Category Archives: Hippie Theology

Religion And Politics. I Went There. (A Theological Thursday Post)

Standard

National-Revival-Prayer

Christians in America are quick to cite scripture. We celebrate the Good News by wearing, “John 3:16” clothes. We can tell you which verses condemn homosexuality, which verses point out that we have all sinned, and which verses support our belief that Jesus was literally the son of God.

Heading in to this election season, it seems that Christians in America are also extremely political–at least those in my little circle of association are.

I noticed something interesting: No matter which end of the political spectrum my friends find themselves they say very similar things.

Those on the far right will insist that they are the party of true Godly Love because they support the right for all persons to have a shot at life (through the pro-life movement).

Those on the far left will insist that they are the party of true Godly Love because they support the right for all persons to have a shot at life (through “social justice” programs).

Those on the far right will insist that Jesus is coming soon. We have obviously born witness to the beginning of the end (in the presidency of Barak Obama).

Those on the far left will insist that Jesus is coming soon. We have obviously born witness to the beginning of the end (in the presidency of G.W. Bush).

Those on the far right will insist that our Christian nation is failing (from the influences of foreigners with different ideas regarding worship).

Those on the far left will insist that our Christian nation is failing (as evidenced by our lack of willingness to help those who are hurting, because their ideas regarding worship are different from our own).

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Regardless of their personal political beliefs in regard to individual political issues everyone seems to agree on two things:

  1. Our nation is hurting right now. We are not a healthy people, in any sense of the word, and something needs to be done about it.
  2. God is on their side and, obviously, strongly opposed to the other side.

Some days the things I see are thought provoking and make me want to learn more so that I can carry out my responsibilities as a voter with wisdom.

More often, the things I see hurt my heart. People invoke the name of God, who is Love, when speaking hate against people who may view a situation through a different lens of life.*

All of this has been weighing heavily on my heart. I think division within the church–especially the kind of division where people begin saying, “God is on OUR side, NOT yours,” is the single most harmful thing that can happen to this nation and, indeed, this world. We are one body. God is OUR father. Period. He created every single one of us.

Including the president and every one of our elected leaders.

 

EVERY one of our leaders. Not just the ones you voted for.

If you’re a Bible believing Christian, you have to acknowledge that not only did He create them, He chose them specially–hand picked them from the crowd–to be in a position of power.

Why?

I don’t know. Was I there when he set the stars in the sky? God’s ways are not my ways. Be thankful for that!

See, I think that Christians are quick to throw scripture around, and I think that is good. I have found, in my own life, that there is extraordinary, truly miraculous power in knowing and citing scripture. Having a solid foundation of scripture gives you a guide in life.

 

HOWEVER, in all those scriptures I see thrown about on social media like darts aimed at our supposed enemies, I have never once seen a single person quote Romans, chapter thirteen.

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

If the authorities that exist have been established by God what possible right do we have to make cruel jokes about them or speak disrespectfully of them? In doing so, are we not mocking what God himself has ordained?

I would argue that these verses make it clear. We are to go on about our business, which (if we call ourselves Christian) is the business of loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us.

While we’re on our knees, begging blessing upon those who have hurt us, we must consider one more bit of scripture:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Check out that first line one more time (with a little emphasis).

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession AND THANKSGIVING be made for ALL people–for kings and all those in authority…”

Not most of the people. Not the ones who agree with us. Not the ones who obviously follow Christ. PrayerChangesThings

ALL.

All does not leave a lot of room for negotiation.

And before you work yourself up over the war on Christians or how some other culture will be the downfall of our fine American nation (which, I will remind you, was founded upon the destruction of other cultures), take a moment to consider the authors of the words above.

The men who told us to submit to authority and pray for the king are were living in a time when the authorities were nailing Christians to crosses and feeding them to the lions for entertainment. So cry a tear, if you must, over the fact that your boss requires you to say, “Happy Holy-days” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Then tuck your hanky back in your pocket, put on your big kid pants, and pray that God’s love and blessings may reign down upon that person.

Jesus-is-King-300x285

*This is a total tangent so I tagged it on the end but, if you want some seriously interesting political discussion (Not argument. Discussion.) follow Anne Rice’s Facebook page. Ms. Rice, whose beliefs fall left of center, often asks her followers, many of whom are quite conservative, a political question and she moderates with a velvet-covered iron fist. People may question, debate, discuss and suggest but “haters” are immediately banned from the thread. It’s astonishing how interesting and informative a political discussion can be when no one is allowed to use the words, “stupid,” or “idiot.”

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

Babbling on About Babel (A Theological Thursday Post)

Standard

The story of the Tower of Babel is found in Genesis chapter eleven. It is wedged right in between Noah and Abram (AKA Abraham). It’s a tiny little story – less than half a page in an average size Bible.

