Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Say Hi to "God"

I have a friend whose mother is dating God.  Maybe I should explain.  My friend's mother has had a relationship, for the past 10 years or so, with a person that claims to be "God".  The exact nature of the Godly deity to which my friend's mother ascribes is not known to me - neither is the level of dysfunction that is involved in the relationship.  Though obviously, it is considerable.  This dating relationship with God, of course, raises a whole host of related follow-up questions.  If you are on a date with God, who pays?  What are the implications of breaking up with God?  Each time I talk to my friend, I say, "Oh, and remember to say Hi to God for me."  My friend always replies, "I will say Hi to God for you, is there anything you want to ask Him?"

There is another friend of mine who is in an ongoing debate with me about whether Jesus is actually God.  This friend has recently written me a series of very animated, angry, screed-like emails about how wrong I am in claiming that Jesus is, in fact, God.  No amount of redirecting my friend to the Apostles Creed, "Fully Human/Fully God" can assuage my friend's strong convictions that Jesus was simply a teacher.  I think he is still attending Highlands, but just barely.

The purpose for this blog is simply to illustrate how confused and misdirected our world often is about the true nature of God - today.  While we theologians and pastors can spend hours at a time debating the nuances of how, exactly, does the nature of atonement in Christ work, everyday people continue to be completely confused about what and who God is (ie: God can't be dated, Jesus is God).  The basics of our faith should not be lost in the theological shuffle irrelevant nuance about God (postmillenialism, suprasurlapsarianism...).  In my faith community, people still need just the basics.

All for now,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Ministry of "Grunting"

It was a Friday afternoon, and I was doing my usual yard work "chores" in the back yard.  The temperature was around 90 degrees and the heat of the afternoon was settling in on Paso Robles like a blanket over an old dead dog - cicadas were chirping loudly.  It was hot and I was tired!

My 22 month old daughter, Haley, was taking shade underneath the flap of the green recycling garbage bin and drinking a cold bottle of milk as she watched me attempt to pull up the last and most difficult weed of the afternoon.  I pulled and pulled at the weed, but it would not come up.  I started to grunt loudly as I pulled (uuuuuuhhhhhhhh.......).  My grunting did not seem to help.  The weed was fixed.

Then, from the corner of my ear, I heard my 22 month old daughter begin to grunt, mimicking my strains and stresses...(uuuuuuhhhhhhh).  We grunted together over the intransigent weed. Finally, with a snap, the weed came out of the ground.  Somehow, both of our grunts combined made the weed loosen it's grip on the ground.  It would seem that two grunts are better than one.

The Philippian Church church shared in the troubles of Paul's ministry; "I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me.  Indeed, you have been concerned but you had no opportunity to show it...Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles." Phil. 4:10-14 

Ministry, pastoral care, counseling, shepherding people can, in part, be described as "grunting with people."  When someone is in grief because of the loss of a loved one, when a couple is in crisis in a marriage counseling setting, when a staff member is struggling through a project, sometimes the most helpful thing we can do is to "grunt with them."  By sharing in the pains of others, we often, miraculously, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, ease their ability to pull up the weeds of their lives.

All for Now,