Did Jesus…

A thought occurred to me.  I don’t know if it’s right.  Maybe you can help.

In our day and age, we have a variety of terms for people who are not Christians.  For example, we call them the unsaved, the unchurched, pagan, heathen, nonbelievers…

Each of these terms has a slightly different spin to them.  But each is a way that we establish a group of outsiders.

My question is:

Did Jesus ever use any words like this?  Did he have a name for the groups which did not believe him?


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

4 thoughts on “Did Jesus…”

  1. hehehehe, good question, for Trivial pursuit!

    I just looked at the end of each of the gospels and all I can see is that He spoke about the nations.


  2. Reference Matthew 15:21-28:

    Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”
    Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

    Jesus tested the woman with a test he knew she would pass. Jesus treated the people he healed as individuals, and dealt with each person differently based on their level of faith. Some people’s requests were granted when they asked (Mt 8:2-3); some were healed without asking for it (Mk 5:1-13, 25-29); some were asked if they believed Jesus could heal them before they were healed (Mt 9:27-30). Jesus may have done this to teach the woman and the disciples: the woman learned that she could always trust in God’s love and mercy, even when her requests were not immediately answered (something Jesus taught the disciples in Lk 18:1-8), and the disciples learned that God’s salvation and mercy were extended to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

    But you are right, I think, to say that Jesus is nowhere recorded as giving a name to people who did not accept Him. And why should He, why would He? If He calls those He is after “lost sheep of the house of Israel” why can’t we call them at least that, lost sheep, if we call them anything at all? That’s what I call them, anyway. See any one of my blog posts, for example, .

    We can’t take back our words, of course, and we as Christians have plenty of names for those who do not accept Jesus. That is, in the last analysis, neither cause for shame or pride, unless we have used these names as weapons against them, as if they were our enemies. In Christ we have no enemies, though there are people all around us to whom Christ comes, if we will let Him come, in us.


  3. I didn’t use the xhtml tags correctly in my second to last paragraph. Oh well. I wanted to leave a hyperlink to my blogpost He’s already out there as an example of using “lost sheep” as a name for those who do not know or accept Christ. If you want to look for that post, you know where to find it.


  4. Thanks so very much, again, for your time. And please feel free to post another comment with an active link if you’d like others to be able to access it. I will let folks know clicking on Romanos’ name brings you to his blog which is quite a powerful read.


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