Parson's Porch & Company

Turning Words into Books & Books into Bread since 2004

Parson's Porch & Book Publishing is a book publishing company with a double focus.  We focus on the needs of creative writers who need a professional publisher to turn their words into books, & we also focus on the needs of others by turning their books into bread by sharing our profits with those who are homeless and displaced by meeting their basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and safety.

Welcoming Prayer

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me today
because I know it’s for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions,
persons, situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,
approval and pleasure.
I let go of my desire for survival and security.
I let go of my desire to change any situation,
condition, person or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and
God’s action within. Amen.

An alternative and more aggressive way that we can address this unconscious dynamic is to make use of the welcoming prayer in real time – when an emotion or powerful event has taken hold of us – to begin to break the cycle of that particular emotional trigger. This technique has three basic parts.

1.       Focus on sensation being experienced in your body. Simply feel into what is taking place in your body, what it feels like within. The goal here is not to change anything but simply to stay with the sensation until is subsides. And it will subside, usually within a few minutes. When the bodily sensation has subsided, go to next step.

2.       Welcoming the emotion. For example, say to yourself ‘Welcome Anger’. You are not welcoming the cause of the anger but merely the effect of that anger in your body.

3.       Letting go by reciting the four lines below. The purpose is to begin to shortcut the automatic, unconscious False Self reflexive response. Instead of reinforcing it with yet another ‘episode’, we begin to dismantle it because it is almost certainly emanating from one of the first three of the following desires:

I let go of my desire for security and survival.
I let go of my desire for esteem and affection.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire to change the situation.

Books into Bread

smaller-crowd-rdc-color-hi.png

Over the years, I have discovered that one talks about the things one loves. That saying is certainly true for me. That's why I want to tell you about Parson's Porch.

My idea for Parson's Porch began about 30 years ago. Once out of seminary, I was soon frustrated by the way Church was being done by the congregation I served. It seemed to me that most of the ideas which received the most energy was about buildings and budgets. Trying to help someone in need was tedious, to say the least. After years of growing frustrated, I determined a better way for me to accomplish what I felt God was calling me to do. In 2004, Parson's Porch was established, and today it continues to be the most challenging and rewarding ministry for me to do.

Parson's Porch has a double focus: Books and Bread.

First, we turn words into books. We seek creative authors to submit to us their manuscripts so we can publish a book for them. We do not charge for our service. We simply depend on the books we publish to sell through an online bookstore like Parson's Porch BooksAmazon, and other online outlets. Once a book sells, the author is paid a royalty, and the poor are helped.

Second, we turn books into bread. There are 438 homeless people in our city, and it our goal to establish relationships with each of them in order to help them by 1) meeting their physical needs of shelter, food, and clothing. and, 2) helping them with their pastoral and spiritual needs. 

We use money from the sale of books and donations from our friends to support this effort.

Each weekday, I eat and drink with the poor and homeless at the Community Kitchen. Also, I have the esteemed honor to preach a sermon each day at Noon before the hot meal is served at 12:30 pm. To say the least, this assignment keeps me challenged to make the Bible relevant to a congregation of great people, many of whom are prostitutes, convicts, thieves, con-artists, and drug addicts and all of whom are in need of pastoral care and spiritual direction. We also work closely with Salvation Army and the Emergency Shelter in Cleveland.

So, thanks for reading this email. If you would like to help us, please pray that our ministry will be effective as we preach the good news of God's Love, and give a donation to help us buy socks and shoes, coats and toboggans, and blankets and sleeping bags for my friends.

The Word became flesh

Capture.JPG

Yesterday, I enjoyed a holy day with a holy man.

I met Robert Shurden in 1979. I was a sophomore at Carson-Newman. Dr. Shurden was a professor in the Religion Department. He taught Greek and other New Testament classes.

I took several of the classes he taught, but Greek class had the most lasting effect on me. Koine Greek is a tedious language, but Shurden made it accessible to many of us young theologues. 

