Archive for September, 2011


Political Journey

I grew up in an opinionated home. I remember hanging out with my dad watching The Mcglaughlin Group and becoming fond of politics. It was so passionate,  the arguments, opinions and partisanship. It seemed to affect almost every facet of our lives in some way or another.  I remember my 6th grade teacher describing Democrats as wanting change and Republicans as wanting to keep things the same. This definitely made the dems seem more inviting. As I look back I tend to think this may not have been a very balanced way to teach a kid what was going on politically. The issue of abortion was only taught from the point of view of a  women’s body (valid view) and Pro-Life was only taught as infringing upon that right. Well, I was a fairly happy oblivious dem in the making as teen. I was headed down the hippie path which most likely would’ve made me lean into being a solid liberal. But alas, I moved to Cali right after the riots into the most racially charged area I have ever experienced. It was at this point I found some friends that were the polar opposite of hippies. It seemed out there that all races generally had a distrust for each other. Hispanics and whites got along okay but that was only sometimes.  Anyway this is the time where I began a shift in my opinions. There was general fear of the loss of white american culture in my circle of friends. I feel somewhat ashamed that I didn’t realize that white american culture is the dominant culture all around.  This general feeling led me way further to the right then anyone rationally accepts as okay.

Thankfully, I left Cali back to Kansas and then to Washington D.C. Job Corps where I was in an environment of 500 people with about 15 white. I firmly believe this was one of the best experiences in my life to learn to experience people as people and not a race. Hands down, life changing time.

After Job Corps I went back to Kansas and began working in new construction. I did pretty well and had left behind the worst of my belief systems. I began listening to some conservative and christian radio and had an awakening on abortion. I had been lied to when I was younger, at least that is how I felt. There was another side to this issue, it just did not have a voice.  So I began to have a vicious distrust of the government.  I was working really hard and didn’t want any of my money going to pay for things I felt were immoral. I was also very idealistic that I too, would one day be rich and then I would really be paying for things I disagree with or at least paying for mismanaged government bureaucracy.  I mean why do they get to waste what others have earned? It just didn’t seem fair. So I chose to defend the rich at every turn. I know they really need me, right? 😉

As my journey went on I pretty much stayed on the conservative/republican path with much fear of liberals and the government. I think my views began to shift as I dove into in the blog https://soawakeandalive.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/the-shifting-of-positions/

I won’t rehash all that now I just thought I’d give some more background.

What is amazing to me these  days is my seeing the grey side of everything. I think the main thing that killed my being overly ideological is giving up the belief that those who disagree with me have evil intentions. I don’t know their heart or their journey to why they feel  the way they do. If I choose to trust that people have actually thought about what they are articulating then who am I to say they are just plain “wrong” on much of anything. What if before we looked at any issue we chose to not degrade the side we are not on? What if a person who doesn’t care for the Tea Party but refuse to call them a derogatory term. What if a liberal really isn’t a closet communist who wants to destroy capitalism and the american way of life ? What if we could assume that an intelligent conclusion can be made that is different than ours?

On the flip side I do see and believe in corruption. I would trust the government as much as I would trust Exxon. Why is it that it seems that good folks would rather trash each other for deeming one of these two more trustworthy than the other. Deep down I think we both know they both provide some good things but neither are worthy of our trust.

At this point I choose to be an idealist who wants what is best for all people. I choose to be guided by love, I don’t care if it is practical or even possible by worldly standards. I’m not the king of anything. I think it can be healthy to not take things so seriously. Most things are manufactured anyway and don’t really affect our day to day lives.  The bottom line is we are all right and we are all wrong at the same time. We see things dimly.

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Am I the only person that struggles with the view of thankfulness/contentment vs. settling? Can this be a both/and statement rather than a battle? That is the struggle I hold in my heart almost daily. I believe it is divine tension. Is this tension something that will always be there? Are they truly opposites or is that just myself wanting to cling to not trusting what direction my heart is leading?

Let’s look at each. Thankfulness/contentment helps me to be more grounded in the fact that I have been so blessed beyond the greatest dreams of my childhood.  I’ll share part of this;  I have my beautiful soul-mate who I can trust with my heart, three beautiful children who challenge my understanding of what I think I know, a family of origin that loves me, loving friends and community,  a successful career of 17 years now, eyes that see people, active participant of healing my emotional, mental and spiritual health, a heart that loves,  roof, food, and on and on. Utterly  amazing! The story of my life is truly not a tragedy.  SO much, as I list I wonder how discontent could even creep in, but it does.  Could that be the way this journey works? Guess I know where to refer back come Thanksgiving for sure. Why not take some time and make a list yourself.

