Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hello, Thanks, and a Short Essay

Tracy Nelson
Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented received an email last night from Tracy Nelson.

It reads in part, "My name is Tracy Nelson, I'm a TV actress and a writer, from a famous family ("The Nelsons") who have become synonymous with 'Good Ole American Values.' This means that fans of my dad's and grandparents 'friend' me on Facebook, and then are shocked and offended when I turn out to be a liberal Christian, and a (gasp) Democrat to boot. I'm a political activist and patient advocate; 'Obamacare' is personal to me; I had cancer 3x and was 'uninsurable', and lost everything to pay for the care that saved my life.......I wrote a short essay that I wanted to share with you, in hopes that you may consider it or some portion of it for publication on your page. It's regarding the issue of the apparent disappearance of God from the liberal agenda, and why it might have happened, something I feel very passionately about.  Thank you for the work you do, God Bless, Tracy Nelson."

Here is her essay: 

Many, especially conservatives, are asking: WHY OH WHY is there Democratic resistance to "God"?  Beyond the obvious, the separation of church and state, (even Jesus recommended it: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's", MT 22:21,) there is something else.

I can tell you why liberal Christians like myself are not surprised or offended by our party's shying away: The right has hijacked God the same way they did the American Flag after 9-11…when you had to wear a flag pin like some kind of fascist salute or you "weren't a patriot"...a flag pin!

For those of us who try every day to walk the talk, it’s downright embarrassing to call yourself a Christian. The assumption is immediately made that we are narrow minded bigots determined to inject Jesus, whether you like it or not. "God" has become a dirty word, thanks to the Right, who use Him for political instead of spiritual purposes, to justify things like homophobia, misogyny and racism...to justify a particular oppression of the soul. If the Right is upset that there's no God in the Democratic Platform, it's nobody’s fault but their own.

Jesus was a radical, folks, teaching the revolutionary concept of turning the other cheek at a time when only power and force were respected. He (and Paul) spoke tirelessly of helping the poor, the sick, the elderly, even at the expense of one’s own solvency, even if it meant leveling the playing field by having the rich pay more. Jesus was the one to exhort the rich man to give away all of his things, Jesus is the one who talked about how hard it was for the rich man to get into heaven. This concept of giving away your money to help those less fortunate was radical then, and it is radical now.

Make tons of money, we all want to, that's American, but don’t call yourself a Christian or say we are a "Christian Nation" if you cannot abide by this basic tenet: YOU ARE CALLED TO HELP THE SICK AND THE POOR AND THE ELDERLY. To argue or justify how you can be a Christian and not do so is being what Jesus hated most of all: "a hypocrite."

147 comments:

  1. Thank you, Tracy, for this! I have the same problem with many of my Christian friends, who assume I hold the same political positions as they do. I finally unfriended one who insisted that liberal=socialist=evil. I don't put up with people calling me evil for trying to support policies that I believe are *exactly* what Jesus would have us support. Thank you for stating this publicly!

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    1. Your answer to Tracy's blog post was right on the money. I could not have said it better myself!! Thank you and Thanks to Tracy for saying what needed to be said out loud.

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    2. Why pull people down to a lower common denominator instead of encouraging them to a higher common denominator? Why not inspire people, Christian or not, to give from their abundance (which if you call yourself "American", you most likely have, especially compared to the rest of the world), instead of it being mandated by an inefficient, forever changing ideologically, often times corrupt government? Why are those in power so headstrong on leveling the playing field? To obtain even more power through entitlements. Then more people will be enslaved to the government. Wake up and smell the coffee.

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    3. When generosity is mandated by any government it ceases to be generosity. It becomes a burden. Why would we want to surrender more of American's hard earned money to an inefficient, always ideologically changing, often times corrupt government? The more government takes the more government wants. Period. The more government does for people the more people are enslaved to it. Why don't we strive as a people to inspire everyone to give from their abundance (which, at least currently, if you call yourself "American", you have abundance compared to the rest of the world) instead of "leveling the playing field by having the rich pay more." In Christianese this would be called "covetousness".

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    4. I so agree with all of this, but its not just Democrat Christains, using the term Democratic Christain still seperates. I respect all faiths and except people practicing their faith without violance or hatred. but I am not a Democrat.

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    5. I agree with Tracy , somewhat. I agree that we are obligated to help those less fortunate but I do not agree that we should become a socialist nation and have (corrupt)politicians give my money to whom THEY see fit. They are perpitrating the creation of a welfare state where those who are willing to work are getting tired of supporting those who are to sorry to work. Someone once said "the problem with socislism is that sooner or later you run out of other peoples money".And that folks is the pure truth.

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    6. Dear Mr. or Ms. Anonymous,
      While I agree that there is some lazy fools who don't work just cause they won't, I work 40+ hours a week, and I am on foodstamps. I live in {substandard} income based housing, because I don't earn enough to afford a better home. I am also on medicade because my job doesn't offer benefits. I don't exactly have a lot of freedom to move where there are better jobs, because my car just died on me after 14 years of nickel and diming it. Do I WANT to be on food stamps or other government help? Hell no. But I have 2 children and a wife {who is unhirable with epilepsy, yet can't get on disability} who rely on me to do everything I can for them. How do you tell a 6 year old her 7th b-day can't be at the YMCA pool because they want more than one of my paychecks to reserve the time? And then you look at my boss who got a QUARTERLY bonus of more than my yearly income. The disparity is crushing the lower class and you are afraid that my basic needs are going to destroy the economy. What about the multibillion dollar breaks given to companies like big oil and companies that send American jobs overseas? Its not a welfare state, its an attempt to reduce us to a feudal system again, where everything I make goes to my lord and master, the ultra rich. And while I'm not a christian in any sense of the word, I at least respect TRUE Christians of their generosity and generally OK attitudes towards those different than themselves. The Tea Party/Ultra Conservatives have hijacked Christianity and are using it to destroy the country. Tea Pary = American Taliban. By the way, your tax dollars supporting everyone on welfare and medicare amount to less than a dollar a day (approximatly $300 a year of your taxes). think of how much lower it would be if the 1% paid more. Tracy, thank you for reminding me that "Christian" is not a bad word.

      A Proud Pagan

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    7. Since when is compassion for the poor and working for social justice the lowest common denominator?

      The government is no less corrupt than the wealthy elite who mostly control it and the corporations that are now treated as people yet have no compassion, justice or mercy, only the desire for more and more profit. At least with government, the people get to vote.

      Government programs are necessary to help those who are victims of the corrupt system that funnels more and more money to those on the top. I personally believe in smaller government, but if it does anything, it should protect and aid those who are disadvantaged, sick and elderly.

      Christ never said to "give out of your abundance." That's the rich person's way of "doing their fair share" without it affecting them personally. In other words, toss some pocket change, then go on with your wealthy, privileged life. The thinly disguised greed of the "Prosperity Gospel" has corrupted the American church. It looks much less like Christianity than it does like Social Darwinism with a thing veneer of religion and God's name used in vain.

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    8. It's a huge misconception, perpetuated by so many, that people on welfare want to be on welfare and are unwilling to work to get off welfare. Certainly there are some who take advantage, but that's true of virtually any group/class of people.

