Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
But today, saying grace means something a little bit more profound. I believe we say grace more frequently than we think we do. We say grace when we talk about our mistakes and the forgiveness we've received. We say grace when we discuss the forgiveness we've given. We say grace when we pray for our enemies, welcome strangers, love the unloved, feed the poor, fight for the justice of the oppressed. We say grace when we talk about Jeremiah the Old Testament prophet and we say grace when we talk about Christ our Savior.
Grace isn't just a prayer over food, but it is the seasoning of life and we are in the season of life. A season that is our life, a season that is the life of Christ lived through the body of Christ - us. We are the life, Christ is the grace and this is His table where we rest our tired arms upon our dusty elbows. This is His table where we bow our heads and say grace.
I invite you this day to say grace as much as you can. Bless others with grace. Be of grace. Be graceful. And always, always, be gracious!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
This past Friday was a great evening for me. Hubs came back from Houston on Wednesday evening and for the first time in well over a year, we were able to go out on a 'date night'. Hubs took me to my favorite German restaurant and then we went out for a movie; we went to see Fireproof.
Let me preface this by telling you about Tuesday. On Tuesday, I went to a local Christian book store to pick up a Bible Commentary and a book on writing tools of Exegesis. Yeah, crazy weird word that no one has ever heard of unless you pursue a degree of some sort in religious or theological studies. Anyway, I'm a window shopper. This store is one of my favorites as it has some of the most beautiful Christian decorations in it and my heart always feels warm when I leave. Well, as I was walk back towards the books I made sure I swung past the decorations and gifts. On my way, I stopped suddenly at a display for the movie Fireproof - the new Christian movie in theatres. There were several things at the display: trinkets, jewelry, the book for the movie and then there was this plain and mysterious brown book. I picked it up, looked at it briefly, put it back and walked away. Strangely, I was pulled back to the display and back to that book. I picked it up again and opened it reading a bit on the inside. It was called The Love Dare and was about marriage, strengthening your love relationship with your partner and doing it in a Christ centered way. Interesting. But, I put it back. As I started to walk away again, it was as if I hit this solid pane of glass and couldn't move any further. I stopped, left my cart, went back, grabbed the book and threw it in my cart.
When I got home, I looked at it a little further and as God always does, it was a message I needed to hear and God was getting through to me. The Love Dare is a 40 day challenge to improve your marriage, even if it is going strong. It focus's on love, patience, kindness, selflessness...and much more. The book was a main focus of the movie Fireproof, and having not seen the movie, I was without that extra content, but just the same, I knew I needed this book. You see, the further I grow in faith, the more I'm challenged, the hotter the fire gets and the more resistance the world gives me. Many of the people who I consider my spiritual advisers or sounding boards have told me this would happen and to keep going. I never knew it would attack my marriage...but it has. I love my hubs dearly, but we're human, we're flawed, and things haven't been easy lately for many reasons. It's just been hard; brutally hard and we've been failing each other. It's of course, in these times that the horrid "D" word gets tossed around and your marriage, not to mention your heart is nothing less then broken.
On Thursday night, I sat down with hubs and showed him the book and we talked about it and decided we would do it together. Though we read at night, we read for the next day, so we started day 1 of 40 on Friday. Friday night, we went to see Fireproof and it all came alive to both of us. Couples of all ages and stages packed the tiny theatre until there were no seats left and by the end of the film, everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE was in tears. This movie is the real deal. All pastors should sponsor a night out to this movie or once released, sponsor a night in at the church to show this movie to couples. The main character is a fire chief and he talks about how in a fire, you are to never leave your partner. The rest of movie goes on to show that is true in your marriage also. That when the heat is on and the fire is raging, you NEVER leave your partner. That's when it gets dangerous. I'm not sure what the future will bring. What I am sure is that we have nothing to loose by give not just love but God a chance in our marriage. I have prayed for months that God would come into my marriage and move mountains. I now know God has heard my cries. We are on day 3 and so far, so good.
If there is anything I can ask today, it is that you find your way to this book The Love Dare and you find your way to this movie, Fireproof. Even if your marriage is on the last thread and divorce seems imminent, please try one last thing. If hubs and I have nothing to loose, then neither do you. And if your marriage is going strong and good times are here for you, don't think you can't benefit from this too...because challenges are just around the corner. Fireproof yourselves now, before it gets too hot.
