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Opportunities Gone, Paradise Lost Opportunities Gone, Paradise Lost
by Jack Wellman
2011-06-05 10:19:46
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Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most respected leaders of modern history. A Hindu, Gandhi nevertheless admired Jesus and often quoted from the Sermon on the Mount. Once when the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Gandhi he asked him, “Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?”

Gandhi replied by saying that, “I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Gandhi has a great point and I am no less guilty of being un-Christ like too.  Sadly, Gandhi’s rejection of Christianity came from one single experience that happened when he was a young man practicing law in South Africa. He had become attracted to the Christian faith, had studied the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, and was seriously exploring becoming a Christian. And so he decided to attend a church service. As he came up the steps of the large church where he intended to go, a white South African elder of the church barred his way at the door. “Where do you think you’re going, kaffir?” the man asked Gandhi in a belligerent tone of voice.

Gandhi replied, “I’d like to attend worship here.”

The church elder snarled at him, “There’s no room for kaffirs in this church. Kaffirs is a racial term much like what whites used to call blacks.  Get out of here or I’ll have my assistants throw you down the steps.”

From that moment, Gandhi said, he decided to adopt what good he found in Christianity, but would never again consider becoming a Christian if it meant being part of the church.
 
Muhammad

Before Muhammad became the father of the Muslim Faith and God‘s “prophet“, he knew about Jesus.  He understood that He was a good man.  A great prophet and had ascended to heaven.  In fact, Muhammad accepted the fact that Jesus went to heaven.
 
Muhammad met some Christian missionaries and wanted to know more about Jesus and this “Christianity” as it was then called Muhammad asked them to bring some religious experts who could teach him about this Jesus.  The men agreed and brought some
religious teachers back to Muhammad.

When they came to visit Muhammad, he asked them about this Jesus.  Sadly, the religious leaders argued loudly and angrily about whether Jesus was both man and God…..was He God or Man and God?  They could not settle their dispute and so Muhammad surmised that this Christianity must be wrong since even the religious teachers, supposedly the experts, and being “teachers” of Christ, could not agree among themselves Who this Jesus really was.

Thus, Muhammad later created his own religion.  Islam.  And he saw himself as the prophet come from God….and wrote the Koran.  The Koran then naturally opposed Christianity.   Jesus was not who they hated necessarily, but it was the “Christians” and
they became the arch-enemy of Islam.

All of the world that is now dominated by Islam and the Muslims was lost.  A lost opportunity of sharing the love and message of Christ.  It resulted in a hostile religion that opposes everything that Christianity now represents.

Kublai Khan

Marco Polo (1254-1324) is regarded as one of the world’s greatest & most influential travelers. He set off on a journey to the East at the age of seventeen with his uncle and father as part of a diplomatic mission for Pope Gregory X. After a three-and-one-half year overland journey through present day Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and China he met the great Kublai Khan who took a liking to the young man & used him as an emissary for 20 years.

The primary interest in Christianity for many was the story that Jesus had healed the sick and survived death, so the practice of Christianity became interwoven with the care of the sick. Jesus was considered to be a powerful shaman, and another attraction was that the name Jesus sounded like Yesu, the Mongol number "9". It was a sacred number to the Mongols, and was also the name of Genghis Khan's father; Yesuge Kublai Khan who ruled Asia, China, Mongolia, and India!

In 1271, the Marco Polo brothers brought an invitation from Kublai Khan to Pope Gregory X, imploring him that a hundred teachers of religion are sent to reinforce the Christianity already present in his vast empire.  Kublai Khan said bring your teachers of Christ here and I will have all my noblemen baptize, all my Baron’s baptized, all my subjects baptized. 

Twenty years later, the church sent 2 missionaries….but it was too late.  Buddhism and Shamanism took control of the vast area of Asia that were under the influence of Genghis Khan and later, his son, Kublai Kahn…Asia, China, Mongolia, and India were all lost opportunities to hear about Jesus Christ and would never be the same again!

Your World

Don’t let opportunity pass you by to change the world or even your own neighborhood or workplace by sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It can make a world of difference.


   
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Emanuel Paparella2011-06-05 14:36:21
When one enters the Sistine Chapel in Rome one immediately notices, besides the ceiling, a great mural behind the altar depicting the Last Judgment, a fresco painted by Michelangelo 40 years after he painted the ceiling. It caused a great stir among some Christians for two reasons: it depicts Christ as a Greek Apollo and has a cardinal of the Church being dragged into hell by a demon. Indeed, there will be some astonishing surprises at the end times as Jesus himself intimates in the gospel; those who, like the Pharisees of old, think themselves as “good Christians” and deserving of honor and first places in the Assembly of God (the Church), may find themselves on the left side of God and those like Gandhi who never became Christians but admired Christ and treated all humans not as means to an end but as ends in themselves, may find themselves on the right side of God. The ultimate criteria of that final judgment or recapitulation of the history of humankind may not be how well one knows one’s catechism and orthodoxy, or what clerical position did one enjoy within the Church, but what each one did to the least of one’s brothers. Christ says in the gospel that at the end times he will remind those who wonder on what side they find themselves that whatever they did to the least of their brothers, they did it to him. So Gandhi may have had it right and a corrupt Pope like Alexander VI or the man who threw him out of Church may have had it all wrong: it is not a belief system all by itself that saves but what one did or did not do to the least of one’s brothers. Distributive justice may well end up trumping perfect orthodoxy. Food for thought for all “perfect” Christians.


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