Easy and Hard

November 11, 2022

Easy is hard; hard is easy.

A movie actor weighed more than 550 lbs. (250 kg). He lost about 300 lbs. Much of that new 250 lb. person was packed with lean muscle.

He related that maintaining the lifestyle that resulted in a 550 lb. person was easy. But living at that size was hard.

Working in the gym was hard. But living in the new body was easy.

Living a life oblivious to the spirit is easy. One can just slide along. But life that way can be hard facing up to relationships and decisions.

Spiritual disciplines (similar to going to the gym) can be hard. But life in the spirit with peace, hope, joy, and the rest is easy.

Can You Do This For The Rest of Your Life?

November 10, 2022

You want to lose weight. You choose a diet. Any one will work.

You want to improve health. You choose a healthy diet and a workout routine. Almost any one will work.

You wish to pursue a spiritual life. You choose to meditate.

Can you do this almost every day for the rest of your life?

Just a few days or weeks will not accomplish the goal. It must become the new you. Every day. For the rest of your life.

Two Kinds of People

November 9, 2022

Philosopher Blaise Pascal writing in the 17th Century observed, “There are two kinds of people one can call reasonable, those who serve God with all their heart because they know him and those who seek him with all their heart because they do not know him.”

Our churches have tended to venerate the former. They are comfortable with those who know God (or at least say that they do).

For those seekers among us who wish to know God but do not claim that certitude, the church knows not how to relate.

For those who seek, I encourage your seeking. It has been better in my life when I was not so certain.

I Stand In Awe

November 8, 2022

On my walk this morning. The moon is uncovering from the full eclipse. I took this photo with my iPhone 12. It’s as good as it gets. I should walk with my Canon, I guess, where I have more settings to play with.

I had a vision of the first human inhabitants in where I now live. We know what is happening with the alignment of the sun, earth, and moon. They would have wondered about some mystical force. We call this the “Blood Moon”. What would they have called it 1,400 years ago? I call it beauty.

We can explain how this event happens. We can look beyond the Earth to understand.

Sort of like how we need to look beyond ourselves to understand more about us and our relationship to God.

Make The Text Part of Your Life

November 7, 2022

I was one of those lucky/unlucky kids to whom things came easily–well intellectual things, definitely not athletic ones. I earned straight As–until I didn’t. The unlucky part is that I didn’t learn how to study until well into university. And even then, that was baby steps. I learned about learning the hard way.

I had read Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor famous for his Meditations. Ryan Holiday has made a career out of popularizing the Stoics and especially Marcus. He stated in a recent Daily Stoic, “It’s not about skimming a couple thousand books. It’s not about “getting the gist of it,” as Marcus derided. It’s about making it a part of your life and your mind. It’s about lingering and digesting until it takes firm hold, never to be dislodged.”

Ah, the secret. read it until it’s part of your life. Don’t read the New Testament one and done. We can’t skim the letters of Paul and think we are experts and know how to live. I’d suggest reading the letter of James. Repeatedly. Until those words are not words but the very fiber of your life. Think before you speak. Love all the people, not only the rich. Listen.

It’s not simply memorization. We all know many people who can quote vast quantities of the Bible yet have lives of bitterness and hate. I like the metaphor of the tea ceremony. Infusing the leaves into boiling water until the goodness of the tea permeates every molecule in the pot.

It Is All In The Pause

November 4, 2022

Through meditation, I journey deep within. Sometimes I see thoughts and actions which bring shame. Sometimes I’m presented with memories of being on the right path.

As I am the dispassionate observer, I also begin to see how God has been there. Sometimes as a path finder. Sometimes as a corrective influence.

The pause brings it all together. Life is nothing without the pause. The pause between  thought and speech. The pause between impulse and action. The pause to look within and find God meeting with me.

Muscle Mass

November 3, 2022

Muscle mass is an indicator of health and longevity.

Therefore, resistance training with weights provides a tool and and a discipline to increase muscle mass for improved health and longevity.

We can view our heart as a muscle.

Jesus checked the state of our heart’s well-being–always.

Therefore, we must exercise our heart—not only from the point-of-view of our cardiologist, but also from the point-of-view of our spiritual cardiologist.

Perhaps resistance training for the heart consists of loving those whose views we disagree with. Or perhaps those whom we disdain. Say something nice to someone you wouldn’t normally socialize with. Perform a small act of kindness for the next person you meet. Exercise that muscle.

It’s an indicator of health and longevity.

Preparation and Discipline

November 2, 2022

I was the school’s geek in high school. Electronics fascinated me.

One day the speech teacher had me pulled from a class to go to his room to plug a microphone into the school’s new oscilloscope so that they could see their voice as a wave form on a graph. Pretty advanced for 1964.

Great idea, except that I was expected to set it up instantaneously in front of the class without prior trial. That didn’t work.

Brilliant ideas are nice. Taking the time before to prepare, try out methods, get things right–those are the work that will make or break execution of the idea.

So, you want to be the local (or regional) Bible teacher. Have you invested the time and effort to study words, context, geography, settings, and so forth?

You want to be a spiritual guru. Have you directed your effort and attention to sitting in meditation daily for weeks, months, years?

Do you have the discipline to prepare?

Play on Words

November 1, 2022

Social media is anti-social.

Health foods are not healthy.

Thinking on these plays on words, I wonder:

How many Christians are not Christ-followers?

First century Jesus-followers were said to be part of The Way. It was the way of life—how they lived—that attracted more people to The Way. 

Living in a certain way led by Jesus’ teachings was the crucial truth. 

And still is.

Memorizing Does Not Wisdom Make

October 31, 2022

Aphorism from Nassim Nicholas Taleb, “Just as eating cow meat doesn’t turn you into a cow, studying philosophy does not make you wiser.”

Seth Godin points out that memorizing A and then memorizing B does not make you smarter. Saying B is similar to A begins to add knowledge. Metaphor (or simile) trumps memorization.

We can read and memorize as many passages of scriptures as our brains can hold. That will not bring us closer to simply following Jesus. He said in many guises, Love one another as I have loved you.

Reflecting on what we’ve read, digesting in the attitude of loving others, acting on what we know–now we are approaching wisdom.