An exception of God’s grace and great mercy does nothing for your own belief or actions. James wrote of faith, deeds, actions or “works”
What are your deeds? belief? Do you “Do the Work of God” plus show up for nose and nickel count at set time and place. Jesus said to obey his commands, no he was not teaching the big ten. Jesus, healed, cared for, fed the hungering, freed the captives of sin. Follow Jesus. Love your neighbors, forgive your enemies
We believe the Bible to be inspired, the only reliable, authoritative Word of God. Is it a statement of many creeds, what does that mean? We believe that the original author’s writings as written and the word of God as delivered to the Apostles. We as Paul advises reject any and all latter day, all after 125AD or any so-called revelations, creeds, councils, edicts or any man-made doctrines in conflict with the Word. All traditions, rituals, rules, laws and /or new revelations by angels or Man in conflict or division from the original follow Jesus and Love God commands is Anathema. Home Church Locations online. This includes any judgment, rule in place, banishment, shunning or umbrage taken by any follower for another over music or sounds is anti-Christ and anti-love. Here is an example of “House Church” in San Francisco.
• We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
• We believe in the deity and humanity of Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His present rule as Head of the Church.
• We believe in the salvation through God’s grace of all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone.
• We believe in the indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, by which the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
• We believe in the future personal return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of both the repentant and unrepentant who will be judged by Jesus with justice and mercy; for those who are repentant unto the resurrection of eternal life and those who are unrepentant unto eternal condemnation.
• We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ with equality across racial, gender and class differences.s as much as possible
We must repent, Jesus said so many times. Peter said “Repent and be converted” We can’t repent if we are unable to do so because of pride.. Repentance in the New Testament was a restoration, a recompense of a wrong, example of the tax collector, Jesus gave several commands, parables to explain repentance. Paul gives us the commentary via the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 5 “Ministry of Reconciliation” Do you feel our God will trick or place “Catch 22” situations as traps for us?
So many divided denominations and daughters of the whore of Babylon teach an infant baptism gives life long salvation. Even the cart and horse story makes more sense. Jesus alone saves us by faith in His work,
Many are sincere people, some are considered Saints by their church or denomination. Many like to have titles and wear ranks we do not find in the new agreement where Jesus washes sinful men’s dirty feet to teach humility to his closest followers who were arguing non-essentials. Satan uses our friends, our leaders, our families to divide us. We must realize that tradition must be analyzed and measured against the actual truth. Or our truth is in the hands of people who believe there is no truth. Heretics bend the truth or I should say hide the lie with just enough truth just enough so the lie does not smell so bad. As Jesus called the “Whitewashed walls” of his day. We have them today. Article on the early church and baptism
OK, St Augustine of Hippo wrote of sins of the flesh, his lust for women and his obsession with sex. This lust transferred over to a label on the sexual act as sinful. Calling what God gave as a blessing in marriage between one man and one woman as a sin. This error of understanding has caused much sadness in many hearts of good people . Religious sexual suppression is another story. If religious leaders can label the very act of conception as sinful then the result of that can be labeled sinful and so it goes. Soon we can abort the unwanted flesh or just label it dirty. This is taking the good that God gives us and calling it evil. That is wrong on so many levels. Auggie also took infant depravity to a new level of evil. Using his reasoning based on his ideas of lust of the flesh, then babies are evil, sinful and damned to hell with out the “Sacrament” of baptism (immersion, water, Spirit) That it was unsafe to dunk babies, death bed confessors and some obscure cases AKA the thief on the cross. The councils later agreed to allow sprinkling or pouring (see Didache), but how was this and why did it become policy/doctrine? Some also said that the act was not important. The baby as sinful is miss read of Romans 5 by Auggie. St Auggie read the letter in Latin and mistranslated at that. What ever Adm did the sex act was not sinful, his and Eve’s disobedience was the sin, rebellion in the heart is sin, not eating an apple (having sex in marriage of man and women) The couple were following God’s plan before the choice they made to sin by disobeying. Even if the story is Allegory of the real story. God’s Truth is evident. He loves his children, babies and full grown and He, the Mighty God, Lord of Lords is not willing that any perish.
Is it a work? We are told that baptism is a work and that it can’t save us. we are saved by grace. OK agreed that we are saved by grace and that the action of immersion is something done to us by another and God. Without our personal faith in Jesus and His work on the cross you will be wet and unchanged otherwise. The action is an act of obedience that the convinced believer who confesses Jesus as Lord and repents of their sins follows up with as the first in many steps of obedience that the disciple will soon take on the Way of a lifetime of following Jesus.
