Christmas 2000 Years Later - There is Still No Room for Him
Wednesday, December 22, 2021 12:24 PM

Christmas 2000 Years Later - There is Still No Room for Him

Wednesday, December 22, 2021 12:24 PM
Wednesday, December 22, 2021 12:24 PM

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author. They are not and do not necessarily reflect the opinion(s) or position(s) of the organization, board of directors and/or any other individual(s) or entity (ies) affiliated or unaffiliated with Christians in Public Service, Inc. Email dburton@cipsinc.org 



It has been quite the year! I often found myself, though serving, praying and working, lost in the confusion of the day.

Nothing was making sense to me anymore. Everywhere I looked, there was confusion, shouting, anger, hate, racism, unloving, unkind people who claimed the mantle of Christianity but showed anything but.

Finding myself after a long, exhausting year in the month of December, planning for our annual award luncheon, I was emotionally, physically, spiritually spent.

The only thing that kept me going was the promise I made to Dr. Ron Anderson, one of our founding directors, now home with the Lord and after whom the award is named, that I wouldn't quit. Though this year for the first time --- that thought appealed to me stronger than at any other time since founding this organization.

I kept telling myself, "just get through December 4th Dorothy." The date of our luncheon.

My house was a mess. I was a mess. Thanksgiving a blur. Nothing was coming together for the luncheon and I had never felt so alone.

I had to somehow find my center again. 

After the luncheon - which thankfully for the sake of His name, God answered my and others' prayers and it turned out to be one of the most beautiful ever.

But I was no less mentally and physically exhausted. In the meantime, Christmas was all around. The sights and sounds of Christmas -- the carols, the trees, decorations.

But my life and home were a wreck. I withdrew. Started cleaning like a mad woman. Throwing this out and that out. Dusting in places I hadn't touched in seemingly years. Our beautiful 4,200 square-ft. home seemed empty, cluttered and lifeless. Kinda like I was.

Do you know that our surroundings are a reflection of us? 

I didn't need a new mirror - I needed a new me - from the inside.

We have books everywhere in our home. I am an avid reader, with a goal of reading 4 books a month. I had not met that goal in months and my bible-reading was practically on auto-pilot. Even recording my weekly podcast and devotional were from auto-pilot. I was empty.

I desperately needed a new view of Jesus. No, I needed Jesus. I wanted to, had to, somehow find my way back to Christmas 0001 - back to the manger. Back to the formative years of the Savior. Back to his life. Back to His teachings. Back to His ways.

The book of Luke - yes Dr. Luke gives us the most comprehensive recording of the life of Jesus and I delved headlong and heartlong into it. Reading and slowly meditating on a chapter a day. Making my way still with wonder through its pages.

Meditating on Jesus' life. His works. His words. His ways. A seminary grad and lifelong church member, I am today like a kid in a candy store. 

I got some rest, deep-cleaned our home. Back-breaking work, but there is something cathartic about mopping and cleaning! 

I began thinking about the state of the church today and how far off the mark we are. How far from the teachings of Jesus. 

How did we get from there to shouts of "Let's Go Brandon!" (F*ck Joe Biden!) in sanctuaries and among those who claim him?

This is not meant to be a criticism of Christianity but studied observation. And a lot of thought over this past year.
 
The evangelical church, of which I have been part for over 35 years now, trained in it - but it was, in America, founded in supremacy, rooted in domination, control and misconstrued hiearchy.
 
While at the same time sanctioning, participating in and furthering the evil and cruel enslavement of other humans... themselves created in the very image of God.
 
It is little wonder why it is so weak today.
 
The only question is why it took so long for it to become so evident?  It had to be revealed and only God could reveal it.
 
Multi-million dollar tax-free "ministries" sprang up, patterned after the capitalistic and political system of the country, not patterned after the Kingdom.
 
In fact, the true Kingdom as Jesus taught, would be booed and hissed today. Dismissed as socialism, leftist lunacy and yes, some would even find a way to throw in CRT.
 
Evangelicalism in America today does not for the most part operate or even give cursory nods to the Kingdom.
 
