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Don’t Stop Believin’ (In Facebook)

11 Oct

Yesterday I posted a link to an article about God always giving good things entitled Does God give and take away?  Last night an old  acquaintance messaged me and thanked me for it. She said she had just been in the hospital trying to comfort her friend who lost her baby. She said she didn’t know what to say, but after she read the article things were a little more clear, and she forwarded the link to her grieving friend.

Over a year ago when I was about to lead a team to go to India for two months to write the stories of the street kids and workers who are rescuing them, I posted on Facebook my wanted ad:

“Need a guy who loves missions and video to come with a team of four girls to India for two months.”

Soon after that an old friend I hadn’t seen in years, responded and said it had been on his heart lately to go to India. He ended up going with us, and I couldn’t have imagined the trip without him.

That same trip with paid for mostly by donations of people via Facebook. As were the subsequent donations that  helped pay for the medical bills of a sweet boy named Nikhil who has a blood disease, and help in the sponsorship of several orphans.

Facebook can be a meaningless  forum to feed our need for gossip or compare our lives with others and give us another reason to be unhappy, or it can be more.

I’ve wasted plenty of time on Facebook. I’ve been annoyed at the changes made, which is sort of ridiculous because things can never remain the same and if they did Mark Zucherburg would have just been another nerd and I wouldn’t even be writing this.

I am so quick to think the world owes me something that didn’t even exist a few years ago.

But I’d rather live like everything is a gift. Because it is.

I am convicted that this isn’t about me. This is about people coming together and encouraging each other,  letting each other know they are not alone. This is about banding together to touch the world. This is about the truth of the gospel setting people free.

Love it or hate it, (or both) Facebook is currently one of the strongest mediums of communication.
There has been plenty of articles written on the physiological implications of social networking, the addictive nature pleading us to unplug and meet people face to face again. While I find this stuff true and fascinating, and the hippy in me wants to divorce Facebook and chuck my Iphone into a river dramatically as I ride a wild horse to my cabin in the wilderness to spend my days reading Thoreau and writing poetry as I eat my rabbit stew, I simply cannot. (Maybe there will be a time and place for that but it isn’t now. Well, maybe minus the killing of rabbits.)

I want to stop thinking about the way things were, and be in awe of the power of the internet, of globalization, of instant communication, of the amazing world we live in now.

These are not bad inventions any more than the car or phone were bad inventions.

I want to be in awe of the fact that with the push of a button I am speaking to an audience of 1074.

(Note: I never set out to have over 1,000 friends, in fact, sometimes it bothers me because I am actually very introverted and keep a close group of about 5 friends. I guess I have just met a lot of people over the years that come and go, but with Facebook they stick. I used to be selective with friend requests, but now I just have the mentality I am a writer trying to build an audience so why not?)

Numbers don’t matter. You have a chance to give the world your voice, to share what matters, to share the truth you have inside of you. To love.

This is so much better than making sure the world know your opinion is better than everyone elses, or spreading your pessimism like a rash.

Social networking is powerful because people coming together is powerful. We all have different backgrounds and views, so for unity to happen we must do this in humility and love.

I have developed relationships through Facebook, with people I knew in the past, and people I haven’t even met yet in “real life.” People who live in Africa and down the road; writers, moms, rednecks, singers, preachers and pole dancers.

I have met people who are living in bondage because they believe certain things about themselves and about who God is.

I am hoping I can continue to peel back the lies lay by layer and display through this amazing medium that God is love.

If nothing else, that’s a reason to stay signed in and keep posting.

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Dear Wall Street Protestors,

8 Oct

I don’t know what it’s like to be you, but I do understand the warm feeling surging inside that comes from knowing you are a part of something bigger than yourself. I can relate to the pride in knowing that you are finally standing up to face “the man,” a David throwing stones at Goliath’s head.

I know you believe you are changing society, one voice at a time, and I get that. I love your passion. I love to see my generation getting off their couch, not just posting on Facebook about something, but rallying together and refusing to back down until change happens.

I know you’ve all been waiting for something to believe in, but I have to wonder, is this it?

