The Fluidity of Life

Your life is fluid. It flows through time sometimes as a slow meandering stream and other times as a raging white rapid river. Somehow you have to hang on to the raft or boat that you are on and keep floating down stream. The amazing thing is that when you come out of the rapids into calmer water, it is the anticipation of what is around that next bend that keeps you motivated to move on. You could tie on to that dock or drop anchor for a rest, but the water pushes you, urging you to continue. As you navigate the journey of your life you will approach other boaters. They may have big yachts or small dingys, but you are all on the same river, living this life. It is what it is. You have to keep sailing. All of a sudden a fast brightly colored speed boat flies by going up-stream. You may be tempted to follow it or try to race it, but remember that God may not want you going that way or that fast. Check your compass, what does the Captain say to the navigator? Full steam ahead? Adjust your sails? Consult you map and sexton, then say a prayer.

Be happy with the vessel that God gave you and keep the course. He never promised you that your life would be easy and smooth sailing, but He did promise that the voyage is worth it.

Soul Stages

I joined a book club at church and we are reading “Five Stages of The Soul” by Harry R. Moody. I can’t put this book down. After reading the first two pages I said, “Oh my, that is ME!”

On the first page Moody writes, “Time is running out.” The book is a road map of a sort through the life of one’s soul. It explains the life cycle of the soul. Moody spent twenty years doing research and this book is a result of some of that work. I will be sharing odds and ends that I learn from this book as I participate with the book club. Right from the start I see it is going to be a challenging and interesting journey.

Why is it that we look for answers to life in so many other things other than God? Why to we fill our soul with garbage? There is a contemporary Christian song by the artist Plum that says “there is a God shaped hole in all of us”. That is the reason we are looking for that something that will complete us. We fill our lives with all sorts of stuff that never fill our souls. We are never satisfied with what we do, own, who we marry, and all the other trappings of this life. God is the only one who can fill that hole that He created in our souls.

I am no different. I meander around in life on a repeat cycle that is reminiscent of that movie Groundhog Day. Every day is the same filled with all sorts of responsibilities and activities that leave me exhausted and still incomplete. I am only truly at peace when I am either at church or spending time with God in some other way, in prayer, studying my Bible or listening worship music, or enjoying the innocence of my children or grandchildren. That is when I feel truly alive. I keep thinking that I can find the answer in work, school, and other things when deep down I know that it is only God who can fix me, fill me and protect me.

I hope to gain some insight as to how to improve my relationship with God, simplify my life to something that is more satisfying and change to be more productive in my service to God.

 

 

Respect Not Judgment

“Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?…I will, with God’s help.” BCP, p. 417

I wasn’t going to get into this conversation, but a few of my readers have asked me about it since they know I am an Episcopalian.  I have decided to get out of my turtle shell and stop ignoring them. My beloved Episcopal church has actually thrust us parishioners right in the middle of the discussion even if some of us weren’t ready to address it. You may have heard that the Episcopal church is going to bless same-sex couples.

What I would like to talk about is the first statement at the top of the page. We are called to “respect the dignity of every human being”. My priest Fr Jeff read the letter from our bishop explaining the decision to bless same-sex unions, it was clear that in the Episcopal church marriage will still be between one man and one woman. Same sex couples will receive a blessing if approved by the bishop. I am sure that not all my church family members agree with the decision, but even if they did not like what they were hearing, not one member of my church, Holy Cross Episcopal got up and walked out. Even if they did not agree with the decision, no one left. That speaks volumes to the character of my church family.

I think the reason everyone sat and listened to the entire letter without a gasp, or frown was the fact that we all agree on what is important. There is so much more to life than this one thing. We agree with love, we agree to respect everyone, and I mean EVERYONE….and get this, we don’t care if you are a sinner. That is because we are too.  We love you anyway!  Unconditional love should be the foundation of everything a church does. The focus of the church should be on taking care of people despite what they choose to do with their bodies. It matters not if we are talking about sex or whatever behavior you want to tag on. People are so much more than the things they do, their life style, and their spouses. We should still respect the person. People seem to forget that humans have this wonderful thing called free will. We are given the ability by our creator to think and act for ourselves. We focus on the person, not what they do. What they do is between themselves and God. It is up to God to judge what we do. We are not to judge, no,  not one soul. We are to love and serve them all as Christ would.

