Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day Wrap-Up

Matt 6:25 (NRSV) "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, "What will we eat?' or "What will we drink?' or "What will we wear?' 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Before you click out because you think I might attempt to preach from this forum please continue to read for just a few more moments. One of my brothers is the real deal and he's darn good. That is saying a heckuva lot since I don't particularly like preachers. So I ask the rest of you to bear with me while I post a couple of thoughts.

I think ALL of us are on some kind of spiritual journey. In the past year I've talked to several close friends about their own journeys. This is something we'd never discussed before because I treasure their friendship and talking religion or politics is an excellent way to end one. So I tread lightly when such topics arise.

I should say here that I grew up in a fairly traditional Southern Baptist environment. Add to that a 5 year sentence at very strict (can you say Bob Jones University?) Christian school during my junior high & high school years and you have the makings of a screwed up version of God.

I like the God mentioned in the above passage which happens to be part of today's lectionary (Episcopalians, Church of Englanders, and Catholics understand). I really and truly want to think of God in that type of imagery but most of the time I cannot. Too many times I have seen my own prayers unanswered; someone dear becomes seriously ill or dies before their age; a friend loses the perfect job; a couple needing/wanting/deserving a child cannot conceive or adopt one while fetuses are murdered daily by someone not responsible enough to use some type of birth control.

A few weeks ago I unloaded on a great friend of mine because I misunderstood his point of view. The topic of our conversation revolved around Michael J. Fox's appearance in political ads just before the election. The details are unimportant. I will say that I am obviously a supporter of stem cell research given Ben's condition. My friend knows this very well. He is one of few men or male figures that Ben can count on to treat him as just a regular little boy. Before he could complete his thought I ripped his opinion up and down, sideways, backward, and basically told him that I didn't need friends like him.

I am very fortunate to have friends like Paul. Had I listened to his entire dialogue I would've learned an even better defense of my position in regards to stem cells. Had I a lessor friend I would've lost a friendship forever. Had I not had the balls to say "I'm sorry" I might've lost that friend as well. Had I not finally quit bitching about our predicament and finally listened to my good friend's advice there's a good chance I wouldn't have had the great attitude that led me to that awesome job this week.

My point: maybe I/we have been blaming God for way too much crap that happens in life. Maybe we human creations make some crappy mistakes in life that we could've controlled from the outset. Perhaps we get so bogged down in our mistakes or our unexpected outcomes that we beg God to get us out of the situation miraculously when He expects us to pull purselves up by our own boot straps. When we don't get the answer we want then it's "I hate God" or "Screw Him" or "I choose to ignore You." Number three has been how I've been living life the past few years.

Like I said I like that God that Jesus talks about. I'm looking for Him these days. Weird thing is that I honestly think He's looking for me too. Sorry for the little spiritual journal. I hope it didn't turn too many folks off. If you read the whole thing then it shouldn't. Oh yeah, thanks Paul for being an awesome friend!

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