Church Musing

If I can spend a Saturday night
in good conversation,
I will always sacrifice a Sunday morning
in the pews.

The Dancer

I’ve always admired the graceful movements of a trained dancer who moves each limb deliberately and with such purpose. It’s thoughtful and balanced; mindful of each timed second that passes. It actually speaks to me in a way that I don’t expect, like there is, in fact, order to all of this swirling madness and it makes me think, I would like to see, at some point, the gears move behind this elaborate clock and pay attention to all that I am currently missing.

2019 Christmas Poem

I am a little late, but no matter 

Down the lane, past the snow
brushed street, through the hush
of thicket, over the icy brook and
up; there is a sparking light in
the night sky glad to be nestled
Northmost against the heavens.

The light waves like a fire’s dance,
glinting a multi-facet in the seeker’s
eyes; beautiful in its radiance.

This star reminds us most of a
Bethlehem’s birth, carrying a
Messenger into the world with a
letter in his pocket of love and
affection.

I have, at times, forgotten the tone
of the letter, but will do my best
to remember it this season.

Let’s help the lost find their
way again. Let’s see our homes
restored. Let’s be a symbol of grace
incarnate, filled with light and love.
Please, let us be kind to every,
single, living thing.

Maybe you are like me and get lost
in the unanswerable questions. There
is a line I often repeat when I have
come to a breaking point, ‘If Jesus is
for the poor, then I am for Jesus.’

Merry Christmas to you.

-TS

Recalling a Sermon on Contentment

I haven’t listened to many sermons in the last few years, but I did tonight. It was a simple message, but it helped me see some blind spots.

The preacher shared a quote from Voltaire. It basically said ‘God created man in his image and man has attempted to return the favor.’ What this means, is that we try to create a version of God in our mind that fits our life. If we value financial stability and providing for our family above everything, we twist God into this being that understands when we hoard our money and don’t give with open hands to the poor. If we value romantic relationships above everything, we twist God into this being that understands and welcomes our sexual sin.

The preacher said we should twist ourselves to align with God instead.

“There are things about Jesus that I don’t like,” the preacher said. “There are commands that Jesus makes that are hard for me. But we cannot twist Jesus into something we like. We must twist ourselves instead. Die to ourselves and learn to cling to Jesus more.”

He went on to say that Jesus was radical. Jesus didn’t know where he would eat the next day. Jesus didn’t know where he would sleep the next night. But he still relied on God. Because Jesus was radical, we should live radical lives too; giving our security away so our brothers and sisters can eat, abstaining from sexual immorality when the world promotes lust.

The preacher said the reason we are not content is because we don’t really believe that Jesus is enough to sustain us.

These are things I have been hearing in church circles for a long time, but they struck me tonight. Dying to myself is hard. Believing ‘Jesus is enough’ all the time is hard. But twisting God into my own image does not work.

Reminder

There’s a song called ‘Hazelnut Butter’ by Medium Troy. One line says, “I want everyone to call their mom right now and let her know that she’s the shit.” The first time I heard the song, I called my mom directly after. “So, you think I’m the shit?” she said laughing. My mom passed away last year. All I’m saying, is every chance you get to tell someone that you love them, do it. I’m glad I did that day.

Megaphone

It is not until I’m seated in a reclined position that I realize how heavy the mental burdens of the day have been. Then I can see how unwieldy they really are. 

I’m wondering out loud a lot to my fifth grade definition of God. “Why all this pain? Why all this broken and bent and tragic? What are we doing? What are You doing? Do you love us, still? Did you ever at all? 

Basically, it boils down to : this life is really hard. A real slog at times. 

God doesn’t like to be asked direct questions, it seems. He likes to whisper in the wind and speak in a mourning dove’s song. I’mma be honest, I get pretty tired of discerning meaning from the breeze on a blade of grass (that’s a joke). 

How about some megaphone responses? Maybe he does that too in the face of tragedy, but I’m talking some straightforward, not cryptic, unmistakable commentary. I mean all of this light-heartedly (for now), but it would be nice to see some road signs marked, “Tyler, go here.” 

I’m in a life-lull for the moment and a big, clear push is welcome.