“We are all patriots first”

December 7, 2007 at 9:58 pm (Uncategorized)

I was listening to the radio on the way home from work last night.  Being discussed was the speech Mitt Romney had given regarding his faith.  During this discussion they were interviewing different people on their thoughts about the speech, Romney and the role of faith and politics.  A phrase caught my full attention.  One responder who was being interviewed as a devout christian, stated “we are all patriots first”.

I believe this is very true in 2007 in the United States of America and I think that is why we are in so much trouble in the world.  The U.S. christian church – including Protestants and Catholics, mainline denominations, evangelical denominations, etc. have all embraced this sentiment.  How many God Bless American bumper stickers, checks, cut out flags from the newspaper, etc. especially following Sept. 11, 2001, have we all seen.

I want to stand up against this patriotic version of church and say I am not a patriot first.  I am a Christ follower first and a mom,  second.  I believe the United States has gotten itself into a poor position in the world and I believe in God’s eyes because of this patriotism first.  The U.S. Church is remembering John 3:16 as only the “that He gave His only begotten son.”  and have forgotten the “For God so loved the world”.  My bible does not say for God so loved the United States of America or democracy or the developed world, etc.

I have been reading about this topic since I became inflamed last night and like a lot of what the Mennonnite faith has to say about this topic. 

A Christian pledge of allegiance

I pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ,
And to God’s kingdom for which he died—
One Spirit-led people the world over, indivisible,
With love and justice for all.

By June Alliman Yoder and J. Nelson Kraybill

It is time for the church to take back its faith and to stand united under Christ and for the first time in a long time I am actually filled with a desire to work with the church and to love the church and to call it to repentance.

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loneliest time of the year…

November 27, 2007 at 4:50 am (Uncategorized)

Has any one else ever been annoyed or frankly pissed off at the advice for the lonely this time of year?  Have you ever read this advice or paid attention to it?  Have you taken the time to take it apart a bit?

If you are alone during the holidays you are to give more of that single self to the world.  The rest of the world- the “real” world is to bake cookies, give gifts, laugh and bask in each others company in front of a warm and toasty fire with family.  If you are alone, you should go be with the other outcasts at Christmas (or any other holiday).  Give to someone less fortunate than yourself, serve a meal in a shelter, visit a nursing home, etc.  Now these are all very worthwhile things to do, but why, I am asking should the person who is already alone, will recieve few gifts, can’t wait for this time of year to be done, etc. be told to give more of their already deflated self?  Why is the advice not to all the happy and full couples and families to give out of their fullness and thereby satiate all? Again I think we should all be investing in the lives of the least of these, I just think the advice is more a revelation of how unacceptable it is to be single in our society than it is a real belief that we should be more inclusive and thoughtful during the holidays.

I have just always thought it was a boatload of crap and since this cyber world is for the blogging, I thought I would throw it out there.

Speaking of loneliness and darkness, I have been reading the book Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light.  I am quite fascinated by this book and really don’t know what to think about all of it.  I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it all.  Partly because I have not been raised with much awareness of the Catholic faith and so much of that portion is so foreign to me.  To wait for a priest, pope or other church leader to give the ok to and bless a work I knew was from God is something I can’t grasp.  Can any of you who know me see me waiting patiently for an elder to give the green light on a work I knew was from God?!  I chuckle.  I still don’t get that, but it worked for her.  

And as much as I try I can’t relate to the sacred devotion she has to Mary.  I try to understand it, but it eludes me.  I realize most protestants are repulsed by it and find it creepy at best.  I have really tried to grasp it but am unable to understand it.  If someone is Catholic, was Catholic or gets it, I would love to hear about it/gain insight into that area.

That aside I am enthralled by the darkness and loneliness that consumed her.  I had no idea – which is how she wanted it – and its not like we were close.  I know my blog has become quite dark, so it won’t come as a huge surprise why I am so intrigued by Mother Teresa’s dark inner life.  Through out the whole book – ok I haven’t finished it yet but its not written by Nicholas Sparks so I doubt in the last pages the heavens will open, choirs sing and she becomes Sister Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm – she talks about this darkness, emptiness, loneliness and longing for God and the evidence of God all around her and through her but yet she is dark inside. 

She is probably the most amazing woman to ever live on this earth.  She embodies all that God asks of us – feeding the sick, giving cups of cold water, visiting those in prison and taking care of the least of these and being completely in love with Jesus/God.  That was her call, to take care of the lowest of the low, the ones no one but Jesus wanted.  Yet the whole time she feels completely empty, knowing this is what she is called to do, knowing she is pleasing God, fulfilling her calling, etc.  but inside an empty dark cavern. And she keeps going on faith that it is right. Amazing.

How often do we hear that times of trial, spiritual wilderness times, dry times, etc. are our fault – we have sinned, we are not seeking hard enough or praying hard enough, anyone for a round of “read your Bible, pray every day, pray every day and you’ll grow grow grow ” from sunday school?  How many times have people said – “well it wasn’t God that moved” either directly or indirectly stating that obviously you have walked away, turned away etc. or somehow are at fault for the darkness inside you.  but as Mother Teresa’s devotion grows the darkness becomes more pronounced, the loneliness more intense the seeking and longing for a God that seems just out of reach intensifies.  Now of course many in the protestant crowd will say of course, because she’s Catholic and isn’t really a Christian so she is filled with darkness.  I don’t buy that.  So lets get that out of the way and continue.  Because when the fire is called down I would like to be standing next to a lot of the Catholics I know versus a “born again” Benny Hinn and the like.  for once a reason to be proud to live in Iowa- go Grassley…but I am off topic.

