Wednesday, November 29, 2006

MY THREE LOVELY GIRLS


For those who know me you might know a little of our last minute trip to Disney a year ago this week. It was during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Celebration. And I can't think of a better time for us to have been there. I can't think of a place that could have transported us out of the circumstances, even if it was just for a moment, better than Disney World did. We all needed it at that moment.
Due to the circumstances at the time, I'm sure some thought, "What is he doing?" I have this to say; "Grace rarely ever makes sense to those looking in from the outside." This was a grace trip and was worth every bit of what we spent to be there. As Much as Thanksgiving this year brought back memories of a year ago, this whole Holiday Season will be a time of remembrance. And what a year it has been.
When you find yourself in messy times. When you feel so out of control and fear is ready to pounce. Don't ever give up. Grace and love can take the biggest messes and redeem them and work transformations deep inside all involved. I now know that, and so do these three girls and their mom, and if they don't yet....they will some day.

We are all better today because of the Holiday Season a year ago.

This is a statement of faith that came from a quote I found during that painful time as I began to feel a  deep healing work of grace at work inside me. This is still one of my favorite quotes today.
"What may at first seem fragile becomes, instead, a journey toward a rendezvous with grace."
Never give up.

And may you all enjoy the Savior and your family and friends this Holiday Season.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

DEEPER FREEDOMS / INSPIRED LIVING

I'm sitting here on Thanksgiving morning with the smells of rotisserie turkey hanging in the air. I'm looking forward to the time with family and friends today.

I'm also thinking back on the year I have had. Something happened in my family last year on this day that set in motion a most beautiful change. It didn't start out that way though. It was a pain that ripped me from deep inside and has set in motion an incredible transformation. I had no idea how God was going to use what seemed to me to be the scariest thing I had ever faced.

The details of the event are not important. It's funny how I can say that today because on this day last year, all it was about was the details of the event. Like I said, a beautiful change has taken place. One of the big changes could be described as, a big chunk of the law man I was last Thanksgiving I am no longer today. My whole family thanks God for this.

God had begun about 5-6 years ago to reveal to me how grace was the power unto inner change. To see the work of the cross as the ultimate act of radical grace that it really was. Why does it seem there must be acts of violent rumblings in the securities of our lives to bring us to a place of being vulnerable enough for these truths to penetrate? I don't know and today I don't care.

What had happened to me in the days, weeks and months that followed is nothing short of the breaking of a heart shaped by rules and law and the birthing of a heart learning to live grounded in the spirit of love and grace. This year has been about the changing of basically everything. This is not me. I would have not gone here on my own. So many thing about me are absolutely opposite of what they were last year at this time and I feel freer than I ever have.

All I can say is the veil was ripped a little more open and I have seen some wonderful things I had never seen. It had very little or nothing at all to do with myself or anything I had done. All I can think of that I had done, was I accepted the fact that I had come to the end of myself and my ability(or illusion there of) of being able to control myself, my children, my wife and the circumstances of life. It is to this revealing that I attribute most, if not all of the changes of this year. This seems to me to be, the absolute most important truth when it comes to walking in freedom with Christ. If we continue living thinking we must remain in control, God is left on the outside. Freedom will never be a reality if this change doesn't take place. We will continue to live in fear, we will be stressed, frustrated, angry, depressed, and unable to function except out of that fear, stress, frustration and anger.

These are the very things that I have felt the Spirit freeing me from this year. And it feels good. The things that are opening up before my very eyes are wonderful. I am living with expectancy of what is possible like never before. The expectancy of what is possible, is not about me anymore. It is so much bigger. It is about the story God is working out for all of His creation. I am a part of that but it isn't about me. And yet it is in a way also. I referred to it in one of my first posts as a blogger. It is a private dance at first with my savior but it doesn't remain only that. It opens up into a life of sharing my dance with those around me having their own private dance. It is a beautiful thing.

So, I have much to be thankful for today. But as I look back on this past year, the thing I am most thankful for is the deep pain of last Thanksgiving and what it set in motion.

Thanks for dropping by and listening. Hopefully the thinking out loud that goes on here at Faithfully Dangerous is an encouragement and a challenge to those who stop by.

