Don’t Stop. Keep Walking! (the micro version)

barbedwire

Chew on this one a while. Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

God is all around us, but he stops for no one. If we want to be with him, we must walk with him. We cannot drive our stake in the ground and declare that this is what we believe and we will never change. This is why the Church is in trouble today. We have stopped, and God has moved on, and the unbelievers can clearly see that God is not with us.

Let’s get walking!

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Southernisms: I Could Eat

Good stuff! Served up hot and fresh with a heaping side of family and community. Y’ll get you some!

progressiveredneckpreacher

dinner-table-l

Each week we have a hashtag game at Progressive Redneck Preacher called “Southernisms”. A southernism is a phrase, activity, or ritual common to our southern culture – sometimes amazingly beautiful, sometimes pretty helpful, sometimes uproariously funny. The past two weeks we had the hashtag #icouldeat . This hashtag comes from what is considered a polite, common answer to the question, “Are y’all hungry for something?” Also, sometimes “I could eat” leads into a description of how hungry you are. “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse” comes to mind. We asked people to think about the question, “What is your most unique or your favorite southern dish, southern meal, or story about eating in the south?” and to share that, with the hashtag #icouldeat . Or, alternately, to share the strangest thing they’ve heard someone share that they could eat.

Next week, with us coming out of the labor day weekend…

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Response: Should Christians Drink Alcohol?

Here is a good, common-sense take on a sticky topic. When you boil it down, WHY we do things is at least as important as WHAT we do. Do give this a look. It’s pretty good.

laurelmariekells

A friend from Bethel posted an article on being a Christian and drinking alcohol, you can read it here: http://www.sdmorrison.org/should-christians-drink-alcohol/

Growing up I rarely saw my parents drinking alcohol, not because they didn’t want to, but because they “shouldn’t”.

If we were out to eat and the adults had a glass of wine, us kids weren’t allowed to take a picture because we couldn’t let anyone see that they were actually drinking alcohol. My parents didn’t get drunk, but it was still a “hush hush” activity.

When I went to Bethel’s Ministry School, I was in church-culture shock. It was a culture of freedom. The only no-no’s they talked to the students about were the three B’s, No Bras Butts and Bellies?… Something like that. That was probably necessary considering Bethel is made up of people from all over the world, with very different cultural acceptable norms.

Instead of giving us…

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Are You Sure About That?

galileo

There was recently a televised debate on the subject of evolution versus creationism. Bill Nye, representing evolution, and Ken Ham, representing creationism, were asked what would change their mind on the topic. Their answers were strikingly different.

The scientist’s answer: Evidence. The theologian’s answer: Nothing.

What an amazing difference in attitudes! “I’m willing to change my viewpoint if there is sufficient reason” versus “My mind is made up and I’m not changing it for anything!”

I’m not going to debate evolution versus creation here. My personal thinking is that God created everything and it’s been evolving ever since. But I wouldn’t try to argue against either side or any blend of the two.

But what really gets my goat is when people take perfectly good faith and ruin it by refusing to further consider a question. To remain viable, faith MUST be tempered by doubt. Faith untempered by doubt descends into the realm of dogma.

If there’s one thing that’s constant in this world, it’s change. Good faith is flexible enough to absorb the impact of change. If the impact is large enough to permanently alter the faith, that’s okay too. That’s called spiritual growth.

Bad faith, on the other hand, lacks flexibility. It seeks to shield people from change by hiding them behind rigid doctrine. It’s like being encased in protective concrete. NOTHING is getting through that concrete, right? But when that huge impact of change comes along, the concrete shatters, and the people are left naked and defenseless.

Our spiritual journey is just that: a journey. If we think we’ve arrived, we haven’t. We’ve simply settled for where we are. If we think we’ve found all there is to find, we haven’t. We’ve simply given up looking. If we think we have all the answers, we’re only fooling ourselves. It’s just possible that we could be wrong.

Never give up on what else God has to show us. Never believe that what we understand is all there is to understand. Never stop asking, “What if?”

And may we always keep a child-like sense of wonder and an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

Drawing Trees

Wow! Can I ever relate to this! I love her last sentence. She nails it.

