Posts Tagged ‘poor’

Whenever I read about primaries and elections going on and people talking about liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, I get very frustrated, because I don’t see how either of the political parties line up with Christ’s teachings. I find it annoying when people try to say that the Republican party is the Christian party. I just don’t see it, and many minority Christians I know are very confused by this notion as well. As an actual historical figure, I would say that Jesus would bear more resemblance to Gandhi than Glenn Beck.

We live in a country where people are supposedly allowed to speak their opinions freely, and I support that wholeheartedly. But I don’t like it when people try to validate their politics by giving it some sort of divine authority or approval. It shows that some people have distorted eyesight when it comes to their vision of Christ.

After studying about the life of Jesus for many years, I can see more parallels between His teachings and Democrats than I can with Republicans. He was an advocate of social justice and blessed the poor during His beautiful sermon on the mount. When hungry people were around, He dropped everything and fed them. He interfered with an attempt at capital punishment when Mary was about to be stoned for adultery. He encouraged women to use all of their gifts and talents, and He liberated them from their accepted roles (read about Mary and Martha). He was utterly nonviolent throughout His life and ministry and He never toted a weapon. He told Peter to put away his sword when he tried to defend Jesus with it. He paid His taxes without argument and so did His earthly parents. He never tried to get rich. I don’t see how Jesus could ever be considered a Republican or even a capitalist. He wasn’t even an American, but people seem to think Heaven is draped with the American flag.

On the flip side I don’t believe He would have liked abortion either, because He said not to hinder the little children from coming to Him. Harming them by any means whether in wars, clinics, or while attending school in my view would constitute a hindrance. Thankfully children will go to Him anyway but that is not to our credit.

The reality is that Jesus is compassionate to everyone- women, children, and even messed up people like me. That’s why I love Him in the first place.

Now these are my opinions, and you are welcome to disagree but please be nice about it. I respect your opinions but I humbly assert that Jesus was not a Republican or a Democrat, because His kingdom is not of this world.

So please don’t try to use His name as a party endorsement.


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Now and then, I just need to speak my peace about something, and I hope you don’t mind if I detour from my stories every once in awhile. 


There is a woman that I see occasionally at McDonald’s and we have some pretty lively discussions about religion in America.  Sometimes she will laughingly remark that she hopes I brought my boxing gloves, because we disagree on many issues.

Once she told me she had been looking for a good church.  She visited one that had several thousand members, and she remarked, “They must have something right, because they wouldn’t have so many members, true?” She loves to see what I’ll say.

“Not necessarily,” I said.  “Truth isn’t found in the crowds, unless Jesus is there. Kierkegaard said that the crowd will always lead you in the wrong direction, that the crowd is the opposite of truth.”  Then I went on about how any great speaker or musician can draw a crowd, and that they need not be spiritual-minded at all.  I told her that this is why we must have spiritual discernment, and listen carefully to what leaders are saying, so we will know if it goes against the teachings of Christ.

This same woman told me one day that she visited a church on a Wednesday night, and a fantastic charismatic speaker came, and talked about giving being the key to our blessings.  He raised more than fifty thousand dollars that night in a small church by persuading each person to give at least a thousand dollars in order to be prospered by God.  After counting the money, he said he wanted to come back on Sunday so more people could be blessed. The woman told me how wonderful she felt, and that she wished more people had been there to get their blessing. She often says that she thinks people are poor because they aren’t doing the right things.

I said that it made me angry that no one in leadership seems to be accountable for what they do with God’s money. She said that it didn’t matter to her as long as she was being obedient. I said, in that case, the next time she wanted a blessing she could just give me enough money to buy a new car. She looked at me in a strange way, as I said that people with money love to give to organizations, but they don’t enjoy giving to people.

I told her that it was no coincidence that the first four words Jesus spoke to the crowds were “Blessed are the poor.” I told her that the only one who got a blessing at that church she visited was the speaker, who twisted the gospel for his own personal gain. Corruption and greed is what I called it, and robbing the poor. I was livid because these silk-tongued con artists are making the poor even poorer. And then they dare to raise the question of who is robbing God!

I met another woman who told me that some people from her church often went out dancing at the local bar, and they persuaded her to come along.  When she objected to it, they told her that Jesus wanted us to have fun. She decided to go dancing with them, and that is where she met a man who became an abusive force in her life for many years. It didn’t sound like the kind of fun Jesus would have wanted her to have. She still regrets having listened to the crowd instead of following what she felt in her spirit.

That man set her house on fire before he left her, and it burned halfway to the ground. She has no money to repair it, and insurance won’t pay because it was arson. Her church rakes in a fortune and has never offered to help her repair her home which is freezing cold in the winter because of the damaged wiring. When she gets sick, no one calls or comes to visit her. She says once she saw her pastor open his wallet, and she was stunned by the sight of it, bulging with hundred dollar bills.

I am sorry if any of you are offended by what I’m saying, but I needed to speak my peace. I have learned not to be afraid to walk alone for what is true. If you party, the world will party with you, but if you pray, you will pray alone.


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My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Matthew 21:13)

Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, once wrote that we live in “The Age of Judas,” when people admire Jesus and His teachings, but they politely excuse themselves from following Him, because it doesn’t suit their worldly agenda.

