I remember a time when people were so mad about who had been elected president that dumb news stories, whether they were true or not would get posted. I got so tired of it, that I unfollowed people on my Facebook or just stayed off of it for a time. Fast forward 8 years and now I see it again.
I’ve gotten cynical about the whole political scene. Most of which is done for show on TV. The 24 hour news channels eat it up or make it up so that they can sell advertising. Most people don’t realize that they are basically being sold to those to the advertisers.
I’ve long subscribed to the saying, “If it bleeds, it leads,” to the whole of the news media. I try very hard to pick and chose my sources carefully, and then double and triple check them for facts left unsaid, or left out, because all the journalists are political operatives with a byline.
I see friends and family being lead down the path. I was there a long time ago. I turned a corner about halfway through Bush 2’s second term, realizing all that was happening. I tried to tell people that they are being used, but to no avail. As humorist Scott Adams says (I’m paraphrasing here), they are living in their own movie, and so are we. I’m not adept to being a persuader. I have to be careful with who or what I listen to. It is possible that if I look at Facebook too long, I’ll get depressed. I’ve pretty much stopped looking at twitter. I listen to a new deconstruction podcast, which helps to lighten my moods, because they are pretty funny, but my moods still swing.
As I watch the news, there are those that tell me that I’m irrelevant. That my opinions don’t matter, because I am privileged, judging me before I even open my mouth, or do anything. The pendulum swings, “fight the (blank)!” The pendulum swings back, “fight the (blank we said was good before)!” I’m beginning to realize the meaning behind the book of Ecclesiastes. “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NIV)
Fight, fight, everything is fight. What about Love? I realized recently that nobody wants to love unconditionally, because they don’t want to love those that wronged them, the original sin. They say they follow Jesus, but really they follow Moses (the law). And now we have fallen into the time of the book of Judges (Everyone did as they saw fit).
Here’s the link to Sound Cloud where I uploaded it.
Here’s the Bible Verses from my talk:
Paul said, in Colossians 3, 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
and Peter said (1 Peter 4:8) 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
And this is because, Jesus, who was God, but also fully human while getting put on the cross said, (Luke23:34a)34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a]
Here’s the Cat video:
Here is what I taught tonight to the youth group.
Had to take a hiatus. I have a broken microphone cable and haven’t had a chance to fix it. I have a couple of blog posts that are in the draft stage, but they both seem good for the show, and I haven’t had time to polish them up for the show. I’ll get it done soon.
Recently, I feel like God has been leading me into something. I’m not sure what, but the verse that much of this feeling is based on is Matthew 9:13, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (NIV).” Couple this with what one theologian calls the “Jesus Creed,” Matthew 22:37-40, “…‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (NIV).”
I see a lot of pain in this world. You can tell me that people should do “this or that,” but if the “this or that” (I’m talking about the Law) is hanging on to these verses, then don’t forget that we are to love one another, and show mercy.
During my time as an adult volunteer for the youth group, that is something that I have seen time and time again. Well meaning adults, telling the students what they should do, without any grace or mercy attached to it. This kind of starts a path down legalism within a person’s life. Which then reminds me of the line in the Orange County Supertones song Go Your Way,
“Not long after my rescue
I let my failures get me down
My sin had robbed me of the joy I had in you
Then you saved me from that too”
While I was listening to a sermon, within the last six months, the parable of shrewd manager was taught. So many look at the parables as morality stories, when they are so much more, and in this case, this parable isn’t a morality story. It has always puzzled me until I heard this sermon. If you’re not familiar with it (Luke 16:1-9), the manager was crooked, and the owner was going to fire the manager. Since the manager wouldn’t beg and was too old to do anything else he went to each of the people who owed the owner something and cut their amount owed. Now, the owner could have had the manager arrested and restored amount owed by the debtors, BUT…he didn’t, the manager risked that the owner, who was an honorable man would show him mercy and wouldn’t raise the amounts on the debtors.
God is like this. We are so crooked, but God will show us mercy.
With that in mind, I’m starting to see so much of the political process, not in left and right, Republican/Democrat, or anything else. I vote, but I don’t put my hope for change in anything that is tainted by humans, we are too self-centered. I vote for where the mercy is. I wrote that I lean libertarian. I’m willing to let people do whatever they want, but if they find themselves hurting, then I am willing to show them mercy. I’m here to love the Lord with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my heart; and my neighbor as myself. Which brings me back to learning what this means…I desire mercy and not sacrifice.
