Tag Archive: Genesis

We all go through things in life that are often unpleasant.  It is kind of strange.  There seems to be a growing sentiment even among the Christian community who think if they live a certain way, they can avoid various traumas.  It is not so much a bad theology but a lifting of man over God.  This has been going on forever.  Remember the story about the Tower of Babel way back in Genesis.  The best way to avoid submission to God is to elevate ourselves.  The more we can claim ,the less we are dependent upon our Maker.  God as our protector is not nearly as prevalent since we have security, cameras, safety systems and plenty of other practices that make man the protector instead of God.  

I admit I was feeling pretty strong and safe.  I used to boast about my good health and fortune.  When things are going very well, we think we can conquer the world, or at least the part of it upon which our feet travel.  Let’s not be falsely humble.  The more we gain in life the less we tend to credit God.  When is the last time we thanked God for our automobiles or indoor plumbing?  How about television and the Internet?  We complain about many things that make our life comfortable but about which much of the world knows very little.  Instead of being gracious our nature makes us want more.  

The past few weeks my view got readjusted.  Big strong me couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t stay up long without needing a nap.  A long nap.  Instead of being independent, I became dependent.  I hated every moment of it.  I kind of look at it with the idea that I needed to learn something or somethings.  So what have I learned, and it doesn’t have to be overly spiritual. We like to do that.  

I learned that getting old is really not easy.  The old body starts to die.  It really does.  I had an internal issue with it being calcified.  That’s death of an important part.  Sure my knees have hurt for some time, and I don’t dare run anywhere, but when the inner part starts failing, it is a new ballgame.  

I learned that life is not really meant to be lived alone.  I write a lot about it.  I learned it big time.  We are fooled to think we don’t need others.  If nothing else, having others care lifts the spirit.  I spent a lot of time alone unable to function.  One of the most important gifts others bring is the ability to laugh.  I often think about Jesus laughing.  I wish we had it in the Word.  I’m sure he laughed.  He had to. The only other option was to cry for surely he was not an emotionless robot.  We do know he cried.  If he cried, he laughed.  It hurt when people made me laugh.  But, oh, it felt so good.

One of the biggest lessons I learned is that we should never stop learning.  It’s like giving.  We should never stop giving.  When we stop giving or learning we begin to die at a much faster rate.  I’m not talking about taking a class, even though that can be beneficial.  It has to deal more with continuing to read, explore beyond our fears, and being willing to extend beyond the limits I have made.  When Jesus said he came to give us life, he didn’t put any boundaries on it.  Life is about growing, stepping back ,and growing again, over and over again.  

Without any question I discovered there is very little of value on television anymore.  No wonder streaming movies is so popular.  If anyone is lucky to find anything of value, it has enough commercials to allow a nap in the middle of the show.  No wonder actual television use is declining.  I wonder which one is faster, declining church attendance or television viewing?  Anybody got the answer?

I learned a lot of things in my two-week plus ordeal.  Some of these issues you would laugh.  I didn’t laugh at times; I wanted to cry.  Honestly, I’ve broken bones, shattered my wrist, severely damaged my ankle, had knee surgery and other health related issues.  None of them left me in more anguish than my kidney issues.  I traveled roads I have never traveled before.  It’s not so much I learned this last lesson, but I was reminded how true it is.  I was reminded that no matter how you feel, no matter what our depraved minds are telling us, and no matter what is going on, treat others with great grace, for they are human too.

It is not about getting something you normally wouldn’t get.  It is not about smoking anyone.  It’s about living the same way Jesus extends his grace to us.  I’m sure there are things we do that should demand a lack of God’s unmerited favor.  But no, he does not withhold it.  It sort of goes with Thanksgiving.  Instead of complaining, be thankful.  Instead of being demanding, be gracious.  I have figured it out.  It is a choice.  Having kidney stones the size of the Titanic and suffering complications of an old body is not a choice.  How we deal with it is.  It also reveals who we are.  The Apostle Paul said we are a new person.  The old is gone.  The new is here.  It is so much more than being a good guy.  It’s about being like Jesus.  He did not utter bad feeling towards his persecutors.  Instead, he asked for them to be forgiven.  It’s a way of life.  Live it.  

