Tag Archives: family

My Last Post as Spiritual Drift

This will be my last post as Spiritual Drift.

I can no longer find the words.

Since my last post, and given the current climate of our nation, both politically and spiritually, I simply can’t think of anything I can say that would make one tinker’s damn bit of difference. To anyone. To anywhere.

We’ve grown too busy shouting, too comfortably entrenched in our own dystopian universes to worry about the lost art of communication. We run around shouting that the sky is falling, never seeing that it isn’t our God who created that sky, it was us. We are being crushed by gods of our own making. We’ve grown fearful of every shadow because the light of the world has grown too dim if it hasn’t been totally extinguished, never recalling that we were supposed to be that light.

I weep for my country.

I weep that a statue stands at our shore and says, “”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I weep that our founding document includes the words, “all men are created equal”.

And I weep that no one cares.

I weep for my religion.

I weep that my scripture says, “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the stranger by giving him food and clothing. Therefore, show your love for the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
And says, “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
And says, “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”

And I weep that no one cares.

I weep for the “less than”, for the oppressed, the alone, the wounded and weak, the disabled. I weep for people of color, and people of poverty.

I weep for the poor in spirit, and for those who mourn. I weep for the meek, and those who are hungry and thirst for righteousness. I weep for the merciful, the pure in heart, and for the peacemakers.

And I weep that no one cares.

No, I take that back.

A lot of people care. We just care more about being heard than about hearing. We seem to be caring more for our rights, for our liberties, for our needs, and for our selves.

We care more about the external than the eternal.

We care more for those things that moth and rust destroy, that thieves can break in and steal.

We equate acceptance with approval.

We equate immigrant with enemy.

We equate poverty with work ethic.

We equate disability with worthlessness.

We equate need with weakness.

We equate conservativism with oppression, and liberalism with anarchy.

We have lost the fine art of nuance, and we’ve forgotten that we live in a world of gray and not one of black and white.

And mostly I weep that there is no one to talk to. No one who will withhold judgment. No one who will simply listen. No one who will do the hard work of caring, and who will face the hard truth that we, yes WE dear Americans and dear Christians, are as much to blame for the state of our world as are our supposed enemies, and probably more.

I have no words.

I am at a loss.

And thus, this will be my last post as Spiritual Drift.

God help us all.

What is All This Life-on-Life Stuff?

What the typical model of “church” and “relationship” has devolved into today is more akin to disciple-making through imparting information. In other words, if I tell you something, Biblically speaking, that is “true,” I am discipling you. Doing life together means that we know each other well enough that we can speak truth to one another, regardless of time, regardless of distance, and regardless of circumstance. This truth does not have to be doctrinal, though it will be Biblically based. This truth can be social, it can be relational, and it can be speaking into a struggle, an addiction, or a conflict. It can be any number of things, spoken honestly and, at times, courageously, into the life of another person.

Courage flows both ways though in this type of relationship. Of course there is the courage to say what may need to be said rather than what the other person wants to hear. But there is also courage within the heart of the listener in order to be receptive and responsive to what may be said in love and honesty. We may not agree with what is being said, but we also don’t automatically lash out in anger or defensiveness simply because the person is speaking to us what may be difficult for us to hear. There is a certain level of superficiality that permeates a good amount of today’s church culture. I may see you in church and know you well enough to say, “Hi,” or maybe ask, “How’s it going?” You would likely respond, “Fine, praise God!” Then our families might sit with one another during the service, and afterward we would go our separate ways. And we would call this interaction “friendship,” maybe even “relationship.” Turning that into a life-on-life relationship, or for us to “do life” together, means that you and I know each other to the point where we’re actually going to be honest with each other about how we’re doing in our marriage, how we’re doing with our kids, how I’m doing in my walk with the Lord, how my prayer life is going, and what am I struggling with. We’re going be honest enough to be able to talk with each other about these issues and help each other through them by pointing each other to Biblical truth and holding each other accountable. It means when my wife is physically sick or mentally down, your family might bring us a meal. It means when your child is injured and in the hospital, we come and visit you there, consoling and praying, offering help or whatever it takes to usher you through this crisis. It also means having fun together, going to dinner, or going to ball games or to a concert, whatever our shared, common interests may be. It means that if you have to call me at 3 a.m. because of something that has come up, you can do that. In fact, I would want and expect you to do that. In other words, this deeper form of relationship means helping each other through this journey called “life,” and focusing on how we are doing at being disciples and how we are doing at making disciples.

