Thursday, July 31, 2008

I sometimes miss childhood

If you are like me, you now have a greater appreciation for what your parents pulled off in raising you. I never knew there was x amount of money or bill deadlines or adult crap that stresses you out when I was a kid. I was fortunate. I was allowed to be a kid. I grew up in little town texas, with lightening bugs at night and playing tag in the yard. Hours on end hanging out with my friends just playing.
Playing. That seems to be a concept that is lost to us adults. I would ride my bicycle forhours all over the place, march through fields and forests with my bb gun, or go riding dirt bikes down trails. And I mean all day long. Not 30 minutes here or there. All day! My mom would have to yell for us to come in the house in the evening.
Times they are a changing. I long for those days when these big decisions were someone elses and all I was responsible for was playing. But alas, I have arrived at the world of adults. Where following rules and deadlines and profits and power plays are the rule of the day.
one of my favorite quotes is from the movie Luther.
"When I was a child,
I thought like a child, I was a child,
I played like a child.
And now, thanks to the adults,
I've had to join
the world of adults.
And I am appalled..."
It seems we could do better as adults at being more childlike. Whats the busyness all about anyway? making another dollar? getting the latest pair of jeans? trying to raise our kids perfectly and smothering them to death? not letting them be kids?
buying them everything the world says they need? I am amazed at how many 10 year olds have cell phones and text messaging and video games and dance classes and ... the list is exhaustive.
And as a kid, my relationship with God was simpler. A child like faith is spoken of in scripture. I think Jesus likes us coming to him in a childlike manner. Eyes wide open and trusting. That seems like an impossibility in the adult world with its own set of rules and demands.
I sometimes miss childhood.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

the lesson today is...

I am discussing today with my little fellowship group an interview with Eugene Peterson, the author of "The Message" bible. In the interview, he is discussing what prayer is and our idea of how to pray correctly, and why this culture is so "enamored with knowledge" and is afraid of mystery.
The short version?: prayer isn't something you do, it is continual relationship with God. He recalls as a kid asking a missionary "how do you pray" and the missionary responded, "I haven't prayed in 40 years". This really impacted him years later, when he realized that the missionary was living a kind of spiritualness that kept him in continual relationship with God. A "pray without ceasing" concept like Paul talks about.
Peterson also contends that this current culture resists the mystery of it all, because it is much harder to live a spiritual life than not. Not really a discipline of sorts (though if a discipline helps you on your daily spiritual walk then that is good), but a continual relationship with God and the mystery of life that surrounds us every day.
And I was thinking about this and have come to some conclusions:
1. I have difficulty living the secular life.
2. I think others do as well.
3. Its not because we are any better than others, but there is something that will not allow us to be comfortable with what the world has to offer, what it is selling. That makes us restless.
Now, for those who are not this way, I would think life is easier. Less complicated. I would not say Life is Better for them, just cleaner. No messy spiritual stuff to clutter up a cookie cutter existence. Makes getting up and consuming whatever the world has set before you easier. Whether it is money or hobbies or vices or whatever your distraction of choice may be. Your distraction may even be the church.
So go ahead. The devil is counting on it. Tune in to the noise of the world. Get enveloped in its business. You will not have time for God.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

whats with this hatred of Christians?

Today I've been working and goofing off a bit as well. Somehow I got off on a yahoo chatroom about religion (yeah, go figure) and I never really get on those forums. But some reason it caught my eye so I said what the hell (not literally), I'll give it a whirl.
It was amazing too me how many people do not like christianity on these things. They literally go to name calling and labeling and foulness. There were a few on there that would discuss in a normal discourse the topic, and they were kind of fun. But overall, there is a hatred of christians and a dissing of God. Of course for the most part they were picking out wierd stuff from the Old Testament (I don't think any of them actually quoted anything about Jesus from the New Testament) and how God was this or that and people who believed the bible were that and this. Basically saying its all a bunch of crap and people who believe it are stupid.
I saw the same type of stuff yesterday about Intelligent Design after the Governor in Louisiana mentioned it on some show. Good for him. The blog-o-sphere went crazy over that, calling ID unscientific and there position (big bang) plausible and using all sorts of cras labels and language to describe the governor. Of course, they loose me there because it is much easier to believe in ID than "oops just happened" but whatever.
Now my question is this: If they believe that God doesn't exist, uh, why do they spend so much time denouncing it and trying to prove that it doesn't? I mean really, I don't believe in the Easter Bunny but I don't go around bashing those who do or making fun of his ears. So why the hatred? Why do you hate something so much that you don't even believe in to start with?
If there is no God - then what do you care what others think? Does the message of Jesus upset you so that you want to throw fits and insults? Yeah, I can see that. Love one another. Love thy enemy. Blessed are the peacemakers. Big Time Threatening stuff. Has spawned much misery, with all the relief aid being sent to disaster areas, red cross, salvation army, food pantries, missions... i could go on and on with the stuff christians are doing in the name of Jesus.
I know! Why don't we form an organization so we can put a stop to all of this nonsense. Teaching kids right from wrong and 10 little basic rules like not killing each other, not to steal from each other and respecting their parents, just where do we get off doing this? This has to end....
huh? whats that? oh sorry, just informed there already is some organization doing that. ACLU.
Well good for them. We need to end this practice of teaching good stuff and making the world a better place. Cause heck, if its good enough for the easter bunny, its good enough for me!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Do you ever feel disconnected? I am feeling that way today. Well, I'm expressing it today, but I feel like that alot.

