Wednesday, May 30, 2007

MORE ON VIOLENCE AND POWER

Throughout all of the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant and all of the human violence that was at the center of the Jewish nation and the rest of the world, God is pointing to a person and a future event that would change everything and set his people free indeed.

This person would be the good shepherd that would lovingly lead his flock and care for them. They would in turn become the healing and blessing to all nations that God had desired Israel to be but never was.

Israel had been blessed abundantly by God and so often used the blessing for herself instead of being the blessing to all nations as God desired. They so often ended up acting much like the other nations, and so often because of this, God would send waring nations to over-power them and take them into captivity. Until one day, God would be so moved by his love for them he would deliver them once again. This repeated itself over and over and war and violence was what seemed to define Israel. It still does today. War actually defines us all. Try to tell America's history and see if this isn't true. Like it or not, we are defined and shaped by violence.

Enter Jesus, God's promised liberating king. The first true human that refused to consider human independence something to grasp. Jesus relies on his father for everything. Jesus overcomes Satan's tempting of him to take up power. Jesus says a few different times that he does nothing but that which he sees his father doing. Scripture says Jesus was the exact representation of the father. He actually was God incarnate. The God from the period before Jesus, was walking with his people. Where is the violence and power over that had been present up to that point?

Maybe God was up to making some changes? Jesus seemed to speak that way. He actually seems to have addressed this. How many times did Jesus say; And it has been said....but I say.... or he also said it this way; Again, you have heard that the ancients were told......but I say to you......

Over and over, Jesus the exact representation of the father, seems to change it from having been one way to a new way. He doesn't just say it though, he lives it all the way to the cross. Never taking up the world's way of power over and force but as the humble, meek, gentle loving servant. God....the Almighty, all powerful, walks the earth suffering at the hands of human meanness in all it's forms. Absorbing it all, refusing to overcome it with violence. Is there a message in that for us to ponder?

Why do we who say Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, ignore these instructions?

Matthew 5:38-48 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205:38-48;&version=49;

Matthew 20:25-28 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2020:25-28;&version=49;

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

ANOTHER ADDITION TO THESE THOUGHTS ON POWER

Another thanks goes out to Rob for bringing this to my attention. Here is a link to a blog that speaks very clearly of these things. It's just another brother feeling his savior stirring some of the same things in him.

http://gregboyd.blogspot.com/2007/05/conflicted-memorial-day.html

A PARABLE ABOUT GOD'S POWER

Wow, having never done it before, this is the second link to my friend Rob's blog in a week. I think this fits nicely with my post about what power do we trust. Check it out.

http://robswrestlings.blogspot.com/2007/05/return-and-recovery.html

Monday, May 28, 2007

WHAT POWER DO WE TRUST?

The written scriptures the Church proclaims to be so important, is full of references to power. It just seems the organization we call Church today has picked up the wrong power and have tried to convince ourselves it is the right power?

The world only knows one power and it is force. It shows itself in many different forms but it is always about control. It is administered through many different means of manipulation. Civil societies keep order this way. Corporations use it to attain success in the economic sector. Political parties employ it in hopes of having the power of government in their hands. Most organizations that have an agenda they seek, use some form of this worldly power.

The question for the Church seems to me to be; is it an organization of this world we desire?

Jesus said it was something different. He actually said it wasn't of this world. He used very precise language when saying this. If his kingdom was of this world, his followers would fight. We know he could have done it. He could have over-powered the Romans, but he chose not to.

Don't let the word fight get in the way though....this is about the use of any power-over tactic, any form of control...manipulation....coercion.....or force.

I think the argument about Jesus laying his life down without a fight being due to the fact that it was his calling and that it was unique to him, is old and tired and doesn't line up with scripture. The redemptive act of the cross was for Christ( God's liberating King) to accomplish. But the call to his kingdom and what that kingdom looks like is vitally important for those who would follow.

Jesus is the foundation. He is the only one. The cross and resurrection is the one event that changed everything. If it is the beginning of new creation, the starting point for each one of us, skipping over any of what the cross means leaves us somewhere other than on the road following him.

Paul speaks of the foolishness and the weakness of the cross being the power of God. What does that mean to us? Is that the message we have been given as heralds of the good news? Is that the message we proclaim and demonstrate? Speaking of it is not enough. We are called to live as if we actually believe what we are speaking.

Can we at one moment speak of the foolishness of the cross, then at the same moment live trusting in the power of the world and using it's means, and still be following Jesus?

