The Good News

I've participated in a number of religions, and have studied (and still study) many more. Of them all, the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth continue to be the basis for my faith. I'm convinced that Jesus is all about relationship with God and with others, not about religion. My standard of reference for his teachings are found in what is usually called "The New Testament". In his teachings, he often quotes or refers to the Hebrew Scriptures, which are these days frequently known as "The Old Testament".

If you're reading this, then you may already realise that you don't know God, but want to. The first thing you need to understand then, is that there is something that gets in the way, that separates us all from God. That something is called sin, or wrongdoing, or evil. If you can get to the point of admitting that, yes, you are evil (that is, you do or think bad things at times), then you're ready for the next step (called repentence in religious circles): turn away from doing bad. In other words, you decide, or resolve, to stop doing bad, and to allow God to motivate you and change you to do good.

Now I know that it sounds rather extreme to call oneself evil, but it isn't if you think about it carefully: Imagine if you will, what a brand new white bedsheet looks like. Now imagine what it would look like if it had a large bloodstain on it. You wouldn't be able to call it clean any more would you? So let's take this a bit further. Imagine that the bloodstain is only the size of a quarter. Would it be clean or would it still be dirty? Dirty, of course! But what if it's only a single drop of blood staining the sheet? We still can't call it clean, can we? And even if it's only a pinprick's worth of blood, it's still not really clean, now is it? In other words, it either needs to be cleaned or it doesn't, it's either clean or dirty. Your soul (psyche, being, what have you) is either coloured by evil you have done, or you have never done anything evil at all, ever. If you have ever done even the slightest evil, that's all it takes to separate you from God, who isn't evil and won't abide with the smallest drop of evil.

Next, you need to know that Jesus teaches that he is the key to knowing God. To quote him: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me". God, who cannot stand evil, had Jesus suffer the consequences of our evil, so that we can be free to know him. What Jesus did was to accept God's rejection of us because of our evil, wiping the slate clean for us, so that God will abide with us. But this hinges on our acceptance of what Jesus did for us. Understanding this then, to get to know God, you now need to open yourself up to Jesus, allowing him to reach into your being to make changes. When you do this, God will "hang with you", so to speak, and will let you get to know him. He will start changing who you are, making you willing to do good, to do the right thing, to think better things. He'll change you so that instead of thinking only in self-interest, you look out for the good of others. It's the ultimate in "think globally, act locally"!

Once you've reached this point, I'll let you know that God has given you a permanent record concerning who he is, and what he wants you to know about life and how to live it. Remember the "New" and "Old Testaments" I mentioned above? You can find a copy of them together at most bookstores under the title "The Bible". Buy a copy and start reading it. It's one of God's ways of communicating to you in your new relationship with him. You'll find out about other ways as you read the Bible. Additionally, you are now cleared to communicate with God. Although it's as easy as talking, it may take some getting used to, because you don't get to see the person you're talking to. The good part is that you don't have to talk out loud. God can read your mind!

The final thing you need to know, is that God wants you meet and get to know other folks who know him, and to work with them; allowing them to help you become a better person, with them allowing you to help them become better people. Groups of people who work and meet together like this are called churches. God wants you to find one and make it a part of your life.

If, after reading all this, you have questions or want to discuss something I've written, feel free to contact me. Keep in mind however, that even though I'm not afraid of the "hard questions", I don't have all the answers, and sometimes the answer can only be "there's no way to know right now". But I'd be more than willing to look for answers with you, or talk with you about what I've learned so far. And I'm always willing to listen if you have some answers, too.