Thursday, March 22, 2012

I MAY Be Better Than You...NOT!

The hardest part of the Christian walk for me is judgement.  From all angles.  I see people doing things that I deem 'un-Christian' and I judge a little.  Maybe I feel a bit superior in the moment...that tiny lapse of time before I do something as bad or worse.  I don't really think alot about how many times this happens until my kids do it.  My older daughters and I had a long debate the other day about how no one has the right to judge someone else a slut or any other derogatory name even if, by definition they actually are a slut.  (I didn't like Rush saying it either...but I have forgiven him.)  We just don't get to label the people God has populated this earth with.  BUT, that won't stop us.  We will think that people are sluts, idiots, druggies, alcoholics, fat, ugly, bitchy, disgusting, bad parents etc. until the day we die.  Of course, that is not what Jesus would do.  He would love everyone with God's Love.  I have a hard time doing that sometimes.  I don't believe other Christians have this mastered either but I am not sure they admit the failure.  (I ought to know, a good many of them are quite unlovable towards me.)  They should though, Christ was perfect, we are not.

I think loving others is my biggest struggle.  Not everyone, some people are very easy to love and I like to think I am pretty easy going-I do make friends pretty easily and usually keep those friends.  I can usually go with the flow and accept other people wherever they are wherever I am.  I struggle most with people who are intolerant...but not in the usual ways.  I believe in standing against sin in my life and the lives of those I love and am in close relationship with.  The people that I have close enough relationship with to offer insight or constructive criticism to...if invited or compelled by behavior to do so. The people I live 'in community' with have a responsibility to help me grow in Christ and I have the same responsibility toward them.  That is all.  As far as everyone else goes, well I don't think I know them well enough to be involved in their sins or struggles and I certainly don't have a right to sit in judgement of them. In fact, I have to LOVE them. Because Christ died for them and I need to be open to sharing that with them if they are not a Christian and rejoicing with them if they are. I don't have to listen to them, hang with them and can certainly boycott them if they sell some sort of product...but I don't get to judge them as 'not a Christian'.  If they say they are, they are.  That is the intolerance that gets under my skin.  The kind that comes with a verdict about their relationship with Christ.

Let's use the giant Rush Limbaugh example.  I like him, I believe he is a shock jock just like Howard Stern.  He wants to ruffle feathers and he is a maestro at it, in my humble opinion.  Is this an acceptable behavior for a Christian?  He is a professed Christian and so I have to say, yes.  He says he is and I don't get to dispute that.  Does he always act like one?  Well, no, does anyone ALWAYS act like one?  If he says he is a Christian, do I dare say the blood of Christ cannot cover his sin?  I think not.  Do I find his behavior offensive at times?  Yes.  Do I find my behavior offensive at times? Yes. 

Now a liberal example, Obama.  I don't like him.  Not one bit.  He is destroying our country and likes doing it.  He also says he is a Christian.  That means no matter how much I disagree with him, and I do so very much, I accept this.  AND I am called to LOVE HIM with the love of the Lord as my brother in Christ.  My skin crawled a little.  Almost as much as Hula Girl's does when she thinks about loving Rush Limbaugh with the love of the Lord.  But she knows the power of the blood and I know she does love him as a brother in Christ while at the same time speaking out in healthy vigorous disagreement with his actions the same way I will with Obama. AND, I love her for speaking her mind. long as we don't hate or judge each other un-Christian, it's all good.  In the big picture, it is all so small...but here on earth, it doesn't feel small and we SHOULD speak our mind and follow up with voting our beliefs

WWJD, I don't think He was agianst disagreeing with someone as long as there was still brotherly love.  I don't think he would have an opinion in politics, but that doesn't mean I can't have a say in how my government or anything else I am involved in is operated.  He certainly never spoke out against involvement in one's governing.  I do not believe He would be a liberal democrat as some might have me think. I also don't think he would be a conservative republican.  God was involved in governments, wars and often ordered not just wars, but complete annihilation.  I don't think He would endorse hand-outs or governmental dependence. You can't take the themes of Christianity and apply them to government.  Government should be neutral-like money.  Checks and balances.  Accountability and public discourse.  Our lives are eternal and should be treated as such...but we do get a say and a vote in how our government is run and I believe that while citizenship on this earth is eternally worthless, I am not willing to 'check-out' of being involved.  I will speak up and out about the direction I want our country to go in.  I will also respect your right to do the same, even if you disagree.

Sorry, I digressed a bit, shocking isn't it?