Is there a better way?

I know what it feels like to feel like a victim, how easy it is to blame some mass conglomerate blurry face of evil for screwing you over, but let me tell you, it never ends well.

The need for justice is never satisfied. If you fight hate with hate no one wins.

I know you may be hurt, you may have suffered and I am not downplaying that.

But, do you want really overcome? You want to be a real hero? Try standing for something instead of against something. I feel convicted when I write this and I know it’s harder, it sucks practicing what you preach, and it’s in that place where you come face to face with your own hypocrisy.

It’s easy to throw out judgments on those big bad corporations, but what am I doing with my own money? How am I selfishly hoarding it instead of helping those in need?

How am I using my creativity to create jobs instead of complaining that there isn’t any?

How am I being Jesus to my neighbors? Do I realize it’s not the government’s responsibility to take care of those in need, but the churches? And I am the church.

No matter what is going on in Wall Street or the White House,  it shouldn’t  affect how I live my life and treat others, how I can bring change through love and grace.

It’s easier to yell and blame “the man,” and I know that.

We want to put a face on the problem, but real change comes when each of us realize “I am the problem,” and seek a solution outside of ourselves.

So, while I think it’s awful what our country has become and I hate the greed that drives things, while I can’t stand the injustice of arrests and the agenda of the media, while I love the passion and energy you display, I can’t say, dear Wall Street protestors, I am behind what you are doing.

Maybe true revolution comes quietly, and starts when each person stops being a victim and realizes the world is what we make it, that good is all around us, we just have to open our eyes.

Maybe we can all start directing our passion towards creating new things, offering new solutions, loving our neighbors and using our own resources to change things.

Then, people will be so drawn to the newness, the old system will inevitably collapse.

Sincerely,

Me

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”- The Legacy of Steve Jobs

6 Oct

One of the greatest innovators of our time passed away last night.

Steve Jobs was more then just a business man or computer nerd, he has changed the way we do life through the creative technology that has in many ways defined our culture.

When I heard the news last night, I thought of the excitement of my family getting a Aqua IMac when I was fifteen. I thought of my first laptop, an Ibook which I’d bought on ebay with the money I saved working at a convenient store when I was seventeen, and how I felt so professional carrying around that sleek white machine to write my thoughts on. It didn’t even connect to the internet.

Beyond the legacy of his products, here are some words of wisdom this influential man left behind.

(All quotes taken from a Huffington Post Article)

Don’t Focus on Numbers

“We’ve never worried about numbers. In the market place, Apple is trying to focus the spotlight on products, because products really make a difference. […] Ad campaigns are necessary for competition; IBM’s ads are everywhere. But good PR educates people; that’s all it is. You can’t con people in this business. The products speak for themselves.”

Keep it Simple

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

 Creating Can Bring Unity
“I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians, poets, artists, zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.”

Live Like You Are Dying

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Think Different

 

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

(The last two quotes were taken from a commencement address to Stanford University in 2005, right after Jobs was diagnosed with cancer. The whole thing is worth reading.)

How To Remember Well- Thoughts on 9-11 & Fear Vs. Hope

11 Sep


Ten years ago I sat in Junior English class and heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. To be honest, I vaguely knew what the World Trade Center was. At sixteen, I wasn’t really into New York architecture. I knew about the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, but that was about it.  My world was all about the here and now, the drama of every day life. I lived in fear, but that fear was that I wasn’t as pretty as the girls in my new school, that I would never be good enough, that I was still too awkward and shy. I didn’t fear terrorists, I feared I would end up alone, that I would never accomplish my dream of being a writer.

Tragedy has a way of changing the priorities of our fears.

We gathered in the history room of my small Christian private school and watched in terror as the events unfolded. I remember feeling sorry for my History teacher, a darling woman who was the most patriotic person I knew. I watched tears openly flow down her face, her eyes red with shock. I don’t think I cried, I was too numb. Although New York was less then 300 miles away, it felt like a different planet, and seeing explosions on the TV seemed like good special effects in a summer blockbuster.

