Why are things that are so easy for others so difficult for me.

“Why are things that are so easy for others so difficult for me.”  It may not be a direct quote, but I heard this from a close friend a few months ago.  It is a sentence that now stays in my mind.  A lack of empathy is often a result of not understanding this truth.

Most of all us have a weakness for which this is true.  It may be the ability to control our appetite, control alcohol consumption, or maintain a regular exercise routine.  It may be anxiety in social situations or a fear of stores.  It may be the ability to get an education or work a job with a regular schedule.  It may be the ability to keep track of and manage finances.  Those who are around us do not understand, asking “Why don’t you just….”   They do not understand that thing that is easy for them is so difficult for others.

Understanding this is essential to living an empathetic life.

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I won’t use the word Forgiveness

I have stopped using the word forgiveness, not because it is a bad concept, but because it has been so misused by so many for so long.   Somewhere along the way it has become a way for the powerful to mistreat the innocent.  A father or mother hurts a child, and asks for forgiveness.  A priest hurts a child, and the Church asks for forgiveness.  A man or woman abuses their spouse, and asks for forgiveness. It is now used as a way to inflict emotions of guilt upon the innocent.    The word forgiveness should never be used to inflict guilt.  The word forgiveness should never be used as to manipulate or control.   It should be used to provide freedom, or not at all.

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For the joy

Due to a gracious gift from a friend, Penny and I attended Huntsville Symphony’s Orchestra’s “The Science Of Music” concert.  It was a fun depiction of the relationship between science and music.  It included three panelists, a scientist, an engineer, and a philosopher.  I loved the conclusion of the panelists, that the best part of classical music was not its relation to science, but rather the joy of listening to gifted musicians playing a wonderful selection of music.

This is my place in the Christian life.  It is not about applying Christianity to my daily life, but rather experiencing the joy of the journey as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit do their wonderful work.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged

For The Experience

I awoke early this morning, opened the door, and breathed in the morning air. A cool front moved through last night, bringing with it storms and a shower.  The air is crisp and cool. I hear birds cheerfully chirping, enjoying the night air.  I see the faint glimpse of the moon as it sets behind the light cloud cover.

I picked up this month’s issue of “The Lutheran”.  I run across an article with the subtitle “A preacher asks: What do you want from the sermon?”  I don’t consider it an original article.  I have read or heard the same statements dozens of times over the years.  His conclusion “Follow the sermon and apply it to their daily lives”. I reflect on that statement that I have heard many times before, that everyone wants to understand how Christianity applies to their daily lives.

I reflect on the morning air.  I didn’t try to apply the morning air to my life, I just experienced it. That is what I crave from Christianity.  I crave the experience of the Eucharist, the experience of a beautiful song or hymn, the experience of prayer, the experience of a daily devotion.   I want nothing more, nothing less, than to experience the Triune God and the Kingdom of God.

Posted in lutheran | Tagged ,

Union

I sense I have reached a path on my journey of no return, a path which will change my thinking in ways I cannot foresee.   From this article by Father Stephen Freeman

http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/2015/03/28/a-lesser-atonement/

“The older, more complete account of the atoning work of Christ is grounded in our union/communion with God. God is the Lord and Giver of Life, in Whom we live and move and have our being. When our sin broke communion with Him, death was unleashed and we were bound. In the Incarnation, Christ became what we are, entering into union with our humanity. He “empties Himself,” in the words of St. Paul, and enters into death and Hades. But as God, He could not be held by death. He rose again, thus trampling down death by death, and ascended to the right hand of the Father.

Our salvation, His atonement, is a work of union. He unites Himself to us that we might unite ourselves to Him. He becomes what we are that we might become what He is.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2Co 5:21 NKJ)

By the same token, we are Baptized “into His death,” (Romans 6:3), and raised in His resurrection. The Holy Eucharist is also a fulfillment of our union with Him, a communion (koinonia) in His blood.

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. “For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. (Joh 6:52-57)

This language of union supports the whole of the Christian gospel. “

This thought, that the Christian life is about union with the Triune God, seems to be taking my heart in paths I would have never dreamed.   I still can’t process yet what it means, but the thought almost seems to be resetting the thought patterns of my mind.  I must wait and see where it leads.

Posted in Orthodox

“Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

From today’s gospel lesson, a group of Greeks went to the Apostle Phillip and say simply  “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”  (John 12:21 NRSV).   This is the cry of my heart.

To the pastors who talk about “How to be a better spouse?”, I say “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

To the pastors who talk about managing your money better, I say “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

To the pastors who speak anger and hate, I say “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

To the pastors who inject their own political views and philosophies, I say “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

To the pastors who who piece together series of illustrations with no point, I say “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

To the pastors who believe they need to preach against those who have different sexual identity, I say “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

To the pastor who told me the suffering in my life was due to my sin, I say “Sir, I wish to see Jesus.”

To the pastor who said young earth creation was essential to my salvation, I say “Sir, I wish to see Jesus.”

To those who have told me I don’t believe in God, I say “Sir or Madaam, I wish to see Jesus.”

To those who have told me “You just need to forgive” without listening to my true thoughts or emotions, I say “Sir or Madaam, I wish to see Jesus.”

But, then, I look at mine own life, and I realize I have failed to show Jesus to others.

Triune God, help me to show Jesus.

Posted in Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged

Encouragement on Chapman Mountain

Huntsville_from_High_Mountain_Road

Image from Larry Wilbourn, used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 .

I live on Chapman Mountain in Huntsville, Alabama.  It is a neighborhood of 1960s style ranchers built to house those who designed and built the Saturn rockets that sent humankind to the moon.   My neighborhood is currently going through a revitalization stage as the previous generation passes away, and a new generation moves in to renovate.

We have had three weeks now of snow and ice in our town, quite unusual for Alabama, and especially unusual for March.  The last ice is now melting away, but it was cold enough last night that a thick frost was on the trees and housetops as we arose to go to early service on the first week of daylight savings time. I saw at least three people out for an early morning jog.  I saw the fog as their warm breath met the cold morning air.  I was encouraged as I saw our revitalizing neighborhood waking up, even on this cold Sunday morning.

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