1 John 3:23-24

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And this is [God’s] commandment, that we should believe in the name of [God’s] Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as [God] has commanded us. All who obey [God’s] commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

It’s the triple-dog dare. It’s been out there for literally thousands of years and we (humanity) still doesn’t get and can’t seem to do it. Love God, believe in Jesus, love each other. That is God’s dare.
Every major religion on earth has some form of the Golden Rule, to love your neighbor as yourself, as part of their basic understanding of how to live. It’s the compassion dare, and we have failed to take a running start at it. But not with you, you can change all that and accept the dare. Do the dare, I wonder what the world’s reaction will be; I wonder what God’s reaction will be.

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From the Dirt

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New LifeI am amazed with composting.  I find it to be one of the most beautiful ways of experiencing new life after death.  The materials that go in, from: egg shells to radish tops, leaves to grass clippings.  You stir it, cultivate it, allow it to “heat up.”  And then, one day, rich soil is ready to produce more life.

Scripture says that God took some dirt from that ground, formed it into a human creature then God blew breath into it’s lungs, and now the human was alive.  We are the the result of composted lives;  Mothers and Fathers of the faith.  We are ready to be cultivated and made new in God’s continuing creation.

Giving Up vs. Giving In

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I have recently witnessed the term “giving up” as a reference to medical choices.

An elderly woman in her 90’s has pneumonia and a mass on her lung.  There are choices to be made in this situation. Pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics.  The mass could be seen better with a CT scan, then maybe even biopsied, with other choices from there.

So, what do you do?

Everything possible?

Nothing?

Some use of pharmaceutical options and nothing invasive?

Do we know what the woman wants?

Does not doing anything or just doing some of the non-invasive choices mean that you are giving up on the woman?  If someone does see this as “giving up” it would appear, to me, that they are seeing this as some sort of a guilt issue.  “I don’t want to feel guilty, so let’s do everything possible to keep her alive, no matter the costs.”  Is this about the elderly woman or the person grasping for straws?

I think that “giving in” can be an active, grace filled means of love.  Sometimes not doing everything possible allows people to die with great dignity, even a sense of control.  Giving in is not losing.  Giving in is removing our own egos and emotional baggage in order to allow life to be a process, a transformation.

I’d love to hear you comments.

Longing

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Eart2014-05-26 07.29.53h

Earth is LONGING

Earth is LONGING for Life

Earth is LONGING for Life – Unknown

Earth is LONGING for Life – Still Buried

Earth is LONGING for renewal

Earth is is PREPARING

NOW

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Every Spring I am amazed at the new growth that shows up all over the place.2014-05-20 07.37.06

This year I have been particularly intrigued by the new growth of flowers (and weeds like creeping Charlie) that comes grows in the compost from last Fall.  Compost is an important factor in making a rich, nutrient filled soil.  Compost can also choke out the potential of any new growth.

A huge part of Christianity is to be compost.  A place for growth, new life and new potential.  Yet we have also been like compost that chokes out potential, covers the “ugliness,” and sucks all the oxygen out lives around us. In my side yard I have Creeping Charlie growing up through the compost of last year.  Although I initially like the look to the purple leaves of this little plant, I can see how it takes over entire patches of grass.

Churches have the exact same issue.  There is all this growth coming from the compost.  It looks great on the surface and we have people saying, “Look at all the growth that is happening.”  The problem is that the growth is toxic.  This growth will actually hold back any potential real growth to be the salt, life, and light to the world that Jesus has called us to be.

The Gospel of John talks about pruning so that the fruit will grow.  We also need to pull the weeds that may look like new growth but are really hindering people from experiencing and growing in Jesus. We can do great things together when we can look carefully at what is growing.

Tradition

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Our oldest son, Jacob, recently finished performing “Fiddler on the Roof” with Children’s Theater of Madison. I am continually captivated by “Tradition.” I like the song, but there is so much more to it than just fun lyrics.
There is one portion of the show where Tevye is talking about traditions, listing them off and telling the audience why that particular tradition is important. Some of the traditions, Tevye has no idea why they are the way they are.
What I’d like to chat about is when is tradition a significant grounding for faith; and when is it “we’ve always done it this way.”?
What are the positives and potentials pitfalls of tradition?

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2014-05-11 11.15.33On the corner of Linden & Dunning there is a contemplation garden.   Sometimes I just sit on the grass; others on the memorial bench.  I particularly like it when the air temperature is a bit cold, but the sun is out in full force.

I find it amazing to see flowers grow from just bursting through the earth to full bloom and color. As I look at those petals, seeing their shape, texture and shades of color I am struck with awe for all of God’s creation.

What I have noticed most, is that now I actually notice.  By that I mean that I take in my surroundings in a different way than before.  Not necessarily better, but with deeper appreciation.  Robin (a man who sleeps on Zion’s front steps) all it takes is a smile to unfurrow his brow.  Another man who hunts for cigarette butts so he can smoke them – he does’t want a pack of his own (I tried that) but he freely received help when I noticed a pretty big butt by the church door.  I hear more sounds, smell more smells, and see more sights…simply because I notice.

Are you able to notice?  What could be standing in your way?

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