Dr. Shurden was a stickler for details with Greek. A misplaced or absent accent mark often cost me a lower grade, simply because I was sloppy with the details the language required. Once on a vocabulary test,  Shurden wrote the names of ten random letters of the Greek alphabet, and we were required to write the letter which corresponded with its name. After finishing the quiz, I was confident that I had made a perfect "10" on the quiz. When it was graded, I made a 9 - I missed Theta. Theta looks like a Q with the line coming halfway down the center and to the right. I had written it with the line coming down the center through the bottom, not through the right, and he marked it wrong. I pled my case to him, but he insisted there was only one way to write the letter Theta. That was 40 years ago.

After getting to know Robert, I became acquainted with his brother Walter. Walter was the Dean of Theology at Southern for some of my seminary days. Walter made his mark in Baptist life at Mercer University, while Bob made his mark at Carson-Newman University. Edna Shurden Langley was a school teacher in Birmingham until her retirement. She and her Husband, George, moved close to Bob and Irene in Jefferson City about 13 years ago.

When I think of holy people, I think of this Shurden trio and their spouses and children. In Greek, there are two words for other. One means another of the same kind, while the second word is another of a different kind. The Shurdens: Robert, Walter, and Edna incarnate both nuances. They are exactly the same and entirely different! Each is each other. For me, that is the essence of holiness or otherness.

Yesterday, Shurden and I had a lively conversation about the Greek preposition en. En can be translated with, in, on, or among. For instance, in Matthew, God "with" us can just as correctly be translated God "in" us. While that is a small detail in the Greek, it is a profound difference in theology. While I enjoy my wife being "with"me, I have a deep sense of her being "in" me even if she is physically absent. In the same way, I experience God "with" me, and I also experience God "in" me.

Robert Shurden (and his siblings) is one of a kind. No doubt, God is with him, and most assuredly, God is in him. He is a holy man - not because Bob asserts that about himself, but that God asserts that about him!

I was not one of Shurden's best students. However, there is no other of his students who loves him more than I do. I want to be like Jesus, but if being like Shurden is what I'm like when I grow up, I will be as close to being like Jesus as anyone can get. The word became flesh and dwelt "in" him.

For that, I give thanks!

 

 

Dear Senator Alexander

220px-LamarAlexander.jpg

Dear Senator Alexander:

You have "been there, done that" as a leader in Tennessee. I have watched you rise to positions of power for decades, and I was certain you were on the side of average Tennesseans when it came to paying taxes as Republicans used to stand for. With your vote on ACA, your apparent vote on the Tax Bill, and your silence on the Trump administration, I've changed my mind about you: Your retirement from Senate cannot come soon enough.

Thanks for nothing.

David Tullock

 

Dear Senator Corker

CORKER_OFFICIAL_High_Res_ColorWEB_Display.jpg

Dear Senator Corker:

While I've been impressed with your recent comments about President Trump's inadequacy as POTUS, I am equally disappointed in you for not being a man of your word with the Tax Bill facing the Senate for a vote.

You said that you would not vote for it if it added one penny to the deficit. Some estimates say that it will add as many as 200 trillion pennies to the national debt. Why did you lie to your constituents? It smells to me like a kickback for you. 

I hope there is another explanation. Otherwise, Have a happy retirement with your millions of dollars you were paid for your vote!

Sincerely, 

David Tullock

Ricky the One Legged Man

Ricky.jpg
I have been an advocate for the homeless for most of my adult life. Many of the people I have helped have made a significant contribution to my life - like Ricky.

Ricky is a one-legged man. He wears a prosthesis, but it easily falls off.

I see home riding his bike around Church Street with his prosthetic leg across the handlebars. He peddles with his right leg. I tried peddling with one leg, and that was quite a feat. It should be in the Olympics!

Ricky told me that he was helping a friend change a light bulb a while back which required him to climb a ladder. When he reached for the socket, his leg fell off! His friend handed it to him, and he finished changing the bulb and hopped off the ladder.

Ricky has also told me that recently a man pulled his leg off and beat him to steal $15 from him! He told me that the man didn't have to beat him with his leg. If he had known the man needed money, he would have given it to him!

Today was the first time I'd seen Ricky in a few weeks. He's been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He looked pale and weak, and he had lost some weight. I was glad to see him, and he said he was doing great but he was dizzy a lot.

While I was speaking today, Ricky laid his head on the table and slept. He was warm and safe. He was cold and we warmed Him.

I was glad to see Ricky. He's my friend.

