January 27, 2005
No idea where I got this:
I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year-old again.
I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it is a four-star restaurant.
I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks.
I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.
I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer day.
I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.
I want to think the world is fair.
That everyone is honest and good.
I want to believe that anything is possible.
I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again.
I want to live simple again.
I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones.
I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.
S0….here’s my checkbook and my car keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements. I am offically resigning from adulthood.
And if you want to discuss this further, you’ll have to catch me first, cause……………..
“Tag! You’re it.”
Remember the simple things in life.
January 26, 2005
Went to i55 last night. i55 is a Praise and Worship time geared toward college and young adults; however, I saw some there as old (ok, maybe not quite as old) as me. It is held at Irving Bible Church, but not affiliated with the church. That in itself is refreshing – that a church will open it’s doors to a group whose leaders aren’t, for the most part, members of that church. Anyway, to gather with a group of young adults who are there for worship is a wonderful experience. These guys make an extra effort to come out on Tuesday night for no other purpose than to get recharged and spend time in corporate worship with other believers from other churches and perhaps other denominations. That is what Christianity is all about! I had no idea if the people in front of me, and behind me, were Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Pentecostal or no denomination. It just didn’t matter. The music was wonderful and the band did an awesome job of leading the worshippers into the presence of God. And the speaker/preacher was very good. His name was Chris and he talked about putting God in a box, making Him conform to our image. This is something I talk about alot. How we make God something smaller than He is because we can’t get our thoughts around who He really is. And it so much easier to make Him fit our image than for US to fit to His image.
Why can’t we have this kind of worship on Sunday morning? What keeps us from true worship, in spirit and truth? A couple of things we talked about last night on the way home. One, Cindy (my wife) made a very interesting point. In the Old Testament, before the people could worship they had to make themselves ceremonially clean. That’s why the lepers, the prostitutes, the down and out, could not come into the temple – they were considered unclean. How often do we come to worship and not be clean before God? Unconfessed sins, wrong motivations, too many distractions in our daily lives that keep us from that daily cleansing we all need. Cleansing today is a washing in renewal and transformation from the Word of God – daily. And confessing our sins so that we can be cleansed by Jesus Himself – daily. We often come into church, or wherever we go to worship, with hearts and minds that are unclean. And we are unwilling to have the presense of God cleanse us before we can truly worship. We just go in to the Sunday morning services expecting to be entertained or worse yet, to get something out of it for us, not give something to God (praise and worship). When we go in with hearts that are ready to be touched by the cleansing power of Jesus and ready to give God worship, we always get something out of it for us, though it may be not what we expected.
The second thing we talked about was how we feel so inhibited in how we worship. Though I’m not big at lifting my hands, I have no problem with those that lift holy hands in worship. But in our church we don’t do that on a regular basis so those who do, feel self-conscious. We can’t be free to worship God the way we feel He is leading us to worship. My class has often heard me refer to what John Ortberg calls “boundry markers” in Christianity. We have certain expectations of how a Christian should act, whether it’s in worship or daily life, that we look for these boundry markers and nobody is willing to cross them. Raising hands seems to me to be a boundry marker in worship. We don’t do that in a Baptist church.
Well, this blog has gone on long enough. I’d like to know what you think. Either email me or make a comment, either way I look forward to hearing from you. And I’m sure I’ll have more to say later, I always do.
His Peace be on you.
January 20, 2005
The responsibility is too great. I lead a small group of wonderful young singles and we have prayer and Bible study together. I’m often introduced as their “teacher” when we are out in public, and that label always makes me uncomfortable. I’m not sure exactly why, but it does. To me, a teacher is someone who has this vast wealth of knowledge and they try to transfer that knowledge onto their students. They are the Master and the student is their disciple, whether it is in a school setting, at church, or even at work. But I don’t feel like a teacher, I feel like someone who is also on the journey trying to discover what it is God wants from me. I can be a mentor, a “spiritual father,” a support, a listening ear, a friend. But I’m not a teacher. I’m not a teacher because I suffer from malnutrition.
Those of you who know me knows beyond a shadow of doubt that I’m not talking a physical malnutrition. I’m talking about a spiritual malnutrition, trying to survive on what Tony Evans of the Urban Alternative calls “fast food, drive-thru” Christianity. Have you ever been hungry, and you walk into the kitchen to find something to satisfy that hunger only to discover that everything in your refrigerator or pantry just doesn’t look good? Dr. Evans said that when you are that kind of hungry anything you put in your mouth probably won’t satisfy. So it is in my spiritual life. Hunger in the body is the emptiness of the stomach. Hunger in the spiritual realm is the emptiness of the soul. And so I try to fill my hunger with “religion.” And religion will always leave you hungry.
Fast food drive-thru eating places were created to help us in our busy, cluttered lives. And most of it, until recently, was junk food full of empty calories and mega fat grams. Some of you crave a good home-cooked meal, and you love going to visit momma during the holidays. To eat something that doesn’t come in a styrofoam box, or plastic bag, with real silverware.
