Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Gay, Straight, Red State, Blue State, War, Peace, Blah, Blah, Blah

I feel so left out. I'm not energized enough about any polar extreme that I feel compelled to protest for or against anything. In fact, the last protest gathering that interested me was held in Washington D.C. when Martin Luther King Jr. preached his immortal "I Have A Dream" prophetic Word. Some days I wonder if I am the only Christian alive that just is not interested in either side of most current protests. What side you ask? Pick a side, any side; I'm not on any of the protester's sides.

Gay marriage? I'm just busy keeping my straight marriage healthy, counseling other straight marriages so they stay healthy, meeting with straight couples who are planning on getting married and trying to spread as much love and healing on lonely singles as I can to keep them on the path of good mental health. I must be too apathetic about the greater cultural war to get involved in the politics of gay marriage.

The last time I checked, straight marriage is in a train load of trouble, all by itself. There's at least a 50% failure rate going on inside and outside the church. So, for now, I am going to leave the gay marriage argument up to all the smart people who are protesting on both sides of that issue so I can concentrate my simple tiny brain on what's going on right in front of me. Jesus warned me that the speck I see in someone else's eye might just be the plank stuck in my eye.

Pro-Choice? Pro-Life? I am completely pro-life; but for the "life" of me I just cannot imagine parading with signs, signing petitions or even putting bumper stickers on my car. I am spending my "pro-life" energies on ministering to people who believe that after they were born their dysfunctional parents aborted them. Teens and men and women whose fathers and mothers never mentored them. Adult children still looking for parental support and acceptance. I simply don't have time to go to the state capital to find a TV camera that will capture my indignation for the evening news and my 15 minutes of fame.

Oh, and by the way; in my 33 years of pastoring I have wept with many young ladies who have called me for help with the heart breaking "decision" to make about a surprise pregnancy. AND....with every one of them, since abortion became legal, the pressure they felt to end the life of their baby was coming from a man in their life. A boyfriend, husband and yes, even their fathers who were pushing them toward.....are you ready for this......the "woman's right" to a choice. As a result, I view abortion as more a sick and happy relief for some proud, arrogant, irresponsible sperm donor boyfriend/husband or shallow shaming father. Go to a protest at an abortion clinic? Not for me. I'd rather work out at a local gym for a few months so that I could adequately beat the crap out of few males (not men) who have broken too many hearts. Yes, I said crap.

Now what will happen is that someone will protest me writing the word "crap" in my blog. HEY! Maybe this will solve my problem of feeling left out. Yes....that's the ticket! Now I can be part of the whole protesting thing by being the object of a protest! Cool! That beats the crap out of being a protester!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hello. My Name is Truth

Truth will wreck you. It will set you right side up is an upside down world. Truth will strip you of every selfish notion devised by your past, your pains, your problems, your personality, your preferences, your possesiveness, your poverty, your personality, your prosperity, your pity, your power, your perfectionism, your performance, your peers, your paralysis, your predespositions, your prudishness, your put-ons, your papa and your paranoia.

Truth will meet you head-on with no intention of slowing down or dodging you. It's reality will be like headlights frozen on high-beam bearing down on you in it's own lane, challenging you to awaken to the reality that you are in the wrong lane. As a matter of fact, Truth won't even "honk". That sound you hear is your adrenalized heart-beating.

Truth, while not forgiving in itself, will lead you to forgiveness. Truth is a living power, a driving rain storm, a relentless blizzard and a sunshine drenched perfect day. Jesus said, "I AM the Truth....". Truth walks. Truth talks. Truth laughs. Truth weeps. Truth bleeds. Truth will die with every intention of living larger later.

Truth will set you free, not in spite of these things, but BECAUSE of these things. Truth heals us when we accept the stark fact that we don't know it. Truth delivers us when we crawl across the gravel of life, reach our bleeding fingers toward its hem and snatch it hard to our weeping face and say in our heart, "If I can just touch the edge of Truth I will be free".

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New Hearts for Stones

I am preaching a lenten sermon series entitled, "New Hearts for Stones". The content is shattering me. It is literally haunting my thoughts and dreams. I am confident I am reaching at least one person with a Word from!

The essence is rooted in several promises throughout the scriptures that promise God's longing to dig out of our chests the hearts of stone and replace them with new hearts of soft flesh. I won't take the time or space for references here. Get a concordance and simply look up "heart" and start reading. The sheer volume of God's focus on the matter of "heart" will speak for itself. What is crystal clear to me from the Spirit's Voice in all of this is that a cold stone heart is more offensive to God than any, and yes, I mean any, other sin we churchoids (look up the suffixe "-oid") protest.

Author, Anne Lamott says, "You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." That's the heart of stone. Now, without me doing your work for you, can you identify the possibility of that stone in your chest? If so, you've got a promise to claim. God wants to give you a new heart.

Yesterday I was reading about a churchoid group that is criss-crossing the nation to go to the funerals of military service men and women killed in action. Their one and only purpose is to hold signs and yell at the funeral attendees the content of their stone hearts. "God killed your loved one to punish America for its sins!" "God is America's Terrorist!" Those are the nicest, and only quotes I'll print in my blog! Minnesota is studying legislation to put this churchoid group at a "safe" distance from any funeral held in the state. As far as I am concerned, Wyoming would not be a "safe" distance. I did find it enlightening to read that one mother of a slain soldier said, "My son fought for, and died for freedom of speech....if they want to stand out there at my son's funeral...they have every right to be there."

My simple point for this simple blog is this: the only solution is for each of us, one by one, claiming God's promise for a new heart. I cannot carpet the world, but I can put on a pair of shoes. I cannot stop people pretending to be the church from advertising their dead stone hearts, but I can claim a soft real heart for myself. And maybe, just maybe, it will be so real for me, that I can start a revolution of heart.

That is why I pastor. That is why I preach. New hearts anyone?