"Babel" by Lucas Valckenborch

“Babel” by Lucas Valckenborch

All my life I was taught two things about this story.

  1. Babel was where all the different languages originated.
  2. God confused their language as punishment because they were being prideful and trying to attain god-like status by building a tower that “reached as high as heaven.”

I’ve spent some time really digging into this story lately and I was surprised to find that it really doesn’t say that at all. I suppose it would be possible to infer that but, consider this:

Noah survived a terrible disaster. There was only a tiny handful of people left on earth. Whether you believe it was literally only Noah and his family or if your interpretation is more liberal, the gist of the tale seems clear. God wiped the slate clean – almost.

When the dust settled, God gave the survivors very clear instructions.  “Be fertile, then, and multiply; abound on earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 9:7)

It seems clear that they were supposed to have descendants who would spread across the earth and settle the various lands.

What did they do?

“The found a plain in Shinar and settled there… Then they said, ‘Come, let us build a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:3-4)

There is no mention that they were engaged in any kind of horrible evil. In fact, in chapter 11, verse 1 we are given to understand that they were all of one mind – probably a very peaceful and productive people. Certainly they were innovative! They wanted to make a name for themselves, so perhaps that could be construed as arrogance but, really, don’t we all want to do that? Don’t we want to live a life of significance and be remembered when we’re gone?

So we’re told that the Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” (Genesis 11:5-7)

He doesn’t really sound angry to me. This is the same God who is spoken of as having burning wrath when people tick him off in other parts of the Old Testament. To me, this is more like, “Huh! Well, look at that.”

What if God’s plan was for people to spread across the earth and develop civilization slowly over a long period of time? Perhaps their like-mindedness and determination to build something great would lead them to a technology greater than they were ready to handle at that point?

So, if that was the case, God wasn’t dishing divine punishment out on them. He was just redirecting them back to the right path.

If my four-year-old dragged out a pan, put some food in it, and climbed on the counter and turned the stove on I would be very impressed. He used the good brain given to him to solve a problem. Also, I would stop him and redirect him to another activity. Not because what he did was naughty. It was awesome and forward thinking! But he is not ready to handle the responsibility that comes with cooking on a hot stove just yet. In time, I will let him grow into that skill.

As I’ve been reading and re-reading that story in this light, I can’t help but consider Einstein’s famous quote:

albert-einstein-quote

I wonder if we aren’t again “building towers” before we’re truly ready to undertake such tasks.  What do you think?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

Deny Yourself (A Theological Thursday Post)

Standard

Love yourself. Know yourself. Believe in yourself.

Deny yourself?

As a Christian, I’ve known this Bible verse for as long as I can remember:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'” (Matthew 16:24)

Lately, this has been on my mind a great deal. Life has presented me with an unexpected set of circumstances. (Funny how life has a way of doing that.) I have been feeling like I’ve been given a horrible choice: do what is right for me or do what is right.

Our society teaches that you have to follow your heart.

I don’t think that’s all-together bad advice. I do think it’s important to keep your brain in the loop when making decisions, but there’s a lot to be said for intuition.

But as Christians, we are told to leave everything else and follow Christ. Even self.

That’s what I feel is being asked of me. I can feel the gentle pull of Spirit. “Follow…”

“But it’s hard,” I have answered.

“Follow…”

“But this is what I’ve always wanted!”

“Follow…”

“It hurts.”

“Follow…”

That pull has been relentless.

Then, a few days ago, I read that verse again.

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

But what if you look at it like this?

“… he must deny SELF, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

Instantly this little proverb, which has always intrigued and baffled me a bit, came to mind.

Yes. I know it talks about Buddha. If such things bother you, please don't get distracted. Read the content, not just the name.

Yes. I know it talks about Buddha. If such things bother you, please don’t get distracted. Read the content, not just the name.

What would happen if I stopped thinking about “I” and trusted that God, as a Good Father, would provide perfectly for me? Far better, in fact, than I could for myself.

What would happen if I stopped dwelling on “want,” and just settled into the perfect contentment of being thankful for my daily bread?

Could it be that “what I’ve always wanted” is less than what God wants for me?

Could it be that what I have now is not meant to be clung to, but used as a stepping stone?

Jesus said I should, “deny self.”

He also said I should, “take up my cross.” That sounds thoroughly unpleasant. But look what world-changing difference happened when Jesus, himself, did just that!

And, Jesus said, “Fear not. For I am with you.”

I believe he knew what he was talking about. (I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.)

I think it’s time for me to stop hesitating and follow.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on Twitter or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Visit my author page for all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!

 

God Prefers Fruit Over Leafy Green Vegetables (Nablopomo Day 5)

Standard

*This post is Day Five of the January Nablopomo 30-day blogging challenge hosted by BlogHer.

