Friday, September 30, 2016

Two things that I appreciate

There are a couple of things that I always appreciate here.

One is the swirl of water vapor in the cabin of airplanes.  We fly to Ho Chi Minh monthly, so we have logged a lot of flying miles.  And usually, as the plane begins to taxi to the runway, the vents are opened to start air circulating in the cabin, and the humid air from outside comes swirling into the cooler cabin and we suddenly have lovely twirling clouds inside the plane.  I enjoy watching the patterns they create in the air.  Science is a lovely thing.

Another thing I appreciate is the flexibility and power demonstrate in the Asian squat.  Here is a photo of a man, who with his young teenage son, was working at his car and motorbike washing station.

Note the amazing flexibility demonstrated by the angle of his ankle joint. That looks like a 60 degree angle to me with the heel firmly on the ground .  That means wonderfully flexible hamstrings.  He subsequently made that angle even smaller when he leaned forward, putting his shoulders forward of his knees.  Wow.  You try it.

And people go from this position to standing up in one smooth movement, totally powered by leg muscles.  That's amazing leg strength.

I am always impressed by that flexibility and strength that seems so every-day to them.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Con = "Together" or "With", Sacrare = "To Make Holy"

Consecrate, Consecration

Fron the Latin "consecratus" past participle of the verb, "consecrare";
"Con", meaning together or with + "sacrare", meaning to sanctify, or to make holy

 Another way of thinking about practicing the concept of "consecration" as a way of life.

"I noticed how focused I was on each act, I sought to make every nail just right, and every cut straight and true. I wasn’t so much focused on trying to make everything perfect per se, but to do everything in a manner that made it sacred."   ~ Steve Reed

The difference between focusing on trying to do something "right", and focusing on trying to do something in manner that makes it sacred; dedicated to God.

It is no just giving up what you have to God, or just using what God has given you to further His work.  It is the process of you humbly seeking to make yourself, and all you have, and all the work you do, become an element of holiness and oneness with Him.

Steve Reed's writing on the subject:  "What if Everything Became Sacred"

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Teaching Real Faith and Discipleship

 “At their best, youth ministries attract and at least temporarily retain teenagers who might otherwise leave the church. But the relentless attention to teenage tastes ends up communicating that God exists to make us feel good.  [And so] Christianity operates as a lifestyle enhancement…And increasingly, Americans of all generations take it for granted that emotional fulfillment is one of the main purposes of religious faith…"

~ Thomas Bergler "The Juvenilization of American Christianity"

Some of our young volunteers have not been fooled, but some still struggle because they have not seen beyond "how it makes me feel", or "personal performance of church standards makes me feel good about myself" as the measure of faith, light, truth and discipleship. 

So today I am contemplating ways we can help them catch the vision of living a life of profound strength in Christ amidst the foundation shaking challenges of life; to see faith and discipleship as deeply personally transforming both our hearts and our actions; a force for strength and peace and love that makes us His committed and holy servants who are finding strength in Him through all things life brings, rather than seeing faith as a form of hoping for and expecting and depending upon divinely bestowed, indulgent and random, (or, alternatively, performance based)  gifts of happiness boosts amidst the vagaries of our lives.