Finding church

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Those of us who are Christian have often struggled with finding a place to worship that feels right to us. I think that part of  this disconnect comes from our struggle with Christians themselves…including us. We keep wanting to find a place where Christian behavior fits Christ’s lessons to us. Yet we never find it.

There is a reason for that. Churches are made up of people and people are flawed. Not only are we flawed but each of us has our own beliefs and our own ideas of how to live them out. Probably no two of us would agree on everything. Some of us want to be given rules or directions to follow. We are uncomfortable with uncertainty. Some of us want to think for ourselves and are not afraid of asking questions and doubting answers. Some people are in the middle and expect a blending of both.

All of this makes finding a place where you feel at home more difficult. However, we need to think about a family. Families certainly don’t think alike or function in the same way.

Henri-J-M-Nouwen-Quote-Christian-community-is-the-place-where-weThe conclusion that I have reached is to try and find a place (at least for me) where you feel at least accepted. One where you can be challenged to grow and where you can hear stories of the struggles and journeys of others. We will always agree with some and disagree with others. This is normal. Church is not perfect and never will be. It was created by mankind not by God. God speaks anywhere at any time. Church gives us a place to share our faith and a community of believers even if we don’t agree about everything.

It is very hard to follow the teachings of Christ outside of community.

Freedom is a gift

It is dangerous to take human freedom for granted, to regard it as a prerogative rather than as an obligation, as an ultimate fact rather than as an ultimate goal. It is the beginning of wisdom to be amazed at the fact of our being free.—-Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Insecurity of Freedom, 1966

we the people

It is so easy to take our freedom for granted. For those of us who were raised in countries where freedom is the basis of our life we don’t appreciate how rare it is. Freedom should not be considered a noun. It is a verb. It is something that we must strive for every single moment. It could be snatched away from us so easily. We must see it as a very fragile gift that has to be nurtured. If not it will be gone.

Don’t take freedom for granted.

Happy fourth of July!

It’s a new day

new day Eleanor RooseveltToday I have rested in a bubble of calm. There were errands to run, food to buy etc….but these are “normal” things. For the last six months I have been living in abnormal and abnormal has not been fun. So many unanswered questions were hanging in the air and I don’t do well unknowing. Not I can see a path ahead …and yes I can obsess about it but it feels right.

Our lives don’t seem to maintain a “normal” for very long before we have to adjust to a “new normal.” For me this happens quite regularly. Change is one of the only constants. I seem to be able to manage some kinds of change but the ones that come with unanswered questions are the most difficult for me.

Again, it comes down to living each day as it comes. Trusting that things will somehow work out and just being grateful for the NOW. If we could only learn to live each day and immerse ourselves in it we would be able to live fully. I try but I don’t always succeed. Being grateful for what is true for us at the moment is part of the equation.

god be in my headMadeleine L’Engle (one of my favorite writers) says that before she gets out of bed in the morning she signs the cross and says: “God be in my head, God be in my heart, God be at my left hand, God be at my right hand this day.” What a wonderful way to start the day.

Are we ready for these decisions?

experimentToday we went to see the movie Jurassic World. If you have seen the other Jurassic movies you get the gist of the story. I have pondered since the first movie on the theme that runs through them…”what are we doing to our world?” As part of my nursing career I worked for a while in Neonatal Intensive Care. That was a long time ago and yet we were already struggling with many ethical issues. Were we saving babies whose quality of life would not make sense? When is enough…enough?

We are still struggling with consuming issues in medical ethics. In the films it is portrayed by creating animals long gone and what is the impact of this on our current world? This comes from our continuing research into the very basics of life…studies of DNA, cells and beyond. What do we see for the future? Will be creating people with specific characteristics? Will we be able to live forever? Is any of this a good idea?

The ramifications of where we are in biological studies is way beyond my ability to decipher. The scary part is that the decisions will work their way out of anyone’s ability to oversee them. We will try with laws but there are always those who don’t follow the law.

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The things we are learning can be wonderfully enlightening and heal many genetic illnesses. The cure for cancer may not be far away.

Unfortunately these things can be used for evil as well. We may yet create a master race.

I can add this to my list of things to worry about for my children, grandchildren and great grandchild. That’s just in case I have nothing to obsess about.

How do you foresee us handling the ethical issues facing us very soon?

Depleted and hot

Heat-Stroke-First-Aid-300x225Today I went out and tackled some more vines in my azaleas. Good thing to do? right? NO. Since the temperature was around 98 and the humidity matched it heat stroke was a possibility. I did go out early but that was little help. Working for a while in a sunny area I realized that I need to move to shade. As soaked with sweat as I was I looked as if I had jumped in the creek in front of our house. Since I had no death wish I moved to the other side of the house where shade prevailed and here is where I dipped into dementia.

There was a camellia bush that was in my plans to prune since it was at least 10 feet tall and looking spindly. It was in the shade. This job would take one thing off my to-do list so I started in. It never occurred to me that cutting/pruning the bush was a monumental task and being obsessive there was no way I would quit until it was done.

fatigueAfter hauling the remains to the street to be picked up by the county I raced to a cold shower and remained in that blissful place until I cooled down. I felt better but the thing I hadn’t considered was the amount of time I had spent outdoors in the heat. Exhaustion was on its way. I almost slept through dinner…a pizza which my wonderful husband picked up…and am now barely awake.

Sometime in the recent past I wrote about choosing the right amount of work to do. How the right amount makes us feel great and too much makes us  drained of our physical and mental resources. Well…I  am there. Tomorrow is a designated rest day!

good decisions

Remember, we do need to work to accomplish tasks that help us to feel successful but too much will make us weary and enervated. Choose wisely!