Have a very wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

WORDS FROM DR. KING

I have been making my way slowly through many of Dr. King's letters, speeches and writings this year. It has been an incredible experience. The courage and conviction of this man is inspiring. The poetry in which he spoke and wrote conveyed such a vision for a better world where people treated people with respect and decency. A place where justice was important and available for all. Where poverty and inequality would be crushed because those with the power to do something about it would act because they knew it was the right thing to do. I am also amazed at how timeless his words are. So many of the things he spoke are so relevant today. I could change names, races, or events he spoke about in many of his speeches to present day players and events and they would fit circumstances we are suffering under and struggling with today. It is worth the time to search through his words. When someone is speaking things that are at the heart of the gospel of Christ they are timeless.

I want to share from the book "The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr." the epitaph of John Kennedy

"Our nation should do a great deal of soul searching as a result of President Kennedy's assassination. The shot that came from the fifth story building cannot be easily dismissed as the isolated act of a madman. Honesty impels us to look beyond the demented mind that executed this dastardly act. While the question "Who killed President Kennedy?" is important, the question "What killed him?" is more important.

Our late President was assassinated by a morally inclement climate. It is a climate filled with heavy torrents of false accusation, jostling winds of hatred, and raging storms of violence.

It is a climate where men cannot disagree without being disagreeable, and where they express dissent through violence and murder. It is the same climate that murdered Medgar Evers in Mississippi and six innocent Negro children in Birmingham, Alabama.

So in a sense we are all participants in that horrible act that tarnished the image of our nation. By our silence, by our willingness to compromise principle, by our constant attempt to cure the cancer of racial injustice with the Vaseline of gradualism, by our readiness to allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at whim, by allowing our movie and television screens to teach our children that the hero is one who masters the art of shooting and the technique of killing, by allowing all these developments we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes.

So President Kennedy has something important to say to each of us in his death. He has something to say to every politician who has feed his constituents the stale bread of racism and the spoiled meat of hatred. He has something to say to every clergyman who observed racial evils and remained silent behind the safe security of stained glass windows. He has something to say to the devotees of the extreme right who poured out venomous words against the Supreme Court and the United Nations, and branded everyone a communist with whom they disagree. He has something to say to the misguided philosophy of communism that would teach man that the end justifies the means, and that violence and denial of basic freedom are justifiable methods to achieve the goal of a classless society.

He says to all of us that the virus of hate that seeped into the veins of our nation, if unchecked, will lead inevitably to our moral and spiritual doom.

Thus the epitaph of John Kennedy's life illuminates profound truths that challenge us to set aside our grief of a season and move forward with more determination to rid our nation of the vestiges of racial segregation and discrimination."

"Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil. The greatest way to do that is through love. I believe firmly that love is a transforming power that can lift a whole community to new horizons of fair play, good will, and justice."

We would do well to listen to Dr. King on these issues.

Monday, November 13, 2006

ARE WE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE FOR OTHER'S TRANSFORMATION? OR WILL THE CHURCH JUST CONTINUE TO ATTACK?

I took this first part from a post of a few days ago. I wanted to contrast it with some thoughts from "Hope Against Darkness" by Richard Rohr.

We shouldn't be surprised that the Church mirrors perfectly about all the same destructive behaviors that they are screaming at the world outside about. What's worse for the Church is all the while heaping a big dose of judgement on everybody but themselves, the judgement seems to always come back on the one that lives in judgement of others. The end result at this time is this; the church has pretty much became exactly the same.

Richard says this:

"To attack the person out there is usually to simply continue the problem, because he or she is a victim, too. The reason people do evil, why they hate, sin, make mistakes is because somewhere they have been hurt, rejected, excluded or wounded. They just keep passing it on. And the cycle repeats and spreads. Jesus, you could say, came to break and even stop the cycle. Punitive behavior only continues the same old game and, I am afraid, most of the Church itself has yet to understand this. We still think it is about forcing conformity instead of seeking true interior transformation. True transformation always demands that we pay the price for the other's growth. We would rather punish and coerce a response. God is much more patient."