30 September 2009

My dear friend...


I wanted to blog the response to your email, not to expose you but to answer a question I get asked quite often.

I don't think that it is your faith that is falling apart but that it is not made of the kind of substance that can hold much weight. Let me explain...

In sunday school, the institution gave very easy answers to very complex issues. It is easier to teach that "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so..." with a simple to tune, than to debate the kind of semantic arguments that you present today.

Your mind is not satisfied with Jesus loves you because the story tells you that he does. You are trying to figure out all of the other stuff that, are trivial compared to his love. You test this love, just like you did with your parents. Did you ask your mom why she loved you in her imperfection? Did you ever see her or your father's wrath. Did the love dissolve because you were being punished for your stubbornness. Love wants more than mediocrity.

The questions you are asking are not the ones you should be asking. Those are puny questions and have been asked around college dorms and pubs for centuries.

Go big. Ask:
why do men keep women subjective?
why do men believe it is alright to own another human being?
why do we continually slaughter those who are weaker than they are?
why do we pollute the very air and water that we need to keep us alive?
why do we not care if people are dying to get to this country to earn a minimum wage so that their family can live a little bit better?
why do we allow such hatred against a group of people because of their skin color or country of origin?

why do those who confess to believe in God not care about those whom God loves?

What difference does it make if it is allegory or history, we don't want to believe it to be true or that the reality of love can make a difference in this world of pain and suffering. We want to be the controllers, the conquerors, the predator, the one in power. We find humility an act of weakness. We set our eyes on useless people and give them honor, emulation, and envy because their bone structure is pleasing to the eye or arouses our lusts. Why do I even know Paris Hilton's name?

Is the devil real or does it have influence over us? That is not the question. The question is do I want to be more than just reacting to my hormones, sugar levels, lusts, thought impulses, etc.? Do I want to develop the spiritual life that transform the mechanics of my self. Or do I want to put the blame on someone or something else. I believe evil is real, but I don't want to give it any part of my life or thoughts.

The question is: Do I take communion and believe it to be a symbol of a symbol of a symbol of being the body, mind and heart of Christ or am I consuming, participating in, digesting, and then behaving in the same way that we know Jesus to be acting in this world of suffering and deep pain?

Your questions can not be answered in you mind, it has to be answered by the way you live.


06 September 2009

Labor Day...

I know I have said this before but I don't take Labor Day to be a day to rest but to remember (isn't that suppose to be done on Memorial Day...) those who labor so I can live. I am thankful for those who plant, harvest, ship, and market all that I eat and drink as well as wear, buy, etc.

I work at 5000 ft. elevation, in the most beautiful site on earth where people are willing to come and reflect on the life and love, death and resurrection of Jesus. But there is a whisper beginning to be audible, can't make out the words but the heart is towards those who labor. No plans, no call, just a change of heart.

It is not a passion, it is more of a turning of the head to notice, to begin to understand, to... I don't know what. But my head has turned.

My father was a businessman. Bought an ailing printing business and turned it into a financially stable concern. He treated the people who labored for him with dignity and respect. When times got hard, he paid them before himself and we would eat rice and beans and a little hamburger during that time. My mom made it into a feast. He would tell my mom what was going on in these people's lives over dinner. Births, sickness, immigration, new homes, educational achievements, etc. I would hear more about their lives than I would about my cousins, aunts and uncles. It was never gossip, complaints, or bitterness.

He didn't have much turnover while he owned it. Most who left started their own business, a few became his competition, but most became his subcontractors. Instead of hiring people to replace them, he would job out that particular printing process to them. Never an enemy, always a partner. Respect. Integrity.

My dad was an artist, he painted on Sundays. While we were at church, he was in his studio painting. He worked Monday through Friday, and on Saturday mornings. It was his passion. Business was what he did so that we could live and he could paint, sculpture, make cut glass windows, etc. He never despised his work, he understood work, he also understood art. His life was a ballet of sorts. The libretto, music, and choreography working together to produce an event, a family, a life.

We lived near vineyards, orchards, packing houses, and subdivisions. I went to school with farmer's kids, migrant worker's kids, line worker's kid, airline pilot's kids, and business owner's kids. All with ballets going on in their own homes. It was a good place to be raised.

As the scripture tell us, "Train up a child, in the way they should go and when they are old they won't depart from it." Maybe the whisper that I am hearing is a return to the way that I was trained up...