      I hate to make sweeping generalizations, so here is one of my misconceptions. The same people, who try to apply "survival of the fittest" (a Darwinian concept) to society, reject evolution.
      In the extremely competitive world of professional sports, the most successful teams are the ones that are the most cooperative. It's called TEAMWORK! Competition is good, and so is teamwork.

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    9. Thank you Beodel and Larry. Christ honored the widow who gave a mite when she went to visit the temple - it was all she had, and she gave it anyway. When the rich man asked Christ how he could get into heaven, Christ told him to sell all his worldly goods and come follow him. The rich man went away shaking his head in sorrow, because he couldn't do it.

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    10. I would like to add that "We the people" ARE the government and we need to use our right to vote to remove the corruption in our midst.

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    11. Thank You Beodel, Larry, and Robert! It's funny that I just saw this blog because I was talking to a friend of mine about this predicament just a few days ago. I am so tired of ultra conservatives and right wing nutjobs misusing christianity as a weapon and doing things in Gods name that have nothing to do with God.

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    12. Those who seek power will utilize any form of government and ideology to their favor. Those in power will gear the laws towards themselves, regardless of ideology, hence conservatism can lead to fascism, and liberalsim can lead to what we now call communism. A democracy that utilizes social principles (education, infrastructure, defense (yes, our military is a form of socialism), health and safety) is not evil. I would say that a democracy that does not promote social principles is a reflection of a people far from God. Everyone for their own has historically not worked for us meek, those of us who want to just work and raise our families, and have no interest in ruling over others. That is why the liberals fear the principles of the Tea Party, because they see the Tea Party people as being the power hungry who will take far more than government taxes ever did.

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    13. Actually both the far left and the far right, given their way end up with a government that is totalitarian.

      I myself am not as concererned between the left and right as I am between what is authoritarian vs libertarian(up and down).

      Left or right you also slide up and down between authoritarian and libertarian.

      Authoritarians want big government to force everyone to accept their views.

      Libertarian wants little government and a live and let live attitude.

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    14. Larry Allen, It doesn't matter if there are those who abuse the system or not.

      When one group uses the government to force the other groups to give to the poor. It's called stealing and isn't charity any more.

      I liken it to someone finding the guy that was beaten and robbed then pulling out a sword and forcing the next guy (good Samaritian) that comes along into helping the guy.

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    15. So, what do you suggest? That we wait for the wealthy 1% and corporations to voluntarily contribute to social programs that help the poorest in the country? That's ridiculous. The government is "for the people". It's only corupt when corporations and people like the Koch brothers are allowed to buy politicians. What we need to do is get the money out of politics, then the representatives that are elected by the people will actually work for the people.

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  2. Wow! Hooray! That may be a short essay, but it says so much that needs to be said. I wish everyone could read it. Some of my friends and family are also shocked that I am a Democrat. I am so glad that Tracy has beat cancer and pray for her continued well-being. I now call myself a follower of Jesus' teachings for the very same reasons she stated. God bless you, Tracy Nelson.

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  3. I remember your character frim "Square Pegs" although O can't recall her name...YOU ROCK Tracy Nelson!!!! SJP has got nothing on you !!!!!! Praying for your continued health and happiness.

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  4. Thank you Tracy! Like you, I have gone through a major medical crisis in my life a few years back. I also have some family members who have the same experiences. All of us are Democrats precisely because of the same reasons that you have stated. It is because we had walk the walk and now we are talking the talk. We know how it is to be sick, scared, lonely. And through our journey we had met angels who are willing to help us. Now, through our political beliefs and actions we are doing the same to those who are experiencing our pain because we know it is the right thing to do, we know this is what Jesus would do. We are not leaving them behind. We are with them all the way.

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  5. Will wonders never cease! Thank you.

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  6. Thank you so much, Tracy! Very well said. Loretta

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  7. Thank you for addressing so well what many of us are struggling with these days. Hang in there, Tracy.

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  8. I agree with you Tracy, but I think more of us need to reclain the space that the Right Wing has usurpted. We need to stand up and not be afraid to say we are Christians and that if they love,forgiveness,giving and humility they missed the central points of the Gospel. I went to seminary and they just expected that I was Republican and were shocked that I wasn't. Let's keep spreading the GOOD NEWS!

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  9. My faith is renewed. Thank you for your eloquence and generous spirit.

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  10. *Can we get a Hallelujah!*
    Tracy, thank you so very much for bringing this so very important subject to it's proper place (along side the God denial debate) The two go hand in hand, as I have brought up before myself. Not enough seem to be listening or getting the point. You've hit the nail (pun intended) right where it counts.
    At 55 years of age I have witnessed enough of false Christianity to make me "unfortunately" cringe when I use that word myself. They have turned it into a political joke. Just as they have tried to turn the Bible into a Fairytale. Times are going to get tougher for us. Christ warned us of this. We have to be ready and stand for truth.
    Thank you for taking the time to share this with us. I am going to share on my page also. I want as many as possible to read this.
    And it has nothing what-so-ever to do with the fact that I had all your Dads 45s. Lol Thank you again...Sincerely Mea.Two socks

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  11. I want to hug her, totally understand every word because it echoes a conversation I had last week! Thank you for sharing the essay.

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  12. Thank you for sharing had this very conversation last week with my friend. I am 40 and while I work full time as a nurse I am also back in college full time as well. Frustration has been in my heart as it is implied that I am not the right kind of Christian. I would rather be the changed i want to see than be a phoney devotee of Jesus.

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  13. Wish I could find a church like this. Well said. A year ago, my brother died because the family-owned (not our family) self-insured corporation that he worked for dragged it's feet on okaying his treatment until he got close enough to his COBRA running out that they knew they wouldn't have to pay for all of it. Then the evaluation process had to start all over after he was eligible for the high-risk insurance pool in his state (which wouldn't even have been an option if not for President Obama) which further delayed his treatment until finally it was just too little too late. I miss him.

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    1. There ARE churches like this. Keep looking.

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    2. valerie grippen-Kelley.September 14, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      Praying for your peace, I lost a brother, who was waiting on a donors list for a liver, and it is hard to think that only if he could have held out longer, but insurance company policies Killed your brother, for that I am so sorry, God bless and keep you.

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    3. You might feel comfortable at a Unity church. Most of us at Unity of Greater Grand Rapids (Ada, MI) say "It felt like coming home." www.unity.org

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  14. This is wonderful and very well put. Thank you for posting this! Very encouraging!

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  15. Thank you, thank you!

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  16. As a former evangelical fundamentalist Christian and currently (for nearly 20 years) an ordained New Thought minister (semi-retired from a Unity congregation), I find it refreshing to discover more and more Christians embracing the teachings and practices of Jesus instead of the distortions of the Rapturists. "God is Love" remains the mantra.

    Thanks much.

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  17. Thank you, Tracy. You are so right, and it is wonderful for you to stand up and speak out. I certainly am tired of the word "Christianity" being hijacked by people who care nothing for other people. They mock Christ by demeaning people "different" than themselves, and disregard Christ's words to take care of the sick, the needy, the hungry, the widows and orphans... Thank you, again.

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  18. Well stated and...thank you. It is probably the same in most cities but here in Dallas Texas, being a Christian, there is an assumption that you are a Republican. Unfortunately, it leaves you suspect and tainted to many in the church.

