Monday, February 05, 2007

This is just a sample post to help demonstrate the technology to my son.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Me as the Mother of God...

This God guy is one smart cookie. When he had to pick the girl to be the mortal mother of Jesus he didn't pick me.

I was doing some Christmas pondering in the book of Luke, and when I see all those things that people would call the things that prove that he was the Messiah, I can tell you right now I would not be putting up with that.

That whole "they were amazed" gig when he took off and they had to search for him for three days would just never go. The conversation when we finally found him would go quite differently. Something along the lines of, "I don't care if you were in church, you do NOT disappear on me for three days. And if your Father-with-a-capital-F has a real problem with that, he can just come down here and discuss it."

All those signs and portents would happen when he was 18, not 12. And that consorting with brimstone-scented riffraff in the desert alone would not be happening at any age. His brothers would be right there to help kick some Satanic backside.

I see this time and again in fiction, and in real life. Parents who somehow just fall out of their children's lives once the child has a direction of their own to follow. Brothers and sisters who diverge their relationships along with their interests as they grow.

Not happening in my house. Just because you have a compass heading, that doesn't mean it's time to make the trip. I'll be more than happy do help you do a few Hudson's Bay starts, just to test the trail. But you're not going off into the hinterlands until you're grown and you're not going alone, either.

Luckily only one of my kids has a really strong direction before they were pretty much grown and what she needs to start following it is right here. Plus she had the grace to wait until she was almost 15, so she can do her prep work here and then head off to her life ready to go. My eldest will be leaving for the Army in about a month. My younger son may be not far behind his brother (except he's going to the Steelworker's Union). They're both old enough and it's time. God go with them both.

It's not that I'm suggesting that kids should never grow up. I am saying that you're actually going to grown up before you go out and start doing stuff like you have. That's all. And once they do, they don't have to leave their family behind.

If they need help they know who to call. If for whatever reason things don't work out, they know how to get back here. And if they disappear into the desert for 40 day's it better be the Ghobi or something or I'm going to track them down. We're a family.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Clean as You go....

This is a motto many restaurants use with their staff. I learned it as a McPerson, my boss learned it several places over the course of her 25 year career as a waitress. As you're doing the rest of your duties, you are supposed to clean little bits at a time as you go by. That way, when you're done you don't have a huge mess. This works with faith too, I think.

If you start reading Acts and the rest of the New Testament the list of things we're supposed to do and be is overwhelming. It seems like there's no way you will ever get it all done. Well, you don't have to. Just take the time to do a few things as you go, and it will start to seem more do-able. Sort of like starting an exercise program. A successful plan is to add it into your daily routine a bit at a time, and make sure you have the stuff you need so you can follow your diet. You can do the same thing with faith.

So, if you're feeling like you need to work on praying every day. Instead of vowing to pray three times a day for fifteen minutes or something extravagent, you find ways to pray as you go. I've had a lot of luck with standing in line, or while sitting at stop lights. As far as reading, try having a bible in your car for those times when you're sitting in the car waiting for a kid. A lot of people use books-on-tape, and you can get the Bible read on CD for making your commute a more enlightening experience, too.

There's lots of different ways you can bring these things into your life, just a little bit at a time.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Preaching from the Pews...

You'll find that these writings don't come from the usual perspective. When most people write about God, they sort of mentally step into the pulpit.

I'm not. I'm writing from my seat in the pew. There are two old ladies that share it with me. I've got the "titter and shuffle" section of the youth group behind us, and there's a family with two impish little boys that usually sit in front.

This is a conscious choice. I have a soapbox, believe me, and it's in a high state of polish. But there are only a few pastors in every church. The rest of us sit and listen and try to use the teachings, and there are precious few words out there about that side of it.

This isn't a big thing in and of itself. There are very few huge pronouncements involved. There are just little tidbits here and there. I figure this topic will have to just come and go as they are found. Here's one to start this off.
Bring Something to write with and something to write on; taking sermon notes not only makes it easier to look up stuff later, just the act of writing it down helps you learn things

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Ministry of the Mini-Van....

I came in and carefully slumped down in my usual pew where the youth group circles the wagons every week. I was exhausted and sick and really not with it. The text of the day was on Jesus' exhortation to bring the children to him, and I enjoyed the adventures of the Pastor trying to deliver a sermon with all the kids on the stage around him. One little boy had brought a toy with him that kept joining in, but it turned out well. Mr. Lizard is quite the theologian. And it turned again to how we're all supposed to go out and give the message to everyone around us.

