Taking a Break…

Our family took the this summer off from church.  This wasn’t a deliberate act in fact, it occurred quite organically.  Like most busy families we have our share of commitments that keep us hoping about from one situation to the next.  I accept other families are equally as active and they still manage to show up each Sunday ready to take on the world.  But not us.  We were just tired and needed some rest.

This was beyond just sleeping in, which by the way is quite freeing to a mind entrapped by so much guilt.  After a while the many voices in my head just collectively shut up and let me alone.  The depth of slumber was new and welcomed as a positive addition to an overwrought life.

Our Sunday mornings became events of family togetherness.  Suddenly I felt the urge to create masterful banquets for our family to feast upon.  Time previously spent trying to stay awake quietly beside my kids in a pew were replaced with joyous celebration and great conversation.  We found time to go and do things together which was the opposite of our disjointed lives spent meeting so many valued responsibilities.

So maybe we were in church, just a different version from the norm.  Maybe having determined time together without a boxful of aught to’s where we worship together the joy of community within our small little part of the world.  To me this has been such a meaningful time I’ve treasured for it’s simplicity and pure genuineness.

What will we do next week now that summer is basically over?  Beats me.

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Squirrel Nuts…

Zen comes to us when we choose to not seek it out.  At times when we are simply just being people of love and compassion, opportunities to encounter oneness and generosity find an easier path to our door.

Yesterday while returning from a twilight round of golf I happened upon a young deer enjoying a private dining experience near my backyard.  As is my pattern, I stopped fast so as to not interrupt this deer while eating.  My thinking being, I choose to not be disturbed when I eat, why shouldn’t this deer be afforded the same privilege?

I sat still in my golf cart probably around twenty yards from my new friend trying to be quiet and non-eventful as possible I noticed something a little out of the ordinary.  As I looked up towards the top of the tree the deer stood beneath, a rustling took place up high.

It was then I noticed the movement was from a squirrel who was having some type of experience with this deer.  This squirrel was busily dislodging or throwing or somehow making acorns come loose from this tree and rain down in the vicinity of the awaiting deer.  Every now and then the squirrel would come down the tree and look at the deer, as if to say “everything ok?” and then run hastily back to the treetop to resume his service.

These two beautiful creatures allowed me to watch this shared meal for twenty minutes without even giving me a consideration.  Suddenly the deer stood bolt upright, ears at full attention, and his tail began to hastily swat in communication.  A firm glance to his right and then off he ran as a child called home after a long day at play.  He was out of sight in a flash.

God gives us moments like this to remind us of the provision, care, and compassion  available to even the most vulnerable among us.  When we see scenes like this played out, how can we not be equally caring and compassionate?

Bunny…

It was a brief journey we shared,

one filled with wonder and unity.

You brought us together to enjoy your company,

caring for one so fragile and sweet.

You followed us around and did the cutest things,

your energy never abated.

I can still hear your thumps and feel the nibbling kisses,

black eyes bestowing extreme trust for your care.

Those same eyes now forever closed, the hopping ceased,

memories permanently imprinted by your fleeting visit.

Too short was our time together.

The Grand Gesture…

Yesterday was Chick-Fil-A appreciation day around the country.  A rather curious event fabricated by a career politician and television talking head that created an overwhelming pompous stir in the evangelical community.  The outcry was shouted everywhere, “they’re stealing away out freedom of speech,” “we must stand up for biblical principles,” “liberals are just trying to shove their agenda down our throats.”  It was challenging to witness and even tougher to see good people, folks who truly seemed compassionate, quickly chase after the latest cause without a moments consideration to those it affected nor a care how this vulgar braggart participation reflected on them.

It made me think about how much the paradigm has shifted the landscape for the church.  No longer do religious leaders inspire efforts at great social change, now the church has gleefully accepted it’s new pecking order in line behind the conservative political movement. In this role the church has put on mini skirts and lifted its pom-poms taking an active role as a cheerleader for whatever is said or done from the political toad of the day.  How God must grieve to see how far his people have wandered searching for salvation in smooth talking politicians with their carefully worded soundbites.

Even a poor student of history can look back at the role the evangelical church has taken on the evolution of societal change.  Seemingly, in almost every event, the church is found cheering for the oppressor and mocking the oppressed.  On this, they were wrong again.  My God, am I missing something here?

Seeing all the victimization implied drove many to disregard reason, kindness, grace, and charity to instead rally together to further divide our nation.  Taking a chicken sandwich as the modern oracle of God and smashing the same sandwich in the face of the minority to prove how sanctified and holy one is defies even the simplest tenets of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

So while many of our neighbors sit alone in worn down homes craving even a morsel to satisfy the hunger that slowly destroys their lives, the evangelical church chooses to celebrate excess to make a grand gesture.  People lined up and waited for hours to eat food most didn’t need with money they didn’t have to spend just to be a part of the cause.

When did the role of the church become party planners who celebrate the mission of exclusion instead of seeking out the lost on the highways and byways of life, feeding and loving them with grace and sensitivity?  Yesterday was not a day to celebrate for the evangelical movement, it was sadly a day to cry.

Besides, many will argue the whole CFA outcry was a public relations stunt to get more business, to that end, well done. Once again the people have been had.

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.