Archive for August, 2011


How Little I Know

This is going to sound kinda funny from an opinionated blogger.  I really don’t know much. It is amazing how much my thoughts have shifted over the years.  Take a minute and flash back in your own mind 10 or 20 years and think about what you knew as fact back then that makes you shake your head today.

We were just watching America, The Story of Us on Netflix. Great show, check it out if you can. Anyway, episode 10 was about WWII. As I grew up I had always been taught that the USA had to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. It made sense to me for years. Then as I got a bit older, God showed me the value of all people and I began to second guess and view it negatively. Now, once again I am facing how little I really know about the “big picture” of things.  Approximately, 120,000 Americans died in the D-Day invasion to recapture Europe from Hitler.  Japan also would have required the same beach style invasion only with even greater losses. I think it becomes easy to become “holier than thou” about decisions made in the past when I wasn’t the one facing the same circumstances.

How often do we/I do this? Look back and think “man, they sure where messed up”.  I am afraid this speaks to my own arrogance at times. I have found that this is the case with so much. We all can be caught by a myopic view and it doesn’t even have to be about the past. Think about the last time you really disagreed with a different point of view politically. We/I can begin to assume the worst “they want to destroy this country” or “they want to take away my rights” and begin to think ill of those who hold those views even if the crap is all in our own minds.

This journey is teaching me to hold loosely to my opinions, hold fast to what I truly believe to be the truth and keep an open heart. I seldom know as much as I think I do but the beautiful thing is that this is okay! I do think healthy debate is great for us as a society.  My caution is to not think someone who disagrees with you is evil or wrong automatically.

This is not the easiest lesson for one as opinionated as me! I am sure there will be hiccups on the road!

I want to blog a bit about Jesus.

I sometimes wonder if the modern church has made him much smaller than he really is.  I know we believe he is the unique Son of God and the second person in the Trinity but do we really grasp this? There are times it feels more like we are following the teachings of a 2000 year old philosopher who loves us and gave himself up for us. Could he be even more?

The Bible says that all things have been made by,for, and through Jesus. All things.  Think about that for a moment. Also, that “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)

It also says “he is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15)  He shows us what Father is really like. He said “no one knows the Father except the Son” (Mat 11:27) emphasis added.

I think it has been easier for me to look at the historical Jesus and think that is where most  of my focus should be when it comes to relating to him. One problem….I wasn’t there!!!  He was talking to actual people that may have had specific intentions. It feels detached and distant at times. Whereas the resurrected Jesus who lives in me by the Spirit feels much closer and relational.  Could he have specific intentions and things to say to me or you? I understand the value of scripture. I have wondered at times if scripture can inhibit us from hearing the very voice of God, due to the complexities of it all.  Jesus did say ” You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)

I am not saying that the historical accounts have nothing to teach us. I am saying the action of God becoming man to bring us into relationship is what I believe the heart of the Gospel is.  What does it mean to be a “Christian” or “Christ-follower”? Are we following the teachings 2ooo years old (yet timeless) of our Lord or participating in the reconciliation of the world to God through Jesus by the Spirit? Or is it mysteriously both?

I recognize not all folks have the trouble I do at times and understand things more clearly. I want to share the things I believe Father places on my heart…even if they appear to be extraordinarily unique!  🙂

P.S. lots of Bible bingo, huh 🙂

Okay….. I’m going to go there.

My spiritual journey got reinvigorated for me right about 14 years ago. Around that time I was a partying young construction worker who loved my beer, my smoke and having an opinion on pretty much everything (some things haven’t changed,huh :)). Every day I would pretty much  listen to christian and/or conservative radio. Unusual bedfellows I know.  Some things happened from this influence that I do not view as negative. #1 I began to see my need for more in this life. #2 My recognition of healthy lines for myself and society. #3 A desire and drive to own my journey.

I came from an environment that tried to instill such things in me but there was great inconsistency. So the lessons weren’t really learned at home.  Once I met and fell in love with Emily I really wanted to get “right” with God and start living “right”.  We started going to church and found folks that really helped us learn a lot.

Something I should mention is the main issues I learned from my christian radio where abortion, the “radical” gay agenda, saving “the family”, and getting people “saved”. Also, being christian and american were synonymous.

I began the journey of wanting to serve God and love him. Even asked Emily to move out before we married so God would “bless” our marriage. I still think it is better to wait to share everything till marriage but my motivation was mainly response driven. I thought my actions would increase God’s blessings rather than trusting that He loves and wants to bless me.

In church we learned a lot of religious stuff that claimed to not be religious. I learned a lot about who God is and who he says I am. I began a journey of trust and hope. Life happens. We experienced many health issues with Emily that stretched us. There was the thought “if we had enough faith, she’d be healed”. She experienced a remission and we all believed it to be legit miracle. This strengthened our journey for a while. Then a few years later her health issues returned. There are few answers in a situation like that. I chose to move forward in the journey and realize just maybe that God’s love, care and presence are not dependent on our actions. This was  a gradual shift of positions but one I am sure now that the Spirit wanted me to learn that God is still good despite circumstances.

Following that chapter I began learning more to trust in the love that God has for me and for all. I went through Breakthrough which really helped me connect my head and heart and soul with what Father had been showing me my whole life.  As this time was going forward all my certitude about things started to unravel.

Over the years up till now there are questions that the Spirit keeps placing on my heart and I still wrestle with today:

How much do I care for the “least of these”? i.e. social justice?

Does America’s interests matter to God above others?( That is one that has been hard for me.)

Does God love everyone? Even those I clearly do not?

Is all life sacred? Can there be a consistent ethic of life?

Is Jesus’ way just impractical in the “real” world?

As I began to wrestle with these things I felt challenged in my soul for my own feelings and thoughts in the past regarding HIV/AIDS so knowing Father had been awakening my heart, we decided to do the AIDS Walk Kansas City. It was an awesome experience. We raised a bit of money and found it good to experience people. The following year while raising money for the next walk I was talking to very successful “christian” co-worker, trying to hit him up for a few bucks. I believe the man was clueless. I told him my thoughts on how sad the church’s response had been to HIV/AIDS and the gay community in general, and this is what he said ” Yeah, I can give about $10, cause you know the majority are going to burn anyway” with a big smile as he said it. WTH! I was in shock and didn’t challenge it. Also, I never got the money.  This event with my co-worker was very pivotal for so many reasons. Such as; who are you to judge anyone?, there was no love, only arrogance on a subject that made him almost come across evil.

Faith, Hope and Love….The greatest of these is Love.

The Father cares far more about the heart. I am convinced that this is what Father wanted me to learn all along. It is interesting to me that the things of most value to me at the beginning of my journey had more to do with other people’s actions.  I don’t pretend to have answers. I have come to understand at this point that love is the lens I choose to look through. God is Love. I also have come to understand that I don’t need to protect people from God. By acting and living in love, I do not believe it is enabling people to “just do what they want”. I have my journey and they have theirs.

So, what I know I want is for Father, Son and Spirit to continue to shape my heart into who I was made to be.  All those years back I would’ve never thought I would come to the conclusions I am at now. My challenge to you is to give up your need to “be right” and allow your mind and heart to shift positions wherever Father leads you.

http://www.aidswalkkansascity.org

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