The short version of our history , we trace back to the revivals and new era of a cry for restoration of the primitive Ekklesia of the Lord during the early 1800s, the Restoration movement was formed and within 100 years had divided in to 3 visiable camps, each claiming to be the true “Church” aka Ekklesia in the Greek meaning citizens called out or gathering, or as Bill Tyndale printed new testements with the word “Congregation” and the Roamn Church killed him and others for that translation later fixed in the KJV when the Church of England used the German word for Ekklesia as Church as a location. Jesus meant for His Church aka Ekklesia to be made up of living stones on the Rock of ages not any man or woman , no matter how “rightous” or pompous they may seem are just humans. When I consider my sins to be a less smelly pile than yours I fail to see you and love you as Jesus does. When I think another is less dispiciable to God on their own than you or I then I am a fool.
Back to the history now that we define Church as it was meant to be, not some place to go. Look at the old covenants in the Hebrew History we call the old Testement, of course it is in the bibile is the attitude of some that will swear on it , curse from it and commit every sin under heaven in it’s holy to them’s rule. Them that has the gold rules! Look at history of the Church, it is a battle described in Revelation, of good vs evil for our souls
God revealed himself to the tribes of isreal, hundreds of years after the death of Moses, the five scrools of the law are written. The history of the Jews and their ideas of God, prophets and Kings, The relation ship with the people was via the temple and the priesthood. Do your reasearch the jews wanted the temple, the king. They wanted to be like the foriegen nations around them they were commanded to take out. God wants a personal relation ship with you, how you interpet that is your business with Him. You may find him in a temple or a rock concert. You may find him through the words you hear or read or see. The Lord’s Holy Spirit is like the wind Jesus said, “You must be born of the water and the Spirit”
I love to go back and see the old restoration writings of the 1800s when they were debating, preaching from farm community to wilderness, before the slavery issuse and after they remained true to the Word as they translated it out of the Greek that was written down somewhere between 1st centuray to ? I enjoy reading where this truth of God and our relationship is fundamental. God loves you and me with equal intensity. Our sins are not a problem for God. Jesus has taken care of all of them forever one time, one sacrifice, done deal God’s great love paid our impossible debt with the presious blood of the lamb of God. And He lives in the temple you prepare for Him or He does not. What was the covenant with Solomon and the first temple? The priest of God cleaned it up and made it special, devoted to God. In Revelation a measurement of the temple is done using a measurement God gives an angel. The Church is being measured, no structure on earth, no other name known to men will work.
What if you were born into a tribe that had no connection with the world? What if you were introduced to Jesus by the Gospel of John? What if you heard Peter speak live, like Acts 2? What if the copy of the original author’s letters was translated into the language you use today? No additional writing, comments, commentary notes of explanations devised by councils, doctors or reverends are known by you at this time. You and I have Pauls’ letters with his commentary, plus all the disciples, ones that knew Jesus in the flesh and walked with him like his brother James, in the letters they wrote to the Ekklesia to confirm the commands of Jesus to His followers.
We have wonderful tools of technology to use today to discover what the early followers of the Way did in daily life. By studying the history of the world at the time of the Apostles we find that people died young from many childhood diseases, people dealt with many things we Americans, unless we visit a third world will not see because of our healthcare and standard of living is so much better than what was available even 100 years ago. Imagine a world where food is your main concern. No promise of healthcare, freedom, safety or your next meal. If you followed Jesus you would be an outlaw or worse until the rise of the anti-Christ and the social-political mother church in 300-400 ce.
The Roman world functioned because of conquest, slaves, and wars on weaker tribes. The moral law was summed up in the “Gold Rule, He who has the Gold rules! ” The Jewish Nation at that time was in turmoil, God had left town over disgust of the religious leader’s neglect of the widow and orphans. The desecration of the Temple was least of the sins of the leaders and rulers. Jewish warriors became terrorist to the Roman occupation army after throwing off the Syrian/Greek invaders in the time of the “Hammer”. The system in place when Jesus became flesh to be the new King was political/religious and very corrupt. The Roman leadership was despicable during this period.
