One Emotional Check Away

It was stated in the Prosperity Now report that 40% of Americans are one paycheck away from poverty. This is just one more reminder that so many of us are living week to week and it is vitally important that there is a net floor that provided by society that no one can fall below. I am not an expert on how good America is at providing that floor, but 40% seems rather high for such a wealthy country.

While it may be that 40% of us are one paycheck away from financial poverty, I would add that it is at least that many who are one “emotional check” away from devastation.

Photo by  Sydney Sims  on  Unsplash

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Most of us receive love and support from family, friends and community. It is something that I see each week when I attend worship. People coming together to remind one another they are loved, that God is with us, that we are bound together and that when life crashes down there is a foundation that you will not fall below..

These "emotional checks” are regular in most of our lives. However, in tragedy, loss or just circumstances, there can be a lapse in those “emotional checks” and many of us are not able to sustain that loss.

While the government opens back up and we still make our way to try to build up the social floor of support, let us not overlook the sources of our “emotional checks” in our world. Break bread with friends, call a loved one, connect with strangers, practice mercy, share in love, participate in a worshiping community - these actions are among those that help each of us through those times when our lives shut down but we still need our emotional checks.

The Church and The Moon

Photo by  Jordan Steranka  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jordan Steranka on Unsplash

While reading a book for class,  I was reminded that the Christian calendar is based on the moon, and not the sun.

Who cares?

The moon is not a light source, but the object that reflects the light. It goes in phases, and is sometimes bright and other times seemingly absent. It is easily masked by clouds and yet does not hurt your eyes to look directly at it. It shines in the darkness even if only a sliver.

The Church is not the Light, but only attempts to reflect it. At her best, it shines in the darkness and at her worst it is absent from view. The Church is not what gives life but can help sustain life in the dark times. The Church pulls people together with intimacy and peace not unlike the moonlight summer nights of our lives.

This may contribute to our discomfort with Church. It is inconsistent and does not do all that we would want it to do. It does not fit neatly into our evenly measured lives and is more mysterious than we are comfortable with. It requires work to see and is easily over shadowed, but the Church and the Moon are tied together in a way that both are dependent on the Light.

Giving Way To Being Right So We Avoid Being Wrong

Who does not like to be right? It is satisfying and it is something that is seen as the goal of most debates. The format of the debate is such that one side is trying to defeat the other side through argument. There is someone who “won” the debate, and in this thinking, there is someone who lost. Debate is a wonderful practice, however debate is not set up to further knowledge but set up to fortify previously held positions. When was the last time you were changed because of a debate?

The debate model is alive and well in theology. There is the right way to understand the Bible or interpret a scripture passage. There is the right way to talk about Jesus and the nature of sin. The history of the Church is peppered with councils that are thought of as year long debates in which there was a winner (orthodox) and a looser (heretic).

And of all the things worthy of debate, is not the salvation of the world worthy? Don’t we want to be right about salvation?

My life has shown me that I am rarely right about the most basic things in life much more in the essentials. I think people who drive poorly are idiots rather than consider that the driver is new to driving. My spouse will say something to me that I will mishear or misinterpret and I will think that we are in a fight about our parents when really I just need hearing aids.

The past several years, I have discovered there is a more graceful way to be in the world that is better than being right.

It is the way of avoiding being wrong.

Being right means that I have to convince you and everyone of my rightness. However, to avoid being wrong means that we give others the benefit of the doubt. Trying to avoid being wrong means that we give the most generous interpretation to the actions of others. We are more graceful and grateful, more forgiving and giving. More cautious and discerning. More patient and loving.

johnny-mcclung-703707-unsplash.jpg

Mark 9:38-41

John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

In the story from Mark, Jesus is less concerned about the rightness of the healer. Jesus did not care if the healer was a “follower” or not. Jesus did not demand that this healer should be “right.” Rather, Jesus sees this healer as one who is avoiding the wrong. And as the healer avoided the wrong, people were healed. It was the ones who demanded the healer to be right (aka the disciples") who were unable to heal a demon possessed person in just prior in Mark 9:14-29!

It is my assumption that we would rather live in a world without demons and the first demon to exorcise is the possession of having to be right.

Preacher of the Month - 4 years later

Preacher-logo.png

A few years ago, I ran this little project called “Preacher of the Month”. It was an excuse for me to listen to other preachers I appreciated and then wrote a little thing about why I think others should know of these preachers as well. It was a small project highlighting preachers who are not in big pulpits and people you may not come across in your day to day activities.

Four years later, I wondered what it would look like to revisit the “Preacher of the Month” project. So over the course of the year it is my intention to connect with the original group of preachers and also to introduce a new set of preachers that I think others should know about.