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  • ivanildotrindade 10:13 pm on March 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anwar el sadat, easter, friend of sinners, gandhi, izaq rabin, , jesus drunkard, jesus glutton, jfk, john lennon, martin luther king jr, pope francisco, , ronald reagan, tax collectors   

    Jesus, John Lennon & Other Martyrs 

    I haven’t posted here in ages but it is Easter weekend, how can I not speak of something I feel so passionate about?

    I met a couple from a western European country in my local Starbucks here in Lititz today. We had a delightful conversation which lasted a little over 30 minutes. During that time we talked about a variety of subjects, among which the newly elected Pope. These folks are not religious people but they both expressed a certain degree of fascination with Pope Francisco, and especially how he comes across as a common man who is passionate about the poor and so far has said no to some of the luxuries of the good life afforded the “Prince” of the Roman Church.

    The lady made a comment that I thought was very intriguing. She said, “If other Popes and religious men had been that way, it would probably have impacted my life differently. I think I would have gone to church then.” Interesting.

    I guess few people dwell on the fact that contrary to many of the religious leaders of today, Jesus Christ was meek, compassionate, and irrevocably drawn to the poor and downcast. He was accused of being a “glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners,” a libel leveled against Him by the religious leaders of the day, who felt threatened by the fact that Jesus was radically different from them. Many of today’s religious leaders, by the way, don’t stand a chance of being even falsely accused of such things, because they endeavor not to be seen anywhere near such people or things (or, if they do, they make sure it is in secret…).

    Think about this: Jesus loved the poor and those who were considered “the least, the lost, the last” were attracted to Him like a magnet. He was killed. Gandhi was in favor of non-violent protest. He was killed. Martin Luther King Jr. was willing to dialogue with his “enemies.” He was killed. JFK was a Catholic President. He was killed. John Lennon imagined a world without class or war. He was killed. Ronald Reagan dared to talk to the leader of the Soviet Union about ending the Cold War. Someone tried to kill him. Izaq Rabin was willing to hold direct talks with the PLO. He was killed. Anwar el Sadat achieved an armistice with Israel. He was killed. And the list goes on and on…

    One has to wonder what might happen to this Pope… It seems like every time someone of prominence establishes himself against the status quo, they come gunning for him.

    But back to Jesus Christ. All the other men listed above died for a political cause (except maybe John Lennon?). Jesus died for a cause that was outside Himself. In biblical terms, He died a substitutionary death — His body and blood in exchange for the sins of the world to satisfy God’s justice. Jesus said that nobody took His life from Him, He voluntary gave it. Jesus didn’t die just because He was different; He died so YOU could be different.

    And most of all, all the other men above are revered today for what they did while living and maybe their heroic death. But there is a tomb somewhere where you can honor their memory. Jesus, on the other hand, though revered for His divine words and deft miracles is revered primarily for what happened AFTER He died. According to Scriptures, He rose again on the third day, and thus accomplished the greatest feat against the greatest enemy of mankind — death itself. And that is why we celebrate Easter this Sunday.

    “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died… Death is swallowed up in victory. ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (Paul in 1 Corinthians 15).

    Happy Easter, everyone!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    PS.: I am blogging more often here.

  • ivanildotrindade 9:14 pm on May 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: afraid of church, , , , gandhi,   

    Back To Church… After 1.5 Years — Part 1 

    I want to introduce to you Julie, my blogger friend. Julie blogs here. If you want to know more about nutrition, healthy choices, natural lifestyles, fitness, etc., you will need to read her blog. I have appreciated Julie’s comments on my posts over several weeks and have enjoyed her challenges to maintain a healthy lifestyle even in the midst of our busy lives. We’ve maintained a cordial back-and-forth in this sort of meta-virtual-word-fueled world, which may sound ethereal, but in this case has actually been a very enriching experience.

    When Julie told me she was returning to church after 1.5 years, I was totally intrigued. I am always captivated by people’s experiences in churches — I want to know why they first came, why they stopped coming, what made them come back, etc., etc.

