Re-posting an old post . . . "I'm not to blame!"

Okay, a confession: I think this video is funny and I like it.

But: If you are someone who would just as soon not watch anything that has a definitely liberal theme and is mildly vulgar, don't play it, okay?

And if you do play it, remember that what it is saying is "I can't blame my problems on someone else." Period. It is a snide look at the way we find people and situations that have little to do with our own lives and avoid taking responsibility for our own lives by focusing on theirs. That's all.

The details make it funny. Look at the husband's T-shirt. Watch the whole video a couple of times to pick up on the ironic details. They are all geared to "put the lie" to his statement about who's to blame in each situation he encounters.

As for my "stand" on whether or not gays should be getting married, and what we should do about that (if anything) . . . that requires a post of its own sometime.

And if you watch this and find yourself all in a tizzy about the idea that I would post this rather than post against the evils of gay marriage and how we need to protect the family by voting for prop 8 . . . then I suggest you remember that the things that really satisfy the human heart sell themselves, and that I am committed to following Jesus in a way that shows all the TRUTH about the abundant life that we only get from HIM -- not from the evangelical version of the American Dream, and not from protecting legally the evangelical version of the American Dream. Let's remember Reinhold Niebuhr's original serenity prayer (God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other) and make it a reality in our daily obedience to the One Who satisfies, shall we?


Fans and Friends and Care-Givers and Marketers

I have been enjoying my family and friends . . . the ones who demand my time and seek after me even when I'm busy with other things. The ones that I always took for granted when I was younger . . . and felt like Christian service required ministry to "the unchurched" and that my family and friends should get busy and work shoulder-to-shoulder with me in ministry to all those in need.

And I have been feeling my own need. I looked today at a picture of staff at St. Andrew's doing ministry together to reach out to our community . . . and realized that, in general, the only time I'd ever actually FELT "ministered to" by them was when I still was one of the newcomers who needed to be involved in their community. The rest of the time I felt either invisible or seen as a resource for ministry or seen as a nuisance who wanted what they couldn't give because they were busy trying to pull more people into a community without depth of relationship. (And that's not an indictment of any of our staff for who they are as people or for their sincere emotions and callings and how they get expressed in the context of relating to me or others . . . it's an indictment of the culture. Good, godly men and women are taught by this particular culture that friendship can and should wait in favor of more important callings.)

And I have been enjoying life. God's grace and provision walked Steven and I through some wise choices in moderating what we could have done financially under the bad mortgage rules and credit rules of the past 5 years, and so the current economic crisis will play out okay for his company and for our family . . . and even if America ends up in a severe depression in our wider economy that did bring real financial crisis, we have resources in our skills and work-ethics and habits that promise security for our kids. So I am sitting in my half-done house that my friends can't understand having taken so long . . . and I am satisfied that we have a house and all the things it takes for us to do for our 6 kids what we want to be able to do for them to prepare them well for life and independence . . . and I am grateful that I get to use my skills to help provide for them financially as well as emotionally, but that I also can take this day to recover from yesterday and to blog and to enjoy music and peace and God and friends. ("Margin" is such a blessing!)

The Kingdom of God is found in simple daily obedience. That doesn't mean I'm not called to minister to those who don't know what it is to walk daily with God in a community of other believers . . . but it means that I don't have to promote or market it! I need to LIVE it, and then welcome those who see it and want some of the same stuff they see with warm arms and real love. (And real love provides deep friendship marked by real time and real attention. That's where we see the real miracles of God "multiplying the fishes and loaves" as we find we have time and attention for those who need it and want it when that becomes our primary calling.)

I am called to be a fan to those in my family and in my community of faith that I love! There is so much there to love!

But more than that I am called to model joy: the joy of ENJOYING what the Triune God has given us to enjoy TODAY in this life and in our relationships with God and with others, and the joy of simple and fervent friendships, both new and old.

So this is my call to all the "Care-Givers" and "Marketers" and "Administrators" and "Ministers" in my community of faith:

When you feel empty and burned out, and when you feel driven and energized . . . STOP.

Enjoy God alone. Re-learn it. Feast on it.

Enjoy your existing friendships. Re-connect. Relax and rejoice!

Cry when crying is what you need to do. Putting on an act cannot substitute for the reality of God's kingdom and its transforming power . . . and He uses our grief to lead us to joy, and our exhaustion to lead us to strength and power.

Enjoy what you have. Trust God for what you don't have (going through the fear and lack of trust to a place of real trust, not trying to skip the honest process for pretend trust) . . . and then turn your attention to what you do have . . . RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW.

That kind of kingdom living sells itself.

And meanwhile, you get to just feast on it.

No more pressure to perform.

Simple daily obedience is a pleasure that God offers to each of us. He gives rest to those He loves!

