Saturday, December 27, 2008

Decorating with Sleds-Please don't do it.

I have to stop what I normamlly talk about to talk about a problem I'm seeing everywhere.

I don't think too many people decorated with sleds when I was a kid. The main reason was, if a misguided person tried to decorate with an honest-to-goodness winter vehicle of fun, at the first sign of snow, that thing would be a gonner!

This year, I've counted at least 12 decorative sleds. Actually, I've lost count. What I mean is these are REAL sleds adored and propped up on porches for decorative purposes only. People! THIS IS WRONG. I have half a mind to save these poor sleds myself and give them a proper life on snow. I want to wax up their blades with a little candle, like I did when I was a kid, and jump on their backs and whip down a good hill.

You see, these sleds are in no danger of being stolen for purposes of fun. Kids play guitar hero now and get very fat. They text message each other, and stay on Facebook. They don't care about cruising down a fast slope on a blade sled that's just standing out on any number of porches in the neighborhood, looking like it's gift wrapped just for me, I mean them. They probably would have NO SKILLS AT ALL! They would let the pull string go under the blades and grind to a halt, fly off sideways, or wouldn't even know how to steer one very well, and smash into a tree or something. It'd be nothing like a WWii game, so how would they know what they were doing? Well? Well?

What is happening to blades sleds should be stopped. They aren't merely a winter decor option!
Find something else to put a bow on that seems wintery. Try a fake snowman or something.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Reason for the Season - which one?

There are lots of reasons for the season. Right?

Some will tell you it's to get us out of the terrible economy. We almost have a responsibility to SPEND. How else can we put people to work, and help companies, than to buy the goods and services that keep people in the jobs they have? Don't we HAVE TO be consumers at this point?

Some people will tell you the reason for the season is THE CROSS. My mom sent along a song in four part harmony that coaxed us to remember it was not the presents under the tree, but the cross, that was the reason for the season. Jesus' death, not his birth is the reason for the season.

Some will tell you, it's not religious, that's all hype. Jesus was really born in April, and this is all a bunch of pretense. We pretend he was born in December, but it's all just another load of hooey.

Some will tell you the reason for the season is Santa, or the Festival of Lights, or the Winter Solstice, or Kwanzaa, or being with those you love, or you own personal reason.

I think it's just simple. God became flesh. The Incarnation. Yes other things happened, and they were important, but without the miracle of the Incarnation, the glory of this fact, and the grace of it, we don't have as much, in a sense, because so much is left out.

You can weigh in . . . maybe your reasons are different.

Maybe you like Frosty the Snowman, or listening to the Chipmunks this time of year.
Have you found the Reason, reason enough?

Saturday, December 20, 2008


We’ve all heard of Prayer Warriors, right?

They are people of prayer. They go to God in times of need. They make intercession for others. They’ve seen prayers answered time and again, and we take our needs to them when we have them. It’s almost like we feel they have a better, or more direct, line to the Almighty. Maybe they’ve gotten some brownie points for putting in major time with God. (if he was that type of God, but he isn't) For some reason, these types are warriors of prayer, and everyone knows it. Maybe you fit in this category? Maybe you know someone who does?

You may have heard of prayer warriors, but have you ever heard of prayer ninjas?

What about prayer aces?
What about prayer paratroopers, or prayer foot soldiers?
Oh, they’re real. They are very real.

A Prayer Ninja is, of course, impossible to spot at first. You’ll be having a conversation with a normal seeming person, and suddenly they will say, ‘Let’s pray about that, right now!” And you will think, “Right here, in the check out line?” And twelve minutes later they will finish their prayer, but you will have only been thinking about how caught off guard you were by their prayer ninja skills.

A Prayer Ace is the type admired by all. One doesn’t want to follow a Prayer Ace at Prayer Meeting on Wednesday nights. Somehow they always have the right things to say, and can use fairly flowery language. Their only weaknesses are going too long, or throwing in a “thee” or “thou” to sound religious. Everyone knows God can’t stand Elizabethan language in Bibles or prayers these days.