The country of Israel was in rebellion to Roman rule, the Jewish kings were puppets. The religious rulers were desperate to hold onto power and control of the people via the Temple. God had left the sanctuary way back, some say before Babylon captivity when the temple of Solomon was destroyed by the invaders. God had moved out way back when the covenant was broken by the Jews. Now the only hope for anyone is the Messiah, Jesus the Christ!
Where was the Church? The Ekklesia that Jesus built? Where is it? We can read the writing of the early followers before the age of the Apostles was done and the second-hand information begins. Many of these common people wrote of the “Ekklesia” and the heresies that began to creep into the gatherings. Just as today, men seek power, control to gain wealth, and rule over others. The Anti-Christ is diametrically opposed to everything our Savior is. Jesus never used the word “church” as in building or denomination. Jesus used buildings and shelter as often as hillsides and boats. His “Church” is where he is loved and obeyed. I would love to go for a boat ride or fishing with Jesus, have breakfast of the beach and enjoy the day. If that is not Church then what is missing? No traditions, please. I can invent my own BS cult or religion as good as any fool can.
What if somewhere in the history we got the ekklesia wrong? What if the mission was simple? The commands, few, easy to follow? The orders direct from Jesus with no other mediator, lawyer, doctor, reverend, father or angel/demon that has the authority to change the smallest letter of His everlasting Word. What if every move of the Apostles, every word preached by the elders and deacons, every word that was spoken and recorded by the early Church is filtered and refined by the Fire of Jesus’ Word. What if the “One another’s” of Jesus’ teaching is followed with the best of your ability? What else is required? Morning formation? Rules and rituals, temples, altars, tithes, Control? Power? Might as well join a country club as belonging to a religion. You will have more fun on weekends. What you have to ask is; The Gospel is solid our Faith is “Once and for all delivered unto the Saints” I believe this statement? yes or no
When one loves Jesus with a passion from the heart that is so intense the obedience is unquestioned for it is complete in Jesus and the disciple. We become one with the Father, our worship is Spirit. How can our heart be bound by space-time or death if Christ is our focus?
Whatever it takes to have peace is what God wants for his child that is the warrior. Semper Fi
When I was married a year after the war I began to reflect on my faith. My father became a very smart man during the 4 years I served in the Marines. To please, my father and mother, I attended the little country church with them along with Jean, ever faithful to me, followed the path laid before us. Using the light we had at the time we felt called to the service of Christ and like a dutiful monk of the 11th century off to learn and study at the feet of the masters. I used the GI bill to attend a bible preacher college near Atlanta. At that time called Atlanta Christian College. I felt myself among honest men and silly kids being the odd vet in a room of freshmen boys and girls. I do not recall any vets in class or any vets in the many professors that came and went. There were women in classes but they were husband hunting among the future pastors and music directors of churches of the tribes they ran with. A few older pastors and Evangelists mentored us during this time. We became involved in the innercity ministry of the “Big Fish” Jim Vernon and the “Jesus Place “ Jim and his family had begun to meet the needs of the “least of these ” on the drug-riddled streets of 1970s Atlanta. I worked on Jim’s old vehicles and a van he liked, cause he could get his growing family of future evangelists on the streets with him in various roles. We fed hippies, runaways, druggies, pagans, Wiccans, and the growing homeless community of 10th to 14thstreet in the darkest part of Atlanta. All the big churches had moved away to the burbs, and old neighborhoods were being overhauled or gentrified. After college, where I loved the study of the New Testament and hated the regular academic classes. I CLEEPEd most of those or just did not take them. I started working a regular job in my craft as a mechanic/technician, while teaching, preaching, pastoring a new group or small church. Now 50 yrs later I am amazed at what we believed and why. I am ashamed of how our prejudices and egos kept us from fellowship with all our brothers and sisters. The silly traditions we divide over, the names, the titles, and other physical things. The rules and rituals we have made our standards are often based on some old covenant scripture and some new age doctrine of men. I learned a lot more with Jim and some of the other mentoring preachers. Prof. Denver Sizemore and others impressed me with humble, careful explanations of the New Testament. What I learned was awesome to know. Before someone boils the oil for my fire to burn the heretic, let me remind our listeners we served in the Church on King St in the Carrollton projects. We were the token whites to show that the downtown white church was doing what they could in 1970s America. Today both congregations have repented and embraced freedom. But now I am deeply ashamed to have bought into the corporate church model of all mainstream protestant