“We preach tithing to the poor people of the world because the poor people of the world have had cycles of poverty, generation after generation,” he said. “That same poverty continues from one generation to another, until people pay their tithing.” Mormon take on solving poverty
Thoughts about Isaiah Chapter 61
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me”
I have not been called to join a church or be validated by the formality of an organized sect. God, the Eternal Father in Heaven communes with me. His spirit lives in me always. Father has called me and invigorates me through the Spirit. I and the Father are one. And so are each of you.
“He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor”
Our Father is the God of Compassion. The poor are numerous and their poverty is not only a want of bread, but a poverty of spirit. Yet theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. The gospel is a living practice of the life of compassion, concern, kindness and advocacy on behalf of the poor. I am not called to get the poor to join churches, but to love the poor as I myself love the Father.
“He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted”
Those who mourn will be comforted. The meek will inherit the earth. He hath not sent me to say ‘Be of good cheer, say your prayers, and God will bless you.’
He hath not sent me to say ‘Take upon yourself my name and declare that I am your redeemer and all will go well with you.’
He hath sent me to cheer the brokenhearted with my own strength and spirit, pray for the brokenhearted as I pray for my own brokenheartedness. He hath sent me to bring the brokenhearted into my own circle of prayer and bless them by deed more than word.
“To preach deliverance to the captives.”
Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled. The merciful will be shown mercy. He hath sent me to teach the captives about their freedom and to work with them to attain freedom. He hath sent me to place less value on my own riches and comfort and a greater worth on acts of goodness for the sake of goodness. He hath not called me to stand in a church, speak from a book, condemn from the pulpit and retire to my mansion.
“And recovering sight to the blind”
He hath not called me to say, ‘Lo, come to my chapel and be saved,’ but to send me out of my chapel and into the darkness with a light of compassion and action. Where there is blindness, I come to teach vision, a life led by the Spirit, and knowledge of the God of Compassion. I come to urge repentance to wholeness in an absence of blind guilt, sorrow and a sense of condemnation at the hands of those who deem themselves righteous rather than upright.
“To set at liberty them that are bruised.”
The pure in heart will see God. Peacemakers will be called the sons of God. And the persecuted? Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. He hath not called me to inflict fear, shame nor guilt, but to bandage wounds, pour on oil and wine and carry to the inn and pay from my own sources for the ministrations of healing.
“To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
A time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. The acceptable year of the Lord is every year, every month, every week, every day as God and Heaven are a living part of every moment.
The Father of the Prodigal Son is the God of Compassion.The Prodigal Son is but one of all the marvelous offspring of the God of Compassion. He is frail and flawed, but now wise from his earlier immaturity. Aware of his failings, he knows that he has failed to hit the mark and owns his own mistakes. In not blaming Satan for his actions, he has not only ownership of his failures and successes, but proprietorship of his life. He has come to know what Jesus knew.
The eldest son is the scorekeeper, too willing to condemn when the score does not please him. Yet the Father of Compassion equally ministers to the shortcomings and failures of the elder brother, who comes to understand the value of each child in the eyes of his Father.
How wonderful to be part of a family where the God of Compassion has no favorites, no chosen, and no view that some sons and daughters are more worthy and righteous than others.
The woman caught in adultery was a temptation offered to Jesus by the pride and willful blindness of the judgmental mob. Jesus was not tempted, but stood next to the woman and offered his own life in a wager that goodness was greater than condemnation.
In the Father’s house are many mansions. Yet those mansions are not arrayed on rising steps of worthiness where the children of God are separated into castes of disparate worthiness. Souls do not come to those mansions by virtue of a ledger of good deeds and obedience, but by being good for the sake of goodness. And goodness is a pearl of much greater value than righteousness.
Heaven is not where we start but where we are. We construct our mansion on earth which will also be our mansion in Heaven. It will be constructed not on the sand of blind conformity or willful condemnation of what we as mortals judge to be evil or laden with sin. Heavenly mansions will be built only on the Street of Compassion.
The Christ Path is a Path of Action and Impact. It is impervious to whether or not we are deemed good or righteous by others. It is the path that does not seek outward recognition, but personal and private satisfaction in the pursuit of goodness.
It is that Spirit of Life that will cause the God of Compassion to reward openly.
The oldest Christianity os that which came to flower in the beginning before the confusion of men led to misconceptions about church and belonging; before priests and popes took it upon themselves to tell God what to do and the people how to behave; before preachers built churches after the fashion of courthouses where they could throw the book at the congregation.
There is sadness in the idea that Christian goodness brings to pass the will of God primarily through group action, political advocacy and judgmental separation of one soul from another for perceived circumstances of sin.
An image of a resurrected Jesus as a judgmental God honoring and endorsing the actions of those who condemn and separate is one difficult to reconcile to the life portrayed in scripture of He who preached a God of Compassion.
Christian goodness brings to pass the will of God when it is individually infectious, passing from one soul to the next spontaneously. An epidemic of this sort will more thoroughly impact our people than all that crusades, revivals and political legislation have accomplished in the two centuries of our nation and two millenniums of regulated orthodox enforcement.
There seem to be two fundamental approaches to Christian practice in our day and age. One is the social construct of churches and their potential for group achievement. Many practicing Christians will find sufficient satisfaction only in this context and that will be, in my opinion, a good thing.
The other fundamental approach is that of Mystical Christianity. Many practicing Christians hunger for something more powerfully spiritual in their lives. For them the Holy Spirit does not come in flashes during exceptionally powerful moods of righteousness or good deed. Rather, constant awareness of the Holy Spirit, of communion and oneness with God are part of their deepest desires.
The world needs both – not to be saved by the ultimate religion of the greatest truth, but to be enhanced by an exemplar of organized social achievement on the one hand and by personal spiritual invigoration, experience and inspiration on the other.
We need not be imperial with an idea of bringing the world to Christ.
We need to stop pretending that the world is that to which Adam and Eve were banished.
Rather, we must recognize that the world we have is that from which in God’s wisdom, Adam and Eve were sent.
Like that marvelous couple, we must realize that we are not only in the world, but of the world. If we do so, we will seek, find and be one with our Father, the God of Compassion; the God proclaimed by Jesus the Christ.