Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Left hand, meet the right hand

I consider High Plains Blogger to be a forum for commenting on politics, policy and life experience. I use it to comment on those matters with with great glee.

For a moment, though, I want to veer far from any of those topics. Well, maybe “life experience” might qualify.

I learned something today in Sunday school that had me scratching my noggin about our secular world and how we human beings morph the Holy Word occasionally into something quite different.

We are studying Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Then we ran into this passage from the Gospel of Matthew 6:3. According to Scripture, Jesus Christ instructs us, “But when you give to someone in need, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

Given that I am far from a biblical scholar, I wasn’t aware of those words of wisdom — until I saw them today.

Why scratch my head? Because in our contemporary society, we now use the reference to our “left hand not knowing what the our right is doing” as a pejorative. We scold individuals or those who run institutions by saying that “the left hand doesn’t know … ” You get the point, right? Of course you do!

However, according to New Testament Scripture, Jesus Christ himself tells us to avoid letting each of our hands know what the other is doing. How in the name of all that is holy did this bit of divine instruction become a metaphor for criticism?

I might never use that saying ever again when I witness confusion unfolding before my eyes. I’ll have to get creative.

There. Now, back to more worldly matters.

Bible gives POTUS authority to blow up the world?

One of the many wonderful aspects of the Bible is that it can be interpreted in countless ways.

My understanding of the Bible I’ve read since childhood is that no one is entirely right or entirely wrong … if they believe in what they are interpreting.

So, when a preacher says that the Bible gives the president of the United States all the authority he needs to blow another nation to bits, well, that’s the preacher’s belief. It doesn’t have to be mine.

The Rev. Robert Jeffress is an avid Donald Trump supporter who went on “Fox and Friends” — the president’s favorite TV show — to proclaim that Romans 13 gives the president justification for attacking North Korea in the wake of that country’s threats to the United States.

I looked up Romans 13 in the Bible on my desk. I scoured through it and I don’t read anything of the sort. Then again, I’m not a biblical scholar. I’ll give Jeffress credit for studying the Bible more than I have. But as I noted already, we ultimately are left to our own value systems to interpret words written thousands of years ago. Believers can differ in their understanding of the holy word.

Some of them take the words literally; others — such as yours truly — take a more interpretive view of its contents. I won’t challenge Rev. Jeffress’s faith. I’ll just stand by a different view of the Bible’s contents.

The Bible I’ve read tells me Jesus Christ preached love and tolerance. I don’t know where he says it’s all right to destroy thousands of human lives because of a political dispute.

Is it in there? Somewhere? I don’t believe it is.

Who, what is Donald J. Trump?

A family member and I had an exchange earlier today about Donald J. Trump in which my kin sought to make a point that the president isn’t a conservative.

This family member is the real deal. He considers himself to be a true believer and that Trump is not of the same mindset as he is.

I’ll concede that point to my young relative.

The truth, as I see it, is that Trump has no ideological grounding. He entered politics seeking to shake up the world. He said he wants to “make America great again.” As I’ve watched him stumble, bumble and fumble his way through the first seven months of his presidency, I am left to wonder: What in the name of all that is holy does this guy believe? What does he stand for?

He appointed a White House communications director who used to support Barack Obama. Indeed, the president himself used to be friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton. He used to be pro-choice on abortion. The president once favored some controls on guns ownership.

He ran for president as a populist, vowing to restore American jobs. Trump then vowed to propose a trillion-dollar infrastructure improvement program. He wants to overhaul the tax code.

He has trashed our intelligence community. Trump has disparaged our nation’s most valued allies.

Through this maze of ideological confusion and nonsense, he remains the favorite son of the evangelical Christian community … even though he’s never — that I can tell — spent any significant time understanding the teachings of Jesus Christ.

His Republican Party “base” adores him because he “tells it like it is.”  Good grief, man! That’s it?

I have said until I am nearly hoarse that Donald Trump has no business being president of the United States. However, that’s what he has become.

As I continue to watch his flailing and — so far — failing administration, I am left to wonder: What in the world does this clown stand for, what are his core beliefs and what in the world is he doing to this great nation?

How would Jesus celebrate Christmas?

I think it’s worth asking — today of all days — whether Jesus Christ would approve of the way many of us celebrate the day of his birth.

