Monday, February 28, 2011
Interchangeable to many, though becoming increasingly distinguishable to many others, is she a Christian or does she follow the Way of Jesus the Christ? Is he Christian in form; follower of Jesus in meaning? Or a Christian in form; follower of the way of the world in meaning?
These are important questions, and they are being asked ever more often (thankfully!) We were given a gift this weekend in our Church body, a gift of being stretched, taught, and challenged about whether or not we really should spread the gospel of Christianity. "It's all about Jesus!" you might say - but is it? Is Christianity all about Jesus? (meaning, are they one and the same?)
Have you examined this gospel that your Church body shares? Is it the Gospel of Jesus the Christ; or the gospel of the western Church, of a religion? Did Jesus enter into darkness and humanity to establish a new religion?
Easy questions to answer on the surface; deeply life-changing (and method-changing, meaning, the method in which we give away the Gospel) and often divisive at their core.
May we think on these together... more thoughts to come.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Two and a half hours we've been waiting in this room, the waiting room of Baptist Minor Medical. Temperature-controlled, relatively quiet (except for the constant rattling-off of newscasters on CNN news), cushioned chairs, clean bathrooms. Nevermind these above-quality conditions - two and a half hours is a long time to wait. And don't you think we haven't gotten an earful of it.
Our short-term neighbor here on this side of the waiting room (thankfully, she's just now gone back to the exam room) was plenty vocal for all of us. She even went to the front desk to ask if they knew how long it would be, as they - obviously annoyed - replied that they told her from the beginning it would be 1-1/2 to 2 hours (which can really mean 2-4 hours). Then, she proceeded to mutter expletives or other signs of frustration for the rest of her wait.
In the midst of this, she called as many people in her cell phone's address book as she could cram into that 2 hours, giving us the pleasure of hearing her rudeness, argumentative nature, and less than quiet demeanor (while on the phone with Greyhound bus company, "Can I speak to someone who speaks English? Because you obviously don't understand my question.")
As I listen and take this all in, I've been struck by the lack of gratefulness. Much of the world has to walk miles, maybe even for multiple days, to reach a place that can offer healthcare. Then, among throngs of others with ailments, wait out-of-doors, even in extreme weather conditions, with a hole in the ground a few hundred feet away in which to use the bathroom.
But is there another option?
Sure there is; and people choose it all the time. Stay at home. Don't acknowledge sickness or just become numb to it and hope for survival for as long as possible.
This is a hopelessly insufficient look at health and access to care for much of the world, especially from someone who hasn't had to use these services, but from most angles, gratefulness is a good starting place.
This is not an excuse to not work for change where healthcare is concerned for our friends in desperate situations (both in the U.S. and around the world) but for my neighbor in the waiting room, gratefulness is the only thing that could have changed her perspective today.
Friday, February 4, 2011
*Some friends have suggested more music on the blog, so here's to that request.
While reading through my ten daily chapters today, rotating through various books, one of those is Job. So every day, I get to read a chapter of Job, which means lots of "Cursed be the day I was born!" and "Job, how can you question God? He is just; he only rewards the righteous" and so on and so forth. I really love reading the book of Job.
In fact, this reading is reminding me of a time in college, a "dark night of the soul" as I remember naming it (credits to Richard Foster for that phrase). I felt such a kindred spirit with Job, the back and forth with friends who just kept talking and talking and talking, and after all that, an answer from God... that leaves him with this: "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you." (Job 42:5)
And so, the Job song was born.
(My eyes drift somewhat ceiling/heavenward at times; sometimes I forget I'm recording and get a little lost. Bear with me.)
(... and the lyrics)
We keep teaching all these rules we know
making up more as we go
and I know all the answers
I've memorized them well
still I'm just so tired, or can you even tell?
These few years have been hard on us
the same old questions over and over again
but I've just kept on praying
in the darkness, on the floor
hoping that you hear me crying, Lord...
'cause my ears have heard
and my mouth has spoken
and I know all the words
still they leave, they leave me broken
but if only I could see you, then maybe I'd believe
Not much changes here from day to day
we'd rather be set in our ways
but I see people dying
people hungry to be loved
when will that be enough?
You made the stars, you made the oceans
you made the mountains, you made me
you make us live, you make us laugh
you make us breathe (3x)
and before my ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen
and Lord, I may not understand
but I believe