So the next time you decided to judge a person because of their life style or the church they choose to serve God in, think about what you are doing. Think about how Christ would treat that person. Would he approve of how you treat them, speak to them or about them?

Leave the judgment to the one who is perfect, since we are not.

The Imperfectionists: A Novel by Tom Rachman

      The Imperfectionist is a snap shot of lives involved directly on indirectly with a newspaper. It is a teasing book that weaves in and out of the lives of the characters and as soon as you get hooked on their story the character is gone and yo are left with a feeling of, “that’s it!, I want more!”.  Rachman spins a tale that is vividly Italian and yet warmly American at the same time. It is an easy book to read in a weekend. It leaves you wondering and imaging what happens to the people after you lay the book down, but explains what happens to the newspaper. Also, it gives you a bit of incite as to the inner workings of the folks that bring the news, even if it is a fictional look.

Feel Good Religion

Christianity is not simply a  feel good religion. There is nothing wrong with having an experience that leaves you lifting your hands and praising God, but when your religion is only that and not based on the Biblical reality that Christianity is not always warm in fuzzy you can get in a bad place spiritually very quickly. In a feel good religion one is unaware of the reality of the simple fact that we are not worthy of God and we are sinners. The problem with that is it lends to the tendency of Christians to ignore the fact that God is just. In a feel good religion reality is generally not talked about.THe focus is solely on how much we love God and the Grace of God.  What is the reality that is being ignored? It is the fact that true religion requires obedience to the Commandments of God and repentance, not merely feeling good. Humans have free will and they are given the choice to either obey or disobey God. God’s word says,  “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life” (Deut 30:19). If you refuse to accept the seriousness of this human life and its purpose, you are essentially disregarding the fact that there will be a day when you will have to answer for your actions.  Many have been deceived into thinking that all God requires is to believe in Christ and to attend church. What happened to the “obey my commandments” part?

It is difficult to face accountability, but we have no choice. It is not fair to avoid that accountability part in Christianity. Most feel good churches are luring people in with the music, acceptance, even a success ploy and let things continue that way, when it comes to the reality that God is a jealous God who expects us to obey, people avoid teaching that to the members of the congregation.

Don’t be that kind of Christian. Look at the reality that you are called to face. Accept that God has certain requirements of us and do that to the best of your ability. Yes you will fail, that is a fact but it is what you do to acknowledge that failure and repent that matters.

Being Human

It really bothers me when people think because you are a Christian that you shouldn’t get mad. Even worse, that Christians think it isn’t “Christian like” to get angry. Give me a break. We may be Christian’s but we are human too. Yes we can get angry, and we do. There is no reason to feel guilty about getting angry if you get angry for the right reasons. Being petty and mad over little insignificant things is not being “Christian like”, but getting angry over things that are just plain wrong is the right thing to do.

That is what is wrong with some Christians these days. They are too wishy-washy mamby-pamby about things. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Sometimes you just have to get angry and deal with it. Yeah, it’s hard. Especially when it is someone who you dearly love who is doing wrong. Tell them, dont’ nag them. Tell them it’s wrong and let them figure out how they are going to deal with it. You can’t control what a person uses their free will to do, but you do not have to like it. I am not saying to abandon them or stop loving them. Sometimes you have to suck it up and deal with them until they get it right….yeah, sometimes you even have to be patient and pray. PRAY A LOT! (Please God hear my prayer…I need patience and love, if you give me strength I may choke them and I don’t have bail money).Eventually they will get it, or not. If not then you may have to have an old fashion come to Jesus meeting and decide what is right for you to do about it. Sometimes the best thing you can do is use your will to walk your loving angry self away from the person or situation.

(Lord let me learn this lesson and quick. Amen)