Friday, September 10

A Poem...

Roses are Red
Violets are blue
But this is a statement proven untrue

Roses are Red
but also yellow orange, and pink
So there are some things that we must rethink

The world is not concrete
As we would like it to be
Some things come easy but nothing is free

Things we have learned
are proven untrue
so we must relearn them and learn them anew.

Monday, August 2

"You are my Sunshine"

Every now and then, alright just about daily I serenade my kids... anything from personalized nursery rhymes to songs made up on the spot. I find myself changing many songs simply because they are horrible! For example, I was singing to my daughter a popular little tune when she was a baby "you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are gray, you'll never know dear, how much I love you, Please don't take my sunshine away'. While singing I thought "How sad is this song" So I changed the words.. to "you are my sunshine, one of my sunshines (I have two kids:), "You make me happy when skies are gray, I hope you know dear, how much I love you, I'm so glad your my sunshine today!" Even though I can not sing very well at all... seriously its horrible, my kids love when I sing to them. Just a few nights ago, while putting my youngest down to sleep for the night she looked at me and started singing "I am your sunshine, one of your sunshines, I make you happy, skies are gray, I know dear, you love me, I'm your sunshine... todayyyyyyy. I started to tear up on the spot. Not only because she is only 2 1/2 years old or that it was in her tired, soft girly voice, but more because she got it. She knows how much I love her... that she brings joy to my life and she sang it with confidence not with a question. I found myself telling God how I would love to sing to him like that, sing back to him the songs that he sings to me, fully believing them, knowing that their true! No shame, question, doubt or any thing but joy!. I long for the day when I can confidently look to my God and Father and sing "I am your sunshine, one of your sunshines, I make you happy when skies are gray, I know dear, how much you love me, I'm so glad I'm your sunshine today!"

Tuesday, February 9

The Cost

There is a cost to following God through His Son Jesus. In America, we have a skewed idea of the cost of something. We are either willing to pay to much for something worthless or pay not enough for something truly valuable.

During the 3rd c., Christianity had a different story. Christianity had to be practiced in secret, considered illegal and blamed for the problems of Rome, those who believed signed themselves up for a life of persecution, gladly, knowing that it was for the glory of Christ and He is worth it.

Once Constantine converted to Christianity (whether you believe it to be genuine is not the point) everything changed. Constantine converted in 312 and in 313 he signed the Edict of Milan, legalizing Christianity. Now Christians could come out of hiding and practice publicly. Later in 381, Theodosius (Constantine's successor) make Christianity the official religion of the empire. These two events, Constantine's conversions and Theodosius declaration, drastically changed the whole of Christianity. From this point on Christianity went from being a a group of disenfranchised followers to a powerful political tool. Another problem with this even is that in some ways Christianity was weakened. Now that Christianity is legal and the official religion there were mass conversions, many of which were not legitimate, and powerful people converted simply for political gains.

These changes within society and the church led to the growth of the monasteries. Around 530 St. Benedict reformed a former Rule (a detailed way of life for those in communal living/monasteries) adding more grace and humility. Those who joined the monasteries were seeking something deeper, they were tired of what Christianity had become and sought to get back to the roots of Christianity.

SO what is the cost for us today, living in America, following Christ? This country, founded on the principal of freedom of religion, boasts of a toleration ideal that in practice falls seriously short of its ideals. And yet if one truly desires to follow Christ, walk in humility and love the cost will quickly become evident. The comments from friends and family will start, subtle at first, then escalating. Before long you may be labeled as self-righteous. To be clear there are many who are experiencing "Cost" due to their faith but in reality it is because they are a jerk and treat people harshly and lack grace. I am talking about one who truly desires to follow the precepts of God and show love, not give into gossip, repent after lying etc. Take just one of those and think of the implication. If you were to not only stop gossiping (or strive to) but also stop listening to and even correcting, always in love, those who gossip, what do you imagine their response would be towards you? I experienced this in a former work place where there was much gossip. God convicted me of the 'small' comments I would make and so I repented, apologized to those I had talked about and tried to guard my speech. This part was o.k. with most of my coworkers. When I recognized that listening to gossip was equally as destructive, I began to walk away or try to redirect conversations. This was not accepted to the same degree. People made comments, made fun of me, stopped talking to me at times etc. Later I realized that, sometimes, it was necessary for me to speak up, in a non-condemning way, and look for the real issue that was often under the gossip. At this point I noticed that at times, when I would walk in a room people would stop talking and would not finish their conversation until I left. This was hard until one day another coworker began sharing with me some significant personal problems they were experiencing. I did not understand why they were sharing this with me until they said 'I'm telling you this because I know your the one person here who will not tell anyone else'.

