Saturday, March 08, 2003

Ranting about Revelations
OK. Step back from the screen, just in case lightning strikes or something. But, I have to say this. I am sick to death with this fascination with the Book of Revelations. I don't have any desire to study Revelations. I don't want to teach it to my kids. I DON'T REALLY CARE. And I don't see why anyone else does either.
That said, let me elaborate. It increasingly seems to me that all this fascination with Revelations, Daniel, all the other end-times prophecies is a nothing more that a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME! Isn't it hard enough to live the parts of the Bible you understand without spending all that energy on things that are a) not understandable b) you couldn't influence even if you did understand it and c) are not likely to impact you life. Shouldn't that effort go into living simply, showing compassion, noticing and valuing every single person you come in contact with? Isn't that hard enough. I have yet to meet anyone who can live up to the commands to love God and love your neighbor. Why waste you focus on what the mark of the beast will look like? I just don't understand the fascination.
It seems most to me like a convenient diversion. As long as I'm putting all my time and attention on the end times, I don't really have to worry about my day-to-day life. I mean, who has the time? I can still be righteously spending all my time in Bible study without actually hving to do through the discomfort of living in accordance with the Scriptures. Who has time to care for your neighbors when they are on their way to heaven tomorrow?
It just drives me crazy when I read about yet another "great study on Revelation." Who out there even lives the Beatitudes well enough that they should be moving on to the really mysterious stuff?
Reading back, I realize that this sounds really shrill and hateful. Once again, I'm overstating my case. What I really want to say is that the realy challenge of Christian life is living the life, today. Putting all your effort and attention into the future seems all too often to be just anouthe way of avoiding the call. And this is an especially insidious diversion because it has the extra twist of appearing like true devotion while still allowing you to avoid the pain of truly chaning.
Walk the walk today, and let the end times take care of themselves.
Computer Games
I swore off computer games for Lent and it's killing me! I know that it's petty and it sounds really petty, but I hadn't realized how often I use the excuse of a quick game or this or that to build in a five-minute break into my day or to keep me occupied while I did something kind of mindless (like waiting on hold on the phone). The question now is, how can I use that time and attention to deepen my spiritual walk? How can I grow closer to God by not playing computer games?
I'd rather just go play a quick hand of solitaire and not think about it.
Maybe that IS the point.

Friday, March 07, 2003
Perfect love casts out fear.
What a great thought (idea?, saying?, truth?) I've finally reached a point in my life where I don't fear things as much as I used to. I don't worry as much about whether or not people like me--because I have learned that no matter what I do, some people won't like me.
I have learned to worry less about tomorrow--because most of the time I can only cope with what comes. I can't control what's coming because I have no idea what it's going to be. So worrying about what's ahead is mostly just a waste of time because whatever happens is usually different from what I anticipated anyway.
Even with all that I've learned, though, I still find plenty to fear. No matter where I turn and what I learn I still find new things to fear. Right now, my biggest fear is that I will fail in my ministry. And that my failure will not hurt me but the kids entrusted to my care. Sometimes it feels like too much. But I have also learned in the last 18 months that the more I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of disaster is when I can finally let go and rely on God. And it turns out OK. So, now all I have to do is learn to trust God before I'm teetering on the edge.

(BTW, this blogging stuff is much harder to do at home--where my husband is watching television, my son is wrestling with the dog, & my daughter is tuning her ukelele, all at the same time. But I guess everyone else already knew that.)

Thursday, March 06, 2003

OK. I'm losing my mind. I just wrote this hearfelt, sensitive meditation on Psalm 42--and then I apparently clicked the wrong button and it all disappeared. This is not fun. But it has to get better, right?

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Mar. 5, 2003
Blogging for Lent
I'm starting this blog as part of my Lenten discipline of maintaining a journal. I know that a blog and a journal aren't precisely the same, but the pressure to publish every day may give my the push I need to maintain regularity. Who knows where their life & thoughts will lead in the long run, but for now, I expect it to start with some meditations (some on Bible passages, some not) and then wander off on paths of it's own.

This first thought is a meditation from January that I've shared with several others. It seems to hold significance for many people, but oddly enough, means something a little bit different to each person who reads it.

Watering the Desert
When a desert suddenly gets water, even just a little bit, it bursts out in a profusion of growth. But, the water often doesn’t last and neither does the growth.

The only way a desert can cease to be a desert is to obtain a continuing source of water-it may be from rain, a river, or a well, but something has to change in the landscape for the climate for the desert to be permanently changed.

If we are living in a spiritual desert, we have to find a way to change our spiritual landscape in order to regularly receive the water we need to have growth. We have to find a way to dig a well, tap into a river or even purify water from the sea. Whatever it is, we have to draw water from God’s river of life into our lives regularly, daily even, in order to nurture tender new growth and strengthen old, established trees.

Digging the well, diverting water from the river-these are hard work, work that takes many days, a little at a time. It takes a while to reach the water, time that you put in the effort without necessarily seeing any rewards. But, if you keep on digging the ditch, a little each day, eventually the water breaks through, the desert is watered and the landscape changes permanently.
January 2003