Thoughts on Baltimore (and other issues)

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the riots in Baltimore. You’ve heard about how people have taken to the streets to destroy, loot, and hurt. You’ve probably read the stories about the 15 officers (last I saw) who were hurt by the rioters. But what do we do about it? We can sit here, behind the comfort of our homes, our keyboards, our tv screens, and criticize, call them criminals, and tell them they should have done it another way.

And we wouldn’t be wrong.

But it’s not their fault.

If you are looking for someone to blame, look in the mirror. Continue reading

End of an Era

The End of an Era (or So Long and Thanks for all the Fish)

The past three and a half years have been among the most challenging & rewarding times for me. There were days where as a staff, we would sit around and wonder “why are we doing this?”. I would sit there and think “I can’t go on, I can’t do this anymore.” It was in those moments, that my favorite quote from Lord of the Rings comes to mind (here’s the YouTube version, if you prefer it)

Sam: It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the ending, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr Frodo, I do understand… I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only the didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding onto something…

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr Frodo… And it’s worth fighting for.

But now that struggle has come to the end, and I find myself again wondering if it was worth it. If the time we spent mattered, or if it was all for naught. And again I find myself finding comfort and solace in the words of Samwise Gamgee. Continue reading

Robin Williams

The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.”

From the first moment I found out about the passing of Robin Williams, this line has been stuck in my head. Over and over and over it plays.

“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” Continue reading

On Being Immortal

“A man searches for something that will outlast his life. For immortality of a kind. For a way to change the world, to have his life matter” ~Orson Scott Card, Shadow Puppets

This morning, I just want to give you something to think about. What are you leaving behind that will outlast you?

Poor Money

“Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”

I saw this quote the other day and it struck me about the value of things. If you value money at the cost of all else, you lose sight of the things that are truly valuable in life.

As you are working, money is important to live, to eat, to put a roof over your head, but it is not the end/focus of life. Keep your focus on people, and your money will have so much more meaning.

 

Life to the Full

Life to the Full

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ John 10:10, NIV

How often do we hear this scripture quoted in church? And we focus so much on that first part. “The thief (read Satan, or Devil) comes only to steal kill and destroy”. We stop there. We talk about how we have to fight the devil, resist him so he will flee from us. But life is so much more than just resisting the devil. Continue reading

Suffering for Others

“Sufferings gladly borne for others convert more people than sermons.”
~ Therese of Lisieux

No one likes to suffer. That is the point behind almost every marketing style out there. “My product will make your life better” ie, make you suffer less stress/work/pain/etc…

But Christ does not call us to a life of comfort, he calls us to a life of sacrificing out of love for others. And sacrifice hurts, it is painful, it should cost us something, it causes us to suffer. If it doesn’t, then it’s really not sacrifice.

When was the last time you suffered for someone? When was the list time you did something for someone else that truly cost you something big (time, money, an item, or even your own flesh and blood)?

Why are we so resistant to give up a couple of hours of our time for someone, or to give up our “dining out budget” money for the month so someone else can have heat, or gas, or food?

Why are we so resistant to do these things?

Maybe it’s because we don’t truly understand the suffering that Christ bore for us. If we are called to be like Christ, then we need to remember that Christ gave up his own life for others (including you, including me), and we are called to do the same.

 

Faith

Faith

In our world, especially the Christian world, we throw around this term “faith” a lot. You see it everywhere. Phrases like “just have faith”, “put your faith in Jesus”, or “it’s a matter of faith”…

But what is faith? Continue reading

A Thought to Ponder

“To all the cynics:
Do you need a reason to have faith, be positive, have hope, and believe? Here it is: the sun will be back again tomorrow. And on that day when the sun falls from the sky? So what? Congratulations, you were finally right on the very last day.”

~ Shawn Duffy

My American History teacher had that on his board one day, and I instantly fell in love with the quote. Why not be optimistic of the future ? Why not have hope? What harm comes out of that? And the day you are wrong, well, that’s the end of the world, so no worries about you being wrong.

Remember, tomorrow is a brand new day, you get to start over again. The question is: What will you do with it? Who will you be?

 

The Edge of Your Comfort Zone

The Edge of Your Comfort Zone

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”

I don’t really like discomfort. I don’t think anyone does.

Some of us find comfort in different things, so things that are uncomfortable for me, are very comfortable for others.

But life is boring when you are comfortable.

Think about it. If you sit in a big, comfy, chair all day, every day, what happens to you? You get fat. You become lethargic. Apathetic. You stop living. You die early.

Getting up and running or doing something physical isn’t comfortable. But it is so necessary for life.

The same is true of us mentally and spiritually. If we never get up and do something to exercise our brains, our spirit, our souls, then we become comfortable, and eventually we get spiritually fat, lethargic, apathetic, and lifeless.

Your life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. You need to get out beyond what you want to do, what you feel comfortable with.

Take a risk.

Do something dangerous.

Be wild.

Be crazy.

It’s the crazy ones who push to the edge of their comfort zone, and beyond, that will change the world.