And that’s the way I feel right now – hungry and empty. I’m eating up “fast food” Christianity and filling my life with empty “spiritual” calories, when waiting for me anytime I will take the time is God’s banquet table. Not a buffet table where I can pick and choose what I want, but a banquet table with the best God has to offer.
Let me quote from Dr. Evans if I may:
People today are spiritually hungry. Even though they go to church, read their Bibles, sing the songs, and are involved in a multiplicity of religious activity. There seems to be less joy, less power, less victory.
It’s not because we don’t believe in God, it’s not because we don’t believe in the Bible, it’s not because we don’t believe in Jesus, it’s because we have allowed religion to destroy our relationship. Our souls are empty…
And so I’m wanting a new diet, but at the moment unclear how to get the nourishment I so crave. We are on this journey together, so I expect you to help me as much as I help you.
Call me journey companion, adopted father, friend, whatever. Just don’t call me teacher.
January 15, 2005
Maybe I just look it. The other day I was in Taco Bueno for lunch. Ordered my meal, paid for it and sat down. Being by myself, I had nothing to do. Nothing to read, nobody to talk to, just eat in wonderful silence with my own thoughts. That’s when I noticed it. On my receipt were the words, “DISCOUNTED.” I thought there had been some mistake (which there was), but didn’t go correct it. They had given me the Senior Discount! Now I’m not sure at what age TB starts giving people Senior Discounts, but I promise you, I’M NOT THERE YET. I may be close, but not yet. Not now. I’ve got a daughter starting college next year. How could I possibly get a discount for being a senior. Maybe they had me confused with one of those seniors from TCU? I don’t even open those envelopes from AARP.
But putting the age thing aside for the moment, the words at the bottom of the ticket got me thinking. We are a society who loves discounts – we will drive all over town (or the Metroplex) to save a few bucks. A discount is some amount taken off of the original value or worth. And why are things discounted? Things get discounted because they aren’t selling as fast as they should and the item needs to be gotten out of the way, or the retailer ordered way too many, or a new version or style comes out, or now it’s time for the spring stuff so out with the winter, or things have just gotten old. We want that bargain and we’ll certainly take the discount because we can get a great deal. But in life it’s just the opposite. How often in life do we do the same thing to the people we know, or go to church with, or work with, or come in contact with on a daily basis? We “discount” them. Take something off of their original value or worth. And we don’t necessarily want someone whose been “discounted.” Why? Because they have gotten old, our relationships aren’t selling like they should, or we have way too many friends already and we don’t need another, or they are just in the way, or a new style comes out (they may be different than what we expect and want). After a while, people start feeling discounted, living up to the expectation they aren’t worth as much as someone else. And that is sad. We are all, as Christ’s followers, commanded to love others and put them in higher reqard than even ourselves. Lift them up so they can reach the full value of what God intended, not some discounted throw-away. That’s what Jesus did to the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the man with leprosy, the paralytic, the sick woman who reached out and touched His garment, and on, and on, and on. Think of people in light of their true worth in God, not their “discounted” value that we put on them.
And about that Senior Discount at TB. I think I’ll go and try some other places: I may look old but I’m not stupid.
January 14, 2005
Well, not really. One post to a blog site does not a blogger make. Right now I’m a follower, trying something new because some of my younger friends are doing it. One of my friend’s dad has jumped into it, so I thought “why not.” And at the moment, I’m a closet blogger. I outted one of my friend’s site recently and now I’m concerned she won’t write with the honesty and openness as before because she is afraid of who is reading her blogs. And then I wonder “What is the purpose?” I’m not sure at this point. I realize that blogging can be theraputic, if I need therapy. I realize it can be an ego stroke if someone actually reads what I write and makes an uplifting comment. It can also be harmful if I write something and the reader makes a negative comment. I’m willing to risk that. As we make this journey called life, I think we miss out on so much because we don’t try them, at least once. So I’m blogging.
As I’ve been reading the many blogs that are out there, I’ve come to realize a couple of things about blogging. One, it’s the Internet’s version of “American Idol” except for the voting off part. There are some very talented and entertaining writers, and there are some really awful writers (spelling, thought structure, general topic discussion). And you even have the judges – some give nothing but praise and “Oh, what a great writer you are.” Some give nothing but unhelpful, critical comments to show how clever and witty they are. And some give insightful, well thought-out comments. I like those people. But what all this has shown me is my second realization about blogging. It’s really not about the reader, it’s about the writer. We are willing to expose our thoughts (good, bad, ugly, beautiful) and express who we are and what we are feeling at the moment. And that can be a good thing. A very good thing. This site is mine, not yours. And what I choose to write here are my thoughts. Hopefully dialog and discussion can take place, help can be found, the long and winding road we are all on can be made a somewhat more enjoyable place, for however long we are together. But ultimately it just comes down to this: this is who I am and these are my reflections on life, seen through the lenses of my past and present experiences.
I hope I stay here. This could get interesting.