Archive for the ‘Faith and Stuff’ Category

I have had some people, especially family, ask why what’s going on with the current presidency matters so much to me. They say their 401k is doing great and that’s what matters. Besides, they say, what’s going on with the border, what’s happening with race relations, what’s happening with trade – none of anything that’s going on for people that are different than me makes a difference in my life, so why does it matter?

Here’s why:

I am a follower of Christ. I believe that what Christ says about how we are to treat the poor, the refugee the stranger and otherwise disenfranchised is gospel truth. Christ commands us to do this. Therefore, it matters to me. I believe it should matter to all those who profess to be a Christian. It deeply troubles and confuses me when fellow Christians view the status of their 401k to be more important than how others are being treated.

The things the current president says also deeply trouble me. The things he says are vile, racist, sexist and bigoted. Some may say that he’s just calling it like it is and they like it. But it is so wrong. It is not something a Christ follower should say or condone. Again, it deeply troubles and confuses me when fellow Christians view the status of their 401k to be more important than what our president says.

Another thing that deeply troubles me is that our president is in denial about what is happening to our climate. There are more floods, fires and other extreme weather events than ever before. The Amazon rain forest is burning down. The icebergs are melting. Coastlines are being swallowed up by rising ocean levels. This is real. Call it climate change or whatever you want but it is happening. Protections for wildlife are also being stripped away. God called Christians to care for creation. It deeply troubles and confuses me when fellow Christians view the status of their 401k to be more important than fulfilling a duty that God gave us in the first few chapters of the Bible.

The only Christians who support our president right now with whom I can find common ground are those who are anti-abortion. They believe lives are truly at stake. I have come to find some respect for that position because I too believe lives are at stake. People are actually dying because of our president’s words and actions. The dignity and respect we should have for all people as Christians has apparently become optional for so many followers of Christ and I just can’t wrap my head around how this happened.

All of this matters to me. It does affect me personally because the marginalized are so close to my heart. They are who I serve everyday as a social worker. These people matter more to me than my 401k. As a social worker, I am ethically, and in some ways legally, bound to have my priorities aligned in this manner. As a Christ follower, I am biblically commanded to have my priorities aligned this way.

And it truly scares me when I see the opposite as true to other Christians.

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What I’ve discovered is that shalom arrives when I stop searching.  I spend time striving, struggling, even surrendering what I value most in search of solace, sanctuary and…

I started writing this post July 8, 2010. That’s as far as I got and I’m not sure why I stopped.  I wonder what else I had to say.  I wonder if I thought I’d arrived at answer of some sort or was still mulling through the questions.  Apparently I was really into alliteration that day.

I must have honestly thought I’d found shalom or shalom found me or something.  I don’t know if I stopped searching because I was fatigued or bored or had given up.   And what expression of shalom had I encountered?  Was I experiencing harmony between myself and God? Did I wake up on July 8, 2010 with a new-found sense of overall wholeness and peace?  Was there some sort of metaphorical hello and goodbye going on in my life?

According to Facebook, Scott Burnham had just introduced me to calorie free whipped peanut spread.  That was funny as hell but I don’t think it had a whole lot to do with shalom.  My nephew Conlin was born shortly before that.  Could be that his birth allowed some sort of peace to cover over my family for a time.  The most exciting news in the country at the time was LeBron James’ hour-long televised announcement that he was signing with the Miami Heat.  That definitely would not have been shalom provoking.

I do know that I’d like to find that shalom I apparently had once discovered.  I’m honestly not searching too hard for it unless doing paperwork for my job, watching Orange is the New Black or playing Candy Crush counts.  But I would like to find it.

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The web of a spider possesses a mysterious intricacy.  Did the tiny creature precisely plan each interwoven angle, or did the web’s delicate features appear as passively as those which parents pass on to their newly born child?

Have you ever stumbled head on into a spider’s web?  Maybe on a hiking trail or in the corner of a not so recently cleaned attic.  Sometimes we notice the web and stare briefly in wonderment, but my experience has been that more often than not, I stumble into spider webs accidentally.  My arms flail and I shudder violently as if I’d been demonically possessed.  And if the spider is nearby, I kill it.  I assign no significance to the masterpiece or its creator.


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Joshua 3:5

Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.

What if I really believed that?  I mean daily, really believed that God was going to do something great in and through me…and I believed it adamantly enough to be different, to try to make myself holy, to set myself apart from the status quo.   Who would I be?  How would I live?

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