The other day, while I was shopping, a gentleman was sitting in a chair and talking to everyone around him. Then he addressed me and asked if I had any interest in attending a Nazi concert? I answered him firmly; “I am absolutely not interested and have no intention of ever going to a Nazi concert!” I have no idea if he was kidding or if it was something serious he wanted me to think about but I wanted him to know it wasn’t going to happen.
It’s interesting trying to figure out people’s motives for why they say and do certain things. I think in most cases, when taken aback by words or deeds, it is important to make sure they know who you are and your intentions and motivations. This way we can be sure not to get any lines of communication crossed, and our desires and purpose are crystal clear.
Yesterday I was getting dressed for a presentation on Adverse Childhood Experiences (Childhood Trauma). I had placed our Beagle on a zipline previously and went outside to let him in before I left. When I looked I couldn’t see him until something caught the corner of my eye. It was Scooby in the back of the truck which was next to the zip line. I asked him; “What are you doing in the back of the truck?!?!” He looked back at me as if to say; “I don’t speak english.” I don’t know how he got in there but I could tell he was stuck and needed help getting out. I let down the tailgate and guided him to the edge of the truck bed and assisted him down.
We’ve all found ourselves stuck, needing help and not sure how we got into or get out of a predicament. Hopefully we have others in our lives who can come and guide us from places we can’t get out of without assistance.
There are days when we put our dog Scooby on a zip line so he can exercise and not be tied to a leash. He’s not on it for long but he likes the freedom and until we finish our fence it’s the best option. The zip line runs across the driveway so we take it down after we’re done so we can move our vehicles safely.
The other day I took him outside, clipped him to the cable tethered to the zip line and was going to cinch it in place on a pole when all of a sudden Scooby spied a cat sneaking through the front yard. “Pew!” he was gone dragging the zip line with him. I ran after him and rounded the corner of the front porch as Scooby ran out of zip line and cable. “Screech!” He seemed confused at first. There was something he wanted and had the freedom, ability, and determination to get it and then he was stopped in his tracks with no way forward. I shook my head, he barked at the cat that was nowhere to be seen and we both went up and put the zip line in its proper place.
Walking into the house I thought about life and the goals we want to achieve. At times we are able to claim the prize, other times we are stopped suddenly so close yet so far from accomplishing them. We have dreams which are unfulfilled, relationships that fall apart or never materialize, love unrequited.
Life can be glorious but it can also be relentless. We have this moment and we must live it fully. We are never guaranteed another second.
(Written 6 years ago on November, 6 2012)
On this election eve I find myself reflecting on this voting season. Postal fliers, pervasive emails, attack ads, debates, party conventions, pre-spin, mid-spin, post-spin and rhetoric so tornadic it seems all are pulled into its grasp. Pastors make political preferences known from the pulpit, Christian brothers and sisters from both political sides, send emails, post on Facebook, call, write and generally become indistinguishable from the cacophony that threatens to deafen our world to the true source of He that is our only, true hope .
As a pastor many people ask me “Who do you think Jesus would vote for?” and I answer them; “The question is not ‘who would Jesus vote for?” but would Jesus vote at all?”
Psalm 20 is my thought and prayer this night for each of us and the community we desire to be. I would ask, if you so choose, to pray it with me.
“The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary,
and give you support from Zion.
May he remember all your offerings,
and regard with favour your burnt sacrifices.
May he grant you your heart’s desire,
and fulfil all your plans.
May we shout for joy over your victory,
and in the name of our God set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfil all your petitions.
Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with mighty victories by his right hand.
Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
They will collapse and fall,
but we shall rise and stand upright.
Give victory to the king, O Lord;
answer us when we call.
Mayonnaise is a tricky condiment. When using too much food gets messy, too little and food becomes dry. I made Tuna Fish today and ended up on the soupy side. It’s better than it being dry but it was hard keeping the Tuna on the tortilla shell.
While I was eating I thought about life and the last few weeks. They’ve been tough. I have felt dry emotionally and spiritually. Setting the clocks back an hour so that darkness comes much earlier doesn’t help either. I desire life to be easy. Not too easy or everything would be taken for granted but easier so that everything doesn’t seem like a chore.
Life is tricky, messy, sometimes easy, a lot of times hard. Like a Tuna Fish sandwich, the current mood and state of mind, doesn’t last forever.
Normally I am a broom type of guy but today I used a Swifter for the first time. We had a cleaning service at our home last week and they used all types of Swifters for floors, furniture, appliances, and it seemed to work well. After using it today I see why it was a tool they depend on for quickness and doing a good job at collecting dust, dirt, dog hair, and more. The Swifter seemed to find dust a broom couldn’t. Oftentimes a broom pushes stuff around but the Swifter attracted the junk on the floor.
As I went over the floors in our home with my new toy I couldn’t help but think about the upcoming elections in next Tuesday’s midterms. This isn’t a politically leaning post but rather a; “I wish we could take a giant swifter over the lot of politicans and collect the junk and leave those who would take care of our country not themselves, ignore the lobbyists for firms and organizations, make decisions not based on attaining more power. All that were left, if any, would be able to govern and we’d have the tools to unite our nation and help the world at large.
What a dream…
“This is a case where, if they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him immediately, maybe there would have been nobody killed, except for him, frankly. So it’s a very, very – a very difficult situation.” President #DonaldTrump (Fox News – https://fxn.ws/2JtWNFe)
I read this quote the other day and shook my head. Guns in places of worship? Seems to be the popular answer to our mass murder crisis. Maybe some places need armed guards but guns do NOT belong in church. It is antithetical to the teachings of our Master Jesus. Jesus was arrested by the Temple guards, crucified by armed soldiers and never resisted.
A few months ago Beth and I visited a church, found our seats, and began to people gaze. I spotted a man carrying a gun in plain sight. To my dismay, when the service started, he led the worship. Singing about trusting Jesus, going to heaven, loving people, all while strapped with a sidearm. At the middle of the service, ushers came forward. Two of them had guns. Finally, the pastor got up to speak and was packing as well. I told Beth; “We will never be coming back to this church. Even if a gun-toting person with evil on their mind busted in here we would probably be shot by the church posse!”
A long time ago a menacing, sword and ax-wielding, warrior entered a town to terrorize the people. Everyone fled except the priest at the town church. The warrior made his way to the holy man’s location, kicked open the doors, and stomped to the altar where the priest was praying. He screamed at the humble servant of God, threatened him with his sword, grabbed the priest by the throat and snarled; “Don’t you know I am a man who can kill you without giving it a second thought?!?!” The priest looked into the eyes of the warrior and softly responded; “Don’t you know I am a man who can be stabbed by you today and not give it a second thought?”
The church is called to love, pray and live like Christ. We can’t do this with armed guards, guns, or by any other violent means. To live like Christ is to also die like Christ; humble, prepared and showing Christ with our last breath.