We cannot know for certain. We only are left to our own faith, our own belief in whether he would approve.

My own sense is that Jesus Christ would be just fine with the secular celebrations we enjoy — as long as we also honor his arrival in this world.

Many biblical purists, of course, object to the Santa Claus-ification of the holiday. One of them here in Amarillo, for example, decided one day recently to make a spectacle of himself by berating children and their parents waiting in line for the kids to sit on Santa’s lap. The holiday, he said, should be reserved entirely and exclusively to honor Jesus’s birth.

My reading of the Bible I have read my entire life, though, suggests to me that Jesus wouldn’t object to the giving of gifts, Christmas trees, the sharing of love, the hugs and cheer that we spread among our friends and loved ones.

All of that, according to my understanding of the gospels, would be Christ-like to the max. Jesus was all about love and, yes, tolerance.

There’s been all this talk over the years about a fabricated “war on Christmas.” I suppose there’s been a war, all right. It’s been fought at shopping malls and department stores by parents and other so-called adults who get angry when someone else grabs the last toy du jour off the shelf.

I’m guessing Jesus wouldn’t like that kind of behavior. Remember, though, none of us around today walked when Jesus lived with mere mortals. We are left only to our own belief in what he would say or do.

Thus, I believe the man/God we honor today would join us in spreading love and goodwill.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas … and lock ‘n load!


You may believe this if you wish, or you may disbelieve it. Doesn’t matter much to me.

But, optics matter.

I saw this picture of a Nevada state legislator who had her picture taken with her family … all of whom are armed to the teeth with guns.

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, a Republican, thought it would be nice to show her support for the Second Amendment by putting this image on Christmas cards.

Honest to goodness, I really don’t have much to add to this, except to invite you to look at the picture and decide whether you believe this is in keeping with the Christmas spirit.

Would Jesus be packing? If they had these kinds of weapons 2,000-plus years ago, my strong hunch is that the Lord himself — the Prince of Peace — wouldn’t be seen with a gun.

But, you know, I’m just speculating.

As a friend of mine back in Beaumont was fond of saying: “My three-word answer is … W. O. W.”


Well … so much for the ‘end times’

blood moon

Hey, what happened?

We watched the blood moon last night as Earth passed between the moon and the sun. The moon turned red, just as astronomers said it would. Then we turned in.

We woke up this morning. The sun rose in the eastern sky — per usual — and we’re going to start our first day back from our two-week trek across Texas.

But … weren’t we told that the blood moon signaled the “end times”? That the world was coming to an end and that Jesus was returning to make all things good again?

I happen to be glad to have gotten up this morning to a bright new day. I’ll leave the end time hocus-pocus to others.

When my “end time” comes, it’ll sneak up on me sight unseen. I won’t see or hear it coming. That’s the way I believe it’s supposed to happen.

As for the blood moon, it sure was a pretty sight.


Where do these people find forgiveness?

The loved ones of the men and women Dylann Roof allegedly shot to death have done what?

They have forgiven the young man? They say that if God can forgive him, how can they not?


This one is going to take some time for me to process.

Roof stands accused of killing nine people at a church in Charleston, S.C. It appears to have been a racially motivated massacre. He is known to have said he wanted to start a “civil war” and that he believes blacks and whites shouldn’t mix.

So, he went to a Bible study, was welcomed by the African-American church members. He sat with those victims for an hour — and then he opened fire.

Today, he went to court for an arraignment and several family members said they forgive this individual for committing a monstrous act of terror against them and those he killed in cold blood.

I consider myself a committed Christian. I know what Scripture says about forgiveness, how Jesus Christ urges us to love one another, no matter the sin. He didn’t distinguish among sins, never said one sin was greater than another.

What the young man is accused of doing, though, crosses a line that makes his alleged sin far greater than, say, using impolite language.

Could I forgive someone for doing something that Dylann Roof is accused of doing?

Hypothetical questions are tough to answer.

Perhaps one day, I could.

One day.


From my perch halfway across the country where this carnage occurred, I harbor intense anger toward this young man.

I stand amazed that those who are suffering such intense grief and heartbreak can find it in them to forgive.


Are Americans becoming less religious?

A Pew Research study says fewer Americans today identify themselves as Christians than before.

It also says other religions haven’t declined in this country.