Donate

My Brother from Another Mother

Gene.jpg

I have been an advocate for the homeless for most of my adult life. Many of the people I have helped have made a significant contribution to my life - like Gene.

Gene is 60 years old and lived on the street until recently. The first time I met Gene he was standing on Church Street. He looked old and rough. When I spoke to him, he grumped. The next time I saw him, I noticed his hat had the initials "CK", so I told him I was going to call him CK. He grumped again. Finally, after a few more days and a few more grumps, he told me his name was Gene. I said, "CK Gene." He smiled.

One day he came to me at the Kitchen and pointed to his shoes. He said, "Thanks." I had bought the shoes for anyone who needed some shoes, and he did.

After several weeks of this kind of banter, Gene and I became friends. His life situation is typical of many my friends I keep company with on Church Street.

About a month or so ago, I missed seeing Gene in our usual hangouts. I asked another friend about Gene, and she told me that Gene had a stroke and was in a hospital in Chattanooga. 

I went to the hospital to see him, and he was in bad shape. His right side was paralyzed, and he couldn't speak without a heavy slur which made him impossible to understand. I stood by his bed while the nurse was taking his vitals and such, and while Gene couldn't speak, he patted my hand and arm and smiled. By that, I knew he was glad to see me. We had a good visit.

As I left the unit, I left my name and phone number with the nurse. I didn't want anything tragic to happen to Gene without knowing about it. 

This week I got a phone call from a nursing home. When I answered the phone, the social worker said I needed to give them permission for Gene to come there as a resident. I said, "Why me?" She said that Gene had listed me as next of kin, in fact, I was not only the next of kin, I was his only kin!

I was stunned. I had made a meteoric rise from grump to kin in a matter of a few weeks. But more than that, I was honored.

I am going to the nursing home tomorrow to look over the papers that Gene has "xed" so he will have confidence that he has signed papers that will be for his good.

Gene is 60. I am 57. I have a brother from another mother (and father), but this time I was chosen. Actually, we chose each other.

The Louisville Slugger

jackie_robinson_pee_wee_reese_statue_by_pd07-d747tpn.jpg

When I was in school in Louisville, Kentucky in the early '80s, I had a paper route. Each morning I delivered The Courier-Journal and in the evening The Louisville Times.

One of my customers was Mr. Reese. Most afternoons, he would meet me as I delivered his paper. We would chat about nothing, and I'd look forward to seeing him the next afternoon.

One Sunday, a man at church asked me where my paper route was. I told him, and he said, "Oh, that's where my friend, Herman Reese, lives." I told him I knew Mr. Reese and about how we talked to each other every day. In fact, we would talk so long, it would slow my schedule late each evening.

"You don't know who he is, do you? Have you ever heard of Pee Wee Reese?"  Of course, I had heard of Pee Wee Reese, but I didn't know his first name was actually Herman!

I couldn't wait to see Mr. Reese the next day and every day after that for another two years, especially when it was time for Mr. Reese to pay his paper bill each month. He would always give me a $5 tip, which was half as much more than he owed. He said I was the best paperboy he'd ever had. 

Among the scores of stories he told me, he said that two of his favorite memories were throwing the last out in the 1955 World Series to beat the New York Yankees, and standing on the infield with his arm around Jackie Robinson earlier in the '55 season when the Brooklyn Dodgers played the Cincinnati Reds and his family came from Louisville to see him play.

Later Jackie Robinson, a black man, said that Pee Wee Reese, a white man, made it a lot easier for him to face the racial hatred in Cincinnati when Pee Wee showed his friendship to him in front of the crowd. 

Thanks, Mr. Reese, for your friendship to me, too. 

 

 

 

The Scattered People of God

ere.jpg

We follow the teachings of Jesus in all we do at Parson's Porch. We believe that if we do not care for the "least of these" in a practical and daily way, we have failed as human beings and any success as a publisher is woefully inadequate. We support the work of New Life Community Kitchen, The Salvation Army, and the Cleveland Emergency Shelter. 

The following list reflects the type of items we buy each month for the homeless and displaced people in Cleveland, Tennessee. If you would like to buy these items for us to give the homeless, shop in our Store.

