Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Which is more evil?

(First journaled Dec 15, 2015)
Dec 4, 2015

It sure makes me wonder. If we would feed and care for the poor in the first place, instead of going to war against them, and then sometimes offer to help "rebuild"--if we would demonstrate love instead of war and oppression--would it not have a much more positive outcome in the end? Whatever happened to the compassion and forgiveness You lived and modeled? Where does the true evil lay?

I'm thinking: In actions designed to build and maintain empires and greedy wealth and oppressive power structures, no wonder oppressed people rush to embrace (or in fear accept) religions that use and encourage war and oppression.

What is more evil? A religion (or at least a sub-group of that religion) that claims to strive for a worldwide theocratic kingdom by having the whole world converted to it, by using warfare when necessary ... or a religion (or at least a sub-group of that religion) that calls for peace through love and non-violence and self-sacrifice and a heavenly kingdom: but then glorifies "patriotic war" and also strives for world domination, using the same methods as "the enemy" (and calls down the very "enemy" whose actions it emulates to a large degree).

At least the former religion is doing what it believes in (whether or not we consider those beliefs to be evil), but the latter religion is being totally hypocritical, saying/believing one thing and doing the opposite. And people buy into it, hoping for their piece of the pie, of the "Capitalist-Christian dream," which more and more looks to me like a total nightmare!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Praying properly

(Originally journaled January 18, 2015)

I should be reading my Common Prayer book and my Bible. I wonder why that seems like such a big job? And I really, really, really should pray properly! I've been doing little "arrow prayers" when I think of it--or when I feel guilty about forgetting to pray, or when people ask me to pray. But I'm afraid those prayers--tiny and short, and with bad attitude too often--aren't very "acceptable"--not a fragrant and pleasing sacrifice, as the Bible puts it. I feel I'm letting people down. Not to mention letting myself down, regarding my relationship to You. And, of course, letting You down.

But all I can think of is those hours and hours and hours I used to pray for my children and the community and the churches and lots of individual people. And I do believe You're still working in my kids' lives for sure. But I'm realizing more and more how tangled and complicated our world is and how you're dealing with the needs of over 7 billion people (never mind the needs of the earth itself)--and I'm also realizing that people really do have a free will.

I guess I was hoping that my earnest prayers would lead to "miracles" like those ones we hear about (the English guy with the orphanages; revivals here and there with bars turned into churches--and giant veggies growing and stuff like that. But with all those prayers of mine it still didn't seem like I could see much of anything happen. Yet maybe that's the point: like Hebrews 11: faith--things not seen--but still hoped for, trusting in You.

The other thing is that I don't really know what to pray, because I'm more and more convinced that a lot of our "wishes" are awfully short-sighted. And what we beg You to do might not be best at all.  Only You can see the big picture.

Scripture says "the prayer of faith (along with elders anointing with oil) will heal the sick"--but all I can think of is King Hezekiah begging for healing because he didn't have an heir. And his request was granted, and then he had a son--and that son turned out to be one of the most wicked kings ever.

So all I want to pray is "Your will be done." (And no, it doesn't have to do with "lack of faith"--it's because I'm really becoming convinced that "my will" is so often destructive and short-sighted, blind even).

I could just pray "The Lord's Prayer," I guess. That pretty much covers everything. In the Anglican Church they pray the Lord's Prayer, and a couple other sort of "general" prayers--and then they have the "prayers of the people" and they just give names, not details--and that makes a lot of sense to me because, after all, You know all those people, and You know all their needs, and most of all, You know what's best for each of them, so your people are doing the right thing (I think) by praying those people's names to You--and leaving the path and results up to You. (Right? I think ...)

What's included in the Lord's Prayer? Honoring You. Your eternal purposes (you know best). Basic human needs. Relationship with you and others, and salvation. More of Your eternal purposes and relationship with You and others. So may your purposes, your love and righteousness prevail.

Yes, that pretty much covers it.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Terrified by disapproval

(Originally journaled on February 6, 2015)

I read this morning an article that said the best writing comes out of really emotional experiences. Maybe that is true, because since I went through my "Great Depression," I've been trying to live in this smooth unruffled way, not getting overly excited or upset, avoiding things that are scary for me. And I know I've lost my drive to write in the way I used to have it.

Approval. That's a big hurdle for me. I crave it.

And I'm terrified by disapproval. This morning I wrote a highly complimentary response to an article someone shared on FB--then removed my comment when I saw another article explaining why some people hate what the first article talks about. Good grief! Why am I so scared of ruffling people's feathers?

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."

But I don't. I hide it under a bushel till it flickers almost into nothingness.

Let it shine till Jesus comes? He's here and I'm still hiding it. When he comes physically will he deny me? Because I act--maybe I am--ashamed.

Don't let Satan blow it out. Well, I could blame him, but really--isn't it just me? Why, oh why, am I so afraid of disapproval?

All around the neighborhood ... I fail to let it shine. Only in "safe" spots where it will be approved, and even then, only shine minimally :-(

I really don't know when and where my fear of disapproval began. And I'm afraid of it from all sides. Afraid to be too "bad" ... afraid to be too "good" ... Afraid to stand up and speak out, live out what I really think. (Believe? If I really believed, would I be afraid?)

Why am I so afraid to rock the board? To be disapproved of? Lord?

"May our sitting down and our rising up contribute, Lord, to your kingdom's work."

Does mine? Maybe in some ways. "Quiet action" ways. But "speaking up"? No. More likely embarrassed back-peddling, even denial.

If only I didn't keep screwing up by trying to "keep the peace" and by "denying you."  Tears ...

"Lord, remind us that it is not always agitated uprisings and nonstop activity which leads to justice, but that change often comes through the quiet commitment of a small group of people. Help us raise our small body of people to set about quietly becoming the change we want to see in the world. Amen."

But maybe that is the key: "a small group of people."

I spend way too much time alone. I need others. Not just on Sunday morning church gathering and Tuesday morning street outreach and occasional other "events." We need to live our lives together.  Maybe there was a good reason for all the "church" we did back in the day.  Somehow, deep down inside, I miss it. I want to be part of a big family, an intentional community. I still want to be a grandma teacher-facilitator.

I need that! How? Father? Show me, please.

Psa 33:13 "The Lord looks down from heaven and beholds all the people in the world.... He fashions all the hearts of them and understands all their works."

Is that what you've been doing? Fashioning my heart? Do you "understand my works"?  Yes, I sense You do ... that this is a message from You ... that You see my heart. You know my fears, where they came from and all. You understand, and You are working in my heart. Thank You. That's a comfort. A great comfort. You still love me, don't You, Papa? Thank You. Amen.

"...Through Jesus Christ, we have become the children of peace."  Maybe all this "time-wasting" on Fb and internet hasn't been a total waste of time. Maybe you are softening my heart, driving me to long for true peace.

I know that my heart is truly in pain when I read or hear about all the horrible things that happen in our world--the war, the grabbing for power, the oppression, and cruelty. And I don't see any hope except through You!