God Prefers Fruit Over Leafy Green VegetablesI heard a statistic this week. It was along these lines: McDonald’s has grown to be so pervasive in our society that they actually need to check with the federal government before they add a menu item because the additional demand on ingredients will effect the entire national food supply. For example, adding fresh blueberries to their smoothies meant that 35% of the entire harvest of blueberries last year was purchased by McDonald’s.

I’m not sure I am remembering that exactly right and I’m not sure the person who said it had it exactly right, but it makes sense if you think about it.

I was pondering that in the spaghetti bowl of my mind, where noodles of thought often get tangled and entwined, and I ended up at the realization that God strongly prefers fruit over vegetables. Especially leafy green vegetables.

Whether you’re Christian or not, there’s no doubt you’re familiar with the idea of knowing a person “by the fruit they bear.” A person who is selfish and greedy in their heart will never create for themselves an environment that is generous and focused toward the well-being of others. Anyone can fake it for a while but, in the end, the “fruit” will always be a reflection of the “tree” upon which it grew.

In the Bible, Paul writes to the Galatians about bearing good fruit. “The fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

This is why I cringe when someone screams, “God hates fags!” and calls themselves a Christian. Or when someone trumpets the glory of war, or makes a comment that the poor need to “get a job” and take care of themselves, or wallows in one addiction or another with no effort to overcome. Those things are not the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Now, the Bible also clearly says that we all fall short. Heaven certainly knows that my own personal tree has some branches in desperate need of pruning! But that’s not where I’m going with this today. Today I’m thinking like a homesteader.

On our tiny little chunk of land we have a few fruit-bearing plants and a garden. The garden is where vegetables grow. In the great scheme of things vegetables grow fast. We live in Michigan so our season is only from June-September, give or take a few weeks. In that time we can churn out all sorts of veggies. Some things grow SO fast that we can get in multiple harvests in a single summer. This is especially true of the leafy green stuff.

The man, I love. The kale I could do without.

The man, I love. The kale I could do without.

If McDonald’s decided to do a Kale smoothie (Now there’s an interesting idea!) it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to increase our nation’s kale production. We could be churning out stinky, green, burnt-rubber-tasting plants in a month or two. One reason blueberries are a different story is that fruit takes a significantly longer time to grow. Many fruit trees (vines, shrubs, etc) take several years to mature. It is a long process to bring a plentiful harvest from a grape vine cutting. An apple seedling planted in celebration of a child’s birth MIGHT be able to help provide his lunch when he’s old enough to begin elementary school.

I don’t think that it is a mistake that our attitudes and life-circumstances are compared to fruit rather than vegetables.

As we head into the New Year we all consider changes in habit and lifestyle. I can think of several things I’ve pondered in the past weeks. They are common concerns. I need to be more punctual. I need to be wiser with my money. I REALLY need to eat better (and less) and exercise more. We are all aware of some improvements we could make in our fruit. But it’s really hard to change! Statistics show that after 6 months more than half of us have abandoned our New Year’s Resolutions. (source) I think that happens because we want quick results. We forget that good fruit is the work of years. You can change a fruit tree. You can prune it and shape it. You can even graft different types of fruit onto the existing trunk. But it is a lot of work. It must be done with great care and attention. It can’t be rushed. But the results… nothing in the whole world is better than sweet, fresh, fully mature fruit! It is totally worth every bit of effort.

There are areas of my life that need attention and the beginning of a new year seems like a great time to evaluate and take stock. I’m thinking, though, that my worst habits – from over-eating to gossiping to procrastinating – are going to take more than a single season to change. It took nearly 40 years for the tree of my life to bear its current fruit. I shouldn’t be too disappointed in myself if it takes more than a few weeks to change. I will be an attentive gardener, though, and I will move forward in the hopeful knowledge that success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. (Thank you, Earl Nightingale, for that bit of wisdom!)

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Top Mommy Blog

If you enjoyed my blog, it would mean a lot to me if you’d toss me a vote by clicking the Top Mommy Blog banner. Thanks!

Someone Said It Better Than Me (Nablopomo Day 3)

Standard

*This post is Day Two of the January Nablopomo 30-day blogging challenge hosted by BlogHer.

I wanted to say something short and sweet and profound today, as part of the 30 day blogging challenge. Then I found this quote and I thought, “Yup. That about sums it up!”

Someone Said It Better Than Me | LazyHippieMama.com

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Top Mommy Blog

If you enjoyed my blog, it would mean a lot to me if you’d toss me a vote by clicking the Top Mommy Blog banner. Thanks!

I Believe In Magic – Or At Least In Possibility

Standard

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.comEvery year, about this time, I always see several articles talking about all the reasons why parents choose not to embrace “the whole Santa thing.” The reasons usually boil down to one of two things: either these parents are rejecting Santa because they want to focus their family’s attention on the religious importance of the holiday or they feel that embracing the Santa myth is a form of lying to their kids.