When I look at the list above I believe settling could have killed so much of it. I think it is a lie to think you’re ungrateful if you want more for your life. Why does it feel that way? Personally, it is easier for me at times to believe lies that make me into a bad guy for wanting  more such as; you should be happy with what you got, it’s better than you deserve. Father declares we are worthy of more than we are used to hearing. Why do we waste so much time telling God how unworthy we are? I know it is all on account of Him but if it is reality now why can’t we enjoy it?  You know, it is possible to want more and be a selfish ass about it but I truly believe in change and most people if they could cut through the crap and lies wouldn’t want to make selfish choices. There is also such thing as a healthy settling for the moment. For example; my job doesn’t jive fully with my heart but practical maturity won’t allow irresponsibility to simply abandon what has provided well. I choose to pursue dreams more slowly at times or possibly allow the dreams to be changeable.  You never really know what dreams you wind up laying down forever till the contentment swallows up the desire and by then it is not so much a concern anymore

Most of us at times choose to settle in healthy and unhealthy ways throughout our lives. My encouragement to you is to not be afraid to want more in this life. Don’t settle in the things that are important such as; your heart, your family and your relationships. Father wants more for you than you can possibly know. If we could only dream as big for ourselves as he does. Not settling has nothing to do with ungratefulness and everything to do with living fully who you were created to be.

Are You Listening?

4Again he began to teach beside the lake. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the lake on the land. 2He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. 6And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. 7Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’ 9And he said, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’

10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret* of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12in order that
“they may indeed look, but not perceive,
and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.” ’

13 And he said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. 17But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.* 18And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, 19but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. 20And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’

Mark 4:1-20

Do you hear from God?  I am coming to a place where I believe He is always communicating with us. If you already are at a place where you consider yourself a christian, how have you interpreted this story? I had always seen it from a “big picture/ Gospel” message which I am not saying it is not. I just like to play around a bit and try a different take!

The beginning soil is on the path and seed gets stolen by the enemy. What does this mean? The path could be ground not meant for growth, closed off, beaten down and hard.  If a person is at a place in life where they have never dealt with any of their pain could this develop a hard spot? If negative energy is all that has been received, how easily can a message of love be received.  The Bible calls Satan the “accuser”. Is it possible that if you have only listened to accusations of never being enough, being defective or having to prove your worth that it may be hard to grasp an affirming message? Also, the  modern/post-modern message that God doesn’t really speak to people could make it hard to receive a message. It’s much easier to just say “read the Bible”.

The second soil seems to point toward those who hear the affirming Voice at first and then immediately get to work growing. No foundational watering or tilling the earth.  After some time they quite literally burn out and scatter.

The 3rd soil is the to me the American kind. The have it all soil. It is hard to listen to the Voice when the accumulation of stuff is the most important draw.

Finally, the 4th soil yields a crop more than anyone could hope for.

Well, as I said earlier I always thought this was simply a Gospel message parable but could it say more? How many farmers (sowers) plant once and its all over? Do they not continue to work the land? Tilling the earth, removing the rocks and pulling the weeds. I have never farmed but my impression is hard work and care go into yielding a crop.  In the past as I read this I would pray to be “good soil” and hope I wasn’t the “bad”,  sometimes I wonder if the evangelical roots that my young adult journey started in created this point of view. Never the less it was a valuable and beneficial time in many, many ways.

What if the Word is literally Jesus trying to speak to you and the different things in our life cause us not to receive it. What if this sowing is ongoing? I know I have felt myself be at all these places at different days of the week, in the same week!!!  I think it is possible to not cooperate with the Word being spoken by adding weeds, running a path, or adding new rocks to the earth.  Sometimes the earth doesn’t cooperate with the farmer. Yet, does the farmer give up?

How does it feel to have the dirt in your life cleaned up. What are your rocks? Why do we want to put them back after we agreed to have them removed? I believe this “sowing” is continual and ongoing without end. We humans have seasons of rocky ground and then good soil, we are the living farm God is growing. I am choosing to slow down and listen to the Voice of Him that there is no condemnation (Rom 8:1). I want to listen and let the seed hit the ground and stay. Allow the farmer to work the field even if it hurts.

You know the things He is wanting to work on with you. Don’t be afraid. Begin trusting and ask for help. Allow Spirit to love you and speak to you. The Bible calls the Spirit, Paraclete which is literally “defense attorney” (Thank you Richard Rohr!). He is on your side. Listen with your heart and allow yourself to grow!

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