THE GOSPEL? OR SOMETHING ELSE?

My friend Rob has put a post today that raises this question. I encourage you to check it out.

http://robswrestlings.blogspot.com/2007/05/domesticated-gospel.html

Sunday, May 27, 2007

GOD

"....no matter what God's power may be, the first aspect of God is never that of absolute Master, the Almighty. It is that of the God who puts himself on our human level and limits himself." Jacques Ellul


this seems to me to demonstrate this point well.

This is from Penal Substitution vs Christus Victor:

"Even if we are hostile to God, reacting destructively towards life, violently reacting to the authority images we struggle with - God's response as revealed in Jesus is not to crush us as we might expect, but to break the cycle of estrangement and rivalry with the transforming power of love.

We see on the cross, in Richard Rohr's terms, "the naked God". , God is made small, stripped naked, arms stretched out, so that our false image of a threatening judgmental God is taken away and God's heart of love for us is revealed. The threat is removed; we have nothing to fight against. God surrenders first so we can give up the fight too and come home. The cycle of rivalry and violence is broken through the weakness of God on the cross."

TO EMBRACE

To be embraced by Father, and to embrace him in re-turn and each other.

John 13:35 (New American Standard Bible)

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

What keeps us from being able to embrace him in re-turn and each other?

Friday, May 25, 2007

CERTAIN ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE NEVER CERTAIN

What do most of us put our trust in? I mean really put our trust in? Good jobs, money, savings, retirement, life insurance, material possessions, our 401k, health, government, religion....your imagined future....... etc.?

None of these things are secure. They never have been and never will be.

The ridiculous voices have fooled most of us.

All we have is today.....tomorrow is not secure and our imagined tomorrow is not at all certain.

Can we accept that and deal with it? If we can't, we will continue to live in fear and our lives will be governed by control, power and manipulation........because deep down inside, there is something that is constantly reminding us that nothing about our imagined future is certain and secure.

BELIEF AND FAITH

"Faith presupposes doubt while belief excludes it. The opposite of doubt isn't faith, but belief. The "knights" of belief comply unfailingly with the law and the commandments. They are unbending in their convictions, intolerant of any deviation. In the articulation of belief they press rigor and absolutism to their limits. They unceasingly refine the expression of their belief and seek to give it explicit intellectual formulation in a system as coherent and complete as possible. They insist on total orthodoxy. Ways of thinking and acting are rigidly codified. This leads to a very high level of efficiency; the believer is a person who gets the job done, but all this activity is hollow at the core. Believers have so little internal reality of their own that they can live and express that reality only by and in a conventional established unit. They are the people of gatherings. Believers find encouragement and certitude in the presence of others ­ the certitude that those others really believe ­ and so community life fills up the existential void. Multiplying the number of liturgies, commitments, and activities gives believers complete satisfaction ­ in the midst of them they have no need of questioning the truth or reality of their belief; activity keeps them busy. But in this situation you can imagine how intolerable the diversity of beliefs becomes. There must be neither doubt nor uncertainty, for that would be radically destructive. So diversity cannot be tolerated. Diversity is always a source of further questions, of self-criticism, and thus of possible doubt ­ so belief is rapidly transformed into passwords, rites, and orthodoxy."

You can read more of this in the link contained in the post below.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

BELIEF AND FAITH

http://www.christinyou.net/pages/faithbelief.html

This is taken from the article by Jacques Ellul link above.



"The doubt that constitutes an integral part of faith concerns myself, not God's revelation or His love or the presence of Jesus Christ. It is doubt about the effectiveness, even the legitimacy, of what I do and the forces I obey in my church and in society. Furthermore, faith puts itself to the test. If I discern the stirrings of faith within me, the first rule is not to deceive myself, not to abandon myself to belief indiscriminately. I have to subject my beliefs to rigorous criticism. I have to listen to all denials and attacks on them, so that I can know how solid the object of my faith is. Faith will not stand for half-truths and half-certainties. It obliges me to face the fact that I am nothing, and in so doing I receive the gift of everything.



Belief relates to things, to realities, to behaviors that are raised to the status of an ultimate value that it worthy dying for. Belief transforms next-to-last human realities into ultimate, absolute, foundational realities. It turns everything that belongs to the order of the Promise, of God Word, of the Kingdom into epiphenomena, into sweet pious words, ways of making life easier, and a process of self-justification. Faith runs totally counter to this. To begin with, faith acknowledges the Ultimate in all its irrefragable truth, and so it depreciates and attaches little importance to whatever offers itself as a substitute for that Ultimate. It is not a matter of looking to some external ultimate reality; the Kingdom of heaven is (at present) in you or among you. As of now it is you who constitute it. Faith is the demand that we must incarnate the Kingdom of God now in this world and this age.