But "ministry" as they wanted it to be. Fashioned it to be. Created it to be. Using the Bible to justify or in many cases misjustify it and bend it toward a particular political bent.
 
Preaching people into heaven, damning them to hell, with so much emphasis on evangelicalism and being "born again." But little to no emphasis on love, humility, giving, kindness and sacrifice.
 
Leaning as heavily on the "rule of law" as the religious leaders of Jesus's day did religious law, rarely speaking of grace, compassion and selflessness.
 
Jesus never day-to-day preached and certainly did not build his work on the "born again" ministry mantra. This came out of the religion of the church. Hello!
 
SHOCK OF SHOCKERS. Jesus mentioned being "born again" only one time. One. time. And that was to a frightened little religious leader who sheepishly came to Jesus at night, wanting to know what to do to get into this Kingdom Jesus taught daily about. Nicodemus.
 
Jesus never made this the cornerstone and centerpiece of his teachings. Because it wasn't.
 
What did he teach? "The Kingdom is like..." "The Kingdom is like..." "The Kingdom is like..." He taught the Kingdom.
 
Everything he taught was about the Kingdom. He taught the Kingdom. Principles of the Kingdom. How we, his followers are to live, serve and go about life according to the same.
 
He literally brought heaven to earth. Emmanuel, God with us. This is who that babe in the manger was.
 
Jesus never taught religion and "ministry" and all this Americanized stuff.
 
In fact, He came to set us free from this. Just as he did when he was opposed by the religious of his day. 
 
Jesus told the Pharisees and religious leaders one day who were complaining about his disciples not following along with their old guard rigidity -- Jesus said,
 
"No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says,'The old is good enough. - Jesus (Luke 5:36-39)
 
And this is where we are --- "the old is good enough" for way too many. Especially for those who have shaped and formed Christianity to their liking and political bent.
 
When the foundation is weak and laid wrong and the house constructed on that foundation, with furnishings stained generationally with the blood of the innocent handed down, we get a church that is foundationally weak.
 
And people fleeing from the house with no ability for the head of the house to fight back against the very things on which it was built. An old, faulty foundation, modeled not after the Kingdom but capitalism, greed and power - sprinkled on top with religious isms.
 
It is easier as we are seeing today for many religious leaders to throw in their lot with the ones closest to their political leanings and pocketbook. Just as it was when Jesus came on the scene, that first Christmas so very long ago.
 
Today, it is as it was then, with many religious leaders pining for power, access and proximity to it. Forsaking the poor, the immigrant, the last, least and lost. The very people Jesus spent his time on earth with.  Not Roman government leaders.
 
The Kingdom is not taught as Jesus the Christ taught it and serving others as far as many church leaders are concerned is just something they don't do. it's not politically expedient and not worth the wrath of the talking heads.
 
But when it comes to invitations to the White House, commentary on entertainment news or on the red carpet? Katy bar the door. You couldn't pay some of these religious leaders to spend time with the poor, the immigrant or the lost. This can't profit them.
 
Denigrating or elevating others instead based on their politics. If their political views align. It's sick. And Christianity in America is sick.
 
It's about power not the Kingdom and that's why even many pastors are fleeing "the ministry." That or keep silent or throw in their lot, as many have done, with the politicians. Thus the state of play.
 
Just as it was when Jesus was born.
 
This is the problem Christmas 2021 as it was Christmas 0001. It is impossible for the preachers and the pastors and the generationally compromised evangelical church to do anything to fight back against this present darkness. It sees no need. Nor did the religious then. Same.
 
In fact many have thrown in their lot and bet the farm by joining it. Jesus never did.
 
I no longer get angry at them. I pity them and am sad for the world that so desperately needs what Jesus taught. Kingdom living. Kingdom serving. Kingdom sharing. Kingdom relationships. Kingdom wisdom. Kingdom life.
 
Christmas 2021. "Away in a manger..." and in many ways, there is still no room for him.
 