So the intolerance I don't know what to do with is the alarming majority of Christians that seem to feel like they can TSK TSK the behavior of others and question the power of the blood to cover the sins.  Sure, we are to repent and turn away from sin.  But for some of us, that is a process that takes a life long cycle of lather, rinse and repeat.  I guess I am thankful I get to be an example of what it means to be a broken, flawed, sinful, struggling CHRISTian.  That way when you see me doing something good and selfless, you will KNOW the power of the blood and KNOW it is the power of Christ within me, not me. 

You can also know that I will probably judge you at some point...and then I will mock myself seconds later for noticing the speck in your eye while still trying to remove the tree from my own.  Then, I will remember that YOU are who God says you are, and I am who God says I am and I will remember I am called to love you...but sometimes it takes me a while for all of that to process.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tid Bits

  • My great nephew is having his 3rd birthday party tomorrow.  I cannot wait, he is adorable.  He also has a baby sister that is mighty sweet.  My kids asked me if I felt old because I am a great-aunt.  I said no, I did not feel old when I was six and Jason was born making me an aunt and I think 37 was pretty young to be a great aunt as well.
  • Spend the day chillin' and relaxin' with the family at LBL today.  It was cool.  We stopped at some shops in Grand Rivers on our way in-So Cool (It really is!) and an antique store we like there.  Then we stopped at some shops in Cadiz on our way out.  This was to appease the child in our family that does not enjoy the out-of-doors at all. 
  • Erik is the only one of us to catch a fish today.  Updated our fishing licenses and caught one fish between us.  Yup, that is about how it goes.  It was a cute little sun fish.  I picked out a spoon lure at the bait shop and promptly snagged it on a rock and lost it forever.  That was money I could have just pitched in the lake.  ONE cast and gone, I guess it was money I pitched into the lake.
  • Lilly, Erik and I are all sporting lovely sunburns.  Kayla, who stretched out and napped on a rock in full sun, is not burned at all.  Erika did all the same stuff as we burn.  I used to be like that too until I avoided the sun for 15 years.  Now I burn going to get the mail.  I truly thought it was a bit early for sunburns and did not worry with sunscreen.
  • We found a total of TEN four leaf clovers today.  I really enjoy hunting them.  I have never looked in a patch of clover and not found one.  Today everyone but Erik found at least one.  Erik said he has never found one in his whole life.  Made me real sad...but then again, he caught our only fish today.
  • I don't know why my kids were off on Thursday and Friday this week, but I am so happy about it.  Tomorrow we will have our third Saturday in a least that is how it feels.  Me likey.
I guess I am off to bed now, very tired.  Aloe after sun gel is applied and all is right in the world.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Growing Up

I recently hit the big one...40.  I don't feel any different but yet at the same time I keep telling myself if I am ever to be a grown-up, the time is now. LOL.  I think I thought being a grown-up would feel differently.  It doesn't.  No matter my age, I still feel mostly like a 13 year old fooling everyone...sneaking to sit at the 'big' table at Thanksgiving and somehow getting to stay. 

I have reached an interesting place in my life though; as we are surrounded by death and dying in our families and church we watch the 'oldest' generation get smaller and we become the older generation and watch the olders become the oldest.  It is a bit unnerving.  And yet, at the same time, I really don't feel any different.  I am still me.  It makes me wonder what being 80 will feel like.  My aunt Dola used to tell me she felt the same as she did when she was 20, she just kept wondering who that old woman was in the mirror.  Then she would laugh and study my hands and say they were so young and hers looked so old.  That image is forever emblazened on my brain...I thought her hands were beautiful, especially juxtapositioned next to mine.  I wish I had a picture to match the one in my I could show it to everyone.  Aging is beautiful.  Life is beautiful.  A privilege, in fact.

I have a good friend that always used to say he wanted to die young.  He thought the aging process was ugly and humiliating.  To that I say, it can be.  I know old people who are cranky and miserable and can suck the joy out of a room with a word.  I dare to say, they have always been that and age just makes it sharper, uglier, naked and exposed.  I also know other old people who are such beautiful encouragers and it makes me think, YES! That is what I want to be.  I want to make sure I am still fun and funny.  I want to make sure the youth of the world know God is good...even when you are elderly.  I don't desire pity, I don't want to have to use guilt as a weapon...although I won't mind it as a slight motivational tool.  I want to have invested my time well enough that I am worth a break from routine for a visit. 

So, I officially announce that I shall embrace getting older until the day comes that I don't.  Then I will embrace my Lord.  Hope you aged gracefully this weekend.