Category Archives: Grace and Spiritual Drift

Where Has Your Head Been At Lately!!??

I get ideas for blog posts in many forms: A scripture passage will strike me a certain way; a fellow blogger will write something; or even a comment within a post that triggers a thought of my own.  I’ll often write down the particular comments or passages, set them aside, and later on pick them back up and see what flows from them.  The following is a collection of such ‘quotes’ I’ve collected over the past several months.  I was looking them over, trying to decide on a subject for an upcoming post, when I noticed they kind of formed a cohesive whole all on their own.

I guess the overriding theme of these quotes is where my mind has been at lately.  Do you ever notice how you can read a particular scripture over and over, then one day read it again and it strikes you totally differently than it ever has before?  That’s because, simply from the mindset you’re in, you are ready to ‘hear’ that particular passage.

Anyway, this is what I’ve been ‘hearing’ lately.  I don’t know if it will make any sense to anyone else, but my own thoughts have been really directed towards the ideas of ‘love’, ‘understanding’, and ‘relationship’ as of late.

So here ya go.  I’m sorry I don’t have authorship credit for these quotes.  If one of these came from you, I apologize for not accrediting it, but thank you for lending me your thoughts . . . .

~Perhaps, one of the first lessons we need to learn is that God doesn’t challenge us to have the best answers.  He loves the one willing to ask the best questions.  May we all be blessed in this pursuit.

~Of course we should respond.  Of course there is room for back-and-forth discussion.  But I really want to see
thoughtful conversation that does not condemn the other.

~I’m tired of saying “them” and “us.”

~The purpose of Christianity is not just to make disciples, but to give you an abiding, fulfilled life.  You need other believers.  You need love. (1Corinthians 13)  The real battle in the church is not in what you know or what you can do, it is within your ability to love and be loved.  You can test the success of your congregation by the depth of their relationships.

~I know that the people who have helped me grow in my walk with Christ are the people who make me think. I don’t always agree with them and I don’t always like what they have to say, but it forces me to question what I know and believe….which is a valuable commodity.

~Jesus even knew that Jesus wasn’t enough.  In the garden, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone” even though Adam was with God.  God knew Adam needed relationship with other people, so he created Eve, and he created them with the capacity to make and raise a family and populate the earth.

~People are born for relationship.  Trust is formed through relationship.  As Christians, we have a personal relationship with Christ.  We also have a personal relationship with others (both near and far from God).  If we are to abide in Christ, doesn’t it make sense that we also need to abide in others?

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Losing the Art of Conversation (or, Long Live the Flame Wars!!)

It’s been another one of those writing days when I had a beautifully crafted post all ready for uploading, and yet I stopped.

The post was based off comments received from another blogging friend’s post; a rather lively give-and-take session between, at times, four different commentators.  But as I continued to read through the ever-growing thread (last count: 153+ comments), one thing became painfully obvious.

No one was listening.

Everyone seemed so laser-focused on making their own point that no one bothered to recognize the other commentator may have had a point as well.

I soon realized that within my own post, beautifully crafted though it may be, I was doing the same thing.  I was going to perpetuate the overriding issue on my own humble little blog.  Oh sure, it would have been a lively debate.  But to what end?  After a while, if all you end up doing is reiterating your point….again….and, again….and, again.

There comes a time when you have to ask . . . What IS your point?  Do you want to be heard?  Or, do you want to be right?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that anyone necessarily had to agree; simply that they took the time to digest the information, and understood.  Agreeing is not the same as being heard.  Agreeing is also not the same as understanding.   I may not agree with you, but I can at least acknowledge that I “get it”.

And sometimes, that’s enough.

Try typing in the words, “I don’t agree, but I get where you’re coming from.”

It’s not easy is it?  I think we, as a general human condition, feel that acknowledging someone else’s point is akin to agreement; or worse, the two most dreaded words to those with strong opinions on whatever topic is being bandied about . . .

Acceptance.  or, Tolerance!

*gasp*

Umm, It’s not!

Let me repeat that for those few who may have read the “T”-word, shut their eyes, covered their ears and went, “lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala”.  It’s not!

Sometimes, whether it be through blog posts, follow-up comments, or Facebook status updates, we get so wrapped up in making our stance on an issue known that we forget there’s an actual person on the other side of the keyboard; most often wrapped up in making his or her own stance the central focus.  At this point it doesn’t matter how many times you repeat it, that you resort to sarcasm because they have the density of an Acme brick, or that you YELL IT OUT IN ALL CAPS!!  The conversation has, for all intents and purposes, stopped.  It’s now no more than a flame war; with mortars of big words and lofty ideologies fired back and forth with little regard for collateral damage or casualties.

I’m right and you’re an idiot, dammit!  WHY CAN’T YOU SEE THAT!!

Could it be that we’ve become so enrapt in our own little blogospheres, emboldened by the power of Facebook commentary, empowered by the anonymity of unsigned emails, that we’ve lost the finer art of conversation?

How many of these flame wars could be avoided if the two (or four) combatants were sitting face-to-face across from each other over a cup of coffee or gourmet burgers?  For the sake of the next round of bottomless fries do you think you might concede the point?

There’s a certain nuance that comes from the facial expressions that accompany spoken dialog; a disarming tilt of the head, a knowing smile, a sarcastic twinkle to the eye, the furrowed brow of deep consideration, not to mention the hand gestures that add emphasis and drive home a point.

And I’m sorry, but this  🙂  doesn’t cut it.

As Chris Jordan from Beausejour Pulpit so aptly puts it:

“Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here: I enjoy Facebook just as much as the next person, but we can’t allow our online friendships to become a substitute for real world interactions.”

Maybe it’s just the speed at which our brains work.  When we read an online status, a blog post, or a new comment we don’t agree with, we’ve got all the time in the world to think of a pithy comeback.  But, when we’re sitting across from the person, in the heat of the moment, quite often that pointed jab of witty banter just doesn’t come right away.  And maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing (or should I emphasize, a GOOD thing).  Maybe that’s the time to simply stuff your face with another steak fry, cock your head to one side and say, “Yeah okay.  Whatever!”

Post Script: On the same day I caught the idea to write this post, I ran across two separate articles written along the same lines.  They probably drive the point home much better than I could and are provided below:

Inside the Writer: The Spoken Word   http://insidethewriter.com/2013/05/29/the-spoken-word/

The Beausejour Pulpit: Facebook or Face-to-Face http://thebeausejourpulpit.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/proverbs-12-facebook-or-face-to-face/

Do As I Say . . .

Every morning in my email, I get a daily scripture verse sent to me and several others within our church family, from a friend and former home group member.  Today’s verse seemed apropos for some of the things I’ve been thinking about myself lately (and, unfortunately others as well).  Maybe it will hit home with you as well:

Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19 ESV)
 
Some of those in the crowd were experts at telling others what to do, but they missed the central point of God’s laws themselves. Jesus made it clear, however, that obeying God’s law is more important than explaining it. It’s much easier to study God’s laws and tell others to obey them than to put them into practice.
How are you doing at obeying God yourself?