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    1. I am in E. Texas. I know what it's like to be a Democratic Christian in the middle of the Bible belt, and in a Republican state as well. So many of my family and friends are Republican and I just don't understand how they can be so obtuse about the double standards they apply to themselves while being totally intolerant to those who think differently than they do. I've brought up every single argument in this essay and they still look at me as if I've grown two heads. I'll admit I had pretty much given up all hope. It lifts me up to know there are so many who feel exactly the same way. I still can't find true peace until I understand what's gotten in to so many people. At the risk of sounding like an "end-timer", do you think this prevalent negativity could be the force of evil? It sure feels like it to me. God bless us, everyone.

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    2. valerie grippen-Kelley.September 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      I am a relocated Texan and my family back in Texas make fun of me, saying I'm an Extreme liberalist. None of them will answer my question as to when they changed their political party. because I have several of my late Grnadfathers poll tax reciepts, stating in black and white , Fon Shaw was a proud regidtered Democrat. A Christian does not change 100 years of forefathers voting history just becasue the Democrats ran a black man. They just ignore my question, sound familar?

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    3. Yes Valerie, one point not made in the essay is how so many churches have been penetrated by KKK/White Supremist type groups and the racism they have been successful in injecting into Christianity. To justify it they use Old Testament scripture, and that has carried over into suppression of women, hatred of gays and intolerance of all manner of things. Ask a church if they have a member(s) who belongs to a hate group and they will say no. Ask Southern Poverty Law Center if there is a hate group member attending a particular church, and you will likely find at least one. Christian Identity churches are mixed among the community, but they deliberately infiltrate other churches to spread their poisonous hate in the name of God. It's a bigger problem than anyone realizes and has also contributed to the inability of the extreme Christian conservatives to have objectivity about Liberals who practice non-judgement. The notion that the government shouldn't distribute the money and the rich shouldn't pay more (they are only being asked to pay the same percentage-wise in reality), are the voices of those lied to and manipulated by big corporations. No doubt there is corruption in the government, but it was perpetuated by $$$, big corps. We must get money out of politics but asking middle class and poor people to bear the burden in the meanwhile is about the most un-Christian act of the century.

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  19. Well said. I don't really consider myself conservative or liberal, definitely moderate, but what you said here was head on.

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  20. Jesus also said that we are to see him in everyone we meet. We are to treat them as we would him. He said that so many times and in so many ways I don't think I can identify them all. His message as you expressed above is pretty darned simple. That was really as a re-expression and simplification of Old Testament principles.

    On the other hand, he only said once he was in the bread and the wine. Never said that he was God. Never said anything about writing this down so people could micro manage their lives according to these obscure principles that are taken out of context because you live two thousand years later. Jesus also cautioned against an over legalistic view of reading the scriptures. You can lose the message in the details.

    On the other hand the truths contained within the bible are truths that last the test of time.

    I am Christian, but if you could give me controvertible proof that Jesus was just a man, I would still follow his message. In this case the message is more important than the man. Faith is making a judgement to believe where rational thought ends and can go no further. I have taken the study of Christianity to the point where my faith led me to Jesus. I have other friends, who with the facts have taken the faith leap to atheism, although they still follow the teachings of Jesus.

    Alan Musielewicz

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    1. God bless you, Alan, for such an eloquent and beautiful message. Your words have touched my heart and I can feel the anxiety in my mind easing. It's so difficult to find peace with oneself these days, much less trying to find peace with others, what with all the negativity pounding through the air. What you've said has reminded me exactly how to get re-centered in my spirit. Thank you so much.

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    2. You stated your case brilliantly and humbly. I hope your message resonates to many people. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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  21. I can't say strongly enough how much I agree with this! Thank you for putting into words what we are all thinking!

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  22. This is nice. However, Jesus said nothing about telling the state what to do. The Church should follow Jesus and not worry if the state is following him. It can't, won't and shouldn't. The Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world are altogether different. Ditch politics (or, at least, prioritizing them over God's Kingdom).

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    1. In the King James version he did.

      http://www.bartleby.com/108/42/20.html

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  23. Great job Tracey - keep up the good work! I sincerely hope that one day everyone will wake up to the fact that politicians are the evil ones and they only serve their own selfish interests. Our tax dollars are simply being wasted away and they take more and more away from us every day. They are not there to help, to love or to show compassion. (If so why not fix Africia with clean water, education, FOOD - it is a doable task anywhere else on this planet; why should they be suffering and starving to death in 2012 (maybe the meek shall inherit the earth - I hope so.)Policitians are all hypocrits and a very bad example to follow on any level. Everyone should seek and live by Jesus' message, (or whichever faith you follow for basically they all have the exact same message) follow the genuine goodness in his words, love, forgiveness, compassion. If more people did this the world could finally rest and heal its soul. All wars would stop for there would be no greed focused reasons left to fight over (and certainly not in God's name which is so prevalent throughtout history). Finally there would be a world at peace which could transition itself into the world that Jesus envisioned. (Imagine the six o'clock news without any mention of murders, wars, fighting - hard to imagine.)This is my pray for the world - peace, love, charity (sound familiar)! God bless. (read Deepak Chropra "The Third Jesus" it's a must read.

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    1. Some good folks, myself included, have attempted to send food and supplies to the starving in Africa. But their government takes the supplies intended for the poor and distributes it among themselves. Or there is no way to transport the goods to where they are supposed to go. It's so frustrating to have such good intentions but legal issues get in the way. Apparently it's the same all over the world. Government rules.

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    2. jesus did not hate he did not dispiad he love evewry one no mater wait we done or how we do it do the best you can weatherdyou have money or not he siad for one of my childern you do you do to me.

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    3. I work in West Africa among some of the poorest people on the planet. There are a number of healthy, active, compassionate non-profits who use gifts to help the people. Yep, we have overhead (the web site, the fees we have to pay the gov't, etc.), but that is the reality of life....

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  24. Anne Ford, Brighton, UKSeptember 11, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Respect Tracy, I too define myself as a very Liberal Christian, I am so glad to see I am not alone in adhering to concepts like : Love, Compassion, Justice, Forgiveness. Any form of discrimanation is abbhorent to me : Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, prejudice against ethnic minority groups,discrimanation against Disability. I have a degree in Theology, Live in a society which is 95% secular and maintain an humanist moral stance laced with Christianity,,,,,I hate to be labeled by a bunch of ' Republican Politicians who IMHO in the main are ignorant, Hypocritical and sadly present sometimes as down right evil :((((((( <3 to You

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    1. @ Anne Ford: I have no choice but to agree wholeheartedly with you. The GOD is not in the GOP. Republicans are hypocritical and ignorant as you have said. Jesus would be appalled by American society today. It is the exact opposite of what He wanted in society. Americans proselytize and spread fear where there should be none. Jesus was against all this and helped the common man.

      SHouldn't we do the same?

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    2. WOULD that I could "like" a million times !!!!!Thank you, and GOD bless you...

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  25. Beautifully written and very true! I too, am a Liberal from the Catholic denomination and often at odds with my parents, family members and friends who do not share my views. I have read the Gospels many times, and each time I am very aware of the call of Jesus to each of us to "Love one another" there is no other way. Also, Jesus calls us to take care of our neighbor, the poor, the sick, the children,etc.

    Bless you, Tracy!

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  26. Thank you so much for this! I have always said, "If Jesus came back today, do you think He would be concerned about capital gains tax, or would he say, "What's up with you guys not feeding the hungry, healing the sex and taking care of those in need?"I'm not a Christian -- I am Jewish -- but it's the same underlying values. I am so glad for this site, and for the "Christian Left" in general.