I get it. I really do. I think both of those are valid points and, if that’s the way you feel then fine. I’ve got no issue with you. Kudos for raising your kids with strong values. Keep up the awesome job!

I just thought I would take this opportunity to chime in on the other side.

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.com

Yesterday the Wise Men were wandering across the desk, looking for baby Jesus, when they got sidetracked by A Charlie Brown Christmas.

We embrace Santa. We are full-on believers in this house. Bring on the flying reindeer! We also have three Magi wandering about during Advent looking for the baby jesus. Our house is full of magical things all year long. We’ve found green foot prints on St. Patrick’s Day morning and the occasional trail of tooth fairy dust.

Not once have I ever felt like I was lying to my children or taking our focus off God.

Follow me, here…

In Dean Koontz’s book, The Taking, he quotes something known as Clarke’s Third Law which states, “Any technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic.”

Send me back in time with a backpack full of common, every-day items from my home and I will convince those people that I’m the most powerful magician who ever lived. I have a device that can play thousands of songs, each with it’s own unique instrumentation, and the whole thing fits in my pocket. There is medicine in my bathroom cabinet that will instantly open the airways of a person struggling to breathe. I can make fire by pushing a button.

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.com

Magic, I tell you!

And it if those things don’t knock your socks off, consider this: what are you made of? Flesh and bones? Water? Carbon? Ok… but look closer. Cells? Atoms? Protons, neutrons and electrons? OK, but look even closer. You’re mostly just… well… nothing. Look closely enough and there is nothing there other than energy. Scientists are only just beginning to touch on what that means but, when you look at things that closely something amazing happens. All of our rules about “the way things have to be” just fall apart. Things can exist in two places at once or move forward and backward through time. Energy of one thing can decide to become something else. Literally anything becomes possible.

It’s magic!

At the end of The Taking, one of the characters flips the observation around to note that the converse would be true as well. If a people became sufficiently immersed in developing ever greater technology they would completely misunderstand when something truly magical happened.

A baby, born to a virgin, come to reconcile the entire human race to their Loving Creator-God?  THAT is some POWERFUL magic.

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.com

What does all of that have to do with Santa?

When my child asks me, “Mama, is Santa real?” my answer is an unequivocal, “I believe he is.” I’m telling the truth. We have friends that don’t believe and she knows that. She understands that many people pretend the whole Santa thing by putting presents under the tree with his name on them, even though they came from a person who bought them at the store. She’s neither oblivious nor ignorant. She also understands that, a few years ago, we had no money to “do Christmas.” None. Not even enough to fill the stockings. Yet, on Christmas morning we woke up to a whole living room full of new furniture including an entertainment center with a flat screen TV and a Wii. She got a gorgeous high-powered telescope that year and new skies. There were even presents for mom and dad. She had told Santa that her baby brother needed some bottles and bibs and he got a whole box full. I honestly don’t know where some of those things came from. I do know that neither my husband nor I purchased any of them. Were they made by elves at the North Pole? Probably not. But I can’t prove it. I choose to believe in magic. Or, at least in the possibility of it.

And for the record, I think that love and the generosity it fosters in our hearts is absolutely as magical as a chubby guy dropping gifts down a chimney. I’ve had that discussion with my children as well.

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.comAs a Christian, I believe that God created this universe as a big, beautiful, wondrous place. There are planets made out of vapor and animals living in our oceans that are, in every way, just like a rock until you cut it open and see that it’s actually a living creature. We’re constantly spinning and traveling at unfathomable speeds yet, as I sit and type this I feel still and have no fear of being flung off the planet into deep space. If our planet were just the tiniest smidge closer or further from the sun it would be completely uninhabitable. There’s a whole ecosystem in each of our belly buttons. It’s true! Google it.

All that and you’re telling me that it’s TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE that there’s a guy whose life-mission is to deliver presents to children around the world in a flying sleigh. Phfffbbbttt, compared to the Ted talk I saw the other day about what happens inside the human brain when a musician makes physical contact with his instrument a flying sleigh doesn’t even seem impressive.

I embrace Santa and I teach my children to do the same not because I want Christmas to be all about gifts, but because I want their lives to be all about wonder. I want them to grow up 100% convinced that NOTHING is outside the realm of possibility because, if the past generation is any gauge, by the time they are grown, they will be living in a world that would seem utterly magical to those of us existing here in 2014.

Plus… you know… stockings full of candy. I really enjoy candy.

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.com

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Top Mommy Blog

If you enjoyed my blog, it would mean a lot to me if you’d toss me a vote by clicking the Top Mommy Blog banner. Thanks!

