Tag: Masks

Christian, Which Side Are You On?

Jesus loves everyone, He is pro-human.

He is All and in all.

 

He stands for everyone, but He doesn’t stand with everyone.

He takes sides. Definitive sides. Everywhere He goes, everything He does, and everything He says takes a side.

 

When Jesus invites people into His life, He seeks followers, not believers. Followers of His actions, example, and teachings. For Jesus, mere beliefs don’t change anything, actions can change everything. In fact, He scolds those whose faith is merely an exercise in creedal accession and lacking in actions that duplicate His. Their beliefs count for nothing and cost Him greatly. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the follower, not the believer.

When Jesus interacts with the poor in spirit, heart, mind, health, sustenance, and possessions, He takes care of them, defends them, and clothes them in high standing and value among all of humanity. He berates the privileged, the down-lookers, the stingy, the hoarders, the best-life living, the callous, and the wealthy, admonishing them to check their attitudes and write the checks that flip the tables of classism and privilege. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the poor, not the privileged.

When Jesus dines with “sinners,” He strips them of the label and tattoos their forehead with “friend.” When a woman is caught in adultery, He steps in and across to “Jackie-Chan” the religious haters and thrust a force field over her, disarming bigoted stones. Nobody rants against faith-phonies and legalism-pushers like Jesus. Nobody spits out religious to-do steps, sin-management, and “you must invite Him into your heart” like Jesus does. One religious lung-biscuit after another, He vomits faith-conservatism out of His mouth. The religiously condemned and oppressed are His people. The condemners and the oppressors, not so much. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the condemned, not the condemner.

When Jesus gathers His disciples for one last huddle, He tasks them with making “learners” of Him throughout the world. Yes, “learners,” not “lorders.” Learners who are free to think, free to doubt, free to question, and free to believe or disbelieve. Their learners–learners who can be learners of Him within all faiths, for He is All and in all. Those who want to use Him for political purposes, for gaining power over people, or for demanding their flavor of faith upon the masses, He resists and disowns, as they are far from being in tune with His message and mission. To any who wish to lord, colonize, or bulldoze their faith into hearts and society, He spreads donkey dung upon their self-serving path and dies on a cross so everyone will know the difference between Him and them. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the learner, not the lorder. 

When in the face of a capitalistic society, Jesus tells the controversial story of a boss who pays some workers exactly what he promised for the amount of time they worked. At the same time, he hires other workers to work less time, but pays them the same as those who worked longer. Of course, the original workers were furious, surely claiming that the boss was being “unfair” and socialistic. Jesus highlights the story to uplift the value of grace. The boss didn’t withhold blessings from the first workers, he simply graced the others. By capitalistic standards, it wasn’t fair. In the mind of Jesus, it was better than fair, it was grace. When it comes to anything, from “an eye for an eye” to “selling all your possessions,” Jesus doesn’t side with “fairness.” He doesn’t side with a “fairness” that rigs systems towards the benefit of the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Jesus sides with grace. And to those who withhold it, they receive His deep disdain. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the gracious, not the fair.

When confronted by a group of the religious who insisted that God favored them and were the center of His approval, heart, and blessings, He told them about a shepherd who had a 100 sheep, but left 99 of them to rescue one that got away. But not just got away; shoved out. The one who saw his escape as his only path of survival. The one that had been condemned, marginalized, thrown to the curb, and branded as an outsider. The one “loss” that was deemed by the 99 as the cost of being a “free” herd of sheep. So, Jesus turns over their religious calculations through a simple story to show that God actually sides with the one, not the 99. 

The one gun victim, not the 99 gun owners. The one transgender child, not the 99 MAGA bullies. The one gay teenager, not the 99 religious bigots. The one searching for the whole truth, not the 99 book banners and racist history erasers. The one raped woman, not the 99 political careers. The one falsely convicted, not the 99 hooded courtrooms. The one who can’t breathe, not the 99 cops who refuse restraint. The one medically vulnerable, not the 99 anti-maskers. The one following Jesus out of church, not the 99 in church who don’t follow Jesus at all. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the one, not the 99.