God bless all of you and your marriages. If your heart is breaking, know that God is always with you and you are never alone. And divorce doesn't mean God stops loving you. It doesn't mean you're loved any less or that you're lesser of a person. You are just as important as the person next to you. We are to love God first and then our neighbor as ourselves. But remember, in order to love our neighbors as ourselves, we must first know what it means to love ourselves and we learn that from truly, deeply, unequivocally loving God.
If you've seen the movie, read the book, are doing the Love Dare, or have any other insight, please share them with me and the readers who follow. We would be blessed by your thoughts.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Like a tear falling from the face of God,
the leaves of fall trickle down.
Down the gravel road they twist and turn,
Red leaves, these leaves, from thy crown.
Exalted name, oh blessed be,
I hear your whispers in the trees,
And when the cool of autumn arrives,
I behold them with my emblazoned eyes.
Fallen tears of orange and red,
Fallen sin upon her head,
Fallen like the angels bed,
Fallen but not dead.
She, oh she, her arms a cloak,
Her very presence infiltrates my soul,
As I stare in wonder and in fear,
She takes me captive within the inferno.
I climb the veins of time and am surrounded by the power,
Ner there was a stronger one to take my life this hour.
I reach to heaven, though fury bound,
This time I will not touch the ground.
Sweet Jesus your tears they're falling now,
I know they fall for me,
The blood stained tears of red, these leaves they are afloat,
And on my life I were them still, your blood my red trench coat.
Written by Tiffany D'Amours
All Rights Reserved
Monday, October 20, 2008
If there is one thing I have learned it is that nothing is harder than trying to forgive someone who has just caused you a great deal of heart ache. I could write epic novel length dissertations on forgiveness, but this is raw to me and so I'll just summarize what is brewing in my world.
This year has been horribly hard. There has been way more death than I'd like, way more sickness than I'd like, heartache, betrayal, anger, rejection, straight up sabotage, desperation and hate. It's amazing to me how the moment I finally stop arguing with God about the calling on my life and agree to do things God's way, that all hell breaks loose. I know all the philosophical and theological things one could say about testing, strengthening, conditioning, yadda, yadda, yadda. But, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how great the lemonade is that you made from lemons...it's still bitter and horrible after brushing your teeth.
Look, I have been stabbed in the back Brutus style by people I trusted and never thought about not trusting them. Family, friends and religious mentors. You can't help but feel like there is something really, really wrong with you and you're not meant to do the things God's asking you to. You feel worthless, with no value and you don't understand why when you're making major sacrifice's to live your life of and for God, that everything around you starts to unravel. God is helping me and it's that love, grace and peace that gets me through, but the hardest part is taking that gut wrenching pain and rejection I feel from almost the whole world, and turning it into lemonade or...turning it into forgiveness.
How do you look the person in the eye who just spit in your face and say "I forgive you?" You hear about mother's who visited the men in prison who killed their children, hold their hands, pray with them and say "I forgive you." God's not asking me to forgive any one's killer so it shouldn't be that hard, right? I'm a woman of faith working on her master's of divinity, so forgiveness shouldn't be that hard for me, right? WRONG!
I'm a sinner too. A miserable, messed up ball of chaos that is so consumed by hurt feelings that she can't see straight. You see, I'm working hard at forgiving those who hurt me, but I'm not very good at it. I try not to preach much about forgiveness because it's not my strong suit and I'm certainly not the moral authority on the subject. That's where I need God to work in me. It's where I'm asking the Holy Spirit to reside in me and help me let go of that pain and anger and resentment. I need to be able to trust those around me because when I can't trust I feel out of control and insecure.
Gosh...I guess I could use a good nights sleep and that's exactly where I'm running to. I think though that I will pray to God tonight about forgiveness. I pray that God helps all of you reflect deeply on those who have hurt you and to forgive them so that you too can move forward in peace. There are so many hurts in this world that maybe, just maybe, we can fix one forgiveness at a time. After all, forgiveness is something we give to others because Christ gave it to us. I guess, if Jesus can forgive me for all the sins I've committed and the one's I'm sure to commit, if he can love me after I helped drive those nails into his hands, I suppose that I might be able to find a way to forgive those who have driven nails through my heart. Jesus had to bleed so I could be washed clean. Maybe my heart has to bleed a little so that I can learn from the pain and know how to love people better. I don't have all the answers, but I know who does and that's who I'm trusting. Put your faith where it counts and thank God for the forgiveness given to you. Lord knows I'm grateful.