One never moves from belief to faith, whereas faith often deteriorates into belief. You can't get to faith by way of any old religion, or belief, or some vague spiritual exaltation, or aesthetic emotions. It is not "better" from a Christian viewpoint to "believe" than not to believe, to "have religion" than not to have it. There is no road from belief to faith. You can't transform a conviction of the value of rites into the act of standing alone in the presence of God. The reverse is true: every belief is an obstacle to faith. Beliefs get in the way because they satisfy the need for religion, because they lead to spiritual choices that are substitutes for faith; they prevent us from discovering, listening to, and accepting the faith revealed in Jesus Christ."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

FROM THE WONDERFUL NEW BOOK..... THE SHACK

THE DARKNESS HIDES THE TRUE SIZE OF FEARS AND LIES AND REGRETS....THE TRUTH IS THEY ARE MORE SHADOW THAN REALITY, SO THEY SEEM BIGGER IN THE DARK. WHEN THE LIGHT SHINES INTO THE PLACES THEY LIVE, YOU START TO SEE THEM FOR WHAT THEY ARE.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

LET POWER GO BEFORE CONTROL BECOMES A CRUST AROUND YOUR SOUL

Power and Control and Manipulation.

How can this not create all kinds of problems for the professing Church? I don't know, but it is the situation we find ourselves in. Anyone attempting to control through means of power and manipulation will end up caught in a trap that will twist everything they touch and everything about them personally and they won't even be aware of it.

Most people are left in that place for their entire life because most people never step back from their lives so as to honestly assess their existence. Power and control have already formed a crust around their soul.

Jesus is to be the one we are following. He refused to use these terrors. The kingdom of heaven's power looks like weakness along side the kingdom of the world's power. One leads to life and the other has no life in it at all and has no hope of ever producing life. I think we must understand that paradox is reality for those hidden with Christ in God?

It is impossible to really ever be there for anyone if we do not approach them disarmed from Power....Control....and Manipulation.

It think these were things we were to leave behind when we responded to the call to follow Jesus.

Richard Rohr in his book Hope Against Darkness has this to say about the condition we are left in if we do not disarm from the use of power, control and manipulation.

"The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: "How will this effect me?" or "How does my self-image demand that I react to this?" or "How can I get back in control of this situation?" This leads to an implosion, a self preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and the emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live "undefended" can we immediately stand with and for the other, and for the moment. It takes a lot of practice."

It takes the cross and resurrection and a willingness to lay it all down so we can be those that reflect Jesus to a world that only knows Power, Control, and Manipulation.

Friday, May 18, 2007

AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE BOOK.....HE LOVES ME

When thinking back over the past several years of my life and all the beautiful change Father has worked into me, I would have to say that this book was a foundational part of that transformation. It began to clear the stage of wrong thinking that had shaped my understanding of God and what a relationship with him could be. I encourage you to read it with great expectancy of what Father can accomplish within the relationship he has always wanted with you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

LOVE IS NEVER THE EASY THING

Walk On
U2

And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage you can bring...
And love is not the easy thing....
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong

Walk on, walk on
What you got they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on, walk on...Stay safe tonight

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

Walk on, walk on
What you've got they can't deny it
Can’t sell it, can’t buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Home… hard to know what it is if you’ve never had one
Home… I can’t say where it is but I know I'm going home
That's where the hurt is

I know it aches
How your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Leave it behind
You've got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you steal
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress up
All that you scheme…

No, it is not the easy thing. But it is the only power unto real change that leads to freedom.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A GARDEN AS DEPICTION OF LIFE AND OURSELVES

I have been out in my garden this morning enjoying the time as I clean up some messes. Weeds just never give up. I've been out here less often this year and the ability to get caught behind the curve has become very obvious. It becomes very apparent that weeds tend to have more power in this natural realm than do the plants you long to see thrive. So the need to weed on a regular basis never goes away. I wouldn't exactly call all of this fun but it is certainly necessary. Coming to understand the necessity of it makes it a daily part of life that I can find enjoyment in. It makes way for beautiful things to happen. But don't be fooled by a beautiful garden.......there is none that is ever perfect. None! Our late spring freeze has made that painfully obvious this year. We live in a hostile, harsh environment.

