May 20-B, 2023

The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/16/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Botany Bay Heritage Wildlife Preserve/Refuge,
Edisto Island, South Carolina
Jesus' question,
"Who do you say that I am?"
came immediately following,
"Who do others say that I am?"
And sets the seat of authority
squarely upon the individuals
he is addressing,
and not upon any self-proclaimed
contemporary authority, 
or any self-proclaimed "Orthodox"
authority that might appear
at any point in the future.

Jesus also left unasked the obvious
follow-up question,
"Who do you say you are?"
which is equal in every way to his,
"What do you think about me?" query.

We are the authority!
What we say about who Jesus is
and who we are
stands before us throughout our life
as the model guiding us 
through all situations/circumstances
in a "This is who I am,
and this is what I do,
and what I leave undone" kind of way.

Who Jesus is and who we are
are not far apart.
If Jesus can do it, we can do it.

We are the authority, remember.
If we decide to cast away sin,
and replace it with seeing,
so that realization becomes
more important than repentance and redemption,
we have the prerogative to do that.

And if we are challenged by orthodoxy
at any point along the way,
we can declare that we "Take it on faith"
that self-determination is as much our right
as it is a right of the orthodox
to determine what is proper and what is heresy--
not only for themselves but also for everyone else.

And if they call it heresy,
what of it?

We are in charge of our life
from birth to death.
To hand that position over
to someone else is a dereliction of duty,
and a failure to comply with the 
requirements of being a human being
at the deepest level.

We cannot be bullied into living
like someone--anyone--else
declares that we should live.

Be true to what is the inner you,
and live in sync with the guides within.

Who do you say that you are?
Live in light of that always,
in all matters great and small!  


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Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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