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.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Little Words...

"Climate change is real." "It's a hoax."
"Eating meat is unethical." "People were meant to eat meat."
"Gays are going to hell." "Gays were born that way."
"This recession is caused by (fill in the blank)." "No, it's not, it's cause by (-----)."

I think if we all occasionally used three little words we could end so much fighting. These words could stop the battle over gay marriage dead in its tracks. They could end the debate over creationism vs. evolution. And whether there's a hell (and who's going there). They could go far to patch up some big world issues, too.Who knows, maybe they could end wars! So, have you guessed yet? These three little words are...
I don't know.
See, by claiming to know everything about everything (which implies that people who disagree know nothing about anything) we make enemies. We build walls between "right" and "wrong." We push more and more of our friends to the other sides of those walls until we're alone in our tiny fortresses. Issues become more important than people. And we're unable to use those other three little words:
I love you.
When we do use those words, there are strings attached, and it's more like "I love you when you agree with me."
It's okay to say you don't know everything about everything. It might be hard at first, though, because you'll have to put your pride aside. You might occasionally even have to use three more little words. "I was wrong."
I'm not talking about actual decision making here. We have to learn as much as we can, so we can vote intelligently act ethically. I'm talking about endless debates and arguments, the kind you see on the internet that often end up with participants hurling insults in both directions. I'm talking about political rhetoric that ends up driving people farther to opposite side of issues until meeting in the middle is impossible.
Inability to use these words soon degenerates into pride. Sadly, pride doesn't solve problems.
If admitting you're not perfect seems hard, it gets easier. In my belief system, I have a fallback position; sort of a cushion under my tightrope, and saying "I don't know" isn't hard. I believe God knows. It's in his hands anyway, and I can sleep at night knowing I don't have to solve the world's problems.

Peace, Love, Serenity

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Gave Up Chocolate. So what?

In my church, people give something up for lent (chocolate, coffee, french fries) or do something we wouldn't ordinarily do, such as helping at a local soup kitchen. I gave up chocolate and I'm involving myself in extra activities at church.

But why chocolate? I'm not hungry, as I would be if I went on a "real" fast. I'm not really suffering. (I'm not. I'm not!) And I'm not doing a whole lot of good. I'm not even helping the Girl Scouts out by buying their Samoas and Thin Mints. (Curse their bad timing! Or is this intentional temptation?) I do put a little extra money, the cost of a month's worth of chocolate, in the tithe. That's something, right?

Christians aren't commanded to fast, though the Bible says it's good to do. Jesus' own disciples didn't fast (Luke 5:33) but the book of Acts mentions disciples fasting.
The point of fasting should not be for any worldly gain for myself, so when I "brag" about going a month without chocolate, I'm probably detracting from the intended point of the exercise. I'm not getting any brownie points there. (Mmm... brownies...)

I can't help but dwell on the fact that, compared to this puny act, Jesus' sacrifice was HUUUGE. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 And I'm gently nudged to do a little more... and a little more... to help my own fellow humans.

The reason to fast is to devote time to prayer. So whenever I think about going for a chocolate bar, or a bowl of ice cream, I stop and pray. And I think about chocolate a lot. so... This month I'm praying a lot.

Peace, love, choco... I mean prayer.