I'm so sorry for not posting for a while. We had a little bit of adventure (classic definition: someone decides something for you and you have to deal with it). Erik decided to take a look at some just boiled rice, and dumped it and the little bit of water left in the pot over himself. Some screams, a trip to the hospital emergency ward, and a number of days of redressing, and we are starting to get over the accident. Erik has a burn on his elbow that has healed up about 90% already, and two more burns on his hip. Those on his hip will take a little longer to heal.
So, now I'm back, with a lot of ideas to hash out with you all. The first one regards religious identification, the second religious duty, the third dreams, the fourth will be any other thought that may still be wandering around this junkyard of a mind.
So, lets get too it. Point number one: religious identification. What is it that identifies us? What is it about us that people see by which they know what we believe? The way we dress? The house we live in? The smile we wear on our face? How well worn our Bible is? How many meetings we attend at church? How many times we say "God Bless you!"? How many times we share the Gospel each day? How many times we invite people to church? What is it that people see that undeniably identifies us as Christians?
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35
Ok, I understand, a gross simplification, but isn't that part of the paradox? So our defining mark is whether or not we love each other, ie. other Christians. So, do we? So, is it? Are we doing our utmost for each other? Are we willing to die for each other (wasn't there a verse about that somewhere?)?
So, our defining mark is not so much our love for "the world" (has this ever been definitivly defined?), or for missions, or for the poor, or for sinners, or for _____ (fill in the blank with your favorite spiritually significant target group). Our defining mark is whether or not we love each other, whether or not we care about each other, whether or not we really want the best for each other.
Again, I know it's a gross simplification, for now, maybe we can develop this thought a little, or we can cut it down to nothing.
Ok, on to thought number two: religious duty. What are we expected to do? Because we are Christians we do this because that is what Christians do. Is it going to church? Is it going on missions? Is it going door to door sharing the gospel? Is it standing on a soapbox on a street corner yelling "The end is near!"? Is it reading your Bible regularly? Is it praying before meals? Is it praying before you go to bed? Is it sending in cheques to TV evangelists?
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matt. 22:36-40
So, again a gross simplification, but I like paradoxes so here we go. Our duty, to love God and to love our neighbour. So are we doing what is best for God, and what is best for our neighbour? If everything hangs on these two, are we doing it? Are these the two most important things for us? Are these the things that drive us. Our purpose for living, our mission, our mantra, our vision, our ______ (fill in the blank with another big word).
If we really desire to strip away everything else that distracts, to simplify things to the essentials, to "get real"; then why not begin with the most important things? Why not put in the 'big rocks' first then see if something else fits? Are we really loving God, or do we just say it? Are we really loving our neighbours, or do we just say we do.
I know, another gross simplification, but hey, I'm on a roll.
Thirdly, the topic of the day is dreams. I've been wrestling with this one for a while. I've got my dreams, stuff I'd really like to do. Things I love to do, and would love to find a way to be able to do them a lot more. And a number of years ago I would have gladly just up and done them, but now I've got a family. I have kids (amazing I know, not many two year olds are already more mature than their Dad, but mine is!). So I have a responsibility to provide. But shouldn't I be an example to them of dedicating your life to something meaningful? Should I be an example of settling for security, or should I teach them how to risk by example? Won't it be good for them to live through some of my mistakes, only to realize that humans are a very hardy bunch able to withstand copious ammounts of adversity? But wouldn't that be irresponsible? Parents just don't do that kind of thing. They must be good examples (of what, boredom and unfulfilled compromise?).
Not that I will be taking unneccessary risks, but that I still take risks to make my dreams happen. To do the things I need to do, and to pay the price for them. If they are really that important, am I willing to pay for them? Or are our dreams not worth anything at all? Is 'family' really more important (a loaded question I am sure)? Is a career outside of your dreams really all that it is cracked up to be? Why can't dreams come true, and pay the rent, and buy the groceries? Why can't we take our dreams, make an investment in them, and then make them pay out?
Ok, not a simplification. Hopefully just an honest question.
So, now we are left with whatever is left in my brain....
Not much, sorry, give me a couple more days, and feel free to respond and help me find the truth in all of these questions.
I'll finish with this, I've heard it said that there are never any stupid questions. I would be willing to argue that. I've also heard that if you're not getting the right answers, you're not asking the right questions. So I'll just keep asking questions until I finally ask the right one. Bear with my while I sift through all my dumb questions until I find one that really matters.