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  27. Tracy, thank you for this. I am also an "uninsurable" cancer survivor (25 years!!!) and the Affordable Care Act is very important to me.

    "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40

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  28. Wonderfully stated. Thank you, Tracy. BTW-I've been a fan of yours since Square Pegs.

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  30. THe sheep and the goats of Matthew 25:33-46 are the liberal and the churl of Isaiah 32:4-8. And guess who is who!
    Matthew 25:33-46
    32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
    33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
    34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
    35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
    36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
    37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
    38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
    39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
    40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
    41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
    42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
    43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
    44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
    45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
    46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    Isaiah 32:4-8
    4The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. (I am a stammerer.)
    5The vile person shall be no more called liberal, (LIBERAL) nor the churl said to be bountiful.
    6For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
    7The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.
    8But the liberal (LIBERAL) deviseth liberal (LIBERAL) things; and by liberal (LIBERAL) things shall he stand.
    9Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech. www.LoveGodIsLove.org

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  31. Thank you for this, Tracy. I am also a liberal Christian and a cancer survivor (25 years!!!). The Affordable Care Act is very personal to me, as I am also "uninsurable".

    "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40

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  32. My Uncle was a Catholic Priest who strongly believed in the Democratic Party and what they represented. He did not believe in abortion but felt that it was our society that needed to teach options for women but not legislate their choice, he strong supported government programs for the poor and aged. He saw what was happening with his church and was sadden by the turn in it. He took classes under the current Pope and said that if he was elected Pope that his interests were not the people but outdated doctrine. I miss my uncle and his view on life, democrats and the god he loved.

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  33. Tracy, I am part of the Christian Left as well. I am in full agreement. Thank you for this article.

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  34. Love it! Awesome, thanks Tracy for sharing. I agree with almost everything you said. My one point of contention: I do think that if the government is going to impose a compulsory tax to help the underprivileged (among other things), it should not do so in a discriminatory fashion. The current tax system discriminates against the middle class and then the poor THEN the rich. To swing the pendulum back making the rich pay more might feel like "justice" right now, but it would be more just to impose the same tax on everyone (as a percent of income, obviously). Then allow God to work on the individual hearts of man so that they can give as they ought, not as they are forced to do.

    Remember, Jesus WAS indeed all about everything you said. But he was even MORE interested in the heart. Jesus did ask the rich young ruler to sell his wealth, but he did not force him as to do so would have defeated the important part of his message to do so. If we want to change this country, we must do so from the heart. And there are a lot of people on the right (and left) who need a change of heart -- both to God and to their neighbor.

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  35. Wonderful, insightful essay Tracy! "Sister Steve" (The Father Dowling Mysteries) couldn't have done a better job! :-)

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  36. Tracy, I'm not a Christian.....I dislike Christians because they are not disciples of Jesus Christ....they are Christians...just like some people are Jewish, or Muslim...its just a religion to them and not a way of life. They use it to justify all kinds of horrible things. However, while I agree that Jesus said to help those who are in need, He did not say to give it to the government to hand out. I'd much rather do it myself and know that it went to the person really in need. I don't want my government having the ability to take from me by force to give to someone else that is not doing everything theyt can to better their situation.

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  37. Thank you so much, this is so needed. I want to send it to everyone I know.

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  38. I agree with everything you have said, except for Paul. I have read his letters and even took a class on him. He was very bigoted and anti woman. He also condemmed homosexuality.

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  39. Two books that have really helped me and the members of Methodist Church reform our faith back to the loving, accepting and compassionate faith that it is supposed to be are: When Christians Get It Wrong by Adam Hamilton and Toxic Faith by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton. They both address the bible-jusitfying, ego-centered, "shove the Bible down your throat and you better be grateful" misrepresentation for political gain that Christianity has endured. Jesus would not sit in the front row with the rich and the prolific at church. He would sit in the back with the homeless man who wandered in and sat down: hoping something that was said would lift his spirits enough to struggle through another day.

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  40. Dear Ms. Nelson: Hooray and huzzah for your essay! I no longer self-identify as Christian, for precisely the reasons you outline. I call myself "a believer in Jesus' teachings," which seems to be vastly different from what many self-proclaimed "Christians" do today. I appreciate your honesty. WWJD? He would help all in need, without worrying about whether they were "deserving."

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  41. Thank you for your words and your courage to share them!

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  42. Well written, Tracy. I grew up in a Republican Christian family in Texas and nothing I was taught even remotely resembles what I'm hearing today. Jesus wasn't politicized. We weren't taught racism or bigotry. My Sunday school class even went to a Jewish temple so we could learn about their religion. The religious right should change their name to the religious wrong.

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  43. I am a Filipino and this has spoken to me. My country is suffering from the same thing, only, it is the leaders of the Catholic Church who are the problem. They have become nothing more than cynical old fools who follow their own words, twist the Bible to their own liking, and make self-righteous zealots. If this wasn't the case, then there wouldn't be much debate about the RH Bill and there wouldn't have been rallies against Lady Gaga when she held a concert here. I'm not a little monster but I found it absolutely deplorable when people who call themselves "Christians" picketed against her and even held a prayer rally against her while her concert was ongoing. Is it hard to get that her labels "Mother monster" and "Fame monster are simply nothing more than gimmicks so it would be easier to identify her from other artists of the same genre? And that RH Bill aims to give people options and educated choices as to how to build their family? Why are the Church and their political zealots wish to hold people back?
    I am not generalizing though cause i know that there are priests whose views differ from their leaders. Or at least I am hopping that there are.
    Sorry for going off topic and I will pray for your continued well being.

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  44. Tracy, Thank you so much for your post. I hope and pray you are well and that you stay well. As a blue dot in a very red state, many people I know laugh at the notion of someone being a Christian and a democrat. They have been indoctrinated so deeply into the lies of the radical right that they are unable to critically think and discern for themselves. The GOP isn't upset that Liberals are seen as godless. They are banking on their base believing just that. Those of us who believe differently must keep fighting the good fight. Ignoring the truth will never make it less true. Our voices will be heard. The Holy Spirit of Truth will always be present. Always.

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  45. Tracy, Thank you so much for your post. I hope and pray you are well and that you stay well. As a blue dot in a very red state, many people I know laugh at the notion of someone being a Christian and a democrat. They have been indoctrinated so deeply into the lies of the radical right that they are unable to critically think and discern for themselves. The GOP isn't upset that Liberals are seen as godless. They are banking on their base believing just that. Those of us who believe differently must keep fighting the good fight. Ignoring the truth will never make it less true. Our voices will be heard. The Holy Spirit of Truth will always be present. Always.

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  46. That was an amazing, very personal essay. Thank you for sharing it. I am a Christian myself and I have grown extremely tired of seeing my religion "hijacked" by the right wing of the Republican Party. God is bigger than any political wing. I do not let politics define me, my faith in God, my love for my fellow man, and the teachings of Jesus are what defines me. As a Christian, I don't see much "Christianity" in the Republican Party especially when they wish to cripple the poor, the sick and the elderly. The Republicans have more in common with the Romans than they do with Christ.