Not In My Name

Standard

Not In My Name | LazyHippieMama.comThis is not my usual post. I know that many of you come here for gardening tips or homeschooling support and I love that! I hope that, even though this is different it is a benefit to your spirit. I also hope that you will stick with me, regardless of your religious beliefs. Consider it a personal favor to hear me out. It would mean a great deal to me because this is heavy on my heart to the point where I’m literally dreaming about it at night. It’s high-time I say what I’ve been choking back for a long time and, since I’ve got this little corner of the blogosphere to call my own… here it is.

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law shared an extraordinarily powerful story about a close friend of hers who is Israeli. I won’t go into all of the details here but it came down to a moment when this young woman, along with a small number (relatively speaking) of her like-minded countrymen very literally placed themselves in between two armies. Both armies were committing acts of unspeakable violence against civilians and the true battle between the opposing forces was about to commence. These protestors stepped out into no-man’s land and said – to both sides – you will not do this in my name. I am a citizen of Israel and I stand for peace. If you want to kill each other you will need to kill me and all of these peace loving people between you first. 

They did not end the war, but they stopped that battle. It could have gone very differently for them, but thankfully, that day, the voice of peace prevailed. That day, in that place, lives were spared.

I have thought about that story for weeks.

“You will not do this in my name.”

I think about that every single day.

You see, I call myself “a Christian.” I truly believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God.

You believe differently, you say?

I have no beef with you.

I love the part in the movie, The Stand, when Nick Andros tells Mother Abigail, “But I don’t believe in God.” And she starts laughing and embraces him and says, “That’s OK, Nick. God believes in you.”

See, as a Christian, I accept the Bible as the message of God. Today’s post isn’t to debate how literal the stories of the prophets were meant to be taken or whether or not the correct number of gospels were included. Frankly, for what I have to say today, none of that matters because the Bible has one over-arching theme: Love.

When asked to choose a single commandment, out of hundreds (thousands?) that stood out as the most important, Jesus answered, “Love God with all of your heart, your mind, your strength.” Then he offered the runner up as well. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” His next statement was immensely powerful. “All of the other commands are hung upon this.”

You simply can’t, in good conscious, call yourself a Christian – a follower of Christ – unless you accept that loving God and loving others is the most important thing we can do.

“But who is my neighbor?” The guy in the story asks.

And Jesus goes on to tell the parable of The Good Samaritan. If you haven’t read it before it’s worth a glimpse so I linked to it here. Basically, it’s a story about a Jewish man who is badly beaten and robbed. He is then left in the gutter to die by the religious and political leaders of his own country. Finally, a foreigner from the nation most despised by the Jews – a people considered so spiritually filthy that to converse with them meant ritual cleansing would be needed – picked him up, clothed him, took him to safety and provided for his ongoing care. That foreigner was the man’s true neighbor.

So Jesus was saying we are supposed to love not just those who think and act and look as we do, but even those (especially those?) who are completely different from us in every way.

And what does love look like?

The Bible tells us this:

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not envy.

It does not boast

It is not proud.

It does not dishonor others.

It is not self-seeking

It is not easily angered

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. 

(From 1 Corinthians 13)

If you call yourself a Christian then your entire spiritual belief system is based upon the belief that God Himself loved THE ENTIRE WORLD with such a powerful, all-encompassing love that He took on flesh, was born as a man, took on the failings of EVERY person, died and conquered death, creating a pathway for EACH of us to be restored to right-relationship with the Divine.

Not some people or American people or good people or most people.  ALL people.

“Christian” means, “a follower of Christ.”

“Leave your nets and follow me,” Jesus said.

“Take up your cross and follow me,” Jesus said.

There is a whole universe of stuff that is open for interpretation and debate in the Bible and in Jesus’ teachings but that one message was given again and again in simple, clear, unmistakable terms.

God’s love is immeasurable. It is universal. It is eternal.

God’s love is for every person of every time in every place.

God’s love is consistent, selfless and without bounds.

AND

We are to love as God loves.

A quick glimpse at history tells us that Jesus lived in a time and society where many were worshipping other gods in ways that were very different from the way that the Jews worshipped. He was surrounded by people who didn’t follow the God of the Old Testament. He often encountered prostitutes and “loose women,” thieves, liars, cheats and other “undesirables.”

He showed love to all of them. He was no moral relativist. He stood firm in telling them, “what you’ve been doing is wrong. Don’t do it any more.” But he didn’t shun them or yell at them or berate them. He didn’t order them to be imprisoned or killed. On the contrary, he invited them with dinner, visited them in their homes and socialized with them. He loved them, even while disagreeing with them.

He loved them.

Do you know who he yelled at and berated on a pretty regular basis?  Those who thought they were so clean and righteous and generally wonderful that they had the authority to pass moral judgement on those different from themselves.

Hmmm….

So… here we are in “The Year Of Our Lord, 2014.”

Every day I see and hear people who put on their pretty clothes and go to church on Sunday and proudly call themselves, “Christian,” spewing hatred.

