>My New Manifesto – Life, Love and Service


>There it is; my purpose defined in a three words.

It’s taken about a month of research, careful thought and prayer but I think I’ve finally got it. What makes Lauren Sheil tick? An unwavering conviction that ALL life is sacred, the greatest commandment ever given is to love one another and that the best way to demonstrate those two convictions is through a life of service.

Life is Sacred
What does that mean? Does it mean I’m going to join P.E.T.A. or become a vegetarian? No, plants are living things too. I still have to eat but there is no point in un-necessary suffering or eating food that has a major impact on the environment. Short of moving to a farm and eating only what I raise myself it’s not possible to monitor everything about what I eat, just being conscious of it is enough.

What this really means is changing the lens with which I look at the world. Everything that affects the quality of life from obvious human rights violations to climate change policies has an impact. It goes way beyond being an environmentalist or animal rights activist. When all life is sacred there is no justification for war or oppression of any type, just as there is no justification for clear cutting forests, dumping toxic waste into a river or capital punishment.

In my second entry on this blog I stated that Peace without Justice is Oppression (My Peace Statement, Aug 9, 2009) I believe that even more strongly today. Life is sacred and any action that devalues life is sin, plain and simple.

Love One Another

36″Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:36-39

I’m going to upset a lot of people, Christians especially, when I say this but NOBODY does this right. Okay, maybe some people do but they are few and far between.

The first thing to note here is that Jesus was asked to give ONE law but ended up giving TWO. Why did he do that? I think it’s because they are impossible to separate. God is so deeply involved in the lives of people that you cannot demonstrate your love for him in isolation. So showing love to God with all your heart, soul and mind is done by showing that same love to your neighbour.

But who then is my neighbour? In Luke’s account of this same incident Jesus goes on to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s a well know story so I won’t recount it here but the bottom line is everyone is your neighbour; regardless of race, health, wealth or social standing! Most Christians I know would do well to stop here and read that again. We get a bad rap in the world because even non-Christians understand the meaning of this, they look to us to demonstrate it and all too often we fail. If Jesus were to tell this parable to Christians today he could just as easily call it the Good Muslim and instead of a traveller beaten up and left for dead on the side of the road it could be a gay man dying of AIDS.

God is far more interested in the condition of our hearts than some arbitrary rule of who’s inside or who’s outside of the circle. Suffering is suffering and loving service to individuals is the only appropriate response.

This brings me to my final point:

Service

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13″You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. John 13:12-14

The significance of foot washing has been lost in our modern context. Today when we come in to someone’s house we take off our shoes but in Jesus day when a person came in from the outdoors, especially after travelling a long distance they had to wash their feet. People wore sandals and so their feet would have obviously been dirty. In a larger house the job of washing a visitor’s feet would have fallen to the lowliest of servants. So when Jesus, the “Lord”, washed the feet of his disciples at the last supper it would have been shocking to everyone present, in fact Peter was so horrified at the thought that he initially refused to allow it.

Jesus teaching on how to show love comes down to this moment, as the most powerful human ever to walk the earth, he was in essence GOD, Jesus tells us to wash one another’s feet. Relinquish your “standing” in any situation and willingly do the most menial of tasks in the service of others.

So there you have it; my purpose in life and the reasoning behind it.

Respect Life, Love All and Serve.

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5 thoughts on “>My New Manifesto – Life, Love and Service

  1. >I can see you have spent a long time working toward your manifesto. I think you have captured our purpose on this mortal coil very well. I too am of the same mind. It's a simple guide but very challenging at times to keep true to.

  2. >I agree with your premise here. While, we see differently on many things, this post is not one of them. I have studied the history and customs of the people Jesus interacted with in depth. You really can't fully understand Biblical stories or the significance of them. We know that there were many things that happened during the life of Jesus that went untold, but for whatever reason, God felt it necessary that we know about the events we are told about. You mentioned the "Good Samaritan" story. The Jews thought non-Jews were absolute scum, but Samaritans were descendants of the remnant of the 10 northern tribes that were carried off into captivity by the Assyrians. Those that were left were forced to intermarry with captives of other nations under the Assyrian yoke. This was done to eliminate national identity of those under Assyrian control to prevent rebellions spurred by nationalism. Among the most important commandments in the law of Moses was not to intermarry with other races or followers of other religions. So the Samaritans were worse than non-Jews as they were an abomination to the Mosaic law. So, calling someone a Samaritan was comparable to today's racial slurs, such as the one starting with "N" for dark skinned people here in America, if not worse. I attend a congregation that is very racially mixed with Americans of all races, folks from many Carribean islands, and I think it's great and I would never use such racial attacks. A Samaritan was lower than a child rapist in our society. Think about the Samaritan woman at the well, who said about herself "even the dogs get crumbs." We really don't have an expression I can use decently to express how the Jews felt about Samaritans. The washing of the feet was usually done by slaves, or it a show of ultimate respect, humility or love for others. I tend to think of that as equal to the US President working on a garbage truck. That's how shocking seeing Jesus footwashing would have been to those who witnessed it.Both these stories were intended to show that all the preconceptions that were pervasive in 1st Century Jewish Society that were wrong and were about to come to an end.I recently got an E-mail from someone who claims to have the same political ideology as I do who tried to make an argument that there is nothing wrong with hating those we disagree with politically and I am going to post it on my blog along with a strong rebuttal. I believe it's okay to hate an ideology, or the results of that ideaology being implemented but here in America, those that support the atheist agenda hate Christian values and traditions, but they also hate us. Their attacks on us are spitefull and hate fuelled. If we carry that same attitude, then we are no better than them.By the way, have you of the Manhattan Petition? It is spreading across Christian America at an almost viral pace. You are not American but it is still worth reading and discussing so I will send it to you in an E-Mail shortly.

  3. >There may be many things we disagree on given we live in different cultures. The culture just between States in the US changes drastically. So we have lived different lives, have different attitudes on many things, but don't think that because I disagree with you or any of your readers, especially when it comes to political subject matter, that my disagreement is personal. I don't intentionally do personal attacks, and I try my best to back up my opinions with sound reasoning. I just blocked someone from my political blog for pushing hate for those we disagree with politically. I will not stand for such attitudes. You can hate what someone stands for or what they do, but hating people is wrong on many levels. Such hate leads to tyranny and war, not to mention commands from God in that respect. I have strongly disagreed here with support over "Nationalizing" health care in the USA, however, I did so without resorting to personal attacks, and I think I made a decent case for my side while making a friend at the same time. I think that if you are making friends out of people you oppose in a debate, you are doing things as our Lord would want us to. I try my best in that regard. One thing to think about, there is no Biblical command for Christians to agree on everything in life. There are commands regarding how we treat those we disagree with. There is a big difference.

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