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.