Tuesday, October 29, 2013

As Far As It Depends On You, Live At Peace With Everyone

I'm concerned that when it comes to the grace of God, we are all like Jonah, no matter our camps. We become upset when God shows grace, forgiveness and mercy to those whom we consider unworthy. Or who we claim could not truly be Christians.
“You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
God to Jonah, 4: 10,11 
Deciding who is the recipient of God's grace is a heavy burden to bear on such small, fallible shoulders as our own.

I know that we have each been wounded by people on the other side of our fences. A young liberal Christian has been told she is a disappointment to God for advocating for the rights of her gay brother and sisters. A conservative Christian has been told she must not believe in God's equalizing grace if she holds to the doctrine of wifely submission. These are issues worth discussing and thinking about with grace, humility, and wisdom. We are supposed to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and by proxy, I think we also work out our precepts in much the same way: we are fallible beings dealing with immense ideas. Better to tremble a little and extend grace than stand so firmly on the idea that God doesn't think as highly of those who disagree with you.

There is neither Pope nor American Christian so firm in their opinions (liberal or conservative) nor theologian proclaiming absolute certainty for their precepts that is the gatekeeper to God's overflowing grace and all-encompassing love. The door opens to those who knock, there's no theology exam, there's no wounded Savior checking your election ballot to ensure it's correctness, there's only a God who loves us as we are. Does what we think and do matter? Certainly. And we should discuss it with grace and humility and seek wisdom.  But it is not the criterion for our acceptance, and there is no human who demarcates the lines of salvation. So drink deeply of the wild grace of God, because it's for you, as you are, not as any human thinks you ought to be.

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor,serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
-St Paul, Romans 12

Monday, October 28, 2013

Love Wants to Know You As You Are

It's not love if  you only want to know another insofar as they fall into the tidy categories of right and wrong
in your mind. 

People are multifaceted beings, in all their heresy, orthodoxy, goodness, badness.  

In their both-ness, not their either/or-ness.

If you cannot handle the enormous baggage everyone in this beautiful mess carries in their hearts like bitter wine, don't call the shallow affirmation you offer only to those who fit in your echo chamber

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Why Animals Aren't Practice for Children

If you're sitting around asking yourself, "Are we ready for kids?" and conclude, "Let's adopt a pet to find out!" you're not ready for either.

I take issue with the idea that pets are good practice for children. The similarities between parenting and animal companionship are thus: you have a being is dependent on you for sustenance, nurture, and love. But the form of meeting those needs is significantly different between the two.

I imagine nothing could really prepare you for what it's like to parent 24/7, but pet ownership isn't it. I dote on my cats, and I have a litter of kittens I'm raising from birth, but caring for them is not like caring for children. I can leave my cats alone while I go to work. So can my friends who own dogs. When I correct my cats, its for shredding the carpet. And that correction is the form of spraying water at them or making a loud noise that startles them, not having a heart to heart about obedience and responsibility (how I wish I could!). My cats will die in about 15 years and I can choose to start the cycle all over again. A baby cannot be left unsupervised for hours at a time.

Adopt an animal when you've done your research, talked to other pet owners, and spent time with the kind of animal you want. You'll have a good understanding of whether you're ready for that commitment.

Have a child when you've done your research, talked to other parents, and spent time with children. You'll gain a better understanding of whether you're ready for parenting.

Don't adopt an animal to test the waters of your responsibility.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On Egregious Misinterpretations of Isaiah 46:6 and Jeremiah 17:9

You who call goodness
unless it is cloaked in the decaying sweetness of your saccharine theology
Are not the one who judges a woman according to her deeds.

Goodness is always goodness
and you are not the judge of my intent.

There is one Judge
Who knows me in all my brokenness and giftedness
(for each is as real as the other).

And I answer for these "filthy rags" and "wicked heart" only to that Divine Flame.