Tag Archive: Life


My song for today

Who am I that you should notice me?
Who am I that you should care for me?
I am just your standard inconsistent man who chases after many things.
There is no great power in me, no ability the change the world – not even much ability to change myself.
But you have called me by name and said,
“I want you to live with me. I want you to be my instrument of righteousness to many. I will give you power. I will give you words. I will give you love.”

Oh Lord, my offenses against you are great. Are you able to overlook the sum of them?
How many times I have considered created things more desirable than the creator!

“I have paid the ransom price to free you from your bondage to your own desires for easy pleasure. I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

How is this possible? For I am a man with a wandering heart!

“My grace is greater than your sin. I have placed my Spirit in you. Walk in step with my Spirit, and you will have the power needed and beyond – greater than any opposing force within you, greater than any opposing force in the world, greater than any opposing force.”

My God, you are worth more than all the desirable things in this world.
Your peace is greater than circumstances.
Your love is greater than our suspicion and resistance.
You remove all doubt and replace it with trust.

There is none like you – trustworthy in all things.
No matter the time,
No matter the place,
No matter the obstacles,
No matter the enemies,
No matter my weakness,
No matter the company (or lack thereof)
You are worthy of our trust and you do not fail.

While I have not been reliable, you can make me a rock of safety for those you direct me to serve.

So, I will be what you ask.
I will do as you direct.
Not because I am something great.
But because you are the only one that is.
And you are with me.
And I with you.

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The Net-Sitters

I wonder about a lot of things.  I wonder why the alien came.  I wonder why some people trust him and some don’t.  I wonder a lot about why I don’t fly more.  But these days, I probably wonder most about the net-sitters.  Are they . . . OK?

First, you need to know that I’m not human.  My people live on a world with much higher mass than your earth and, so, much higher gravity.  Because of this we stay close to the ground.  In fact, we never leave it.  Even very short falls would be deadly, and any sort of jumping is stressful at best and more likely hazardous.  We don’t look much like you either.  We have 6 limbs that to you would look like a cross between a human arm and an elephant’s foreleg.  And we walk using all of them.

So, back to what I wonder about.  Starting with the alien.  The alien looks just like us, but he came to our planet via a space ship.  He says he’s ‘related.’  He says he came because our people were meant to fly.  He says he came to help us.  He can fly – he showed us.

I want to fly.   Or at least I thought I did.  OK, really I do but I also like the ground.  A lot.  The ground is safe, reliable, and easy (given the situation of my species you will understand why we like staying on the ground).  And, by definition, I can’t fly and stay on the ground at the same time.  That would be nice though.

But flying is awesome.  It’s truly wonderful.  To be free of the limitations of gravity and mass.  To see things from a completely different perspective.  It’s hard to describe.  And we couldn’t do it, until the alien came.

He said we were meant to fly and only couldn’t because we had given something up to stay close to the ground.  He said we could have it back and fly.

But here’s were it first got really weird.  He said that he was in some way the same as us, the same ‘species.’  And that this ability was in him but no longer in us.  “If you will eat a piece of my body, which I will sacrifice for you, you will regain what you lost and be able to fly again.”  “Won’t this hurt you?” we asked.  “Yes.       But it will also benefit me.  I want everyone to see that I am good and speak the truth.  Those who take what is in me will demonstrate this.”

Very weird.  He claimed to be one of us but it was quite clear in some ways he was not.  He didn’t act very much like any of us.  And this isn’t something any of us would have ever made up!  We like the ground.  Flying is all well and good as a concept, but the actual event has all sorts of problems associated with it.  It’s just . . . well . . . disruptive.

But the alien setup a place where he would give part of himself to anyone who wanted it and wanted to fly.  He put his name on the place.  The closest I can translate it would be ‘the alien’s flying show.’  Clearly he wanted to draw us to him as well as teach us to fly.  Clearly he wanted to be known.

He said that anyone who wanted to go there and take a piece of the alien would be able to fly forever.  He said that!  Forever.  He said “I will set you free from your slavery to the ground.”

Reactions were, of course, various.  And I won’t catalog all of them here.  I wanted to fly.  So I went to him.  I took my piece of the painful sacrifice he gave me from his own body.

And I flew.  Glorious.