That’s not a huge shock if you have been following my Facebook or Twitter feeds lately. However, if you have been following my life through those same feeds for very long, you’d know that I haven’t been the best at keeping up my walking regimen. I have to admit that while the jury is out on me maintaining this schedule, I’m feeling more positive about keeping up with it, than I have in a long time.
I was thinking about this as I was doing my 4.5 mile walk. Not that I couldn’t walk in Boyne Falls, but with the reduction in my commute, the change in my shift rotation, and the availability of routes, I have resurrected my goals for working out. The original goals were to keep increasing my walking routes. I don’t remember my goals in terms of time, but I do remember that they went something like this: walk the North Country Trail in Charlevoix county, in Emmet County, then both counties. However, I will be amending these since today I found access to a trail that I had forgotten. It has been named the North Central State Trail. It is a multi-use rail-trail that runs from Gaylord to Cheboygan.
So the goal is simple, work on extending my walking until I can get Cheboygan, or at least to the North Country Trail and head to Mackinaw City. The ultimate goal is hiking Isle Royale NP. I haven’t thought about the goals in terms of time, however, the woods and my backpack are calling. Of course, somewhere along the line, I’m going to have to start running. I’ll have to consult my cardiologist on that one, but for now, I am walking everyday I work, and eventually, probably everyday.
I was perusing through Facebook, one morning, and ran into my union’s Facebook page. There are all sorts of people in the NWSEO that lean in every direction politically. Sometimes, the discussion gets quite heated and off topic from union issues when some of the more politically minded people start squaring off. In one case, there was a guy who had been raised in, blue collar/union is everything, type of family. Sometimes the threads will go on the member vs. non-member of the union. If your not familiar with government service unions, you are not required to join. However, the union negotiates the collective bargaining agreement with the NWS/NOAA, so there are people who benefit from the union without being in the union. This gets to rubs some people the wrong way to the point that some call the non-union people scabs.
I have noticed that in the church, and I’m speaking broadly about the church, that I have witnessed, and read of stories where some people are turned away, if they didn’t do what the people in the church thought they needed to do to earn some service from the church. I’m not necessarily talking about services for the poor, but services for the members.
The gets me to thinking, when do you turn away services to a member or a non-member? I remember that in a church I went to in the past, that another member was annoyed with somebody that the church gave assistance to, wasn’t a consistent church goer and, I think, would go to church somewhere else at times. They felt that there should have been some sort of loyalty to our church. However, I’ve always been puzzled by this attitude. If we are all believers, but at different places in our story, should loyalty to a church matter, if one is in need? Or do we just ignore them again?
There is a tension. The tension is between helping the person, regardless of their status, believer, non-believer, or someone seeking or not seeking; versus enabling them. Mary and I see this played out day in and day out in our lives. There are people that can be rather maddening in the way that they treat others, and yet come to us for help, usually in a way that seems very manipulative. As I’ve told Mary, we persevere through the manipulation, and help, hopefully to speak into their lives.
However, There is another side to this. Brian Zahnd of Word of Life Church (St. Joseph, MO) says, “Beauty will save the world.” I’m starting to feel that the church in America, has chased relevance, so far, that instead of being relevant to people, they have become utilitarian (use this product and be cool!). We are in the Box Store mentality that the culture has ushered us down. There is little beauty to left in the world, or in the Christian Church in America. So we give aid, and then people go back to their individual stories, of boring drab lives of trying to acquire things to achieve meaning.
I have to say, that there have been times when I feel like the story of my life has been boring and utilitarian, and other times beautifully written, as if there was an author whom my character actually listened to (Read Don Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years). Life was filled with astonishing beauty. In some ways, as Mary and I look to move back to Gaylord, I’m looking for an epic story to be a part of, something astonishingly beautiful. When people hear about it, they are brought to tears from the beauty of it. As crazy as things sound, there is something astonishing going on that they want to be a part of.
So who should be served by the church? Everyone, because they need to see the beauty of the Creator in the way that we live. And when they ask why we do what we do, we tell them the astonishing, crazy, beautiful story of a God, who became a baby, to an unmarried teenager, that in today’s world would be just as shunned. Who grew up just like us learning a trade, but turned out to teach the Torah very well, and then took a bunch of unschooled fishermen and taught them what he knew. Somewhere along the line, he managed to make enemies with the local church officials, and the government overseeing the country he lived in. The enemies turned and killed him, but when they did, he took all of the guilt and shame for our rebellious acts, and buried them with him. Then he rose 3 days later, to a new life and body, having given all, to the ones he created…and that beautifully astonishing story continues to go on through the disciples that spread his words to all the earth.
Life as story
What I am reading
What did we get for Christmas?
What did I learn this season?
New Schedule at work