What is the point Christians seem not to grasp? Think Compassion.

The curse of historians is often how we understand cultural phase change. All cultures and religions are resistant to understanding the phase change. There is a common thread in Christianity. We are starting with the teachings of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount, the apostolic movements after Jesus, and especially when we understand why religious orders were formed. If we think of this as catholic social teachings with a lowercase “c,” we begin to see the common thread of justice, caring for each other, and the planet unfolds in movements throughout history. Catholic Social Teaching becomes a capital “C” during the industrial revolution with the formation of Encycicals addressing the ills of society, wealth distribution, labor, and living conditions.

The great misunderstandings we have about Christianity and, in particular, our denominations all focus on interpretations of tradition related to Creeds. I am using “creeds” here as a form of policy-measurements-behaviors which all get rolled up into a belief system.

If we look at the divisional aspects of how Roman Catholics behave in our world today and the angst between the traditional movements and progressive movements we see as we do in other denominations, the great divide is all around “creeds.”

I often imagine Jesus standing in our midst and saying, “What the Heck don’t you people understand of what I was all about?

Jesus told us his “kingdom” was not an earthly, governmental. Still, we have done our best to make it one, with empire, militaries, ruling classes, hierarchy, patriarchy, and a sense of entitlement.

During the Bill Clinton campaigns, James Carville made famous the saying, “It’s the economy, stupid.” We can spin that today into “It’s discipleship, stupid.

The foundation of “social teachings” is found in the Sermon on the Mount. Teachings on what we call morality and discipleship. It is more than likely one of the most important and influential passages in the Bible and one where most Christians and non-Christians can name at least two of the main points.

In a word, the Sermon on the Mount could be described as compassion. Jesus’ teachings are full of sympathy for the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed. He calls his followers, you and me, to love our enemies, forgive those who wronged us, and turn the other cheek. The Sermon on the Mount is a radical call to love and compassion that challenges us to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to the Significant other we call God, to each other, and to the entire creation of all that is on this tiny blue dot in the universe.

I ask you to consider, reflect, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Where in my “creeds” am I instructed to bless the poor, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers?
  • Where in my “creeds,” do I find the teachings of The Lord’s Prayer?
  • Where in my “creeds” is “The Golden Rule” made evident? Jesus teaches us to treat others the way we want to be treated.
  • Where in my “creeds” is a call to live a life of love, compassion, and forgiveness?

The curse of historians is understanding Christianity is a radical challenge to how we live our lives today.

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