The author also references many of the spiritual greats like St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, etc. and similar darkness that consumed them.  I have run out of steam for tonight, but I am perplexed and intrigued as I have said.  Darkness doesn’t actually mean you have lost your faith, it is perhaps a part of the Christian faith.  I had also meant to talk about her not only embracing suffering but craving suffering, asking for more suffering.  Again so anti-American christianity.  I have been taught you should rejoice in it and hope its over soon – not want it and hope for it and view it as a gift to and from God.  We believe in the gifts of houses, happiness and a good 401K.  So I will give this gift of a good nights rest to God and pray for a happy tomorrow while christians in other parts of the world pray to suffer for Christ tomorrow – do we have the same God?

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The Road Less Traveled

October 8, 2007 at 4:10 am (Uncategorized)

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I…I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost.

a fairly famous phrase for most of us.  And for some how we have chosen to live at least a segment of life.  yet know one tells you the rest of the story,as Paul Harvey would say.  That fairly quickly the road less traveled that you have chosen or that was chosen for you or just happened to you or however you got there it just becomes the road you are on.  And there is a reason it is less traveled.  I see the images from the movie Big Fish.  The road probably isn’t really a road at all, its often hard to tell if you are even on the path anymore.  It has been a really long time since you have seen anyone and you get tired and beat up.  But then you meet someone, or you sit down to rest for awhile and find a discarded piece of humanity – a gum wrapper or some other insignificant item and realize that someone else has gone this way before you and you get enough energy to keep going.  The tricky thing is, you think its the road less traveled for just a little while.  There is a hidden “perfect” little town – like in Big Fish, or that actually the path will widen if you just get up over this hill and will become the highway for those who perservered.  But it is the road less traveled.

You get angry, hurt, disappointed and confused because there is no one around and you can’t figure out where everyone went and why they are not there.  you forget it is the road less traveled.  you want them to celebrate with you that you got up and kept going that you fought your way through the brambles, past the twisted ankle and up to the top of the hill.  But you get there and there is no one there to celebrate.  It is just that spot that ironically, diverges with the road much traveled.  And there is a huge parade of people passing you by on that road.  The road less traveled and the much traveled road intersect at a number of points – after all you got on at some point and others are getting on and off, as well.

Maybe you take the road much traveled for awhile or maybe because you are so “other” from your time spent on the road less traveled you either leap back to it or are shoved back by the parade.  And eventually even if you took the much traveled road for awhile there is something about the road less traveled that calls to you.  Where that voice goes when you are on the road less traveled I do not know.  We read books, watch movies and hear stories of people who took the road less traveled, usually after they are dead.  These are the voices that call, that dropped the gum wrappers along the way.  but they become magical and saintly not just beat up, tired, stinky “others” like us.  They didn’t plant the gum wrappers for us, they ate their last scrap of sustenance like you just did.  They didn’t leave behind their story or their coat to encourage you they just became to tired to carry it anymore.  Their road was less traveled, too.  They tripped over that root, and got slapped in the face by a thorny branch and hoped that this was finally the hill that held the promise.  But it wasn’t, it held another hill most likely in sight of the chair lift on the much traveled road.

I guess I just found another scrap of paper that let me know someone has been here before and it’s enough to help me keep going.  My road is not a refugee camp in Darfur, or my fifth foster home this year.  My road is not in the midst of a gang war in a LA, Detroit or Miami.  Its lonely, it is not an easy path but for today and tomorrow I will continue to pick my way along and hope that I am on the right path for me.

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Spiritual blonde moment

July 2, 2007 at 3:51 pm (Uncategorized)

I just realized a name for my cluelessness the other day – it was a spiritual blonde moment.  I wonder if you can get it in a bottle – like Clairol Number 5?

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Poor Little Guy

June 9, 2007 at 8:34 pm (Uncategorized)

So I have not posted for a long time, which is to be expected.  I have never been able to journal on a consistent basis so why I think I would blog, who knows…

long dark nights                     img_6891.jpg

One reason is that my little guy has been in the hospital this week.  Poor little guy!  I never knew how exhausting it can be to not do anything in a 10 by 10 room 24 hours a day. 

I also got to see what a “real” nurse’s work life is like.  It probably would not have been as bad as I pictured it back in nursing school.  I am trying to think if the nurse did any of the actual hands on care and I don’t think she did.  Not saying this in a critical way.  It is just that there are so many people who do each part of the care-the respiratory therapist monitored his oxygen levels, breathing, lung functions and administered the breathing treatments; phlebotomists did the blood draws and associated testing; aides took his vitals; lab people did the chest x-rays, etc.  The nurse educated me on the admitting procedures, took the medical history and coordinated the flow of all the other people coming in and out of the room for the days and nights that followed.

What a difference nice people make.  But a note to all new medical folks, my kid will not like you no matter how hard you try, so please just get what you need to done and forget about making friends with him.  Make friends with mom, though, because we are scared and really need a friend.

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The Power of the Blog

May 30, 2007 at 2:54 am (Uncategorized)

mad-city-zoo.jpg

The power of the blog…I have been nagged to join this phenomena for quite some time and have resisted.  Now I start and viola – a weekend that does not disappoint me in any way.   Great friends, a well-behaved little boy who napped both to and from Madison, drinking cheap wine and talking about spiritual stuff

What if as I start to blog life becomes as beautiful, fun and meaningful as it is in my head?  What if all my dreams come true and I stop being disappointed by everything around me?  I will be forced to stop being a cynic, and then I will have nothing to blog about, nothing to be sarcastic about.  

Then I would stop blogging and then life would cease to be as it is in my head.  I would have to become a cynic again and then I would need to blog again.  I am getting dizzy picturing my life now that I have struck the keyboard.  I must find a TV to numb myself back to sleep.

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