 
Knowing When to Walk Away
Thursday, December 16, 2021 2:20 PM

Knowing When to Walk Away

Thursday, December 16, 2021 2:20 PM
Thursday, December 16, 2021 2:20 PM
Not a criticism just observations and experience. I am increasingly finding more sincerity, authenticity and caring from those expressing no faith or marginal faith.
 
So many Christians have gone off the political deep end, finding their identity in their politics and idol and are just flat-out mean, boisterous, unloving, unkind, arrogant while flaunting their religion and "Christianity."
 
So far from Christ and his teachings. It's all wrapped up in their politics, racial and socio-economic status and god bless americas.
 
I've decided they can have their "Christianity." and "values." No need to try and talk to them anymore, befriend them anymore, relate to them anymore.
 
As Jesus told his disciples in Matthew of the same in his day, 'let them alone!" (Matthew 15:14) Still love people yes, but it comes a time when it's time to walk away. And for me, as 2022 looms and so much divisiveness and toxicity all around, it's time.
 
Still love people because that's Christ's way - just no longer waste precious time on those who have closed mind, ears and heart.
 
They want neither friendship nor fellowship if you don't think like them. Act like them. Believe like them. I am now so good with that.
 
Lord knows I tried. Going way out of my comfort zone for a long season to befriend and fellowship.
 
But God has released me to move on and there is no looking back. But moving forward.
 
I am no longer obligated in this new season to do many of the things God required me to do as leader of this organization and as a Christ follower who longs for peace and for the vitriol and division among Christians to stop.
 
Many have lost sight of the big picture, instead settling for the small screen of CNN, FOX and MSNBC.
 
I am now in a new season, having passed the tests of the old as I know in my spirit I have. The freedom of knowing you trusted God and held on is unlike any other.
 
Though outward circumstances may remain the same, I feel the presence of the Lord in my heart, mind and soul like I haven't in years and though I don't know all the twists and turns of this new season and where it will take me, I am confident that the Lord goes before me.
 
I was so long uncomfortable but obedient. So long ignored, but obedient. So long without support, but obedient. Many days speaking into the wind, but obedient. Many long days of drought and loneliness, but yet obedient. As it was with the prophets. As it was with the Apostles. As it was with many called to do extraordinary tasks in extraordinarily volatile times.
 
This I know - I refuse to jump off into the deep end and get lost in the weeds of the politics of our day - political arguments, political fights, name-calling, "Christian" culture wars following behind leaders and people who have but a form of godliness, but justice, peace, righteousness, compassion, grace and kindness are far from them.
 
No, I am sticking with Jesus the Christ. I want to be most like him. Not like those who only use his name to score political points with eyes but can't see and ears that refuse to hear.
 
I have washed my hands and shaken the dust off my feet. And I welcome this new season with joyous anticipation of what God will do in me and through me. 

When Life Goes Off the Rails
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 1:53 PM

When Life Goes Off the Rails

Tuesday, December 14, 2021 1:53 PM
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 1:53 PM
 

I am thankful to God that I have spent the last 34 years in a church led by a Bible teaching conservative black evangelical pastor.
 
I am thankful to God that He changed the course of my life and led me to Dallas Theological Seminary, one of the most conservative evangelical and world renowned for it's thorough teaching of all 66 books of the Bible in the world. Bible scholars. Great men and women.
 
"This is not for you, it's for where I'm sending you" I heard so clearly the Lord saying to me one day on campus as I spent one of many lamenting and questioning what the heck was I doing there.
 
All of our lives is truly ordered by the Lord. All of the above. Even all the hell I went through in being elected the first African American elected to the Duncanville, Texas City Council.
 
My work with then Dallas County Judge Lee Jackson. God I thank you because I have learned from the best.
And my life today and my work. My passion and purpose are so clear to me.
 
I didn't understand what the Holy Spirit meant at the time. "This is not for you but for where I am sending you."
 
I don't believe I am at that place yet, but one thing is certain - He made sure I was equipped when I did.
 
He will and is doing the same with you. Don't be discouraged or think your life and career are on the skids or have gone off the rail because things haven't worked out the way you thought or planned. I thought that too.
 
