Stumbling Through Life

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Please, God – Don’t strike me with lightning! I’m just trying to figure this world out. Sometimes I think and say things that are stupid. But sometimes, too, You tell me things that are so meaningful that I simply have to write them down. This blog is nothing more than a diary of some of these thoughts.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


(Your name) 19XX - 20??.
What are you going to do with your dash? (John Ortberg)

(from "Life's Too Short... to Play it Safe, To Work all the Time, to Hold Grudges.")

Friday, December 18, 2009

It’s a Relationship, not a Religion

I like this concept. In fact, I try to base my life on it. So when I joined an online Christian group with this name, I was surprised to find people squabbling over the finer points of the religion; pre-tribulation vs. post tribulation, Creationism vs. evolution, does the bread really turn into Jesus’ body, does the Bible condone slavery, etc., etc., etc. I found very little discussion over how to improve my relationships with God and people.

Why? Personally, I think people like to argue. Not just Christians, either. I’ve been in vegetarian groups and atheist groups, and found just as much arguing there.

The Bible is full of rules. Regulations, thou-shalts and thou shalt-nots. Most of them were wiped out when Jesus died on the cross. So why were they there in the first place? I think the whole Bible is a big arrow, pointing to Jesus. The Old Testament points out our need for Him, and the New Testament tells about what He’s done for us and what we should do in return.

And what is that?

When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, he named two: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

If these are the two greatest commandments, all the others must be less important, right? So; why aren't Christians seen as the most loving people in all the world???
I’ll try to follow the other rules, (those that are applicable to my life,) and I’ll try to live by these two. And, if you think about it, they’re really not so bad. Love. At the risk of sounding trite, if people were all more loving, the world would be a better place.

Love, Peace, and Harmony

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Santa God?

Okay, this is going to sound really “grinchy,” but I think Santa-worship has gotten out of hand.

I figure it started with the song, “Santa Claus is coming to Town.”
There’s a line in there:
He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake.
He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.

Does that seem a little creepy to anyone but me?

I realized it when my daughter forgot to put something on her Christmas list. She decided to pray to Santa for the item. Disagree with me if you like; call me a Scrooge, but I think that’s just wrong. I explained to her, gently, that you don’t pray to Santa. I doubt if it really had any effect. Santa is everywhere.

The original “Saint Nicholas,” if the stories are true, was a priest who helped the poor and put coins in the shoes of poor children in his town. Today’s Santa is a larger-than life, all-seeing, all-knowing gift-machine, who flies around the entire earth in one night and can get into any house through the chimney!

Christians have made a feeble attempt to “put Christ in Christmas,” even going so far as the picture of Santa bowing before Jesus at the manger. That’s nice, I guess, but I doubt if it has slowed the rampant consumerism that we see as our right. The worst part, in my opinion, is that I think we adults have gotten God mixed up with Santa. Adults!
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9
What is this verse about? Big, flashy cars? Diamond-studded cross necklaces? The latest electronics? (Have you prayed for things you didn't actually need? Once you maxed-out your credit to get them, did you thank God that he gave them to you?)

I don’t think this verse is about stuff. We have enough stuff! The passage (Luke 11) if you take it literally, talks about bread, fish and eggs. But to go backwards in our society is nearly impossible. Try telling your kids they’re going to get bread, fish and eggs for Christmas this year, and see what happens!

But I have an idea. Let’s go back to the spirit of the real Saint Nick. If you have enough to eat this year, consider giving fewer gifts and donating the difference to charity. One way to do this is through

Peace, Love, and Joy

Friday, December 4, 2009

Nothing to be Thankful For

I have a confession to make. I really did not feel thankful on Thanksgiving. I had everything ready – a big, yummy meal, including mashed potatoes, yams, olives, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and of course plenty of pie. I go for the whole "Norman Rockwell" thing; you know, the picture-perfect happy family around the big table, Mom serving a gigantic turkey, etc.

But it didn't work out that way. Someone had to be with in-laws, someone changed plans, and someone got sick and couldn't come. Those of us who were left were a bit grumbly about it not being Thanksgiving if it was "just us."
I went through the motions. I even prayed prayers of thanks. But I really felt… well, grumpy. This wasn’t the big happy family gathering I always envision. It was just the same old family I sit down with every evening. Where's the "holiday" in that?

