Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Love is patient, love is kind.

There was an interesting post on It Might be Hope yesterday. For those of you who haven't seen it, this is a blog run by a young woman spending time in Nigeria on mission. As an African, I have respect for anyone who is prepared to experience Africa for real, and not just talk about it. So I always have time to hear what she has to say.

In this post, she is talking about Love, and how it is actually secondary to Truth. Something I had never really thought about before. I recommend you read the entire post, but the key section is:

God is love, but love is not necessarily God. Love must be founded on truth first. Believe, live out, and base your life on the truth…but the most important thing is to do that in love. That’s what it is.

Very powerful stuff. I think sometimes we make Love our 'excuse' for doing what we want to do. "It might have hurt him, but it was done in love" , "I can't tell her that, it would be un-loving." Jesus was loving, but he spoke his mind. When faced with hypocrites, he could be quite rude and sarcastic. He didn't pull any punches 'in the name of love'. Yet he was also loving at all times, even in the midst of telling the truth. When confronted with a fallen women, he knew that she felt shame for what she had done, so he does not point it out to her. When confronted with a penitent Zaccheus, he knew his heart, and responded in love. But he never tried to deny the truth of what they had done, or who they had been.

In fact, if you want examples of just how rude and offensive Jesus can be, look at this blog post over at Best of Both Worlds. The writer, James Carey, points out that Jesus uses sarcasm, mockery, name calling, and worse, when dealing with certain people; and don't tell me that "take that plank out of your eye" was not one of the all-time great sarcastic comments. I'm sure He was laughing over that one for days. Jesus knew when to call a spade a spade, and when to treat it like a shiny new shovel. His love for all was obvious, but that didn't cause him to shade the truth.


I'll be honest with you here. I just don't 'get' twitter. Facebook makes sense to me, because it is useful to be able to follow people's status updates occasionally, and see who is getting married, and who has pictures of their new baby. I actually like the fact that you can put that information out there without worrying about whether anyone is interested; they can just read it if they want to.

And then there's twitter.

Now don't get me wrong. I am sure there are 12 people in the world who need twitter. Men and women so interesting, so insightful, so influential, that there very existence and daily activities can elighten and motivate the rest of us.

I'm also sure that they are too busy being influential and insightful to bother twittering.

I am reminded of when the big brother phenomenon broke in my country. You remember big brother don't you? One of the first reality shows we had, where people would all live in a house together, and be filmed 24 hours a day. When it first started here, there were people who would stay up at night, just to watch the contestants sleep. I mean, seriously? What is that all about? Are we really that interested in other people's lives that we need to be informed of every bowel movement and missing contact lense?

Don't answer that.

I think twitter is a lot like that for some people. They are just standing there, broadcasting their entire lives to a bunch of comparative strangers.

I realise I am probably offending some of my readers, most of whom I am sure twitter. And I am sure that you need to. But I do think it is getting a little out of control here.

If God had intended me to twitter, he would have made me a budgie.

So let me put it out there. Why do you twitter? Do you find it useful to follow other people's lives?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fellowship of the Traveling Smarty Pants

One of the blogs that I have been following for a while is Fellowship of the Traveling Smarty Pants. This is a pretty awesome site for a number of reasons:

  1. They have an Awesome Cat;

  2. The contributors are so weird and sarcastic they make me look orthodox;

  3. They have names like Nick the Geek and Katdish;

  4. There is a lot of love and support on the site;

  5. They were foolish brave enough to invite me to be a contributor.

That's right. Sharkbait is now swimming with the BIG fishes.

So come over and see the wide ocean I sometimes swim in when the Reef gets to small. It's a scary place out there, but the people you meet are AWESOME.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jumping Jesus

As you might recall, I was whining a while ago about being funnier and more interesting on other people's blogs. Well here it happens again. :-0

Matt over at The Church of No People did a post yesterday about the poem Footprints. You know the one I mean. When I was young, I thought that to be a real Christian, you needed to memorise the whole Bible, be able to pray in tongues, and have at least one copy of Footprints stuck to your wall in each room. On the off chance that you have never actually met a Christian in your entire life, and thus do not know what I am talking about, click on the image and enlarge the poem.