Compared to our lives, personal and relational, this is a perfect reflection of the what we experience. But we do have choices.

Does it seem to you that the weeds of life have more power over you than does the freedom promised us in the gospel of the kingdom of God? The dream of God for his creation. Have you ever spent any time thinking about that and why it seems we spend most of our lives in a struggle that produces; frustration, angst, anger, depression, anxiety, fear, control, manipulation and so on?

Maybe our focus is off, which then causes us to live in the unreality that this world tells us is 'The reality'? We fight and struggle to make it right and there is no right to be found there. The only place that rest from it all exists is in the heart of God, entering into the relationship we've been invited into with Father Son and Spirit. It doesn't remove or deliver us from the chaos of this world that we find ourselves, but it can transform us so that we have eyes to see again and ears to hear. What the created is in need of is reconciliation back to what the creator intended. Full dependence back to where it belongs. Jesus did nothing except that which he saw his father doing. Do we even spend much time thinking of this? I think the fact that we don't, we end up being very much a part of 'why' the weeds are growing in our lives? Our garden ends up being more of a mess than is necessary. A re-turning seems to be in order if the yoke has become difficult to carry and the burden of life is weighting us down.

But how does this happen?

I will end this with a beautiful picture from The Shack. Meditate on this for awhile.

"It was chaos in color. His eyes tried unsuccessfully to find some order in this blatant disregard for certainty. Dazzling sprays of flowers were blasted through the patches of randomly planted vegetables and herbs, vegetation the likes of which Mack had never seen. It was confusing, stunning, and incredibly beautiful."

and then this, after some important time with Sarayu. ( for those who have not read the book, Sarayu is the name given in the book for the holy spirit. It means 'like the wind'.)

"His gaze moved over the garden that surrounded them. "But it really is beautiful, and full of you, Sarayu. Even though it seems like lots of work still needs done, I feel strangely at home and comfortable here."The two looked at each other and grinned.Sarayu stepped toward him until she had invaded his personal space. "And well you should, Mackenzie, because this garden is your soul. This mess is you! Together, you and I, we have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process. To you it seems like a mess, but to me, I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing and alive---a living fractal."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

NOTHING STAYS THE SAME

I found out Yesterday that one of my closest friends and a co-worker is leaving our place of work. After the initial shock, I was surprise by how I felt. All I could think was how different it was going to be with her not working next to me. 12 years of what I would call an ever growing relationship.

She came to us as such a diamond in the rough. She leaves as a precious gem that just continues to grow in brilliance. I have told her so many times over the years that I live in awe of watching her wrestle with God and herself in such honest ways and the beautiful change that has unfolded in her life.

I did have some feelings of sadness in losing an encouraging work place friend, but there was also feelings of joy. I see this as a step of growing closer to her savior. It enables her to slow the pace down a little bit more. It removes some of the unhealthy competition that was in her way. Much of it having been created by her over active mind. But it takes some pressure off of her so she can concentrate on the things that are most important to her. I think it creates a space for God to move her even closer towards him and into more freedom.

I think my reaction to the whole things was so helped out by this reality. I'm learning to live holding everything with open hands. She is my friend but she is not mine to manipulate and control for something I might think I need. Grabbing for things that God has not given has proven to be very problematic. I think hanging on too tightly to things God has given can be as troublesome. Nothing is forever and everything is in constant motion of change. Or hopefully it is?

If I am growing and those around me are growing,(and don't we hope we are?) doesn't it just make sense that everything will continue to change?

This is where learning to live with expectancy has brought me. If I had remained in a place of living by expectations, Yesterday would certainly have been a big bummer of a day. It was something other. I am so excited to watch this friend grow in this new space she has ventured into. I have experienced the transforming power of God in uncharted waters. I sense my friend is entering into her own, just like I did last spring.

Here is something else that is cool. I read The Shack during those days last spring. It was a big part of the shaking and then re-turnings that happened in me last year and continues to this day. She is sitting down Monday to read the same book for the first time. I have a feeling she is going to be gently dismantled a bit beginning next week because just like I found myself last year at this time with my shields down........she finds herself in her own vulnerable spot.

Father, don't let her remain the same. Transform her.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

LAW OR GRACE?

It seems the religious establishment continues to want to bring the 10 Commandments out in public, thinking it would be a help for our society? It also seems to me that we who are seeking to follow Jesus, lean towards approaching life personally and relationally with those around us from that perspective also.

