Monday, June 5, 2023

864 - Bread Upon the Waters, Part 1

 Friends: An old connection comes back with joy and opportunity to talk about Jesus in a three-part series. - Bob

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Spirituality Column #864

June 6, 2023

Common Christianity / Uncommon Commentary

Bread Upon the Waters, Part 1

By Bob Walters

“Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” Ecclesiastes 11:1

If I may share, I had a new experience last week; I was the guest on a podcast.

The “Finding Genius with Richard James” podcast (I know … the “Genius” thing makes me a bit queasy, too) reached out recently on a tip from long-ago church buddy Greg Rohler. Ten or more years past, Greg attended Dr. George Bebawi’s Wednesday night classes I coordinated at East 91st Street Christian Church (2004-2017).  Turns out Greg still receives this “Common Christianity” column/blog via weekly email.

Richard lives in Rochester, N.Y., while Greg (with wife Deb) still lives here in the Indianapolis area. After they met randomly at a marketing conference years ago, Greg and Richard became friends and eventually Greg became Richard’s accountant.

While I blast-email this column/blog on Mondays to 580-plus direct recipients – many of whom, like Greg, are alums of George’s class – and post it on Twitter and Facebook, I’ve never promoted it heavily nor paid much attention to who exactly reads it.  I write the piece as an encouragement to believers, as a welcome faith and theology “release” for my busy brain, and as an excuse not to “journal” (not my thing).

Then … I send out “” weekly as bread on the waters, confident someone will find it, praying they find encouragement, and hoping it sparks a thought or two about their faith, Jesus, God, their church, or life in general.

I receive some feedback, usually positive, but mostly, readers are on their own.

So it happens that Greg – talking with friend and client Richard who by the way grew up Jewish – dropped my name as a potential guest.  Richard contacted me in late April and after speaking with him on the phone and in a couple of follow-up texts, I knew I would enjoy chatting with him on the record fielding questions about my background and faith, and more than a little of addressing his own curiosity about Jesus and God.

We recorded the session Friday afternoon.  About an hour long, it will be post-produced and “up” at “” possibly later this week.  In next week’s column I’ll share how to access it once I know the podcast is available.

The interview went well but I was surprised I stumbled when Richard asked me to list some of George Bebawi’s “blow your mind” teachings.  Folks from George’s class can likely relate. G.K. Chesterton in his book Orthodoxy noted, “that which we know best can often be the most difficult for us to explain.”  True…I didn’t know where to start. 

Next week’s column will get into “what I should have said” in response to the George question, and the following week we’ll review the podcast after I’ve listened to the final product. I am sure there will be other cases of “staircase wisdom,” or, the thing you wish you would have said but don’t think of until you’re “on the staircase leaving.”

It is surprising what returns, what we find, and what finds us “after many days.”

Walters (, often amazed at where the bread floats, thanks Greg and had no idea he still reads this blog. Wonderful! Anyone is welcome to receive the blog email upon request (email Bob), no charge, and anyone with a notion to share the link is welcome to do so.  Walters has been writing the column, which began as a newspaper feature, weekly since November 2006.

Monday, May 29, 2023

863 - Shining Light

Friends: Here is a high school faculty commencement Charge to Seniors short on platitudes and long on truth and encouragement; my wife Pam delivered it Friday evening at MCA.

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Spirituality Column #863

May 30, 2023

Common Christianity / Uncommon Commentary

Shining Light

By Bob Walters

“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16, KJV, Jesus, Sermon on the Mount

I didn’t write this, but had to share.

Most graduating seniors, whether high school or college, will hear nothing like the following at their commencement exercises.  But take note.  Here is the “Charge to Seniors 2023” MCA English teacher (and my wife) Pam Walters wrote and delivered to the first high school graduating class of Mission Christian Academy in Fishers, Ind.  These are words I wish could be heard by – and pray would resonate with – every senior graduate everywhere. 

“Dear Seniors: 

“This is an exciting time for you as you look to the next chapter of your lives; it is exciting, too, for those of us who have played a role in your education thus far.  We look forward to seeing you achieve your goals and make your dreams come true. 

But more than that, we look forward to seeing what you will accomplish as salt and light in this sinful world.  It has been our earnest prayer to help raise up young people who will go out into the world and make a difference for Christ.  As stated in I Timothy 4:12: ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young.  Instead, set an example for the believers through your speech, behavior, love, and faith.’

“It won’t be easy.  You are entering the adult world at a very challenging time, but as Esther says “you were born for a time such as this.”  Your being here is not a mistake; God knows his plans for you, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ (Jeremiah 29:11)

“You need to do more, however, than just hope it all goes well. You need an offense.

