Friday, May 30, 2014
With so many selfies, do You feel squeezed out of our networking equations?
Father/Son/Spirit seem replaced/usurped by me/myself/I.
It's hard to see You, sooooooo hard to see You, when focus and filter shift from Jesus by the book to what I/we/they think, how I/we/they feel, and truth devolves to ego-extension.
Its wreckage is everywhere.
Shared sin surfaced while sensing pain-inundated hearts and seeing it well in the eyes of the more humble to You as attacked as You were in Jesus by Bible-quoting-text-twisting-self-righteous adversary accomplices mastering the trick of accusing others of malevolences best betrayed in their sheep's clothing unable to perfume the stench of soiled underwearing wolves.
Sensing and seeing, the trickles of empathy flooded into sympathy.
While sounding David's most soothing songs, Spirit lifted sight to tunneled trees as willing leaves waltzed at Your Wind's invitation.
Decision was compelled.
Selfies...or dancing with the willing by Your lead.
Lord, am I making too much out of this?
Aren't selfies symptomatic of something/someone far more...?
Narcissus...the child of...
Thank You for dancing with anyone who drops the hands of Bible-quoting-text-twisting-self-righteous adversary accomplices to grasp Yours for leading.
Blessings and Love!
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
"He's a kite. Let him fly but don't let go!
If you don't let him fly, he'll die!
If you don't hold on, he'll..."
I thought it would never happen.
Despite being in my blood since first riding down Sans Souci Highway near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1968 on a Honda 50, I just sold Return2 - 2010 H-D FLHTC.
No more 800 miles door to door in under 14 hours to my octogenarian parents and sister in NE Pennsylvania.
Rainmakers MC will have to ride to the Black Hills moins moi and no more free lunches/concerts at Woodstock H-D and those 1%ers who know I know will have to get along without my apologetics and, I guess, I'll never get to ride with Shadow.
I guess it was inevitable in a predestinarian kinda way.
My book on biker culture is a metaphor for many things - I Just Wanna Ride - buuuuuuut was an underwhelming non-best-seller along with everything else that I've written.
While I never wrote any of 'em for money, it would have been nice to clean up a few debts before my sons inherit 'em.
Anyway, it was my therapy; so I'll be making an appointment with my personal physician for some scripts.
I guess I just got tired of people living prophylactic lives bugging me.
Maybe they meant well; noting my daddy always said the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
"Your father and I," my mom always said, "will pay for your plane ticket or gas and lodging if you drive out with something that has four wheels."
I got tired of saying to other relatives, friends, and church ladies, "I ain't no kid, Nurse Ratched."
Sooooooo many people smiling about me getting caught in the rain.
Enough about the helmet; as if it's any of their business or I don't believe in life after life through Jesus or not wearing one gives hope to my enemies.
Enough annoyances from one of my best friends: "Don't ask me to come when they're scraping you off Route 90!"
I'm an undershepherd aka pastor.
It's one of the only vocations in which everybody thinks they can tell ya what to do and where to go and how to get there.
Just sold Return2.
Sooooooo if you've been smiling while reading the preceding, either you know I'd never abandon my authentic joy for the ride to satiate the control needs of inauthentics and other chatterboxing cowards or you're one of 'em.
Truth is you're probably reading this while I'm riding those 800 to NE Pennsylvania.
Annnnnnnd when I get back, I'll be back to iconoclasting in "An Unauthorized Guide for Pastor Search Committees."
Until then, ride to authenticity!
BTW, the following link explains a lot about...
Annnnnnnd if you just wanna ride, I'll take you to Woodstock H-D and help ya pick a pony!
Blessings and Love!
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Studying in Rome about 42 years ago, I asked Ireland's Father Fachtna McCarthy, "When will the RCC move beyond some of its traditions into this century?"
He said, "Some cardinals will have to die."
The same is true for too many denominations, churches, clubs, organizations, and the like that long for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more.
The same holds true for the problems with our VA, health care, public education, continuing segregations, and...
