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One of those cracked pot days

February 2, 2012 2 comments

personal photo

I guess it was one of those cracked pot days. (2 Cor 4:7)

Someone recently told me, “David you have a need to be wanted.” A friend helped me to process the conversation and said to me, “In the context of that conversation, that was a vicious attack.” He encouraged me to see the hand of God in the wound.  Not that God is viscious or mean but even in the hurtful words, God was present with me.

My questions: Why? To what end? For what purpose?  Now those are questions that can’t be answered at this stage of my journey or maybe not ever.

Perhaps the most hurtful part of the discussion was the following comment, “David, you have a need to be wanted. And so I am not going to tell you that I want you.” Ouch!

A word given to me was, “Assyria is a rod in my hand.”  To punish/discipline but also as a reminder that God has not abandoned.  In the middle of the pain, God is there—what a challenge for me to see that—to believe that—to love that.

Back to needing to be wanted. Actually, I acknowledged that I do need to be wanted.  Just as I need to be loved.  David Benner says our longings, our desires are pathways for our journey with God.  He think he would say that intimacy with God is impossible without desire being present.

Here is a quote from Benner’s Soulful Spirituality,

Despite how it is sometimes presented, desire is right at the center of the spiritual life. A sense of obligation may sometimes be enough to keep you going to church, but only desire will keep you open to God and still seeking when your experience in church is filled with frustration and is irrelevant to your deepest spiritual longings. Guilt may be strong enough to motivate religious behavior, but only desire can lead you ahead on the spiritual journey. The absence of desire means the absence of spiritual life. 335

At age 56, I am much more aware of my own neediness than I was at age 23 or 32!  For that I am grateful.  I recognize the truth of 2 Cor 3:5, “who of us is capable of such things?” Not me, that is for sure. Not by my own strength and power.  My sufficiency is only found in the Lord Jesus! I possess a neediness, a longing for more that will not be totally fulfilled until I see the Lord Jesus face to face—the transformation that is currently in process will one day be complete (2 Cor 3:18; 1 John 3:2).

I am aware that much damage has been done in the name of ministry by people who are needy—who need to be wanted, liked and loved.  But I suspect the damage is done more by people who are unaware of their neediness or deny it.  I wonder if more damage has been done by those in ministry when they think that they have no needs!  So for today, gratefully I accept that yes, I am David, a man before God who needs to be wanted and loved and I am thankful that God wants me, loves me, has chosen me to be his beloved and has brought many people into my life who walk with me and are courageous enough to love me and walk with me on this faith journey.  Thank you God.

Here is a song that seems to express well my heart tonight.

Can I accept that I am a work in progress?

March 23, 2011 1 comment

NOTE: Following is an update on a previous post.

Instead of being impatient with your progress, perhaps it is better to be grateful that you are still moving forward.  From Teillhard de Chardin:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are, quite naturally,

Impatient in everything to reach the end without delay…

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown,

something new. And yet, i is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through some stages of instability…

and that it may take a very long time

 

And so I think it is with you.

Your ideas mature gradually;

Let them grow, let them shape themselves,

without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on,

as though you could be today what time

(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own goodwill)

will make you tomorrow.

 

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming

within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of your

believing that his hand is leading you, and of your

accepting the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and

incomplete.

Qualifications for Spiritual Directors

March 22, 2011 Leave a comment

According to Susan Muto, spiritual directors should be wise, learned and experienced:

“They are wise in the sense that they are prudent, saying the right thing at the right time. They can discern what is important and eternal and what is temporary and does not matter. A good spiritual director has learned the art of reading the soul They are considered to be learned not because of their academic achievements but because learned from the school of life and they have absorbed the truth of the Scriptures. They have experienced what it means to seek direction for one’s soul and themselves have been directed.” (Muto class lecture)

The qualifications needed to be a good director are qualities that cannot be gained by taking a course on SD or by reading books on the subject. These qualities are formed out of an experience in life over time and under submission to the Spirit of God. It is the “depth of intimacy with God that is more important than knowledge of the subject” (Dynamics 364)