“Carry with you always the sword of His word.  Study it; know it.  This world is full of deceit, dishonesty, and half-truths, but God and His word are good, true, and trustworthy.  They do not change. 

So even if your plans falter or completely change, God will continue to lead and guide you along the way.  ‘Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable…dwell on these things…and the God of peace will be with you.’  (Philippians 4:8-9)

“Wear also the breastplate of righteousness.  This world is ugly; there is vulgarity and wickedness all around.  Don’t let yourselves be caught up in it; don’t become callous to the goodness and beauty that is also in this world. 

Those of the world will always tear down holiness and purity. You may be shunned entirely by unbelievers and your beliefs may cost you, but choose now to think on those things which are pure, honorable, and lovely.

‘Your MCA family loves each one of you.  We will continue to pray for God’s hand on your lives; we pray you will live lives of humility before Him and allow Him to lead.  We pray you won’t give up in the face of conflict or failure, but will press on.  We pray you will stand strong and ‘fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith’ (Hebrews 12:2).

“’Let your light shine before all men that they may see your good deeds and praise the Father in heaven.’ Let your lives be radiant lights which draw others to the Lord.

“In and Because of His Love,

“The Staff and Faculty of Mission Christian Academy”

Walters ( congratulates MCA’s first four graduates honored at the school’s big-hearted and rowdy commencement ceremonies Friday, May 26, 2023.  See missionchristianacademy.comit is a neat place.

Monday, May 22, 2023

862 - Just Like That

Friends: Embracing the mystery of the cross while living with joy and certainty is a great way to be a Christian.  Blessings, Bob

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Spirituality Column #862

May 23, 2023

Common Christianity / Uncommon Commentary

Just Like That

By Bob Walters

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Jesus to Nicodemus, John 3:17

There are many things I do not understand about the mystery of the cross of Jesus Christ, but the obvious lessons – to me anyway – are plain as day.

 The appearance of Jesus in humanity proves God’s existence.  The self-sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross proves God’s obedience and righteousness.  The resurrection of Jesus proves God’s command over life and death. Jesus sending the Holy Spirit proves God’s personal involvement in our lives, loves, faith, and creativity. 

Our human minds want to put Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit behind three different doors with three different functions.  That is the heresy of “modalism”, and it is wrong.  The Trinity’s eternal life of community and love should be our model – since we are created in God’s image – for completeness in Christian fellowship and Kingdom obedience.  But we divide and judge God the same way we divide and judge humanity.

We over-think details of the cross like whether Jesus was separated from God, or “when” specifically we were forgiven, or where Jesus’s spirit “went” when He died.

I’ve heard good ideas for and against God’s separation from Jesus – “why have you forsaken me?” – but Romans 8 says we can’t be separated from the love of God, so I go with that one.  I think our forgiveness was founded in the very presence of Jesus, not only the history-changing, human life-changing event of the cross, which defeated the death that man received in the Fall.  Whether dead Jesus’s human spirit went to Hades or to Heaven or nowhere before Easter Sunday … does not matter to me.

That the resurrection showed Jesus was God? That really matters to me.  

Our contemporary and ubiquitous Christian focus on sin, guilt, forgiveness, and salvation creates a tightly defined, though to me schizophrenic, window through which we experience God’s love.  Where is the joy?  We Christians are still begging for the divine forgiveness already freely ensured on the cross 2,000 years ago. It was a gift no one would imagine or think to ask for. What if one sacrifice restored our life in God?

That is what Jesus did on the cross, “once for all” (Romans 6:10). It is finished.

We are oddly urged to shout our joy in Jesus while contemplating our horrible filth, unworthiness, and sin, plus guilt for the suffering He endured on the cross. All true, but His grace enables our rebirth into God’s Kingdom, revealing God’s desire and love.  A mother in childbirth endures great pain, but it is her love a child learns, not her pain.

That is what I do with my rebirth in Jesus. I do not demand answers; I am thankful knowing the truth that God exists, considers me part of the team (Jesus), and guides my steps in love (Spirit).  Grace allows me to press forward, not look backward. My purpose is no longer a mystery, it is to glorify God and to participate in His glory.

Chistian irony today is that the selfless love of Jesus is so often preached as the focus on, and condemnation of, self.  We are to examine ourselves, sure, but to see if Jesus is in us.  Which to me means, who must I forgive? Jesus already forgave me.

In faith, we find our salvation today in God’s truth and grace.  Just like that.

Walters ( today, May 23, celebrates human birthday no. 69.

