Friday, June 20, 2014

Paying it Forward

We've all heard of paying if forward right?  The idea that if someone does something nice for you, you don't have to pay it back to the person but instead pay it forward to someone else.

I've come to the conclusion that this should be pretty easy as people tend to be really good at paying if forward.  I think the easiest place to see this is when we are driving.  As I'm sitting here typing, I'm in a parking lot and one woman just pulled up behind another who wasn't paying attention and honked her horn making it quite clear what an idiot she felt the other woman was being.

How often does that happen?  I know its true for me.  I know that when I accidentally cut someone off while driving and they let me have it I get ticked off.  My first thought is, "Yeah whatever buddy, like you've never messed up while driving."

But then it happens.....I start waiting......I start looking for that moron that will finally cut me off so I can lay on my horn and unload all that pent up frustration on them.  I can't wait to make sure they know what an idiot they are.  Yep, when it comes to paying if forward, we are actually pretty good at it.  The problem isn't that we don't do it, the problem is we just tend to pay the wrong things forward.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What If Jesus Wasn't the Son of God?

When it comes to the most famous people ever to exist on the face of the Earth, none have become as well known as a simple Jewish carpenter who lived 2,000 years ago in what is today Northern Israel.  This man, who the world knows as Jesus, has had quite the long list of descriptions and attributes associated with him, the greatest of which claimed he was the Son of God!

I have to wonder how much the title of "Son of God" would influence and maybe even skew the memory of an individual?  Over the course of history it seems common that the legacy of a famed individual will continue to grow until the reputation of that person becomes "larger than life."  We can see this occurring in the lives of people who lived much more recently than Jesus as historians are now revealing that events like Lady Godiva's famed nude horse back ride likely never happened, or that Betsy Ross, although a documented flag maker for the colonial United States, most likely did NOT make the very first American flag.  There even exists a famous story of the Roman Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned even thought the fiddle didn't exist until hundreds of years later.

If such exaggerations can take place about so many others, then why would it not make sense that some of these things can and have occurred with the most famous human of all?  Keep in mind the stuff of legends surrounding these people was through no fault of their own but the people who came after them.  It is human nature to build things up to the point of folklore.....just ask your average fisherman.

So when it comes to Jesus, what if we gave skeptics permission to consider the idea that maybe he wasn't the "Son of God?"  What if the miracles were, like so many other stories surrounding characters if history, simply exaggerations and lore?  What would be the effects of such a thing?

After all, how many times in your life have you immediately stopped taking a story seriously as soon as you heard an impossible fact mentioned.  The old, "Yeah right!" moment.  How many people in todays world immediately stop listening as soon as things like walking on water or multiplying loaves start getting brought up?  

But what would happen if we took someone like Jesus and stripped away all of the supernatural allure surrounding him?  All that would really be left would be his teachings.  Teachings about love, about forgiveness, about living in the moment, about accepting one another.  One of the amazing things about Jesus is that these teachings, if applied by everyone, would change the world, it would literally create a Heaven on Earth if we all lived our lives like he taught.  But....that fact is obscured by miracles and stories of the fantastic.  Stories that now have his followers more interested in moving mountains and performing feats than simply learning to love someone who is different than they are.

As for me, do I believe Jesus was the Son of God......the answer is "yes."  But I don't believe this because of the miracles.......I believe it because what He taught has so much power to change the world that he didn't need the miracles.