Over the years I’ve mediated disputes (not legal mediation) between people. On several occasions I found it interesting that they both had the same position but the same vocabulary. The words they were they were using to express themselves were not registering with each other. On those occasions I found the words and would ask, “So-and-so, are you saying this?” When they responded “yes” the other would say, “That’s what I’ve been saying.”
The point here is that sometimes we need to find another way of saying what we are saying to get the point across. Sometimes, it takes someone else to do it for us. When I read this post, I thought, this is exactly what I’ve been saying. What I’ve been saying in particular is how we (the church) gloss over the difficult parts of scripture rather than contemplating them and working them out.
Elliff makes the point that we sometimes are too quick to look at certain passages and immediately try to counter it with another passage that seems to state the opposite.
I think we could liken this to the skill needed when counseling people about work performance. Often people want to turn the conversation from their performance issue with statements like, “Yeah but he/she did it too,” “we’ve always…” or “I was trying to…” As humans, we will do about anything to get out of the discomfort of having to confront our own shortcomings.
One of the saddest things as a supervisor was always to counsel someone and have them walk out having not owned up to the issue they were having. You could watch them walking away from their career because they weren’t willing to face their own difficult issues. Do we do the same thing with our faith? Do we refuse to correctly understand scripture because doing so challenges our beliefs and makes us confront our own shortcomings? If so, do we walk away from what God truly wants of us?
I used to belong to the school that you could probably perform yoga moves without getting into the spiritual aspects of it. I guess I thought you wouldn’t be “doing yoga” unless you were concentrating on the Hindu aspects of it. I no longer think those things.
The difficulty is that yoga, as traditionally understood, doesn’t work that way. In traditional understanding, yoga is itself a religious act. The postures themselves lead the practitioner to God, whether the practitioner intends this or not. In traditional understanding, in other words, one can’t separate the religious and secular aspects of yoga and one really shouldn’t try.
To those in the know, for example, the yogic asanas, or positions, retain elements of their earlier spiritual meanings – the Surya namaskar is a series of positions designed to greet Surya, the Hindu Sun God.
For me, I’m not sure it’s a great idea for a Christian to participate in an activity designed for the purpose of linking to God. I certainly disagree with the statement that “absolute perfection is the essential state of human beings” and think processes designed to help you reach that realization are an insult to the sacrifice of Christ.
Rather than honoring Hindu gods and awakening a “serpent-like” force found in every human, I’ll just do some stretches from my pee-wee football days if I feel tight.
Several months ago I set out to read one of the Psalms each day and spend some time quietly thinking about it afterwards. I have missed a few days here and there but have mostly stuck with it.
I’ve been struck by how deep into depression David sank. Yet he never loses sight of God’s supreme authority over all creation or the love he has for us. Strangely, while going through a rough time myself, I think these sometimes rather gloomy sounding prayers were very helpful.
Now, as I near the end of them, I experience some sadness that I must leave them behind for a while. At the same time, it’s like the end of a race and I feel energized. I have to resist the urge to rush through the last few.
This word is Strong’s #1933 and means mild, gentle, moderation, or patient.
It is found in Philippians 4:5 where we as Christians are admonished to live in such a way that this is a trait we are known for. I read that verse and it made me wonder, how can I be sure if I am known for something?
I attended a co-workers memorial service the next day and listened to everything that was said about her. Those were the things she was known for.
I thought about whether or not at my funeral people would say “he was gentle and mild” and I’m not too sure they would. Would they for you?
May we who call ourselves be known for being mild, gentle, and patient. What a mark that would make, especially in today’s social environment.
If you’ve never seen them, sequoias and redwoods are truly majestic trees. Growing throughout Middle-Southern California, these ancient giants tower above the ground in a way that has to be seen to be believed.
We spent a few days recently camping in the Grant’s Grove Village. We stayed in a “rustic cabin” which was basically a square room with three beds, a couple of lights, and a heater. No plumbing at all which made the late night trips to the restroom in cold mountain air, uh, invigorating.
It also required that all showers take place in a common shower house that only cabin renters can open. Inside were several token operated shower stalls. I’d never used such a device and was prepared to take a nice, warm, relaxing shower, even if it was only for six minutes, that was the time you get for each token.
I opened the door and the first thing I noticed was a slot for depositing your token. It looked very similar to a car wash, the type with the high-pressure wands. I thought, “I’ll put my token in, hang up my clothes and step into the warm water.” So… I dropped it in and…
That’s when everything went downhill. No warning whatsoever that turning loose of that little golden disc would result in all of Hades being released into that one little stall. Instead of waiting for me to press an “on” button, the shower immediately went into spray water everywhere mode.
I had expected that since the stall had two separate sides that the one without the shower head would stay semi-dry. I mean, there were hooks for clothes and a little bench. It may have worked out that way if the shower didn’t spray water everywhere like a tightly-packed sphere of angry dolphins with hyperactive blowholes. I think you could’ve showered in the next building off of my one token.
I tried quickly to salvage what little dry areas my clothing still had and shoved them into the only dry spot. It was about the size of a deck of cards. Clothing somewhat safe, I stepped into the shower.
Sweet Mary! I thought immediately of a car wash again. Did people normally step in here with road tar stuck on their legs? I quickly tried to recall if I had seen multiple fire hoses hooked to the backside of the building.
Of course fire hoses probably don’t feel like a million little Thor’s hitting you with spikes hammers every second. The sting from each little stream left me checking myself for injury. Why? Why would you need water to spray out with that much force in a national park?!?
I quickly washed and rinsed. Fastest shower ever. Anything to get out of this wet torture chamber.
Alas, to my dismay I discovered that not only could I not turn it on, I couldn’t turn it off. The spray bouncing off me was making everything in sight wet. The extra-high ceiling? Soaked. Only the little playing card area was remotely dry and if I moved, the spray hit it.
With no way of escaping, I resolved to wait it out. It wasn’t too bad after I found a place to stand where the water only splashed off me and onto a wall. It felt like having a bowl of fire ants tapes upside down to my back. The pain started to subside and eventually went away. It was replaced by a numbness that creeped into my mind as I stood wondering who in the name of all that’s good thought it would be smart to put such a device in this tranquil wilderness.
Finally, the longest six minutes of my life was up. The only other experience I could compare it too was when the law enforcement agency I worked for got Tasers and I volunteered to be shot with one.
I dried off as best I could with my wet towel and wondered whether the moisture on my face was water or tears. I put on my sort of dry clothes and ventured back to the cabin in the 45° night air, broken and ashamed.