There is a little switch on the rail lines that when the operators want to divert a train onto another track, they pull that little switch.
 
If you are a Christ follower and life isn't adding up or you think you have lost it all. You haven't. Not by any stretch. God has merely flipped the switch and have switched you onto another rail line.
 
He knows the way you should take. Trust the Conductor. Not what you see or feel. We can only see so far and our feelings lie to us. He will get you there just keep moving forward.
 
Don't languish on what was or what could have been. He knows what He has to do in you and for you so you will end up at the place of blessing He has for you and where you will have the greatest impact.
 
Be encouraged today. Your best days are in front of you not behind you! 
 
 
A Clearer View
Sunday, December 12, 2021 3:33 PM

A Clearer View

Sunday, December 12, 2021 3:33 PM
Sunday, December 12, 2021 3:33 PM
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author. They are not and do not necessarily reflect the opinion(s) or position(s) of the organization, board of directors and/or any other individual(s) or entity (ies) affiliated or unaffiliated with Christians in Public Service, Inc. Email dburton@cipsinc.org 


For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1: 16-17)

"Every one that believes" - Jesus was a Nazarene Jew but loved "every one." Every means each. One means single. He loves each single one of us. That's the meaning Paul was trying to get across. The intentional, intimate focus of the love God has for each. single. one. of us.
 
He gave his life for every single one of us. To redeem and reconcile every single one of us who would ever live, back to the Father.
 
Every single one. No matter gender, race, how messed up we are. How much we have messed up. No matter where we come from because he knew we all would someday return back to the Father. Return. Back. To...
 
Jesus wanted to make sure every single one of us do. And those who lead every single one of us by way of political office and influence will be held to particular and higher account in how they/we lead every one.
 
When Christians in Public Service was founded, I said if we were ever in the news, I would have failed. We would have failed. That's not our ambition nor mission.
 
We're not here on stealth political religious missions to "save America" or push religious ideology in government.
 
We exist for those who serve who name the name of Jesus Christ. That's it. It is our sole agenda.
 
Not "religion." Nor beating our chests to loudly proclaim how holy and sanctified we are or beating others over the head with Bibles to show them how holy and sanctified they are not. All of that is not God's way. It's not our way.
 
Our ideology is not liberal, conservative, progressive or regressive. But Christological. Christ-centered.
 
God called us into existence to walk with those who serve, teach truth, build relationships, show the better way - His way in serving, leading and governing based upon His truth. And this is our focus. 
 
With no expectation of perfection, but did they serve as His son served? Did they treat others the way Christ treated others? Did they lead as Christ modeled leadership? If they named his name in life and service, they will be judged by his name in the life to come.
 
That's it. This is our agenda. If you are gay and serve, you will be held accountable. If you are straight and serve, you will be held accountable.
 
If you follow the political ideology of the right or left, you will be held accountable.
 
The word of God, the principles of God apply equally to all. No politician nor political persuasion has particular persuasion with God. He favors no persons, but is true to His laws and principles applied equally to all.
 
For example, it doesn't matter if you are a Democrat, Republican, Progressive or regressive, the Law of Gravity applies equally. 
 
You could occupy the highest office in the land, jump from the highest building and the Law of Gravity says you're coming down. God's principles apply equally though many in positions of authority consider themselves only equal to those like them and better than many who aren't.
 
Not so in the eyes of God. 
 
People change. Political agendas change. Political parties and officials change but God's word, principles and laws never do. And this is the root of our organization from which every event, training, podcast, project and program grows.
 
I have wanted to walk away from this more times that I can count. Because it's hard. Because the political environment sucks. Because so many leaders (including those who identify as Christians) are mean, unkind, divisive and toxic. It is oftentimes confusing and for sure lonely. All of that. And it's getting harder. I can so identify with Jeremiah. Nobody's listening Lord!
 
But one day, we all will. God knows it and He wants each one of us to serve and finish well. We are here to help do our part just as we've been called to do. 
 
Join our network. There really are more of us who value truth, authenticity in governing, developing and growing relationally with others and who simply seek the better way. God's way. Click here to join us.