This Little Light…

I’ve been thinking about the idea of being a “light in the darkness,” which is an image for Christians that dates back to… Jesus, I guess.  Since he said it.

And it’s conjures some lovely imagery: a lighthouse guiding a ship safely to shore, a lantern illuminating someone’s path, a hopeful candle in the window beckoning a loved one home… It’s really all about bringing someone home.

And somehow rather than being lighthouses, lanterns or candles… I think we have more of a reputation of kicking someone when they’re down.  Is there a word for that?  How about “mean?”

Lately I’ve been hearing hissed whispers of people’s secret lives and hidden struggles… and it bothers me because I feel like I’m sheltered, disconnected from the reality of… the darkness.  Like a lantern in a well-lit room, maybe.  So that I’m surprised by how much people are hurting out in the world.  Not even out in the world… how much people an arm’s length away are suffering from their poor choices or even what the world has dealt them…

I’m realizing what a terrible and wonderful responsibility it is to be a light.  Wonderful because it’s about bringing people back to God.  Terrible cause you gotta go out in the dark.

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Introducing…

Introducing…  my update on the baby: No baby yet.

But everything is ready to go.  Car seat installed.  Crib assembled.  Baby monitor… monitoring.  I had Thea go into the nursery and make crying noises.  So now it’s just a waiting game.  Many people want us to call as soon as Thea goes into labour.  I think we won’t tell anyone and then just show up with a baby.

Halloween was fun but cold.  Trying to relive our youth and combat the rampant consumerism of Halloween, we dressed up and went door to door asking for donations to the local food bank.  It’s very satisfying filling one of those bins, knowing that it’s going to help people who need help.

I’m on a practical Christianity kick.  Well, hopefully a practical Christianity life-changing-permanent-kick where there’s more doing and less talking about doing.  We complain that it’s always the same people actually showing love to the unloved while most people listen to comfortable sermons on a Sunday morning then go about their lives without applying any of the radical generosity and self-sacrificing behaviour that this Jesus thing is supposed to be all about.  But people need guidance and opportunities and maybe even a little kick in the pants.

For example, a lady in our church needs help with her yard cleanup because she’s not physically able.  I organized a group of men to help out… some volunteered and some I just told to show up.  Ideally people want to help, but I’ll take helping-even-though-they-don’t-want-to.

So that’s that.  I think I can predict tomorrow’s update on the baby: No baby yet.

 

Jesus Loves Room Service

I watched Rev. Creflo Dollar on CNN today talking about the Senator who is demanding that certain large Christian ministries release their financial information due to some supposed indiscretions. The good reverend admitted to driving a Rolls Royce: a gift from his church. When asked if he thought Jesus would drive a Rolls Royce, he said “yes.” He then drew a parallel between a Rolls and the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem. APPARENTLY, Jesus was living it up… on that donkey.

Creflo Dollar is an advocate of the Prosperity Gospel: Christians should enjoy material wealth (along with spiritual wealth blah blah blah.)

I suppose being born in a barn is the symbolic equivalent of the Presidential Suite at the Plaza Hotel.

FA LA LA LA LA.

Incidentally, someone found this site through Googling “not married man hot know.” What was he/she looking for?

Fishermen

surfnjc.jpgI found some “rocking” Jesus action figures. Walking on water isn’t nearly as impressive when you’re on a surfboard. At least the crown of thorns is removable.

Incidentally, I graduated from grad school on Sunday.

The spring weather is making me particularly homesick. The onset of spring reminds me of the end of the school year and starting work at Helping Hands. The various dog-poop incidents notwithstanding, it was pretty great to work outside and alone for the summer. The warm breeze and fragrance of lilac momentarily tricks my senses into thinking I’m home.

Perfect Peace

valentines.jpgI’ve heard rumblings from two different couples about a lack of “perfect peace” in the relationship. By perfect peace, I mean a God-given certainty and confidence that the person you are with is part of a Plan that is being perfectly followed. I have no doubt that there are couples in a state of perpetual bliss, but my experience is that there’s no shame in moments of uncertainty. I don’t understand why we look for perfect confidence and peace in choosing our partners, but allow for improvement with our perfect love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I think we’re afraid of making a mistake in the whole life-partner decision so we want to know that we have the Cosmic Okey-Dokey from God. It’s also perpetuated by the idea that there’s one perfect soul-mate for us.

I don’t think Thea is my perfect soul-mate. I think she has brought out qualities that have transformed me into a better person, but there are also times when she makes me feel like crap. It’s all a perception thing, really. Thea likes to buy me things. And she buys me really great things. And then she’s ever-so-slightly disappointed when the gifts that I choose for her… don’t quite match up. I’m just not as good at it. It’s not my forte. But I’m trying. On the flip side of the low down, Thea occasionally pretends not to know me. I, on the other hand, always… act like I know her. I forget where I was going with this.

Ah, yes. When we first started dating I was plagued with uncertainty and horrified that I was so uncertain. I was sure that it was a sign that we weren’t meant to be. The second time we started dating, I still lacked a “perfect peace” but I knew that she had all these qualities to which I was attracted and admired, not the least of which was her smoke-producing hotness. (Incidentally, she’s also quite literally like a living hot water bottle. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that heat-producing individuals do not care to share their heat with their husband’s cold feet and are quite content to let him thaw out shivering and alone. Tip: Do not try to sneak your cold feet onto another person’s person as they may spit.)

Which isn’t to say that God doesn’t infuse relationships with peace and love. I just think that too often we expect God-given peace to replace all the hard work needed to make a relationship work.

Of course, I’m sitting home alone with Hattori because I refused to go into the city and Thea refused to stay home.

Christmas Time Is Here

For some reason I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. Maybe my body isn’t used to working every day. And then there was the Eaton Center debacle from yesterday. Thea and I shopped for four hours in the busiest mall in the world.

Christmas shopping almost done. Consumerism in check.

I just watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special all the way through for the first time in a long time. The animation is terrible… but I like the kids’ voices. They speak funny because many were too young to read some of the big words and the script had to be spelled out phonetically. So half the time they have no idea what they’re saying.

But it inspired me to reread the Christmas story from Luke 2.


About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant.While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself.

The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!


A couple of things I noticed this time:

  • Mary wouldn’t be required to take part in the census as a 14-year-old Jewish girl… so Joseph probably took her because she was bursting pregnant and not married and he didn’t want to leave her alone with the gossip.
  • The “good will towards men” part is probably better translated “peace to men in whom God is well-pleased.” So it’s not just a schmaltzy Christmas feeling of ooooooooh world peace but rather about Jesus bridging the relationship. Ech. I just thought of that terrible cross-bridge illustration. Terrible terrible.

My mom has made all sorts of Christmas goodies for the party on Friday. So I’m not allowed to eat them until then.

I can’t think of anything funny to write. Hmm. Frasier puked on my bed last night. We have hardwood floors in 90% of the house… but he jumps on my bed to puke. What a wonderful thing to come home to. Chunky yellow on my pillow. It had to be premeditated.

Incidentally, a woman in Oklahoma had a 14 lb, 3 oz baby on Friday. Take a moment to think about that ladies.