There are a lot of versions of this. Hatred toward abortionists and those who have had abortions. Hatred against homosexuals and those who are advocating for equal rights. Hatred toward illegal immigrants. Hatred toward drug addicts. Hatred toward Muslims.

So much hatred toward Muslims!

In this swirling sea of hate, I occasionally see this pop up on social media. It’s just a t-shirt, but the message is extraordinary and powerful – because it is the MOST IMPORTANT bit of instruction God ever gave mankind.

Not In My Name | LazyHippieMama.com

Jesus held people to a high standard of clean living. He told them, “it is wrong to have adulterous relationships. You’ve sinned in stealing. You must be truthful in your business dealings.”

Because otherwise you’ll burn in Hell?

No… because if you love your neighbor as yourself you won’t sleep with your neighbor’s wife or steal from your employer or cheat your client. Love doesn’t act that way.

And there is NO GREATER COMMANDMENT than to love.

If you are living as Christ lived you will love your neighbors. ALL of your neighbors. Not most of them. ALL of them. Every. Single. One.

Love the neighbors who are a little dislikable – the ones who are obnoxiously political, the ones who are bossy, rude and selfish. The bullies and brutes and the jerks.

Love the neighbors who are truly despicable – the rapists and the murders, the child molesters and the terrorists.

Does that mean you have to smile and hug them and say, “what you’ve done is perfectly OK.”

OF COURSE NOT!

That’s not what Jesus did.

But neither did Jesus wish anyone dead and gone. He didn’t cheer for their destruction or pray for their death.

Instead, he prayed for their restoration to God’s own heart and cheered at their salvation.

This is the core of my faith. It is the rock-hard, solid, center of what a life time of spiritual seeking has brought me to.

It seems that there are clear sides being drawn up. On one side are “Christians” who are opposed to anyone with a different view having so much as a voice to express their own opinion and who are screaming for the blood of the infidel.

On the other side are those who denounce anyone with a faith in a higher power as an ignorant buffoon at best and a hateful warmonger at worst.

And I feel that the time has come for me to stand, as my SIL’s friend stood, between warring factions, and say, “I am a Christian and you will not do this in my name.”

Just to be clear, no, I’m not saying that me sharing my faith on Facebook from the safety of my living room is in any way on the same level as what those protestors in the Middle East did.  I’m simply saying this:

To those who call themselves Christian while cheering at the destruction or suffering of any member of God’s creation I say, “Do what you will, but do not count my name among your numbers. I am not with you.”

To those who have been hurt by “Christians” I say, “Not all ‘Christians’ are like those who hurt you. In fact, most of us aren’t. Most of us are trying hard to live a life of love. Sometimes we fall a bit (or significantly more than a bit) short. We’re only human after all. But, really, truly, most of us believe that Jesus loves you and so do we.”

And love never fails.

*After I published this I came across an article on Huffington Post talking about the massive number of Muslims creating a #NotInMyName movement. I LOVE THIS! My heart is buoyed by the idea that, all over the globe, men and women are standing firm for peace!

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Top Mommy Blog

If you enjoyed my blog, it would mean a lot to me if you’d toss me a vote by clicking the link. Thanks!

 

The Importance of Preparation – Thoughts About Lent

Standard
There is no mountain under that snow. That's just how much snow the plow pushed to the edge of the parking lot.

There is no mountain under that snow. That’s just how much snow the plow pushed to the edge of the parking lot.

This week millions of people all over the world will begin the observance of Lent.  Of course, first we’ll stuff ourselves with fried dough and powdered sugar, but then the 40 days of preparation begin.

If you don’t already know, Lent is, basically, just a reference to the 40 days leading up to Holy Week.  It is meant to be a time of prayer and fasting and preparing the heart for the most sacred celebration of the Christian year – the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Since my personal focus lately has been so much on gardening and wildlife and caring for the earth I can’t help but constantly tie everything back to that.

I am one of the weird ones. I like winter.  I love the cold and the snow and the short, dark days.  Not because I want to be freezing and stuck in my house all the time, but because nothing in the world feels more safe and snug and wonderful to me than wearing my softest, fuzziest clothes and being in the shelter of my warm little house with golden lamplight glowing while the sparkling snow falls and the wind howls.  I love how excited my children get when we take them sledding or ice skating at the local park. I love that giant fuzzy hoodies cover more chub than shorts and tank tops.  OK – so maybe driving in it is awful and, yes, at 35 degrees below zero, I was complaining about the air hurting my face, too but, overall, I like winter very much.

And I’m over it.

This winter has, literally, been the harshest of my whole life. We have broken all sorts of weather records including the snow record and the record cold temperature.  At one point my husband asked his routine morning question, “Do you know what the weather is supposed to be like today?”  I snapped a little and told him, “at this point you should probably just assume that every day for the rest of eternity we’re going to get another foot of snow and it’s going to be really really cold.”