A Prayer Paratrooper is the type to add noises, words, and comments while others are praying. They say things like, “Thank you, Jesus,” or “Yes, Lord.” Sometimes they mummer, sigh, or make other affirming sounds, or audible signs to show they are involved or profoundly moved by what is happening.

A Prayer Foot Soldier will always be willing to take a personal hit for the team. Often at their own social peril, for lack of gifting or preparation, they will sort of bungle their way through a prayer when asked to do it on the spot. Often they pray rather quietly because this sort of thing has happened before. Nevertheless, they will do it time and again because they are good people.

You might be one of these people, and that’s okay.

It’s good to remember that when it comes to prayer it’s not up to you or me. Prayer is not voodoo. It’s not magical. Prayer, in itself, is not even what changes situations. It’s the God we pray to that makes the difference in our lives. It is God that helps us live with what ever the situation turns out to be.

I’m writing a book on prayer right now, so stay tuned for many more ideas, (including ones like these that aren't going to be super serious) about prayer.

Now it's your turn:
Which prayer person would you admit to being sometimes?
Can you think of other types? (be creative)

What prayer have you seen answered recently?

Friday, December 19, 2008

"The World is God's book"

I am putting my Outsourcing Jesus book on the back burner to simmer for the moment, and fast-tracking a shorter but more paradigm shifting book, to the fore.

Using the life of Brother Lawrence as a motif, I want to show how life can be "changed into prayer."

I'm in the process of building some networks to help me with the material, garnish support, and endorse this project.

If you are interested in the subject of prayer, growing closer to God, or like Brother Lawrence, "practicing the presence of God" (being aware that he is with you all the time and communing with him continually) please be in touch.

Then, you can be in the loop for sneak peeks, specials, and updates. We can also dialogue together. That makes it all more interesting for everyone.

Lawrence had a beautiful way to see the world, blending the sacred into the secular. He saw God and his glory just about everywhere, and the joy and love of God overflowed in his life, lowly as it was.

He was famous for saying that the world is "God’s book” that may teach us many things, if we have the eyes to see it. (42 Practicing the Presence of God, Lawrence)

I can't wait to share more with you!

What about you?
What have been your thoughts about "praying continually"?
How has it worked or not worked for you?

Stayed tuned for more on prayer, and seeing life from a different vantage point.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Crimes for which we cannot pay (all of them)

(this was pilfered from a facbook entry of mine and edited a little...)

Taking a person's life is a crime for which one can never repay or compensate. Imagine! I think that is why only God can atonement for that, and why the OT atonement sacrifices didn't cover those. Temple infractions (ceremonial/ritual), court issues, and national sins are lumped up and confused sometimes by most people who don't study the bible. That's what sacrifices were for, never for individual sins.

Eye for eye stuff, was a court issue and dealt in money (an eye's worth, of course) It was to curb revenge as well. Crimes against others (which are against God) It seems they cannot be repaid once something is taken.

This is why Love trumps karma (there is a book with this title) --karma meaning cause & effect, as we know and experience it/ or sow & reap, some call it. Forgiveness, or grace can cancel debt. That is what is at stake- or true, I believe, when it comes to us and God. The eternal Mind, the Source of Good, and Justice and Truth, is not compatible with us (bridged to) until something is reconciled.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Being very simple

It seems to me that if you keep things very basic you stand a much better chance at survival.

The plans of expansion, or conquering some domain, a big organizational process, and so forth all fall to realize the simple relationships that hold these sorts of things together.

In the end, it is people that make up and carry out the complicated ideas in ministry, or anything else, so the simpler the better. The break can often be chalked up to people not getting along. It's just a simple thing, though they are caught in a complex web of structures. We get lavish ideas sometimes thinking that the more sophisticated they are, or even the more efficient, the more our problems will be eased. The systems are not, in fact, the true problems, it mostly boils down to people getting along well, or not getting along well. No matter which template you plop into place, when things go wrong, or not the best mainly you have people you do not know how to behave well, and love well, and do well together.

I would wish for a tiny budget and simplicity over a big budget, big plans, and complicated systems that overlook the nature of the basics, and the nature of people, any day.

That is why less is more.