Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bloody Cross, Bloody mess: Making sense of the senseless

Have you ever had the feeling that everything is going to work out just fine? You know, the sense that in the midst of your pain it will all come together for good. I know that sense, that feeling. It doesnt happen very often but when it does it just feels, well, for lack of a better word, Divine. I get this sense that this is exactly what the Jesus story is about. More than being a story of bloody sacrifice it is a story of "knowing" that everything will work out fine. The story doesnt deny pain or try to gloss over the struggle. What it does do for me is acknowledge that in the midst of this pain we can be different. We can rise above our pettiness, hurts, anger and resentments. The story shows a man who has almost complete confidence in the fact that in the grand scheme of things, he's OK. He is willing to show us by example how to live our lives and then with the ultimate conviction he is willing to die for it. He has figured out that there is an eternal life, that there is more than what we can see or touch. Now remember there are some moments when the doubt creeps in, afterall he is human like you or I. Yet in his awareness of safety he is able to rise above those doubts and show us another way. In the story we see someone care for others, love his enemies, take part in our struggles. And while doing all of this not allowing himself to partake in the nastiness that this life can also offer. I see so often in this world, people who are committed to seeing life from its painful parts, in the Jesus story I see one who decided to see the good parts and acknowledge that we do have life abundantly even when our bodies die.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Coexist: Does the moderate voice fan the flames of the extremist mind?

Islam and Christianity, the two main religions of the world. At the heart of both there is no idea of Coexistence. In fact both are pretty explicit in that, both the believers and non-believers will be divided. Now I know the moderate voices from both try their best to Coexist, but are they being honest with themselves? It may be the extremist who speaks loudest in regards to division. We all know the words, "saved, damned, heathen, infidel" and it is painfully obvious that it is a "Us vs Them" mentality. Yet it seems the moderate voice does not acknowledge the roots of their religious faith. In fact by avoiding the obvious nature of division of what they believe, do they not fuel the flames of the extremist mind? I will acknowledge that the more liberal voices can be heard espousing love and community, but while this is happening the extremist is spewing hatred and division. The interesting thing is, they both garner their views from the same book(Bible/Koran), depending on the faith. I think it needs to be asked, "If your core is the same, is the message of Coexistence possible?" It seems the house is burning yet no one is willing to stand up and yell "FIRE"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tithe or Tip....What would Jesus do?

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day here in Ottawa. My awesome wife and I decided to go for a walk in the market. We stopped by a favourite pub of ours to have a pint and do some people watching. We had the pleasure of being served by a wonderful hostess named Angela. Before she returned with our drinks we talked about how friendly she was and how it seemed that this person had a pretty hard life. We all talked when she got back and found out she was 27yrs old with 11 and 6yr old boys. There was no mention of a father and we got the impression she was going at it alone. She was joyous with all people who came in. A treat for sure. We decided to give this women a great tip for the goodness she shared with us. This led the wife and I into a discussion on Tithing and Jesus. We thought that Jesus was a man of the people. He would frequent market places, share his heart with others and give all that he could to make his immediate world better. His humanity was evidenced not by being in a Church and giving his Tithe. It could be seen by the very fact that he was a man of the people and for the people. When Christians sit in a pew and listen to someone preach on how G-d expects them to give 10% of there salary, does anyone actually get to see where most of that money goes? Over 80% of it is used to take care of the expenses of the Church. Heating, hydro, salaries, maintenance. The bulk of the money is used to finance a structure. Now who is this for? Are the people who are starving or just making ends meet getting the bulk of this money. NO WAY. The wife and I were given an opportunity this day to see how our sharing can actually make someone elses world a better place. Sure we didnt get the band and singers, we didnt get an inspirational story from a preacher, we didnt get to hear how G-d will bless us with abundance. What we did get, was our hearts warmed and our spirits lifted knowing we shared something with a fellow human.

I think Jesus would have been a BIG TIPPER.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Sins of the Fathers(Generational Crap)

A famous Greek had a quote that was borrowed from the Old Testament that I believe has a profound truth in it. Though it may not have been written with this idea initially.

"The gods visit the sins of the fathers upon the children."
Euripides, Phrixus
Greek tragic dramatist (484 BC - 406 BC)

Now we all are aware that passed down from generation to generation is the genetic makeup of our families. Blue/Brown eyes, Blond/Red hair, Tall/short etc. But more importantly, passed down, is the emotional baggage that we as humans fail to deal with. These lingering hurts, resentments, and remorse are the "Sins" that end up haunting our children. Now it is true that we cannot shield our children from all the pains in life, but we do have a huge impact on what we give them. Im sure that we have all had that "Eureka" moment while watching or listening to our children do something and realize exactly where it comes from. Not only is it their behaviours or postures, but many times it is exactly the fears and pains that we have not come to grips with. Failure to deal with our own pain guarantees that our children will experience not only their own traumas, but ours as well. If we truly want the best for our children then doesnt that automatically mean we need to do the best for ourselves? So does it not behoove us to deal with our own "baggage" first and then help our children with theirs? My challenge to all of us is this. Break the chain, BE WELL.