Hygiene -  shampoo, conditioner, soap
   deodorant
   lip balm
   lotion
   wash cloth
   floss
   toothbrush
   toothpaste
   mouthwash
   hair brushes
   laundry soap detergent
   facial tissues
   anti-bacterial wipes
   disposable razors
   cotton swabs
   toilet paper
   quarters for laundry
Learn more about the Cleveland Emergency Shelter

Clothing

   men's cotton crew socks
   cotton socks - children
   adult t-shirts
   children's t-shirts
   baseball caps
   warm scarves
   knit hats
   gloves
   fingerless gloves

Comfort/Extras

   first class postage stamps
   notepads/envelopes
   pens
   crayons
   coloring or activity books
   small stuffed animals
   small, safe toys
   hand warmers
   bandanna
   Bottled water
   Ziplock bags

 

   

Learn More about the Salvation Army

 

Food

   bottled water
   fruit juice
   cheese & crackers
   tuna kits
   cereal bars
   pull-top canned fruit or vegetables
   pull-top pasta or chili, 
   fruit cups
   fruit snacks
   cookies

Meals

Hot meals are served each day of the week at the Community Kitchen, Salvation Army and the Emergency Shelter. 

Daily showers and weekly laundry services are provided by the Salvation Army.

Shelter is provided each night for the homeless, including women and children.

Damned or Blessed?

"Damned are the rich in spirit, 
for theirs is not the kingdom of heaven. 

Damned are they who do not mourn, 
for they shall not be comforted. 

Damned are the haughty, 
for they shall not inherit the earth. 

Damned are they who do not hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they shall not be satisfied. 

Damned are the vengeful, 
for they shall not obtain mercy. 

Damned are the impure of heart, 
for they shall not see God. 

Damned are the warmakers, 
for they shall not be called children of God. 

Damned are they who are persecuting for the sake of righteousness, 
for theirs is not the kingdom of heaven."


 

Help the Scattered People of God

We follow the teachings of Jesus in all we do at Parson's Porch. We believe that if we do not care for the "least of these" in a practical and daily way, we have failed as human beings and any success as a publisher is woefully inadequate. We support the work of New Life Community Kitchen, The Salvation Army, and the Cleveland Emergency Shelter. 

Go to our STORE to see and buy the items we regularly buy or the homeless and displaced people in Cleveland, Tennessee. If you would like to buy these items for us to give the homeless, shop in our STORE.

Drinking with Will D. Campbell

Will Campbell in Rocking Chair 2.jpg

I had been with Will D. all day long. I picked him up at his house in Mount Juliet to bring him to Cleveland to speak at the Steeple I served at the time.

We were making our way to the Wingate Inn and mused that I bet he was looking forward to having his night time toddy before a good nights sleep. He said he was, and his wife had packed enough whiskey for both of us to imbibe if I wanted to come up to his room. 

Whiskey? Will Campbell? You bet! I accepted his invitation.

On the way to his room, I said, "All of my life, I have fantasized that after a long day, someone would invite me to come up to their room for a nightcap. Never did I imagine that it would be you that would fulfill my fantasy!" 

"Pisser, isn't it?" he retorted.

Will D. made a makeshift bar at the sink and mixed the first whiskey and water for me, and then he made one for him. 

As we raised our glasses, Will D. said, "Take. Drink. Remember Jesus!"

We drank, laughed, and remembered Jesus as we visited, and I left changed!

I can only thank God!

May This Dream Come True

I have had vivid dreams all of my life. Most of them have been silly and close to bizarre, while many are instructive and life-enriching. Last night's dream was simply divine. 

In my dream, I was walking around my childhood community visiting some of the people who had contributed to my life in one way or another. To my great disappointment, I could not find anyone at home. The Keiths, the Fousts, the Meadows, and the Minges were nowhere to be found. No one was at home.

After I left the Meadows, I looked down the road and saw the Minges leaving from their driveway - all seven of them packed in one car.  Gone. Disappointed, I walked back to my grandmother's house, sat down under a Maple tree and cried.

Once I stopped crying, I decided to go into my grandmother's house to look around. To my surprise, everyone I had wanted to visit was there to see me. It was delightful. 

One by one, each of us embraced one another and told each other what each meant to the other. Hugs and kisses, laughter and tears, jabs and jokes abounded. I remember hugging Katherine Foust, Louise Rucker, and Helen Minge. I fell in love again with Lisa Smelcher, Naina Keith, and Pam Minge. A number of us struck up a ball game in the front yard while Leo Keith coached us on how to bat, field and throw. 