denominations. We made worship a form and forgot that the least of these, our brothers and sisters in many places lost because the box we built does not fit the package God sends. You can find a doctor of divinity, reverend, pope, professor or guru to tell you it is ok Jesus said you can marry your dog and all is forgiven!” Bravo Sierra!! You personally have to repent and obey. For a follower of Christ not to point out sin in a brother or sister in the “Ekklesia” is an error in the Elders and the other Priests of God’s house to bear. Overlooking sin among staff and fans or followers that claim to be “Of one mind” with you is a bitter error that will wound a body of believers. Of course, this must be done in love and that takes a relationship to be Agape Love & built on. Splits over race, hate, social issues, politics, and war have divided the many divisions into clicks or social clubs for the “Church going fan” as Francis Chan calls them, “Fans on gameday” Mere belief is not good enough to motivate fans to obedience by overcoming fear, ego, tradition, superstition or religion. Unless you are nailed to the cross, fixing to die, Jesus has somethings he wants you to do in his plan before you pass. We are all at some place where God still wants us. He has not brought you or me this far to destroy us. Where are you with the 50+- commands? This is the sin of the tithe. (nothing wrong with giving whatever you want) The tithe gives the affluent a charity and write off, supports their “Church” and affirms their lifestyle. The tithe adds a burden to the poor by placing a middleman of staff or albatross of the building between the gift and the person needing the blessing. The tithe limits the blessings and says you don’t want to know just spend it. Many times I saw the poor of our “Church” go without staples for their family to give the tithe to support wealthy staff plus give gifts to poorer families, while richer members gave to many things in great benevolence or were misers in their hearts. Either way a man can not out give God but the health, wealth and happy daze here and now is another Bravo Sierra. The Ekklesia of Jesus gives and shares within the Church and to other like-minded brothers and sisters. Read what Jesus said about the widow. Read how many times Jesus says he will judge the “Ekklesia” by works or deeds in the letters to the Churches. Revelations to John by Jesus. Jesus loves your kidney too! Have you read https://www.biblestudytools.com/revelation/2-23-compare.html about what God does with the “Reins of the heart”?
I was impossible with learning Greek but learned enough to understand a Greek New Testament translation and tools to do just that one thing. Translate the original author’s writings as far back as we can reach, and that is way back now days compared to the information available to the printers KJV of 1611. Today we have zillions of pages of the documents the followers of Jesus wrote during the period of pre 70 AD fall of Isreal’s Temple never to rise and the beginning of controversy, contradiction with traditions, post apostle councils and the man-made doctrine as the social political and religious world mixed in the East/West of the Medditerain Empires. I have stopped giving much weight to any writing of men or angels after 125-150 CE/AD. I give no weight or any due to doctrine, rules, rituals, reverends, cardinals, Arch anything other than God’s own Holy Arch Angels, Bishops of rank above a servant, Popes, Kings of earth in God’s laws only if man’s law is contrary, Buildings that masquerade as God’s house while the hungry are cold, babies are murdered, women and children that have dedicated their lives to God are molested by the shepherds of the flock, they trusted, and these wolves are protected by the “Pontificus Maximus” from man’s law.
Where this study has taken me is to my roots. The core belief that I need a mediator, a savior as powerful as the God of the old testament, the “IAM” of the burning bush. Only Jesus claims to be the only Way, the Truth and the Life.
During my 18-19th year on the planet I was in a place off a road described as “Street without Joy” and near the site of the famous stand of the dumbass leadership that placed marines, sailors, airmen, and troopers in harms way just so Johnson, Westy, Bob McNamara, and later Nixon could prove they had some balls at Khe Sanh. We defended a patch of beautiful tropical mountain ranges from an enemy we could not find unless he wished to be found. We trapped him with bombs and our allies, the brothers of the NVA and VC would let them go in the cowardice of the lame leaders of the ARVN. We poured millions of US gold backed dollars into a third world war at a level that by now we could have purchased a rice paddy, water bull, bamboo hut or houseboat sampan or both for every Asian we slaughtered by fault or proxy or direct intervention into their Buddhist belief system by helping the recycling process at an industrial level in our “Monroe Doctrine” and NATO agreements. We know where all the flowers have gone. We lost the best and brightest in our season of war, death, and destruction. Our smart, our rich may have bought a deferment or lucked out as they bent fate by their position in our culture. Some in a noble quest or Quixote like may have joined as many did to save the world from the red peril, or protect American virgins from foreign pillagers and fight ancestors of the yellow peril we have fought with so often and will again.
