Arthur's Journal on God & Politics
What Does It Mean to be Christian in America?
A God of War
Apocalypse & End Times
Biblical Literalism
Christ Path
Conformity & Orthodoxy
Fear, Shame & Guilt
God & Politics
Goodness, Morality & Sin
Heresy & Heretics
History, Mystery & Doubt
Kindergarten Religion
Mental Spiritual Constructs
Mystical Christianity
Mythical Proportions
Passion of The Christ ...
Someone Else's Magic

The American Christian

Sermons & Writings on Religion & Spirituality by Arthur Ruger

Jesus' Self Portrait
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me”

I have not been called to join a church or be validated by the formality of an organized sect.

God, the Eternal Father in Heaven communes with me. His spirit lives in me always. Father has called me and invigorates me through the Spirit. I and the Father are one. And so are each of you.

“He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.”

Our Father is the God of Compassion. The poor are numerous and their poverty is not only a want of bread, but a poverty of spirit. Yet theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

The gospel is a living practice of the life of compassion, concern, kindness and advocacy on behalf of the poor.

I am not called to get the poor to join churches, but to love the poor as I myself love the Father.

“He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted.”

Those who mourn will be comforted. The meek will inherit the earth.

He hath not sent me to say ‘Be of good cheer, say your prayers, and God will bless you.’

He hath not sent me to say ‘Take upon yourself my name and declare that I am your redeemer and all will go well with you.’

He hath sent me to cheer the brokenhearted with my own strength and spirit, pray for the brokenhearted as I pray for my own brokenheartedness.

He hath sent me to bring the brokenhearted into my own circle of prayer and bless them by deed more than word.

“To preach deliverance to the captives.”

Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled. The merciful will be shown mercy.

He hath sent me to teach the captives about their freedom and to work with them to attain freedom.

He hath sent me to place less value on my own riches and comfort and a greater worth on acts of goodness for the sake of goodness.

He hath not called me to stand in a church, speak from a book, condemn from the pulpit and retire to my mansion.

“And recovering sight to the blind”

He hath not called me to say, ‘Lo, come to my chapel and be saved,’ but to send me out of my chapel and into the darkness with a light of compassion and action.

Where there is blindness, I come to teach vision, a life led by the Spirit, and knowledge of the God of Compassion.

I come to urge repentance to wholeness in an absence of blind guilt, sorrow and a sense of condemnation at the hands of those who deem themselves righteous rather than upright.

“To set at liberty them that are bruised.”

The pure in heart will see God. Peacemakers will be called the sons of God. And the persecuted? Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

He hath not called me to inflict fear, shame nor guilt, but to bandage wounds, pour on oil and wine and carry to the inn and pay from my own sources for the ministrations of healing.

“To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

A time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. The acceptable year of the Lord is every year, every month, every week, every day as God and Heaven are a living part of every moment.

As I write this we citizens of the United States of America live in a country that has nurtured and sheltered the growth of religion within its borders - buttressed by what has become a constitutional mandate to keep state and religion officially separated.

As I write this I’m aware that there is a movement toward abolishing the legal separation of church and state - a movement that of itself is legally part of the rights of citizens to advocate for legal and governmental change. The U.S.A is a country dominated by Christianity but remains by no means the sort of Christian Nation some advocates encourage.

Advocating for change and reform is part of what it means to be American, like baseball, apple pie and Mom. Seriously considering change and reform must include a sense of what “being American” really means on an individual level. But politics and religion seem to remain among a majority subjects of social discussion most frequently made taboo or avoided, primarily because I suppose, politics and religion bring out our passions.

Today it is time for our passions to speak. In the absence of our own passions, we are passively allowing our society to slide toward being told by others the correct answer to “What does it mean to be Christian in America.”

For me being an American Christian equates to believing in Jesus Christ as the founder of a global religion that has become the predominant spiritual philosophy in this country. Christianity as a global religion is not the product of a historical religious imperialism that proved itself the most successful force behind its growth (although religious imperialism is part of Christian history.) Were such true, global Christianity would already look more like what the most aggressive right wing Christian agitators are attempting today in America.