That one event made the cost worth it for me. After that conversation I became all the more diligent to guard my speech and my ears.

So today, as I think through history and the changes within society and the church (which many times are inseparable) I hope to see the thread of human nature woven through and to learn from the cycles of history so that I can do what is right and pleasing to God, hopefully avoiding mistakes that we, the church, have been making since the beginning.

"Don't forget your history nor your destiny"
Bob Marley

Thursday, January 28

Wasting a Lie

I have been mulling over a situation that happened about a week ago at the store and I still can't seem to shake it. Here's what happened...
I had just finished picking up a few food items at the supermarket and seeing as I only had a hand basket I decided to go to the self check-out line. Every time I have been in this grocery store they have us all gather in one line and then the first person in line moves to the first open check out station. When I arrive there are two men already standing in line, one behind the other. So I join and become the third person in a straight line. Well, it seemed that two of the people already checking out were running into problems with the computer and scanner and a third person had walked off in the middle of an order, leaving everything there, to go get something she forgot. Needless to say the line of three quickly grew to eight when a ninth woman walked up and appraised the situation. Instead of lining up like everyone else had, she decides to start a new line, so there would be two lines splitting between the opening registers. ** I know this may seem trivial but please stick with me** This woman, after getting looks from the others in line asks those of us standing there "Is there suppose to be one line or two here?" Her question was asked in a rather harsh tone and the woman herself looked pretty rough. Well due to the prior statement no one answered her, so I decided to. I told her that it was one line. Then she went off on me. "Do you work here?" "How do YOU know that?" (Hands were waving and voice was raising) Now I could have just told her the truth, that every time I come they have us get in one line and they tell the first person to move to the first open register but I didn't... I looked at her said "I asked" and then she went off on me again. I ignored her at this point realizing, as I should have in the beginning, that she was looking for a fight. Besides I was now the first in line and moved to the open register and started ringing up my few items.
My car ride home was consumed with this incident. I lied, for no good reason to someone I did not know and would probably never see again. Part of me wondered why this was bothering me so much and yet another side of me was grateful that I felt torn with such a 'simple' failure. I was glad that I was no longer o.k. with not telling the truth. I do not say this because I have a history of lying or am a pathological lier or anything, but in the moment, I made a quick decision and it was the wrong one. The other problem was that the situation was over and there was no way for me to correct it with the people I sinned against. I had to handle it solely between me and God. I feet guilty, and not in the little kid sort of way but in a real deep place. The great thing about this stupid moment in time was that it drew me closer to my savior. By the grace of God I do not worry about going out and committing some atrocity (by our societies standards), or a really "big sin" as we tend to look at things, but it was in this little mistake that I say how deep my sin really goes. My sin goes past cognitive decisions, past what I want to do in the moment, my sin overrides what I know to be right and sometimes I give into that Sin. I thank God that he is so much bigger than our sin, bigger than our failures, bigger than the weights we bear in this life. His grace is such that he shows us these shortcomings so that he can root them out of us, if we will let Him. I always want to want to let Him do this.
After leaving the grocery store and driving home, ruminating the whole time on my response in a pointless situation, I walked into our house and the only thing I could say to my husband was "I wasted a lie". I didn't really mean that I wasted one, I was just so surprised with myself that out of all the chances I have to lie I chose to do so over a check out line at a supermarket.