Will you stand up for your faith?

Having studied a good bit of history and over the years a lot about the history of my faith I have noticed some interesting parallels in today’s world.

women in the churchIf you learn about the early church and the followers of Jesus it is apparent (although seldom mentioned) that women played an important role. After all, they were the first to see Jesus after his crucifixion. Mary Magdalene was a follower of his and important in his ministry and NOT a prostitute. She was relegated to that role later in church history when the Roman church did its best to disavow the roles of women. Women were the personification of sin and not allowed to be a meaningful part of the church. The church did a good job and it wasn’t until centuries later that the protestant traditions began to reverse the trend. It has always been interesting to me that priests were not allowed to marry in spite of the fact that our beliefs sprang from Judaism which believed that men should marry.

So much for the past. Now, in a parallel to removing women,  the culture seems to be set on destroying belief in any religion. They are intent on removing the one system that wants to employ a moral code. Religion is being mocked and followers are thought of as not intelligent enough to see reality. This may also follow the “I” principle. “I am more important than anyone else. Others don’t matter nor can I be held to someone’s outdated moral code.”

stand upI am offended by this trend and concerned for the life of believers. Who knows…maybe we will end up being persecuted and it will revive the faith. Hardship and persecution does seem to bring out the best in belief.

At my age I have learned to speak my mind and not be afraid of the outcome. I will continue to follow my faith and be willing to stand up for it.

 

hear the music

Do we get it?

painI have talked here about my friend whose husband is in excruciating pain. Pain medicines only give momentary relief. The pain is unremitting. Diagnosis has been difficult and we now know it is from a back fracture and a pinched nerve in the back. The question becomes what to do?

As we grow older the answers to medical issues becomes more complex. Can the person withstand the surgery? Will it solve the problem? If not what now? We tend to forget that not everything can be fixed to our satisfaction.

Life’s problems cannot always be solved the way we want. This is a hard thing to learn. My husband has always said “every problem has a solution but it may not be the one we know or want”. I am sure that we all know people who live with chronic health problems or who are disabled. Sometimes we don’t even see it. How often do we disregard the person who seems “less than” for whatever reason. We walk by and think “Oh too bad” and just keep going.

The same thing can be said about the treatment of those of us with emotional issues. Most people don’t understand and either don’t want to do the work to get it or just keep going.

Admittedly, it is easier to understand something that we have experienced ourselves. That’s why support groups with fellow travelers help. But all of us have been at fault. I can get the emotional issues but do not understand the breadth of some physical problems even with my medical training. I have a friend who has cared for her son with cerebral palsy since his birth some 50 odd years ago. She has ignored her own wants to support him and enrich his life. He has a brilliant mind but has to use a computer to communicate. Do any of us really understand the life of either her or her son? I don’t think so.

love peopleWe need to strive for the kind of compassion and love that is shown in the life of Christ. We need to take time to listen and do our best to be a companion on the way not just a voyeur.  If everyone could do this so many lives would be enriched.

Strive to live with compassion and love!

A big question ?????

bad thingsFor those of us who are Christians the question is often asked “if God is so good why do bad things happen?” Unfortunately, this is the unanswerable question. I wish I could say that I know how to explain this. I don’t

Over the years many theologians have written about this question and some have attempted to answer it…. none to my satisfaction. Many people who question there being a God jump on this problem. If there is a God why doesn’t he/she do something about the many tragedies in the world? It always puts us up against a hard spot. To them, it seems trivial for us to say that we don’t know. It seems that we can’t defend our belief.

Why is one person’s cancer healed and another’s not? Why did a friend’s child die in a car accident? Why does a pastor friend’s grandson have brain cancer? How I wish I could come up with an answer that made sense.

To those in pain the statement that God/Jesus will be with us in our pain and suffering doesn’t help. The fact that Jesus also suffered is little consolation. So if we can’t answer the question what can we do?

fixedI long ago learned that I can’t fix everything but I can be there. I call it a ministry of presence. I can’t take away the pain but I can let them know that they do not have to go through it alone.  Not only does God promise to be with them but the community of faith is called to love, comfort, and sustain them through the pain. The caveat is that we have to be in a community of faith that companions those in need.

 

We need to search until we find that place. We have to keep looking and keep in mind that only if we offer ourselves to be part of that will it work. To just appear in church during the week and go home does not make you part of the community. You must open yourself to become a caring member. This may not be easy and it won’t work until you find your place but don’t give up.

Christian loveRemember, churches are made up of people and people have flaws. No church is perfect. No church has all the answers. Just find one that fills your soul in some way. It won’t be everything that you want it to be but it can still be home. After all, our families are also flawed and imperfect and yet still family. Find a church family with all that implies.

