10Q10Q -- faith, life, rethinking church, following Jesus...stuff

Come join in the discussion of faith at the Koinonia Page where scripture and life intersect in conversation and exploration. Visit on Facebook, Twitter, and Dave's Web Page too! I'd welcome your company at Palmyra First United Methodist Church, where I hang out, too, come and see!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Finding Confidence

I'm energetic, optimistic and joyful as a rule. I'm also introspective and prone to over-thinking. So, some days, I have to go looking for my confidence. I can cloud my joy by taking people more seriously than God (usually fueled by the over-thinking thing).

Good news is that with my propensities, I don't get over-confident, at least not for long, nor do I get gloomy for long stretches. I do go up and down. I'm finding that experience and time is helping to modify this inner thrill ride, but I haven't left the emotional amusement park altogether.

I'm noting this here because we all have our stuff. I find that fact strangely comforting, that I'm not alone in my humanity. I was reading a bible story (Luke 24:36-48) and noticing that even the disciples, with three years personal coaching from the Master under their belt, had disheartening and confusing stuff. The rest of the story is that God knows, and offers them coaching, along with some potent promise, to move through the stuff of life.

That's all. Life's got stuff. God's got bigger good stuff. Paying attention to that works for me. Life's an adventure. Let's go live it together, you, me, and God.

Monday, April 20, 2009

When Stuff Doesn't Fit

I sometimes feel a bit odd. (No affirmations of oddness please.) I feel different from others. Perhaps that's just my ego trying to stand out, but I think there's more. I believe that people make choices based on values and that I don't always understand their values.

For instance: I go to church, before and after Easter, because it's part of my relationship with God. I value a relationship that has continuity. I don't get how people around me can say they come to church, because it's part of their relationship with God, and then just stop coming after Easter, or disappear for the summer.

I trust that if I could fully understand each person's values, heart and thinking, it would make more sense to me. Right now I don't understand and I have trouble making sense of it all.

That's not the only place I feel odd. I feel odd when I value following through on my word, while so many seem to value an "end justifies the means" kind of dismissive efficiency.

I feel different when I set boundaries for what I will and won't do, while those around me seem to lean toward either trying to be all things to everyone (nurturing to the point of exhaustion, if not wishy-washiness), or not much to anyone (self-contained, isolated, if not selfish).

I wonder if I'm a part of a minority when I believe that love is more important than money and that God is bigger than any challenge I face: those around me act in ways that, appear to me as, putting money highest, in stuff and status; many seem to value practicality and perceived reality as far more sensible that claiming an ancient-present truth of interdependence, including an intrinsic need for the Holy.

Deep down I know I'm both unique and also remarkably similar to those around me. I understand that the mysteries of life unfold one day and one relationship at a time. I simply want to better understand those around me. I basically want to act with both a deeper respect of each person I meet, and a greater courage to challenge any of growing values to the fullness of life, wholeness and joy that God makes available. I want others to experience what I experience and more. (It's not important to me that the experience matches my own, but that the experience offers meaning, hope, love, peace, and joy.)

So how do you fit in? Where do you feel out of place? What would you tell me to help me understand? I'm ready to listen. Perhaps, we're all a little odd and a bit the same. I'll know better when I hear more from you.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter is Messy!

A friend died this week. He was a genuine man with a servant's heart and a playful spirit. His faith and spirit together truly made him a gift. His loss leaves a hole. His departure got me to thinking...Easter is messy.

How inconvenient to have him die! No one asked me if I was ready, or if the calendar would permit, or...well no one asked me. Yet, there it is. Life...and death happen. People die and so do things like dreams, expectations, ideas, friendships, hopes, projects, pets, and more. It stinks when they go. It hurts. It tweaks the world like looking through a soda bottle, nothing looks right.

Then Easter comes--God gently and purposefully shows up. New life, hope in the midst of loss, fresh starts, and all those things that I believe and hold close. What I think is that in the mess and the hurt and the loss and the stinky stuff, God is able to do important work. I miss noticing lots of it God does, but once in a while I see something. That's a gift.

Easter is messy. I'm glad. If it were too neat and tidy, too clean and clear, too removed from the muddle of life, then I'm not sure I'd really know about the gift. Or maybe without the mess, I simply wouldn't accept the gift.

I can't say for sure, but I'm glad for the gift in the mess. I'm glad for some God stuff that acknowledges my stuff. I'm just plain glad...not because my friend is gone, or that anything else is gone, for that matter, but that God is audacious enough to get into my mess and set up shop right at ground zero.

So for now, I'll grieve and celebrate; I'll receive the richness of knowing my friend and wonder how to fill the hole; I'll experience death and life together and know that in the mix there is good and God.

May the blessings and the mess of Easter come alive for you, bringing hope, life and indeed joy.

10,000 Joys in Jesus