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Rev. Bates - Archived Messages

RevBates.tv Global - Weekly Message To The Masses for December 17, 2006 

       Rabbi Harold Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California says that according to the Bible, God loves all the people.  He quotes Chapter 19, verses 22-25, of the book of Isaiah.  “’Blessed be Egypt my people and Assyria the work of my hands and Israel my heritage.’ Each one is loved by God. And I think it is important that we, who are the children of God, treat each other as brothers and sisters. To love God, but to hate his creation, is not only a contradiction, it is the uttermost blasphemy.”

         The first time I saw the "Real Men Love Jesus" bumper sticker was on the back of a pick-up truck.  Not being familiar with the phraseology, I was a bit curious ... but the man who owned the pick-up truck did not appear to be in the mood for questions ... so I let it pass.  I thought about it once again recently when I read a news article about how Christian churches are experiencing a significant decrease in the number of men participating in their churches.  The article quoted a man who stated that "real men love Jesus" ... after all, Jesus was a "real dude" ... He kicked the money-changers out of the temple and He was very forceful when He was teaching.  In other words, you can kick-butt and still be a good Christian.  And I am sure this may appear to be attractive to some men ... it may even liven up the stale YMCAs across the country.

       I believe my father would have stated that he was a Christian, and a Baptist ... but he disliked "church" ... and very seldom ever went ... yet, my father had a great faith and belief in God.  He supported a wife and twelve children on a farm in Missouri ... without any government assistance ... and most of the time, without complaint.  My father was honest, ethical, generous and very independent minded ... he was a "real man" ... but I don't recall ever hearing him say that he "loved Jesus."  And unlike so many of the evangelicals of today ... he never confused Jesus with God.  To my father, God was God ... and Jesus was His son.  My father's faith was in God ... and by all appearances, that was enough.  Belief and faith in God very often ... have nothing to do with religion.

       I believe that for so many men, evangelical Christianity asks too much of them.  Evangelical Christians, by and large, teach that Jesus was the superior man ... and without sin.  And although this is not true, it creates a separation in the minds of not only men, but women as well.  No one wants to walk in the shadows of superiority ... even if it is Jesus.  This creates a very un-healthy level of self-esteem.  Not to mention the fact that Evangelical Christians teach that this same "superior man" is going to decide whether you go to heaven or hell.  And, of course there are those Christians who think that just because they have accepted Jesus as their savior, He is going to let them in ... but ... how do they know? Even the Apostle Paul ... was not confident of his ticket to heaven!  And after all this time ... maybe Jesus has changed the rules!

       I can honestly say that I "love Jesus" ... and whether I am a "real man" or not is an "opinion" ... no matter whose it may be.  But, I love Jesus for His teaching ... especially giving us such guidance as "I of my own self can do nothing, it is the Father that doeth the work" ... and "these things I do and greater things still shall you do" ... now, this is the words of the Master Mind Jesus that I focus on.  These are metaphysical statements that "empower" us ... without separating us from the great teachings by putting us in the position of inferiority.  Tell a student he or she is inferior and right away you have a student who is challenged to learn.  This is simply psychology.

     "What one man can do, every man can do" ... this is Universal Truth ... a Truth that the Radical Jesus taught very clearly and dynamically.  And when He gave us a glimpse of His clay feet ... it wasn't for us to mimic Him ... but to realize that we are One with Him ... created of the same Father ... in the same image and likeness of the Divine.  And so I agree, "real men do love Jesus" ... but only when they truly understand their relationship to God as equal to that of His.  And, I believe too ... that "real men light Hanukkah candles" ... after all Jesus did!
       
   

AND SO IT IS!

Keep the faith!
Rev. Hank Bates

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"I have been all things unholy.  If God can work through me, He can work
through anyone." 
-
St. Francis of Assisi