Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Double Sided Coin (Part 1)

“re·li·gion [ri-lij-uh

1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.” (religion)

There are few words in our culture that invoke as much emotion and opinions as the word religion, there are people who want to destroy it, save it, repair it, and ignore it. I think that very few people really stop to think about what religion really means and how our beliefs do and should impact our lives.
The definition above is taken from Dictionary.com and the third definition made an impact on me when I read it, “the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices”. It seems to me that Dictionary.com hit on something that a lot of Christians miss, a Christ follower, in order to fully experience a life in Christ, should be able to engage in a community of people who also profess to follow Christ.
That is obviously a academic and sterile definition, I prefer the one that Paul gives the church in Ephesians
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (Ephesians 4:1-7 ESV)
The whole book of Ephesians is a great example of how and why we need to be in a community of God because it is one of a small number of books that is written to a community rather then an individual but this verse sums it up really well for me. We were all brought to God through Christ at the leading of the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 2) and it is that reason that we need to “bear with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”.
I am further struck by Paul’s use of words is unique, we are to eagerly maintain the unity that we have with our spiritual cohorts. We aren’t just suppose to engage in a community but find one that we like to be apart of, one that we look forward to going to and being a part of. These types of community are much easier to engage in because they spring up organically from our relationships and our much more impactful because they have an effect through out our lives.
I don’t think that these communities have to take on the form of a traditional church, that would be a very narrow definition of community, but rather a group of people who regularly encourage you and whom you encourage (I don’t know if that was the proper use of who and whom). After all the apostles where just a bunch of bros hanging out together in the desert.

Work Cited
"religion." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 29 Aug. 2011. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion>.
"Ephesians 4:1-7." BibleGateway.com. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. .
Image from  Benjamin Miller <http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/8911>

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

So I will give this another go

Over the past couple of weeks and months I have been thinking about the things that have helped me grow and expanded my horizons. There are several things that have done that, marriage, school, dog ownership. One of the big things was this blog, it helped me to try and formulate my thoughts and ideas in a way that other people could understand and engage with. I feel like this is one of the things that has been severely lacking in my life over the past 2 or 3 years, my ideas have become scattered and less organized and it is my hope that with some discipline and work I can get those abilities back in tune (keyword is hope).

So I hope that you will read the older, a bit wiser, and maybe funnier me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Eleven Lies I was made to Believe Growing Up

  1. Don't think to much/I can think to much. I was raised with two groups of people in my life, the people who taught me to question everything, and the people who to be to do this and believe that with out question. The older that I get the more I find that the people encourage you to learn become fewer and fewer and the people who just want you to listen and accept become more and more.
  2. The first year of marriage is the hardest of your life. So many people told me this that in the first four months of being married I was thinking that one day I would come home and my wife would be pointing a shotgun in my face. Year on of marriage wasn't easy but it also wasn't characteristically difficult either.
  3. If I made that face to much my face would freeze like that. Yeah, I believed this one for a long time.
  4. Money, Drugs, Sex can't bring happiness. Imagine my surprise when I got into college and found out that there are many people who find their happiness in these things.
  5. I be/do whatever I wanted to be/do. In all truth from my birth I have had many restrictions placed on my life by socioeconomic, sex, race, age. That is not to say that I can't aspire to be anything I want to be, but at some point dreams give way to reality and that is the point at which I have to learn to be satisfied with where I am at in my life.
  6. That Life is a journey, not an adventure.
  7. Only Baptists have a valid interpretation of the Bible. Growing up I never had a comprehensive overview of what other denominations believed but my own. Now that have studied/study other denominations and theologies I find that the interpretations that I was taught where in some areas dead one, in others way off, and in other areas just incomplete.
  8. I have to change and wash a tee shirt after every individual use. (JACK'S MANNEQUIN: I'm Ready).
  9. If you aren't a Christian you don't have anything good to say. I knew the names of great philosophers, Gandhi, Buddha, Muhammad, Marx but I grew up hesitant and even fearful to read a word that was written. Now that I have read them I find that more often then not they just reinforce beliefs that I already have and help me to develop new beliefs about mankind.
  10. Jesus was born on December 25th. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas
  11. My Worth is based on my Wealth. It isn't really a surprise that in a consumer driven society like America this is a common one for many people to deal with. The lie is that you are only worth anything if you buy new things, even if you don't need them. This starts the cycle of work so you can afford the things that you don't need, then work so much that you don't have the time to enjoy the things that you work so hard to get.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rejoice with those who rejoice

Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Some of the more iconic words spoken in the bible, right up there with John 3:16 and "Jesus wept". I have heard those words used in many sermons in my life to encourage people to get down, no matter how good there life is going, and mourn with people who have lost.

In the last few days I have come to see that first part of the verse in a new light, or maybe a better way to put it is a refreshed light. Five simple words, Rejoice with those who rejoice, that can be very hard, and at time impossible, for us to put into practice. What does it mean to live everyday, not just, mourning with those who mourn but also rejoicing with them as well?

I think that on the big stuff we have it down, birthdays, anniversaries, newly born babies, but on the little stuff I think that we have fallen short of where we should be. Psalm 116:12 says "What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me?" if we only look at the big stuff in our lives and say that is what the Lord has given me then we are missing half the picture.

An example of this happened to me today. I had to get my emissions test done for my car today, now my car is a 1992 Saturn two door SC with 180,000 miles on it, now let me tell you what I have to do to start the car. Because the alternator on the car is dieing on the car it is sort of a crap shot if it will actually start when I put the key in, so when I do need to drive it I take it out of gear, turn the radio off, turn the fan off, then I proceed to turn the key on and off as rapidly as I can in the hopes that eventually the engine will turn over. Also if you didn't know one of the top rules at the emissions place is that a car has to enter under it's own power. All of this I knew but my definition of entering and their definition of entering are two different things, so as I pulled into the building and was asked to turn of the car my heart stopped. As the man was walking around the car, checking under the hood, and making sure that the gas cap didn't leak all I was thinking was "God please let the car start. Please, oh please, oh please." And as I went to start the car it fired right up on the first try.

Now I am not saying that this was a miracle, I wouldn't diminish the word miracle like that, But I would say it was one of many everyday things that we don't rejoice enough over. Bad news will travel from state to state, even jumping oceans sometimes but it is hard to hear about good news within your own group of friends, and that is a shame. It is something that I am endeavoring to get better at and I hope that others will join me in doing the same.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's been awhile

I know that I have neglected this blog for awhile but believe it or not I haven't really had that much to say. But lately there have been a few thing floating around in my head that I wanted to get out. So I have at least two posts in me (maybe more) and hopefully I will get them out in the next couple of days.