Jesus before all of that….

baby Jesus copyDid God give Jesus facial features that resembled Joseph’s and Mary’s…the jut of His adoptive dad’s chin, the deep gaze of His mother’s eyes?

Did He learn to walk at the same age as His toddler cousins?

Did He play pranks on the neighborhood kids?

Did He like to tell jokes?

Did He have a beloved pet? A goat, perhaps?

Did Mary have to cajole Him to eat His vegetables?

Where did He sulk when Mary scolded Him? Or did she never have to discipline Him?

What was His favorite sport?

How did He react to the shy glances of comely maidens?

Was He good at math or history?

What was His favorite part about working side-by-side with His dad?

Did He cry out when a splinter drove under His thumbnail?

Did He know during his growing up years and young adulthood that He had supernatural powers and what was in store for Him?

Or did God reveal that information and power in the fullness of time, when it was time for the Son to begin His ministry?

Matthew 1:20-21New International Version (NIV)

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[a] because he will save his people from their sins.”

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Drummer is Wired for God

drum-285596_640We’re heading deeper into the woods toward a drum circle – something I’ve never done before. Darkness swallows our flashlight beams. The path feels spongy with moss and fallen leaves. The sweet musty aroma of decay wafts on the chilly air.

Torches illuminate the circle. We each choose a drum and sit on rustic benches. The drum leader’s long, gray hair is tied in a ponytail. In the past, people would have said he’s a hippy. I don’t know what label people would attach to him tonight, but I do know this: His heart is wired for God. Every person’s heart is.

The drum leader’s chatter – a pastiche of Native American, Buddhist and New Age beliefs and lingo – between sessions reveals that he REALLY, REALLY wants to be connected to a god, but not the God.

I know what it’s like to REALLY, REALLY want God. I used to talk like the drummer. Heck, I wrote and sold lots and lots of articles to “spirituality” magazines whose readers were interested in our divine selves and a higher power and healing the inner child and so forth. Who isn’t interested in being whole?

Wired for God, the drum leader, others like him and I, plugged ourselves into false outlets. There’s a surge at first, but the power fizzles. The current eventually shorts out and we’re in the dark again.

I have this idea, this wish that when atheists, agnostics and “spiritual” people are on the cusp of dying and are in that space between being lost to us and entering eternity, Jesus finds them and invites them to come to Him. And they say, “Yes!”

A few weeks after our drum circle experience, I learned that the ponytailed leader had died suddenly of cancer.

I hope he said, “Yes!” and is in the light now.

Posted in spirituality, writing, Jesus, new age, buddha, buddhism, death, cancer, heaven, salvation, agnostic, conversion, atheism, atheist | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Delete the Tapes

ballet-71002_640As always when I call Becky every four months or so for a catch up, we quickly delve into deep conversations. This call was no different.

“I remember Mom enrolled me in a dance class when I was a little girl,” Becky says. “I was standing right there and I heard Mom tell the instructor, ‘I don’t care if she learns how to dance, just teach her to walk.’ ”

“Ow!” I say. Becky is recalling a “tape” that was inserted 55 years ago. Tapes – those messages adults (usually parents) install in our minds when we’re emotionally pliable and utterly dependent on them for survival.

Becky continues, “To this day I avoid any activities with movement, like Zumba.” Her voice is brittle.

I tell her about one of my tapes and how it still controls my behavior today. Becky has been a child of God since she was 12, so I’m comfortable with taking this tape conversation into another realm.

“The thing is,” I say, “those tapes were recorded when we were not equipped to disable them. Even now as adults we can’t delete them.” My energy and voice rise as I realize something. “Even your mother can’t delete the tapes she put in!!!”

“Yeah, I know,” Becky says softly.

“The only One who can delete those tapes is Jesus Christ!” I’m almost embarrassed by how my passion and excitement must be resounding in her cell phone and her ear.

“Yeah,” she replies. She doesn’t sound convinced or relieved.

Without our tapes, who would be be?

We’d be free to dance. Or not dance. It would be our free choice.

Posted in christianity, conversion, death, depression, family, family problems, parents, problems with kids, salvation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

My bad hurts others

“You cannot run from the Lord without inflicting heavy damage on other people.” *

nude charcoal on acid freeWhen we sin, we hurt other people.

Can you think of an exception? Can any sin be innocuous?

Even if the sin is “private” and unknown to others, it still hurts other people.

It hurts because unconfessed sin is a barrier to healthy, open relationships. If I must constantly be on guard against this sin becoming known, I can only give you (and You) a fraction of me. A distortion of myself.

Trying to keep the sin hidden is exhausting, kills true joy, constricts free, wholesome expression.

The sin is hungry.

It lashes out when least expected and most inconvenient.

It emerges disguised as something else.

 

*I forget the author of this quote. I inserted try to, because no one can run away from God. We can disobey Him, but not avoid Him.

 

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Intelligence made me Stupid

My belief that Christians lack intellectual rigor might have been gleaned selectively from mainstream media, my mother’s contempt for organized religion, my in-laws intolerant stupid-487043_640Pentacostalism, and the fact that (in the past) I’d never met a brainy* follower of Jesus.

So, I figured I was too smart to be Christian.

Oh, yeah? If I was so smart, how come I never investigated this radical movement that began 2000 years ago and is still going strong? Huh?

You see the irony, don’t you? I was too smart for my own good. Too smart for my own God.

Pride is and was my sin, underscored with fear of having to relinquish parts of my mind.

Now I know, I wasn’t as intelligent as I’d thought.

Now I honor the God who created EVERYTHING…including intelligence.

* A brainy Christian set the right bait for me four years ago. I bit and have been a grateful, learning, worshipping Christ follower ever since.

Posted in agnostic, atheism, atheist, christianity, conversion, culture, religion, salvation, sin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Treated to the Word on Halloween

I bought a lot of candy bars for the Halloweeners that will arrive tonight at our front door.

Then I began to feel wrong about condoning this tradition that has nothing to do with following Christ and everything to do with opening a window for evil.

I didn’t want to be stuck with all that candy, cuz I would …OK…I have been eating it.

Then the idea came to me to attach a verse from scripture to each candy bar. I taped strips of paper with these verses to the candy bars:

“Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from a mother’s body.”

Psalm 127:3

“Your heart will be where your treasure is.”

Luke 12:34

“God satisfies the thirsty soul. God fills the hungry soul with good things.”

Psalm 107:9

I wonder what will happen?

bible-85815_640

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What do you dig about God?

“We change into what we most adore about God.”  Graham Cooke in Power Evangelism & God’s Nature

Hmm. . . could that be true? If we believe that we are made in God’s image, then, yes!creative-spirit-401405_1280

 

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