"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

As long as it doesn't lead to dancing

Just before Valentines day, Drew Marshall did a Valentines themed show. One of his guests has a website where they sell Christian "toys" to enhance your relationship with your spouse - I'll let you fill in the blanks as to what that means. They tried to Christianize it by emphasizing that these were for couples to use.

Now, I don't care if people want to use these types of things, provided they aren't trying to compensate for other issues in their marriage. Other than that, if they both think it sounds like fun, then whatever - as long as it doesn't lead to dancing (as the old joke goes). If there are issues, then they are better off addressing those first, before they try to put a bandaid on their problems. One of Drew's other guests that day (a Canadian) has an excellent website to address those issues.

This may be the most bizarre of the Christian businesses out there, but it is certainly not alone. There are Christian Realtors, Christian Insurance, Christian Used Car sales (is that even possible?), and a host of others. I must admit that I have a problem with these businesses, as well as people who put fish on their cars, or bumper stickers that say things like; "God is my co-pilot".

The problem is; if you are going to advertise you are a Christian business, you are implying that you have higher standards; and if you're going to tell people that you have higher standards, you better live and operate your business exactly as advertised - and too few do. In my opinion you are far better off actually operating with the higher standards - not telling people that you are so wonderful - and just letting them find out, as Jesus implied in the Sermon on the Mount when he said; "let your yes be yes and your no be no".

The reason is not as obvious as you might think. Some people will think you're just trying to protect yourself if you screw up - trying to save face - but you aren't protecting yourself, you're protecting God.

In 2nd Samuel 12 David has sinned by sleeping with Bathsheba (and a host of other misdeeds), and God punishes David by taking his son - why?

"...because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die." (NASV)

God cares what people think about him. God cares about how you and I portray him to the world. God cares because you and I are God's light into the world - we are reflecting him. We're supposed to be showing the rest of the world what it means to live in his Kingdom. What it means to call Jesus "Lord". The only way that some people will see God is through you and I, and if they don't see something they want to be a part of, they will reject the Kingdom, and they will reject God, and the Kingdom will not have been advanced the way it should have. As CS Lewis said: we are to be little Christs.

So, if we're selling products, or putting a fish on our car, we had better think twice about what kind of standard we're willing to hold ourself to.

And, since we're talking about dancing, didn't David, "a man after God's own heart" dance naked in the street. How does that fit in with the church's prohibition against dancing? It's a good thing smarter people than me are making the decisions for me.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Meister Eckhart on Suffering

For those that don't know, Meister Eckhart was a 13th century German mystic. In the process of reading one of his books I came across this section on suffering which I found profound. I have cobbled together a few of these thoughts.

"Supposing someone has for many years had honour and well-being and that now, by God's design, he loses it. Then a man should take wise thought and thank God. When he realizes the present harm and misfortune, he will appreciate how much advantage and security he had before, and he shall thank God for the well-being he enjoyed for so many years without appreciating how well off he was, and he should not be angry.... ....Since all that is good or consoling or temporal is given to man as a  loan, what has he to complain of when he, who has lent it, will take it back? He ought to thank God that he has lent it to him for so long...

...If, then, you would like to be God's son and yet not suffer, you are very wrong. It is written in the Book of Wisdom that God examines and searches who is just in the same way as gold is proved and burned in the furnace. It is a sign that the King or Prince trusts the Knight well if he sends him into combat. I have seen a Lord who sometimes, when he had accepted someone among his followers, sent him out into the night and then attacked him himself and fought with him. And once it happened that he was nearly killed by someone whom he meant to try in this way, and he liked this man much better than before...

....Silver and gold are indeed pure; yet, if they are to be made into a cup from which the King should drink, they would be burned very much more than otherwise."

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Predestination and Old Souls

Predestination: the idea that some people are somehow chosen to be children of God while others aren't, has been debated and argued for centuries. What if this is yet another example of something the church has profoundly misunderstood? What if people on both sides of the argument have missed the point completely?

The other night there were several people at our house. I was in the kitchen doing something and the rest were in the living room just chatting when suddenly everyone burst out in laughter. This is not an unusual
thing with this particular group, but when I came in, my wife explained to me that one of our members - who is more concerned with social justice than the rest of us - shared the fact that when she was younger, she thought that she wanted to marry a black guy to show that there was nothing wrong with that sort of thing. In and of itself there is nothing funny about this, but the reason it was so funny to everyone else is because it is totally in keeping with her personality, and that even at a very young age it was evident.

I didn't really think much about this until a couple of days later when I was trying to work through some other perplexing scenarios in the bible, and my mind wandered to predestination. Somehow my mind tied

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Complicity of the Church

You have probably heard it said that Satan's greatest trick is convincing people that he doesn't exist. But I wonder if he hasn't pulled an even faster one. One that actually gets some people into heaven, while keeping the majority out. One that has permeated the entire Church, and is so ingrained into Christianity, that very few people would even think of questioning it. Think about it: At least some people will question the existence of Satan, but very, very few Christians will question what actually drove them into heaven.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The wheels are in the box - or - Do as I say, not as I do

Did you ever have one of those moments where you think to yourself; "What was I thinking?" I usually have little moments like that, but the other day I had a bigger one.

It was pre-Christmas, and I was wandering through Costco looking for something specific (as if that justifies it). It was packed with shoppers and getting worse by the minute. Actually, to say wandering is a bit misleading, it was more like a speed walking at the olympics.

At one point I went past the section where they have all the bulky items that they don't really sell a lot of; things like mixers, filing cabinets - you know what I mean. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a smallish woman coming out of that section, struggling with a fairly large box.

She doesn't have a cart.

I assume she is heading towards the checkouts - I'm not. I remember thinking to myself; "Why doesn't she get a cart?" So I shrug my shoulders, and continue my search.

I get to the area that I think my item is going to be, but it's not. Growing more frustrated, it occurs to me that there is an area close to the checkouts where it might be, so I head that direction.

On my way to the checkouts I come across the same woman and she is obviously still struggling. We are now side by side. I look at her. She looks at me. We smile. I see that what she is struggling with is a set of luggage in a box. Then I say to her; "You know they have wheels?" She politely laughs and says; "Yes, but they're in the box".

We part company.

I find what I am looking for eventually, and leave Costco. It's not until I'm half way home that I realize what an idiot I am. I spout all this nonsense on this blog, and to anyone who will listen, that we need to reflect the image of Christ. That we are in this world to make a difference. Blah, blah, blah. But when I have an opportunity to live that - and do one small act of kindness - not only do I not do it, but I mock the person instead! I could have easily helped her; I didn't even have to go out of my way!

Ok, so, read previous post. God doesn't care about who I was, only who I am. I think I'll get into the lotus position and chant that mantra for a couple of hours. Maybe it'll make a difference.

How about you? Ever had one of those brain farts where you actions just don't fit your beliefs?