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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Brennan Manning

Brennan Manning
Forever Loved 
(New York, April 27, 1934-April 12, 2013)
*All quotes below are that of Brennan Manning.
I awoke this morning, turned on the computer, looked over my list of blogs that I follow and discovered that quite a few were discussing the death of Brennan Manning. I was shocked to hear so. To be honest I had thought that Brennan had passed(not past) away some time ago (I don't know why?) and was sorrowful at that point in time. To hear it once more is just as saddening.

Brennan Manning has had a very deep impact upon my life. When I am about to give up, reject, throw out any and all conceptualizations of 'Christianity' there is but one man who can bring me back to a place where I can be who I truly am in the Christ. 

This man has opened my eyes to the realness of Jesus, I mean the utter humaness of Jesus. He has taught me the utter importance of loving me for myself and that it is only then that I am better to serve others. 
"Experience has taught me that I connect best with others when I connect with the core of myself. When I allow God to liberate me from unhealthy dependence on people, I listen more attentively, love more unselfishly, and am more compassionate and playful. I take myself less seriously, become aware that the breath of the Father is on my face."
That God loves me no matter what or who I am and that by thinking otherwise I deny the entire gift of God's grace and love. 
"The love of Christ embraces all 
without exception."
 This man introduced me to the Christ outside of Christianity and for that I am forever grateful. 
"The story goes that a public sinner was excommunicated and forbidden entry to the church. He took his woes to God. 'They won't let me in, Lord, becuse I am a sinner.'
'What are you complaining about?' said God. 'They won't let Me in either." 
So while I may abandon Christianity, I can never abandon the Christ.
"Those who have the disease 
called Jesus will never be cured."
Thank you Brennan for all that you have done. You will forever huant me.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

No Bad Words

For the purpose of GOOD and EVILwe use words.  The GREATEST TRAVESTY, however, is when we waste them on MINDLESS DRIVEL! 

*Please note that I am in no way saying that I have come any where close to perfecting that of which I have said in the following. I view myself, not as better then anyone in this field, but rather as co-journeyers in the understanding of linguistics and the use there of.  I have much to work on in speech and in grammar as well. This is an area in which I hope to better myself. Thanks*

"Think Before You Speak"


"Actions Speak Louder Then Words" 

These are phrases we have all heard before, but have we failed to look deeper into their meanings than what we have come to know them as? Have we failed to pass these understandings unto our children, ourselves and even unto others? 

Over the years as my three children grow, I have been teaching them, and learning myself, the value of words. To cherish and respect them as treasured instruments. 

Words are living…always evolving, whether quickly or over long periods of time. They are powerful and, as we have seen in history, have the ability to alter the future. They give hope, knowledge, and awareness. Have we not all heard, at young ages through to our adulthood, from our parents, elders, and even peers that there are some words that are 'bad' and should not be said? How many of us have had our mouths washed out with soap, literally or metaphorically?

My children are learning that THERE ARE NO BAD WORDS!...only bad ways of using them. It is our attitudes, motives and reasonings behind our speech that we must hold check, not the word. For this reason, many have become confused and unjustly accuse the word, and/or the speech, of being foul… when all along it was the attitude behind it that they so disagreed with. My children thus learn to conduct their thoughts, feelings and speech in respect, honour and love of others as well as words. Attitude is not the only concern when using words, but also learning which words are most effective as well as understanding the social group they are in and the words that are best suited and respectable for that social setting. 

My family and I have the privilege of making this journey together, for as far as I can remember, I was not taught this vital differentiation (At least not in this exact manner. This is no put down to my upbringing but rather a personal observation.). We view this as a more holistic approach to the use of and understanding of words and language. In this manner, one begins to realize and appreciate speech and thus becomes it.  

Language derives not in the word, but from within the heart.

Language and words, and the use their of, are of immense importance, I fear that I sound like an old dud when I say this... but in our age of abbreviations (txt) and grammatical brutality, in forms of short point information (twitter, facebook,) we may have deadened, not only words, but our minds conceptualization of them and their use. 
*Please, I mean no offence to those of you who use these particular forms of communication. They have their place and importance, and like words they themselves are not bad, it is how and what they are used for that have made them a nauseant to some.