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  47. THANX TRACY, I TOO HAVE FELT FOR SO LONG THAT MANY HAVE DISTORTED THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS, AND FOR THAT MATTER, MANY OTHER PROPHETS OF PEACE. I'VE OFTEN WONDERED IF THEY ACTUALLY READ THE SAME BIBLE I DO, AS THE MESSAGE THEY PROFESS IS ONE OF HATRED & INTOLLERANCE. I'M GRATEFUL TO YOU FOR STATING SO ELOQUENTLY WHAT I HAVE FELT FREQUENTLY. GOD BLESS YOU FOR SPEAKING UP. BY THE WAY, I TOO COULDN'T GET INSURANCE B/O A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION BEFORE OBAMA.

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  48. Thank you, Tracy, for your wonderful essay.

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  49. Oh, but abortion is A-OK! Jesus give that the go ahead and everyone has to pay for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  50. That was an amazing, very personal essay. Thank you for sharing it. I am a Christian as well and I have grown tired of the right wing rhetoric of the GOP. For all of their ranting, I have found very little Christianity among its Christians. To deliberately want to leave behind the poor, and to abandon the sick and the elderly is not Christian. To wish to make war on your brother is also un-Christian. My faith in God, my love for my neighbors, and following the teachings of Jesus is what defines me. If that means that I'm voting for the President this November, so be it. I'm just following my beliefs.

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  51. I love and am proud to be a liberal christian and part of the christian 'left'! I had a person tell me that being a liberal christian is an oxymoron. I told them if they really knew the teachings of Jesus, they would know it's actually the opposite. Thank you Tracy for standing up for all of us out here that know we stand on the side of Jesus. The thing that scares me about this years republican candidate: 2 Timothy 3:2 "For men shall become lovers of themselves,lovers of money,boastful...".

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  52. We are not called to help the poor, sick, elderly through coercion and government edict. Giving is an individual choice. Aren't you all for choice?

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  53. I'm so proud to be part of the liberal christian left. I too have people say they are surprised to know I'm a dem. I say they wouldn't be if they truly researched what Jesus said and preached. That you Tracy for standing up for us! One of many things that scares me about the current republican candidate is end times prophecy. Ex: 2 Timothey 3:2 "For men shall become lovers of themselves,lovers of money, boastful..."

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  54. Wonderful words. Thank you for stating so eloquently what many of us believe.

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  55. God is Love ~ I find myself reading this essay while tormented over what's going on in the political parties as we get closer and closer to one of the most important elections in American History. It's exactly what I needed to see and I didn't even know it! ♥ Wonderful!

    Thank you Tracy. God Bless!

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  56. Tracy, God has blessed us through your words. Dear sister, I am saddened by any who are uninsurable and have been stricken with disease.

    You state "It’s downright embarrassing to call yourself a Christian" and go on to note how some have hijacked God to justify homophobia, misogyny and racism. Yet you don't seem embarrassed anymore: You claim Him, as do I, as your primary inspiration to do what is right. We can no longer live in shame (which is the devil's tool): On the left, we must reclaim our Christian title with joy and pride and be ready to tell our story, the story of a radical, ecumenical, loving Jesus. This may allow us to have peace-filled-common- ground and language to turn cold-hearted hearts of the others who claim to know Him. Like my pastor, I call myself a JESUS-Follower, not a Christian, to enable genuine conversations.

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  57. How about all those "Christians" who feel that they are persecuted for their religion? Thanks for your posting.

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  58. Finally, someone who reads the same Bible that I do and comes to the same conclusions. I sometimes wonder what bible the Christian right are reading. Seems to me that the Christian right are often neither Christian nor right!

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    1. Well said; my thoughts exactly.

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    2. Did not know that there was a left or right christian....must just be a lot of people using the Slide-rule of Truth.....If Jesus prayed that we would all be one, and He did pray that, He would not be to happy were He to come today. Did you ever read from Didache of the Apostles, circa 148 AD whre they taught, procure no abortion...liberal? conservative? sounds apostolic...left? right? sounds dead-on....

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  59. If you feel the same way, please check out your local United Church of Christ (UCC). The UCC, as a whole, is a liberal denomination but individual churches set their own policies so you may need to visit more than one. It's motto is open and affirming and accepting of all. We like to say "All are welcome here!" In the UCC you will find people dedicated to social justice causes including health care reform, equality for all regardless of sexual orientation, feeding the hungry and caring for the environment.

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  60. Thank you, Tracy! I have been struggling in my mind over exactly what you said. So many of my friends, who have done well in life, and live an affluent retirement, go to church, proclaim to be "Christian", yet put down the poor, welfare, minorities, other religions,etc...even criticize those coming to a Food Pantry, while they hypocritically do this necessary service. I must often bite my tongue and turn the other cheek, being a "Liberal Catholic Christian".

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  61. Well said, Tracy! you summed up how I feel myself! The line between church and state has become so blurred and there are so many so-called christians who have forgotten God's message. It's sad. I hope people can learn from the wisdom of your words. God bless you and your family, who brought joy to so many throughout the years.

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  62. Thank for sharing. Jesus wants to keep abortion safe and legal and turn water into wine a gay weddings.

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  63. Well said,Tracy! I am an Independent who voted for George Bush Sr, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. I am also a Christian who tries to live my life according to Jesus' teachings. None of us can live perfectly, only Jesus could do that, but we must stay mindful of His teachings and strive to live the way He taught -- loving our neighbor as ourselves and caring for those less fortunate. If we want to be known as a Christian Nation then we must live as Christ taught us. Did He not say that we will be known by our works (not our rhetoric)? Thank you so much for this article.
    AN INDIANA FAN

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  64. Giving to the poor is very different than having the gov't steal your money in the form of taxes. Every year it's proven that Republicans (I'm not a proud member btw) give more to charitable organizations designed to clothe and feed people than Democrats.

    Republicans need to do a MUCH better job of living what Jesus lived, not hijacking God to serve their agenda. (I agree wholeheartedly)

    Jesus was... IS a radical! That doesn't mean he would support taxation to do his work. Wait, His work? I thought State and Church were supposed to be separate.

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  65. Tracy,
    How you doin Hon?
    God bless you for expressing a point of view much more eloquently than I could have ever done!
    I love the Lord and I love my country but at times I am hesitant to declare this for fear of being lumped in with the radicals.
    You are a sweet voice of reason and balance in a time when we are surrounded by extremists. It makes me sad that this current extreme climate is turning folks away fro God.
    Thank you soooo much for making a very valid point. Just because we are Christians does not mean we are extreme fanatics.
    Blessings

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  66. Thank you for putting so eloquently into words how I also feel and think.

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  67. I totally agree! This is what Jesus taught-you are your brothers' keeper.

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  68. Excellent essay, and very much needed. Hatred and intolerance have taken over so large a part of organized Christianity that the question can legitimately be asked: "Has Satan seduced the church? Has fundamentalist religion - with its intolerance of liberals, gays, scientists, secularists, other religions, other ways of thinking - become a tool of the devil? How else to describe a church that preaches love but practices hate.

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  69. The Gospel Jesus brought is a balance of Grace AND Truth. Tracy, I see the grace here but without truth it is powerless. Just as you rightly note that truth without grace is not Gospel either.

    Jesus said he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Thankfully he took all our sin to the cross and paid for it. Our only salvation and hope is in that cross.