Then, as we ate pie, a couple of us got silly. We laughed a lot and traded good-natured insults. It was fun.
A few days later, we visited those who had been sick, and those who’d had other obligations, ate leftover pie, and played Wii. We had fun.
We’re not a "Norman Rockwell" family, I guess. We’re more "Pablo Picasso." And that's not at all bad.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

Peace, Love and Thanks. Lots of thanks.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sometimes it's hard to give thanks...

... so here are some verses to get you started.

Remember, we can and should give thanks even when we don't feel like it - even when circumstances don't seem ideal - because God has a plan, and He's in control.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:33-35

Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the nations, and I will sing praises to Your name. 2 Samuel 22:50

I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. Psalms 7:17

I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. Psalms 9:1

That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Psalms 30:12

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Psalms 118:1

...and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples {gave them} to the people. Matthew 15:36

And when He had taken {some} bread {and} given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." Luke 22:19

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 17:25a

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

Whatever you do in word or deed, {do} all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

… the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever. Revelation 4:9

"We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.” Revelation 11:17

Gee, if I didn't know better, I'd think there was some sort of theme running through the Bible!

Peace, love & thanks

Sunday, November 22, 2009

You don't believe in Creationism????

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.
Acts 16:30-32

Need I say more?

Peace, Love & Jesus

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christians are such Hypocrites!

Why do Christians get accused of hypocrisy so much?

1 : a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.

Well? Is it true? Lots of times it is. The important word here seems to be false. Other people might say, "Hey, I'm greedy, selfish and obnoxious. Get outta my way." Greedy, selfish, obnoxious Christians pretend God wants them to be greedy, selfish and obnoxious.
I know for a fact that I’m a hypocrite. Not all the time, mind you, and not in a big way, (I hope) but at times I say one thing and do another. I’m a hypocrite. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve met a person who isn’t one. It’s not just Christians – it’s human nature.

The big difference between Christians and others is that we’re supposed to at least try to be better. After all, we’re supposed to be salt and light! But for the most part we act like everyone else. Are we Christians in words AND actions? Do we follow Jesus’ example? Or do we talk a good talk, criticize everyone else, then go home to our expensive houses, turn on our big-screen T.V. and watch “American idol?” (I’m not against houses or televisions, but I think the amassment of excessive stuff is not a Christian value, and if you say it is, you’re justifying greed.)

If you spent time with several strangers, could you tell - by their actions - which ones were Christians? (Political opinions, cross jewelry and bumper stickers on cars are not actions.) Not often, I bet. I wouldn’t have ever guessed Carrie Prejean was a Christian based on her actions. (If you’ve been living under a rock, Google it.)

What should we do? First read the Bible – actually read it – and think about what it says. Especially focus on Jesus’ attitude towards the Pharisees, because they were hypocrisy-in-action. Then, admit when you are wrong, go to the Lord in prayer, and - this is the hard part - follow his example.

Matthew 23:13
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."
(Realize that he was talking to the great religious leaders when he said this!)

"For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God."
1 Peter 2:15-16

Peace, Love, & Grace

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Bible: Literal, or True?

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" 2 Timothy 3:16

I believe the Bible is inerrant; I believe in creationism.” I’ve heard this numerous times. In fact, the two sentences seem to go together.
Wait! Back up. You’re saying I believe the Bible is errant? (aimless, irregular, wrong.) But I don’t. I believe parts of it are poetry, (Song of Solomon,) some parts are parable (the parable of the sower, Matthew 13:1-23) and some parts are literal. So what you’re saying is not that you believe the Bible is true—so do I, after all—but you are saying that you believe the Bible is literal. But do you? How many clean animals were on Noah’s ark; two of each, seven of each, or fourteen of each? (Genesis 6:19, Genesis 7:2-3) This is important now... There will be a quiz at the pearly gates!
There is also an assumption—stated or implied—that if I don’t believe in the Bible exactly as you say I should, that I don’t read it. Well, I do. I read it every day, and I find many confusing paradoxes within it. Even going to church, even hearing other people’s confident explanations, I find the Bible difficult to understand. That must mean one of two things: the bible actually is difficult to understand, and you are oversimplifying, or I’m not a Christian because I don’t have faith in the confusing parts.
Wait—don’t say anything—I’m sure you’re thinking I’m not a Christian. It’s simple for you. If only you can convince me that the earth was created in six days, and dinosaur bones were put on earth to test my faith, you’ll make me a Christian. Well, you can be smug, knowing you have the answers. You’re right, I’m wrong, you win.
But here’s the problem: many people do believe evolution, and do believe in Jesus. You’ll just have to live with that.

