Monday, May 30, 2005

By Their Actions Shall You Know Them

I've whined a lot about how us liberal Christians get smeared because of the unconscionable behavior of the Religious Reich. After all, we progressives are better than that; we have more compassion, sensitivity, and rationality than those whack-jobs. Just about the time I get sufficiently full of myself, something knocks me upside the head and tells me to get over myself.

Today it was an email summary of my local network news program. I've stopped watching television, all television, because it seemed so irrelevant, but I still haven't gotten around to cancelling that damned email alert. Today's intrigued me enough to check out this story.

BALTIMORE -- Medical ethicists are intrigued by a communal group called Jesus Christians, many of whose members have donated one of their kidneys to total strangers.

The Jesus Christians base their surgical donations on the apostle Paul's New Testament letter to the Romans, which says Christians should present their bodies as "living sacrifices."

They also point to John the Baptist, who urged those who had two coats to give to those who had none.

Medical ethicists say peer pressure within religious groups can be a concern, but note that faith can be a valid reason for an organ donation.

Instead of holding jobs, Jesus Christians live on gifts and spend their time handing out literature and volunteering around their communes in the United States, Australia and England.

My first response was "cult!" but, as I thought about it, even if it were a cult, it was doing something I don't know that I would have the courage to do. These people were living their belief system to the benefit of strangers. They were taking the words of the Bible literally, but in a way that gives life rather than sucks it out.

I went to their homepage and discovered that they in fact are 'end times folks.' Still, even though I don't agree with some of their premises, and I wouldn't leave my current spiritual home, I am impressed with the integrity of their movement.

And I am also embarrassed by my tepid nature when it comes to living the life Jesus asked us to.


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