Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful For What?

I'll admit, sometimes I'm guilty of a cynical attitude.  I know I'm called to be grateful for the things I have, but my circumstances swallow me up and I end up taking a swim in the pool of self pity.  I observe those around me who have more stuff and wonder why I can't afford to have the same things.  I leave the grocery store peeved because there were a few items I really wanted to get that just didn't make the cut this week and will have to wait until next--or maybe not at all.  I wish I had nicer furniture and a faster internet connection. When I see what others have, I'm envious and feel sorry for myself. 

Oh, I'm grateful for what I have, I just wish I had more.  There's a line in the children's book by Dr. Suess, Yertle the Turtle, where King Yertle says, "I'm ruler of all that I see, but I don't see enough.  That's the trouble with me."  He had everything he needed, but still wanted more. 

I just finished reading a book called The Hole In Our Gospel, written by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision.  I hated this book.  It was awful.  You should read it.  I'm not going to go into detail, because my point is not to write a book review.  But, the book is about our call as Christians to help the poor and impoverished of this world.  It's also about how RICH we are. 

A large part of my problem of wanting more and not being thankful for what I have, is that all too often, I'm comparing myself to the wrong people.  I look at those who have more than me and wonder why I don't have what they have, rather than considering those with less than me (which according to the book is 99% of all people in the world!) and being immensley grateful for what I've been entrusted with.  I get bent out of shape because I don't have HD on my TV, when there are 1.2 billion people in our world who don't even have clean water.  Ouch.  That's something I certainly take for granted. 

I thought about this today as we shared Thanksgiving dinner at our church with a small group of friends.  With the cold weather and storms we've had, a pipe broke and we were forced to serve a turkey dinner with no running water.  Let me tell ya, that was a challenge.  I was inconvenienced by the fact that I had to haul some water in a huge jug from my house to the church.  I had to pause and think of those that have to haul water, by hand, every day...and it's not even good water.  Suddenly I feel a little more thankful. 

With Christmas now coming and materialism kicking into high gear, I think I'll try to keep in perspective all that I've been given and recognize the riches that are mine in Christ Jesus. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Trouble With Blogging

 The trouble with blogging is that it's getting hard.  First of all blogs are becoming more sophisticated.  When they first started, a blog was a "web-log".  It was basically a journal--a place for someone to spit out random thoughts and ideas or a share events from daily life, much like I do here.  But over time, blogs have become serious sources of information.  We look to them for how-to info, for news, entertainment, and read them like newspaper columns.  It's getting more and more difficult to have a "blog about nothing".

Secondly, for me, Facebook is killing my blog.  It's far too easy to hop on FB and post a status update with a few words, rather than think it through and turn it into a full blog post.  Micro-blogging, (FB and Twitter) take the creative juices and drain them right out of me.  If I spend too much time on Facebook, I'm left with nothin'.

The last problem is knowledge.  They say knowledge is power, but sometimes it leaves me feeling powerless.  Over my few years of blogging, I've read various information on how to write and build a better blog.  Therein lies the problem.  Possibly it's the same for you.  You start out with a hobby that's actually, well... fun.  Then you begin to learn about it and find out all the things you didn't know.  You realize just how wrong you've been doing it.  Then you're faced with the difficult choice to either continue on in the error of your ways (but having a good time) or change your ways and conform, with all the pleasure sucked out of it.  You can no longer naively go about your business because you've been told what you should be doing. 

Are you a blogger, a writer, a hobbyist of any sort?  Help me answer this you only follow the rules or do you let your free spirit rule?  When you play golf, do you throw an extra ball down and take a mulligan or dutifully count the strokes and take your drop?  I'm beginning to think I need to take the mulligans...or I'm missing the whole point.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Dichotomy of Politics and Baseball

I noticed an interesting and very scary thing this past week.  It started during game 4 of the World Series between the San Fransisco Giants and the Texas Rangers.  During the seventh inning stretch, a beautiful young woman stood up and belted out "God Bless America."  I believe I heard that she was the wife of one of our troops.  She was fantastic and, I thought, better than some of the professionals who sang on other nights.  (If you know who she was or the full story, please enlighten me!)  The thought struck me that even as messed up as our society is, we still publicly sing God Bless America.  I wonder how many people stop and consider what it really means to ask God to bless America.

Then on November 1st, I was taking a final look at the Idaho State Voter's Guide in preparation for casting my vote the next day.  As I looked through the list of issues that the candidates either supported or opposed, I was surprised to see "Protect the right of legislative chaplains to pray according to their convictions, including 'In Jesus' Name'".

How sad!  A few nights before we were singing God Bless America and yet our political candidates are required to declare if they support or oppose allowing Americans to pray in Jesus' name.  It doesn't matter which party you voted for yesterday, like Nehemiah who not only wept, but also repented on behalf of the sins of Israel (Nehemiah 1), if we desire God's forgiveness and blessing on our country, we have some serious repenting to do.  Let's get to it and rebuild the wall.


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