Fear has a way of causing us to live in denial and hope to God that reality isn’t what it seems.

Ten years later, and we’ve finally found the man believed to be solely behind these attacks. While it would seem that would alleviate our fear, it just doesn’t seem to have let up any.

Many say our threat of terrorism is just as strong, or worse. Even if the threat was gone, there will always be something else to fear.

Fear has a way of multiplying like a cancer and taking over. It doesn’t matter what form it takes, it is all destructive.

We fear unemployment, the economy crashing, government control, everything we know and love in this country ceasing to be.

We long for some political savior to ride in on his white horse and rescue us from our nightmares.

But this will never be.

As this peculiar group who claims faith in God as their way of life, we have another fear- the devil.

We haven’t met him, necessarily, but we’ve seen his attempt to mess with our “God-fearing” nation.

We fear evil taking over our country more then anything.

We fear our morals being pushed aside and “secularization” becoming the norm.

So we do what any Jesus-loving patriot would do- we fight it.

We picket. We protest. We preach against it. We speak against it. We try to pinpoint what went wrong, to find a source to blame.

And all the while fear breeds, takes over our consciousness, becomes our drug of choice.

Fear leads to more fear. Blame leads to more Blame. Hate leads to more hate.

Whether fear of Al-Qaeda, or conservatives fearing liberals pushing their “godless agenda,” it always leads to bondage and hate.

“There is no fear in love, perfect love cast out all fear.” (1 John 4:18)

 

The good news is: we don’t have to live like this.

(Breathe deep sigh of relief)

Whoever you blame for the state of our country, know that blame will always lead to bitterness, and bitterness will always lead to cynicism and the death of joy.

Even as I am writing this, I become face to face with my own hypocrisy because my own blame points to The Church. I get angry at our reputation to instill fear and hopelessness while we should be the last group on the earth to do so, yet I cannot allow this the lead to bitterness.

(I am part of the problem.)

Every fatal word spoken, every anti-people statement, ever finger pointed in blame, is all part of the problem.

Ten years later, I want to remember the sacrifice made by the heroes who responded immediately to the tragedy in New York, those who daily sacrifice in order to keep us safe, I want to honor those 3,000 who died. Yet, I completely miss the point if I let that negate remembering the sacrifice made by Jesus in order that we may walk in peace, freedom, love and LIFE.

The other night I went to a comedy show. My boyfriend made fun of me, because out of all the hilarious things Michael Jr. said, the thing that stuck with was the one serious thing he said. He shared how his goal in comedy used to be to get people to laugh. It is a normal goal to have as a comedian, and you wouldn’t think of it as selfish until you realized that the reason he wanted people to laugh was to validate his career. At a popular club in Los Angeles, he saw a homeless man hanging out outside and something in him shifted.

It was then he realized, God didn’t want him to get people to laugh, but to give them a reason to laugh.

As People of Hope, it is not our job to get people to change, to believe, to try to be like Jesus. It is simply our job to live love and that will give them a reason to laugh. To hope. To love.

I believe that the best way to honor this day is cut out the nay-saying and begin to speak words of hope over our world.

Our country.
Our church.
Our family.
Our neighbors.
Ourselves.

In order to speak hope, we must first open our eyes to see it- everywhere, all around us.

Jesus, redeeming the world. We are secure. Our future is certain. The war has been won.
For every judgmental blanket statement of blame made over a particular party, religion, or people group, let us be the ones who point out the loving individuals who break that break the stereotypes.

For every eye wide with fear after turning off the evening news, let us be the ones who soothe bristly souls with words of comfort and hope as Jesus did.

For every finger pointed in blame, every word written that stirs the need for revenge, let us be the ones who peacefully disarm, hand out grace like it’s bread for the starving, and live unconditional love until revenge loses its appeal.

This is how we remember well.

The Relevant Generation

29 Jul

(I wrote this essay two years ago and revised it to fit on my blog.)