I feel disconnected from God, my spouse, occupation... just life in particular. Okay, I'm not usually so much drama. I am usually on target and tuned in and on step and whatever term describes on my game. I think this is why I recognize that I'm off somehow. I am not doing my devotionals. I haven't made time for God. I have spent a lot, and I mean A LOT of time with my family lately and that hasn't helped bring down this wall that has gotten between us. I have been traveling and going and doing and ... I just got exhausted.

I haven't spent my energies on getting myself healthy. Been doing too much for the sake of whatever. Relationships, entertainment, my own ego, you fill in the gap.
Pink Floyd (the music group) has a song "comfortably numb" that resonates with me alot. sometimes i get "comfortably numb" to life. Ironic thing is that its not "comfortable" to me. I don't like numb. I like life. I like living on the edge. I like chances. I like spark. I get restless.

I emailed Endlessly Restless at his blogspot about a quote I read in Christianity Today magazine over the weekend. It spoke of being restless, and I am.
I want that "walk to emmaus" experience again or that annual church camp experience of my youth back. I need some authenticity in my christian relationship. Oh hell, lets just put it out there - I need authenticity in my marital relationship as well.
I need to connect. I need it on more than a superficial level. I need to connect to my world like a comfortable t-shirt that has been worn over the years, with enough stains and paint on it to make it unique. Mine. No one elses.
I need to do this. I am not quite sure how to approach it.

maybe this post is like the AA thing. The first step is acknowledgeing I have this problem. I just need to take step two. maybe i should re-read Brother Lawrence's "practicing the presence of God" and see if that inspires.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My daughters Birthday is today

I just read two blogger friends of mine. and and interestingly enough they both hit on memories of the past. With today being my youngest daughters 6th Birthday and the preparations we are making for that, I wonder what memories she will have of this event? Other than pictures, what will rekindle thoughts of growing up in her later years?

We allow our kids to pick where they want to go eat on their birthdays. Well, today my 6 year old decided to dine at the culinary and cultural delight known as Chuck E. Cheese. Yes, a pizza place that features a huge rat as its mascot. I have no idea whats behind that marketing strategy, but it seems to work. So that is what we shall do. Go eat so-so pizza and they play games with tokens.

I do not recall my 6th birthday. I do know that it wasn't at a restaurant. It was at home, like all of my birthdays. My mom would bake a sheath cake (usually strawberry with strawberry icing, all homemade of course) and put those hard sugar decorations on it with corresponding number of candles. I would get to invite the 4 or 5 kids in the neighborhood (one whom happened to be an older girl who I had a crush on and she became a cheer leader and later got married before I could wow her with my charms) and we would eat cake, ice cream, and open whatever presents I got. Then we played in the backyard most likely.

Now we take kids to indoor play places, nice restaurants, trips, whatever, and spend hundreds of dollars on the event not counting the gifts. And I wonder, what memories will they have of this?

Mine are fond. I know my mom took time to make that cake. My favorite cake! To put just the right amount of icing on the top. To put the candles on it, light them, and have my dorky friends (except for the girl) sing Happy Birthday to me while I blew them out while making my wish.... (okay, yes the wish was about the girl).

It took time and effort.

Taking my kid to Chuck E. Cheese does not. But I wonder, will it have the same affect on her as mine did? I think probably so. Of course, we have ten thousand cameras at these events now, with video and still cameras, so it will all be recorded somewhere.

Thats one thing I do not have much of. Pictures of us kids, my sisters and I, growing up. No videos that I'm aware of. So the absence of those resources make my memories even that much more important to me, as they grow cloudier and dimmer by the year. Even so, they were good memories that I'm sure some kids did not have. I took them for granted, as I am sure my kids do presently. But hopefully, sometimes when a familiar smell or sight or sound or even someone else's blog, triggers these memories, after I am long gone, they will look back on these days with fondness... and say mom and dad did okay. ~npp