Directees must be able to trust the Director with their soul and know that confidences will be kept. Muto advises that a Director not be a person with authority over the directee (class lecture). The directee should feel the acceptance of the Director, even if all of his or her views are not shared. Directors should be good listeners, not only to the words of the directee but also to the promptings of the Spirit as they prayerfully consider a response to the directee. There should be a genuine respect for how God is at work in life of the directee. A gentleness is required when matters of the spirit are shared and yet there must also be a willingness to be firm in offering up the needed direction (see 1 Cor. 4:21). Directors must be able to speak the truth but in love (Eph 4:32). Paul describes his gentleness among the Thessalonians “like a mother caring for her children” (1 Thes. 2:6). Even though there may be an element of spiritual parenting in SD, directees should be reassured that it is God alone as their heavenly Father who has all the resources that they need.

To be a spiritual director, a person should have some affirmation from their church leaders that they are gifted in this way.

Beware of hearing voices

October 9, 2010 Leave a comment

When we go beyond the Scriptures to hear God, we face significant dangers.

“Supernatural knowledge that reaches the intellect by the exterior bodily senses” must not be relied upon says St. John of the Cross. Why says John? Because we can be easily deceived by counterfeits from the devil.

“Individuals who esteem these apprehensions are in serious error and extreme danger of being deceived.” (AMC 2:11:3) He says false visions and communications from the devil “cause in the spirit agitation, or dryness, or vanity, or presumption.”

On the other hand, communications from God, “penetrate the soul, move the will to love, and leave their effect within. As Muto says, God’s self-communications …penetrate the soul like fragrant oil softens dry, cracked skin.” (58)

In our longing for these sensory communications we are vulnerable. We must detach ourselves from desires for these special communication. As Muto says, “If good, their effects will show up anyway; if bad, they will be eliminated from the start.”(60)

A good reminder to not seek out special experiences with God or from God. I do need to spend time listening rather than always talking but when I start hearing voices, it is time to be on the alert!

You don’t see the big black cloud

August 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Image from carrieanddanielle.com

My wife started out on her morning walk this morning and within a few minutes, light rain began to fall, forcing her to return home.  Since I was sitting on our front porch when she came home, I said, “I see the sun, the rain will quickly pass. Keep going!”  Her response, “I just came back and you don’t see the big black cloud. I don’t want to get my shoes wet. I will wait and see what happens.”  Indeed I didn’t see any big black cloud from where I was sitting.  But that did not mean that it was not there!!

As I thought about this, I went two ways.

First I thought of the twelve spies sent out to survey Kadesh Barnea and according to the report of the ten, the land was full of danger and giants.  For Caleb and Joshua, the land was rich and full of the promise of milk and honey.  I also thought of the sluggard in Proverbs 26:13 who did not want to get up and go out because there might be a lion in the streets. Despite what this may sound like, I am not comparing my wife to a sluggard!

But, then, I also thought of Jesus words about counting the cost of following him when he uses the illustration of the man building a tower who first makes sure he has enough materials to build before he begins or the king who evaluates whether or not he has enough men to win the battle. (Luke 14:28-31)

What to think?  I should not judge someone else because their perspective is different from mine. I don’t know their heart and I can never see the situation from all sides–only God can do that!  While some of us tend to see the big black clouds (actually this is more my tendency), others have the gift to focus on the clear blue sky ahead.  I guess we need both!

What happened? Sure enough, the big black cloud passed over the house and the drizzle continued for another ten minutes. Soon after, my wife went back out to complete her walk with dry shoes and I remained sitting on the front porch waiting for the lion that never came!

Teaching my son to crawl

July 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Cricket by simon nekdo.jpg

Do you know how I taught my son to crawl?  Not be telling him to crawl!  First, I tried crawling so he would follow me.  He would wiggle and rock back and forth, wanting to follow but unable to launch himself forward.

At the time, during the sweltering heat of a Dallas summer, we had been invaded by many unloved crickets.  After gently apprehending one of our visitors, I strategically posed one of the pulsating creatures mere inches beyond the reach of my son’s trembling fingers. Fascinated as the cricket skipped away, my son’s arms and legs discovered a rhythm previously unknown and off my son set in pursuit of what would soon become his prey.