My dream ended with all of us sitting around a large table loaded with food and drink. We sang the Doxology led by Jinky Foust and Joe Yarnell with Mickey Maples playing the organ.

I woke up, but I didn't stop dreaming that one day this dream will come true. . . again! 

Walking on Church Street

In 2010, I quit my job to begin my practice. I had worked for 33 years at difference places doing the same thing: making money. 

I was 17 when I was paid by a church to do a job. 33 years later, I quit. Today my practice is public and private. Publicly, I am a publisher. Privately, I am a pastor.

My public practice is as a publisher of books. I have published almost 450 books for over 200 authors. I earn enough money to support my family and my private practice.

My private practice is as a pastor whose congregation is homeless. I serve approximately 100 people who do not have a roof and are in need of food, clothing, shelter and safety. 

While I earn money as a publisher, I give money to my private practice by supporting my congregation. Each day I see them and eat with them. Each day I weave two questions into my conversations with them: "How are you doing?" and "What do you need?"

"How are you doing?" is a spiritual question. I listen, and I respond. "What do you need?" is a practical question. I listen and I respond.

When they answer those two questions, I know what I am supposed to do. I pray, then I do.

I pray privately, I do privately.

The difference between my congregation today and my congregations in the past is my congregation today does not know I am a pastor, and they don't pay me. I dress in the same kind of clothes I have bought them, and I eat the same food they eat. To them, I'm only their friend. To me, they are the crucified ones.

So, if anyone sees me walking with someone on Church Street, sitting with someone in the Park, or eating with someone at the Kitchen, my purpose is one thing: I'm a crucified one showing another crucified one where to find the Crucified One.

May all your weeks be holy.

 

 

Drenched

Cross Art Work sans_full.jpeg

I have kept company with Jesus for almost 50 years.

As a young boy, I decided to see if what my Baptist parents had taught was true. At the close of the service, during the singing of a hymn, I made my way down to the preacher and told him I wanted to be saved and baptized. Everyone present was happy, and to celebrate, my father, mother, brother and I went to a new place called Burger King on Clinton Highway in Knoxville. We wanted to try their new hamburger called a Whopper. A couple of weeks later, I was baptized by immersion by the preacher at Ball Camp Baptist Church. I was saved and baptized!

After 50 years of being saved and baptized, I have come to some conclusions about what I did that day long ago.

I was saved from my sins. Although I am fully aware that I am capable of doing all sorts of sinful things as "sinful" is traditionally been defined, I have never felt that I was a once a sinner condemned to hell if I hadn't been saved and baptized.

When I was seven, I didn't have that much of an imagination to think about all those things I was supposed to be ashamed of, much less doing them. I just wanted to love God for loving me. I was saved from the useless activity, doctrine, and social climbing that many people think has to be done in order to please God. I was saved from the understanding of God that I had to earn God's love!! The gift of my salvation was my understanding that God loved me, now what?

Now what? I was baptized. Baptism was my profession to God and the world that day that I was going to live the way Jesus taught me to live: the way I was made by God to live.

I knew that God was all in. Now, I was all in!! All God ever wanted from me was David of Ball Camp.

When I emerged from the water, there was not a dry place anywhere on my body or in my soul, and I haven't been dry since! Still drenched in the Goodness of God!

We need more Christians

Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured above) transformed himself into a homeless person and went to his newly assigned church where he was to be introduced as the head pastor that morning. 

He walked around this larger church for about 30 minutes while it was filling with people for Sunday morning service... only 3 people said hello to him. 

He asked people for change to buy food... NOT ONE person gave him change. They turned away or said that they didn’t have any change… even though they had more than enough change for the coffee donation bucket.

He went into the sanctuary where he sat down in the front of the church. Shortly thereafter two ushers approached him and asked that he move to the back of the sanctuary. 

He obeyed, and as he walked to the back row, he quietly said hello with a warm smile to the people also sitting in the sanctuary. The greeting returned was stares and dirty looks. He felt that uncomfortable feeling of people looking down on him and judging him. 

As he sat in the back of the church, the service began. He listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders walked to the front alter... they were excited to introduce the new pastor. They were advised that the new pastor would be sitting with the congregation.