This is the relevant generation. We’ve been over-churched and hurt and jaded. We’ve been burnt out, but we’ve realized that it was people, not God. The worst insult is to be called “a pharisee” or to be fake. Religion is a disease to us. We have rejected the cheesy and un-hip. We laugh at those guys that are still “stuck in religion.” We aren’t afraid to cuss, smoke or drink a beer, and we prefer Chris Martin to Chris Tomlin. We are not our parent’s religion. We have rejected the Jesus of the suits and ties, of the organs and the doxology, and we have found the rebel Jesus that loves our tattoos and piercing and dares to refuse to vote republican.

We’re just trying to make sense of this life- to intellectualize, connecting people, bring some sort of peace and understanding. We love words like “story” and “conversation” and “authenticity” instead of the tired old rhetoric. We understand that Jesus cared about the poor, and in turn we care about them. We see the injustice in the world and our hearts break. So we “raise awareness” through art, music, benefit concerts. We “share the need” and get people to act- because real Jesus followers don’t sit on their butts and soak in a feel good prosperity gospel, that is disgusting.  We poke fun of those conservatives with their fancy cars, and suburban dreams, promising ourselves never to become that.  We like to support local coffee shops. We drink gallons of there coffee and discuss life. We love quoting Ghandi and Mother Theresa, and avoid Christian cliches like the plague. We are the next generation hippies, hipsters with our online communities, our Iphones and coffee shop churches. As hipsters, we are not so defined by what we are, but by what we are not, what we make fun of, what we are running from and rejecting.

But, I am afraid for my peers. I am afraid, in our rejection of  christian culture, we haven’t replaced it with anything else. Or maybe it’s just that what we’ve replaced it with, isn’t enough. Maybe we’ve replaced it with all these trendy, “world changing ideas,” but at the heart of it all, it’s still the same old dead thing- religion. Trying to accomplish something in order to be closer to God.

Social justice is our heartbeat. But is it enough to attempt to bring justice to the world through our actions? Even the phrase justice creates some conflict with the gospel of grace.  Do we really want justice? Do we know what we are asking for? Didn’t Jesus already satisfy justice on the cross? Aren’t we called to be representatives of grace, not only to those innocent kids being trafficked, but the ones doing the trafficking? Does God really want justice for those performing abortions? Where is the standard then, who is under justice, and who is not? There is a danger in categorizing the poor and homeless, instead of seeing them as people, we still see an agenda.

Those starving kids from Africa, there faces are everywhere, reminding us who really God loves, and how we have so much and need to live more simple, but do we see the girl behind the counter of the gas station?

It’s easy to love the drug addicts and despise televangelists, and feel like we are displaying the heart of Jesus, but is this really it?

We are empowered by cute sarcastic words, by abstract poetry, by deep discussions, by anything but the Holy Spirit. Or, like everything else, the Holy Spirit is something to be discussed and contemplated about, but not experienced. Experience is tricky, we don’t want to end up on the side of “freaky pentecostal” side of things, we don’t want to be a flake, this polar opposite of strict religion is just as despised. We don’t want some adrenaline rush, we don’t want out emotions to be manipulated. We learned through high school that emotions always lead you astray. We’ve learned through college that suffering is inevitable, that maybe embracing the darkness, will lead some some sort of light, some kind of healing.

But we long. We long like a thirsty man looking for an oasis. We are told to find balance in all things- and so we believe maybe that’s where happiness is found. Somewhere between the hype and the dogma, the fanatics and the rhetoric, that’s where we fit. That’s where Jesus is. We want meaning as much as a life partner. We want to know why more then we want success.

We question everything. The world is at our finger tips, we can do anything and go anywhere. We can know anything, literally in seconds. Just google it. I am afraid, in all our options, we still don’t have life.

We give selflessly, we go into the world, we create beauty, but do we know God? Even knowing itself has become so redefined, so ordinary, we have become jaded to the word. When information that has been hidden or unknown to most but a few select group of people for all of history, is suddenly available to everyone all the time, how does that re-wire us? Life is to know God, but do we know Him more like a facebook friend and less like a lover?