Isn't that what the cross was suppose to have changed? Is our focus to be the law or is it to be, Jesus the embodiment of new life? If our mind is to be set on the spirit because that is LIFE and a mind set on the flesh is DEATH, isn't focusing on the things we aren't supposed to do still a mind set on the flesh? It seems to me that is exactly what Paul described.

What are we to be certain about. Law or Life? I spent most of my life focused on the law, trying to be as nice a person as I could be as I lived, trying to defend the "law life" with certainty. I know people here in America get touchy about this stuff, I used to be one of them. Something happened in me last spring that is hard to describe with words. But the law man I was, hiding behind a false veneer of grace, love and acceptance, was exposed. It was revealed as being a life of control and manipulation. Oh, I could argue it was for good reasons, but the ends never justify the means.

Maybe what I experienced was a John Wesley warming of the heart moment, I don't know and I don't care what you call it, but something changed me. Everything looks different.

If anyone wants to live in the certainty of law, I have no reason to believe I can change that in them nor would I try. I will be a herald of the Good News and of that which Christ has accomplished in me.

Because of the work of the cross, that was done for all men through Christ, law becomes promise.

I think it changes from:

Do not cheat.... to..... you will not cheat.

Do not kill........to..... you will not kill

Don't steal.....to....... you will not steal

Do not covet.....to.... you will not covet

For the ones set free by his love, who are learning to love in return, law is no longer necessary, and it never had the power to set anyone free, nor has it. It seems to me that it is his kindness that leads to repentance, it is his love that has the power to set people free. If we want to put up a helpful message in the public square and in school hallways, put that one up. Or better yet, let us live it and show the world the way onto LIFE.

Where law abounds, sin abounds all the more. It just seems to me that maybe our focus on certainty when it comes to timeless truths grounded in rules to be followed, we end up being a big contributor to not only the power of sin in our own lives, but also in the lives of those around us.

We don't need the 10 Commandments, we need the cross, which is the embodiment of Love, Forgiveness, Grace and Mercy.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

KNOWING THINGS THAT ARE TRUE vs KNOWING THE ONE WHO IS TRUE

A little more from The Shack

"Mackenzie, religion is about having the right answers, and some of their answers are right. But I am about the process that takes you to the living water and once you get to him, he will change you from the inside. There are a lot of smart people who are able to say a lot of right things from their brain because they have been told what the right answers are, but they don't know me at all. So really, how can their answers be right even if they are right, if you understand my drift? She smiled at her pun. So even though they might be right, they still live wrong."

Monday, May 07, 2007

THE DANGER OF TOO MUCH CERTAINTY

You’d think we were blind, the things we can see through
The things we look past when emboldened inside.

Those words are taken from the song It's Alright by the band Ellery.

The idea of being so embolden by what we believe, that we can't see clearly anymore, seems to be something we need to awaken to?

This idea of proper confidence just seems to be such an important thing for us humans to come to understand. Extreme confidence, and at the other end, a lack of any confidence at all seems to be where most reside. One leads to ugly control and manipulation of others and worse. The others allow themselves to be controlled by those with extreme confidence and to continue in there destructive ways. History is littered with this.

The life hidden with Christ in God is the only way out. Religious thought stands in the way of that life. Will we allow the cross to separate the true person God has created us to be, living dependent upon him, from the false self that only knows the life of Independence separated from our only life?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

SOME MUCH NEEDED ADJUSTMENTS FOR TRUE RELATIONSHIP AND COMMUNITY

From The Shack

Speaking to the problem caused by the state humankind is stuck in. Trying to live independently from our creator.

"When you chose Independence over relationship, you became a danger to each other. Others become objects to be manipulated or managed for your own happiness. Authority, as you usually think of it, is merely the excuse the strong use to make others conform to what they want."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

HOW'S THIS FOR A DESCRIPTION OF COMMUNITY

Some more from The Shack

"Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to power is to choose to limit oneself--to serve. Humans often do this--in touching the infirm and sick, in serving the minds of the ones whose minds have left to wander, in relating to the poor, in loving the very old and the very young, or even caring for the other who has assumed a position of power over them."

THE SHACK

"There are times when you choose to believe something that would normally be considered absolutely irrational. It doesn't mean that it is actually irrational, but it surely is not rational. Perhaps there is suprarationality: reason beyond the normal definitions of fact or data-based logic; something that only makes sense if you can see a bigger picture of reality. Maybe that is where faith fits in."