~ from “Disciples Unleashed”, my first venture into non-fiction, co-written with Dave Campbell, World Missions pastor for Real Life Ministries, AVAILABLE NOW FROM AMAZON.COM, PAPERBACK HERE FOR $11.99, OR E-BOOK HERE FOR $2.99!

To An Anonymous Parent…

The retail store where I work recently received several photocopies of a letter placed over the front of several magazines in various displays throughout the store. These letters covered over such diverse titles as Shape, Women’s Health, Vanity Fair (yes, that one), and others. Oddly though, not Cosmo or Maxim, but maybe these were just missed (or they ran out of flyers).

The letter said this:

PLEASE consider carefully how your placing these sexually alluring photographs affects the lives of those coming into your buisness. They plant seeds of curiousity in children and in spouses, altering families. Your leadership in our community should be used to better the lives of others, not steep them into a life of bondage with promiscuous and sexually explicit pictures. As a parent it deeply concerns me about the lack of responsibility for our future generations and their sexual purity. PLEASE DO NOT place these images in full view of my childern. You are encouraging the idea that a woman is a sex object. She is much more than that…she is VALUABLE!”

(bold, underlining, and misspellings are all the author’s.)

Seeing as how these photocopied letters were left in stealth and anonymously, neither I nor the retail store have any means to contact this parent regarding their concerns. Therefore, I have chosen to respond here:

To the anonymous parent who left photocopied notes over our retail store’s magazine section:

First off, let me say that I personally agree with everything you have written. I, too, am a parent who is very concerned with the pervasive culture of sexuality within our society today. May I add that I am a recovering addict and victim of this culture as well, having spent many years under the bondage of pornography and the very images you are rightly concerned about.

In other words…I get it. I truly do.

In that vein, I have a couple of thoughts for you:

First–planting “seeds of curiosity in children…” is not a bad thing. Yes, the slippery slope of material which you are addressing is questionable. But, prevalence of this material also provides many opportunities to engage your children in an age-appropriate dialog over what is being shown, why it is appropriate/inappropriate, and better alternatives to express the same intent this material is wishing to provide. If you do not think this material is appropriate, tell your children why—in a constructive, non-judgmental fashion. Or, simply tell them about what is being shown, eg: “That woman’s name is Jillian Michaels. She is a fitness expert, and she is showing that through exercise and a good diet, you can be an awesome athlete, like she is.”

Do you know what your children will probably say?

“Oh!” followed by, “…hey look, pool toys!”

Second, turning this material around in its placeholder, or putting photocopied condemnations over the covers, only serves to heighten a child’s curiosity. They think that now they’re missing out on something. That Mom’s hiding something. Something controversial. Something shocking. Something “adult”. As a result, of course they’re going to want to see it! Only now, you’ve added the additional stigma that it is “bad”, lurid, and taboo, which somebody probably told you it was, once upon a time.

Is it? Possibly.
But no more or no less than that same child can see during any given day at any given public beach, or in any afternoon at a local fitness center (or, occasionally, standing in line at your local retail store).

I also agree regarding the “lack of responsibility for our future generations, and their sexual purity.” However, your target of blame on exactly WHO is responsible is somewhat misplaced.

Would it help if our nationwide retail establishments did not carry such material? Undoubtedly. But, we live in ‘Murica, where capitalism reigns supreme and the almighty dollar is the language of choice. God Bless the U.S.A. If you want to protect the future generations, how about we start by raising up that generation of future consumers NOT to be driven by such provocative sexual imagery?

That all sounds well and good, right? But, do you know where all of that starts? In the home. Not in the retail store, not in the publishing business, not with the clothing manufacturers, et. al.

Do you want to discourage the idea that a woman is nothing more than a sex object? Do you want to teach your daughter or son that a woman is more valuable than that? Well then….

It starts (and ends) with YOU.

It starts with education.

It starts in conversation.

It starts with engagement, not by turning a cover around. Not by chastising a retail establishment via anonymity. All you’re accomplishing by doing this is promoting fear and cowardice within yourself, and curiosity and temptation within your children. The most effective thing that can be done, the bravest thing that can be done, is that which is going to have to be done by you.

Talk. To. Your. Kids.

Thank you for reading. Have a great day.

~ Kent