Politics, Religion and the Wisdom of Silence

Start discussions of FAITH with the nonbelievers and do not get sidetracked on the nuances of life and how to live it until they know WHO the live it for.

Save the discussions of politics for fellow believers so that iron may sharpen iron and you can grow in wisdom, better understanding HOW to live this live in glory to Christ

So I am a follower of Christ. That is no secret, nor would I want it to be.

I am also very politically active, with the majority of those activities leaning conservative, which does not seem like an issue, in fact being a religious conservative is fairly typical.

But there is a problem because the two things can not and will not always agree.

Sometimes my view as a Christian and my view as an American get mixed together because I happen to be both things but it does not change that they are not mutually inclusive or exclusive.

Sometimes what I know to be true as a Christian is not what should be legally true as an American.

My desire to defend the rights and freedoms of Americans is not born of my love of Christ. It does not mean it’s unchristian of me to do so but I have to examine these desires carefully.

Sometimes I’m compelled to speak, sometimes i’m compelled to silence. Sometimes I pray from a place of confusion, other times from one of peace.

Sometimes my religion is used against me by people who have never cared to actually understand what it is they hate. Sometimes my religion is used by people who think they understand it as a reason to hate things they don’t like.

But at the heart of all of this I think one thing can be forgotten by myself and my fellow Christians.

This it NOT our home.  America (or wherever you are reading this!) is not our country. We are foreigners here. We are strangers in an alien land. God called us to be. So everyday that you wake up and watch the news and feel like you just can’t understand all the evil and hate and ridiculousness in the world…you shouldn’t. You don’t belong here. We are here for one job, and it is not to fit in, it is not to change society, it is not to win battles. We are here to lead people to Christ.

I will still vote and remain politically active because I have children and I don’t want them to grow up in a place without the freedom to choose their own paths just like I got to. I will still debate privately with people who want to understand my perspective. I won’t let my political voice drown out who I am though, I won’t let the hatred that is synonymous with politics define me instead of the self sacrificing love of Christ. I will attempt to show Christ’s love to people I strongly disagree with.

There is far too much political apathy in the church and I don’t want to condone that but many have been driven to that point to avoid being associated with the small but loud and angry mob who use Christ’s name as a shield. We need more Christians who take stands in love, not giving up ground on issues of faith but not screaming and attacking over them either.

Proverbs 1:7 reminds us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” 

A relationship with God is the beginning of knowledge, you will never convince someone you are right on a political point that is based on a religious worldview until you first convince them of that religion.

Start discussions of FAITH with the nonbelievers and do not get sidetracked on the nuances of life and how to live it until they know WHO they live it for.

Save the discussions of POLITICS for fellow believers so that iron may sharpen iron and you can grow in wisdom, better understanding HOW to live this life in glory to Christ.

 

Finding Beauty in the Mess: Week 3

This week I felt surrounded by ugliness. Mainly in the form of media, I just felt overwhelmed by the death, anger, hate and stupidity plastered all over the screen. I have realized that i’m usually pretty good at finding the beauty in my own personal little mess but I often have difficulty finding it in the mess of our society. It took some perspective but I found beauty in two places, one very unexpected and the other so expected I forget to count it at times.

The expected, but overlooked, beauty hit me as I sat in the middle of a pile of boxes, bags and products at church Wednesday night. I was surrounded by food & hygiene items my church family had generously donated to help me create crisis kits to be handed out to local woman in need. In a society full of “what can you do for me” I had asked a bunch of people to donate hundreds of dollars worth of supplies to bless a dozen local women we will never know and that is an amazing and beautiful thing. I sometimes forget how beautiful my fellow servants of Christ are because they are so humble but they are part of society and with them come the love and service modeled by Christ.

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The unexpected place I found beauty was in a strong disagreement with my younger cousin. A disagreement seems like a weird place to find beauty but it was a good reminder that you can have completely different thoughts on anything, or everything, and still respect and care about a person. You can each think the other is wrong and still recognize that you are both intelligent, thoughtful people who just happen to have completely different starting perspectives because you are different people. In a world where the first hint of disagreement is typically met with name calling and vitrol it’s beautiful to have a discussion of an issue rather than just stone throwing.

It’s true when you begin really looking for beauty in life you will find it hidden in less than obvious places.

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Finding Beauty in the Mess: Week 2

This week my moment of beauty came as I tried to clean blood out of washclothes and off my bathroom counter. I found myself reflecting on my gratitude for my children’s health and safety. Shortly before I had been holding a wet washcloth on my toddler’s mouth trying to slow the flow of blood gushing from her teeth. She had slipped on the bench at our table during dinner and her two top teeth connected with the edge pretty hard. I was upset and worried for a moment but once it was clear there more blood than anything I settled in to grateful. The minor injuries of my children’s lives are just that minor, small, momentary discomforts and for that I am tremendously thankful. It’s beautiful to have a healthy child, even one covered in blood.