But how do you know God? Surely, it’s not the step by step formulaic religion we swallowed growing up in the church! We seek Him in the eyes of the poor, in giving of ourselves, in community, in creating something beautiful. And we do find parts of Him, we find His traces. Maybe that is enough, we decide.

Maybe our longing and depression is one of the colors of we dip our paintbrush in, to produce a painting of how we make sense of this life. Heartbreak is another.

The concept of grace is thrown in, a splattering of brightness on the emerging canvas, but it is just that- a concept.

We do love God. We are passionate for things to be made right. In our lives, our communities, our world. So we start causes, we try to make the gospel relevant, we tell stories, because that’s what Jesus did, right? We do this despite the tiredness that haunts our eyes. We fear deep down we are becoming our parents, burnt out and defeated, despite our youthful energy, despite all our promises to ourselves and to God.

We feel His unconditional love in these moments, but a gaping gash still remains in our souls. We’ve rejected religion, and replaced it with simplicity- but I am afraid we are still being fed instruction- “Here’s what you do – just love God and love people,” yet we can hardly love ourselves.

So, we’re left trying to solve world hunger, while our spiritual bellies groan for something more then a spoonful of processed grace.

 

Starving For Grace

17 Jul

 

We live in a world where gracelessness is the fuel that runs this machine called society.

“At least they got what they deserved.”

“We’ll teach them a lesson.”

“Nothing is free.”

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

It is a very human attitude. We disguise our un-grace with our sense of hard work, our sense of fair, of right and wrong.

Our sense of justice.

In Phillip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” He tells the following story.

While in a meeting of prominent christian leaders of the time, there arouse a discussion on what makes Christianity different then other religions. The idea of the resurrection was brought up, but quickly shot down. Other religions had accounts about people being raised from the dead. What about God coming to earth as man? No, that was not unique to Christianity either. Then, C.S Lewis wandered into the room. The leaders asked him the questions, and without a beat, he responded,

“Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”

Grace is not a topic, it is not a certain theological view. It is the gospel. The word’s grace and Jesus are interchangeable.

Salvation is a gift. Furious, unconditional love is offered freely, spilling out of the Creator of the world. It is ours if we just accept.

Grace. It’s the name of a girl. It’s also a thought that could change the world.

In the movie Seven Pounds, Will Smith plays a man desperate to give back that which he (by accident) had stolen. In a scene in the middle of the movie, he finds a broken woman suffering abuse at the hands an abusive man, with no where to run to. Not only does Will Smith take the fearful woman and her children out of that horrible hell they are living in, but he does something unthinkable- he gives her his house. A beautiful mansion over looking the ocean. The woman, at first, was obviously skeptical. She, like we all would if such a gift was offered from a stranger, wanted to know what the catch was. How could a man who just met her give that sort of grace to her and her children, without wanting something in return?

When Will Smith assured her that there was no catch, it was then she was able to let down her guard and fully realize the extent of what had been given to her. In a tear-flowing scene, her children and her walk on the beach, safe and sound from abuse, able to start their lives completely over.

We weep at such scenes because we were created to live inside of them.
But our world is so good at gracelessness, and unfortunately the church has not done much better.

We fear showing this sort of unconditional love because we have been cheated, taken advantage of. We want to teach people a lesson. We want to be wise, mature. We don’t want to give people “a license to sin.” We want justice.

We want people to get what they deserve, but do we really?

She travels outside
Of karma, karma
She travels outside
Of karma

What if we stopped judging things as moral and immoral, and instead, did our best to offer unconditional grace to everyone we met?

From judgmental relatives,
to snobby backstabbing ex-friends.
From famous preachers caught in sexual scandals,
To pimps who prey on children.

Is it too much for us?

Recently in an article about forgiveness in response to the outrage against the Casey Anthony trial.