What does that mean? Well, one thing I believe it means is that we’re more diverse — religiously speaking — than at any time.

So, are we going to Hell?



Tod Robberson, writing for the Dallas Morning News, has an interesting analysis of the Pew findings. He contends that he is not threatened by the decline in Americans associated with a given faith. He says his own non-religious upbringing hasn’t harmed his children. I get that.

I also get that one’s faith is an intensely personal thing. As one who does worship in a Christian church — on most Sundays — I am entirely comfortable in my own religious skin. My wife is as well. So are my sons. I am worrying not tiny bit about what my fellow Americans are feeling today about their faith.

Indeed, I’ve long held the view that Americans remain among the most religious people on Earth precisely because of the freedom we have to not worship if we so choose. The Pew study on Americans’ faith journey may be shocking to some, but look at what’s happening in Europe, where countries have established state religions. The people’s response throughout the continent has been to stay away from church in droves. Church attendance is a fraction of what it used to be, let alone what it continues to be across The Pond, in the U.S. of A.

I like what Robberson writes: “A mass departure from established religion in America doesn’t necessarily mean millions of us are losing our way and are walking into the arms of Satan. It just means that we do not rely on preachers, priests, rabbis or imams to tell us how to live our lives. People who do attend regular religious services are otherwise guided, and good for them. They should not stand in judgment of the non-religious any more than the non-religious should stand in judgment of them.”

I’ll just keep going to church, saying my prayers to Jesus Christ and ask him to forgive me for my sins. I believe he’s done that.

Therefore, I’m good to go.


Why bother with a congressional has been?

The last time I commented on former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s blatherings, some of my lefty friends asked: Why pay her no never mind? She’s out of office, irrelevant, she doesn’t matter any longer.

Allow this brief explanation.


I chose to comment on Bachmann blaming the coming Rapture on President Obama because — believe it or not — a lot of Americans actually take her seriously.

I am not one of them.

Bachmann served a few terms in the House of Representatives. She became a favorite of the TEA party wing of the Republican Party. She ran for president in 2012 and for one brief moment during the GOP primary, she actually rose to near the top tier of the class of clowns running for the party nomination. For the record, I do not include eventual nominee Mitt Romney in that gaggle of goofballs.

Bachmann then decided to step down from public office in 2014, but she hasn’t stepped down from public life or from the public’s attention.

She remains relevant in some people’s minds, although for the life of me I cannot understand why.

So, when she says, as she did the other day on a right-wing radio talk show, that the Rapture is imminent, some folks listen to her. “We in our lifetimes potentially could see Jesus Christ returning to earth and the rapture of the church,” Bachmann said. “We see the destruction, but this was a destruction that was foretold.”

She said more. “We are literally watching, month by month, the speed move up to a level we’ve never seen before with these events,” Bachmann said. “Barack Obama is intent. It is his number one goal to ensure that Iran has a nuclear weapon.”


I never know whether to laugh or laugh harder when Bachmann opens her mouth.

She is giving folks like me plenty of commentary grist.

That’s why she remains relevant.

What does Bachmann know about End Times?

Michelle Bachmann must know something none of the rest of us ever imagined knowing.

The former Republican congresswoman from Minnesota seems to know that the End Times are here. They’re about to arrive. The world is about to end.

Who’s responsible for this? You get one chance at this one: Yep, it’s Barack Obama.


I’m no religious scholar, but here’s my understanding of what my Bible says about the End Times.

Put quite simply, the End Times will come without anyone knowing it’s coming. It’s just going to happen. We won’t know the end has arrived until, well, it arrives.

She told a conservative radio host that the president is lying about Islam and about the war we are fighting against Islamic extremists. Then she added that the End Times are coming as a result of the president’s deception. Bachmann said she is excited about the possibility, she said. “The good news that I want to transition to is that, remember the prophets said in the Old Testament, they longed to look into the days that we live in, they long to be a part of these days. That’s why these are not fearful times, these are the most exciting days in history.”

My interpretation of Scripture suggests the End Times is a metaphor for each of our lives. If we believe in Jesus, then we’ll go to heaven to be with him when the end arrives. And I don’t believe you can predict when that moment arrives.

Then again, some politicians — such as Michelle Bachmann — seem to think they know everything.