Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Easy Button

Sometime back a "friend" gave me one of those big red "easy buttons." This week I slid a stack of papers on my desk and then heard a "thud." I had broken my easy button! It was just as well... I could never get it to work anyway!

Unfortunately, there is no "easy button" for the living of life. I have found some things, though, that can make it a bit easier:

Prayer helps me stay in touch with God and helps turn my attention from the problems before me to the certainty of His love.

Reading my Bible
helps me find strength in the stories of God and God's people.

Worship keeps me connected with God and with my faith family.

Friends encourage me by their presence and patience.

None of these are majic buttons but together they help make traveling the journey of life just a bit easier.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Makeing Misteaks

I've just finished watching the slide show from our London Study Leave report. The pictures stirred-up so many memories and yes, much gratitude.

But, I must confess, I found myself distracted and frustrated with at least a half-dozen misspellings- many, if not most of them, common words. My second-grade teacher, Mrs. Kindred would be appalled!

I have all the usual excuses available to me: I was in a hurry, the technology was new to me, I though I had double-checked before pressing "OK,", where's spell-check when you really need it?!

Some lessons re-learned about making mistakes:

Be careful- we all make them.

Be humble- we all make them.

Be forgiving- we all make them.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rights and What's Right

Religion is in the news again-- and in a big way.

The controversy over the proposed mosque/ community center near Ground Zero seems to gain in intensity with each new day. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf now seems to intimate (threaten?) that the fury of Muslim extremists will be unleashed if the site is moved. I can appreciate the Imam's stated intent of a center that would draw people together and enhance the community. I am not as certain that this site, which has proven to be so divisive, is the best place to start the process. In this country Muslims and Baptists, and folks of any religious tradition, have the right to gather freely for worship and to construct places of worship wherever they please (subject to local zoning requirements). Yes, they have the right to build a mosque/community center in New York City near Ground Zero- but is it the right thing to do?

Then we have Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville FL. (is anyone else quietly relieved that he's not a baptist?) Rev. Jones and his flock have decided to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary with the public burning of Islam's sacred book, the Q'uran (Koran). Military leaders are concerned that such an act will increase the risk to our troops, diplomats are concerned about the impact on international relations, this baptist preacher wonders how this will help us talk with Muslim co-workers and neighbors about the love of Jesus. In this country book burning is a protected version of the right to freedom of expression and free speech. Again, they have the right, but is it the right thing to do? Personally, I am praying for a hurricane... or at least a large thunderstorm to settle over central Florida.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fans and Fanatics

Almost heaven... football season (sorry, John Denver!). It's time for the south's favorite three-day weekend- high school football on Friday night, college games on Saturday, and the NFL on Sunday. Let's all offer a prayer of thanks for the inventor of the remote (my brother and I were the remote when we were kids).

It was interesting to watch the array of games available over the weekend. Football teams evoke great loyalty with devotees expending large amounts of money on uncomfortable seats, color-coordinated clothing, and official team paraphenalia. There's a lot of conformity accompanying the songs, chants, and gestures that have been passed down through the generations. Radio call-in shows, websites, and coaches' television shows keep the faithful in touch, informed, and "fired-up." Did you know that the nickname for the football team at the University of Arkansas-Monticello is the "Boll Weevils?" The women's sports teams at UA-M are known as the "Cotton Blossoms."

Why is it that church folk who give money, observe the rituals, sing the songs, attend gatherings faithfully, and enjoy talking about Jesus are "fanatics" instead of fans? Go team!