Squirm-time again. It gets me. I'm far from the best Christian. Doubting Thomas and I could hang out, and I have far more in common with Jonah (pre-whale) than Peter or Paul. I have many more questions than answers; once you get past John 3:16 my authority starts to run pretty thin. My own adventures in proselytizing have so far turned into me running for help when I step off into the deep end about three questions in. I have talked to people. I have brought friends. When he's up there reminding us it just doesn't seem like enough, though.

After the closing prayer it's off to the Fellowship Hall to track down my Pagan Horde and chivvy the gang off to their various activities. I end up with a couple extra kids who need a ride home. They're all jazzed about getting ready for the next youth activity and reminiscing about previous years. We pile into the car. I get them to their places and do the rest of my appointed rounds, but at the bottom of it I keep thinking about the message and their fond discussion of old snowball fights and who snores the loudest. I thought about the kids who sit in that group, and the others who show up on Wednesday nights. Counting back, quite a few kids who have come and gone through that place have come in the back of my car.

I had never counted them in those little defensive lists I make to myself when that whole spread-the-word topic comes up. I'm not doing this because of some attempt to reach out. The whole neighborhood just seems to congregate at my house all the time. This is just the offshoot of having four kids and managing our life. By the time you include a shifting group of various neighbor kids and whoever is so-and-so's best friend this week you've got a car-full and then off you go.

I mean, it's not like we talk about Jesus all the time. I certainly haven't shared any particular wisdom with them. I drive them places and they hang out with my gang. I listen to the teenage drama and answer homework questions and a lot of "Why does...." and "How do you get past X in that game?" When they have THOSE questions I've helped them get some sort of answers. We sing silly songs and might share a round of mints. But that's not missionary work. Is it?

When Jesus told the Apostles to stop keeping the kids away from him, he was talking to our time as well as his. They face so many challenges today in growing up, and it seems so many people think that once a kid can dress and feed himself their job is done. They don't talk to them, or do more than the minimum. In a sad number of cases the people in their life that should be bringing them to Jesus for his blessing aren't. It's not necessarily those people's fault - they have their own burdens and chains. The stories are heart breaking; over the course of the years I've been doing this I've learned so many things that I wish I didn't know. I've tried, but I can't fix them. But with the utmost respect and love for them and their children, I can help them with this.

I think this might qualify as a mission. I'm not chasing lost sheep in far off lands under threats and fire; seems more like shooting fish in a barrel. But these fish are just as precious as those others being fished for in distant oceans. I'll call it the Ministry of the Mini-Van. It meets several times every day at various locations and for various times. Today's text was "Does Jared Count as a discount-friend For Snow Camp?", "Castle In the Sky - Japanese or English Soundtrack?", and "Weird Melon-thingy We Found in the Produce Section That One Time". The music was the Smothers Brother's version of "The Streets of Laredo" and a recap of the second verse of that one song during worship that they thought sounded weird.

There are far better hands than I for the task of teaching them the specifics. I can listen to their questions, though, and help them talk to the right people for their answers. I can make getting there and being a part of it possible. There are good people around us who know how to show them the word. I will leave the complexities of faith and all that to them until I learn and grow more myself. For now, I'll have to stick with bringing the children.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Are you there?....

A person I know online asked the question, "God? Are you there?" He wanted to know what God would say, when he saw him. He then asked us all what we hoped God would say to us. The answer I came up with was, "The road to Hell isn't the only one paved with good intentions." ;)

Seriously, though, this one has more heads than a hydra. The human impulse towards religion is one of the most complex we have. There is a perception of emmanance, of some larger force, and how each of us has chosen to deal with the manifestation of it will affect how we choose to express that impulse.

Some are frightened by the concept. Some will choose to either reject it entirely, or try to make it smaller and more managable by hemming it around with rules and regulations. Others try to skirt around the edges of it by not defining it too closely and using all sorts of vague wording. Some use it as a sort of cosmic carte-blanche, feeling they are so small in relation to it that no matter what they do they can't have any real effect. Others can't deal with the largeness of it by trying to find ways to pull themselves into the center of it to give themselves more signifigance.

I'm sure there I've missed some, and there are as many subtle shadings of the above as there are people. And depending on how you each person has chosen to deal with it, they are going to give a different answer.

I ask every morning, "Lord, what would you have me do with this day?" I wish I got something straightfoward on a sort of burning-bush level, but it's usually just a feeling of, "Just hold on. You know the rules, and you know what I'm looking for. If you have any questions just RTFM! Do the best you can as you go, and we'll look at the question again when you are done."

Sunday, March 06, 2005

God is a part of my life. That's a scary sentance to write, but I've done it. It's not something that I spend every waking minute going on about to people, though.

I'll be with you all in a second - just bear with me.