My take on the “wages of sin”

So I have found that it’s much more difficult for me to post when the weather gets nice. Between yard work and baseball and wanting to spend more time outside, it’s been harder to sit down and write a post.
This week I found some inspiration, I was speaking to a friend of mine and she said something like, you know back when you use to sin! I just started grinning, laughing on the inside, when I use to sin, hell I sin every day! It’s that on good days the sins are different than you might think. I have had this thought in the last few months, I have this idea of “soft sins” or the small sins we tend to over look, the big boy sins tend to take care of themselves don’t they, usually if they made the top ten list, you must deal with them, they will force you to, one way or another.
It’s those small buggers we tend to miss; they’re the ones that do the most damage?
You know the ones like being passive aggressive, or with holding love because you are pissed off, or judging yourself or others. Usually the way you treat others is how you feel about yourself on the inside.
So when I use to sin, like today, or every day. I know what my friend meant; we were talking about how I am working with my kids to make sure the first comment out our mouths is a positive one, unlike the usual negative ones we start with! The interesting part is that I now realize that they got that habit from me, I had help, but it starts right here, at the top (lol, its Fathers Day, so I will pretend i am at the top of the heap here at home).
So of course my friend thinks I am better than I really am, we are all works in progress, not works of perfection, but I do try, sometimes I don’t get very far, do I do try to make my life and those around me a better place!
To me sin is missing the mark, like an archer misses the bulls-eye, but we are still on track. God doesn’t keep score, ever! Most of the time I think the bigger problem is that we keep score for ourselves and for others! It’s not your job EVER!
So free yourself, and others, sin is missing the mark- when we choose to move out of God’s grace, God never moves away from us, EVER!
God is always there broadcasting the same message to the world- Grace-Peace-Love- Forgiveness-Joy.
If that’s not what you see at least some of the time, you need to get the corrosion knocked off your receptors. Remember in the beginning, this Jesus movement was called the good news, if it doesn’t feel that way to you; you need to do some internal cleaning!
Peace, love, joy to you.
I have a game of backyard football to get to!

Audio from 6-21-15

Careful what you wish for, or Doug looks at 50.

So I was told last Sunday 3-22-15, that my last 3 sermons were some of my best. So here is the first of those 3 sermon’s from 3-8-2015. I was glad to hear that they were well received. As the guy doing the talking, you always try to do your best, but I know that sometimes they are workman like at best. I did, in fact feel on my “A” game these last few weeks, maybe channeling the energy from the upcoming Easter Holiday.

In this one I get into the ideas of my new “man crush”, Richard Rohr and his idea that we have 2 distinct half’s of our lives. The first half, the less mature half, is necessary for growth and if we are lucky enough we can progress into the more “mature” second half of life. I love his thought that for most of us, this second half of life “maturity” comes to most of us at a cost. To most of us,while living through it, it seems to be a very high cost indeed. That cost is usually what we think of as pain, and our natural reaction is to distance ourselves from pain.

Pain, that with time, can become the growth we need, but in today’s world we don’t sit in the pain, we try to numb it in some way, move away from it. With addiction, attachments of all kinds, rampant consumerism, and the distancing of ourselves from those close to us. How about our total addiction to “gadgets”, or the need to fill every waking moment with “something”, like soccer or football or dance or texting or Facebook or the new TV show. The list goes on and on. Its not all bad but we need some perspective.

We don’t know how to “be” anymore. We need to learn to shut “it” off; the noise of the world.

Be careful what you let into you life! We don’t even think about that at all. You can control  to a large degree the ” noise” you allow into your world. Look around most of what we deal with on a daily bases is noise.

I read somewhere that God’s only language is silence.

See I think we have tried to fill every waking moment with something, so we don’t have to face ourselves, or answer the big questions. We hide from ourselves and God. We fill our lives with “stuff” because most of us have a hole in our heart’s where GOD use to be. We have lost something, our connection to God.

We all long for that connection with “source.” That longing comes from the way we are told that we are separate from God, and what we are told we need to do to get back in good graces with the “man.” What makes us think we could do anything to separate ourselves from God? We separate ourselves from him\her, never the other way around.

Most of us know a punitive God that’s out for punishment and pain. That’s first half of life thinking at it best. My God doesn’t demand blood, she just ask us to love her back. That’s second half thinking. That moves the story forward. 10 Commandants’ are first half of life stuff; the beatitudes are second half beauty.

Neither is wrong but they serve a different purpose in our lives. Rohr helps us to understand we need them both, but we need to work through first half issues to mature (hopefully) into the second half of our lives, with more “vision and grace.” You have to have a strong foundation in the basics especially early in life, so you can be comfortable to move beyond them, into second half thinking. The world needs more second half type thinkers. Jesus was a second half of life thinker!

As we get older absolutes should dissolve into, I can see your point! The problem is many of us don’t progress into second half of life thinking. I can see that as the major problem of our country and the world, including the church. We are ruled by first half of life thinkers that live their lives with absolutes, we have lost the middle ground- just take a look around. Rohr says something like “literalism isn’t wrong, it’s just the most basic form of understanding.”