Every other Sunday night you can find me at the movies enjoying the latest flick with my good friends and son-in-law.  I love the big screen.  I remember my first movie.  My mom took me to the Hollywood movie theater in Arbutus, Maryland.  I saw the 1st Star Wars movie at the Timonium Drive-In with my best friend and girlfriend, who I eventually  married.  It rained.  That didn’t matter.  It was Star Wars.  

I love to look for the gospel in the movies.  There is a book titled, “How the Movies Helped Save My Soul.”  Hollywood might not ever realize how much it presents the grand story of redemption.   It’s all over the place.  My daughter hates to go to the movies with me.  She just wants to be entertained.  She thinks I’m plumb crazy.  She is right.

Last week we saw the movie “Skyscraper.”  It was a totally unrealistic action adventure movie staring Dwayne Johnson, “The Rock.”  It was like watching an old Diehard movie only instead of Bruce Willis we, get the new version with “The Rock.”  The good guys win in the end.  Or should I say the good guy wins in the end.  

Anyway, for some reason this one, along with the previews, affected me in a way I did not expect.  I was suddenly attuned to the amount of violence that is coming our way via the Big Screen.  It wasn’t just the violence; it’s the level it’s being taken.  There is a line that is getting dimmer and dimmer between fantasy and reality.  That line is red.  

I’m not an end all violent games and movies type of person.  I have played plenty of video games and I tend to think I’m not a violent person.  Or am I? Violence does not have to be full of guns, blood and death. Violence can come in many forms.  

In the Old Testament when Noah is told to build an ark, Genesis 6:11 reads, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.”  The word corrupt in this context means “to spoil or disfigure.”  The word violence has the overriding connection of a “loss of respect for life.”  Basically, life under the auspices of God had become disfigured and there was a total loss of respect for any living human being and probably creature.  

What happens when there is a total loss of respect for our neighbor?  It might not mean murder  and mayhem (at times it does), but, it means wishing and perpetrating harm and pain on someone for your own gain.  We might not be wielding a gun or knife but we may be living in a way that is so self-consumed we are not even aware of the pain we are inflicting on those around us.  An inability to be concerned for someone else defines a lack of respect. 

In our world we are seeing a widening gulf between opposite opinions, beliefs and philosophies.  Instead of considering someone as I would consider myself (Philippians 2) we are more and more building ramparts that separate and divide.  It’s happening in the name of Jesus leaving many confused, disillusioned and hurt.

Most people who have left the church have left over a painful experience within the body of Christ.  We like to think they “backslide.”  Sure, a few walk away from the teachings of the Bible . Most, however, walk away due to someone in the name of Jesus elevating themselves slaying the soul of their brother or sister.  It happens more than one thinks.  It is violence with no blood.  

How does this happen?  Opinions are not allowed to be spoken especially if they are not prominent in the leadership circle.  People are not encouraged, they are expected to give their lives to the “body” without any support.  Ministries they love lose support to the next “new” and “cool” ministry.  People are not dealt with honestly for fear they may bolt.  They wilt and nobody notices.  

Somedays I wonder why anyone goes to church.  The younger generations are simply not going.  The retirement generation that moves away from their community is stopping as well.  When I talk to either one they tell stories of the pain they suffered and don’t want to experience it again.  

The Catholic Church had a campaign a few years ago that broadcast, “You can come home.”  I liked that one.  I wonder if any church is willing to confess it’s sin, be committed to true community and spend it’s dollars supporting the least of these instead of spending them making the wealthy more happy.  You can come home.  Do you want to?  Jesus talked about peace and unity.  The violence has to stop.  At all levels.