 

see more on this topic on https://wordpress.com/post/heargodinothervoices.blog/1028

Irrational Behavior

I have finished reading the book by Henri Nouwen and have started the book “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time”  by Marcus Borg. Borg is talking about reading the Bible from a new perspective. There are people who don’t like Borg but his thoughts challenge me. Borg talks about our perspective being connected with scientific thinking which says that something is true if it can be verified by further studies.

god-of-the-gaps

Our beliefs about Christianity cannot be verified and science can easily discard them as not valid. It is not easy to think about something that can’t be proved. We have lived with scientific method for so long that it is ingrained. My favorite author, Madeleine L’Engle, says there is true and then there is truth. Truth is something more. Something beyond explanation. It cannot be proved but somehow we just know it.

I certainly can’t explain my faith to someone who does not believe. Intellectually it can’ be done. I can, however, live it in a way that makes them ask why….why did I act that way? Behaving as Christ did is not understandable to the rational mind. He did everything against the mores of the time. He was a radical, a revolutionary.

pathIf we live that way there will be questions asked. Some may think we have gone off the rails but this doesn’t matter. This is the kind of irrational behavior that I want to try and embrace. Something to aim for.

We are OK

broken crayonsWe are so good at putting ourselves down. We don’t need any other critic. The one inside of us does a good enough job. We think that we have  to be perfect and that it is expected of us. We need a reality check.

Our reality check can be found in the Bible. When we look at who God chose to do the things he wanted it should give us hope. God called Moses to go and convince pharaoh get people out of Egypt. Moses was supposed to talk to pharaoh. Give a great speech. Unfortunately Moses stuttered. What a choice for God to make!

Next we take a look at Rahab. She was a women who live in Jericho. This was where the Israelites were to enter the promised land. They need information and sent spies into the city to the home of Rahab. Since she was a prostitute they felt they would not be noticed there. Their mission was successful and they promised to spare Rahab. She was to hang a red cord outside the window of her house which was in the outside wall. She and her family were spared when the Israelites attacked. A prostitute….chosen by God.

Now lets look at David. David sent his friend and soldier into battle to get killed so that he could have his wife. An adulterer, a king and favorite of God.

Mary was a teenager who got pregnant before she was married and told Joseph a tall story about carrying God’s child. Fortunately Joseph believed her.

Then there are the disciples who promised to follow Jesus but kept messing up. One of them turned him into the authorities and another denied him three times.

you are strongIf we want to put ourselves down we are in good company. Anyone is good enough for God to choose. We are loved. We are chosen. We are OK.

If only

if-only-life-was-simple_4There are times when I wish I lived in a bubble and the world outside didn’t matter. Inside the bubble would be love, joy, peace, calm. All the things I long for now. I should add that I am blessed to have love but I could use the others right now.

The trials that I have had in my life were mostly mine to deal with. Something that I could do something about. The trials I have now I have no control over. I can’t fix any of it. I would share the problems but since they belong to others I don’t feel comfortable doing that.

Yesterday I did have to go with my son to put his beloved dog to sleep. My pain was not only for the dog but for my son and his family. The sadness of losing a pet is heartrending. I can’t fix that pain but I was there to share his grief. That seems to be my role at the moment. I can share the pain but that is all. And I can pray.

Sometimes when I pray I just sing the song:

Jesus, Jesus, let me tell you what I know

You have given me your spirit. I love you so.

 

prayer in heartIt is so much easier when it is your own problems. At least then you know that the choices are up to you for good or bad. We have all made bad choices in our lives and suffered the consequences. The world will continue on that way. Bad choices will always be made. Let us just hope that good comes in the long run.

 

 

There is someone to listen

We-just-need-someone-who-will-listen (1)Yesterday I just didn’t have the energy to write. I am not sure about tonight but I just need to vert. The last few weeks have been so frustrating. Nothing major but it just seems that everything that I have tried to do has been a headache. Things that are usually simple became complicated and it all became more and more annoying. Our medical system has run off the rails.  As a Parish Nurse I helped people navigate the system but it has disappeared on down the track.  Three weeks ago I saw a doctor who prescribed medication that is new. I knew that I had to be authorized but for the last three weeks is just plain disappeared. No one knew what had happened to it.  Today I took the bull by the horns and appeared in the drs office demanding to discover where the vanishing medicine was. This was after multiple calls to the drs office and our insurance provider.

Well guess what…? the drs office is using a new system and sent the rx somewhere in the nebula to get it since it is difficult to approve. I let them know that there is such a thing as COMMUNICATION. Some clear answers and some information at my office visit would have saved much stress and aggravation. (I sitll don’t know where the rx is)

As I said my computer crashed and getting everything up and running has been one aggravation after another. Since I don’t have the medicine I need my IBS has flared again. I could go on and on..

Thank you bloggers for the time to vent. I just needed to get some of the anger and intense feelings out.

god-hears-youOne of the things I have learned in my life is that sometimes all someone needs is to be able to ventilate their feelings. If you have someone that you can do this with you are blessed.

God is there to listen if we just take the time. He will always hear our feelings no matter what they are. Sometimes I imagine being held in the arms of Jesus and my tears being wiped away. There is peace in his care.