There is this convoluted idea that pastors are perfect, they have or should have answers to all of your deep theological questions and they always make the right decisions. This idea is frightening in itself because it promotes a notion that often repels people who may have a calling from actually following it. But mostly it sets your pastor up for failure.
Who wants to try and live up to an expectation of perfection? How terrible it would be to live a life based on that and knowing you're not perfect, that you will never add up. This kept me and still challenges me today in my quest in ministry. What if someone asks me a question that I don't have the answer to? What if it's a great theological inquiry I've never considered before? Will I loose all credibility if someone in my congregation or around me is smarter than I am?
We don't need Jeff Foxworthy to tell us that there will always be someone better than you, stronger than you, smarter than you, faster than you. As pastors, we are trained not to be perfect, but to love passionately in the way Christ would have us do and that means teaching and giving people the opportunity to look at things in ways they might not have before. We are given the tools, the theological academics and the community of pastors around us in order to better serve and send out those who we work for.
So I guess this means we're all human and we have to accept our gifts and our imperfections in the same package God put them in. There is no perfect pastor and certainly no perfect church. But...there is a perfect God with perfect grace who gave us a perfect gift in Christ and now we have perfect salvation. And that...is smarter than sin.
Don't put unattainable expectations on yourselves if your pastors, or on your pastors if you're laity. Expect and demand love, ethics, care, teaching, service. These things and many others are not unreasonable to ask of your spiritual leader. Build your pastors' up with love, forgiveness, grace, patience and compassion as you have been shown through Christ. Pastor's are human too. The building up will make them better pastors whereas the tearing down will make you worse congregants. And always act in a manner which is becoming to your name, Christian.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
God bless the DVR because without it I swear I would never get to catch anything on TV. There are several shows that interest me but they are rarely on when I'm home or not cooking, cleaning, studying or giving a bath. Feel me?
There is a new show, Eli Stone, that I just started to record. It's not the first season, but its new to me and came highly recommended by several people whose entertainment judgment I tend to trust. Last night, after a long day of playing hard with the kid, I decided I would spread out on the coach and catch up on some TV. Let me just tell you, I was presently surprised by Mr. Stone.
It's nothing profound, but certainly it has a 'prophetic' nature to it. The thing that really caught me was not just the close communication Eli has with a higher power, but also his random outbursts of musical genius. The hilarity was emphasized by the fact that I sat there on my coach thinking, "Oh my Lord, someone is actually as odd as me." I mean, I'm not the only one that would just like to turn my life into some kind of Broadway Musical.
On any given day, things will happen that trigger my inner jukebox to spin out a random song and the next thing I know I'm singing about whatever it is that is going on and it makes absolutely no sense to anyone but me. The looks I get are something else sometimes. So imagine by pure excitement when Eli is recapping his inner George Michael. Things get a little crazy and you all of a sudden have a full on cast performance of Faith by George Michael. Say what you want about Georgie, but some of his tunes are quite catchy and this one, at least the having faith part, can resonate in all of us.
So today I'm going to embrace my inner Eli and my inner George. "I gotta have faith, faith, fai-tha!"
Friday, October 17, 2008
Written by: Christy Jones
In the past week I received one e-mail (in slightly different versions) over a dozen times. Now I know I’m a natural target, but even so — a dozen?! With all that’s being said on the news, via the Internet, and in most women’s conversations concerning the influence of women in this election, I thought it worthwhile to pause and share “Why Women Should Vote.”
In case you are wondering if any of the following is “urban legend,” here’s a quick reference in About.com’s women’s history section, entitled Brutal Treatment of Women Suffragists at Occoquan Workhouse, indicating all was indeed true. The original e-mail was apparently written by Connie Schultz of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland.
WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE.
This is the story of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.
Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.
And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic.”
They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head, and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.
They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed, and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting, and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the “Night of Terror” on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right
For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food — all of it colorless slop — was infested with worms.
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat, and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because — why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work?
Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?
Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s new movie Iron Jawed Angels. It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.
All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.
