Saturday, May 30, 2015

Strike the shepherd

Once upon a time, I sat under a pastor. Listened to his teachings for ten years. And was shocked by his fall from grace, removed from his pulpit for multiple violations of his marriage vows.

And once upon a time, I followed the teachings of a (prominent-in-his-niche) Christian teacher. And, although I came to move away from parts of his emphasis, I readily admit the effect of his teaching in my life. And, I was shocked by his fall from grace and censure for terrible behavior towards young women in his ministry. And shocked by an announcement of inexcusable behavior in the family of his most famous follower.

And once upon a time, I listened to the songs of a famous singer. Inspired words of a prolific writer. I even quoted him at a family gathering. But I became aware a long time ago of a serious scandal involving adultery, conspiracy to murder, ... yeah, I'm talking about King David this time.

I've lost count of how many Christian leaders have led their flock for decades, and then have committed grievous the sin. The world has not lost count - they love to point at the hypocrite. Where are your morals you taught is that what being a Christian is about. I'm certain that is one of the reasons we are warned that the shepherds will face the greater judgment.

But my question is is the fault of the shepherd - the fall of the leader - is it reason to abandon their teaching?

I've had many opportunities to contemplate and I come to a conclusion. It doesn't matter whether the leader has fallen or not . In any case it is our duty as followers of Christ to weigh the teachings of all the pastors, to see if we can follow them as they follow Christ.

Pedestals are dangerous things.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial day

My father worked for 25 years at Lansing Correctional Facility. He suffered two injuries in his first five-to-seven years there, a broken wrist and a slash near his eye.  But I was too young to remember much about those events.

May 22, 1993. A Saturday. Dad was off, and in the afternoon, he was probably at his parents' house. I heard the phone ring, and answered it. One of our church deacons asked if dad was at work. No... He'd heard that something had happened at the prison.

Two guards had been ambushed by a dozen inmates and attacked with sacks of barbell weights and pool balls.  Seriously injured.

On that day, like no other day in my life, I realized that my dad had a dangerous job...And there was always a chance (although a small one) that one day he might not come home.

Seven guards have died in the line of duty at Lansing. The last of them was Mark Avery, one of the guards attacked that afternoon. He died of his injuries the following day, 22 years ago today.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Expiration date

Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

The folks at social security have a form online that gives you your life expectancy, based on age and gender.  And based on that, I'm running out of time.

Well, we all are.

I'm 34, and feeling un accomplished.  Father of four living a typical suburban life.  But I'm not famous, I'm not in politics (anymore), and no one asks my advice or seeks my leadership.

Shouldn't I be further along? Shouldn't I be somebody™ ?

I have spent the better part of two decades believing that I was meant to do great, world changing, awesome things. Like Daniel, "they that know their God shall be strong and do exploits." And Acts "these are the men who turned the world upside down."

But, here I am, in Kansas, not sure whether I'm making a difference, and seeing the sands in my personal hourglass with every gray hair.

I'm freaking out. What am I supposed to be doing? This world is full of problems, pain, suffering, confusion, and wicked stepfathers.

I have one project for the long term. The quiver. My four children.

And, quoting my pastor, the question is faithfulness. Being faithful in what I've been trusted with - not only the money, but the much more important, my children. My marriage.

Maybe there is that great destiny out there for me. Maybe that one fellow was right. (And if he is, I'm going to have to resist the urge to visit Cadiz aka Tarshish)

But that can sort itself out. If God has more for me to do, He knows my phone number. My wife needs me. My children need me.

And in case you're wondering, if the actuaries are right, I've got 48 years left.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Upcoming attractions

Let's just say I've got a lot on my mind...

  • God doesn't make mistakes
  • Another century of the church?
  • Blood moons and other prophecies...
  • Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter...
  • The sins of the nation.
  • Nate Silver meets Kenneth Copeland.
  • Ear tickling.
  • The American Christian.
  • ISIS among the persecutors of Christians.
  • Faith, truth, and church growth.
  • Expiration date...
  • Holy Trinity, Batman!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fall down 7, stand up 8


Going back to the last seven years, I have to wonder how much of what I termed depression may have been less related to a chemical imbalance as opposed to straight-up stress (financial, legal, and other).  How much of it was related to the self-administered accusation that I was failing and had failed as a man.

Call back in a couple years.

But...I know that life sucks.  There's challenges and betrayals and failures and unrealized potential.  And sometimes when "that that is is not what it was supposed to be" just messes with you.

The phrase "cognitive dissonance" - when what you see just doesn't make sense with what you know. (Imagine seeing pink elephants. For real.)

We have dreams, goals, aspirations.  And sometimes, life happens.

One of the things I feel that I must teach my children is resilience.  I never want them to feel like I felt.  And although I despise cliches, "failure is never final."  And, with what I've went through, I know that I know that I want my kids to be able to roll with the punches.

To be resilient.  Maybe even...antifragile?