I have a pretty big yard and last night spent what seemed like forever mowing the darn thing. Fortunately I have a riding lawn mower that I can use on most of it and that got me to thinking. I can’t possibly be the only almost-40 guy who rides his lawn mower around like a knight on horseback am I? Or as the good Doctor would say, “Allons y!”
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person..
- When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
- They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support,
- To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are..
- They are there for the reason you need them to be.
- Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
- This person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
- Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
- Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
- What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.
- The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
- Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
- They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
- They may teach you something you have never done.
- They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
- Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.
- LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons,
- Things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
- Your job is to accept the lesson,
- Love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life
- It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant
Okay, so I haven’t put one up in quite a while. I love wolves. They’re my favorite animal and one of my teachers. This is a wonderful pic but still not quite the look I’m going for. I’ve been trying for 16 years to find a picture that matches the image that came to my head and when I do, I plan on getting tatooed on my back between my shoulder blades. This is another close but no cigar look.
What does it mean to be an “authentic Christian”?
I’m certainly no doctrinal purist or theologian. But I don’t know how I even feel about the question. An old friend of mine…probably my oldest friend is a Christian music artist and a darn good one. His site is on my blog roll. He feels called to use his music to help minster to people and I celebrate with him in that sense of calling and purpose. He works with lots of different denominations and locations all over NA offering himself to God and sharing his testimony with others, particularly young people. He’s always been good with kids.
We both come from families that have belonged to the same denomination for generations. Both our fathers are Evangelists, which in our denomination includes the classical definition of the word, and adds to it other responsibilities. We grew up going to the same congregations, the same summer church camps, etc. When my family moved to another town the older sister of another of my friends in that congregation met him and they wed.
I believe that he is living out the life of an “authentic Christian” the best way he knows how. And I think he is doing a great job of it too.
See, that’s where the struggle comes into it. I’ve been all over the map. I’ve gone to Jewish synagoge, Friday Muslim prayers, spent time visiting with Buddhists, Taoists, have celebrated Solstice with some of my Pagan friends. And yet…I still consider myself a Christian. I still belong to the denomination of my family although I spent many years away from it. I’ve come back and have been raising my son in it. I want to give him a firm moral foundation so that, when he goes to explore his relationship with God, whatever he chooses, it will (hopefully) be built on solid ground.
But would I qualify as an “authentic Christian”??
I don’t know if I even care.
Part of what drove this tonight was a news story on one of the various clearinghouse sites I visit for political news, feedback and commentary. Someone had been complaining about a Republican saying “cooperating” instead of “compromising” because compromise isn’t something that an “authentic Christian” can do. Since when did compromise become such a dirty word? And by whose definition are we saying exactly what is an “authentic Christian?”
My friend and I probably have rather different views of what that means. But it in no way diminishes our love for each other nor our respect for each others ministry. Because I too minister. I co-teach Sunday school to a group of high schoolers, and what a group they are. My favorite comment to date in the two years or so I’ve been teaching was when one of my kids, a 19 year old came up to me after reading the Gospel of Mark and said “I just now got it, John the Baptist was killed for SEX!”
And you know something…they were right.
And that is not even the most interesting thing that’s come out in class over the last two years. My youth, they’re not hard living people exactly. I worked social services for around 15 years, starting as a teenager and my current class isn’t nearly as hard living as some I’ve worked with in the past. But to those around here, in the churches and congregations in my home town, they’d be considered as such. They don’t dress nice for Sunday service, they’re usually late for class. We’ve talked about teen pregnancy, drugs, peer pressure, getting your drivers license, football, and movies as often as we’ve talked about the disciples, Jesus’ ministry and the sacraments. But they all tie in together at the bottom. Because they are all a part of this crazy creation called Life. They are all things that affect us, our relationship with God, others and ourselves.
There are plenty of days I agree with Gandhi, who once said something to the effect of ‘I really like your Christ, I’d like Christians if they acted more like him.’ I once had a shirt that I loved to wear and it said “JESUS, protect me from your followers” and I was always really amused at those who got offended. Once day I was even accused of blasphemy for wearing it. “Excuse me” I said, “I’m not denying that Jesus exists or that he is my Lord and Savior. What this shirt is saying is that sometimes, we as Christians don’t do a very good job of acting like our Lord.” All I got was a dirty look…ah well.