It was the spring of 1944 when 10-year-old Eva Kor, her twin sister Miriam and her mother arrived in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Immediately, guards ripped both girls from their mother and they were never again to see her, their father or their older sisters.
Shortly thereafter, in a sick bay, a doctor told Eva “You have just two weeks to live.” The doctor was Josef Mengele. He had just injected her with a lethal cocktail of bacteria as part of a barbaric experiment with twins.
Eva had a strong immune system and survived but so, too, did the pain of her suffering. Her sister Miriam suffered an inexplicable disease from the injection of poison. Eva later tried to save her sister’s life by donating one of her own kidneys, but Miriam died in 1993.
In January 1995, at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Kor brought along a doctor who worked alongside Josef Mengele. Eva read a confession of guilt from the doctor who accompanied her and then shocked the world press by saying “In my own name, I forgive all Nazis.”

…If Jesus could ask God to forgive the people that were about to murder him and if a Holocaust survivor could forgive the people that poisoned her and tried to exterminate her family, then what holds you and I back from forgiving anyone?

How is this even possible? It’s not, in a human sense. But when we begin to realize all that has been offered us free of charge, all that we are blessed with that we don’t deserve, the wild wide-eyed gift of life that has been extended to us, we begin to realize that nothing is ours to hold onto, yet everything is ours to give.

When she goes to work
You can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty
In everything

(U2- Grace)

And so, may we dare to offer grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love in a world simply starving for it. Even before taking that step, may we begin to accept it. May we understand life is a gift, everything we long for is ours, free of charge.  In choosing to walk in grace, even when it’s hard and painful, we are fighting against violence, against revenge, against evil itself.

In embracing the gospel of Jesus and feeding grace to a world starving for it, we will be in essence walking inside another kingdom- one where everyone is equal, everyone is welcome, and everyone understands how much they are loved.

 

 

Sentimental Schnitzel

15 Jun

Sometimes I feel like I am an “old soul.” Perhaps everyone has felt like that from time to time, especially those too self-aware for their own good. I long for more simple days. As many people do,  I wonder what it would be like to live in the world without technology.

Recently I went to this great German cafe with some friends. It was located behind a giant Half-Price book, a small yet famous bakery that only serves dinner on weekends. We walked in and it was like we had been transported out of Texas. (Sigh. Relief.)  A man in a lederhosen played German folk songs on his accordion. The cafe was full, people stuffed in every small corner, raising tall glasses of golden foaming beer and biting into their schnitzel.

We were some of the only people under sixty. As we devoured veal sausages and potato pancakes, We got a kick out of watching the wrinkled men tell each other tales, voices loud and authoritative, full of energy and humor. That place defined camaraderie. I looked around the room and imagined the stories that must rest inside each person, in the sparkle in their eyes when a special song played.

I thought about growing old, how I hoped I had a special place with people to raise our glasses and sing, how I hoped to hang onto life’s goodness and let the bad fade into the background.  It struck me, I sort of wanted to be them.

I used to be afraid of growing old, I didn’t want to lose the energy and excitement of youth, I didn’t want to be ugly, I didn’t want to die.  Why then did I find myself in that German cafe, nearly envying these grandparents who were reaching the end of the finish line?

Maybe I believe they have life figured out already. They’ve learned the lessons I still have to go through over and over again. They have gone through war, through loss, through instability and they are still standing. They have stood the tests of time.

Maybe because I know inherently some things only better with time, like wine, there is nothing you can do speed up the process. Healing from heartache. Relationships, that span years that are marked with sorrow and joy, holding on and letting go, gain and loss. You cannot manufacture these things instantly. The problem is, we always try.

Our society is marked with the idea of “Quick, cheap, and easy.” We don’t want the effort it takes to be in it for the long haul. My fear is this mentality is literally addicting, and nothing is ever enough.

Take information.  It used to be a process to know something. You had to get up off your couch and open up an actual book, dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaurus, or atlas.  You had to “phone a friend,” ask your grandma, ask an expert, ask someone who knew more then you did. It was a physical exchange, often a relational one. Now, it is impersonal and it is instant.

Don’t get me wrong. I love google. I love instant information as much as anyone. I want to know who that actor is in that movie I am watching NOW so instead of waiting for the credits in the end, I pull out my Iphone and use the IMDB app. Ta da! Magic.

