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!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hell No... or Yes?

Yes or No?
    I just read an article, by Travis Loller in the progressive Huffington Post,  about the new documentary movie "Hellbound?".  It got me thinking how so many of us Christians live as if there is no hell, and then defend a literal hell with devilish delight.  I know for me there is still openness in my answer to "Hell?".
     Here's a thumbnail of the un-researched, un-footnoted, in-process, what-I-believe-about-hell.  I believe in Hell, as separation from God, and as a result of choices I make.  I believe a loving God has done everything possible to graciously invite, include and love me and all into a divine, loving, eternal presence.  I don't think it's a literal geographical place, nor is heaven, but more about my relationship (heaven) or lack of relationship (hell) with the Divine God of Love.
     What I don't know is far more extensive, than what I know!  What I know is that  the two great commandments are Love God and Love neighbor.  I remember that as "Live Love."  That's more important to me, and it seems to be for Jesus as well, than my definition of hell.
     I believe there is an eternal, spiritual reality. I know how to talk about that reality with the language of God's love for me through Jesus -- as model, Savior, presence and love in-the-flesh (incarnate).  I don't know all the details of that, and my ignorance generates in me comfort in God's love, curiosity along the way to keep learning, and a profound imperative for loving everyone. (And I'm still learning mightily on that last  one.)
     I believe God is big enough and God's Love is vast enough to handle all of life's questions and mine.  I don't want anything smaller.  When I try to live into something more limiting, life presents a question that just can't be satisfactorily answered within the tinier frame of reference.  I see God's enormous, surprising, including love as I learn from and follow in the Way of Jesus.  That Way includes my brain, my world, and God's love in the mix.
     I expect that this question isn't finished for me.  God will continue to grow me.  And all along the way I believe that God's life-changing, soul-saving, world-reconciling, mystery-generating Love is holding me and drawing me closer.  Traditional language calls that salvation.  So for all my friends who will challenge me, I'm saved.  Saved from the hell of disconnectedness, of unlovedness, of non-enough-ness, of cluelessness, of broken-without-hope-ness, of worthlessness, of purposelessness... of all the realities that would, without a Way of Love, leave me wandering, alone, broken, hopeless, clueless, living a random life that makes no difference.  I'm included in something huge and loving.  How cool is that!
     I care about what you believe too!  I care about what keeps you connected to God's love and if somehow that's a different picture of hell (or any other belief for that matter), I want to learn about your picture too.  I want to love all of God's creation along the way.  I want to live with Jesus' welcoming, loving, life-changing ways.  So please share what gives you hope.  Please share how you see hell.  Please be brave enough to speak with only gentle honest words for yourself and trust that The Author of Love, of Heaven & Hell, will hold us in Holy Conversation.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cost of Connection

     I'm doing the boring work of airport waiting and I am truly so excited to be here.  Why?  I'm going to see my new granddaughter, Miah May.  Connections are like that.  They all have a cost.  Some costs I pay joyfully.  Some I pay functionally, some reluctantly, and some costs are too high for the connection expected.
     I been reading the Old Testament book of Leviticus and all those rules about sacrifice.  Why?  I want to be connected to my heritage and my God.  I'm ready, once in a while, to pay the cost of reading with explanations from scholars and colleagues in hand, so that I can understand, learn, grow and challenge my life's thinking.
     I'm committed to following Jesus, including loving everyone.  I run into that most with my EGR (Extra Grace Required) relationships.   I pay the cost of leaning into those relationships precisely because it's worth the cost of learning to live a life that's proven to make a difference in world-changing ways.
     Right now, I'm joyfully connecting, even if it means waiting in airports, rushing to get work done, and spending some money, it's all worth it for the connection.   Really, that's why I choose to pay the cost of connection most of the time... I experience a better life, a joy, an effectiveness... it's worth it.
     There are days I fail to pay the cost and have to ask for help.  That's OK too because it usually drives me back to considering the cost of connection, my values, and my choices.  So how about you?  What relationships are worth the price of connection for you?  Which ones do you choose?  I'd love to hear about your decisions and choices and stories in the comment section.
    Off to see Miah May and her family.  Peace on the Journey.  Dave

God loves you and me so much God paid the cost of connection.  Check it out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Finding Peace on 9/11

n this anniversary of 9/11 I read a thought provoking piece by Rabbi Laura Geller, Fighting the Internal Enemy.  Rabbi Geller reminds me of two important principles for peace.  One is relationship with myself, knowing and understanding what moves me, both good an bad.  Two is relationships with others and learning the "other's" stories and life.  Both of these are set clearly in a relationship with the Divine, something bigger than just my conclusions and inclinations.  Good stuff.
      So I wonder how it's so easy for me to forget what Jesus' taught, to love my God with all I have and my neighbor as myself?  It's not rocket science.  It's not military.  It's not budget dependent.  It is effective.  It is contagious.  It is faithful.  Yet I get wrapped up in anger, pain, ego.... easily, without awareness of both myself and the Holy.
      I've noticed many different responses to 9/11 over this decade plus one years.  Some intense.  Some reflective.  And digging deep into my spirit, and you into yours, is a simple, powerful beginning place to remember and build peace.
      How do you remember and build peace?