Religious ethics

Many years ago when I was about 20 years old I had a job. At the time I was attending Calvary Chapel of Vancouver WA. I had become very devoted to wanting to know and experience God. My job was installing rain gutters. I was the helper on the crew the lowest guy and so had essentially two bosses. They were not the owners but the business was a partnership of two guys and one of the guys father. So I had a lot of boss’s.

There was a lot of foul language. The church taught me nothing on how to deal with this.

One day we were working on a Saturday. No owners just the crew. We went way out of town to install gutters on a house. While I was finishing up my tasks the guys informed me we are doing the house next door now as well.

After we finished and drove away one of the guys handed me 75 dollars and said this is your share. It confused me completely. I was making only 7 dollars an hour and so an eight our day was only 56 dollars a day before tax’s.

What I later figured out was that while doing the job we were scheduled to do the neighbor came over and asked that we do his house and paid cash. They over charged a little and didn’t report the extra job to the owners at all and kept all the cash having split it between us. They took like 150 each and gave me 75.

So I went to an elder at the church and asked him what to do. He told me that whenever something like that happens to him he simply takes all the money and puts it in the offering box at the church.

So I did just that.

The church had needed some gutters and so I began asking the guys if we could put some on the church. It was only about a value of 100 dollars in the little amount of gutters needed.

One day I over heard the pastor suggesting that I was dishonest since I had put gutters on the church and didn’t pay or charge the church. I had offered to pay the guys but they refused. (why didn’t the pastor just ask me?)

Today I know better. Today these people at that church I attended the elder is now the pastor at CC Longview and the other the CC Woodland They still give the same advice today and do not know any better.

WHY? They are not willing to pay the price to learn better. I have since been taught by God what is the right thing to do. If I could go back in time and give my young self advice or if someone came to me what would I say?

“Son this is where bearing your light before men to glorify God happens. This is when men will persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you. You need to count the cost of following God. For you see he desires justice and not sacrifice (prov. 21:2). You need to give them mercy, you need to be bold and tell them that you think they cheated the owners, that you cannot have any part in that. That THEY need to tell the owners or you will. This they most likely will see as a threat and most likely if you try and tell the owners they will succeed in making you look like the bad guy. They may even physically harm you. But know this no man who sought to please the Lord by doing the right thing will be forsaken – God will give you a new job and if not he will feed you miraculously”

You see the elder told me to give the criminal proceeds as a sacrifice – he did not tell me to be the salt of the earth by helping them do the right thing. He neglected justice and mercy. Faith is also neglected in that God will take care of you if persecuted and if the job is lost for having done the right thing. These men (Pastors) are religious and yet worldly. They do not realize that if you do not exhort your coworker you slowly and on a subtle and slippery slope become like them. Saying nothing not only makes you their accomplice but it altars your character.

He having advised me to give the money to God is no different than people in the middle ages buying the right to sin. It is Cain’s offering of vegetables.

My son is 12. I asked him if his friends say cuss words. He said sometimes. I asked him if he asks them not too. He said he tries but they interrupt him. I suggested it was hard to do but better to lose the friend than to become like them. Exhortation is your antidote to their mistake. You see on another job I had I was partnered up with a man who cussed a lot. It was torture for me. But I never exhorted him because I was not taught too. After several months I began to cuss too. Today when someone does I ask them not too and thus I do not learn their ways and corrupt my own soul (Prov. 22:25)

God tells us how to love one another and how to love even our enemies. But religianity knows nothing of it. If they are doing something wrong tell them so that you do not bear a grudge and so that you are not their accomplice.

I told my son to ask them not too and if they mock him to ignore it and walk away. If they ask where are you going say unless you agree to not cuss I am going home. To do that each and every time. But most of all ask God in the moment what to do or say. For Jesus promised us that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth and tell us what to say IN the moment. If need be we can talk with their parents and if they call you a snich to tell them no I am helping you and trying to keep you as a friend.

I now understand that the guys gave me 75 dollars on the gutter job to keep me quite to intentionally make me an accomplice – to get me to “sin in”. And later they installed the gutters on the church free of charge as an additional bribe and to deal with their own conscience of conviction.

Belief alone is not enough – faith without works is dead.

They – the CC’s – think that grace and mercy means no accountability. They are mistaken being luke warm, blind, naked, and miserable yet deluded to think all is well like an ostrich with it head in the sand. If they read this they will be offended – if it was not true they would NOT be offended. Their offense is their sign and wonder it stands in witness against them.

Brian

Feeding the poor and clothing them

We read in James: “15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”

Which is to fulfill the law of love: “8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;..”

So what about spiritual food? And spiritual clothing?

In the Gospel we read that Jesus said his food was to do the will of the father.

We read in revelation that those in heaven their clothing were the acts of justice that they did.

We are told that loving your brother means to tell him of his fault. But many are too afraid. It seems to be a natural instinct of fear to not tell them. Yet not telling them leads to gossip which leads to feelings of superiority and then slander. Not wanting to tell them causes rash judgments in our hearts that closes our minds to new input making our hearts hard.