Andrew had began his crawl towards becoming the man of whom I am proud today.

Call to humility and to gratefulness

May 22, 2010 1 comment

The Pilgrim’s Regress

C.S. Lewis 1933

Nearly they stood who fall.
Themselves, when they look back
see always in the track
One torturing spot where all
By a possible quick swerve
Of will yet unenslaved–
By the infinitesimal twitching of a nerve–
Might have been saved.

Nearly they fell who stand.
These with cold after-fear
Look back and note how near
They grazed the Siren’s land
Wondering to think that fate
By threads so spidery-fine
The choice of ways so small, the event so great
Should thus entwine.

Therefore I sometimes fear
Lest oldest fears prove true
Lest, when no bugle blew
My mort, when skies looked clear
I may have stepped one hair’s
Breadth past the hair-breadth bourn
Which, being once crossed forever unawares
Forbids return.

C.S. Lewis, Poems; Nearly They Stood (1933)

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How millennial are you?

March 24, 2010 5 comments

Here is a quiz for you to take to see how much of a millennial you are.

Then, an article that says millennials like to work less but want to get paid more. Well, who wouldn’t?

Care to share your millennial score and your age?

I scored a 70 and I am 54.  Ok, I fudged a little on an answer or two

Another article here on what a church is doing to reach out to the millenials. Very significant words:

Featuring a historic liturgy, the services offer a “definite structure” with confession and a weekly Eucharist.

“I think those are the kinds of things that connect with Millennials,” DeGroat says. “With a time of confession, they can reflect on their lives. And with a weekly Eucharist, they can engage in a very meaningful way – in an experiential way – in the kinds of real satisfaction that Jesus gives. As I talk to Millennials in the city, they like that. They don’t come for the show, but to be engaged and to engage.”

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What is spirituality

March 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Great question with an elusive answer. Check out the video here and hear what people answer. Had a conversation with someone yesterday on this topic.

Suggestions for a defintion?

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Calm Me into a Quietness

March 16, 2010 Leave a comment

From Ted Loder’s Guerrillas of Grace

Quietness by Armindo Lopes

Calm Me into a Quietness

Now,
O Lord,
calm me into a quietness
that heals
and listens,

and molds my longings
and passions,
my wounds
and wonderings

into a more holy
and human
shape.

Obsolete jobs

March 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Very interesting.  See a picture, text and then hear an audio interview with someone who used to hold one of these now largely obsolete jobs. My favorites: Lector and Lamplighter Thanks to Kruse Kronicle

Telephone operator

Typesetter

Typist in a typing pool

Switchboard operator

Milkman

Lamplighter

Iceman

River Driver

Pinsetter

Copy Boy

Elevator Operator

Lector

lector is on the right side towards the middle

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Video of rube goldberg machine

March 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Leaders Create Shift

March 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Michael Hyatt bounces around ideas for a new leadership book. “Leaders exist for the sake of creating shift. This is their primary work. If you are happy with the status quo, you don’t need a leader. But the moment you want something to change—to shift—that’s when you need to bring in a leader.”

3 Basic Components

  1. A shift in direction. Like steering a car onto a different road, effective leaders shift the trajectory of the organization. They determine the destination and then decide the best way to get there. The first task is vision; the second is strategy. And they always come in that order.
  2. A shift in velocity. Like changing the speed of a car, effective leaders adjust the velocity of the organization. They may let off the gas to slow down and gain clarity. Or they might step on the gas to arrive at the destination sooner. Regardless, they are sensitive to how fast the organization is moving. They adjust their speed in order to get the organization to its chosen destination quickly but safely.
  3. A shift in efficiency. Like the transmission in a car, effective leaders now how to make efficient use of their resources. It is possible to get from point A to point B with just a steering wheel and an accelerator. But a transmission makes it possible to get there faster and with fewer resources. Good leaders always have one hand on the stick shift, always looking for the most efficient way to get the job done.

What are you helping to change today?

