Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Floor Is Yours

Good day to you. Just a really quick post today about the pace of things in my world. Furious is the word that comes to mind. I can honestly say that I am busier at this point and time than I can remember being in a long while.

That’s not a bad thing, so far. The stuff that I’m running to keep up with is all of my own scheduling and planning. But in the midst of it, I find myself thinking at times that if one more “fire” starts that I need to put out it’ll throw everything else off kilter. Of course that isn’t the case, but the feeling begins creeping in from time to time.

For me, that’s a signal to do a couple things. The first is rest. I need a solid eight hours of sleep every night, if I don’t get it feels like I’m always behind, operating at a deficit if you will. The second is rallying the troops. My troops are my family, and I’ve found over the years that when things get crazy, a good way to de-stress is spend time with the ones I love and who love me the most. Doesn’t have to be planned or something we go do, just hanging and being close does the job.

So, with that in mind here’s the plan. I leave town next week for a week long conference. When I return it’s “troop” time and down time for me. That means this blog won’t see an update for awhile. I hope that doesn’t stop the discussion that has begun from the previous posts. I’ve had some great comments and thoughts come my way concerning them. I encourage you to keep chewing on and wrestling with the notion that God is so much bigger (and different) than any religion you’ve ever experienced, and worship service you ever attended, and anything you’ve EVER read about Him.

I’ll keep checking in, and should a profound thought assault me, I’ll share. Until then, the floor is yours.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Don't Be Shy

Back from vacation and thankful to be able to connect with you here in this forum. Again, I really appreciate all your comments, as I don’t evaluate or place a judgment of right or wrong on them, I simply enjoy the conversation. Why some of you choose to comment here and others privately is always a curious thing, but all are appreciated none the less.

I’ve obviously struck a nerve by suggesting that modern day, western civilized church (regardless of denomination) is broken and far removed from Jesus’ intent and idea of church. The comments and conversations have been all over the map. Curious and defensive are just a couple of adjectives that come to mind, but as they say, “It’s all good.” Regardless, they have led me to some new observations that I’d like to share.

First, it’s quite obvious that whoever warned against discussing religion (along with politics) as a place you just don’t want to go was on to something. It’s very difficult to have simple discussions and share differing ideas in that it’s a subject that is very personal and causes folks to debate their points of view with passion and a certainty that I find curious. Not the passion, I fully endorse passion, in fact a life without passion for something is a life I don’t want – it seems a dull place that I probably wouldn’t thrive in. But the certainty is the curious part for me.

I cannot understand why people believe God can’t exist beyond their personal understanding of acceptable practices and behaviors, rites and rituals or traditions. Here’s what I’m certain of: for all the different flavors of religion that the world has ever known, not all can be right and conversely not all can be wrong. From my point of view people gravitate to the form, function and style that is most attractive to them. If that’s true, isn’t religion and the many, varied religious practices (think denomination here) simply an exercise in selfishness?

The pursuit of God is really my only non-negotiable. Sure that can lead to some strange and even dangerous places. But if one is able to be honest with one’s self, identifying places and practices that demand something from you in order to come close to God as self-serving are easy to spot. God requires nothing of you to be His child, that’s your identity by default. Finding a place that allows you to express yourself to Him, share your faith in Him, love others as a response to His love is your choice. Mine will not look like yours and why should it? I am also certain that God is so much bigger than any denominational box or even humanly conceived practice.

Secondly, I am curious as to why some people don’t even want to discuss anything beyond their understanding. It seems as if it’s not okay to have questions without answers. They have all the answers that explain absolutely everything when it comes to God and His ways, and they are presented (almost as if they were memorized) in succinct fashion that is worthy of an “Amen!” every time. I’ve stated this before but the God who has changed my life, and continues to do so, constantly leaves me with more questions than answers. I have no need for a god that I can fully understand; that would make me his equal.

Lastly, I see God in each and every point of view…with the exception of the memorized, know-it-all ones. In those I see a little army of drones that have traded their thoughts for someone else’s. But in the differences I see the love of a Creator who has given each of us something special that this world needs. And only by sharing with one another do we take our place in it and reflect more of Him, which is, exactly what this world needs.

Don’t be shy, He can handle all the questions, doubts and debates we may have. I look forward to hearing from you.