It's the problem of wineskins.
Dolts who idolize past "processes" as if life doesn't evolve from #2 pencils to computers for the glory of God and advancement of civilization like to rearrange the deck chairs of the Titanic while it's sinking.
Art Pace was one of the most authentic preachers/pastors that I've ever known.
Fresh out of seminary, he was called to a small church in central New Jersey that epitomized the worst of the preceding section; longing for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more.
Also troubled by the increasing apostasies from Jesus by the book in his franchise, he left the church and became a career chaplain for the US Army.
When I connected with him some years ago at one of our big denominational meetings, he said he could talk more about Jesus in the Army than in that small church in central New Jersey and his franchise.
Take that MMOwazzyourname!
I don't know if Art wrote "The Meeting" but he gave it to me about 35 years ago and I think it still has something to do with death by bureaucracy.
P - I now call to order this meeting of the Brandex Presbyterian Church. Is everyone here?
1 - I guess so.
2 - More or less.
3 - I think so.
P - Good! Let's look at the first order of the day. As you know, we're losing lots of members.
1 - Right.
2 - We used to have 54.
3 - But we lost 51.
P- Remember, wherever God is, there's a majority.
1 - Being a majority is lonely.
P - Anyway, I believe we need to attract new members. Any ideas?
1 - How about saying you'll cut off your beard if we invite people to church? Or how about a sermon without quoting dead German guys?
2 - No, I like the sermons as they are.
3 - Yeah, I've really liked our pastor's year-long series on the new book from Cokesbury about The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank.
P - Thank you! Erma Bombeck was always my favorite theologian. But, ya know, I think we do need more of a sharing or evangelistic approach.
1 - Movie night! We can show movies and blanket the town with ads.
2 - No, that costs money. Let's spend money on billboards and ads with catchy sayings.
3 - TV spots!
P - Good! Keep going!
1 - We could hire a sky-writer to puff our name across the sky. It would be very symbolic.
2 - How about a dozen elephants? We could march them through town with our church name draped on them!
P - Yes! Yes!
3 - Excuse me, friends.
P - Yes?
1 - Yes?
2 - Yes?
3 - Don't you think the best way to attract people is to talk about who our church is really named for? Don't you think it would be best to just invite people to meet us and meet Him and...
P - Out of order!
1 - I'm no Jehovah's Witness!
2 - You must have fundy fever!
P- Let's vote! All in favor of the elephants say aye.
1 - Aye!
2 - Aye!
3 - Nay!
P- The ayes have it. Onward Christian soldiers!
Blessings and Love!
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I've often been asked, "What happens to people who don't believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior?"
Essentially, I'm being asked to assume a role for which I am unfit; not to mention a role that has never been entrusted to any other human in a vertical relationship with Him with no apologies to the extreme left and right and others who have the egocentric arrogance and Christological ignorance to fence tables and pretend they're His other sons in a more than human kinda way.
I prefer C.S. Lewis' approach - accentuate what we know; as in Jesus talking to Nicodemus: "We speak of what we know."
We know how to get to heaven - invite Jesus into the heart as Lord and Savior.
We know how to show the signs/proof/evidence that we're going to heaven - enflesh, more than less, the red letters of the New Testament.
Knowing that eternal security generates existential calm as well as passion for increasing Christianity as gratitude.
So we are called akin to the parable of the sower; spreading/sharing that good news with as many as possible and praying/hoping the seeds hit paydirt.
Judgment is His prerogative.
Yes, we know how to get to heaven for sure.
Yes, F/S/HS alone is Judge.
Simply, our privilege is to tell people how to get to heaven for sure; and it's His prerogative alone when it comes to the other eternal destination.
If that distance between humanity and divinity bothers you, it may be time to rethink/pray God alone as sovereign.
Sharing judgment may be fun; but crosses the border of blasphemy.
Ever since spending time with Eugene and some brothers in October 2011 over in Montana, I've spent more time in the book than books about the book; and I've read those red letters over and over and over...