So when we see a brother no knowing the will of God or not doing it we need to tell them. But all too often we justify NOT telling them is love. That they need to figure it out on their own or that it is between them and God. But perhaps they cannot see or hear or are lame. Thus us telling them is a miracle of healing them to see, to hear and to walk. It is the greater miracle than actually giving a blind man sight but giving spiritual insight.

With kids we have no problem telling them. Why do we tell them? So that they will have good character. We would never say a kid needs to figure it out on his own! So when we do not tell our brother scripture explains that we are indeed hating our brother.

Now telling them will almost never be well received initially they go through the fazes of loss. Denial, anger, hatred, negotiation and not many then find acceptance.

I saw a sister of mine go to board a plane. She forgot to preboard on line and they gouged her with fees. She was angry and reviled them – saying terrible cuss words and cursing them with names. I gave her a look of shock. Then some time later as she complained again I told her “be angry and do not what?” she got angry and exclaimed “I do not care!!”. If it were my child I would have asked the child to say sorry to me and to ask God for forgiveness. I admit I was worried about her hating me for this truth and did not say more. I loved her with some exhortation but I did not love her as my own self in that I did not rebuke her when she was defensive.

It takes a community with gentle rebuke to bring someone to their senses. But sadly nobody else is willing to help. They would rather “PRAY” for them than love them with the truth.

Christians fail to obey and thus they do not love Christ and in their disobedience they obey the lusts of their flesh hating their brother. And scripture says that he who hates his brother does not know God.

As my friend left Greece I did mail her a letter suggesting she seek to bless and not curse. That simply asking those around her even her kids to point out to her when she does this that at first their reminder will seem to sting but she will remember she asked them to do it. And in three short weeks one will have changed dramatically.

Christians fail to mature due to an unwillingness to love one another which is the royal law.

Quoting the Old Testament it says that tell your brother so that you do not share in their sin and so that you do not hold a grudge in doing this you will have loved your brother as yourself. Christians of al kinds know nothing of this! It is veiled to them as they are in need of eye salve to cleanse their eyes. When I attempt to share it some will agree but when I then ask them to be a witness they have too many excuses.

On said it is going Rambo on them. Really? If my kid refused to apologize and so I put him in his room until he changed his mind you would not call that going Rambo. So in seeking to not obey Jesus and be a witness she reviled me.

Another man said his father just died and he is not available. Well his father had passed two months prior he has kids and I suppose if his son came to him and said my brother hit me he would not reply to his kids “grandpa just passed and I am busy dealing with that”

I could go on and on for the excuses. Funny they claim they are not willing to judge for righteousness sake and so in order to get out of it DO judge for unrighteousness sake. That is they come up with all sorts of far reaching judgments for why I asked them to do what Jesus said to do!!!

A rock and a hard place

Here in Greece work is scarce at the moment. It is what is sometimes referred to as an employer’s market. There are more than enough people seeking the one job and so the employer can ask a low wage and even cheat them.

I have had a very hard time finding work. At times I do and others in the community slander me. Sadly no body is willing to make a sworn affidavit so that I can help my neighbor with self control and character (accountability).

Recently I worked. It was the first time in Greece, I have been here six years and so I am not experienced in the process. After a few days I got paid but was not asked for my tax id, etc. And the pay was low. So I sought advice and then went to the employment office and asked for the facts as to what my obligations are and what wage should I receive. So when I returned to work I simply handed him my numbers needed to hire me.

Now fear gripped me. What if he is unwilling to do the right thing and pay the government? I have four kids my wife does not work. We do not get the four kid benefit something about we have not been in Greece ten years (we have been for seven) we do not qualify for welfare for the same reason. Many people panic at this point and exclaim “how do you live?” Such fear that men have.

Well my employer offered to give me the money that would go to the government and continue to pay me under the table (a bribe). I replied that 1,000,000 people working one day in Greece is a lot of six euros that the government needs. Just because they do work should I do wrong in return? So he did the paper work paid me and yes let me go – that day! He did the paper work knowing I had consulted with the employment office. He even paid me a tip so at to satisfy me and get rid of me.

So I can’t pay my bills. I could have rationalized and said that working under the table enables me to pay the electric bill so I am doing good. That enjoying the benefit of having four kids they will never shut it off and allowing the bill to increase is a greater evil. But wouldn’t that be a lie I tell myself to justify my fear of what will I eat. And is it really a fear of what will I eat or a fear of not having pleasure?

This is where faith comes in. Jesus said the birds do not worry about what they will eat. Is it that simple? God I am going to do the right thing therefore you must feed me? But how – how will he do this? Well you can’t walk on water if you don’t step out on the water. Understanding does not come first but doing does! You will never know until you go all in!

Recently they offered a food card. We applied and were told that we might be lying since we claim four kids but our 2014 tax’s filed for 2013 says three kids. Well the baby was born in 2014 and will not show up until 2015 on our tax’s. Apparently we had ten days to clarify the discrepancy but were NOT notified when the ten days began and only found out the day they were handing out the cards which is too late and cannot refile. My wife was upset. I said if God has provided these seven years then he could have made this happen and didn’t. Yes they are stupid but no we will be fine. She was still not Ok so I encouraged her to send something to the government so that she does not hold a grudge.

