Dumb: Happy New Year, Dora.
Dora: And to you, Dumb.
Dumb: Hey Dora, I saw a sign in several years during Christmas that only had the word “Jesus” on them. Wonder what he was running for?
Dora: He wasn’t running for anything. We’ll, on second thought, I guess he was running for something.
Dora: Maybe he was running to be our leader, teacher and Savior.
Dumb: Oh, sounds like the Jesus of the New Testament.
Dora: Yes, Dumb, that’s the one.
Dumb: What’s his platform?
Dora: Well, you find it in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew, Chapters 5, 6 and 7, and other Scriptural passages. He talked about treating other people like you want to be treated and to love God with all your heart. He talked a lot about relationships, such as not judging, not seeking revenge, nor being anxious about tomorrow. He also spoke about the “abundant life”, which means you can pass a good time without the guilt.
Dumb: Wonderful! I think I’ll vote for him. Does he have any opposition?
Dora: Oh, my, yes. Plenty of it. There have always been people who commit murder, steal, hate their neighbors, and in general, those who have refused to love others and those who are takers instead of givers.
Dumb: I guess that’s true, but why do the innocent suffer? Why does God allow people to hurt each other?
Dora: Let me answer it this way: God is in charge of our ultimate destiny, but God does not control our “freedom of choice”. If God is in control of us, and doesn’t stop murderers and other criminals, this would make God a monster. We have free will, which is where our sins originate as well as our good deeds. We can “choose” to do good or evil. As someone said: We can make life a “mess” or a “masterpiece”.
Dumb: What can be done with situations similar to the tragedy in Newton?
Dora: It’s not a simple issue, or easy answer. It touches the area of gun control, recognizing mental health issues, violence in movies and video games, and doing something about it, as well as better protection of people in schools and other institutions. We must change the way we do things.
Dumb: Do you follow this Jesus?
Dora: yes, I decided to follow Him when I was a teenager. It’s difficult to stay on the right track because there are so many temptations and roads to travel. But the more you follow His teachings, the better and easier it gets. It’s a matter of prayer and study and worship and learning how to make a difference in life. But, I’m far from perfect.
Dumb: Is this where the Church comes in? I see too many hypocrites there.
Dora: The church is made up of sinners just like you and me. Jesus warned that the world would hate us, and Christians are still being persecuted in different parts of the world. Many Christian churches struggle to keep going. Many congregations are perceived to be judgmental, hypocritical, old-fashioned and irrelevant. And some of these perceptions are true. I attended church recently where the sermon stayed in the history of the early first century Jews and Christians, and it never spoke a relevant word to me. Christians need to step up to the plate and make a difference.
Dumb: Is Christianity the only way to know God?
Dora: Of course not. That would exclude people like David, Moses, Abraham and many others who lived before the time of Jesus. Christians have earned much of the criticism hurled against it. Some act like they have God in their back pockets, and theirs is the only way to believe. Such arrogance and religious prejudice is hurting the Christian cause.
Dumb: Will Jesus ever get elected to be the Messiah by everyone?
Dora: I doubt it very seriously. What is more important perhaps is for Christians to act like Christians. And it is extremely important there be unity in the midst of diversity. In other words, all of us should be working for world peace, beginning where we are. The problem, as I see it, is that our actions need to match our beliefs.
Dumb: On other thing…Are all Christians going to Heaven?
Dora: That’s not in my department. I’m in sales, not management. I don’t believe anyone has earned the right to judge another person’s destiny. The Apostle Paul said we all have to work on our own salvation. Christianity is a lifestyle, not just a bunch of rules, dogmas and rituals.
Dumb: Well, I guess I’ll see you at the polls.
Dora: Okay, that’ll be the 11:00 service. Be sure to vote by being there. And when you see one of those Jesus signs, pray for peace, and then “let it begin with you…and me.”