I'm trying to rebirth faith untainted by ideologies/traditions/denominations/religions and other idolatries; or as Kung wrote, a Christian's agenda is "to discover what is permanent...originally meant, before it was covered with the dust and debris of two thousand years...This is not another gospel, but the same ancient gospel rediscovered for today!"
I'm discovering some very disturbing inconsistencies in today's Christianity juxtaposed to Jesus by the book.
I'm discovering most ideologies/traditions/denominations/religions and other idolatries are far more egocentric by books than Christocentric by the book.
I'm discovering any connection between most churches by books and Jesus by the book is only coincidental.
I'm discovering people who don't believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior have, for the most part, been turned away from Him by people who say they believe in Jesus but don't behave like they believe in Jesus by the book.
I'm discovering some churches that are praying and laboring to embrace/exemplify Jesus by the book are...awesome!!!!!!!
I'm discovering revival doesn't only mean bringing people in; but getting people out who don't embrace/exemplify Jesus by the book.
I'm discovering Jesus by the book includes pruning Christianity of books so we can grow closer to Him by the book.
Or something like that.
Anyway, I had an experience on Mother's Day that reminded me of an experience long ago in Kansas City.
My son David, about 3 or 4 at the time, "took" Holy Communion.
Seeing him do that, I knew I was gonna catch it from someone.
So I asked him why he "took" the sacrament.
He answered, "Jesus came into my heart."
A lot better than folks who go through the motions and then hate in a Christian kinda way.
Moretheless, it introduced me to the perils of human judgments; assuming...
Yesterday, on Mother's Day, I was at a buffet sitting next to a really, really, really liberal pastor from another franchise.
Weirdly, we had studied in many of the same schools; even in Europe.
Because it was Mother's Day, I didn't bite at any of the bait to, you know, get into it about something or other.
Buuuuuuut I did talk with him about churches that fence their sacramental tables because they're so much better than...
Coming from a liberal Lutheran franchise, we were on the same page...on that.
Then he told a story to me that caused me to think of things that I have not thought about for a long, long, long time; or, at least, since I was with Eugene and...
It was about his friend, another liberal Lutheran pastor, who had a member who came to him and said, "I love you. I love our church. But I can't stand how liberal we're becoming. So I am going to start attending the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church across town."
For better than worse, they parted amicably.
A few weeks later, the woman showed up in worship.
As they greeted each other after the service, the pastor asked, "Why have you come back?"
She answered, "I went to take communion and was denied. It was the first time that ever happened to me. Now I know what it's like to be denied. That's so far from what I know about Jesus that I can't go there anymore. I may disagree with you about many things; but I don't believe Jesus denies anyone who comes to Him."
I'm increasingly uncomfortable with judging/judgments.
The big thing.
Or even the lesser things.
I've got these logs...
Annnnnnnd I'm wondering as I'm discovering Jesus by the book rather than books about Him and the book if God's judgments are more gracious than ours.
I'm wondering if He came in Jesus because we're never gonna get Him right until that ultimate face-to-face; and even then...
I'm thinking Jesus came to save us from our inabilities/inclinations to/from fidelity as He enfleshed by the book.
What if God really judges?
Where does that leave...me...you...us?
What if God is serious about actions speaking louder than words?
What if the second table of the law really proves the first table?
What if the second part of His greatest commandment really matters/proves most to Him?
What if God really hates exclusions equally as much as inclusions that do not honor Jesus by the book?
What if God really inspects fruit?
What if God really judges?
What if me even asking these questions indicates I've been so polluted by everything/everyone and myself that...?
No wonder He said, "The measure you give will be the measure you get...Judge not lest you be judged likewise..."
Maybe I should spend more time getting to know Jesus by the book than pretending I know enough to...be judgmental...share in His judgments.
Maybe it's time for me to stop trying to be so smart/self-righteous apart from Jesus by the book.
Maybe it's time for me to be...faithful...to...
By the book.