My job was varied. The Marines trained me as mos 2531, a field radio operator. When I was to be assigned overseas to the fleet they sent a few of us to mess duty and then to truck driver school. I got a military driver license up to 6×6 5 ton. During Operation Dewey Canyon I was told to guard and escort a Chaplin to a firebase as there were many casualties. I found the Father, a Navy Lt Cmdr. His utes all clean and untouched by the invasive red dust that underlies the valleys in the dry season, and turns to red clinging mud in the wet monsoon season. This was January 1969 and it was the season to kill and die young.
The hillside of the firebase was torn, the top of the mountain shaved off by explosives and like a few hundred others was nameless unless some gallant feat of arms awarded a firebase or obscure scene of a fight a name for history it would never have a name. The dark slick body bags were already laid out with the new dead in them, as soon as our chopper landed it took off with wounded that were queued up for a ticket home or patch up and back again. Trash and empty ammo boxes, c ration cans, littered the red clay and exposed rock. Smoke from small fires around the perimeter filled in where the fog met the top and fog made the place surreal. Our foes have a few bodies in the wire and these are fresh dead, flies crawling in the blown open flesh, smelling of blood and burned flesh. The serious Marine wounded were removed in the dark of the early morning by gunships bringing in ammo and fresh fodder for Mars. All the young and restless of this generation that saw a hope or chance or just a get out of town/nest/marriage/jail ticket in service to the nation or escape to a cooler frying pan or softer burning fire. The quick and the dead are evident. On this hill with rifle fire still cracking across the valley. I follow the Chaplin to some of the bodies, the good father walks around like he is at a Sunday dinner on the ground. He is smiling and handing out some hard candy and small bibles. I am supposed to unzip the bags and check for the tags each Marine is handed to wear on the chain around the neck and in the boot lace in combat. When the tag reads Catholic I am to call the padre over to give the soul forgiveness. I try to pray over each of them and can’t. I unzip your bag, yes yours, I signal to him. The priest touches the marines forehead just above the eyebrow line and dabs a spot of oil on the skin of the dead marine. The priest says a recited prayer and I am reminded of the song by the Animals, “Sky Pilot, how high can you fly?” There is a folded letter, bloodstained crumpled in the pocket of your jacket. I can see the address and today believe it is somewhere in Massachusetts. I pray we and your brothers will meet in the presence of God soon where we will be accountable for our lives to Jesus. Massachusetts, religion, war and this earth won’t matter.
I last saw you all tall and handsome at the prom, of course with the best looking girl. You were at the dance with her too, I saw you in the gym, you danced so close the teacher broke you up and you left with the girl. Now you lay in a foreign land soon to be in the cold, cold ground. The prowess you displayed on the ball field of youthful dreams is a moot point now as your muscled frame turns to putrid flesh. I watch as the padre touches your tanned face and I want to comb your hair out of your forehead. I see you are a Corporal and maybe you are allowed to grow long hair than a boot, still, it is way shorter than the back home Jodies that are taking your girl, job and car while you are here. You look to be asleep awaiting a lover’s caress and not the too little, too late watch care of a priest. We walked the earth as warrior kings but now we are no longer proud of our battles won for they are of no value in the “Big Picture”. You will look really good in your blues when the honor guard delivers the flag to your mom. They will fire the salute and go on to the next of the 58K+ and more as Satan tracks us down and destroys us with our due for sin in this body of pain. We all ate the slice of “American Pie” I will never forget your tanned youthful face, now marbled by cold and grey under the youthful blond stubble, your eyes were closed as you were asleep, your hands folded, dirty and cold white. Forever you will be the young Marine I think of when I pray to God and question Him, Why?
If we could skip your young death, if we were able to meet, if I could talk to you I would ask, Do you know Jesus? Do you love Jesus? You loved us enough to give your last full measure for our lost cause and your brothers. I would introduce you to the Jesus I know today, the forgiving, loving God of second chances. The God above all ritual, rules, and BS made up by men to control and manipulate people for power and money. I will continue to pray that our life is not in vain, that you and all my friends that lost so much in that war can know Jesus and forgive all our enemies, first ourselves and everyone else that has wronged us. Semper Fi!