Which leads me to this…the t-shirt idea that I want to have made, even if I honestly believe that wearing it will get me attacked and possible killed. And I mean that in all sincerity.
On the front it will say this:
Be a REAL Christian…
And on the back it will say this with the picture below:
LOVE Thy Enemies…
Not so easy is it?
And yet…Christ calls us to love radically, dangerously, fully. God is good, praise be to the most high.
So I want to know…How do you define “authentic Christian?”
So as I sit here at 11:24pm and write, listening to Creed after having just watched “Lady in the Water” by M. Night Shymalan…I’ve got lots of really random thoughts going through my head. I’m working on throwing my son’s first real birthday party, with other kids, games (I hope), pizza, ice cream and cake by myself. I’m scared to pieces. Have I done it okay? Am I going to get everything done in time? Will it be a good memory for him or just another in a string of tough memories that he’ll have to deal with later in life? Maybe I really do stress out too much about these things…
So I had another call from the ex on Monday. There were several little digs, like the fact that during the month or so she was homeless after having her housemates run out on her and her getting evicted, she tells me that she could hear my lectures about how she should have more compassion for the homeless because they can’t always help the situations they find themselves in. I don’t really remember it as a lecture but I hope she has more compassion for those less fortunate…tend to doubt it though.
Then there was the taxes dig….And this is the one that’s really bothering me I suppose since I’ve now talked to it to several of my friends, a co-worker and now my blog.
So she brings up the fact that she now has a new place north of the river and that she needs to get the last of her stuff out of my place (since she walked out 9 1/2 months ago) and I agree and we agree that we should talk about what to do from here. And I bring up the fact that yeah, we need to decide what to do about taxes – married filling jointly or seperately (since at this point we won’t be divorced by tax time) and her immediate comment is “Yeah, you’ve been avoiding it and I’ve been busy.”
After an awkward silence she then adds “And I suppose you’ve been busy too.”
Well yeah, kinda. Starting a new job, dealing with the pain of profound loss and the grief of my son. Trying to re-balance and re-budget not just one life but two. Struggling to come to terms with everything, find meaning or closure in it. Busy? Damn straight. And doing a damn sight better….sorry, the anger gets a little strong sometimes. Have I been in a rush to get divorced? Not really. It’s not like I’m in a hurry to get married again. It doesn’t stop us from doing any of the things we want to do (although her credit is probably hurting mine more than mine is hurting hers) and once a year is up it will be much easier to file and get an uncontested no fault divorce. Point of fact she was the one who first suggested we not be in any hurry to divorce. But that was months ago and a lot has changed since then.
We’re still planning on doing our divorce ourselves. We mostly get along okay. But some days…
She wanted to come pick up the last of her stuff, there’s about one car load left, and see my son again. She’d even bought him a bag of flaming hot cheetos like she said she would the last time she saw him…..and then walked out of his life again. And she didn’t understand why I thought that might not be the best idea, her coming to see him around the holidays then leaving again, maybe to call, maybe not. It’s not like she’s coming back. I just get so angry when I talk to her. I hadn’t missed it. I don’t like being the angry husband/father. I’m sorry if it seems to her that I want to “shelter him from everything” whereas she wants to just “tell him like it is” but that only works if we see the world the same way and I’m sorry but I believe in a world that has more compassion, hope and joy in it than she does. And I’d prefer that my son grow up with a world view more like my own. Who doesn’t believe that the world is out to get him.
And the really funny thing…I hate December anyway. Three years in a row we lost family members during this month. One of them was expected, one was not surprising…but that other one, no one saw it coming. Not to mention all the other crap that happened around this time of year. So yeah, December went from being my favorite month to my least favorite. So I guess it works that I’m going over to her house the day before Christmas Eve to drop off the last of her things and talk about divorce proceedings.
Merry effin’ Christmas indeed.
Sorry. I’ll try to write something a little more like the person I want to be in a day or two, maybe tell you how my son’s b-day party went. It should be interesting.
truth be told, I really do like Christmas.
This year it’s just a little harder than usual to keep the spirit of it all in my soul.