    John 8:1-11 is a good example of Gospel= grace and truth.
    v8 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

    Jesus demonstrates judgement against truth alone and injects grace into the woman's life. Then he brings to her an equal amount of truth when he tells her to go and sin no more. He doesn't say her sin is not a sin. He forgives and then challenges. Equal grace and truth.
    One without the other is wrong- whether you label it left or right. That is why the gospel is often hard.

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  70. As a non-Christian, I can admire and respect her for her sound understanding of the scriptures. People like Ms. Nelson, brings hope that ignorance will some day be replaced by knowlege of the truth and compassion for the Human "RACE

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  71. Jesus is more superficial and overrated than Edward Cullen and Christian Grey.

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  72. The Gospel Jesus brought is a balance of Grace AND Truth. Tracy, I see the grace here but without truth it is powerless. Just as you rightly note that truth without grace is not Gospel either.

    Jesus said he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill. Thankfully he took all our sin to the cross and paid for it. Our only salvation and hope is in that cross.

    John 8:1-11 is a good example of Gospel= grace and truth.
    And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
    Jesus demonstrates judgement against truth alone and injects grace into the woman's life. Then he brings to her an equal amount of truth when he tells her to go and sin no more. He doesn't say her sin is not a sin. He forgives and then challenges. Equal grace and truth.
    One without the other is wrong- whether you label it left or right. That is why the gospel is often hard.

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  73. Read your bible, Tracey. the intent of the scripture you quote is not about giving away all your goods to help the poor. Jesus was appealing to the Rich Man to prove to himself that he wasn't so attached to his worldly goods, preferring them to a relationship with Jesus. i would say that liberal christians have a lot to answer for when it comes to misrepresentation, because in an effort to feel justified in doing what the worldly are doing, they are turning against the very commandment to " come out from among them and be ye separate."

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  74. Tracy,
    Let me say this up front... I do NOT call myself a Christian.

    I grew up in a Christian household in the 1960s. I was taken to Sunday School and Church every Sunday, where I watched most of the attendants carry on whispered conversations during the sermon, make snide comments about each other during the prayers, and try to out-harmonize each other during the hymns. In my teens, I came to the conclusion that church (or, at least, THIS church) was the neighborhood's "poor-man's country club", where you went to be seen and to gossip, not to learn and praise.

    After moving out on my own (and thus out from under the imposed requirement of weekly services), I began a search for my own spirituality. I went about this search from both an academic AND a spiritual direction. I studied and I researched, I joined and I learned; and in the end, found a spiritual system that fit my beliefs and my understandings. Interesting enough, it matches the teachings of Christ almost perfectly; Love and peace, care for nature and each other, an understanding that I am imperfect -- yet strive daily to lay aside my imperfections.

    And to the "Christians" that I left behind, I am at best an agnostic. I have been called a paganist, a witch, and a satanist -- by those very people who profess to "love their fellow man" and to "do unto others..." Yet *I* am the one donating to and volunteering at the local soup kitchens. I am the one counselling and assisting the 16-year-old mother-to-be whose "Christian" parents put out on the street. I am the one protecting the young Sikh man who was being verbally abused by a couple of "righteous-rage" Christians who were INCORRECTLY accusing him of being Islamic (and therefore an appropriate target for their wrath?!?)

    I have taken to using the term "Christian" as a derogatory one. To me, the term stands for hypocracy and heavy-handedness. To me, "Christian" means Terry Jones and the Westboro Baptist Church. I offer an apology to all of those true followers of the teachings of Christ; you are forced to exist under the same umbrella term as those who hide behind the word while they act completely un-Christ-like.

    As for me, I'll just quietly live a life of love, service, and humble thanksgiving.

    Without the label.

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  75. Liberal or Conservative, you will pull from scripture what you wish to believe; Jesus was also against welfare, Feed a man a fish and he eats a meal; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Paul never stopped working to minister, he ministered through his work, he disdained anyone who refused to work because they had "God's work" to do. Jesus didn't promote dependency which bankrupts society and corrupts the soul. We are supposed to take care of one another, but not take advantage.

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    1. Yes, jesus said TEACH a man to fish - but republicans want to take away the TEACHING - e.g. job training programs, college grants, etc. So how will the man learn to fish? See, you don't get something for nothing. Jesus understood this. The best way to help the poor is to HELP them. A hand and a hand-out are different things. Gutting services while giving the rich a huge tax breaks are NOT christian values, and NOT what jesus taught, regardless of how you want to spin it.

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    2. The statement "Teach a man to fish. . ." is not in the Bible. "Bear one another's burdens" is. "Love one another as I have loved you" is. "Greater love has no one than this, that they lay down their life for their friends" is. "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If she is thirsty, give her something to drink" is there. The Bible judges nations for their righteousness, not primarily individuals. The measure of that judgment is whether the nation allows one of the little ones to perish. Gross inequity of wealth and deep poverty such as we have in the United States are the reason nations crumble.

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    3. Heh. Or "The Lord helps those who hep themselves".

      More bible passages that people who want to harden their hearts just love. But are found nowhere in the bible.

      That one was Benjamin Franklin.

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  76. Dear Tracy and all, While I agree with Tracy, there is a huge misconception here as to what Obama care will bring to the table! There should have been a public option that could have been handled at a local level to provide more "control" of the monies to prevent mismanagement of funds. I work for the government and what we in the government are seeing en mass is the misuse of funds, funds are not going where there were originally intended to go....Obama care has many, many loop holes built in and taxation that will lead to only more misuse of funds and those that really need the insurance or care are going to find it hard to come by. Money "management" at the federal level is a misnomer and does not happen well especially under this administration. Corruption at the federal levels (i.e. congress, senate and white house) has escalated to such a degree that all are dragged down and affected by it including Obama who is just a puppet or pawn in what has become a very nasty game. I vote for the community to raise a child and led a hand to all that are in need when it comes to funding and care. Government and religion should definitely be separate and both have their place but to bash the "right" or religion due to their believe in God and/or Jesus is just as wrong as bashing those who choose not to believe which is still their "God" given choice and we should not to pass judgement! The "left" is just as good at twisting and turning the facts to manipulate the populace and we need to stop putting people into "boxes" with labels as both party's tend to do....

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  77. "Feed a man a fish and he eats a meal; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime," Is not in the Christian scriptures, by the way. Being your brother's keeper is, though.

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  78. I loved this. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 29:7 "The RIGHTEOUS are concerned for justice for the poor, the WICKED have no such concern." If Christians knew the various verses (almost 3,000) that talk of the poor, justice etc. we would be a different people. James 1:27 says: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and undefiled is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unspotted by the world." Let us pray that we as liberals live up to the beliefs and ideals we have learned and be willing to share our beliefs with others. (not argue, trust God to make His word alive."

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  79. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your honest words. I have also used the word "hyjacked" when I look at the church today. Refreshing to read that there are others who feel the same!

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  80. Matthew 24, Isaiah 58, and Micah 6 are the most familiar places in the Bible where God tells His people to take care of the poor. He directs individuals to get their hearts right towards their neighbors. He does not direct government to force individuals to take care of their neighbor regardless of the condition of their heart. God is more concerned with whether someone willingly takes care of his/her neighbor than whether they paid their taxes because they were forced to do so.

