Saturday, October 23, 2010

THE Gift

My wife always says that I think too much. That if I would just accept things at face value, I wouldn't have these long periods of time when I am agnostic. I know everyone experiences times of doubt and skepticism...I would just like to have them less often. And when I have them, I would love to find the evidence lean in favor of my belief in God.

But much of the time, I look and see more to dissuade me from my faith than to validate it.

Like...why do I have to keep praying for faith...and then feel that I have it, only to lose it again. How about just giving me a lifetime measure of faith which is always there...always secure? Going back and forth from "Yeah, I love God!" to feeling Freud may have been right, that I am just another neurotic soul who has bought into a mass delusion. Am I so afraid, so discontent with my life that I have to delude myself that there will be an afterlife where I get to do all the things that I don't get to do here on earth?

{Example: After hearing of a friend's lavish vacation, made possible by his impressive six figure salary I thought: "Heaven better be pretty impressive because down here, I'm missing out on some great stuff."}

So then, of course, I remember that my 5 figure salary is a king's ransom to 85% of the rest of the inhabitants of this earth. Boy, I bet they REALLY look forward to heaven. But wait, a huge percentage of them don't believe in Christ and thus...for all their suffering here, they are going to hell.Christian's can be really sick and self-serving. In fact, most Christians I know are just as sick and self-serving as non-Christan's...but just convinced that they are not.

The problem is, my faith is in something that doesn't really explain God.

A most unfortunate thing has happened to the Christian faith. Christianity has become just a way to get through the day, to feel better about being bad, and to reassure us at the end that we haven't really lost our loved ones...we'll see them again. It's comforting to imagine that someone really is in control of all of this mess, that we will be rewarded as long as we believe the right things.

So. The faithful have come to, at the deepest core belief level, expect Christianity to serve us. When it doesn't (or doesn't seem too), we blame it for our problems. "What can you do for me God?"

I have my faith on backwards.

We weren't created to be served...we were created to serve. Whether we like it or understand it or accept it, God created us to glorify Himself. We are the sculptures, He is the artist.

The sculpture doesn't get to ask for things from the sculptor. It just stands there and looks pretty. People look at it and say "Oh my! That is so incredibly beautiful and amazing...that sculptor is incredible! What talent!"

Of course the sculptor takes VERY good care of his works of art...makes sure they have what they need. But it is the sculptor who decides what each work of art needs. The sculpture is just a stupid piece of can't possibly understand what it needs. If it could come to life and ask the artist, why am I here? The answer would always be: "Because I made you."

"Yeah...but what is my purpose?"

"To reflect my skill. To glorify me."

"That's it?"

"Well, I guess I could hang clothes on you..."

Being a Christian means that the bottom line is, I must accept that my very existence is a gift from the Creator. As such, I'm just here to look pretty. I'm here to serve. I am a mirror to reflect HIS glory, HIS wisdom, HIS power.

I am here to proclaim that GOD IS.

The fact that something went wrong in the museum and a few of the sculptures are lost means that my purpose is also to help find them. To restore them for the ARTIST'S glory.

That is why Christian's thank God for the rain, the sun, their jobs, their spouses, and especially their children. For an artist to provide His work of art with THAT's an impressive piece of workmanship.

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10

Thank you God.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Some Really Good News

So, we go to our mandatory meeting with little one's fourth grade teacher. Right in the middle of my day...not really looking forward to it because I have nothing to big problems. She doesn't really LIKE school...but she excels at it.

Beyond her Mommy's and my wildest dreams, little one is a natural in school. She makes straight A's with ease. She earns frequent honors for reading, singing, acting, drawing, etc. You know, the things I wish I had been for my parents, she is for me (not fair really...for my parents).

So we get in there, and the teacher who seemed so gruff and distant to little one at the beginning of the year started gushing.

Now, I've blown my share of smoke in my day. You know, gotta paint kids in the best light for parents. But this teacher knew we already knew our daughter. She gave us real feedback about her strengths beyond her natural intellectual gifts.

I learned that Dora is a nurturer...helping her friends when they fall behind. I learned that she is practical, ready with plenty of questions. I learned that she is a little "less mature" than her peers. (Thank God...literally. She'll have plenty of time to be "mature" when she gets older.)

Above all, I learned that, though I know I have a great kid...that other people think so too.

I'd like to take credit (and secretly, let's face it, I do). But what I know is that Dora's mother and I have been blessed with a beautiful, precious, fragile, wonderful gift when what we really "deserved" was nothing.

Thanks God.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's All About Me!

You'd be surprised how many good pictures come up when you google "selfish."

My last blog led me to contemplate (again) my ongoing malady of selfishness. That led me to a realization that maybe I could use this blog as a way to explore means of becoming less selfish. Then I realized that might mean I would have to change something about my life and thought better of it.

I don't want to change.

Edit that...I want to change, but it usually includes ways I can spend more time or money on the things that I want to do.

"It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes...we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions -- especially selfish ones." Alexander Solzhenitsyn (author) (Who knew Russians were so smart (no offence to any of my Russian readers.))

I guess that sort of suggests that, not only am I selfish, but my reason for contemplating my own selfishness is actually selfish as well.

Yeah. I would feel better about myself if I wasn't so selfish. Then I could look in the mirror and say, "You son-of-a-gun! Look at you all unselfish and giving. You are one good....great guy!"

“Selfishness must be discovered and understood before it can be removed. It is powerless to remove itself, neither will it pass away of itself. Darkness ceases only when light is introduced; so ignorance can only be dispersed by Knowledge; selfishness by Love." James Allan (statesman)

Ah, but it is love which creates selfishness in the first place. I'm full of it (love, that is). It's just mostly focused on me. (Besides, I don't even like people. They get in the way of my "me" time.)

Perhaps I should just drop this idea of becoming less selfish. I took an online quiz that said I was only 46% selfish.

(Look at me, all 54% unselfish and giving and stuff!)