We then are either spectators of or participants in a conflict in this country about whether or not a “Holy (or Wholly) American Christian Church will rise and separate itself from the original. In light of today’s most important happening, death and destruction on the Gulf Coast, those who remain part of the original global Christianity find themselves curiously upstaged when exhorting all Christians to be the Good Samaritans by those whose view remains steadfastly focused on separating the country and its people from reality.

Numerous of these pastoral agitators have stepped to the plate - ignoring the suffering - and exploiting the tragedy for ideological desires. Use a search engine and plug in “Katrina God’s punishment” and your hits will be in the tens of thousands. One example:

What being Christian ought to mean …

If I follow Jesus I follow the ultimate portrayer of human goodness. I follow Him who taught me that love of God and each other, that compassion and understanding are the highest spiritual virtues to be sought. I follow Him who modeled perfectly what it means to be Christian in America and the World.

Jesus tells me to love and be concerned about the poor, the suffering, the weary, and to learn and practice compassion.

Christian Celebrity Agitators (CCA’s) tell me that such is not as important as this stuff:

-Being seriously frightened by the threat of my children being indoctrinated in the homosexual lifestyle,

-Being more concerned about a plot by judges to assault my right to publicly acknowledge God.

-Being outraged by media slander of Christians which is in reality a media slander evoked by slanderous agitating right wing Christian celebrities with big mouths who bring negative responses on because of their own actions.

-Being disgusted by Hollywood attacks on Judeo-Christian ethics which, as defined by CCA’s, are distinctly separate from common sense ethics, personal morality and sense of goodness - thereby inferior to CCA-defined values for the rest of us.

-Being very worried that America is about to experience the lifting of God’s hand of protection and the imposing of His judgment on the nation most responsible for endangering the land and people of Israel.

CCA’s express this in a form that assumes that we all - like they - have glibly accepted the notion that America is special above all other peoples;

that God has maintained some sort of holy curtain of protection from natural and man-made disasters and attacks historically because of our supposed holiness;

that America has enjoyed some vague status in the eyes of God as an especially chosen people and nation more worthy than the rest of the world.

-Being “fearful” of God in a way that recognizes God’s capacity for wrath and punishment to those who stray, backslide and slip into immorality. The God of the CCA’s is perfectly capable of destroying the innocent with the guilty as evidenced during the 9/11 attacks and the godly fist of Katrina expressing His displeasure with an entire city that has supposedly mocked God for too long.

This is the stuff of which an American Christian separation from global Christianity is made.

You tell me, gentle readers. What does it mean to you to be Christian in America at this time in our history?

A large portion of those who are Christian in this country are not politically nor religiously/evangelistically active and will not be aware of the points - pro or con - upon which this article is based.

Although many Christians are not actively and outwardly religious except perhaps on rare Sundays, special holidays or family events, there are millions who sit in congregations and outwardly celebrate their religion in a spirit of worship and fellowship every week. Yet many of these do not cross the line into the politics-and-religion discourse. They are content in their lives but are they content with what they are told from the pulpit or see and hear on television and radio?

The citizens of this country named in the above two paragraphs comprise those who hold the power to impact the political and spiritual direction in the U.S. and the time is coming when it will be unavoidably necessary to willfully and powerfully express themselves as to what being Christian in America really means.

What E'r Thou Art


And who Writes here?
Arthur Ruger is a social worker, a poet and writer on religion and spirituality.

Originally trained for priesthood and ministry in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Arthur more recently has labored at St. Johns Episcopal Parish in South Bend, Washington as a lay preacher, organist and Senior Warden.

In addition to an intense interest in the American political and regious scene, Arthur's is actively concerned with leigitmate family values and priorities and not the pretend issues of those seeking political power and wealth.

"Family issues and values are important as we are parents of a blended family with 8 children and 16 grandchildren."

Arthur Ruger's Historical Novel about courage and faith in the Great American West

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Rose Blake and her family in England are trapped in circumstances and events that are destroying their lives. Jacob Hannah is a violent man called to a preaching ministry by Brigham Young in an effort to save his soul. Based on an actual historical event, And Should We Die is human nature at it's best and worst, a struggle to survive against an unforgiving mother nature. And Should We Die is ultimately a love story from out of the history of the American West.


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The American Christian is a journal based in Bay Center, Washington. 
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