Monday, August 16, 2010

...just a little bit

*Warning! Contains potential spoilers*

I had a fun weekend with my mom and sister when they came to visit this past weekend. We ate out--probably way too much, went to a concert, and took in a couple of movies. The first movie was Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts. Eat Pray Love is based on Elizabeth Gilbert's memoirs about her year-long journey around the world to discover her life's meaning.
The movie was refreshingly not the usual stereotypical romance/chick flick. Eat Pray Love appears to convincingly show one woman's progress towards inner peace through divorce, meditation, and abroad.
As I said, I enjoyed the movie as it shows the inner journey one woman experienced. Eat Pray Love is as heartwarming as it is eye opening to the meshing of cultures, religions, and paradigms. It speaks to the increasingly spiritual but not necessarily religious culture we live in today. Of course the lens I encounter the world through relates how the spiritual material matches up with my belief that Christ is the only way to inner peace so I disagree fundamentally with the premise that you have to "find" yourself in gurus, meditation, or other religious practice. Yet, in all honesty, I considered how I could easily allow myself to sit in the theater for 2 hours and merely "feel good" and be entertained.
I also considered the sermon I recently watched online from Craig Groeschel titled Toxic, where Craig explains that some of the things we ingest in culture--movies, music, etc are poison. He also equates this to if we made a batch of brownies and put just a little bit of dog poop in them. Most of us would say, "Dog poop. Ew gross!" Even if it's just a little bit, most people would agree just a little bit of dog poop is still gross.
So I would say I watched Eat Pray Love, was entertained by it, got a few "warm fuzzies" from its heart warming message, at times was even challenged in my thinking but did not allow myself to digest it in its entirety. I was aware enough to realize that I find meaning in Christ alone--not in relationships, religion, or meditation. So in my humble opinion, Eat Pray Love contained a little dog poop--just a little bit.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Way of Love

...because the Word says it so much better than I ever could...

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Corinthians 13, The Message)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A work uncomplete

~ No relationship in life can be any more successful than what we are willing to learn about ourselves through it. The moment we turn our back on what others give us to see about ourselves, we not only walk away from what we need to see, but also from the better person we could be . . . were we only willing to learn the lesson at hand. ~
Guy Finley

Despite great trials, amidst great joy, and with much grace, I journey on. I am thankful for what God has taught me this season, what He is teaching me, and what I have yet to learn. God is faithful, lest I forget.
I am learning how the greatest fears in me are simply what I see in myself. God continues to shine light into the dark places in me. This is an altogether painful but beautiful process.
God is continually revealing the courage within me to chase lions and live dangerously in the will of God. I will no longer run from pain but learn to embrace it. In embracing pain I will learn what Jesus says in Matthew 14: 24-25, "Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. (The Message)

For the friends who continue with me on this journey, I cannot thank you enough. For those who have just joined me, thank you. For those who have parted ways, may God bless you and keep you.