Dear STL Supporter
In his book, The Christ of the Indian Road, the author Dr E Stanely Jones quotes the great Indian peace activist and political leader, Gandhi, as saying - I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. Reportedly, Jones had asked him the question - How can more Indians be bought to Christ? Gandhi's view of Christianity was based on his observations of nations and individuals who claimed to be Christians.
Here is a great challenge to those of us who say we are Christians. Are we Christ magnates or do we repel others who could be attracted to Christianity?
What advice would Gandhi give those who claim the name of Christian today? How would Gandhi view the practice of Christianity around the world in our day, on a personal and national level?
There are the so-called Christian nations with leaders that are elected by the people. The United States of American is a paramount example. Would Gandhi see today, Christ in the Christian nations and their leaders and populations?
Charisma News on January 6, 2017, reporting on the religious make-up of the 115th Congress of the USA, identified the following religious affiliations of the 536 elected members. These affiliations are Mainline Protestant Christian - 150, Evangelical Protestant Christian - 149, Roman Catholic -168 (Classified in the analysis under the heading of Christian), Orthodox Christian - 5. That's 88 percent of Congress's members. The remaining members are either Jewish (6 percent), Mormon (3 percent), Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Unitarian/Universalist (2 percent), No Religious Affiliation or Refused to Disclose (2 percent). The report states - Nearly all Republicans (99.3 percent) claim to be Christian, while more than three-fourths of Democrats (80.2 percent) make the same profession of faith. Interestingly, the percentage make-up of the Congress is almost identical to the one that existed in 1961 when John F Kennedy was elected to be president. However, the percentage make - up of the religious affiliations of the population of the USA has the number of people who claim to be Christians at a much lower level than those of their Congress representatives. How do the politics, laws, legislative processes, practiced values and behavior of the citizens of the USA shape-up to Gandhi's scrutiny today? What real difference are the Christians making in the USA?
According to Wikipedia there is no similar breakdown for the stated religious affiliations of members of the Australian House of Representatives. Australia does not claim to be a Christian nation. However, the traditional values that once underpinned the morality and laws of Australia were based on Christian values. Some of these are being solidly eroded. Prayer has played a part in the opening of the Australian Parliament and many of the politicians attend a Christian service that proceeds the first day of a new parliamentary sitting. Australia still embraces the English Monarchy, represented in Australia by the Governor General. Our Queen is the symbolic head of the Anglican Church. At the 2011 Census only 61 percent of Australians identified as being Christian (This includes Catholic). That's our reality.
The on-line publication, The New Matilda (August 17, 2015), commenting on religious/Christian influence in the Australian parliament asked the question - But how many MPs are among the 32 per cent of Australians who continue to assert that "Genesis is the inerrant Word of God"? Do they also accept the story of Noah's Ark as historical fact, and that the Earth is only 6,000 years old? The article goes on to make the statement - The full extent of covert religious influence in Australian politics is a mystery, although the present government is seen as highly Christianized. It surfaces only in those rare moments when parliamentarians are caught off guard, or they become overly brazen. How would the politics, laws, legislative processes, practiced values and behavior of the citizens of our own country, Australia, shape-up to Gandhi's scrutiny today? What real difference are Christians making in Australia today?
Gandhi's reported advice to Dr. E Stanely Jones in summary was - All of you Christians should live more like your Christ. Practice your Christianity without adulterating it. Put more emphasis in practice on love. Study the non-Christian religions more sympathetically in order to find the good in them, so that you might have a more sympathetic approach to the people.
Jesus tells us -Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5: 14) Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Tim 3: 5 to be wary of having a form of Godliness. How does the light shine? In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul also says Charity (or Christian love) suffereth long, and is kind; envieth not; vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. Now if Gandhi had experienced the above from Christian people and organizations his advice to Dr E Stanely Jones would not have been necessary.
The poem - I Am a Christian (Author Unknown) contrasts strongly with the double standard that many see in 'The Christian World'. It reads -
When I say I am a Christian I am not shouting that I am clean living.
I'm whispering, 'I am lost, but now I am found and forgiven.'
When I say I am a Christian I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.
When I say I am a Christian I'm not trying to be strong.
I am professing I am weak and need Christ to carry on.
When I say I am a Christian I'm not bragging of success.
I am admitting that I have failed and need God to clean up my mess.
When I say I am a Christian I'm not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are too visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say I am a Christian I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.
When I say I am a Christian I'm not holier than thou.
I'm just a simple sinner who receives God's grace somehow.
Coming Steps to Life Events
Lyle Shelton, Sabbath Afternoon, February 25, Heathmont Baptist Church, Melbourne - Lyle Shelton from the Australian Christian Lobby, will be providing an update on the renewed push for same-sex marriage recognition, the Safe Schools Program, the erosion of religious freedom and the unborn child's right to life. (See enclosed/attached brochure for more details.)
Sunday Health Seminar With - Oscar Sande, Sunday March 5, starting 10.00 am. Session 1: SIBO. What is it? Many people suffer from SIBO. It is one of the causes of autoimmune disorders. Come and discover what SIBO is and how it can be managed.
Session 2: Diabetes, Sugar Starving Cells and More.
Lunch will be provided, which will be followed by a cooking demonstration by May and Abigail Placer.
Gods Reformation vs The Community of Unity, Weekend Spiritual Seminar, with Pastor Daniel Mesa. While there are those proclaiming that the Reformation has ended, Daniel will take us on a journey through the passages of scripture in Daniel and Revelation revealing God's plan for unity in His truth. Pastor Daniel will also tell of how God intervened in his life and took him from being a heavy-metal drummer to being in full-time service for God. (See enclosed/attached brochure for more details, dates and venues.)
With Christian Greetings from Cherryl and the STL Team
Programs Coordinator/ Brian Way
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