The only elder who was in on this experiment announced, "We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek!”

The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back stood up… he began walking down the aisle. 

The clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him as he walked the altar. The elder who knew what was going on handed the microphone to the new Pastor. 

While holding the microphone, the Pastor looked down as he paused for a moment.

Then he looked up and quietly recited, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’… he paused as he looked over the congregation.

The Pastor continued, “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning. Members were shocked, some began to cry… many heads were bowed in shame.

He continued by stating, “Today I see a gathering of people, but I do not see a church that represents the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The world has more than enough people. We need more Christian disciples. 

My question to you this morning, when will YOU decide to become a disciple?” He then dismissed the service.

Far too many people do NOT understand that being a Christian is so much more than something you claim... It’s something you live by… it's compassion... it’s something you kindly share with others.

William "Brother Doo" Smith

boy.bmp.jpg

I was 11 years old when I first met a black boy.  We had moved from Knoxville. where there were no black children in our school, to Loudon.  On the first day of 7th grade in my new school, I had to go to the cafeteria with the other children who rode a bus.  The only place to sit was in the back corner where most, maybe all, of the black boys were.  I marked my seat, and as I sat down, I heard a voice saying, "Are you new here?  My name is William Smith.  Most people call me Brother Doo."  He then introduced me to Jim Brown, Chuckie "Thin Man" Johnson and Carl "Boo Boo" Hawkins.  This quartet of black boys were my first friends in my new school. 

During our high school years, the principle would call me to the office when a local farmer needed hay haulers.  My black buddies were the first I would ask.  Not only did their work ethic match mine, I knew that they needed some extra money to make their lives normal like many of our other friends in school. We worked hours in the fields of local farmers laughing, sweating, razzing each other while we were paid $5.00 per hour.

What I remember most about these boys was their soulfulness.  We were kin to each other.  We were brothers from another mother and father, but were more alike than we were different.  It was not until I was an adult that I realized why I bonded with them - they were poor like me, but we didn't know it. Poverty was our heritage.  Not having enough was our common kin. We were raised on Pinto Beans, Collard greens and fried Potatoes.  Our clothes, while clean, were not new, but hand-me-downs.  

Although we don't regularly see each other today, I still count them as many of my best friends.  When I see them a football games or reunions, we enjoy an immediate bond that began that day over forty years ago. All of us are doing well today.  Each have a steady job: one is a pediatrician in the D. C. area, one went on to play football at Clemson and the Washington Redskins for a while, and the others have meaningful jobs and are raising their grand children today.

On this Martin Luther King Day, I am grateful that Brother Doo did not judge me because of the color of my skin, but showed me the content of his heart when he first said, "Are you new here?  My name is William Smith.  My friend's call me Brother Doo!"

Can't Have it Both Ways

I can only speak for myself, but keeping rules has not been my strong suit.  In fact, my heart hurts when I start to become rulebound.  

Fundamentalism says, "Keep the rules, and God will love you. Break the rules, God will get you!!"  If that is the case, God has it in for me.  I will never be able to please him by keeping the rules.

Liberalism says, "God loves you.  There is nothing which separates you from God's love. not even breaking the rules!!"

For me, liberalism best describes the gospel as I have experienced it.  It frees me to choose to live how God wants me to live.  I acknowledge that what God has done for me, he is doing in all people at all times.

Fundamentalism is limited to keeping the rules.  Just how many rules do you have to keep before God loves you? How good do I have to be?  

When keeping the rules becomes our basis for living instead of our relationship with God, we will eventually turn on each other.  If I don't keep the rules as well as you do, then I am less than you, and therefore, I am not as godly as you.  There is no such thing as self-redemption.  All our righteous (from Mother Teresa to Adolf Hitler) is filthy rags.  I cannot redeem myself, nor can you.

So, if you want a life filled with rage, judgmentalism, competition and self-loathing follow the rules.  If you want a life filled with peace, contentment, love and compassion, follow the way of Jesus.  You can' t have it both ways.  I know.  I've tried both.

 

We are ready to turn your book into bread! 

Parson's Porch & Company |121 Holly Trail, NW | Cleveland, Tennessee 37311 | 423-475-7308 | dtullock@parsonsporch.com