I’m listening to this audio book. Very, Very good. Highly recommend it. It’s co-written by John Perkins, a leader from the Civil Rights era (and still a leader), and Shane Claiborne, a 30something “recovering redneck” that lives in north Philly.
One of the most often quoted (and misquoted) verses in scripture is Philippians 4.13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s a favorite verse of athletes and go-getters of all types. Too bad it has nothing to do with accomplishing anything like touchdowns, victories over opponents, or scoring that commission in sales. Nothing. I, personally, cannot dunk a basketball through Christ who strengthens me – maybe if I hired a personal trainer and worked out A LOT…but I doubt it. I just can’t jump that high. In the verses leading up to 4.13 (11-12 specifically), Paul is talking about how he has learned to be content whether he has plenty or not much (so that he won’t be arrogant or steal). He can be CONTENT with what he has through the strength of Christ. So if you have food, shelter, and love…be content. If you have a bit more than you need…SHARE. It’s really that simple.
You probably won’t change the world in a courtroom, legislative body, under a protest sign, with a petition, or from a platform. Try changing the world at your dinner table and on your front porch. Maybe you need to clean off your dinner table – it’s not meant as a junkmail bin or a fake plant holder. Invite friends over for home-made ice cream. Pass out popsicles to kids during the summer. Sit, rock, and wave. If you can eat with someone, you can call them a friend, and the world is changed…a lot. A lot. Maybe just in your head…but the ripple effects cause hurricanes.
Filed under: Fighting Fear
There are many people who believe in God, and maybe even consider themselves to be a “Christian”, and yet doubt one or more of the following:
Does God love me?
Does God like me?
Is God listening?
Does God care what is happening to me?
These are huge questions and ones not to brush off. They come from real pain or loss or confusion.
These are questions that do NOT want pat answers from a Jesus-bumper-sticker.
The book of Job is all about these questions. If someone you know is dealing with any or all of the above the best, BEST thing you can do is be with them. DO NOT come with pre-packaged answers which basically sound like you just want it to be over for your friend so you don’t have to deal with it. Answers like “well, just trust God” or “He knows best” or “let go and let God” come across like lemon juice on a cut to someone in pain. Basically, shut up and just be their friend. Bring food or a cake and watch bad tv with them. Or kidnap them and take them to a movie or a ball game. They know you love them and a time for discussion may come later.
If YOU are the person dealing with doubt or pain AND you believe in God – try to be honest with yourself. Is the absent, hateful, or negligent God you’re feeling or imagining in line with the Bible OR even common sense? Again, assuming you believe in someone or something that has the ability to create and maintain life – try to trust that the negative images you’re sensing are coming from evil sources – bad fathers, abusive authorities, impish power holders…not from a God who does see you and loves you and … likes you.
The best thing you can do for your family, workplace, friends, or place you volunteer (basically anywhere others are involved) is to maintain a “non-anxious presence.” This is the thrust of the the book “Failure of Nerve” (Friedman). This book has been of the most impacting reads for me in the last several years. Basically, knowing who you are and who you are not, and having the quiet confidence to maintain that will increase stability around you. And yet, according to Friedman, we (the US) are in a state of “chronic anxiousness” where anyone who stands up or out to lead or assert themselves is verbally attacked or labeled a “dictator.” And yet, quietly confident leaders are what we need and need to be. Super, super book.
Filed under: Fighting Boredom, Fighting Fear, Fighting Inertia, Fighting Injustice, Fighting Noise
“Living on Purpose” by Tom and Cristine Sine is one of the best, if not the best, books for a foundation for following Jesus. It’s smartly written, witty, simple, challenging, and gives a great framework for walking this out. I can’t recommend this book enough. In fact, anything they have written is really, really, really good.
Filed under: Fighting Fear
I was at Sam’s yesterday buying some supplies for church and it was PACKED. I heard a comment from an older gentleman about a year ago that this recession is NOTHING like the Great Depression because the only lines he sees nowadays are the ones at restaurants or other retail stores – NOT the lines for free soup. I watched as people bought HUGE TVs – ones that cost a LOT of money (like they could have bought a car for a college student instead) and other jumbo items. The thought occurred to me that if you still have a job, the economy isn’t so bad. I mean gas isn’t too high, grocery shopping can be tightened a bit…but not too bad. BUT if a small business goes down and its 4 employees are laid off…the economy is really bad.