It's a Mis-fit

 

decorated christmas tree clip artImagine being a little kid, sitting in class a few days before the Christmas break. The teacher passes out sheets of construction paper and instructs everyone to draw a picture of their favorite thing about Christmas. Now imagine that you have nothing to draw. You have no favorite Christmas anything. You’ve never celebrated Christmas. You, are the sole person in your class, quite possibly in your entire school that does not celebrate Christmas, or any other traditional religious holiday.  You are truly a religious minority.

That is my clear memory of Christmas as a kid, along with having to go to the library during school holiday parties, where I tried to find solace in the books I had all to myself. I would have much preferred eating cake and ice cream and singing Jingle Bells with the other children, but that was strictly forbidden by my father’s faith. It…

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A New Perspective

12 panes

Christmas gets on my nerves. A gazillion people on the road, stores clogged with shoppers, every merchant asking for donations for their pet charity. Grumpy customers, frazzled clerks, cranky children being dragged through the aisles. Bah humbug!

On this day all I needed was a bottle of low-dose aspirin, but it was not going to be fast. I wound my way through the maze of shopping carts to the medicine aisle. Dodging so many people it would have made Herschel Walker proud, at last I reached my prize. Considering how my blood pressure was rising, perhaps I should open the aspirins and chew one while waiting in line. I decided against it. If I died in line, maybe they would clear out faster. Did I mention bah humbug?

Why wasn’t the line moving? Everything in the store is a dollar. I mean really, is it that hard to count to five and ring it up? Or in the case of the lady in front of me, it was more like count to five hundred and ring it up. How much crap did she need, anyway?

Eventually I made it through the checkout without killing anyone, tossed the aspirin in the truck, and started down the road toward home. WHERE DID ALL THESE CARS COME FROM? Go away already! In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, I’ve got to pee! Get out of my way!

As I approached a T intersection about halfway home, I saw lights. Lights everywhere. Red, yellow, blue, white. Just great, I thought. A DWI checkpoint.

I was six cars back from the intersection. Sighing, I got out my license and insurance paper and waited. And waited. And waited some more. But the line didn’t move.

Then I noticed the ambulance. In the sea of other lights, I had missed it. And that vehicle I thought was the breathalyzer van turned out to be a fire truck. It was hard to tell in the darkness.

Fifteen minutes turned into thirty, and still nothing moved. Come on, cops! Write somebody a ticket and let’s get on with it!

Another fifteen minutes passed before anything moved. It was the ambulance. No lights, no siren, and not in any hurry. It lumbered off toward the hospital.

And then I understood. The F word.

No, not that F word.

Fatality.

The realization was like a dash of cold water in my face. It was a rude reminder of just what was important in life. And what is important is NOT how many people are in my way in the store. It’s NOT how long it takes to get through the checkout line. It’s NOT how much traffic is on the road.

No, what is important in life is the smile on a loved one’s face. It’s the moment when your children’s imagination is kindled. It’s the bouncing excitement of a loyal pet welcoming you home.

A young lady sat down in the road, her hands in her lap. I wondered what was her relation to the deceased. Had she lost a parent? Fiancé? Or God forbid, a child?

My face burned with shame as I thought about what a heel I had been. I wondered how many people in the other cars were having similar thoughts.

The young lady rocked side to side, hands still in her lap. With the lights of a state trooper’s car shining on her, I could make out a rosary in her hand. I wondered what she was praying. Was it the standard Hail Marys and Our Fathers? Surely she wasn’t performing a layman’s version of the Last Rites, in the absence of a priest? That last thought was particularly sobering. My heart went out to her.

A tow truck rolled in, and the young lady stood up and put away her rosary. There was some coordination with the troopers, and the tow truck hauled away the car. And then a second tow truck came. A mangled car I hadn’t seen, hidden behind the emergency vehicles, was towed away.

Eventually traffic resumed moving. An hour after I arrived at the accident, I was on my way home again, this time with a new, more thankful attitude. And a very urgent bladder.

If you have a mind to ease a soul, pray for those involved in the accident. Losing someone is difficult any time, but especially so at Christmas. May God grant them peace.