Friday, April 26, 2013

A good thought to keep in mind

Sexual promiscuity is not the unforgiveable sin. Let's not forget those featured in Jesus' genealogy (Judah, the man who slept with his daughter-in-law, mistaking her for a prostitute; David, the king who murdered the husband of his mistress), nor those winning mention in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith (Rahab, the prostitute who sheltered the Israelite spies, and Samson, the man with a weakness for beautiful women). The Bible, in weaving its long history of redemption, is not a storybook of heroes. Failure, even sexual mistakes, has not once tied God's hands. He accomplishes what he wills through the worst of us.
. . .
Virginity is not a moral merit badge. Whether or not we have had sex before marriage, we are all lawbreakers (James 2:10). None can feel superior, not even the virgins among us.

- Jen Pollack Michel
I like the title of this article.  (And the article, which you should read.)  And the author's exasperation.  Because I share it.  Lately, I've been running into numerous articles where it is obvious that to some Christians, virginity (at least in women) IS considered something akin to our Holy Grail.  It's the thing that gives us worth, the most important thing to protect!  We can be ignorant or mean or liars or gossips, but heaven forbid we fornicate because there is NO GOING BACK. 

Seriously?  Is that really, truly what church leaders think, or are they just going overboard trying to get their point across (badly)?  I do understand that sexual sin is slightly different (the only one a person can commit against their own body, I believe is sort of how it was described), but why do we glorify it like this?  Come on, people.

Yeah, I know, odd coming from someone who hasn't fornicated or even wanted to, but I really feel that some of the messages we are giving are really twisted all out of biblical proportion.  And we are really hurting people by our ignorance and cruelty here.  How should we deal with it?  Good question.  Any good answers?

Friday, April 19, 2013

even in the dark

"At the heart of the good news is a call to suffer with others. To take the time to listen and struggle and wait and love others. Hope is not always cheery it is the conistent, authentic expectation of light even in the dark."
 - Kevin Williams in a comment on Addie Zierman's blog How to Talk Evangelical

Frequently, hope is grim, gallows humor, one soldier in the trenches to another.  Sometimes it's calm, knowledgeable assurance that has seen the darkness and the light on the other side.  Rarely is it really 100% chipper cheerfulness.  At least, this has been true in my experience.  Yours?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Easter Saturday 2013

This year, I am wearing shades of blue because they are beautiful, and sometimes you need to wear beautiful colors so that every time you look down you are lifted up.  I have no idea if this is an appropriate seasonal color liturgically.  It's probably not secularly, either, because I am not wearing spring-y pastel blues, weak and watered down.  I am wearing dark, rich jewel tones: peacock, teal, turquoise.

I am celebrating Easter by going to church on Saturday at a place that is not my local church.  It is more than half an hour away, and the drive was crowded, the roads oddly packed.  The day started out wet and sloppy, but by now it is bright with sun and 10 degrees warmer than the professional weather guessers predicted.  Water from the thaw runs in the gutters, pools around the grates, rages onto convergence points, carries away trash and newly uncovered  flower clusters hidden for this day when I am celebrating resurrection and new life. 

One year, I wrote a poem about Saturday and how wretched the day before Easter must have seemed to all of the people who loved Jesus.  Today, I doubt I could be in that same somber, sober place.  There is too much light and warmth and the stink of new life everywhere.

Tomorrow, the weather guessers tell us, it will be cold and miserable and dark and snowy.  This sanctuary will still be bright with all of its windows, and early service attendees will be blinded if there is sun.  I hope there is sun because I think we all need a good spring blinding to remind us it's not all winter.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Do what you know

“We’re all dying because of chronic disease because of bad behavior. It’s not enough to go see the doctor once a year and have him tell you what to do. It’s not that people don’t know what to do, it’s that they don’t do what they know,” says Lavoie, co-director of the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre in Canada.

When I read the above article (part of keeping up on current med-tech trends for work), I found myself struck by the above statement.  And how much it made me think of a Bible passage where the writer talks about how the one who believes will keep Christ's commandments, not just talk about them.  And that passage in the Bible where the writer talks about how frustrating it is that we don't do the things we want to/should do (but instead do the things we don't want to do because we are trapped in this body of death).

To paraphrase: It's not enough to go to church every Sunday (even a doctrinally solid church) and be told what to do.  We know what to do, really.  We just don't do it.  Do we not really believe it?  Are we being lazy?  I think that one passage about doing what we don't want to do and who can save us from this body of death ends with one of those long, rolling, buoying passages about how Christ saved us, will save us, is saving us, and all praise to Him.  Amen.  But we're also told to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.  We are told to do what He commanded.  We are told our actions should reflect where are hearts are, what we really, truly believe.  Sometimes, our actions mostly reflect laziness and sloppy thinking.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the health research and study results.  Today, They definitely conclude that this behavior Will Kill You.  In two years, They will proclaim that this behavior is The Best Ever.  It's hard to know what's really healthy sometimes.

But we all know the basics.
  • eat more unprocessed foods, especially whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
  • move more (get up and walk around, challenge your muscles and your cardiovascular system).
  • don't stress yourself out over things you can't control.
  • do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.
  • be a good steward.
  • love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
  • love your neighbor as yourself.

We know the basics, but do we do them?

If we really believe they are important, won't our actions and behaviors change to reflect what we really believe?  I pray it may be so for me.