Then I quickly learned about ‘the net.’  I put this in quotes because we didn’t have any such concept or idea in our language. The closest we had before the alien came would have been ‘the barrier’ – this being something we put up to keep people away from something harmful to them.  The net was very much what you call a net – it was a device the alien had put up in the place were he was, ‘the aliens flying show,’ to catch any of us who stopped flying.

Now you may think, as I did previously, why the heck would anyone STOP flying once they were able to?  Oh, let me tell you.  The reasons are too many to count.  That is exactly why the thing I wonder about second most is why I don’t fly more.  But that isn’t my story today.  Suffice it to say, the net gets used!  I am very grateful for the net.  It is wonderful.  BUT, it isn’t as wonderful as flying.

And so, the thing I wonder most about – the net-sitters.   First, the show isn’t all there is!  No, according to the alien there is more.  According to him one day he will take all those ‘who are his’ and move us to a new world where there is no gravity.  Nothing to make us fall!  No need for the net.  But there is much discussion among us non-aliens about what it means to be his.  Are we his if we are ‘in’ the show?  Is it possible some people sneaked into the show without taking the sacrifice the alien offered?  Of all the folks ‘in the show’ are all of us really his?  What about the net-sitters?

You see, one philosophy of flying that has gained some traction is that even after taking a piece of the alien we are destined to fail at flying.  And the alien knows this and only cares about saving us.  So, while sitting in the net all the time is really lame (all acknowledge this), the net-sitters are OK.  They are his and will go with him to the new world.

Others have said that we are doomed every time we stop flying and fall into the net.  We are only ‘his’ when we are flying.  And it is those who are flying when he leaves to the new world that will go with him, not those sitting in the net.  This view has become less and less common recently with the previous one being predominant.  “The alien loves me so much that whether I fly or not doesn’t really matter – he will still take me with him – I will be OK.”

But I wonder.   I remember what he said “I want everyone to see that I am good and speak the truth.  Those who take what is in me will demonstrate this.”  Do we demonstrate the alien’s goodness and truthfulness when we are sitting in the net?  And the name of the place; it is his name.  Is this place for me?  Or is it for him?  Is this a place only to save us or is it a place to demonstrate the beauty and truthfulness and power of the alien?  If it is the latter, the only way one can stay sitting in the net is if we don’t care about the one who gave us back the ability the fly.  We don’t care about the one who sacrificed for us.  If we care about him, I’ve got to think that every time we find ourselves in the net (by our own choice) we will get back up and fly using the ability that he gave us to show that he is good and true and powerful.  I am starting to think that the only way to be a net-sitter is to be self-obsessed and the way to truly fly even in this world is to be obsessed with him.  And can one be self-obsessed and ‘his’?

So, I really wonder about the net-sitters.

machine

I am not meant to be a machine.  A sophisticated construction pre-programmed to accomplish specific tasks efficiently yet coldly.  A machine is created to be able to operate, often times, without the direct involvement of its creator once activated.  And although machines can accomplish much and be beautiful in their design, I am not meant to be a machine.

I am meant to be an instrument.  Capable of great beauty, nuance, feeling, expression.  Capable of moving people.  Yet only when actively manipulated by the hands of a skilled artisan.  I need my Maestro.  I have the capacity for wonderful things, yet lack the ability to produce them all by myself.  I was not meant to be left alone to produce large volumes of output at high efficiency.  I was meant to be under the influence of my maker constantly.  And only when under the influence of my maker can I be what I was designed to be.  Only when being played am I what I am meant to be.

Bad door! Bad!

Have you noticed how we like patterns? Formulas for living?  Predictability?  There’s something about the way our heads are wired.  I suspect that it’s also partly just that it’s a lot easier to do the same thing (and think the same thing) over and over again than it is to constantly examine everything and re-examine everything.

Now i REALLY like patterns.  For you psycho-babel fans out there (like me) i am a very high NTJ and very high on all three.  This means that either i’m making a lot of money as an engineer/inventor/judge/researcher or i’m in psychotherapy because i can’t handle the fact that i just can’t get the world to behave the way it really ought to.  I am seriously hard-wired to like patterns.  Especially MY patterns.

So why do i find myself at this stage of my life being like the anti-formula fanatic?  Hmm . . . let’s leave that one for another time.

