Mooned

I got mooned last night. That’s call a “hook.” Are you hooked? I attended the monthly men’s meeting at The Bayou last night.  Moon Griffon was the guest speaker. I have listened to Moon since the days his show originated from Yankee country, Monroe. I had never met Moon or heard him speak in person.

His presentation was impressive. I won’t share the personal aspects, because…they’re personal. I will share his main points.

Live today. God’s been hitting me with this message a lot lately. It’s very biblical. “Give us this day.” “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” It’s just so easy to regret yesterday and fear for tomorrow. Today is the only thing we’ve got that we can do something with. Moon did a great job of reminding me of that. 

Be thankful for everything. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17. Good things come from God, the problem is that they are often packaged, as well, problems. Just because we can’t see why illness or financial problems or strife as good for us, doesn’t mean that they aren’t. “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”1 Thessalonians 5:18 Moon did a great job on this one too.

Everything belongs to God. It’s foolish to be stingy with God. He owns it all. 

Pride goes before a fall.  Okay this one is pretty obvious, then why do we always forget it?

These were great points. I had heard them all before. They were just wonderfully, personally and humbly presented. 

We need to know and be known.  The greatest lesson from last night wasn’t something Moon said. After 45 minutes I knew more personal stuff about this man than I know about most of the people I go to church with or that I consider as friends, maybe more than I know about some family members. 

We really are islands. It’s crucial that we put ourselves in “safe” situations where we can know  others and be known by them. This morning I went to a small men’s group. It was because of this unspoken reminder from last night.

Get yourself in a small group. Learn to trust and to be worthy of trust. Learn to be vulnerable and to respect vulnerability in others. Moon did say it’s okay for men to be weak. God works through the weak. What he didn’t say but demonstrated is that it’s crucial to acknowledge our weaknesses and to properly respond to those strong enough to admit their weaknesses.

Thanks Moon for all you said and even more for what you didn’t have to say.

Making Christianity Relevant Again

 
Sometimes I come across something so true and so well written it deserves repeating at least in part.  This is part an email adapted from Richard Rohr, an unpublished talk, Canossian Spirituality Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 3, 2016 emphasis supplied. 

 

Our religion is not working well. Another year has ended—a new year begins—in which suffering, fear, violence, injustice, greed, and meaninglessness still abound. This is not even close to the reign of God that Jesus taught. And we must be frank: in their behavior and impact upon the world, Christians are not much different than other people.

The majority of Christians are not highly transformed people, but tend to reflect their own culture more than they operate as any kind of leaven within it. I speak especially of American Christians, because I am one. 

Let’s be honest: religion has probably never had such a bad name. Christianity is now seen as “irrelevant” by many and often as part of the problem more than any kind of solution. Some of us are almost embarrassed to say we are Christian because of the negative images that word conjures in others’ minds. Young people especially are turned off by how judgmental, exclusionary, impractical, and ineffective Christian culture seems to be. 

Rohr has a potential solution: 

Most Christians have not been taught how to plug into the “mind of Christ;”

In Philippians 2, Paul counsels us to be of one mind and that mind should be the mind of Christ, a mind that puts others first and is humble above all things. How do we do that? How do we plug into the mind of Christ? I think we have to consider how we plug into anyone’s mind, how we really get to know how someone thinks. There is no substitute for spending time with them. We all have someone or someones whom we so greatly admire and so much want to be like that we do whatever we can to spend time in their presence. 

I saw a convicting “tweet” today that asked how much time do we spend in wasteful endeavors as compared to the time we spend in the word and more importantly, with \the Word. 

I have found one way that helps me. Recently I had reached a wall in my swimming. I couldn’t get past a half hour of doing laps. I got bored before I got tired. I discovered some swim proof headphones. I listen to music that engages me and puts me into a spiritual frame that allows me to spend time with Him. Now my swim time only ends when I notice that I have something else that I need to do. Everything else is temporarily blocked out. It’s just me and Him. When my schedule finally calls me out of the water, not only is my body refreshed but so is my mind and spirit.

Try to find a way, personal to you, that you can spend more time with Him. If we can’t plug into his mind, we are stuck with the self-centered mind of the world.  If we are to be real Christians, we need to be really like Him. We need to have His humility that put others above himself. It’s what attracts us to Him and what will attract others. Nothing else will be helpful or attractive to a world in great need.

 

 

New Star Wars – Not Great or Just Not New

I dozed off a couple of times during the new Star Wars movie. That alone should not be condemnation. I fall asleep during most movies. However, producers beware, my 15-year-old grandson slept through a substantial part of the film. Not good news.

This new one has all the previously winning Star War elements. Nifty space ships. Strange looking aliens. Space battles and laser shoot ups.  Nice looking young people.  It has the same theme: a seemingly hopeless struggle against the ominous and very evil empire.

Star Wars came out on May 25, 1977. I was twenty-eight years old, still in the Navy. I had hair and young children. I am now sixty-seven, little hair and little great grand children. Carrie Fisher was a girl. Today she’s dead. To this generation, the Star War elements are historic and not revolutionary. A lot has changed since 1977. 

Perhaps the saddest thing is that maybe the theme is now out of date, the  seemingly hopeless struggle against the ominous and very evil empire. Donald Trump won.  To half the country the rebels are in charge and the evil empire is being vanquished. To the other half, the evil empire is about to be in charge. Half the country is elated; the other half is considering fleeing in panic. Maybe the split in opinion is what’s changed the most. In 1977, everyone watching Star Wars recognized the Empire was evil and the rebels were courageous and the struggle was righteous. I had the feeling last night some of the audience was pulling for Darth Vader. 

We really don’t need nifty space ships. Strange looking aliens. Space battles and laser shoot ups.  Having nice looking young people is still nice, even if they have disappeared from our mirrors. We certainly need to feel like we are part of a rebellion against evil. We need to know that what seems hopeless really isn’t. Unlike the “futuristic” elements of Star Wars, the theme is built into our DNA. We need more than politicians to satisfy that need. 

We need something like “The Force” that guides the race to true freedom. The Star Wars theme was seemingly universal but imperfect. The force had a light and dark side. It was used by those seeking good and by those simply seeking power. (The politics analogy comes to mind.) We need a force that is one-sided, that is pure light, completely right and completely good. 

We have Jesus. We have his force, the Holy Spirit. Have we made these into fixers of our inconveniences, sources of our perceived need for prosperity, at best healers of our ills? Can we no longer perceive the differences between dark and light? Do we think we no longer need rebellion?  Are these so out-of-date that we can’t see them for the true leaders of the rebellion we all desperately need and as the winners of the battle that’s already won? 

It’s a New Year. Maybe it’s time to consider more than healthy exercise, fewer calories, and sounder financial planning. Maybe we are sleeping through more than just the movies.