Category Archives: Thoughts from an Ordinary Guy

Circling the Drain – 6 yrs later

I really wish I didn’t have to write this.

But I do, probably even more so than when I wrote the original post 6 years ago.

There is so much stuff going on. Voting lawsuits, countersuits, allegations of this and that and it just keeps going on and on. And then there are bouts of international saber rattling, let alone some serious cyber rattling that seems to have many people in Washington quite concerned while many others seem more inclined to quote Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind and say, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a…….”

The list could go on and on and on.

And as it does, we keep circling the drain. Some are trying to make the drain work faster, clear out the mud, make the drain bigger so more water and whatever else can flow down, never to be seen again. Rather than be seen, they will provide water and more for the farmlands and parks and gardens that exist on the other side of the drain pipe. It turns what could have been a big problem into a small problem and then something good.

Others are taking sticks and boxes and cups and anything else – even if it is totally inappropriate for keeping water out of a drain and trying to use that. Our goal is to open up a drain hole and they are trying to plug it just as quickly as we are trying to open it up.

You would think, hope, see evidence of that by now we’d see evidence of that change. But no, things are sort of like my Mom said her Mom (or my Dad’s) Mom said, “Well, that was as clear as mud.” Translation – no matter what you mean, it isn’t coming out to meet the good that God expects.

God doesn’t expect us to walk and live in the mud of a sin filled life. But he does expect us to do what we can to get out of that mud and part of the getting out is to follow him and if we can’t get out of the mud on our own, that’s okay – he will send his people to help.

So, Inspite of the mud that is circling toward the drain and probably going to wash us down the drain, never to be heard of again, God says, “Don’t worry. Don’t worry about who is President, don’t worry about who wins the Georgia run off election, don’t worry about whether the drain wall will hold. I’ve got this. Believe in me and go do what you can to help. You take it part of the way and lean on me and I’ll take you all home.”

And that’s the meaning of a REAL Christmas Party……

TV

The Poor

Proverbs 17:5 “Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;”

Especially during these times of CoVid….

Mock? really?

Really?  Does God think that we might mock the poor?   Obviously He does, otherwise He would not have put this in the Bible.

But let’s think a little bit about what “mock” might mean:

Obviously, it means the typical meaning – to make fun of – to ridicule.

  • “Hah, you’re driving a 1999 Ford Escort because that’s all you can afford?” 
  • “You see that guy sitting over in the corner in the library?   He sits there to stay warm because it’s the only place he has!”

But what about a couple of other variations on what “mock” might mean?

  • Soup Kitchen by ssa.govDisrespect – volunteering at a soup kitchen and making fun of the way a homeless person smells?
  • Disrespect – donating clothes or other things that are dirty, worn and deserving of the trash but you give them to a third world mission “because it’s better than they have.”
  • Disrespect – being on a short term mission trip and wearing matching t-shirts that say,  “Bringing Jesus to __________.”   There are very few places that would take short term mission trips that haven’t already heard of Jesus.   But that kind of an attitude doesn’t show Jesus.
  • Disrespect – taking pictures of the poor, the downtrodden, the ill and injured without asking them first.
  • Disrespect –  sharing pictures of the sick, the poor, the malnourished in ways that rob them of dignity or is used only to manipulate potential donors and not done with dignity.

And what about mocking by being quiet?

  • Being quiet when you hear allegations of abuse.
  • Being quiet when justice doesn’t prevail.
  • Being quiet when you see evidence of resources that are supposed to go toward the poor that are going elsewhere?

I believe it is also possible to mock the poor by being one-sided:

  • Tell the stories of the poor, the poverty, the illness – without describing the inner courage and inner beauty that you see.
  • 2012-08-04 17.44.06Show the pictures of the run down huts and the tar paper shacks without also sharing the natural beauty that God has  put around those who are suffering and poor.
  • Behaving and working and treating the poor like they know less than we do.   Just because we were born in the First World doesn’t mean that we have it right.   Respect the culture, respect their dignity and work with them.    That means that you don’t do things that will damage their economy – actually you structure your support to help their economy.

At first glance, “mock the poor” seems very easy to avoid.   But it’s not actually so easy.    There are a lot of intricacies in how we interact with the poor.    Those intricacies make it tricky.

We all need to be aware of what we say, the message we send with our words and with our actions and how it reflects on our God.

And how it reflects on us.

We all, especially the poor, deserve better.

Tom

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Picture Post Series

I’m trying something different here. I’ve been collecting a whole bunch of pictures that other people have put on the web – typically Facebook, Instagram or something like that. Sometimes I will share some of my own thoughts after the picture, some times not.

Rest vs. Peace

Think about it.

In today’s world, with everything going on, with everything being different, with death tolls on the news every night, there is very little peace in the world. When there is very little peace, there is very little rest.

May God give us enough rest so we can work to be the peace our world needs and then we can all experience the peace and the rest.

That’s a goal to work for if you ask me…..

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2020 is not very clear

CoVid

Racism

Lies, 

Puzzles, 

Elections,

Promises

Could we have more going on right now?

I listened to a podcast today that wrestled with questions about white evangelical Christianity  and its role in the current political quagmire that we find ourselves slogging through.   I have not read the book yet, but after listening to the Antioch Podcast talk about it, I think I need to.

We are in such a tumultuous time and during these times God will often use music to speak to his people.   Sometimes it is music that makes sense and very openly speaks about the struggle that you’re going through.

Sometimes it seems like it has nothing to do with what you’re going through.

Until later.

After the dust has settled.

After your heart has calmed down.

After the pain is settling down.

Look back and remember that song that you heard at just the right time?

Yeah, that wasn’t an accident.   Someone was using that to cheer you on.

For me, right now, it’s a new song by the group NeedtoBreathe…….

“I wanna be there when the voices in your head 

Are loud enough to make you lose your mind”

If you know some of the medical things I’ve got going on, you’d understand even more……

Tom