Monday, May 15, 2023

861 - Home Cooking

Friends, Holy communion is truly a “meal at home.”  See the column below. Have a great week!  Blessings, Bob

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Spirituality Column #861

May 16, 2023

Common Christianity / Uncommon Commentary

Home Cooking

By Bob Walters

“Do this in remembrance of me,” – 1 Corinthians 11:24

Have you been out to eat, lately?  It’s expensive, isn’t it?  As I write this on Mother’s Day weekend, I’m reminded that Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year in the restaurant industry. “Let’s give mom the ‘day off’ and take her out to eat.”

Most moms just roll their eyes.  A lot of moms cook at home that day anyway – better to cook than rely on the culinary talents of your family.  Grocery prices are up, too, but a meal is still cheaper at home with the family.

But, economics don’t rule our heart.  Even when we take mom out to eat, our first consideration is not the cost but the love and the gesture and the remembrance of all the love our moms shower on us, always.

When we take communion at church, we then, too, are gathered for a meal at home with the family – our church home and our church family.  We gather together in love and faith and fellowship and sincerity, remembering Jesus, worshiping His name, examining our faith, meditating on God’s glory, seeking His wisdom, experiencing the true indwelling of the holy spirit … not one of us is thinking about the “bill” for the meal – how much does this cup and bread “cost”?

Our knee jerk Sunday school answer likely is: “It cost Jesus His life!”  Well, yeah … but that’s incomplete.  Consider three things in life that one really cannot buy.

One is your family – you are just born where you are. You do not buy it or choose it.  As you grow you can impact your family, but coming into this world, “which family” is not a menu choice.  And a mother’s love is not something that has a price tag.

Another thing you don’t “buy” is your nation.  You can grow and move and choose where you live and adopt whatever culture or lifestyle or climate you fancy, but your family and your nation, ideally, are functions of love.  Here you are.  We pay taxes and interact in a government and cultural system, but we’re not buying our nation.

The third thing we don’t buy is faith, or to put it another way, we do not buy – cannot buy – the salvation of God’s love.  Oh, we can tithe and serve and donate and study and lead and shepherd and love, cheerfully and with grace … and almost everybody swoons about how Jesus “paid a price” for us, but we are not buying our faith. We are loving in the name of Jesus, and saved by the name of Jesus.

On that same note, we are not buying God.  God is love, and on those communion elements we hold, we do not see a price tag or a menu price. In church, our minds, properly, are on the enormity of God and of God’s love, on the grace of Jesus and the presence of the Spirit, on the joy and peace of our faith, and on our fellowship as Christians, in Christ.  We remember His perfect sacrifice, and His command to love God and love others.  We share His truth freely, gladly, and constantly.  No charge.

That is the communion of our Lord, and the communion of our faith.  When we eat God’s meal with God’s family, we think not about the bill and how much to tip; we think about the love of the person who provides it; we remember our Lord and Savior, the loving person of Jesus Christ.

It is the loving ultimate in home cooking.

Walters ( often sneaks in this instruction that Jesus “paying a price” is a modern, consumeristic, quasi-biblical metaphor that diminishes our deep sense of the love and grace of Jesus, but satisfies our constant, imagined need and rationale of payment for services rendered. That is not what Jesus did; Walters is sure of it. 

Monday, May 8, 2023

860 - Responsible Faith

Friends, Sixty years ago the Bible and prayer were “86ed” from public schools and places.  We now have another property crisis on our hands.  See the column below ... Blessings, Bob

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Labels: 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ask Not speech, banned Bible and prayer, god of this age, James Lindsay, John F. Kennedy, Marxism, public schools, Satan, the Sixties, Woke

Spirituality Column #860

May 9, 2023

Common Christianity / Uncommon Commentary

Responsible Faith

By Bob Walters

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” –   U.S. President John F. Kennedy, inaugural speech, January 20, 1961

On that winter day in 1961 JFK was pitching, among other things, the beginnings of the Peace Corps (which by the way still exists).  But in the 62 intervening years our Western culture – and America’s central and defining notion – has devolved from one that declares and lives its responsibilities to one that demands and cries about its rights.

Connect the dots?  It is ironic that a presidential era that captured so much of the public’s altruistic imagination and inspired such hope for truly remarkable good works, should in two short years ban the Bible (Engel v. Vitale 1962) and prayer (Schempp 1963) from American public schools and public spaces.  The race to the bottom was on.

Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, and President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 sealed America’s deal with the devil by cynically signing “Great Society” legislation that through free money, unearned gifts, and diminished personal responsibility quickly slaughtered the tacit glory and hope of the free American family among poorer citizens.

“Getting” free stuff is fun until one receives the bill for defaulted responsibilities.