 

Everywhere Jesus is, He’s taking a side.

For the cross is the divine line drawn across the cosmos that makes absolutely clear that God does, indeed, take sides.

 

Christian, which side are you on? 

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

Questions For Every School Board Before Reopening

The science is clear, Covid-19 has produced a dangerous and deadly pandemic. It’s nothing like the flu or the common cold. As of late, the amount of people contracting this virus has increased dramatically, largely because significant populations are unwilling to take even basic precautions. Regardless of fringe conspiracies and political bias, the urgency of this health and information crisis remains. Lives are at stake.

Enter, the reopening of schools.

This is truly where the rubber meets the road for our society. The choices of school boards will greatly reflect what our society values most and the maturity we have as humans in the face of crisis. As many are concerned, the clock is ticking to make critical decisions in regards to the reopening of schools that will affect the lives of everyone involved, not just students.  

In my opinion, as a parent and spouse of a teacher, the following are questions that must be raised and answered as school boards discern the best pathway forward. 

1) What is your priority, the lives of teachers and their families, students and their families, and staff and their families or in-person education? Which one is more important? Are you willing to take the clear and established risk of death that in-person education creates in exchange for an urgent reopening of schools with some form of in-person instruction?

2) Is delay of gratification an important principle for life and decisions? Is there room in your decision making to temporarily delay in-person education of any form for the sake of preventing the probability of permanent death to your students and their families, teachers and their families, or staff and their families?

3) How do you justify having virtual school board and leadership meetings for safety purposes yet ask students, teachers, and staff to participate in an in-person educational environment? 

4) If you measure a child’s temperature before entering an in-person educational environment, who will discern those students who have been medicated to reduce their fevers upon entering? Will temperatures be taken throughout the day? If so, who will be doing this? How will the school know if a child, teacher, or staff member tests positive for Covid-19? If a child presents symptoms of Covid-19 before or during school, what actions will be taken? If that child must remain at school, where will they go and who will monitor them?

5) When it’s known that a student, teacher, or staff member tests positive for Covid-19, will all persons having been in contact or proximity to them be required to quarantine for 14 days? When it’s a teacher or staff member, will they receive additional sick leave to cover their absence? When their recovery takes months, will they continue to be compensated even if they don’t have short-term disability? Knowing that some persons having had Covid 19 experience a return of the virus, will these students, teachers, or staff persons be allowed to return to an in-person instructional environment?

6) What becomes of the teacher or staff member who, due to their own medically validated health reasons or that of family members, is significantly placed at an even higher risk in an in-person educational environment and therefore refuses to do so? Will they be fired? Do they not have a civil right to work in a safe, educational environment as was established upon employment? Do you have teaching or staff options available with the same compensation and benefits for these high risk persons? Are you prepared for the numerous lawsuits that will ensue?

7) If masks or distancing are required in an in-person educational environment, what will be the consequences of violating these rules? Who will be enforcing these rules and consequences? Will there be different rules for different environments? If so, what are they and are they agreed upon?

8) What efforts have been made to hear from and solicit the concerns of your most important asset… teachers?  Have they been provided an autonomous environment from which to speak openly and honestly about their questions and concerns? What weight do those concerns carry?

9) In the end, what is the teaching moment for your school board in all of this? If you say that “The education of our students is the most important thing,” then how can that be achieved if they’re dead, their teacher is dead, or a staff member is dead–all unnecessarily? 

Is the removal of a temporary educational setback more important than people’s lives? Are academic performance, goals, and career ambitions more important than people’s lives? Is your alignment to personal politics more important than people’s lives? Are your personal agendas more important than people’s lives. As a school board, are the lives of students, teachers, and staff members expendable? In the months ahead, is the ultimate exam given to students, teachers, and staff going to be to see if they can stay alive? Instead of the EOG (End Of Grade) testing, will it be more like an EOL (End Of Life) testing?

In short, is your love of the idea of education more important than the reality of people’s lives? 

Choose wisely.

The lives of students, teachers, staff members and their families are literally all on you.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

© 2022 Chris Kratzer

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