Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall Feelings

From my journal on 11-12-12:

The grip of summer heat has loosened and I can breathe in the cool air that energizes me as I walk among colorful trees.

My spirit joins with poets and musicians who are stirred by this season to express a joy that has more than a pinch of melancholy.  I think all beauty has a touch of sadness.

The falling leaves and the gray skies remind me of the losses that come with the passage of time and they remind me that my time is limited, too.  But their beauty reminds me to enjoy, celebrate, and love as much as I can with the time I have left.

 *Photo by Garry Liddell, 2008

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Adjusting My Faith

Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:16-18)

Jesus was taking direct aim at his culture’s understanding of the entire cosmos.  Not only was he defying their understanding of the Sabbath, he was saying that the universe is quite different than what they understood, going back all the way to the beginning.  He was also saying that he had a role in that creation because he was the Son of God.

Not only that, but he was telling them that this was only the beginning. They would see even greater (scarier) things than this (5:20). 

To be thrown into a state where we question everything is frightening and most of us won’t do it unless some crisis comes along and forces us to make adjustments.

It’s important to remember that faith has to have enough elasticity to adjust to growing insight. But for some reason, we want to insist that faith is a rock solid attribute, where nothing ever changes. 

However, there’s always something more to learn. And every time we learn, we have to adjust our foundation, or add to it. 

Consider your house. If you decide to increase your square footage, you also have to add to your foundation, thus changing it.  It wasn’t wrong before, it just wasn’t adequate for growth.  And sometimes, when we get into building improvement, we find flaws even in the foundation that have to be fixed.  It’s just part of the job. 

This is true in matters of faith and spiritual insight. As we grow, we have to go back and adjust our original beliefs. And that’s okay. 

We could shut everything down and cut off any new teaching and decay like an old empty house, and we all know of whole churches where that happens.

But the will of God continues on today and tomorrow, raising the dead and living new life. The question remains do we want to claim that new life, rather than die the old one? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Measuring Spiritual Growth

I had this up earlier, but somehow it was dropped, so here it is again.

A couple of years ago, I tried to address how we can measure spiritual growth. I mentioned things like frequency of prayer, Bible study, and good deeds. How often did I go to church? How much did I tithe? And so on...

These may be symptoms of spiritual growth, but I thought of some other things that might help me assess myself better:

Am I looking at people more often to notice if they are sad or confused or lonely or hurting? And how often did I interrupt the flow of my day to pay attention, and even help one of these that I noticed? 

How often in my prayer life did I interrupt my list of personal concerns and ask what God wants? 

Can I think of times when I set aside my anxiety and replaced it with faith and action? 

I'm betting that if you are reading this that you did better than you give yourself credit for. And bless your heart if you're looking at this and intending to improve.