And . . . by the way . . . I still love St. Andrew's and all the wonderful friends I have there who are doing life with me. Real life builds strong bonds that we will enjoy into eternity. Thanks for being you. I love you.


Six UNINTERESTING Things About Me -- a meme

Jim Bonewald tagged me in this meme; so here are the rules and questions, and then my response . . .

Meme Terms and Conditions
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. List six unspectacular things about you.
4. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.

The Six things I'll choose to bore you all with are six things that you all either already know or could guess:

1) As a babyboomer, I love Rock and Alternative music, and was dismayed at having to spend hours listening to Classical with Mike as he went through his teenage years . . . but it grows on you, and so now I have a good mix of Classical on my ipod to balance out everything else, which also includes Country, Folk, Worship, Gospel, CCM, Blues, Jazz, and even other genres when they get a lot of airplay or exposure in other places I can't avoid.

2) As a 40-something mom with adult kids and elementary-age kids and teenage stepkids, I cannot plan to spend time or money on anything without taking them and their needs into consideration. As much as I believe our lives as disciples of Jesus should not be centered around the Evangelical values of "the perfect Christian family" but rather around simple daily obedience to Him and His radical claims on our lives . . . most of my radical obedience is setting aside my own agenda in favor of what's best for this blended family we got ourselves into. And God has blessed me in that!

3) I function best when I allow enough time in my life for 8 hours of sleep every night, at least an hour of solitude every day, some time to connect to my husband and each kid and a handful of close friends, time to get some physical exercise, and good food spread out over the day in the right ratio to my body mass and exercise level. When I let any of those pieces go, it impacts the whole picture pretty quickly.

4) If I could do nothing but what I impulsively wanted to do all day long everyday, I would spend almost all my time reading and the time left over writing - but with music on in the background through all of it.

5) I am an introvert who likes to be up in front of lots of people, teaching them what I've learned in my solitude and reading and writing.

6) I am an analytically-oriented person who despises analysis when it is detached from the real-life give-and-take of trying it out as either true or full of shit.

That's it . . . not news, but then it wasn't suppose to be, was it?

Okay, now for the people I'll tag . . .

I'd like to see what my friend who goes by SW on her blog does with this one! And Barbara B. Nixon on her Public Relations site would be an interesting spin on this one, if indeed memes work in PR! And then Neal Locke in Mr. Locke's Classroom, and Makeesha on Swinging From The Vine; and Chelle Yarbrough's eclectic Mental Garage Sale would have its own spin here, I'm sure! And lastly, I'd like to see what Reba Baskett does with this one in In Reba's World.

Have fun!


More on His Agape and Ours

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." I Corinthians 13:4-7

I recently put my ipod on the playlist that has all my music, and had it shuffle . . . and heard these lyrics by Leslie Phillips, for "No One But You" off of "Recollection":

"Who will love me through change, good or bad,
And stay true if I win or I lose?
Who won't forget me when I hide my face?
Who will forgive me when I'm accused?

No one but you, no one but you, no one but you!

Who will tell me the truth to my face
And not use it to run me down?
Who will lead me to water, and lead me to drink,
But not leave me to drown?

No one but you, no one but you, no one but you!

Who do I have in heaven but you?
And on earth there's no one as true!
Who have I in heaven but you?
And on earth there's no one that's true!

Who lets mercy come dance on the graves
Of the pleasures we've strangled with greed?
Whose dreams can shatter the real world
And drive out the darkness so I can see?

No one but you, no one but you, no one but you!"

And as I reflected on how true that was of the Triune God -- it is in God the Father, in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit that I have the only real experience of that kind of Agape Love -- I also reflected on the way I experience that in those whom I know to really know God.

Those who know God have enough personal experience of the way He "lets mercy come dance on the graves of the pleasures we've strangled with greed", and they just hold steady in loving those around them that are doing the things that they will later deeply regret. That doesn't mean that they never confront, and it certainly doesn't mean that they don't speak the truth about what they see when the Holy Spirit leads them to do so. But it does mean that they don't break off the relationship . . . however much injury may lead them to reformulate the relationship so that it is a relationship of agape and not one of abuse.

As I re-read my blog over the past few years, I see a lot of frustration over the way that others in the church don't seem to understand this whole dynamic: "What is agape love and what are 'healthy boundaries' or 'healthy accountability'?" At this point I don't really feel that frustration anymore!

At this point I am grateful for the "no one but you" that is the Triune God, and I am grateful for the grace and mercy in the wonderful and strong followers who are interwoven among the weaker ones, and I am grateful for the ability to practice this kind of love myself, that for you I might be as close to the "no one but you" as you can find outside of the perfection of God's love.

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other."