Monday, June 27, 2016

I was reading Ecclesiastes yesterday and this passage jumped out at me; "Also do not lake to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.  For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others."  Ecclesiastes 7:21-22  What a hard concept to actually put into practice.  I have been the victim of tons of contempt.  I have figured out that people harbor ill thoughts and beliefs and then wait until you are on your back to pounce and dump.  It's frightening but only if I take to heart everything people say.  Funny how much resilient people seem to be able to ignore.  As for me, I have a deep, deep fear of another's contempt.  It has way too much power in my life even now.

What would it be like if I didn't take to heart everything people say?  What if it didn't matter... not in the sense that I don't care but in the sense that it just isn't where my equilibrium lies?  This is a place in my life God has worked on for years.

I'm thinking of C.S. Lewis's book "The Great Divorce"  In it his picture of hell is just a tiny crack in the ground of heaven.  We have made it this huge gaping void but perhaps I need to give it much less significance?

For me today, this passage is a picture of grace.  I have known such grace from people who let me restate myself until I feel understood.  It is so amazing to have someone say, "I heard X but I know you well enough to know you meant something else.  Try again!"  Or just to be given the gift of patience.  What a gift for someone to see only the good in you in spite of your flaws and crooked features.  I am the type that sees the splotch of ink, rather than the rest of the white paper.  God forgive me... heal me!

God I want to offer that gift to others.  I want to be resilient and patient and kind.  (Listening)  It is true that I have focused on people's faults... perhaps as a protection/defense?  If I see another's faults maybe mine are more palatable?  Such the opposite of grace.

Grace is such a powerful thing.  Perhaps the one weapon we have to win against evil eh?
It's confusing, isn't it?  how did we get here?  It happened so fast didn't it?  Has America lost it's identity?  Who are we now... and what do we stand for?  Equality?  I beg to differ.  Justice? Not that I've seen.  Hope?  So sad.. so little hope.  It feels like we as a country have lost our way.  Doesn't it?

But then, why are we surprised?  What is the end result of teaching people that there is no God?  That we just happened and we are simply descendants of apes?  What if there was no intelligent design?  What does that make us then? What now is the point of living?  If we are not created, we are of no more value than dogs, or maybe even less, since we can make more informed choices eh?  Look at the consequences of our decisions.  it is much bigger than we might think.  We no longer have a reason to be reasonable.

Think about money.  Jesus says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."  Is he implying that there are only two masters out there?  We will serve Him or money?  I wonder... We have definitely made the switch in this country.  And money is a cruel master isn't it?

I keep wondering how to navigate a world that serves a different master than I do.  We keep missing each other on every pass because I really don't want to serve money and our laws are written with the expectation that I do.  I am lost as to how to respond.  

But I believe we were created and for a deep, deep purpose.  Perhaps in these times that purpose is more important than ever eh?  light is most needed the darker the night isn't it? So how do I become light?  What can I do in this world now?  (listening)...  I simply hear "be kind".  I have seen that, the more we are focused on money the less we notice the people who have none.  Where I am today, homeless people are huddled in huge cardboard villages.  How can I learn to see?  Learn to watch? and learn to be kind?

Saturday, June 18, 2016


It's raining, the birds are singing playfully outside and there is a very slight puff of wind teasing soggy branches of trees.  But there is also the harsh sounds of a sea plane coming down for a landing and the swish of a car, the blare of a truck's air brakes and the tick, ticking of a clock.

Isn't it funny how the continuous roar of the sea is soothing but the continuous running of a toilet can drive you crazy?

I wonder at how much noise we produce just by being busy.  We drive rather than walk because we don't have the time?  Or is it that we just don't want to walk anymore?  So much of what we have invented was invented to save time and effort.  The washing machine, dryer, dishwasher.  What about the power drill, lawn mower and car?  I use them all.  But if they save me time I don't know what happened to it.

I saw a clip where Bernie Sanders was saying that he played ball in Brooklyn growing up and a part of the positive for him was not having parental supervision all the time.  He said kids learned how to interact by interacting on their own.  It's a very good point!

Why are we busy?  What do we do?  We work, so that we can have money so that we can eat to have strength to go to work?  Kids go to school to get homework so that they can study at home and go to school and get more homework?  

Is there another way? What does it mean to be still?

This verse is written in the command form:

"Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still". Psalm 4:4

So is this one:

"Be still, and know that I am God;" Psalm 46:10

The birds are still singing outside.  I think I will go outside to listen.