My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was — with herself. “One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,” she said. “What would those women think of the way I use, or don’t use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.” The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her “all over again.”
HBO released the movie on video and DVD. I wish all history, social studies, and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.
It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy.
The doctor admonished the men: “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”
Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.
We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The image above is of the pumpkin door sign that was sent to offenders with their letter. The offenders were also instructed to keep lights off and not to answer their doors. Failure to post this pumpkin notice could result in a violation against their probation. Government officials stated in their letter that this was the offenders chance to prove to concerned neighbors that they are trying to make things right and take proper precautions.
This raised many questions in my mind. As a mother, I was comforted by this thought as it is informative. Then again, I believe that once you're 13 you should find something else to do for Halloween, trick-or-treat is for the little ones and thus parents should always accompany their children. That being said, I am comforted by the knowledge one should have as a parent. However, is it fair to the offender who is trying to start over? What is the Christ like thing for us to do with these situations? Lastly, should this be a requirement across the country and not just in Maryland?
Ronald Reagan once said, "trust but verify." Is this a good way of trusting but verifying or is it violating the offenders privacy? What are your thoughts?
Sunday, October 12, 2008
As a teen, I not only saw this motto walking across the halls of my school on t-shirts, stickers and folders, but I also wore some of these shirts and carried some of these stickers. I loved the No Fear shirts about soccer, skiing and hockey. I grew up in Colorado and snow sports were huge and snow boarding was just getting kick started. Thus, this brand was everywhere in Colorado. The idea, in my opinion, was to create an ideology upon the youth of strength, perseverance and confidence. It wasn't just an ideology of extreme sports, but one of extreme lifestyles that, to no direct fault of the company or brand, included binge drinking, use of elicit drugs and sex without presumed consequences. Though for me and many, it simply was a motto of strength that no matter what came at you in adolescence, have No Fear. Don't be afraid.
I personally think we could use a little of this motto in our global world today. Have No Fear. Don't be afraid. With the economy in the position that it is and people feeling like they have no control over the present or future, many fears are being elevated and things are nothing less than extreme.
John 14:27 says "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (NIV). God is our reason not to fear. I strongly believe that there is not one prayer sent up that goes unanswered. Prayers, however, are not answered in our time or in our way, but they are always answered and in ways that far exceed our meager comprehension. This is because God gives not as the world gives. God gives to us that which the world cannot and then God in all wisdom and love turns to us and tells us not to be troubled and not to be afraid. We must apply this to our lives today. People are loosing homes, loosing savings, loosing what feels like everything and how can we not be afraid? How can we not feel out of control and powerless? It's impossible not to feel these things. But God tells us to not let our hearts be troubled. God gives us the greatest gift of all; peace.
Ephesians 3:20 states, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." (KJV) You see here the words exceeding and abundantly? Why would there be such an emphasis that we would use two strong descriptive words? We know from this that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we can possibly fathom, request, pray for. God can give to us in a way that is exceedingly and abundantly greater than the world. If then, we take this word of God into account, why are we placing so much faith into the systems and hands of man? Why is our treasure in our 401k and not somewhere else? I know just how hard people have worked to establish these funds and savings and they have earned it. It is terribly unjust and unfair that what has happened has happened and I wish above wish that each penny taken will be returned. However, there is going to be an 'in the meantime' and we have to know how to best proceed with living in the meantime. If our faith is in man to fix these problems we face, then we are assured great disappointment. But if our faith is in a God that can do exceedingly and abundantly greater than we can fathom, what do we have to fear?
That is what I want you to consider this day and every day. God has never and will never abandon us. We are deeply loved by an awesome God who loves us so much that we have the gift of Christ; the PRINCE of peace. Let Christ dwell within your heart. Do not let your heart be troubled but rather let your heart be inhabited by peace. Fear not that which we cannot control, but be filled with the comfort of your faith and trust in God. God will provide for you, your families, your friends, your churches, your communities. Do not fear for God is alive and present.
In these times of great extremes, receive God's gift of peace and have No Fear!
God Bless you always and I pray that each of you will be aware and feel the comfort of the arms of the God who is protecting you.