I get into my thoughts about finding what you look for, I think we do get what we look for far more often than we believe. The problem is we tend to think in first half of life thinking. Know the commercial where the guy rubs the lamp and asks for a million bucks, and the yard is full of deer. Careful what you wish for, you might just get it. If you want to see a world filled with pain and misery, there is plenty to “see” out there. From Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; search and you will find.”

I also get into how nothing is wasted if you can learn to see it with new eyes, my biggest “problems” of the past are the only times I have really ever grown. It takes time and distance but I would not trade them, how about you?

Take a look at your life; can you see that many if not most times you got what you went looking for, good or bad? Or will it have to wait until your done watching “your favorite show.”

The Audio from 3-8-2015

My friends- part 2.

Another of my friends called me at the end of the day Friday while I was still thinking about my conversation earlier in the day. So we got talking about spiritual things and my friend proceeded to tell me more of his personal journey and how he goes to a Christian meditative prayer. Also, how his dad was spiritual but never went to church much. I brought up how most of my “un-churched” friends tend to have a cleaner relationship with God than most of us regular attendee’s, funny how that seems to work.

As the conversation continued we started talking about his sister, a born again Christian, and his recovering drug addict friend, and how they had much different ideas than he did about God. So I started telling him how I don’t see the God a lot of my “religious” brethren see either. I threw out the idea that, “the God you find says more about you than it does about God.” See Last Post.

I proceeded to share with him about a period of time where I hated myself for not being what I thought I was supposed to be, who I wanted to be, who God wanted me to be. I had lost my 27 year old family business, having worshiped at the altar of Capitalism, and lost everything.
I went to church most Sundays, but my heart was elsewhere. I knew a mean and nasty God then who punished me for not being “good enough” at anything, ever.
Guess what else I realized? My temperament matched the God I knew then – I was a nasty bastard and I found a God to match. I thought I was a failure in every sense of the word. I could not feed my family, I could not keep a roof over their heads, nothing, complete failure. I wanted to die, and for those of you who don’t know, that’s different than wanting to killing yourself, but still pretty low place to be.
My friend from earlier in the day was around of some of those years and he told me Friday that he was surprised I pulled out of it. He said something profound, he said I had jammed my life into one small “box of pain.” That’s all I could see and it was the place I started from every day. Days on end, when it hurt just to pull myself out of bed, or when I would cringe when the phone rang at work, I was afraid it was another lawyer or collection call. Day after day for years…

I knew a punishing, mean God that took everything ,or so I thought. I deserved it, just like the people of New Orleans did to deserve Katrina, right? I had a friend that was a nondenominational pastor that told me that one. God was punishing me, and I deserved it.

So fast-forward to Friday afternoon…I told my friend we find the God we going looking for… his sister and friend were at a place where they didn’t like themselves for past “sins” they had committed against God.
The problem is, many of us never get past this stage on our walk with God. The thing is, now I see it so differently. Sin is against us, it’s when we move ourselves out of union with God. How could you hurt God with your sin? God calls us to completeness, to strive to find union with Her, to live in the Grace she so freely gave us, before we were born.

So you know what I learned the hard way? That you must forgive yourself first and foremost, it all starts there. Without self-forgiveness you are building your house on sand. See, without that part of the process, you continue to judge yourself by some standard that doesn’t exist.
So the next logical thing is to judge others in the same light, or actually judge them in the same shadow (lack of Light) you judge yourself from. That’s not God…that is an “idol” you made in your image from pain. From Matthew 7: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” I guess the moral of the story is to find the correct door, so keep looking until you find the God that loves you, and learn to love yourself. You will find what you going looking for!

Something else I have learned the hard way is that all of the things in life that cause you “pain,” those experiences are “life’s class room.” That’s were all true growth comes from. I have read that some “lucky” people “get it” without pain, but for most of us, it comes through loss of some kind – death, divorce, bankruptcy, etc.
I have learned to see the “pain” as a process we need to go through on this adventure. I am grateful for my experiences; yes even the difficult ones, more so the difficult ones because that’s where all my growth comes from.
I don’t see things the way others do anymore and I don’t talk the way most of my friends do. I would not trade my “life experiences” for anything. Somehow they are part of a larger plan, my sister told me “we need to lean into the pain,” sit with it.
Instead most of us take “something” to deaden the pain, run from it. I don’t know whether it’s learned or in us, but most of us avoid pain. Maybe it’s a survival technique, but running from a guy with a spear is different than avoiding your mother-in-law. Is all this running from pain keeping us from true growth? Is that why the world is in such terrible shape, we are too stunted emotionally to deal with others on any meaningful level?

Oh and if it can be bought with money it can’t be all that important, fun yes, important no. My friend from my post the other day, he also paid me a huge compliment. In the same sentence that he told me of the small “box of pain” I had made for myself in the past, he said now- “you don’t see a box at all.”