I’m writing to say, that seems to be where we are: the Devil wants his due.  There is a Tsunami on the way; anyone paying attention can see the coastal waters receding.

God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are just fine, of course.  Human chaos is nothing new to God, whose righteousness, love, and goodness are infinite and eternal, though opaque to unbelievers’ minds. Second Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  Please note: “god of this age” means Satan.

Churches and people are struggling, and earnest Christian folks continue to pray in the face of myriad social and political chaos.  Surely, God’s got this … God? God??

Our great responsibility – and by “our” I mean those, Christian or not, who have not yet lost our minds, faith, trust, or livelihood to wokeness, D-E-I, indefensible gender nonsense, rampant urban violence, CRT, anti-racism, government corruption, media fraud, etc. – is to educate ourselves about what is truly the clear and present danger.

Remember, Satan’s favorite weapon is confusion masking anti-human lies.  He's working overtime on this one, and it is slick.  Here’s a responsible, revealing suggestion.

My “Woke” education this past week centered on watching this roughly 30-minute video (click link) of author / philosopher James Lindsay addressing the European Parliament March 30, 2023.  Various mainline online media, naturally, call Lindsay a “troublemaker” and “conspiracy theorist about the communist takeover of America.”

But as I said last week … look around.  There’s a reason I brought up the 1960s in this column.  I now have a far better appreciation for Marxism … and I see the light.

If, like me, you are old enough to remember Kennedy and the 1960s, you no doubt remember the pro-Marxist rants of anti-American protestors.  We are hearing those again today (e.g., BLM describes itself as Marxist), but the Woke mob truly means it and is coming for property we don’t realize we possess. 

I didn’t; you likely don’t. The video is educational.

Walters ( has become very sensitive over the years to listening whether people are demanding their rights or offering to help.  God always affirms His will and Satan always affirms fallen human will. Choose wisely, ask graciously, and treasure responsibility … it is the crux of freedom.  Scripture and prayer sure help. 

Monday, May 1, 2023

859 - Satan's Kiss

Friends, When the world’s enthusiasm for lies exceeds it’s reliance on truth, well, just take a look around.  See the column below.  Blessings, Bob

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Spirituality Column #859

May 2, 2023

Common Christianity / Uncommon Commentary

Satan’s Kiss

By Bob Walters

- “A liar hates the person they lie to” – my paraphrase, Proverbs 26:28

- “You belong to your father, the devil … he was a murderer from the beginning … there is no truth in him … he is a liar and the father of lies.” Jesus to the Pharisees, John 8:24

- “Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot” – after Judas receives bread from Jesus at the Last Supper, Luke 22:3, John 13:27, Judas leaves to betray Jesus

- “Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greeting’s Rabbi!’ and kissed him.” – The traitor identifying Jesus for soldiers to arrest at Gethsemane. – Matthew 26:49

My faith mentor George Bebawi, a Hungarian Jew by birth whose family at the outset of World War II escaped to Cairo, Egypt, found Christ in his late teens, became a Coptic priest, earned a PhD in divinity at Cambridge University, England, knew the Bible in several languages, and possessed fascinating insights into Jesus-era Jewish culture.

“It has long been a Middle Eastern custom for men to kiss each other upon greeting,” George would explain. “The kiss says, ‘My lips will not lie to you.’”

The Bible has nothing good to say about liars, especially the liars who sabotage humanity, sabotage God, sabotage trust, and sabotage peace and peace of mind.  If I can put a compassionate spin on an important comment to someone I love, I’ll do it.  We all will.  We have to discern when a brutal truth will correct and focus, and when a gentle word will encourage and strengthen.  Our lips always should express Jesus’s life-giving, humble, Last Supper commandment to love God and others. And when required … to roar like a lion.

Satan is the original and lasting hater and liar, whose “truth” brings death to humans.  Satan’s goal is to dishonor God, and since he cannot hurt God, Satan lies to us, promotes lies between us, and watches us hate each other as we ignore, blame, or disparage God.  Does Satan “love” anything?  I think he loves our unloving confusion.

This is on my mind because, as you may have noticed, our current Western culture is besieged by and living in a season of robust lies, not just of the political or religious kind, but lies about humanity itself. 

We should not need to cite the Bible or invoke God to express, for example, the plainly human, sane truth that “men” and “women” are an inviolable biological dichotomy.  God and the Bible say as much, but common sense and even religiously-detached, honest science says the same thing.  Science doesn’t replace God; science reveals God.

