So here’s a little parable of what it’s like to be a Christian in the world with hopefully a good witness so that others are drawn into the faith.

My neighbors’ dog likes to poop on my sidewalk. It’s a little dog and (oh, there are two little dogs) and they don’t like trudging into the snow.

Well, one day I mentioned it somewhat humorously to my neighbor who was then cleaning up the sidewalk. The next time it happened I shoveled it on to the neighbor’s lawn. Now the poop is back. They are sweet people. They are busy with a little child. But it’s a small thing to pick up the poop. Everybody should. It’s sort of the rule of the community.

So what to do? I could photograph the poop and take it to the HOA committee. I could have another talk with the neighbor. I could pick it up myself. My son tells me not to reward laziness. And then again I want to be the kind of Christian neighbor who is liked and thereby gains entrance for a conversation about faith. (My neighbors are agnostics).

It’s not only about the poop. It’s about a lot of things in life. There are times to be kind even to those who are not kind to you. There are times to be firm about issues of justice. I am not saying that poop on my sidewalk is all that much about justice. A little fairness perhaps.

How to make the best Christian witness, letting our light shine in order that others see our good works and glorify God. That really is the question in so many cases within our home and out there in the world.

If a person’s dog poops on your sidewalk let the dog poop on your lawn. If your neighbor won’t carry the poor 10 feet then you carry it 20 feet.

I suppose I could pray that the dog be constipated but that doesn’t seem very Christian or that the neighbor gets some common sense. Or that the dogs grow longer legs to poop in the higher snow.

Think for a moment about the little situations in life and how to react. I can’t do much about North Korea at the moment. And I don’t wish to get involved in the Middle East. Does the way I vote affect my testimony? Do my tattoos detract from my witness for Christ?

But then again who is anyone to judge me and make me so self-conscious about such little things in life? I am even thinking these days to vote for Bernie Sanders.

By the way. I am going to pick up the dog poop, put it in a little plastic bag and set it on the lawn, as a favor and suggestion. And then I will tell them God loves them.

A New Sheriff in Town

Matthew 5:6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied fully.’

Back in 1968 the Rev. Martin Luther King spoke these words about the Kingdom of God and justice: It’s all right to talk about “long white robes over yonder,” in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It’s all right to talk about “streets flowing with milk and honey,” but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day. It’s all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God’s preachers must talk about the New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do. (from the Mountain Top speech)

Righteousness and Justice is not only for getting saved and getting into heaven. It is for now and for here. Of course Christ is our righteousness but he is also our Lord for our day-to-day life. People in Jesus’ day were looking for a Messiah to bring justice to their land. Jesus says that it happens in the Kingdom of God. Jesus made it very clear to his followers that they were to love each other in deeds done out of mercy. They were to be concerned for their neighbor, which basically meant anyone in need. They were to care for the sick, the hungry, the homeless and the imprisoned and well, really, anyone. So those who want to see things get right will indeed meet a friend in Jesus and Kingdom life will include right living, right believing, and right doing.

I often like to say that with Jesus’ entry into the world, ‘a new sheriff has come to town.’