The invitation is clear: Jesus talked about finding and losing life. He seemed to say there is a reversal in the process. Give your life away to find it.
Over the years I have spent many hours with people searching for meaning in life. It has been fascinating to see those who have been involved in the volunteer sector. It has been these people who have challenged me to look at what my own faith and life is all about.
Recently I have been writing and working on Facebook. My purpose has been to philosophize and to invite people to participate in Project 1225.
On Facebook people are asked to identify their religious and philosophical beliefs.
As in the past I asked: What am I, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim; Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical; Conservative, Liberal etc. I forced myself to answer that question. I went on a search of religious understanding. Was I a Christian because I was born in a so-called Christian nation? After all, I had a theological degree, I had been ordained into the Christian ministry. I’ve preached in hundreds of churches, I have served on multitudes of committees and organizations. I’ve had the opportunity to be a pastor in multiple denominations. What does it mean to be Christian?
My conclusion, on Facebook I declared myself a Christian humanitarian.
Years ago I applied to a University. I wanted to study the social implications of world religions. I was told that such a study was a political hot potato. If I began to write and ask the average person from different religious backgrounds what their actions were in relationship to their beliefs that could create problems if the university helped to publish such thinking. My study was not welcomed.
Since 1984 my personal history has been in an inter-faith environment. One of the crucial discoveries has been behavior versus words. How often did we discover the role religious words had in blocking religious behavior? It is very hard to see the humor in this. On the other hand, here is where the discussion gets both interesting and fun. This week in studying the concept of Christian humanitarianism I ran across an article, when I saw it I started to laugh. The article was entitled, Social scientists build case for “Survival of the kindest.”
“Because of our very vulnerable offspring, the fundamental task for human survival and gene replication is to take care of others,” explained Keltner, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. He continued, “Human beings have survived as a species because we have evolved the capacities to care for those in need and to cooperate. As Darwin long ago surmised, sympathy is our strongest instinct.”
I find this tragically humorous. Charles Darwin believed the reason society will survive is because people will learn how to give of themselves to take care of the weakest in society.
I have argued for years that the economic systems we live by will ultimately need to understand the dependency we have on caring. If we do not build caring into our society, if we do not encourage caring, the human condition is such that people will turn on themselves. The people at Berkeley studied and concluded that as people are nurtured in caring they become healthier.
Perhaps, the perspective of Jesus is stronger than many would give credit. I encourage you to participate in Project 1225 as a way to touch the lives of others. Sign up now. If in the meantime you need to take time for yourself please do so.