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    1. Rick, if we willingly took care of our neighbors that would be a non-issue. Also, I pay a lot more in taxes to help fund wars that I disagree with than anyone disagreeing with social services pays towards social programs. Not to mention, we all fork out a lot of money through taxes to help wealthy corporations get even richer, the same corporations who are hiring less and less folks in this country and are paying people in other countries a pittance to do OUR jobs.
      Because of this there are less and less people able to get a decent job (or even just A job), which means that we have more people who need social services. Most people depending on social services are doing it out of need not out of a lazy desire to not work. If we cut those services and continue to focus almost completely on helping the wealthy get tax breaks and on forking over our money to corporations, we're in for an even worse time than we're already finding ourselves in.
      As a person who lost a job due to this economic crisis I am speaking from experience. I wanted nothing more than to be self-sufficant and happily employed. I wanted nothing more than to be able to keep my modest home and live my simple life. Unfortunately that didn't happen and I needed unemployment insurance to simply survive and I went back to school (because everything I had experience in was either being shipped over seas or suddenly requiring a degree), thanks to services provided by taxpayers and am now in a position to find a job. I will happily pay taxes to provide that same assistance to others, even the people who speak out against those services (and then happily use them themselves).
      Why? Because we are all in this together. Different people have different circumstances and in this economy, heck in this LIFE, we never know which circumstances we are going to end up with. And the idea of people struggling, starving, not getting medical treatment and dying because people don't want to pay for these services with their tax money (the same people happily providing tax breaks for the people who don't need it) absolutely sickens me.

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    2. Rick. Do you mean to tell me that either an individual or even a church has the resources needed to pay for Stacy Lihn's daughters myraid operations that she needs to survive?? Not just her but MILLIONS??! Please. Why is OK for the government to enact moral prohibition but not actually lift a finger to HELP the least of us, the sick, the needy, the poor, the hungry, the immigrant, the prisoner.. Please I want to know why it's OK for the Government to exclude and to pass judgement the sinner but not to help the least of us. ENOUGH of this! As I commented on the FB page, it's simply the young rich man who wanted to follow Jesus and Jesus told him to give away all his riches. And he could not. Because he LOVED that money more than he did Jesus or his message.

      Stacy Lihn.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uny3ur5l4_I

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  81. I believe in helping the poor and needy. I try to do so on a personal level. That is the church's responsibility, not the government's. Jesus' command to help the poor and needy was directed to believers, not government officials.

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    1. But, the government is us and it is funded by us. So, we are also to be judged by how we structure our government. The God of the Bible is demanding of nations. In Matthew 25, it is the "nations" which are brought before the judge. That we spend more on the military than virtually the whole world while allowing so many to die of poverty is a mortal sin. That is our choice. Our silence about the idolatry of war is something for which we will give an account as is our acquiescence to the brutal injustice that rewards the rich.

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    2. Debbie,
      You are correct as believers we are to take care of the poor and needy. If the Christian church did a better job of caring for those in need the government wouldn't have to. Instead they try to be better than the church down the road with programs. Look at the ACTS church, the first church, it took care of people by selling what they had and giving to those in need.

      Anonymous we do not spend more on our military. What we spend so much on is helping nations that bomb us and our embassy's. That's what we spend too much money on. Not our military, I know because I've been apart of the military all my life. And YES the nations are brought before the judge, God and America will be held accountable you can count on that!

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  82. I truly appreciate what has been said here. The Christian Right has really turned me off, and I've had to ask God for reinforced strength to remember what being a genuine Christian is about. I've never witnessed such ugliness in the name of God, and can only hope and pray that they will see the error of their miserable ways. In my opinion, they're no better than the bullies and misguided paranoid fanatics who disrupt a peaceful people in North Africa and other parts of the world.

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  83. I am another cassualty to Christianity. Nauseated by their relentless atttacks on virtually every aspect of society, I abandoned that cult.
    The Right has hijacked not only God and Christianity but Life, Peace, Freedom, Economics, Religion, Information, The Media, Truth, the whole alphabet!
    However... "The Left", does not have a voice, or attempt to have one. It is equally frustrating to me, just as our lives are gradually being "adjusted" to the Right's assault on all of us until they get their every way.
    God saves us!

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    1. This is why I made a concerted effort to speak up LOUDLY and put the lie to the assertions of both the right and the far atheist left, that both (in their little symbiotic circle of religious bigot/godless heathen) seek to tell Christians just where they belong.

      And no, I don't agree with EVERYTHING the Democratic Party stands for, but they do most closely line up with social justice and concern for 'the least of us" And that is why I think it's important to stand up to the voices that seek to tell Christians otherwise while enacting an agenda that hurts the poorest and benefits the richest among us.

      Many many Christians have finally had enough and are rising up. Tracy here being the latest example I've seen (beautifully articulated too). but you also have the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, the Christian Left, and left of center churches like Liquid Church online that preach LOVE, grace, and humility.

      It's encouraging to see, frankly.

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  84. Beautiful essay... thank you for your articulation of what I believe ... I can no longer claim the word "Christian" and yet I live it... Kathy P.

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  85. The basic premise of the argument presented by Mrs. Nelson is that we should be doing more as Christians to help the poor. That is a great point. She does distort a few things though. Jesus never said that the government should, level the playing field by having the rich pay more. As far as I know he never told people that they should pay more or less taxes. If everyone gave out of their abundance (or if all those who call themselves Christians) there would be enough for everyone in the world. Additionally, the Republican Christians aren't the only ones guilty of this. What's the difference between Mitt Romney and John Kerry? I can't really see any difference. Giving money to the poor in America simply doesn't work well. If you work with the poor in any inner city area for five minutes you'll see right away that in many (most) cases the money that is intended for children isn't going to the children. I've seen countless families use their money or sell their commodities for smoke, booze, and drugs. I have this image in my head of a home I visited in Omaha once. The family had ten children and when I went in the house the only furniture there was a stool, one mattress, and a small ten inch television. Why? The mother was spending the government funds on booze, smokes and drugs. Does this happen every time? No. Does this become a pattern for many people? Yes. If Mrs. Nelson was living in a developing country, she would be dead now. I see people weekly in the Philippines that are unable to get medical care because they don't have the funds for it. It doesn't matter if it is a life threatening emergency. You have to pay for supplies up front. If you don't have the money, you die. I see kids starving every day for lack of money and funds (some because of alcohol abuse, but mostly just because there isn't enough money). If Democrats (or Republicans) want to start attacking the other side over their record in helping the poor, they better have a plan in place and be ready to defend themselves. In my opinion it would be much more productive if Christians worked together instead of fighting over party divides.

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  86. Love it & would only add that I was taught that Christianity was tolerant. Hard to find tolerance anywhere anymore. Especially on the "right wing" party. Perhaps if all humans embraced tolerance there would be less negativity polluting our universe.

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  87. Loved her time on "Square Pegs". Most people probably don't remember that show. It gave Sarah Jessica Parker her start as well. this essay however.. WOW! A woman after my own heart.

    It's happening. that bridge too far has been crossed and you're seeing more and more people who identify as "christian" refusing to play the evangelical right's and the symbiotic circles other side on the left's, game anymore.

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  88. I want to say thank you to Tracy for making her voice heard especially since her co-star Kurt Cameron is not shy about voicing his hate filled, unChrist like message. Her message is a nice contrast and was refreshing to hear.

