This has been my motto lately. I think I’ve said it over and over during the last few weeks in different settings. I’ve reminded myself. We all want to be natural – not robotic, not always thinking about what to do – at the things we care about. We want to naturally love our kids, be polite, or drive a car without having to check the manual or seeing reminder notes everywhere. But it takes lots of little steps of practice to get there. So don’t expect to be ‘natural’ at something right off the bat. Take small steps – but take them tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on.
I just finished reading Dave Schmelzer’s book “Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist.” I don’t know him personally but he’s a fellow Vineyard pastor. This book is part his personal story and part philosophy of relating to all types of people as a (now) believer in/follower of Jesus. Although Dave is a brilliant man (I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak and one would need to be somewhat intelligent to lead a church “in the shadow of Harvard”) this book is easy to grasp – it’s for everyone.
Who would I strongly recommend reading this book?
Anyone who has questions, lots of questions, about their faith and feels somewhat guilty about that. (don’t)
Anyone who comes from a very scientific vantage point but has questions about or leanings toward faith (and wants to hear from someone who won’t dole out pat answers).
Anyone who struggles with doubt. (boy that narrowed it down)
Anyone who wants to love their friends who have doubts (and not yell at them or fight with them).
It’s a really, really good book.
I go back n forth between wanting a more regimented lifestyle (set rhythm to my week) and realizing that it’s very difficult with 2 kids and a ‘I have no idea what’s going to happen today’ job. But one thing that is set in stone for me – every day, many times even – is that I will have to take care of my kids. I will have to pour the milk, cut the banana, change the diaper, give the morning hug, make the toast, remind her to pick up her dirty clothes, etc, etc, etc. Maybe those could be ‘spiritual disciplines’ or my daily ‘liturgy’ or ‘hourly prayers.’ ? Of course they are. Maybe feeding your dog, washing your dishes, making your bed or whatever you do that seems so mundane or even annoying can turn into brief reminders that point your attention to Jesus – the one who told us to offer simple cups of water, pick up towels, and plant little tiny seeds.
Filed under: Fighting Inertia
Park a little further from the store front door. Walk to the store when I can. Walk to my neighbor’s house if I can. Can you? Ride my bike instead of driving to video store. A French baker’s response to the low-carb/no-carb/diet fads of America – “our French doctors will tell you to eat less and move more.” Most answers are really that simple. I’m trying. Just try.
quote from Chris Hedges (from an article @ adbusters.org) https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/88/chris-hedges.html
“We will have to grasp, as the medieval monks did, that we cannot alter the larger culture around us, at least in the short term, but we may be able to retain the moral codes and culture for generations beyond ours. Resistance will be reduced to small, often imperceptible acts of defiance, as those who retained their integrity discovered in the long night of 20th-century fascism and communism.”
What should you retain (what is worth keeping) from your present life?
Are you prepared for long-term, small acts of defiance?
It’s easier and more fun when done with friends.
Statistics reveal that in an average city (Savannah is a small (!) city) 20% of the population moves any given year. 1/5 of the population basically changes. I’ve talked with elementary teachers in Savannah who say kids move a lot due to eviction. I grew up very differently – my parents still have the same phone number since I was an infant and only moved once – 1.5 mi down the road.
Someone asked Abba Anthony (Christian leader from the 3rd century), “What must one do in order to please God?” After encouraging the pilgrim to keep God before his eyes and pattern his life after the Scriptures, Anthony added, “In whatever place you find yourself, do not easily leave it.” Another of the desert fathers advised similarly, “If a trial comes upon you in the place where you live, do not leave that place when the trial comes. Wherever you go, you will find that what you are running from is ahead of you.”
A poorer than usual neighborhood in Philadelphia experienced a massive fire. A shelter was set up for those whose homes were burned…but no one showed up to the shelter. Why? Because neighbors whose homes weren’t burned invited their neighbors to stay with them. Why? Because they loved their neighbors. Why? Because they knew them and knew that the strength of the neighborhood was invested in each neighbor. Why? Because some crazy Christians began to slowly love their neighbors – one at a time – in this neighborhood. Who has eaten in your home kitchen lately?