For more information on No Fear the company and brand, please visit www.nofear.com. This post is not an official endorsement of the No Fear company, but rather a commentary on the motto.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
What amazes me even more is that what people had back in the Depression was much less than what we have today and yet they survived as a people. My great grandparents lived through the depression. They had families of 6, 8 and 12 children. They lived in very humble means. Each child did not have a room of their own with TVs, computers, iPods, gaming systems. They were farmers who were heavily hurt by the drought that hit their part of the country. They didn't have food to feed their families. They didn't have credit cards. They didn't HAVE. If we look at the poor in our country and compare them with the poor in other countries, our poor is relatively spoiled. I love my country and I'm proud to be an American. My families immigrated to the US via ship from Germany many years ago. They came here for promise, for opportunity, for freedom. I will never be ashamed of that. We are, however, an imperfect country and an imperfect people. We are a spoiled country with too much focus on material goods and consumerism and money markets. There is a reason we were told that money is the root of all evil and it was for our own good. We spend hours upon hours at work away from our families to make more money at the expense of our children.
I'm not a financial expert. I don't know how to fix this country. What I do know is that when a family hits financial times it calls for a family meeting. We sit down, we take a look at items in our budget that can be forfeited for awhile. We tighten the purse strings, we save, we spend less, we come together to get ourselves back on track. So you won't get your massage's for awhile. So you can't go on a family vacation to the Florida Keys. Think outside the box with the ingenuity that our country is known for. What happened to playing boards games in your living room, family movie night, cookouts...things that don't cost a fortune. It's time to cut back. To stop spending and to hit our knees in gratitude for the blessings God has given all of us, no matter what our economic status is. We as a country and as a global community are being taught a very important lesson, one we can't afford not to learn. It's time we humbled ourselves. It's time we cared for global poverty, global health concerns. It's time we look outside ourselves, not just as a country but as individuals. It's time we realize that we're not in control here. We never were and we never will be. We've tried to take God out of everything and we're falling apart at the seams. Maybe it's time to start putting God back where He belongs...in everything.
Friday, October 10, 2008
For me, autumn is a time of great reflection. Leaves are changing from lush green to shades of amber, ruby and gold. You can step outside your front door and hear the crisp leaves scrapping against the sidewalk and driveway. It's a time for pumpkin everything, the scent of candy corn, the cloak of cool fall breeze. This is a blessed time of great harvest. The fields of many hard working farmers are worked to receive the fruit of their labor. You start to smell people around you, even in the city, begin to warm up their fire places and as you inhale that heavenly wood burning scent, you heart is warmed and set aglow.
This is the season of roaring football crowds. It is the start to the decorating season; wonderful months of cherished nick-knacks and ornamentation. Our little witches and super hero's grace the streets screaming trick or treat and it takes you back to those days when you were a little witch or super hero.
This is a season of mom's homemade chili, hot chocolate and dare I say it...peppermint mocha's. Everyone senses the holiday's among us and it stirs us all in different ways, but there is a presence here and beautiful spirit filled presence that is moving. I feel so connected to God in this season. I become the farmers field that reaps what its sewn. I blow with the breeze through the hair of a child. I glow like an ember in last nights fire. I glisten like the dew on a freshly picked pumpkin. I am still the little girl all dressed up like a princess, but now in this age it is not trick or treat, but dancing with my Savior so sweet.
Today is a day when I can breathe in the world. Not the TV, or the books, or the class lectures, or my neighbors politics, but today, I breathe in God's world. Today, as with every day in Christ, the colors of my leaves are changing. I'm constantly changing as that love that understanding and those seasons of my life change. I'm so thankful for the cornucopia of blessings I have been graced with and I'm so blessed to be able to share these days with those God has placed in my life.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
We interrupt regular programming to bring you this important message: the world has contracted mad cow disease and the only cure is more cow bell.
Mad cow disease, otherwise known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), is sweeping the country. Mad Cow, according to the FDA, is a chronic, degenerative disorder affecting the central nervous system of cattle. Hmmm, anyone turn on the TV lately? There seems to be a chronic, degenerative disorder affecting the central nervous system of our COUNTRY! The mud and other animal by products found on the floor of most feed lots are being flung around in every possible direction like beer cans at a Hank Williams Jr. concert. The stench of rotten politics is undeniable in the processing of the chemicals which are being spoon fed to numbers of uneducated Americans, we are systematically deteriorating the quality of the product.