    And this is not merely an intellectual exercise. Years ago, when I lived on the West Coast, a friend told me that she asked one of her friends, who was from a country south of us, to attend her church, which also happened to be my church at the time. The guy came and she asked for some feedback. Judging from what he wrote on the bottom of the church bulletin, it would be safe to say that he didn’t feel exactly welcome. He scribbled, “Your church gives me the creeps.” Enough said.

    Julie posted a comment about a famous quote attributed to Gandhi, which unfortunately has not been found in any of his writings, but was supposedly heard by Gandhi’s grandson. I responded, “Jay talks about that Gandhi quote in his book Go and Do. He says he used to see it as a call to action, to go change the world, but now he sees it more of a call not to wait around for others to change before I change myself. ‘I interpret it as an admonition to transform myself,’ which is, I think, the way you are seeing it.”

    I went on to talk about Julie’s church visit. I asked her to write down her thoughts and I would post them here on my blog. Graciously, she agreed to do it (thanks, Julie!) and in keeping with my promise, today I am posting the first part of her journey:

    “OK, bud, you asked for it. So exciting that you are actually interested, that you have all these questions. With most everyone, I believe, I’m like a kook for being so crazy about God and taking the church seriously. 

    But first, Gandhi commentary. Really cool that you expressed different ways of understanding ‘be the change that you want to see in the world.’ I just asked my project manager what he thought about it and he responded with another quote from Gandhi that I have never heard. It went something like, ‘Live today as though it were your last, but as though you had 1,000 more years.’ 

    I’m still trying to digest it. Oh… so how I get the ‘be the change’ quote: If I have great visions in the world, if I am gifted with seeing problems and solutions and having the heart and courage to change, then I must learn to live from the ground up. I can’t expand into the world until God gives the go-ahead. I can’t fully promote love until I am filled with love. I can’t promote the fullness of God until I am filled with the Holy Spirit. I can’t be a firm, reliable warrior until I am fully a disciple. 

    Basically, if I want to see love and nonviolence in the world, I need to get it and live it from the core of my being.  It needs to radiate out from the core of my existence. I need to be cleansed of my misdirected ambitions and manipulations first. If I want to see changes in the world, I need to drop all my weapons and let God mold me as He sees fit. Wordy and scattered, but it’s my best for the moment. ‘An admonition to transform myself’ was a much more succinct way of putting it. I also agree with Jay’s more recent understanding. 

    Now… my experience in church yesterday…” 

    For that, you will have to come back tomorrow and I guarantee you: it will be nothing like you are expecting it to be and it will make you wonder whether you have ever been to church yourself!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • Julie 8:38 am on May 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      What a joy you are, Ivanildo. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and thank you for having so quickly grown into one of my rocks… preceded by having been the first stepping stone in my path back to church. I just love it how God surprises when I unclinch my fists a bit and let Him do His thing. Looking forward to reading what I have to say next (hee hee).

      • ivanildotrindade 2:12 pm on May 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        thanks julie. soli deo gloria. humbled by your comment. i love the metaphors u use… “unclinching my fist.” there is so much freedom in that act. i had a chance encounter with a powerful pastor in a restroom once. he was trying so hard to hold on to his position and power. i asked him how he was doing. perhaps in an unguarded moment, he said, “i don’t know, it is so hard to control.” there was sadness in his voice. i didn’t say anything, out of respect for his age and position, but i thought about saying, “have u thought about releasing control?” an unclinched fist is so much better for the body, the acting of opening both hands in a generous offer, though internally more difficult, externally is so much effortless. i guess God is looking 4 people whose hands grew tired of holding and are now ready to be loosened up for whatever may come. may my hands be the first in line…

    • Julie 9:04 am on May 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Am finding fist unclenching, i.e. letting go, to be an integral part of my daily “exercise” routine. Kinda like the Navy Seals of developing maturity.

      • ivanildotrindade 12:44 pm on May 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        “navy seals of spiritual maturity,” deep. i love that, but not ready 4 a tough mission yet… we keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith. people will disappoint us, circumstances will disappoint us. God won’t. thanks 4 sharing, julie. u’ve been a great encouragement.

    • Julie 3:32 pm on May 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Life is a tough mission. And you too. Truly.

      • ivanildotrindade 5:05 pm on May 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        yes. life is tough but at least i don’t have 2 do it on my own. living is a community project.

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