This is why I am hypocrite. I have become a slave to the system but I long to be free from it. Sometimes I miss when phones were used to call people, when you had to read maps, when there was excitement in mystery in the not knowing. When you actually had to wait for things. Now I sound old.

Invention used to be about survival, but we have evolved beyond that. Now invention is about making our lives as comfortable and convenient as possible. It’s those C words that will slowly suffocate us.

Maybe our entire issue as a culture is summed up in our belief that comfort and convenience equals quality of life.

Maybe we are like spoiled brats because information is handed to us on a platter. We don’t have to work for anything anymore. Why the appeal with all things hipster, the obsession with “vintage”? We are slaves to instant gratification, but I don’t think we are willing to do what it takes to get free. That’s why we long for “the good old days” but probably wouldn’t have the life drive to do half the things our grandparents did. We are so soft.’

The reality is, I am always going to be miserable if I believe the level of my comfort and convenience is equal to the quality of life.

I am never going to have the satisfaction of sitting back and seeing something created after years of hard work.
I will never learn from my mistakes because I will be afraid or too lazy to make any.
I am never going to see the beauty on the other side of pain.
I will not be changed by the enduing fact that “love is patient.”

I am not suggesting an abandonment of technology. I use it every day, and I can see the benefit of it, but at the same time, I don’t want to forget how to read a book or walk in the woods or cook a meal from scratch. I need those things. I need to teach my children and grandchildren what it means to find satisfaction in a tough job done well and carefully. I don’t want to wish my life away with impatience.

And so, may we, as Sara Groves writes, “Find out the beauty of seeing things through.”
May we find freedom from the idea that everything needs to be quick, cheap and easy. May we run from that thinking as far and as fast as we can.

So in fifty years we may raise our glasses of beer to a life full of deep relationships, risk, adventure, creative endeavors, hard work,  and a lot of grace to keep us moving to the very end.

Jesus wants you to change the world…politically?

2 Nov

In honor of election day, I am re-posting bits of a blog I wrote right after the news that Obama won the election, intertwined with some of my current thoughts.

I hold to my stance that if we really want change in the world, we need to focus on the Kingdom of God, not what is happening politically. I understand there are godly principles, that certain candidates are for or against, I just don’t like when God is used as puppet  for agendas and campaigns. It also makes me sad when people believe that it’s part of their “Christian duty” is to try to change things by the way they vote.

Jesus refused get involved in Politics, he wouldn’t play those games.

I understand certain people are “called” to influence that field, and that’s fine. We need godly people in every area of life. I am not saying society can’t be changed that way.

I am not saying I am against voting. If you believe you need to,  fine. Just don’t belittle people who chose not to be involved. Maybe they are not as apathetic as you assume they are.

My point is, ultimately we cannot put our hope in people.

We are so afraid of our “freedoms” being taken away, that we forget real freedom can never be taken away. It comes from within, a free gift given when we chose to believe in the grace and mercy of God through His son Jesus.

I am first and foremost a child of God, not just an American.

I am a resident of the Kingdom of God, and there are no borders.
When our hope is in our government then whoever comes into office determines the quality of our lives, the education of our children, the violence on our streets, and the amount of bloodshed in sterile rooms and foreign fields.

The kingdom of the world says that life comes from the top and trickles down.

But the kingdom of heaven is the backwards.  It often seems Insignificant to the world.

Small acts of mercy and grace. Fighting injustice through prayer. Working in the opposite spirit.  Love.

THAT is when change comes.

Its EASY to go to the polls, check a box and feel good about “doing your part to save babies. ”

It’s quite another thing to befriend a troubled pregnant teen and spend months, energy, and tears loving and counseling her.

In the days of the early church, the government was incredibly corrupt, and yet you don’t see those early Christians spending their energies picketing, complaining, living in fear, or guilt-tripping people to get involved.

Instead, they brought the kingdom of God to people: healing the sick, taking care of the poor, and announcing the GOOD news.

This is simply my personal conviction. Let’s spend less time debating politics and  more time loving our neighbors and see what happens.

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