    I left Christianity because I was tired of all the hypocrisy, the mixed messages, and the hate filled messages. I even became an Atheist for a while because I was so exhausted with it all. It has taken me years of personal research of the Bible and other religions to realize that the message I was hearing from many who professed to be Christians was not the message Christ taught. It was one of money over people, self first, hatred of those who are different, self promotion and the promotion of ego above all else, judgment, misogyny, exclusion, divisiveness, etc... It seems ironic that they would call themselves Christians yet ignore the very teachings of Christ. It also took me many years to find that there are actual Christians who follow the teachings of Christ by promoting love, acceptance, tolerance, a sense of community, helping the underprivileged and poor, non judgment, etc... Today, although I doubt I will ever trust religion enough to step foot in a church again at least I am at a place where I realize that there are good Christians in the world and I am very thankful for them because the world needs more of them and less of the psuedoChristians. The rate of Atheism is on the rise in this Country and I believe that is directly related to people feeling disenfranchised by these unChristlike "Christians" and their judgments and hatred.

    To those "Christians" out there who want to live their lives judging others and spreading hate, I have just one question. Come judgement day when you stand before God would you rather explain why you chose to drive people away from the church and salvation because you spread a message of exclusion, hatred, and judgment OR would you rather explain why you chose to spread a message of love and acceptance and leave the judgments up to the one whom is truly qualified to judge, God?

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    1. Anonymous.. You're describing the philosophy of Ayn Rand TO THE LETTER. Not Christianity. and that's what the evangelical Right has perverted the gospel into .. as well as the public face of Christ's church.

      Of all people in the world to do this, way back in 1961, Gore Vidal took Ayn Rand to task using a very Christian argument..

      This odd little woman is attempting to give a moral sanction to greed and self interest, and to pull it off she must at times indulge in purest Orwellian newspeak of the “freedom is slavery” sort. What interests me most about her is not the absurdity of her “philosophy,” but the size of her audience (in my campaign for the House she was the one writer people knew and talked about). She has a great attraction for simple people who are puzzled by organized society, who object to paying taxes, who dislike the “welfare” state, who feel guilt at the thought of the suffering of others but who would like to harden their hearts. For them, she has an enticing prescription: altruism is the root of all evil, self-interest is the only good, and if you’re dumb or incompetent that’s your lookout....

      it is Miss Rand’s second battle that is the moral one. She has declared war not only on Marx but on Christ. Now, although my own enthusiasm for the various systems evolved in the names of those two figures is limited, I doubt if even the most anti-Christian free-thinker would want to deny the ethical value of Christ in the Gospels. To reject that Christ is to embark on dangerous waters indeed. For to justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil....

      Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/gore-vidal-archive/comment-0761#ixzz26gKCghZF

      That philosophy unfortunately has only grown since then to where it's now dominant in at least 1 political party.The one that oddly enough also claims the mantle of "Christianity" and "values".

      .. and just as an aside, Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan said that his "religion" was nothing more than Ayn Rand's philosophy, just with ceremony and ritual added to it.

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  89. What a kind and gentle soul Tracy is, like the Nelsons before her. And for those of you who believe that any new social program is a slide down a slippery slope to Socialism, consider that such an argument has been made each time an improvement in safety, working conditions, food and drug purity, old-age benefits...you name it.... has been proposed or promoted.

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  90. We probably agree on the heart of her argument which is: “Make tons of money, we all want to, that's American, but don’t call yourself a Christian or say we are a "Christian Nation" if you cannot abide by this basic tenet: YOU ARE CALLED TO HELP THE SICK AND THE POOR AND THE ELDERLY. To argue or justify how you can be a Christian and not do so is being what Jesus hated most of all: "a hypocrite."
    Given that you identify as a Dem, I’m assuming you believe that taxing individuals to fill the coffers is the way to help the sick and needy and elderly - and that’s where I differ with you. Do we really believe that taking money from individuals and giving it to the federal behemoth of a government is the best way to take care of these individuals?

    I think the church abdicated too much of its role of taking care of the poor and needy, and then the government stepped in. What I find interesting is the position of political verbal advocacy of providing help to the needy, that is not backed up by personal giving. Yet, it appears when tax returns of high profile presidential Ds and Rs are surveyed, there appears to surprising a a difference about the way American liberals and conservatives support their words with personal giving (I had read this before, and then searched and found more documentation about the vast difference in personal charity).

    Sadly, Americans of the twenty-first century, or at least an identifiable portion of them, have come to believe that it is not only expedient but that it is right for government to support the people. Today’s Democratic party is not like that of its predecessors President GroverCleveland who is well remembered for his frequently-repeated view that “The lessons of paternalism ought to be unlearned and the better lesson taught that while the people should patriotically and cheerfully support their government, its functions do not include the support of the people…” President John Kennedy said much the same, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” We would probably both like to see the church and individuals, who can provide a much more personal, caring and oftentimes efficient service delivery, step back into its proper role.

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    1. Rick J. Here. Listen. This is President Obama's response to Rev. Jim Wallis' call for both candidates to address poverty and faith. He answers a lot of the charges you just leveled against him and the Democrats.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETanxyr1UYY&feature=youtu.be

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  91. Just a thought, I think it would be a wonderful thing if Christians fought to show what their religion really believes? Pastor Terry Jones Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla. Christen “Pastor” Christen Church really!
    Christian “Pastor” Fred Phelps a Christian Westboro Baptist “Church” of Topeka Ks really!
    Imagine a candle light vigil of thousands of real Christens surrounding these shameful churches in prayer and meditation on a Sunday Morning.

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  92. Well said! I have the utmost respect for you speaking up about this subject, and am grateful for your heartfelt, educated opinion.

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  93. Thank you and God bless you Tracy, and all others who have offered on this web site with such positive, faith affirming messages. I "tuned" in tonight hoping to find recent, time relevant stuff and there it is. Faith restored again.

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  94. Americans have become quite different people than they used to be. No longer do we have compassion for each other like we used to before. Everything is hard-edged and "extreme" these days. America has become all about money and nothing else. The music we listen to is angry and mean, the movies we watch are the same, our sporting events the same, there is no deviation from "me first!" what so ever. Our government has been completely corrupted by money on both sides of the aisle. Whether you vote for Wall Street or not you still get Wall Street, and Wall Street doesn't care about your life, all Wall Street cares about is MONEY. If you vote for a major party candidate all you are doing is voting for Wall Street to control your government. I don't see how a Christian person could say they were a Republican or a Democrat under these circumstances. Rather, I Christian should be fighting against all this money and inhumanity, but few do... hardly anybody does... then we wonder why the sky is dark, why there are no flowers, why everything we once knew is gone. You can't serve God and Money, but under this current system where there is no God you only have one choice. Christians need to stand up and fight this madness rather than going along with it in the voting booth by voting for Republicans and Democrats. We need our own party, The Christian Party, where none of the candidates are financed by anyone, otherwise expect more of the same... much more of the same.

    Bill in NY

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  95. I would love it if charities could do it all and I wonder; if the tax rate was 0, would people all of a sudden be more giving to charities. One of the things people who give money do is use that charity for tax deductions. If that is the motivator, I am ok with that. But charities cannot plan like govt and work on the scale govt can. And charities can be just as corrupt as govt and be even less accountable.

    And if a charity dies because of lack of funding, it does not mean the problem has gone away. It just mean that people don't care anymore.

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