Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Need to Clean it out!

It is early Sunday morning. I spent the night last night at my Father's house because the sewers at my home in Liverpool have decided to stop working. This has been an on going problem with Onondaga County and the Village of Liverpool giving me the usual song and dance and finally telling me its my problem -- this at 9:00 on a Saturday night. Needless to say I spent the evening and last night frustrated and a little steamed.

This morning finds me reflecting on sewers and their functionality and necessity. It occurs to me that our homes need some way to remove waste from our environs. This keeps the home healthy and happy (and, frankly, smelling better). In the old days you could just dig a hole and later cover it up and nature would take care of things. I'm guessing digging a latrine in my back yard will not meet with universal approval from my neighbors (or my friends in the Village of Liverpool). So, I need that sewer, to take the "stuff" away from my home.

With all of the frustration of the day and night I am feeling like there is plenty of "stuff" in the emotional system of my life. What system do I have to clean out my emotional and spiritual drains? The good news is that through the gift of confession and prayer and holy conversation with friends on a Sunday I will be able to get my heart right (BEFORE worship) and I will be able to stand in church today free of that "stuff" that would otherwise poison my life. Isaiah 53:4 -- "Surely he has born our infirmities and carried our diseases. . ." Jesus takes the 'stuff' of our lives and takes it away.

Have a great Sunday!

Dr. BJ

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'm Back

Have you ever noticed how the urgent pushes out the critical? Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get so trapped in the details of living that you forget to live? Have you ever noticed how easy it is to completely forget promises and commitments because "there is just so much to do!"? That has been my story for the past month or so -- needless to say the things that really matter to me -- writing, teaching, etc. -- I have neglected.
So, I am officially (an unofficially) back. Here are some random thoughts to get it going:

I've been reading the Bible (New Testament) one chapter a day on week days. This is a pretty slow way to read and I have been amazed at the details in the stories that I had not noticed before. That Jesus guy really stands out at that pace. To be honest: I suspect he stands out at ANY pace.

I've been thinking a lot about the state of the United Methodist Church -- hope for the future, that kind of thing. If it is true that you only value what you measure (Jesus said: where your treasure is there you heart will be). Then it would stand to reason that what the Institutional church would choose to measure is its life blood (that is money). Do denominational structures around the country publish anything other than percentage of promised dollars actually given? If we are supposed to be making Disciples, something Jesus seems to be emphasizing, would it make sense to publish how many new Christians (professions of faith) how many baptisms (Adult and children) and how many new leaders and ministries are emerging? Yeah, me too. . .

I've been thinking about the state of our country. I am getting fed up with the Armageddon approach of the news Media and our politicians. Things are never as bad as they are presented. Things are never as dire as the 24 hour news cycle predicts. Things are never as, golly this has never happened before, as the anchors want us to believe. I realize the big trick here is to keep us watching so we will watch the advertising so we will buy more stuff we don't need (and on and on and on). In that name of being informed we cram our heads with stuff that doesn't matter. Time to turn it off. So long as we are watching glued to our TVs (Internet sites, papers, radios . . .) we are slaves. Time of unplug for a season, time to disengage, time to speak the plain truth to one another without all of the junk.

I've been thinking about the state of my soul. I am giving up on religion (again). I want to be a 100% follower of Jesus Christ -- regardless of the cost.

Clear your mind, break the bonds, be free,

Dr. bj