Yes it can seem like suffering. Like the days or week when we have NO diapers. But this is really a great inconveniency, like the old days of washing clothes at the river. We forget that just 100 years ago there were no phones, electricity, one could not travel to the other side of the world in one day!

Greece is a nation of Christianity but does not act like Christ at all. Faith is not some theory you believe but is suppose to be an experience you had. So the day we would have nothing to eat the whole week we searched every nook and cranny for any change and none was left in the house I said to God “how can I tell people to trust you – to choose to do the right thing and God will provide if we do not eat tonight?” I was angry and a bit panicked saying to myself “what have I chosen? What have I done?’ I then went in the house and my wife walked up to me stunned and in shock – in plain view on top the dresser she just found a two Euro coin! This was not possible. With that we bought tomato sauce, spaghetti, flour, yeast from the baker, and a can of condensed milk. This gave us dinner and breakfast for tomorrow (home made bread).

Time and again: Once we had no diapers prayed and in the still small voice of God heard to go to the store and buy some. We have no money and reasoned that maybe someone in America put money in our American account – the worst that will happen is we will be embarrassed at the register when our card is declined. On the way there we found a ten Euro bill in the gutter!

Another time I was walking and heard the still small voice say “look in the garbage can” this is not a comfortable thing to do when you fear the opinions of men. Even thinking that it might cause one to say “Is this how God provided for having done justly?” but I obeyed and there was a bag of dippers. How odd!

One day I told God that I miss eating an omelet. The next day I was sitting and I hear him say “Go for a walk” as I walked he said “Go to sfakion street” as I walked I heard “Look left” and there was a bag with thirty fresh eggs!

So it has gotten easier to have faith due to experience. But endurance the long lasting of it is still to be conquered.

Why is Greece such a mess? Well in my opinion it is their philosophy. Their foundational philosophy (I will not go into it).

In original Christianity it was a family, the church was the mother. You can read my other posts to see some of the idea. It is no longer a family or a mother but more of an institution of cultural tradition, a convention. Like a soccer club that loves the sport but hates the other team even though without the other team there is no sport they are clicks, and clubs.

They no longer love their neighbor as themselves. They neglect mercy, justice, and faith. The double edge sword of love is suppose to heal every wound and to burn out every evil. Like the priest and the religious man they say that helping the injured man is less important. They have lost the interpretation of the Samaritan to mean a man whse souls is injured, they have lost the meaning that food is to know Gods will and clothing is to do his will.

David inspired of the Holy Spirit said he has never seen the man who does the right thing hunger nor his children begging for bread.

Me doing the right thing has so scared my religious parents both American and Greek that they feared that we are starving and sought to have our kids taken from us. I was raised to believe in God and when I chose too – those who demanded that I trust him said I was crazy to trust him?

This is like a man who asks you to do him a favor and then turns you in as a criminal for having done what he asked. It is a deep betrayal.

They have their reward and I have mine. We have trust maturity and serenity. They have their feast filled with back biting, murmurs, slander and contention.

Solomon inspired by the Holy Spirit said “better is a little with joy than feats with strife”

He also wrote that to do justly and judgment is better than sacrifice.

You see my employers business was filled with Icons. They believe that these honor God, but they are a sacrifice they are not obedience. As King Saul disobeyed in slaughtering the sheep they too post these icons as a drug as a way of silencing their conviction of guilt the burning coals that are there to mature them and heal them are smothered with false religious ritual rather than simply doing the right thing..

God speaks if you listen. He will tell you what you need to hear and not what you always want to hear. (Socrates called it the oracle within)

The current Greek government gave up. Surrendered! They chose to work under the table and not do the right thing for they do not know that God would take care of them, if they simply asked him too and for his guidance. If I was caught working there is consequence. The government will chastise me for having done what they did? Jesus said when you see hypocrisy to flee.

..if My people who are called by My name will HUMBLE themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Jesus said to seek the kingdom but everyone forgets the conjunction to that – and his justice! They like to say his righteousness as if to know how good he is. NO! To seek from him the strength, knowledge and trust TO DO THE RIGHT THING despite fears and instincts of the natural so that one can experience the supernatural. That despite how many times of how often we may fail that if we seek him to help us fix and do he will forgive mercifully anxiously!!!

Humble is what is missing more than the praying. “God I need some experience first in order to trust you. God what will I eat? How will you feed me?”

You see Moses was humble and yet had false humility. First he said I cannot speak. “So Ya God your stupid to choose me don’t you know anything I can’t speak!” Then he said Ok God how will they know you sent me? Then God gave him experience right then and there. And the ability to give those he was sent to to know he was sent. And despite being sent things got worse before they got better and despite all the signs they chose to murmur not willing to endure the surgery.

Such is a religion that does not mature people. Justice with mercy and learning to trust God matures us.

Brian