Why question generosity?

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Recently CNN covered a story about Aaron Collins who died 3 weeks after his 30th birthday. Since his 20s Aaron had asked that upon his death three things take place: to repay his parents any debt he may have owed, to give a homeless person some money and to leave “an awesome tip” for a waiter or waitress. “I’m not talking about 25%. I mean $500 for a … pizza,” Collins wrote in his will, according to his brother.

Aaron wanted to be generous. He once left a $50 tip when he received really bad service just to make someone’s day better. But people are skeptics. There is a lot of talk about internet scams to raise money for Aaron’s family to continue giving away money on his behalf. Arguments about whether or not Aaron committed suicide.

I think that people are just set on edge when it comes to generosity.

What are your thoughts?

Angel & Nemesis

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There’s this camp game called “Angel & Nemesis.” Here’s how it goes: with your group of people – usually a group of 8+, you have everyone secretly chose for themselves an angel and a nemesis. Your goal is to keep your angel in a straight line between you and your nemesis. Assuming that everyone actually wants to play, there should be a great deal of scattering, always trying to keep that angel person between you and your nemesis. There is no winner or loser to the game – it is just a game.

On a different note, we all have things or people that act as a nemesis in our lives. An addiction, someone you really cannot be around for whatever reason, temptation to abuse the trust of someone – I’m sure you can think of your own.  The question is, what “angel” have you put in your life to come between you and the nemesis? How do you protect yourself?  How do you use your faith to help you?

Church Attraction

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The question is, “Who does the church attract?” not, who should, but who does.

Before we get too far into this I do not believe that the church is necessary for salvation – I don’t think that God works that way. I do believe that the church is a very important social structure for the mutual uplifting and sharing of faith, questioning and growing in our faith, care and support for those who are in need – physical, emotional, psychological, and a place to find respite from the world and it’s seemingly endless demands. Additionally, I believe that gathering around God’s word, Christ’s meal, and the water of life is important as a foundation for us to live as followers of Jesus.

None of that answers or even pokes at “Who does the church attract?” Scripture makes it pretty clear that “the church” (the people of God, followers of Jesus – however you quantify it) is to go out, not expecting people to be attracted to the building, the program, the style of worship, the denomination. But my experience is that this is exactly the way the church acts – “they” should come to “us” becasue “we” have what “they” need.

I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth (blog as it were) so I leave the question hanging, who does the church attract?  Who should the church attract?  How might the church go about being more real in the world?

Faith and Love

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Werner Elert (1885-1954) makes a note that “faith and love must always be distinguished in such a way that faith concerns the person and love concerns the works.” We are given the gift of faith by the Holy Spirit and the result of this faith is acting in love toward those we interact with. Ellert goes on, “Faith remains the actor and love remains the deed.”

I believe that God and Jesus have great faith in us. I would even go so far as to say that when Paul says, “We are saved by grace through faith,” this faith is Christ’s faith in us (otherwise faith is still something we have to do). The result of this faith is love. Loving deeds for the earth, animals, fellow persons. Jesus indicates that with faith we will do his commandments – love God and love your neighbor.

What do you make of this correlation between faith and love?

What would you do?

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Let’s say that you were given an unexpected day off to do anything. What would you do?

  • Get caught up on a projects around home.
  • Sleep in, relax, and do nothing.
  • Go to a museum, park, cultural event.
  • Watch movies, read, eat your favorite foods.
  • Other

Surprises

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Tonight a group of us talked about “surprises.”

I’d like to hear from you about your feelings concerning surprises. Are there different primal emotions with “good” and “bad” surprises? In what way can we be surprised by grace?

Can’t wait to hear from you and continue to conversation.

Community

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Dorothy day in her autobiography, The Long Loneliness, wrote this:

“We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking of the bread and we know each other in the breaking of the bread, and we are not alone any more. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship.

We have all known and the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.

It all happened while we sat there talking, and it is still going on.”

I appreciate Ms. Day’s consideration of community. I have come to realize that it is when I am dis-engaged from community that life is much more difficult. Even though being in community has it’s particular difficulties and necessity for  accountability, it is much better to travel with others than trying to go it alone.

What are your thoughts on community, Ms. Day’s comments, anything…

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