For a long time, I thought it was best to separate my politics and my religion. Both are very important to me, but one remains paramount. Without my religion, without my faith, without my God, everything else would be empty. Therefore politics and the lack of ethics that exists within becomes in desperate need of religion. For those who love country and love God, it is hard to define a line between church and state because for you God is so deeply integrated into the fabric of your life that its impossible to fathom how one might separate the two. For me, my ethics and principles and ideals are formulated from the teachings of Christ, from theology, from extensive religious study and life experience.
In the 1960s, along side the civil rights movement, emerged the 2nd Wave of the Feminist movement and with it came a slogan of "the personal is political". I believe that this is not simply a Feminist slogan, but an accurate psycho-social defining of how we as humans react to the world in which we live. For those of us who are or who have previously been victims of some sort of oppression, we seek the liberation of those who are oppressed. For those of us who are breast cancer survivors or any cancer survivor, we become impassioned by the fight for a cure. If we are parents to children with Autism, we strive to find aids and funding and education to further the cause in the fight against Autism and liberating our children for that which can in so many ways oppress them. We fight for Alzheimer's research, we are pro-life or pro-choice, we are a people who were created with hearts that beat and feel and love and even those that have been hardened by the pains that exist in our world, the heart still beats of compassion. We are our politics and our politics are personal.
Therefore, it is important that we see our nightly news in a different fashion. That we view the bovines of capitol hill not for what they say they are but for what they truly are. We have to be truth seekers which means in the very essence of the word seeker, to search out and find that which is actually the facts even if it means we are wrong. Even if it means we have to admit we were fooled by a seemingly diplomatic character or charismatic diplomat.
Our country is loved by so many and fought for by many. Lives have been lost for our liberties and its not so that we can be subjected to the ugliness that is prime time political news crusades. We all know just how much we're hurting as a country and as a family. We are deeply hurt and deeply wounded and we are in need of great care and compassion and we cannot trust those who seek power through destruction to be those who will look for the best interest of our country and our families. There is no such thing as compassionate power...unless you are looking to Christ. Alas, we can discuss our religion with our politics and we must. We must include our ethics and our morals and our values in all that we do or else we are defining ourselves as simply confused situational ethicist's.
Saturday Night Live has had many great years of satire and humor and comedy that have literally made my sides ache and at other times made me want to throw the remote uncompassionately at my television in hopes it would transport itself and smack up side the head the fool writer who wrote some ridiculously unfunny political commentary. That being said, one of my favorite SNL stars of all time is Will Ferrell and Mr. Will is to die for hilarious in the Blue Oyster Cult comedic stint as a man with more talent on the cow bell than anyone before. Of course, the addition of one Mr. Christopher Walken and his desire for more cowbell is priceless.
It's not that we need an FDA or Federal anything approved vaccination. We need more cowbell. We've got to have more cowbell. We need the little things that add a whole lot and we need more of it. We need the little voices to be projected and the hearts of many to be moved by one simple stroke of political genius. We need to stop flinging crud at each other and think that clarifies for the country that we're mature enough to handle leadership of the world. Sticks and stones my friends, sticks and stones. Everyone needs to get a grip, get a cow bell and get to it. Make noise for what matters. Put a little faith in your step and don't be afraid of being ridiculed as a religious freak or Bible thumper because you are not of this world you're just in it. It is when we forget this fact that we go deeply off the wrong end.
God Bless You!
"I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell."
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This thought came to me in the car today as I drove through my neighborhood on the way home and waved and smiled at a person walking by. As I'm waving and smiling like a circus clown, they are staring at me as if I have laser beams coming out of my head. "LASER". Sorry...I'm feeling very Dr. Evil today. What is the deal with people? When did they stop handing out common sense and manners at career day?
Well, being that I'm mildy a lunatic and that a lovely side affect to my neurosis is talking to myself, I proceed to lecture on "when someone smiles at you, the polite thing to do is smile back...PUNK!" That's when it sank in that a sermon needs to be preached about smiling. Come on ya'll...really. It doesn't cause physical pain, uncontrollable vomiting or hives to smile at someone when they smile at you or...God forbid...you attempt to smile at someone first. When did it become common place to walk around with scowls on our faces as if we're all trying out to take over Larry King's job?