Human religions are almost universally formulaic (the word used by non-religious folks is ‘rigid’).  It isn’t that the originators and foundational texts always intended it to be that way – it’s more to do with what we humans DO with ideas when we get our hands on them.  I’m sorry to say it but far too often we decide something makes sense to us and then we  . . . stop thinking.

My example du jour from my own religion is the concept of ‘God opened the door’ and ‘God closed the door’.  Now, there are actual passages in the Bible that speak of this (Acts 14:27, 1 Corinthians 16:9, 2 Corinthians 2:12) so there must be something to it.  The basic concept is based on the idea that God is active in this world and still directs things and influences people and events according to his plans.  This is what Christian theologians call the sovereignty of God.

So how does a principle become a formula, and is there really any harm in the formula? Well, that’s where our love of being able to predict stuff and figure things out enters the picture.  The idea that God is working and directing ought to lead those who seek to love, serve and honor him to simply follow him.  Simply follow.  Nothing more, nothing less.  This is also found in the Bible – it’s called abiding, keeping in step with the Spirit, obedience, etc. etc.  But if we latch onto the idea that God directs US by ‘opening doors’ and ‘closing doors’ our desire for predictability and explanation can very easily drive us to what has become a very common use of those phrases – trying to determine/predict/explain God’s direction by interpreting the circumstancesIf the circumstances are favorable for particular direction that might be God ‘opening the door’ for that opportunity.  If the circumstances are unfavorable for a particular direction that might be God ‘closing the door’ for that opportunity. And you know what?  It might be!  It is possible that is what is happening!

So, what’s the problem with looking to circumstances as an indicator of whether God is opening or closing doors for a particular direction?  After all doesn’t God influence our circumstances?  The problem is our desires.  Which do we desire more?  Easier circumstances or harder circumstances?  Pleasant circumstances or unpleasant circumstances?  Well if you are human  i can predict your preference with 99% accuracy.  We will immediately be faced with a semi-conscious to fully sub-conscious temptation to interpret easy, pleasant circumstances as “God opened the door” and hard, unpleasant circumstances as “God closed the door”.

How can we know whether a given situation is, in and of itself, a message from God that we should proceed along a course or desist? Being turned down for a job at Company A . . . does this mean that God closed the door and doesn’t want me to have a job at Company A?  Being offered a job at Company A by a hiring manager who just adores me and is going to pay me twice the going rate for the work position . . . does this mean that God opened the door and wants me to have the job?

Or take an example from the Bible.  When Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail for preaching the gospel, did they interpret this as God closing the door on preaching the gospel?  Hardly!  But would we?  Well, if we’re using the opened door/closed door formula I bet we would!

There is only one way to know God’s direction for our lives in any given circumstance: ask him, listen, and do what he says.  Oh, and it would probably be wise to be very familiar with all the stuff he’s already said that got written down for us.

The farm workers

In a certain town there was a farmer with several fields and a crop ready to be harvested.  So he hired several farm workers to harvest the crop for him.  He instructed them on how he wanted the harvesting to be handled and on how he would determine how much they were paid.  The workers agreed and set to work in the fields.

All of the workers worked the entire day.  Some worked somewhat diligently and others nearly killed themselves with their effort to harvest as much as possible, expecting to be paid accordingly.

At the end of the day one group of workers received their pay from the farmer.  “Well done” he said.  “You followed my instructions and harvested my crop well.  Here is your pay.”

The remaining workers, some of whom had worked especially hard, were also expecting their pay.  But to them, the farmer said “Did I not instruct you on how I wanted the harvest handled?  I told you the way you were to harvest my crop, but instead you have brought me the grass that grows along with the crop.  This grass is worthless.  I can’t pay you for efforts which were not useful for bringing in my crop.”

Some of this second group of workers were furious.  “We worked harder then most of those you paid!  Some of them are lazy and yet you paid them.  Don’t we deserve something for all the diligent, persistent effort we put in?”

“Let that which you have worked so hard to gather be your compensation” replied the farmer.

So will it be with those who claim to take on God’s cause and yet work diligently for things in this world with no lasting value.  So will it be with us if we work hard at employment which pays us money, but fail to be busy about preaching God’s kingdom and leading others to it.  So will it be with parents who work hard at raising well-educated kids who are productive members of society but who do not love and honor God.  Great effort toward harvesting the wrong crop is, in the end, tragic.