But even as I type this and the snow falls, yet again, outside my window I know that’s not true.  I know that spring is coming.  I doubt this year will be like last – when I was outdoors with a spade in March, wondering if I could get away with putting my peas in a little early.  But even if it’s still snowing in May (as it’s occasionally been known to do around here), the snow will stop.  The ground will thaw.  The trees will bud and the flowers will bloom and, before we realize what has happened we will be enjoying a sunny day at the lake.

Image via freedigitalphotos.net

Image via freedigitalphotos.net

Knowing that, wise gardeners all over the state are beginning to start their seedlings and take stock of their tools and draw out grids of just where their plants will go when the time is right.  We prepare because, despite all appearances to the contrary, we know that winter will not last forever.  If we don’t prepare then we are frustrated when the ground thaws. The stores are out of what we need or the tools we require are rusty when we reach for them or we buy too few or too many seedlings and end up with wasted money or wasted space.

But even if you make no preparations, spring will come.  The sun will shine over your home once more. The rain will fall and the flowers will grow.  Spring comes for everybody, but not everybody makes the most of spring.

Just as this is the time of year when gardeners begin to prepare themselves for the special time of spring, which brings new life, so Lent is the time when we should prepare our hearts for the special time of the resurrection and new life in Christ.  I think that can mean different things for different people. My experience of faith may not resemble yours in many ways but, if you are a follower of Christ the one experience that we share – the crucial thing that binds us – is that we are restored from our own brokenness through Jesus’ death and through his victory over death.  Jesus overcame death that we may have life; truly abundant, joyful, wonder-filled life!

IMG_2059In the coming 6 weeks we have time to prepare our hearts. We can pray and meditate, study the scriptures, serve the needy, fast or “give up” something that we feel is in the way of our spiritual growth.  If we prepare now, then when the days of observance and celebration come, we will be fully ready to see, with open eyes, the truth of the miracle of life that has been given to us.  If we use this time wisely, that time will be even more wondrous to us.

What about those who don’t prepare?  Well, just like spring comes for everyone, God’s love and His Good gifts are not limited to those who follow a certain set of observances.  Jesus’ death and resurrection was for all people of all places and all times.  Not most people or people like me or people of a certain class or race or culture.  All. Every. Each, without exception.

The question is, will you make the most of it?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow Lazy Hippie Mama  by emailFacebookGoogle+Twitter or Instagram to get all the updates?

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

What Makes A Sacred Space?

Standard

When you think of a sacred space, do you think of a church? A special room in your home? A place in nature?

What Makes a Sacred Space?Sweet Hippie Daughter has been involved in a drama program at a nearby university for the past 4 years.  When we started she was in the first grade and she was getting in trouble Every. Single. Day.

She wanted to be a robot or a martian or (this one lasted quite a while) a wolf.  She would not accept her teacher’s statement that she was, “a little girl pretending to be a wolf.”  She would dig her heels in a demand, “No! I AM a wolf!”

Personally, I sided with SHD. Be a wolf. Why not? You’re only 6 years old once. Live it up!

But we hadn’t taken the homeschool plunge yet and teachers don’t have time to deal with 30 kids who walk on all fours and bark their math answers and she was coming home, every day, devastated that she’d gotten her “card pulled” again and I was one exasperated mother.  No doubt everyone else involved was feeling exasperated as well.

And then we had the first day of “college theater class,” as SHD called it then.

We walked in and the teacher said, with a huge smile, “Well, hello! Have you come to play with us?”

SHD smiled back. “Yes!” Then her smile faded a little and a look of suspicion crossed her face and she said, “I’m a wolf.”

The teacher gasped and put her hand on her heart, “Are you?”  She leaned in closely and stage-whispered, “I’m a skunk. Pleased to meet you.”

I could literally see a physical change occur in my child at that moment.  Her eyes light up and she stood a little taller and the tension in her tiny shoulders relaxed and she went loping happily into the classroom where she would spend one afternoon a week for the next several years.

She never got in trouble at school over the “wolf” issue again.

What Makes A Sacred Space?

Over the past few years people have asked me about the drama program and I always rave.  It is a place where children are drawn into imagination. It helps kids have the confidence to stand in front of a group. It teaches them to stand tall and project their voice to an audience.  It fosters friendships. It helps them think on their feet. They learn how to memorize.

But I was frustrated because, while the class is/does all of those things, it is something more.  And that something is what makes it so much more than just another class or club that we are a part of. I just couldn’t quite put my finger on how to express that.

Then, this past weekend, the program held their 50th anniversary reception and my daughter’s teacher stood on the platform and said this:

I was getting ready for today and I asked someone how I should decorate – what we should do to make the room special – and she said, “That room is sacred space. You don’t need to do anything to it.  Just returning to the space where, as children, we could come and be ourselves and express ourselves completely without fear of judgement will be special enough. It is sacred space. It does not need decoration.”