This unfinished manuscript is a critique of western Christianity and the spirit of betrayal.  The primary focus is the attempt of many religious leaders to blend capitalism with the gospel, for their own personal gain.

It is written as a series of essays which I will post here as time permits.



He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because Jesus said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.  (John 21:17)

Several years ago, I was asked by a church representative to write a piece for their newsletter.  It was on or near New Year’s Day, and I had been praying for renewed commitment to Christ and total obedience to His leadings in the New Year. I told Him that I would stand up for Him no matter what the cost.

As I sat down to type the piece that the lady requested, I found myself writing a different kind of piece than I had written previously. My words were going in a completely different direction than usual.  My previous writings had been pleasant cooperative pieces that made people feel good and comfortable.  But this one was a rebuke directed at church leaders. It was entitled “The Judas Spirit.”

When I finished it, I looked over it uncomfortably, and wondered if it was a good idea to give this one to the church.  It seemed as if the Spirit began to press me in my thoughts, asking me “Do you love Me?  How much do you love Me? “

After much apprehension, I finally turned in the piece to the lady and watched as her eyes scanned the pages suspiciously, and she didn’t give me the usual affirmative response about printing it.

A few days later, I visited that church and all of the leaders seemed immensely uncomfortable about my presence.  After the services, I approached some of them, and they behaved in a very cold demeanor towards me, as if they wanted nothing to do with me. The way they acted was as if I had made personal attacks directed at each one of them in my essay, when no names were even mentioned in the piece.  Was the topic of money really such a delicate subject?

I was quite startled by this, and I did a great deal of soul-searching about the matter.  I decided to pay a visit to a very dear pastor and his wife, whom I view as spiritual mentors in my life. The two of them were on their way into church for prayer services, but they came out without any hesitation and sat with me in the parsonage next door to talk.

Being very unsure of myself, I told them, “I trust the two of you like my parents, and I know that you will be honest with me if I have done something wrong.”  I described the entire incident to them, and told them that the piece was about Judas and how his love for money destroyed his love for Jesus, and how I applied it to the present day and people selling out their faith for money.  After I was done talking about it, I implored them to be truthful to me about whether they felt that I had shown improper disrespect to leaders or anything that I should be sorry for.

The pastor leaned forward on his chair and said firmly, “Sister Olive, sometimes when we stand upon the Word of God, we have to stand alone.  But no matter what happens, you must stand and don’t let anything move you.”  He and his wife both encouraged me not to be ashamed of speaking the truth and standing for Christ.  After that, the three of us walked next door to the church for prayer services.  I had been very distraught that day, and was so happy to be among friends.

That night, it just so happens that a man was visiting the church from another state, and he rose during the service to say a few words.  He said,  “The Spirit has told me that somebody here is hurting tonight, and I’m talking about some church hurt.”  Tears began streaming down his face, as he continued about the evil that is taking place inside the church, and how it is wounding people, and how we must stand firm and be encouraged. I had never seen the man in my life, and neither had anyone at church that night.

I knew then that the Lord had indeed led me to write this essay about Judas, and that there is much more going in churches than meets the eye.  As I was sitting down to write again and began my manuscript entitled “The Twisted Cross,”  I heard the voice of the Spirit saying “It’s much worse than you even know yet.”

So I have set out to seek and tell the truth to the best of my ability.


The Judas Spirit

Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.  And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.  (Luke 9:1)

Judas was called to be a disciple, and he left everything to follow Jesus, just like the other eleven did.  He received the blessing of Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount, and followed Him throughout the region as He ministered to the poor and the rejected. He witnessed the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the healings, the raising of Lazarus from the dead.  He loved Jesus earnestly, and wanted to be faithful to Him.  He would not have followed if he had not loved Him.

But something began to corrupt the mind of Judas.  The scriptures say that he was in charge of the money bag.  People donated money to Jesus and the disciples, so that they would be able to buy food and things that they needed in their travels.  That money began to really sparkle in the eyes of Judas.

He began to ask a lot of questions.  Why did that woman with the alabaster box of ointment pour out that expensive perfume upon the feet of Jesus?  Why did Jesus let her do that?  Judas told Jesus that they could have sold that perfume to give the money to the poor, but Jesus knew what was in his heart, and what his real issues were.

Judas used a noble explanation to cover the fact that greed had begun to take over his heart and mind (John 12:4-6). The scriptures say that Satan entered into Judas Iscariot.  The ground work had been laid for him to possess Judas.  Judas had developed a deadly case of the love of money.  He sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Today, the spirit of betrayal has crept into the house of God throughout our nation.  Many religious leaders have come to love money more than Christ Himself.  No doubt, most of them started out with pure hearts and joy about their salvation.  They were great witnesses to the love of God, and had powerful testimonies of forgiveness and deliverance.

But now many of these have exalted themselves against the holy things of God. They are selling Jesus to innocent people, with a variety of dishonest tactics, and are robbing the poor and the widows in their midst.

Using spiritual slight-of-hand they are summoning money out of the pockets of the poor, promising them blessings and prosperity in return. The money disappears up their sleeves and never reappears. As the poor continue to struggle, someone is holding the money bag.

This he (Judas) said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.  (John 12:6)



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