Alas, so much of “science” has been subsumed by politics and political deceit, or by spurious “social science” that shouts “My truth!” but ignores reality.  Science postures as ideology, not investigation.  Journalism is clicks and narrative, not accuracy and objectivity.  Academia seeks indoctrination, not education. Government counters truth and freedom.

Bash the founding of America with Critical Race Theory, sure, but it is betrayal with a kiss.  Abortion is a health care choice!  But it is a kiss of death.  Mutilate our children and tragically, permanently confuse their sexual identity with a kiss of wokeness.  D-E-I is the kiss of disingenuousness.  Be an “Ally” for all self-centric toxicity and kiss with cancellation.

God is truth. We know God, we know truth, truth endures. God’s truth guides life, not death.  Truth is not “mine” or “yours;” truth is truth all the time. Yet, mass media constantly, enthusiastically, and threateningly pushes Judas “experts” on us … with a kiss of deception.

A kiss without love is a lie.  A kiss without God is a betrayal. A kiss without humanity pleases Satan.  If we are to be heirs of God’s Kingdom – the purpose and promise of Christ – we must reject the kiss of worldly Jezebels and embrace with firm voice and courage the life-sustaining truth that recognizes and rejects Satan’s kiss.

May Jesus’s truth be on our lips, His love in our hearts, and His courage in our souls.

Walters ( wonders … what if politicians spoke God’s truth?

Monday, April 24, 2023

858 - Creative License, Part 2

Yes, 2 plus 2 still equals four, even at a Christian school.  See the column below ...

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Spirituality Column #858

April 25, 2023

Common Christianity / Uncommon Commentary


Creative License, Part 2    By Bob Walters

“How do they do math at a Christian school?” – honest fifth-grade query on a public school bus

Thus was one thoughtful response after I told my fifth-through-eighth grade riders of my pending retirement after 11 years driving an HSE school bus.

My answer? “Just like they teach math everywhere else.”

In last week’s column I buried the lede down near the bottom, sharing that I’m retiring off the school bus and shifting gears into a change-up career teaching high school at Mission Christian Academy here in Fishers, Indiana.  In August this year, I’ll be full time at MCA teaching economics, government, U.S. history, world history, and as of right now, one section of sixth-grade English.

For you teachers out there keeping track … yeah, five preps.  The good news is that MCA meets only Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, then heavy student homework for Friday and Monday.  This “hybrid” school model, growing in popularity, is an olio of home schooling (flexibility and truth), regular school (teachers and classmates), and home-school co-ops (group efforts for art, music, performance, sports, etc.).

This affords, as I said last week, a spiritually rich education that needn’t duck the reality of God, the truth of Jesus, or the authority of the Bible.  Nor is it shackled by the zeitgeist (spirit of the age) of cancel culture, critical race theory, gender fluidity, or forced equity dynamics, all of which rob young minds of their courage, creativity, aspiration, and uniqueness. “Do not love the world” (John 2:15) has never been better advice.

We are all equal before God, and we are all uniquely created by God.  In MCA’s case we actually mean it and teach it in the unblinking context of the entirety of reality and truth.  We do not edit-out the actual capital-G God; this isn’t half an education.  We encourage rather than mock a life of Christian love, service, and grace fully engaged in the rough and tumble of the marketplace, professions, community, culture, and evermore-unhinged societal enforcement of unworkable, spirit-killing victim chic.

Anyway, the question about math was my favorite.  Kids in their early teens don’t question why you are crazy enough to take on a new challenge like this when sneaking up on 70 years old.  Kids just want to know how stuff works, and “Christian school” to this wonderful young fifth grader sounded like full time Sunday school even if, unlike growing up 60 years ago, a lot of kids today don’t know what “Sunday school” is.

While finishing out the current school year on the bus, I’m teaching two mid-day classes: high school economics and 7th grade U.S. history.    

In encouraging my juniors and seniors to take seriously the challenge of reading difficult material (e.g., economics) and being patient for understanding to come, I asserted that no matter their future academic goals, a Christian life is going to be filled with ongoing Bible studies and reading. They mustn’t shy away from the hard stuff; scripture and robust study enrich the Christian heart.  “Train your mind” (2 Cor 10:9).

A Christian’s best weapon against the wiles of the fallen world is a courageous and well-developed mind that beholds opportunities, discerns truth, and marches in peace and grace ever-closer to God’s heart.  All kids deserve the best possible start.

Walters ( “clearly doesn’t understand this retirement thing” said high school friend Carla Anderson, chairman of last summer’s 50th class reunion. BTW, see “about us” at the school’s website; both Pam’s and Bob’s bios are in there. (Psst … if you missed it last week, Bob’s wife Pam is MCA’s HS English teacher.)



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