Beautiful, ain't it?

But I digress. Matt posted an awesome post about how we sometimes see Jesus wrong because of this poem. I agreed, but what blew me away, was the comment by Jane D, she suggests that Jesus's response to the accusation about why there was only one set of footprints was "Because that's when we were hopping!"

How. Awesome. Is. That.????

I suggest you go and read all the comments, as there are some intersting and touching insights there. The simple comment about hopping, which gave me much laughter, also gave me pause for thought. It actually was a lot more profound than I gave it credit for.
So here was my response.

As humorous as Jane D's answer was, and it had me laughing out loud for a while, I think I like it the most. The idea that Jesus doesn't pick us up, but he says "Your leg doesn't work, that's fine. I've got a strong leg. Lean on me and we'll hop for a while. No, I'm not going to carry you, where's the fun in that? You can borrow my strength for a while. Okay, you lead the way. Of course I know how to hop, see, I can lift my leg as well. Anything you have to do, I did first. So I know how to hop. "Or maybe it's just the image of Jesus lifting up his white robes (not besmirched with damp sand of course) and hopping on an imaginary hopscotch court.Sorry if I made a perfectly humorous comment a little too serious.

I think for me there is some merit in that comment. Jesus doesn't carry us, he walks with us, and lets us rest our weight on him. If he didn't already know how to hop, how to walk with one bad leg, he would never be able to help us to do the same thing. Isn't it awesome that our GOD can hop with us?
I know a jumping Jesus, do you?

When you pray...

In my bible-study group at the moment, we are going through the Lord's Prayer for the period of Lent. We are taking it line by line, and so far it is quite interesting. It got me thinking though, and the question came up in our group last week: How do you fit this prayer into your prayer life?

Are we supposed to only pray the Lord's Prayer? Are we expected to pray this one first, and then do our own prayers? Does it mean that because Jesus taught it to us, we cannot ask for anything else?

Here's what I'm thinking. Jesus taught his disciples this prayer as part of a larger teaching. If you look at the contxt in Matthew 6, Jesus has been teaching about the Kingdom of God for quite some time. Then after he has taught them the prayer, he carries on teaching about the Kingdom.

This is a Kingdom Prayer!

The gist of the prayer seems to be that we need to be looking to our relationship with GOD, as our Father, and to all the benefits his holy Name gives us. We need to be actively pursuing the Kingdom of God, not just in heaven, but here on Earth. We need to be praying for the Kingdom to come, but also praying as if we already live in it; which in a sense we do.
In the Kingdom of God, which we pray for, he wants to give us all that we need for today, he wants to forgive us for our sins, he wants us to forgive others, he wants us to avoid temptation.
Does that mean we can't pray for more. It only means that HE has told us what he wants us to pray for; and what he wants us to pray for, he will give. If we pray for our daily bread, He will give it to us. If we pray for forgiveness, he will give it to us. If we pray for the Kingdom of God, he will bring it about in our lives and the world around us.

We can't be so sure about other things. We know God is a God of healing, yet he doesn't always heal. Still we can pray for healing, because He is also a loving God who wants to give us good things. We know he is a God who provides, so we can pray for a new car, or a parking place at the shop, yet he might not give it to us. However no prayer goes unheard, and every pray brings us closer to him.

So keep praying, make your time of prayer about seeking God, and his Kingdom. Build a relationship, pray for whatever is on your heart. But never forget that we are commanded to pray for his Kingdom, and all within it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Change of pace

I looked at my blog today, and noticed that I haven't posted anything since Ash Wednesday. Now you might be forgiven for thinking that I have given up blogging for lent. The truth, however, is that I just haven't had anything profound to say.

You would think that two weeks of fasting, self-denial and drawing closer to Christ would give me many new insights, but apparently nothing worth blogging about.

So here's a picture of Jesus riding a dinosaur.

(click on image for full-size)