Election maps

March 13, 2010 Leave a comment

A representation of the way the American vote went  in 2004 and 2008 using a cartogram, a map in which the sizes of states are rescaled according to their population. Interesting indeed

Here is a cartogram by county. “One way to improve the map and reveal more nuance in the vote is to use not just two colors, red and blue, but to use red, blue, and shades of purple in between to indicate percentages of votes”

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Beautiful truth

March 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Twenty reasons why truth is beautiful

Little Midas by Elin Torger

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Why drink salt water or eat poison?

March 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Picture Ogie Duque

What do you like to drink on a hot humid day when you have been drinking outside?

Coke, water, iced tea, beer?

Which of these is best? Which is best to quench our thirst?

Why do we not drink salt water?  Because it makes us thirstier!

When you are hungry, for what do you crave?

Ice cream? Pizza? Hamburger? Steak? Salad?

When you are hungry, you want something that fills you up, something that will not leave you hungry or that will not just stimulate your appetite for more (as I understand happens with sugar).

So what quenches your thirst for that “something more”? What fills you up when you are hungry for spiritual realities?

Jesus said,

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. . . Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” John 7:37
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst John” 6:35.

Let us live “the glory of a truly soul-satisfying life instead of sounding obsessed about the dangers of a life lived foolishly” (Gary Thomas)

Why drink salt water or eat poison?

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Exploring Nacirema

March 9, 2010 Leave a comment

From soulpancake–great question: what will surprise future anthropologists about our current society in America?  Maybe better to expand the question to include our post-modern world!

Nacirema was a term originally used in 1956. : a satirical term used by anthropologists and sociologists to examine aspects of the behavior and society of American people (Note: The word is “American” spelled backwards.)

Please note that I am not against America but you have to admit that a lot of things don’t make a lot of sense even today, much less in the future. What things will the future look back and say, what were they thinking?

  • a person could have 1000 friends and have never met any of them in the flesh
  • they paid people to poison them with super-sized meals
  • people bought new clothes that were made to look old

Check out the original post at soulpancake and read lots of clever ideas

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Let me not be ashamed

March 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Encouraging words from Psalm 25 (ESV)

Because YOU are

• The God of my salvation 5
• Merciful 6
•Steadfast love 6, 7, 10,
• Eternal 6• Good 7, 8
• Upright 8
• Faithful 10
• Gracious 16

I trust you

• I lift up my soul 1
• In You I trust 1
• I wait for you 3, 5, 21
• My eyes are ever toward the LORD 15
•I take refuge in you 20

To forgive my sins

• Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions 7
• Sinner 8
• Pardon my guilt for it is great 11
• Forgive all my sins 18

To not let me be shamed 2, 3, 20

To deliver me from my enemies

• Want to exult over me 2
• Are wantonly treacherous 3
• Many foes 19
• They have violent hatred toward me 19
• I am lonely
• Afflicted 16, 17
• Troubles of my heart are enlarged 17
• Distresses 17
• Trouble 18, 22

I ask you to

• Teach me your paths 4, 5, 8, 9, 12
• Make me to know your covenant 14
• Pluck me out of the net 15
• Turn to me 16
• Be gracious to me 16
• Guard my soul 20
• Deliver me 20

Help me to be

• Teachable 4. 5, 8, 9, 12
• Humble 9
• Keep your covenant 10
• Fear You 12, 14
• Be Your friend 14

It’s hard to love sinners

March 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Amazing quote by John Fischer, “It’s hard to love sinners when you are trying so hard not to be one.”  Read his full post for Feb 19, 2010

Brings up thoughts on grace, law, hypocrisy, respect and of course love.  Reactions?

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Why abortion workers turn pro-life

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Gripping article on why so many abortion workers have tuned pro-life in recent years.  Reminds me of the book The Nazi Doctors I read earlier in the year.  In the Nazis case, they invented new methods to kill the Jews in the gas chambers because of the troop morale problems when they had to murder the Jews by shooting them.  In the same way, I am sure they are actively trying to find other methods to kill the unborn to reduce the trauma on the workers.  May God have mercy!

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