Archive for August, 2009
In one of the more dry TED Talks I’ve seen, Cary Fowler discusses his ideas about the need for biodiversity and his work to preserve it. However, as I listen to Cary, I wonder if we’ve become so arrogant that we think that the only solution to the world’s problems is for us (human beings) to “fix it”. Granted, we do our part to mess it up, but is the way to avoid agricultural extinction really to take one of everything and put it into a frozen hole in the ground? It seems odd to me. Then again, I’m reminded that Noah was called upon to perform a very similar act for the animal population. Maybe Cary Fowler is the new Noah!
When I began this little adventure, I understood that I was asking a lot of myself. I was injecting a massive dose of discipline into a very undisciplined body, mind and soul. I knew it was going to be hard and I expected to fail, to slip up, but to get back up and go for it again.
What I didn’t anticipate was how much discipline it would take to document the process. I mean, I knew that I would have to be dedicated to do it. What I didn’t anticipate is having the same kind of feelings about blogging that I have about going to the gym.
Over the past couple of days, I have done all the stuff I was supposed to do – exercised mind, body and soul. (In full disclosure, I skipped my workout today to allow a little inflammation in my right ankle to subside.) But each night, I sat in my living room debating with myself whether or not I was going to blog about it. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say. I just didn’t feel like typing it out.
Well, here I am, typing it out – documenting my process. I enjoy it most of the time and dread it on occasion. I think it’s that way with a lot of things in life, especially those things that make us better.
2 Chronicles 29; 2 Chronicles 30; 2 Chronicles 31:1; 2 Corinthians 1:12-22; Psalm 103:13-22
Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God—the LORD, the God of his fathers—even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people. - 2 Chronicles 30:18-20
I take a lot of comfort in these verses. The story here is of a group of people who hadn’t spent much time thinking about spiritual things. In fact, they had skipped the annual Passover Feast entirely. It was only after the new king was installed and decided to have a belated Passover celebration that the people even gathered together. So, far from having prepared for the feast, they were nowhere near being ceremonially “clean”.
However, the bible says that they did see the error of their ways and they came to celebrate Passover. They came, like so many of us do, “unclean” - messed up in so many ways. Yet, the story that is presented here is one of grace – of a king asking the God of the universe for leniency and receiving it.
In some ways, it is the story of Jesus, who was installed as King here on earth, who brought his people back to God and whose actions caused God to give grace to a people who had done nothing to deserve it. It’s the greatest story ever told.
2 Chronicles 10; 2 Chronicles 11; 2 Chronicles 12; 1 Corinthians 14:1-19; Proverbs 20:15-24 NIV
The story of Rehoboam highlights just how complicated our relationship with God can be. Throughout the story, the writer makes it clear when Rehoboam was following God and when he wasn’t. The writer also makes it clear when there were consequences for Rehoboam’s actions.
However, in Rehoboam’s life, as in ours, there had to be times that were “in between” – times where he wasn’t really following God closely, yet was having success in his kingdom. I’ve had similar moments in my life where I assumed that because I was being successful that I was following the plan of God.
There are serious flaws in this thinking, of course. The first is that it seems that God sometimes gives us a “grace period” when we head off in the wrong direction. He gives us time to figure it out and make a course correction. The second flaw in thinking, however, is worse than the first. It is when we assume that God’s desire is for us to succeed (in the way we most often define success).
There are plenty of TV preachers (and many more non-TV preachers) who insist that God wants us to make lots of money, get lots of promotions, drive nice cars and live in big houses. Now, let me be clear, I don’t think God is necessarily opposed to those things. I just don’t think any of those things are God’s main interest, nor should they be a litmus test for whether or not we are “blessed”. In fact, I think the whole concept is a lie and a trick from the author of lies.
If we can be tricked into thinking that we can measure God’s love by how much money we have, how healthy we are or how comfortable our life is, then it becomes really easy, in times of discomfort, to convince us that God doesn’t love us at all. In fact, if we judge anyone’s love by whether or not they make our lives easy, we might conclude that no one loves us!
However, when I look at the story of Rehoboam, what I see is a never-ending love of the Father. Like a parent disciplining a child, God didn’t simply allow Rehoboam to do whatever he pleased, but instead, gave consequences for his actions. But through it all, God loved Rehoboam and was ready to extend a hand of grace whenever it could be received.
I’m glad He does the same for me.
Well…a well-designed flow chart is a magnet for visitors to our little site. I can’t take credit for the flow chart, but I would like to let all of our new visitors know what this site is about.
I have become convinced that life can only be lived to it’s fullest if we human beings make an effort to be fully human. What does that mean? We have to put forth effort physically, spiritually and intellectually in order to grow and mature into (or, more accurately, toward) the people we were created to be.
I created this website to chronicle my own efforts in each of these areas – body, mind and soul. Keep in mind, I’m no physical fitness guru, great spiritual leader or ivy league intellectual. I’m just a normal guy doing my best to learn and grow in a holistic way.
I want to welcome you to my journey and ask you to consider taking it along with me. The more, the merrier. (And, BTW, if I come across any other cool flowcharts, I’ll be sure to let you know.)