Blessings and Love!
Friday, May 9, 2014
"Our secret lives are laid open before God."
I was in a doubles tennis tournament many, many, many years ago after losing it on the field, court, and diamond.
I hit an ace right down the middle on the line.
Guy on the other side yells, "Out!"
I rush to the net: "Out? OUT? What the...?!!!!!!!"
Catching myself and remembering the cross on my neck that weighed about 99 pounds at that point, I turned around and headed back for my next serve.
My partner came over, patted me on the shoulder, and whispered into my ear, "God knows."
He said he loved them just last Sunday.
Said he would never leave them.
But why does he keep interviewing for other...?
Then he took a church in...
They don't understand; but...
They say they are a Christian country/church/school/home/whatever.
They really, really, really say that; and exercise judicious umbrage against anyone who witnesses otherwise.
But with increasing intensity and frequency, their correspondence to Jesus by the book is coincidental.
Yeah, they say they are a Christian...but...
He works in a church as a...
Treats the right people sooooooo well; and they defend him...despite the rumors of sooooooo many others that he treats sooooooo many others sooooooo...
He quotes the Bible...a lot.
Psst. So did Satan.
He criticizes the Christianity and parenting and discipleship and...of others sooooooo regularly; even the ones who defend him so mindlessly.
He's sooooooo two-faced.
He lights fires in the backyards of others; sooooooo the right people don't see his house is going up in smoke.
Like sentences ending in a preposition, there's something deeply to pathologically wrong with people who agree with the last person that they've talked to.
Pathetically, they have the moral backbone and personal integrity of slugs.
They wanna be liked by everybody at the expense of...
Of course, nobody really trusts two-faced people.
Sooner or later and usually sooner than later, people on different sides of the fence get together, compare notes, and recognize/expose the duplicities.
You may have heard this before.
There are three sides to every story: her side, his side, and the truth.
People like to gather people around 'em who suck up to 'em and agree with 'em on everything all of the time to continue the facade of fraternity/sorority.
Some people don't need drugs.
They've already anesthetized their noodles.
They live on fantasy island; but...
Some people are really nice to some people and really nasty to other people.
Have you ever noticed some dads/moms/wives/husbands/whoevers who are really nice to everyone outside of the home and really nasty to everyone inside of the...?
The people on the nice end really like the people who are really nice to 'em and can't fathom/entertain the people who say they are nasty to...
Making matters worse, the people on the nice end, even when they sense or even see the people on the nasty end, are so happy about being on the nice end that they become like ostriches to protect their...
Some people don't care about what's happening to other people as long as it's not happening to them; and...
Have you ever listened to some pastors, politicians, school boards and administrators, and...?
They think they're getting away with it.
Some do...for a while.
Especially the idolized ones like...
I've got bad news for...
I'd go on; but I've got something in my eye.
Yes, God knows.
Blessings and Love!
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
A new member of the church asked, "What should I call you?"
I replied, "I've been called many things."
Read Matthew 10:22 for the bad then good about it.
Then there's my sister's recent post on Facebook.
She congratulated our parents on their 60th wedding anniversary (May 5).
So I called my dad: "Is there something that you forgot to tell me? Sue just posted on Facebook that it's your 60th wedding anniversary."
Despite being an upper octogenarian, my dad's noodle is as sharp as his handicap index at Irem Temple Country Club in Dallas, Pennsylvania: "Ha! Well, well, well, I guess some folks are right about you being a bastard!"
Yeah, real funny.
Later in the day, my dad left a short/sharp message for my sister: "Your brother is not a bastard."
There are no bastard children in God's family.
He loves everyone no more nor no less than anyone.
He came and sacrificed Himself and rose and reigns for everyone no more nor no less than anyone.
He loves the world.
That includes you, me, and, uh, them.
While that comes as a shock to religionists/denominationalists/parochialists and other segregationists who try to fence His table of Holy Communion and prance around like nobody knows Him like they know Him, it's/He's true.
Blessings and Love!