Paul wrote in the book of Romans about men who rejected God. God gave them over to their desires. We get a view of what such men look like. I read his description and compare them against daily headlines and can’t help but think God has given this country over to our desires.
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
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 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’ve started rethinking 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 do you are not alone. The writer in Psalm 44 felt rejected, despised, and crushed. This in spite of the fact that the people hadn’t turned their back on God or become unfaithful. This whole chapter is full of pain and depression. It speaks of the faithful as rejected by God 1.