It is my hope that all those who have a presence in the lives of my children will likewise respect and cherish words, understanding that THERE ARE NO BAD WORDS!, only bad ways of using them. Please, do not tell children or others that a word is bad, wicked or evil, but rather focus on how they may better handle their attitudes prior to the use there of and why they feel the need to use that and/or those words. 


Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Suicide of Matthew Warren

The news tells it...

Son of Pastor Rick Warren Commits Suicide.
The death of a loved one, through old age, accident or murder, is an extremely difficult thing to experience, taking all that you are to just barely pass through it. But what of living through a loved one's suicide? 

My heart both breaks and rejoices in the tragedy of the suicide of Rick Warrens son. My heart weeps for the loss that the family and friends feel at this time. Perhaps feeling responsible, helpless or not good enough. They mourn for the death of someone they cared for, a death that was purposeful not by the hands of another, but by the very hands of the one they loved so dearly. Can anything else be so shaking to our very foundations? 

Why might I rejoice? Well, it is bitter sweet. I have been in a place where suicide is an extremely viable option, in fact it at times seems to be the only option. The suicidal do not relish the thought, no they are terrified of it. We all seek happiness and we all have different ways of going about getting this happiness. Even the suicidal seek happiness and this is why suicide becomes the only option. So in a sense I rejoice for the soul that is finally at rest from the hell they endured. 

Rick Warren recalls a conversation that his son had with him after another failed approach of help,
Dad, I know I'm going to heaven. Why can't I just die and end this pain?

Now, before anyone think of how selfish that may be for one to commit such an act... remember that no one escapes this pursuit unequally, we all selfishly seek the same thing no matter how we do it.

With suicide rates increasing within our societies, we must become aware of the hurting and seek to understand. One must try with all that they are to grasp how hurt or distraught one is in order to consider the suicidal thought. If you think that one can just snap out of it or think that the devil must have got a hold of them, then you do not understand and you do not have the heart to approach the suicidal. No, you must be or have been broken in order to comfort those who carry such heavy a burden of thought. In fact it is often those who have experienced such similar thoughts and feelings that are so quick to help others. 

Rick's son was one of these, 

You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He'd then make a bee-line to that person to engage and encourage them.

Warren shares that, 
 ...only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. 
To the Warren family and friends, I am truly sorry for your loss. To all that have experienced such similar events, I am truly sorry. 

The only thing that I can think to say, that may be of some comfort in such a particular situation is, Weep, mourn, gnash your teeth and in the end take comfort that your loved one is now at peace.

I weep alongside you. A loss is a great tragedy, no matter the cause.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Crucified Question

I posted this last year near 'Good Friday' and thought I would once again. I love the cartoon by David Hayward and all that it captures. Click on the link below the cartoon to view more of his brilliant work. 

cartoon drawn by David Hayward @ nakedpastor click link to see other great drawings.

This is the time of year that many reflect on the later days of Christ and his ministry. A Jewish carpenter who, in his thirties, left his trade and travelled the countryside, villages, and cities with a message of hope. Healing few, impressing many, challenging and impacting all. When Jesus encountered others, whether they hated him or loved him, they were amazed. This is what one philosopher, Peter Kreeft, refers to as the "Jesus Shock".  None were bored with Jesus. 

We tend to view Jesus as an answer, someone who came to earth to provide an absolute. While this may most definitely be true, I wonder if we have forgotten a very important aspect of the Christ.

When the Christ was in presence of the people and when he is in the presence of us, he raises the question. We can not help but question when we stand beside him. We question all that has been, all that is present and all that shall be. We question our hearts, desires and motives. All things become questionable in the presence of Jesus.

To question is uncomfortable, uneasy and difficult. For most of us we are afraid of what we shall find, or perhaps, even more frightening, what we will shall not find.

I believe this is why we crucified the Christ... why we crucified the question.