I had tears streaming down my face and, as I glanced around, I was not the only one.  That was it!  That was what I had been trying to explain to people for the past 4 years.

That big, empty, plain, gray, cinder-block room was holy ground for my child because, in that space, she was free to shed the armor that we all instinctively wear and shine with the light her Creator had given her without worry that anyone would try to put it out or change her to fit their idea of who she should be. It wasn’t the building, of course. It was the love and acceptance of the people she interacted with in that space.

It is how I feel in my church.  I am me. I am broken and forgetful and flakey and creative and loud and I have different theological beliefs than many of the people there.  I am striving to learn and grow and be a better person but they love me today, just as I am. I felt it the first time I walked in the door.

In that space, I don’t need to pretend. I can be me and I can give my love freely and it will be received and returned.

The Bible says:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John, chapter 4, verses 7-8)

For me, the love that I experience in church is what makes it a sacred space.

Handsome Hippie Hubby loves our church too, but for him, sacred space is found in the most remote spaces in nature.

We all have those places that speak to our hearts and make us feel connected to that which is greater than us, not because of anything special about the physical location, but because of… something more.  Which is kind-of what “sacred” is all about, isn’t it?

And so I wonder. What do you think? What makes a place sacred?

What Makes A Space Sacred?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow Lazy Hippie Mama  by emailFacebookGoogle+Twitter or Instagram to get all the updates?

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

Advent Thoughts: Jesus’ Parents Were Broken

Standard
Nativity Scene. Photo Credit: The Nativity Story (2006)

Nativity Scene. Photo Credit: The Nativity Story (2006)

I haven’t shared much for Advent this year so I thought I’d write out something that I’ve been thinking about and see what you all have to say about it.  I truly love to hear your thoughts and insights! Your views help stretch me and push me to grow and that is a great gift, so I thank you all!  To me, these thoughts seem especially appropriate at the end of a week where Christians are arguing with great vehemence amongst themselves over what’s happening in pop culture.

I’ve been a part of a great Bible study for the past several weeks that has shown me a truth I always knew, on the surface, but had never really allowed to sink in, in any meaningful way: Jesus came from broken people, to help broken people.

I grew up hearing all of the Bible stories:

Adam and Eve defied God and got kicked out of paradise.

Abram and Sarai laughed in the face of God’s promise.

Jacob stole his brother’s birthright.

Judah conspired, out of jealously, to sell his brother into slavery.

Rahab was a prostitute.

Ruth was a pagan.

David was an adulterer and a murderer.

These men and women were deeply flawed.  They made huge mistakes.  They made some terrible choices.  Yet they were still chosen by God to be the human ancestors of The Messiah.

Why did God choose such a bunch of royal screw ups?

The Bible tells us that Jesus was descended from humans and, let’s face it.  We humans are all a bunch of royal screw ups.  Every one of us has done something (many things?) that we shouldn’t have done.  “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.”  None of us are above the occasional “face palm!”

Christians have a weird habit of looking at the men and women in the Bible and saying to ourselves, “I could never be as good and great as them. God could never use me in that way.”  But the reality is those people were deeply flawed – just like us.  They were drunks and drama queens, jealous lovers, liars, cheats and thieves.  They often lacked faith and failed to be obedient to God’s will.  In short, they were just regular humans.

God used them anyway.  And through them He accomplished His amazing, wondrous, miraculous ends.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus was descended from God.  God never fails. Not ever.  He is the very embodiment of Love and Wisdom, Justice, Mercy, and Truth.

So Jesus was the embodiment of the perfection of God but he was also totally empathetic to the brokenness of man because he was one of us.

If you call yourself a Christian and you find yourself standing in judgement of others because of their short-comings, remember that the Messiah you follow came from people just like those you are judging as less than yourself.  Perhaps, instead of pointing out the sins of others (as you see them) your time would be better spent humbling yourself before God and asking how He can use you in all your brokenness to bring His Love to those who are lost and hurting.

If you are a person who has been feeling lost and alone, broken, flawed or unlovable I suggest you read the Bible.  I’ve recently been reading a version called The Story.  It’s not an exact translation.  A friend described it as “The Cliff Notes version of The Bible” and she’s not far off.  It’s a big sweeping overview of the whole text, skipping over many of the details that people so often get tangled up in, to paint an epic picture of the creation, fall and redemption of man.  It’s a surprisingly easy read and I think you’ll find some life-changing insights.

Because, see, God didn’t come to earth as the man, Jesus, in order to save people who had all the answers.  He came to bring the ultimate message of Hope to those who were hopeless.

This Christmas, rejoice! For we have been given good tidings that will bring great joy to all people.  In Bethlehem a Savior has been born!

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama  by email, Facebook or Twitter to get all the updates?

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!