Friday, January 22, 2010

It seems it was only yesterday when I last wrote for this blog yet it has been two weeks. Either time is flying by in 2010 or my mind, like my body, is in rapid decline and I can no longer estimate the passage of time. Let’s hope it’s the former.

Let’s see, what have I done in the interval? Well, I spent a week in FL attending a Stephen Ministry conference. While there I had great conversations with folks from many denominations; it was refreshing to be with people of kindred hearts even if our theologies diverge a bit. I’m ok with that. I have no interest in deciding whose Christianity is the right Christianity because, while important, I don’t think the intellectual aspects of believing are the be-all and end-all of the whole experience. I may be na├»ve but I believe what resides in my serving heart accounts for more than the well informed words that may come from my mouth. If I’m wrong, I pray Grace will save me.

Upon returning home I launched into Truths We Confess (about the Westminster Confession and the Catechisms), the required reading of the theology class I’m taking. Man oh man, it seems the more I strive to understand the more I discover how little I understand. Maybe my consternation is because I was raised a Baptist but eventually worshiped in a Wesleyan church and now a Presbyterian church. And then there’s the great Calvin vs. Arminius debate raging in my head over the issue of predestination (the elect). At times I’ve leaned toward wanting to know and understand without a shadow of doubt or reservation, and other times I’ve wanted to forget the whole conversation and simply love the Lord and serve Him. But the comfortable spot I’ve arrived at (or is it “at which I have arrived”?) is somewhere in the middle – to strive to understand and not be shaken when I can’t, and be comforted in my dependence on God to forgive me for what my imperfect mind cannot comprehend.

What else? Linley turned sixteen and is now driving (prayers please), I’m simultaneously working on four books, still spending quality time with Cameron, digging even deeper into a few ministry roles at the church, and have restarted my fitness regime. Ugh, six days a week in the gym ain’t the recreation it used to be. No word yet on being accepted into law school, so still waiting patiently on that front.

Oh, and the good news I received today: one of my books is going to be illustrated and reissued as a children’s book! Very cool!

Gotta run. Blessings!

P.S. Decided not to change the name of the blog because I realized I will continue to Live the Word even if I won't write about it on a daily basis. Hope you're cool with that.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Without Wings

Scanning my Google Alerts (an awesome tool) I found this little story in a string of blog posts about parenting and religion (uneditted):

I am a firm believer whatever faith we choose it is a personal part of our lives and should not be judged by others as I feel who am I to judge what someone else follows or believes. My hubby is a true skeptic in the religious field but has always allowed me to do as I feel as regards my faith.

So what an eye opener he had last Friday he works out of State but was home and collected our daughter from school and took her to Starbucks as he wanted to talk over certain issues etc with her. On arriving he noticed this young woman in her 20’s sat in the corner outside where most Starbucks have chairs etc. He was talking away, advising our daughter on one thing or another, he said as far as he was aware it wasn’t loud but just face to face normal Chat. They had been there for going on 15-20 mins when the girl in the corner walked over to their table and place a book down and walked away. Of course he being a naive man etc was a little taken aback, looked at the book and said OH MY she has left her book. Picked it up and as he did out fell a piece of paper. He turned to look for the girl who had gone literally gone.

My daughter picked up the piece of paper and handed it to her Dad when he turned the book over the title was “ Why a Daughter needs a Dad” 100 reasons and on the scrap of paper it read

Keep Strong (with a heart drawn at the side)
Below it
He’s only looking out for you

My hubby was astounded and handed it to our daughter who started to leaf through the book and read the reasons etc. She then turned to her Dad and said Daddy she just vanished simply vanished and started to cry!!

Of course I was not there at the time and after they had told me the story the words that came to my mind were: That’s right ~~not all angels have wings~~

Wow. That little book keeps touching lives. I am so blessed being the one who wrote it. I only hope Meagan discovers and appreciates one day how much her story has meant to others. That will be her real reward, understanding how much her dad loved her and wanted to make that known to the world.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Mortality Schmortality

I don’t know about you but my new year is already off to a racing start. I continue to be involved in the Men’s Discipleship Group (an awesome experience), the ministries I participate in, and I’m about to leave for a week to attend the Stephen Ministry Leadership conference, only to return in time to begin the 12 week class we call TFL or Theological Foundations for Leaders. My assignment is to read none other than all three volumes of “Truths We Confess,” a detailed examination of the Westminster Confession of Faith. What was I thinkin’…

Add to that the book I’m attempting to write, not to mention the novel I’m attempting to revise, all while keeping my fingers crossed that I get into law school. I took the entrance exam, didn’t do as well as I’d hoped (hey, I haven’t taken a standardized test since 1980), but am encouraged by word that the college likes “non-traditional” students, i.e., old guys like me with many miles under my feet. If I get word I’ve been accepted I’ll need to finish the two manuscripts by August as I’m sure not to have much spare time as a first year law student.

I didn’t finish reading the Bible in 2009 as I’d hoped, but I did get to Romans, and because one of the books I’m writing is a Christian book, I’m referring to the New Testament daily so I’m still reading the Bible, albeit in a “skipping around” fashion. I don’t think God will mind, do you?

So to recap my year of Living the Word – actually, I’m not going to do that. One thing I’m really attempting to be better about is to not draw attention to my volunteer work. I do it to bring glory to God, not praise to me; therefore I really shouldn’t be saying much lest it be confused with boasting about my deeds. Can’t have that, no indeed not.

In fact, for that very reason I’ve decided to retire the concept of Living the Word. I’ll continue in all the ministry work, even take on a few new roles with the church, but I’m going to do it under the radar rather than attempt to document the details of each activity. That’s not to say that I won’t write an inspirational post from time to time, but when I do so it will be for the merit of the story itself, not to shine a light on me. I didn’t mean for it (the Living the Word posts) to be that way but over time it began to seem that way. I hope you understand.

So what will I be writing about? I am turning 50 this year; I’m closer to the end of my life than its beginning. It’s a good milestone; a time to pause and reflect on mortality and its related ponderables. And yes, that will include reflections on my relationship with God. So in 2010 I’ll write, when I’m moved to do so (you see, I’m also working hard to overcome that “performance” curse), about my thoughts and observations as I enter the next phase of living and dying. Nothing morbid, sometimes funny, and hopefully, often thought provoking.

For example, I’m large framed but not chunky. I work out regularly (so far every day this week) and walk nearly 6 miles a day. Yet in spite of a relatively high level of physical activity and a great diet, my body is succumbing to age. My eye lids are beginning to droop. I have a waddle under my chin, a soft layer above my belt, and my butt is a lot bigger than it used to be. To make matters worse, I observed yesterday that my boobs jiggle when I brush my teeth. I simply ain't what I used to be.

And yet my younger, much more attractive wife continues to smile when she sees me and embraces me when I reach for her. It is a wonderful thing to realize that true love is indeed timeless and unconditional.

And finally, this year I’m changing the name of the blog (it’s an annual ritual) to Mortality, Schmortality. Hope to see you here again soon!