I love how the author of The Shack, William P Young states this. There are many thing that can be pointed to as being big problems with not only the Church but with our culture at large. Our inability to "think differently" ranks up at the top. Unfortunately for us, I have come to believe it even goes deeper. Most, haven't really been thinking on their own for so long now, they have forgotten how. They aren't even aware of it. If we can't think or imagine it, we can't believe it. Faith is hijacked and we then are left with only one thing, Unbelief.

order this great new book at: www.theshackbook.com

Thursday, May 03, 2007

THE SUICIDE MACHINE

We run like crazy through life and then wonder why time seems to fly by? We run for all kinds of reasons. One reason is the American work ethic. I've spent much of my adult life thinking this was something to be proud of. I'm coming to think this is not anything to be proud of. It's destroying us by destroying family and community.

We keep doing it because we have been led to believe we need many things. And we have been led to believe we must keep acquiring more and bigger and better things. They are presented to us as being things that will make us happy and secure. Everyone I talk to says they know things don't make them happy and people certainly aren't feeling secure. We know this because we have more things than any society in the world but we have higher degrees of depression, anxiety and loneliness. Add to that exhaustion, hopelessness and powerlessness and it would be safe to say, We aren't having a party.

But we keep doing the same things over and over everyday even though we are aware of something being wrong. Why are we stuck repeating a way of living that is beating the hell out of us? Are we crazy or is something else going on? Maybe we are slaves to the system? Maybe it is that we are enslaved to someone that has deceived us into believing this is what living is all about?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

WHAT WILL WE DO?

I was going to spend the next few days hitting other examples of the suicide machine we all find ourselves living in, but I'm going to jump to the loss of something that I think is a major contributor to our difficulties.

COMMUNITY

If it is not completely gone it is close to being so? Completely would not be accurate but close I believe is close. We have forgotten how to be present for each other in our neighborhoods as a collective. We have glimpses of it at times through caring individuals and you can probably think of groups that are doing some things that make an attempt at it. Thank God we still have at least that. But it will not do.

We are a nation of individuals and unfortunately, increasingly uncaring individuals. We have been set up. One of the ways we have been set up is that the individual has been exploited through our economic system and the ever increasing pursuit to "grow" the economy. The individual has to be at the beckoned call of the work place so if they need them to go to the ends of the earth to fill a job or to work 5o-60-70 or 80 hour weeks. This economic system is the enemy to family, neighborhood, and tradition. Very few people can even consider putting roots down anymore. Families are spread out across the states and rarely see each other. And so, communities die. The Christian community isn't much better, because most of the time Sunday morning meetings end up being the place most people connect. That's not community.

When individualism is worshiped as a right, the rights of "the other" suffer. When this individual has no context of community, he or she forgets or even worse never learns that their actions ripple out and effect others. When in a close healthy community, it is more difficult to make decisions that would hurt those you are in relationship with. We must begin to understand that in a sense,we are a part of an interconnected community. The problem is, individualism has just made it a dysfunctional community that has become suicidal. With the loss of personal connections to those in our area, exploiting them becomes much easier. People end up feeling they are on their own, exposed to the whims of everyone else. Distrust grows and makes the dysfunction more paralyzing.

I say it is suicidal because we are all participating in many ways, in the things that are destroying the community every society needs to survive. We are a part of destroying ourselves. Will we wake up in time so as to end the madness?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

THE INSANITY OF IT ALL

I've been thinking lately about how most people approach life, personally and collectively in society. If you allow yourself to really take an honest look at it, it looks much like a suicide machine. Every move working against the last move and so on. No one really addressing root causes and only looking for ways to eliminate consequences. Look around you and see how we deal with most of what we would call societal ills and tell me if it doesn't look insane?

Let's take sex as an example. It is absolutely insane how we handle it and teach it to our children. Because of this reality, we have unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions or children being raised in environments void of love, we have countless, deadly sexually transmitted diseases, we have rape and all kinds of sexual abuses. I'm sure there are more that could be added.

But we are still a society that exploits everyone that happens to be breathing with images of consequence free, unhealthy sex. Just about every product sold today uses sexual images to promote it. "Love" is so misunderstood as attraction or even something lower than that. Pick up any of the popular magazines today and it is appalling.

Who are our children learning about these things from? Do most parents even know what love is and what a healthy view of sexuality is? The divorce rate tells us NO. Infidelity tells us NO. Does anyone really care? It doesn't look like it to me.

It looks like a suicide machine if you ask me!!!!!!!!!