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Preschool Co-Op Year Two

Last year I joined with two other moms to start up our own preschool co-op. It was a terrific experience that we all really enjoyed. The kids learned and played, we planned field trips (and spontaneously decided on a few more) that took us on nature hikes, to the planetarium and zoo and even for some physical education at a local indoor kids play space. They counted, sorted, colored and wrote their names, made crafts and science experiments and learned to navigate the social structure of an intergenerational classroom! (There is an art to navigating not just your peers but the younger siblings at play and the moms and dads teaching and supervising.)

Today we kicked off for year two! We have 3 new families and i’m looking forward to this years learning and growth! I want to encourage parents who think about joining or starting a co-op to jump in! We started months late last year, largely due to my own feet dragging caused by trepidation that it would be alot of work or not rewarding enough to justify the effort. When my friends and I jumped in I quickly realized it was not that much work (certainly less than just home preschooling him with no one to divide responsibilities was, I know I tried it a few months!) and it was tremendously rewarding!

Today was a typical first day, kids flitting about, somewhat sitting, interacting in the alternating shyness and excitement, siblings extra boisterous, parents still feeling out their roles. Soon we will all find a routine and rhythm and the children’s little sponge brains will soak up so much new information that we will be amazed. I am so thankful for this little piece of community I get to immerse my kids in.

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Perfect Mom

I thought i’d make blog for you of all the things I do perfectly:

You’re Welcome.

Just a loving reminder to all my fellow moms that shooting for perfection is fool’s folly!

Our perfection is found in our imperfection!!!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Perfection is a lie. Embrace your imperfections and allow God to use them! If we are not honest with the world about who we are they will not be able to see past our lies to Christ living in us.

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Society, Parenting and the Internet

These three things don’t mix well.

I have been struggling to blog lately because each time I think of something I would like to share I think one of the following:

  • Someone is going to be offended
  • Someone is going to think i’m saying everyone should do it this way simply because I do
  • Someone is going to think i’m bragging if I share this idea/project/etc.

Basically everything related to parenting is going to create a potential situation on the internet anymore, if you like something, don’t like something, do this or don’t do it, think that or don’t think that it’s all wrong to someone!

And if you are writing that your family does something obviously you are implying it is right and good and true and everything else ever is awful, horrible and wrong. Obviously.

I am going to try and push past my discomfort at offending people and blog anyway but I must admit it has been a struggle, to that end my next “real” post after this mini-PSA should be along shortly.

You Made the Choice to be a Single Mom.

For 80% of you, you are a single mom as a direct result of your choices. Maybe you were having sex outside of marriage and got pregnant, maybe you based your marriage on the things the world says matter and it fell apart on you, maybe you are a teen mom, whatever the circumstances that led to you walking the parenting road alone for the vast majority the fork that led to this path was one you chose. You probably didn’t know what was coming when you chose it but you still are responsible for the choice. (The other 20% you didn’t choose the road, it chose you but you are choosing to walk it with strength. Maybe your spouse died. Maybe you were a victim of abuse. Whatever the case you are on this road now and you can hold your head high).

But you chose to have your child. To stay with your child. To raise your child.

This is important because there were other choices. Choices people make all the time.

You didn’t choose to terminate your pregnancy, you carried that baby and for many of you your were already alone by this point so you did it without a partner a feat I can not myself imagine.

You didn’t choose to give your child up. They are not a ward of the state, or grandma, or your whoever. They are yours.

And for the majority of you (not all because there are some rotten apples in every orchard) you did not choose to mail it in and use single parenting as an excuse for any shortcomings you have. You are out there everyday on the front lines of parenting. I see you in the pta meetings. I see you at soccer. I see you waiting for the library storytime. You are Mom and sometimes you are dad too.

Some of you have help from your child’s father. Some of you don’t. None of you have what you and your child deserve, a loving supportive father there to help every single night with tuck ins and bathtimes and nightmares.

Some of you have financial support. Many of you don’t. None of you have enough of it because it is always a sacrifice to live on one income and for you that sacrifice probably wasn’t a choice.

No matter what choice led you down this road there is one thing I can say for you sure. I respect you. I’m sorry you feel judged sometimes, overwhelmed sometimes and exhausted all the time if it makes you feel any better I feel all those things  for different reasons.

Here’s to you for making the best of a hard thing, I don’t think you get enough support and respect, so I wanted to say bravo.