Could you imagine the squirming if you stood and stared at a congregation for the better part of an hour? Just imagine the number of people who would never, ever come back to worship. It's silly and extreme, yes, but there is a point. You have no idea how much the value of your smile can hold. It cost's you nothing to share a smile with someone else...but it could be worth everything for that one person just that one day. Don't be afraid to smile at a child and wave, or to smile at the neighbor walking their dog, or the boy behind the meat counter, the handicapped couple across the restaurant, the special needs gentleman in the library...your own family. A smile can do so much. It's not over rated to give in the most simplest of ways. It's not over rated to love enough to send the very best (thank you Hallmark). You may not be the flashing singing be-bop song card, but your the little pick me up that could change some one's day. You never know if that person is a breath away from death or not...help them make each moment count.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
This week, my task was to teach them about Matthew 9:36-38; basically the concept of compassion as taught by Jesus. I did a lot of research trying to find different ideas as to what I could do, how I could make compassion come to life for kids. I think it is so important to instill compassion in our children when they're young. Teaching our young ones to love others and feel and care for others is a special gift we can give them and if they learn it young, they will carry it with them for the rest of their lives. It's not enough to teach them to be polite or nice, we have to show them through our actions that importance of going the extra degree and CARING about someone, not just being nice because we feel we have to.
Finding that this lesson is so dear to my heart, it was vital that I find a great way to show the kids how wonderful compassion is and to highlight how our lives are different because of the compassion Jesus showed for us in His ultimate sacrifice. I decided to reign them in and have a fun story time. I shared the story of Moses as a baby and also the story of the Good Samaritan. These stories were both biblical and a great resource for showing the kids compassion as it comes to life. We then talked about different ways we could be compassionate to people in our lives. Lastly, we made cards of construction paper, stickers and crayons, for those in our lives who needed compassion; whether they were sick or sad or just in need of love. I'm not sure yet how this will stick with these kids, but praise God that a seed was sewn today.
Friday, October 3, 2008
For your convenience, here are some websites where you can register to vote or find out more information about requirements, deadlines and polling places.
Remember that there is no perfect candidate. Compare your personal ethics to those of each candidate, and the one that is closet to you, vote for. It's much more important to vote than not vote. It does make a difference and your country needs you.
"Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for—because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything."
~~Peter Marshall (1902–67) Senate chaplain
Thursday, October 2, 2008
This week has been one of those weeks where the way things are yesterday, will not be the way they are tomorrow. For the first time in a long time, I'm actually unemployed. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I have wanted to be able to focus on raising my son, taking care of my philanthropies, focusing on studies and writing, but now that I'm there I'm afraid that I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I have this horrible nagging feeling like I'm faking a sick day or doing something wrong or that there is something big I'm supposed to be doing and I'm not.
To top that off, I've become something of a single mother as of late. Hubs has gone to Houston to work on hurricane claims for the next month or two so Hambone and I are on our own. This situation has two faces. On one side, it's going to be very hard to have Hubs gone and to do the things around the house and with Hambone that he did. On the other side, it will be nice to have some 'me' time and refocus myself, get re-centered and be rejuvinated by the time he returns. Needless to say, I'm not sure what to expect out of the next month or so but I know it will be an adventure.
I'm also trying to get things moving in a positive direction as far as my ministry goals. I have a possible opportunity to do some ministering and preaching at a local assisted living home for Alzheimer's patients, which would be great because I have a special place in my heart for them. We'll see though how that pans out. Further, I've taken up selling Avon which I think will be a lot of fun and if any of you are interested in purchasing anything, let me know. You can now order via my Avon website and the company will have it delivered right to you. PERFECT! I think this is an awesome new feature. Also, it only cost me $10 to start up with Avon which is a major difference when compared to the start up fees of other company's like Mary Kay, etc. Anyway, ask me about it if you have questions but I think this is going to be a great way to make a little extra 'me' cash for whatever I want it to go to (hair, massages, charity, Christmas presents, whatever).
So, this is me today, right now. Come tomorrow, things could be completely different. We'll hope in only things good. God is great and will always provide for me. I have to ward off my tendencies to be a doubting Thomas and I need to believe, as Christ asked me to do, and then to know confidently that no matter which rapid I'm rafting on today, I'm not alone and I have the best company imaginable. I pray you all know this belief in your heart and if not, ask Jesus to show you the way he showed Thomas at the end of John 20. God bless you this day and always.