Monthly Archives: February 2009

Drops Like Stars – Rob Bell’s New Book and Tour Announced

rob-bell

Drops Like Stars” is the title of Rob Bell’s book that will be available in August of this year.  This book is an exploration of the complex relationship between suffering and creativity, driven by the belief that there is art in the agony.

We plot. We plan. We assume things are going to go a certain way. And when they don’t, we find ourselves in a new place—a place we haven’t been before, a place we never would have imagined on our own.
 
It is the difficult and the unexpected, and maybe even the tragic, that opens us up and frees us to see things in new ways.
 
Many of the most significant moments in our lives come not because it all went right but because it all fell apart.
 
Suffering does that. It hurts, but it also creates.

His tour is a two hour presentation on the message of the book.  The tour will begin next month.  He will be here in the Dallas area in November.  I am hoping to attend.

Lent Is For Life

 

 

Lent is a time of self-denial, spiritual reflection, renewed commitment, self- examination, sacrifice and a time of intentional consideration of the things Jesus taught.  During lent we are invited to assess our desires, examine our motives, and adjust our priorities. Lent is for life – the life that Jesus came to give – life that is full of mercy and love and justice and compassion.  Lent is a spiritual exercise that can assist us in learning to practice the kind of life that Jesus came to model and teach – the kind of life that will allow the coming of the Kingdom of God to earth.

Here are some creative ideas for observing Lent that I found around the net:

The following ideas about giving up something for a greater good came from http://www.austindiocese.org/newsletter_article_view.php?id=1224

Let’s give up looking for a pat on the back. This Lent, let’s do at least one thing each day for someone who will never be able to repay us. When we get good at that, we can try doing something each day for someone who will never even be able to thank us.

Let’s give up trying to one-up others. There’s a Hindu proverb that goes like this: “There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. True nobility comes from being superior to your previous self.” Let’s find something we can improve about us.

Let’s give up taking care of No. 1. Instead of thinking about how everything and anything impacts us, let’s worry first about how others are going to be affected by proposed new laws, by policies, by trends, by economic shifts  and by our own actions and behavior.

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Some thoughts on fasting, feasting and almsgiving during lent came from this site http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/feb/09/a-time-of-special-focus/

Kay Murdy of Hacienda Heights, who has a master’s degree in religious studies and writes and teaches about spirituality and prayer, suggests that people fast from certain behaviors and “feast” on others during Lent.

A prayer she uses in one of her workshops about Lent asks people to fast from judging others, bitterness, pessimism, suspicion, idle gossip and unrelenting pressures; and feast on gratitude, patience, forgiveness, optimism, truth and purposeful silence.

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The alms-giving part of Lent doesn’t mean merely tossing an extra dollar into the Sunday collection.

Catholic theologian and teacher Gabe Huck, former director of Liturgy Training Publications, said alms giving is “the deeds we can do to restore the world to Christ. It is about the wholeness of things and people. It aims to right the wrong distribution caused by greed or power or whatever else. It ignores neither the world nor what is in front of one’s face.”

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Some things you might not think of to give up during lent came from http://www.mooreschapel.org/pastor/koo-sermons/sermon-give-up-and-take-up.html

“Give up grumbling! Instead, “In everything give thanks.” Constructive criticism is OK, but “moaning, groaning, and complaining” are not Christian disciplines.

Give up 10 to 15 minutes in bed! Instead, use that time in prayer, Bible study, and personal devotion.

Give up looking at other people’s worst points. Instead concentrate on their best points.

Give up speaking unkindly. Instead, let your speech be generous and understanding. It costs so little to say something kind and uplifting. Why not check that sharp tongue at the door?

Give up your hatred of anyone or anything! Instead, learn the discipline of love.

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And finally a daily meditation for lent from http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art17607.asp

Begin by sitting with a straight back on a cushion on the floor, your bed or a chair. If you wish, light a candle, burn some incense. 

Close your eyes or let them half shut and rest. Clasp your hands in your lap or lay them palms up on your legs.

Begin even and regular breathing such as this: Breathe in for 2 counts; breathe out for 2 counts; breathe in for 2 counts; continue this pattern.

Following a few rounds of even breathing, spend at least 5 minutes thinking what the message of Lent means to you. What can you do for self-improvement these weeks before Easter? What ways can you show more kindness and care?

After a few minutes turn your attention back to even, gentle breathing. Listen to the sound of your breaths. Think about the strength and renewal the ‘unseen’ oxygen gives your body; reflect on the ‘unseen’ spirit of caring love underlying your life.

To conclude your meditation, think of at least one person with appreciation and kindness. Take a deep breath, stretch out – relaxed, renewed.

Daily Prayer for Lent
Lord, may I always remember
To be kind and care.
And ever watchful
For opportunities to share.
Reflecting good with all my might
Inspired by Your holy light!

Best “Be Like Jesus” List

John Smulo posted this two years ago on his blog and reposted it recently.  It is the best “be like Jesus” list I have come across.  Every link is worth checking out.

1. Get baptized by the craziest guy in town.

2. Say and do things that are guaranteed to make religious people want to kill you. Repeat again, and again, and again, and again, and again and don’t stop unless forced.

3. Do amazing things for people and ask them to not tell anyone.

4. Hang out with the most despised, marginalized, looked down upon, and shunned people you can find.

5. When possible, forgive and restore people, even if they betrayed you.

6. Live in a way that provokes gossip.

7. Win the most grace competition.

8. Keep the party going.

9. Serve people (note: nose plugs may be required).

10. If you’re sad cry.

11. Empower people to do the extraordinary.

12. Act like a rock star in a hotel temple.

13. Radically simplify theology.

14.Break human-made religious laws. Repeat consistently.

15.Prioritize the most important over the important.

16. Let women with questionable backgrounds pay your bills.

If you would like to copy this and put it anywhere feel free.

Get Over It!!!!

get-over-it

I listen to Kidd Kraddick on 106.1 every morning while I am driving to my office.

Kidd and his sidekicks (Kellie, JC, Al and Shannon) are very entertaining and do lots of fun and hilarious bits.  One of my favorite bits is “Get Over It”.

The way it works is that people email or call in about what they want other people to get over.  For instance:

 “To my boyfriend’s ex:  When you text someone 14 times and don’t get any replies you are texting with yourself.  GET OVER IT!”

 “My voicemail is full because it makes me feel important – GET OVER IT!”

 “To everyone with McCain/Palin stickers still on their car – Obama won – GET OVER IT!”

 “To the person at work that manages the office supplies:  Yes, I need another can of Air Duster – I don’t like crumbs in my keyboard and it’s only $4 a can – GET OVER IT!”

 I like the bit so much that I thought it would be fun to add it to my blog – possibly on a monthly basis and ask you what you want to tell someone to get over.

 Here’s one from me:

 Just because someone disagrees with you about a particular interpretation of scripture does NOT mean that they are not a Christian – “GET OVER IT”

 Now, go ahead and try it – it’s very therapeutic….

I could not have said it better myself…

 

“Orthoparadoxy is an effort to make God’s main thing the main thing for all the people of God: reconciliation. Not sameness or agreement but differentiated oneness – where the fullness of one can be in relationship with the fullness of another. Orthoparadox is right paradox – holding difference rightly. Orthoparadox seeks to hold difference, tensions, otherness, and paradoxes with grace, humility, respect, and curiosity, while simultaneously bringing the fullness of self to the ‘other’ in conversation, not to convert or to convince but with the hope of mutual transformation through interpersonal relationship”.  -Dwight Friesen-