Peace, love & respect.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Halloween has deep roots in many pagan traditions. An example is the jack-o-lantern. It was first developed to ward off evil spirits. Samhain was originally a harvest festival, marking the time when days were getting shorter. But people have a tendency to attach superstition where they can, and it became known as a "festival of the dead." Christians tried to take it back by marking "All Saints Day" (November 1st) and "All Saints -or Hallows- Eve" (October 31st). That became our Hallowe'en.
Nowadays, the worst thing about Halloween is the frightening and gory images, exacerbated by movies and modern culture. I prefer the concept of children, dressed as princesses and pirates, asking for candy at people's doors.

Halloween is mostly a dress-up day, but it's also celebrated by neopagans, wiccans and satanists. If you don't feel comfortable celebrating what is for others an "unholy day," don't do it.
But remember also that God is in charge. If you're a Christian, you have nothing to be afraid of on Halloween or any other day.
O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 2 Chronicles 20:6

Peace, love & free candy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I’ve been told – by a Christian – that I’m not a Christian because I believe in evolution. I’ve been told – by an Atheist – that I’m not a Christian because I believe our earth is in danger and is worth taking care of.

Hmmm… It’s good that they’re not my judges.

I think I am a Christian, because I love Christ – God incarnate – and I try to emulate Him. (I'm far from perfect, I admit it.) I bet He thinks I’m a Christian too.

Peace, love & go green.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Christian = Love. Right?

I’m interested in causes that seem (to me) to be “loving.” One such issue is healthcare reform. It pains me no end that Christians seem to be anti-love. Why are some Christians more concerned with keeping their money from “freeloaders” than in taking care of those in need? Christians should be at the forefront of these causes!
I can find many, many verses that tell us to be generous with our money.
Luke 12:33: Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
Matthew 19:21: Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
James 1:27: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Especially, read Matthew 25:31-46 and try to interpret it another way.
I’ve experienced first-hand what it’s like to have inadequate healthcare. When I was a college student, I had no insurance at all. Don’t tell me I was a freeloader. I was living on my own, I was a student, and I had two part-time jobs. Now I have decent healthcare, and I am not so prideful to think I’m any better than those who don’t. Everyone deserves decent healthcare.

(If only this were the only issue in which Christians seem to be so selfish.)

Am I a minority of one? If it’s just the “Christian Right” making us appear this way, and if they’re a minority, then Christians left and center should speak up loudly enough to drown them out. The word “Christian” should be synonymous with love, caring and generosity. Instead, we appear to the world as stingy, selfish, prideful, hypocritical money-grubbers.

Pecae, love & grace.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Parable of the Good (Fill in the Blank)

You’ve probably heard the parable of the good Samaritan. It was a story, told by Jesus, about a man who was beaten and left to die on the side of the road.

In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn in Jericho and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

In our society, this parable has lost its meaning because Samaritan has actually come to mean “good person.” To those listening to the tale at Jesus' feet, they were religious rivals, not unlike Muslims, Jews, and Christians. They weren’t just rivals, they were despised.
To give the parable a modern twist, let’s try filling in the blank. What group of people do you hate the most? Okay, you don’t hate anyone. Who do you dislike a little? Who makes you afraid, angry, or a little miffed? Who wouldn’t you like to meet in a dark alley? Who would you most hate to be stuck with on a desert island? A black person? A white person? A democrat or republican? Maybe a homosexual, or a fundamentalist. A Yankees fan? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Now fill in the blank.
What if you were the one who had been robbed and beaten? You’re lying on the side of the road, too weak to move. Someone walks by. It’s someone you really admire. A great republican or democrat leader, someone who has said great words. A high authority in your church, known for his or her great sermons about compassion. But… they cross to the other side, whistling and pretending they don't see you.

The next person is (someone from a culture or religion you dislike.) He’s touching you. You imagine that he hasn’t washed in a week. This person is helping you, when you are utterly vulnerable.

Can you picture this person cleaning your wounds, putting you in his car, and spending his hard-earned money on you?

This is your neighbor. This is the person Jesus wants you to love.

Peace, love & more love.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Are YOU a Cafeteria Christian?

Definition of a cafeteria Christian: One who picks and chooses from the bible, accepting what they want to believe and rejecting what they don't want to believe.

