Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wordless (well, almost) Wednesday

This is a NASA photo image of “the core of the Whirlpool galaxy M51 (NGC 5149) taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It shows an immense ring of dust and gas that is thought to surround and hide a giant black hole in the center of the galaxy.” See this site:

(Perhaps you notice the cross image in the center of the lighted area!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Button Bouquet

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Irony of Christianity

We live in a difficult world—one in which people are very closed off to each other. Probably, it has always been that way, just in different senses of closed-off-ness.

I myself am a dedicated believer in Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life, and I am also a faithful member of the First United Methodist Church. Even so, I fully understand that many things about Christian people and organizations contribute to the closed-off-ness. Like my friend Sterlin, many have trouble accepting Christ’s way as their life because of, in his words, “its staunch and rigid theology and the sometimes uneducated missionaries that socialize the individual.” I know.

If you look at this situation logically, you see that people are the cause of it. It’s a very sad and ironic thing that lovers of Christ would unintentionally create barriers for others.

Saddest of all is the fact that so many people miss God’s love because of us. I missed him myself for the same reasons until I was 51 years old; then out of my emptiness, I cried out for help. He came rushing and thundering into my life and filled me. I saw with such gratitude that he really is real. And powerful, caring and loving beyond my comprehension.

He will be found if we want him—if we reach out, cry out, just say the word. Lots of people today (and always) think we can heal ourselves, actualize ourselves, fulfill ourselves. We can’t. People are imperfect; only God is perfect—only he has the answers we need. Love is the only source of healing. And God is the only real source of love; if we feel love, it’s because God put it there as a part of himself.

People and organizations aren’t in the picture, really; that’s a misperception . People will never measure up. It’s not about people—not about us. It is about him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Wildflowers

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Watering

Sunday, May 04, 2008

What to Do about Anger?

Today I’m borrowing from Max Lucado’s UpWords Weekly E-Mail Devotional .

Max is very concerned—as we all should be—about the anger we see so much of today. He says anger becomes a tremendously explosive force, even built up little by little; rage is quite destructive. What can we do about it? Here’s his answer:

We can’t deny that our anger exists. How do we harness it? A good option is found in Luke 23:34. Here, Jesus speaks about the mob that killed him. “‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’”

Look carefully. It’s as if Jesus considered this bloodthirsty, death-hungry crowd not as murderers, but as victims. It’s as if he saw in their faces not hatred but confusion. It’s as if he regarded them not as a militant mob but, as he put it, as “sheep without a shepherd.”
“They don’t know what they are doing.”

And when you think about it, they didn’t. They hadn’t the faintest idea what they were doing. They were a stir-crazy mob, mad at something they couldn’t see so they took it out on, of all people, God. But they didn’t know what they were doing.

And for the most part, neither do we. We are still, as much as we hate to admit it, shepherdless sheep. All we know is that we were born out of one eternity and are frighteningly close to another. We play tag with the fuzzy realities of death and pain. We can’t answer our own questions about love and hurt. We can’t solve the riddle of aging. We don’t know how to heal our own bodies or get along with our own mates. We can’t keep ourselves out of war. We can’t even keep ourselves fed.

Paul spoke for humanity when he confessed, “I do not know what I am doing.” (Romans 7:15, author’s paraphrase.)

Now, I know that doesn’t justify anything. That doesn’t justify hit-and-run drivers or kiddie-porn peddlers or heroin dealers. But it does help explain why they do the miserable things they do.

My point is this: Uncontrolled anger won’t better our world, but sympathetic understanding will. Once we see the world and ourselves for what we are, we can help. Once we understand ourselves we begin to operate not from a posture of anger but of compassion and concern. We look at the world not with bitter frowns but with extended hands. We realize that the lights are out and a lot of people are stumbling in the darkness. So we light candles.