Posts Tagged ‘care’

“When we follow Jesus, we follow Him, not away from the world, but more deeply into the world.

When we follow Jesus, He leads us deeper into the world; not away from it. This initially confuses most of us, because we thought we were following Jesus to be freed from this world, and yet He wants to lead us right back into it! Why would He lead us back there? We don’t want to go back. We left it all behind so we could follow Jesus in peace and safety. But it is into the world He leads us. Why? Because God has a plan for us.” -Jeremy Myers/The Skeleton Church

And the plan is for us to bring His love to everyone. Not judgment, not condemnation and certainly not fear. The love God wants us to reflect to this world must be rooted in trust and neither love nor trust is real if attached to conditions. God loves you if… is not the message!

This article on Casual Christianity in The Washington Post is interesting. I relate to the “joyful minority” thought near the end.

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and quite frankly this year more than any other it has me very anxious. I’m just beginning to understand that the reason for my anxiety is the obligation that’s attached. The expectations are completely external yet so effective they couldn’t be more personal. So here’s my question: Can love and obligation peacefully coexist? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The key word here for me is peacefully, as that’s certainly not what I’ve been experiencing which causes me to think the answer is probably no. Bound is an important element of understanding obligation. And freedom is a huge part of my understanding of love. I know we are “bound together…” but also “love knows no bounds” all that to say, I’d love to hear your take on this question along with any thoughts you have on this “holiday”.

Ideally I want every day to be a gift to those I love and maybe I’m just feeling resentment that others are telling me when I need to step it up.

Recently I was rereading a favorite novel written by James A. Michener in 1949 called “The Fires of Spring”. I’ve been troubled by the following passage since:

“… She sat still and intent. Suddenly her right arm shot out quicker than David’s eye could follow. She had caught a fly. Methodically she ripped off its wings and placed the flightless creature upon her barren table. Then, with a finger of spit, she drew a wide circle about the dismembered fly. Composed and calm, she watched the fly as it stumbled about the table top. As long as the fly stayed within its circle, which was ample, the mad woman followed it patiently, with her great eyes rolling this way or that. But when the fly once touched the forbidden line, the old woman’s face clouded in anger. Then she raised her right hand and with a brutal spatulate finger crushed the fly.

Then, like a spider, she waited until another fly came into her ken. Flashingly she would snatch it from the air. Wingless the fly would wander across the surface of his restricted world. It was free until it transgressed the line. Then the horrible forefinger ended all feeble wanderings.”

The reason this disturbs me is it’s such a clear description of what we’ve been taught about God. How many times have you been warned to “stay under God’s covering” or “obedience is God’s love language”? Which is another way of saying God loves you when you’re following the rules. You’ve probably learned God has favorites and other forms of blessing theology as well. (If you follow this link please read the 5th post first, then up the page from there.)

In the story we can easily see the woman is mad yet somehow we accept this same behavior from God because He can do whatever He wants. Jesus tells us, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” Let that sink in for a minute. Is He letting Phillip know what he’s been taught is all wrong? Did Christ ever treat anyone like the fly? I guess He did get angry one time in the temple but wasn’t that anger directed at those who were profiting from folks being taught to obey or else?

Jesus came to prove God’s love for you, to show you no matter who you are or what you do, His love doesn’t change. He wants you to know Him, really know Him and it breaks His heart when we picture Him anything like the lady in the story. The truth is God gave us wings and all of creation to enjoy and explore. Please don’t let others remove your wings because of their need for control.

Luke 13:24
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

What if the gate is so narrow that we go through just one at a time? Could this scripture be an indicator of God’s desire for intimacy? Is it possible when trying to enter with the crowd we’ll hear, “I do not know you?” Jesus came to invite us into a one of a kind, my love is perfect for you relationship, don’t miss it like so many in His day by clinging to religion others insist you follow.

The following had much to say to me today. I hope the same for you. It’s from an article by Paul Ford:

“I am often consumed with a sense of overwhelming love and empathy. I look at the other person and am overwhelmed with joy.

This is not a world where you can simply express love for other people, where you can praise them. Perhaps it should be. But it’s not. I’ve found that people will fear your enthusiasm and warmth, and wait to hear the price. Which is fair, we’ve all been drawn into someone’s love only to find out that we couldn’t afford it.”

Religion answers the question with “I think so”, then asks how can I manipulate Him to love me more than He does everyone else.

Faith answers the question with “yes!”, then asks how can I know Him more.

Recently my friend Michael was telling me his brother and sister-in-law had moved to a different state. He had gone over to help them pack and to say goodbye. Michael then told me that as he was leaving his sister-in-law handed him a small bag and said, “Just something we won’t use.” Michael didn’t open the bag until he got home but when he did he was overwhelmed with emotion and brought to tears. In the bag was a box of sweetener packets, the kind he prefers in his coffee. Though he was sure they had never had a conversation about sweeteners Michael was just then realizing that each of the countless cups of coffee he had shared at his brother and sister-in-law’s home over the years was a demonstration of love, the kind of love grand gestures and declarations can never match. In that moment Michael understood that he was welcome, wanted and thought of even when he wasn’t around, even in the aisles of the grocery store.

Someday

Posted: June 18, 2014 in Uncategorized
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A faith focused on “someday” is the equivalent of “not today Lord”.

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Posted: June 10, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Jesus, not the rules.