I am a cherry-picking cafeteria Christian. I believe we all are, whether we think we are or not.
1 Timothy 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes…

No gold? No braids? As soon as you say “well, what it really means is…” you are “cherry picking.” Married women, are you wearing a gold wedding ring? You’re “cherry picking.” Have you ever braided your hair? You’re “cherry picking.” Now, you may know that in the time that Paul wrote this, prostitutes braided their hair. Suddenly, the meaning of the verse becomes clear. I follow the meaning; Women, dress modestly. Don’t show off. Don’t dress like a slut!
That’s an easy one, but there are many more verses that I just can’t swallow. Most are stories from the old testament. The first one, for me, was the story of Samson. (Judges 13 and on) He was incredibly strong, until Delilah cut his hair off. This sounds like a story to me. In fact, it sounds an awful lot like the Greek story of Achilles, whose weakness was in his heel. The only way I could continue believing in God was to give up believing in Samson!
So why can’t the story of creation be just that; a story? Or a poem? The story of creation is beautiful, and the story of Adam and Eve is very meaningful. (In fact, it’s somewhat problematic that the order is mixed up. Which came first. People? Animals? The garden? Does it matter?)
In fact... If you focus on the literal story of Adam and Eve, you might just miss the meaning altogether. They took the apple from the tree of KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL! Hmm... could that be applied to my life? What about pride? Does the bible say anything else about pride? In fact, could God be warning us against the dangers of pride? (I'm just sayin'.)
In this light, the story of Adam and Eve is very important.

That being said, I strongly believe in the central message of the bible: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I think one can go too far, as Thomas Jefferson did, and ignore or even cut out parts that one simply doesn't like. (Look up the Jefferson Bible) There are also many parts of the bible that I don't LIKE, but I believe in. (Hell, for instance.)
But that would be another blog.

Peace, love & tolerence.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Problem with Giving

The problem is that it’s never enough. The more you give, the more people ask for. It doesn’t go away. Does it even make a difference?
Sometimes the question “What do I do to help?” seems utterly overwhelming. You can put money in the basket, donate to charities, volunteer locally, go on a mission trip… but it’s never enough, and you know it. Poor children still don’t have enough to eat, people still die in disasters, the earth is still covered in trash. Charities keep asking for “more, more, more.”
Just do what you can. Pick a cause that’s dear to your heart and give what you can in time and money. Spend time with a lonely person, listening. Don’t try to fix it all – you can’t.
You’re not rich? Me either! Well, wait. By the standards of the world I might be. Let’s see… I have a house… lots of nice clothes… I eat good food every day and I have clean water… I have this computer… Okay, so I am rich. I guess I can spare a little.

Mark 12:41-44 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins,worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

Peace, love & hope.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm right! I KNOW I'm right! Why doesn't everybody just agree with me?

No one's perfect. No one person has the perfect theology. You can’t understand God. Just saying you do implies that you think you’re equal to Him. (Read the book of Job.) So we’re all partly wrong; Catholics, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Baptists, (insert your church here)… Wrong. Does that mean there’s no God? No, because God Himself knows we’re imperfect. That’s what grace is for! If we’re all wrong, and if God forgives, than who does He forgive? Those whose theology is the closest to correct? That doesn’t make sense to me. (Just the thought brings up the idea of the apostles arguing between themselves: Mark 9:34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Pride!)

I think God forgives those who are truly seeking Him. Who is seeking Him? I can guess… not those who have made up their minds. (Stiff necked - Exodus 32:9) Anyone who says, “I’m right. You’re wrong. End of story,” is no longer seeking.

Here’s an idea, though it’s not a new one. Relax. You don’t have to have all the answers. God is in charge. Trust Him.
Keep an open mind. Keep learning. Listen to, and respect, those whose opinion is different from yours. If your faith is strong, you won’t be magically “sucked in” to other religions and cults.

Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway. ~Mary C. Crowley

Peace, love, & grace.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Adam’s navel – is it worth contemplating?
Did Adam have a belly-button?
Is the earth over 6000 years old?
Did we evolve from apes?
Am I asking the right questions?
Will believing all the right answers get me into heaven?

I’m not going to attempt to answer these questions… Because I don’t think it matters. I am a Christian. I’m not a Creationist. I think it’s time that we who don’t believe the bible is 100% literal stand up and be counted.
Is the bible true? I say yes. Is the bible 100% literal? I say no. Did Adam have a belly-button? WHO CARES?

1 Corinthians 1-2
1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except JESUS CHRIST and him crucified.

Peace, love, & joy.