Monday, November 16, 2009

The trouble with life...

I read Roy Williams' Monday Morning Memo and have often shared his writing here. Today is especially worth reading. Here's a snippet:

Tom Hennen has a line in his poem, The Life of a Day, that says,

“We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, ‘no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for,’ and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when we are convinced, our lives will start for real.”

That line is a little bit frightening because you read it and realize you’re guilty. You’ve been waiting for that day when your life will start “for real.”

The trouble with life is that it’s just so daily.

I love that last line--the trouble with life is that it's just so daily. How often are you waiting for some sense of higher purpose, some feeling that God is doing something great in you? To quote an old Steven Curtis Chapman song, "Are you waiting for lightning? A sign that it's time for a change...Are you listening for thunder, as He quietly whispers your name?"

May the monotony of today's tasks become the whisper of God, and may your today be "for real."

You can read the whole Memo here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What's your elite status with God?

A couple of weeks ago I accomplished something new. I received an elite status with American Airlines.

Now it's just gold (which in ad-speak is always the lowest form of reward) but still--faster boarding, quicker access to first class seats or exit rows. I have always been a big Southwest guy, but living 15 minutes from DFW airport has forced a change. We'll see how that works.

But it made me think about how we approach God. Most of us--espesh those of us who grew up in church--have a hard time understanding that there is NO elite status with God. God doesn't give bonus upgrades to us to reward behavior he likes. How many times have I expected to be bumped into first class with God because I've been particularly good lately? Read my Bible every day, giving generously, sharing the kingdom message, voting Republican, attending church, etc, etc.

God has a first class, but it seems to be reserved for orphans, widows, prostitutes, tax-collectors and especially for martyrs. His first class is given out solely on the basis of what brings him glory.

So the next time I think my relative goodness gets me up to the front of the line in answered prayer, I should remember that there are 143,000,000 orphans in the world who just might be ahead of me.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Quick thought on patriotism

Over the past decade or so, as I've struggled with applying the teachings of Jesus to societal structures and not just on my own individual faith, I've thought a lot about national pride. I come from a wonderful family with many who served in the military, and who love this country. My wife, who is Argentine but became a US citizen in the 90s, has commented many times over the years at my patriotism, usually because she has seen how much I love the national anthem (and get really bothered when people start cheering at a sporting event before the song is actually over--it's very somber for me).

I've also spent time with many people from other countries and cultures, and think really about how much "God so loved the world", and wonder about the proper sense of national pride for one who lives in two worlds, one whose ultimate loyalty belongs to the King of kings, not to any man, woman, creed or ideology. I'm reading 5 Cities that Ruled the World: How Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London and New York Shaped Global History, and came across this quote, which I wanted to share:

When patriotism goes to seed, becoming a jingoistic nationalism, it gives patriotism a bad name. It is the difference between gratitude and arrogant pride. Patriotism stifles the spirit of war, nationalism breeds wars. Patriotism is catholic, nationalism is sectarian. Patriotism understands and enters into the affection that others have for their place.

What do you think? How does a lover of Jesus loyal to the kingdom of God live a patriotic life in the US? What about those believers who live in Argentina, or Spain? Or Iraq or Palestine?

I thank God for the freedom I've been able to enjoy in this life. May I never take for granted political and economic freedom, or the spiritual freedom that comes only from Jesus.