Excerpts from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, taken from Clarence Jordan's Cotton Patch paraphrase:
"You’ve also heard the saying, ‘Take an eye for an eye; take a tooth for a tooth.’ But I’m telling you, never respond with evil. Instead, if somebody slaps you on your right cheek, offer him the other one too. And if anybody wants to drag you into court and take away your shirt, let him have your undershirt. If somebody makes you go a mile for him, go two miles. Give to him who asks of you, and don’t turn your back on anyone who wants a loan.
"Another thing you’ve always heard is, ‘Love your own group and hate the hostile outsider,’ But I’m telling you, love the outsiders and pray for those who try to do you in, so that you might be sons of your spiritual Father...
"Therefore, let me tell you all something: Don’t worry about making a living—what you’ll eat, what you’ll drink, what you’ll wear. Isn’t the life of a man more important than what he eats? Think for a moment about the birds of the sky. They don’t plant. They don’t harvest. They don’t store up in barns. Even so, your spiritual Father cares for them. Really now, aren’t you all more precious than birds? Besides, who of you, by fretting and fuming, can make himself one inch taller?
"And what’s all this big to-do over clothing? Look yonder at that field of flowers, how they’re growing. They do no housework and no sewing. But I’m telling you, not even Solomon in all his finery was ever dressed up like one of them. Well then, if God so clothes the flowers of the field, which are blooming today and are used for kindling tomorrow, won’t he do even more for you, you spiritual runts?... Don’t worry over the future; let the future worry over itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own...
"Keep your eye peeled for fake preachers, who come to you with sheepskins from wolf-schools. You’ll be able to distinguish them by the way they live. You know, you don’t gather pecans from a persimmon tree nor peaches from a chinaberry, do you?... Any tree that does not produce cultivated fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. That’s why I told you that you could know them by the way they live.
"Not everyone who glibly calls me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the God Movement, but he who does the will of my spiritual [Mother]. The time will come when many people will gather around and say, ‘L-o-ord, oh L-o-o-rd, we sure did preach in your name, didn’t we? And in your name we gave the devil a run for his money, didn’t we? We did all kinds of stunts in your name, didn’t we?’ Then I’ll admit right in front of everybody, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you wicked religious racketeers!'"
When Jesus finished speaking, the people were simply amazed at his ideas, for he was teaching them like he knew what he was talking about. He didn’t sound like their preachers.
Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thanks for the Great Gift.