Friday, June 11, 2021

FMF: Disagree

Stay away from foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they grow into quarrels. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and patient. The Lord’s servant must gently teach those who disagree. Then maybe God will let them change their minds so they can accept the truth. And they may wake up and escape from the trap of the devil, who catches them to do what he wants. (2 Timothy 2:23-26, NCV)


I'm graduating college today.  Well, as much as any one "graduates" in a school district that is still closed for the pandemic. One of the most important things I've learned over the past two years is to agree-to-disagree with others in my educational community.  Sometimes I disagreed with classmates on trivial things.  Did they matter?  No, so it was easy to let it go while getting to know them. Other times, disagreements were more substantial.  I'll never forget the professor who taught adamently against racism and in the same class said that "Mexicans like Impalas."  Did I disagree with her blind hypocrisy?  Absolutely.  Was I ever going to change her?  Never.

Yet, when it comes to matters of my faith community, the agree-to-disagree situation is more challenging. In Paul's letter to Timothy it's clear that he's not talking about trivial things; he's talking about important issues that believers were letting the devil use to "gain a foothold"  in their spiritual walks, as Paul writes in Ephesians 4.  Paul doesn't tell the leaders to argue with them until they realize the error of their ways. His instructions are to be gentle.  To be kind.  To be patient.  To let the Holy Spirit do what the Holy Spirit does becuase only God would be able to let them see the truth.



* * *
This post is a prompt from Five Minute Friday
and was written in approximately five minutes.
For more information, visit fiveminutefriday.com.
* * *

Friday, June 4, 2021

FMF: Slow

Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

But the Lord said to him, “Who has made the human mouth? Or who makes anyone unable to speak or deaf, or able to see or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now then go, and I Myself will be with your mouth, and instruct you in what you are to say.”
(Exodus 4:10-12, NASB)


I've often wondered what was wrong with Moses.  Did he have a stutter?  A stammer?  A lisp?  Coming from a family familiar with speech delays, it's been a quality of Moses that I've considered more than once.

When my sister was about three, she saw a speech therapist.  My family cherishes a cassette tape they have of her singing.  What family wouldn't cherish a little child singing at that age?  Did it matter that the sounds weren't exact?  Absolutely not.  It was endearing.

I myself struggled with pronunciation when I was small.  It wasn't yellow; it was yeh-whoa.  It wasn't a cheeseburger; it was a chee-buh-guh.

And when I became a parent, I discovered that both of my sons needed help with language.  When my oldest saw a speech therapist, she emphasized how much he spoke.  That wasn't news to me!  He still loves to talk.  A lot.

But with any of us - my sons, me, my sister, Moses - what was wrong with us?

In a word: Nothing.

For whatever reason, this was how God made us.



* * *
This post is a prompt from Five Minute Friday
and was written in approximately five minutes.
For more information, visit fiveminutefriday.com.
* * *


For another speech therapy anecdote, you can read about my son's first session here: Ka- Ka- King.


Friday, May 7, 2021

FMF: She

She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind.
(Proverbs 31:26, NCV)



She cleans the house with bleach each week
to take her back in time.
When things were simple and she swam
but hated the finish line.

She likes the smell of cigarettes
but has never smoked a cig.
It reminds her of her auntie's smell
she remembers as a kid.

She plants things in her garden
though she doubts that they will grow.
Because as a child a concrete yard
was all she had to know.

She'd still hide in a cowboy hat
if she thought that it could be
That she'd be invited.
She is trying. She is me.


* * *
This post is a prompt from Five Minute Friday
and was written in approximately five minutes.
For more information, visit fiveminutefriday.com.
* * *

Monday, April 19, 2021

IDK

I've been in a funk lately. I'm not sleeping well, so I am tired and struggling to accomplish what I need to do. That fatigue increased by the discouragement I feel from multiple challenging situations in my life. Why did that person treat me that way? Why didn't that thing happen?  When will I hear back regarding this other situation? Why does that person keep doing that? Maybe you've asked yourself these kinds of questions also.  As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes the only answer is "I don't know."

In the book of Numbers, we read the account of the God's early believers trying to figure out what God wants from them.  They approach their leader, Moses, with a pressing issue regarding who should be allowed to participate in the Passover meal. The believers' desire was to celebrate Passover, but they were unclean because they had recently been near a dead body (not because they had sinned).

Moses then said to them, “Wait, and I will listen to what the Lord will command concerning you.”
(Numbers 9:8, NASB)

There's something comforting in learning that sometimes even Moses didn't know what to do. I create these stories in my head that really spiritual people have all the answers, that they never struggle. However, scripture makes it clear that Moses never claimed to have all the answers.  He only claimed to have access to the One who did.  Moses was closer to God than any believer at that time, and yet He dare not speak on His behalf without consulting Him first.

There were things that Moses didn't know, and there will be things that we don't know. The important part is that we turn to God, for He does.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Preparing for Passover

I have never celebrated a traditional Passover dinner. And that makes sense, primarily, because I am not Jewish. I have read about it in detail, and I have particiated in tasting events, but neither is the same as gathering in a family's house as they pray, eat, and remember a tradition that is thousands of years old.

I must admit a good portion of the information I have read about Passover has been in preparing for Holy Week services. Christians who don't have at least a rudimentary understanding of Passover miss out on much of the symbolism of the Last Supper, Christ's crucifiction, and the modern celebration of both Communion and Easter.

But long before I knew the term "cultural appropiation," I was sensitive to the idea that a Christian observing their own pseudo-Passover meal might be offensive to a Jewish person. That left a person like me - who earnestly wants to understand and experience the tradition - in a predicament.

This year that longing to participate has been stronger than ever, and I have been considering how to balance these conflicting desires for months. I woke up this morning dispirited, thinking I had missed Passover.  Then I realized it was not yesterday; today is Passover.  I knew in that moment I would like to honor the day, even if I could not fully participate.  I looked up a few recipes, and I headed to the grocery store.  As I shopped, these words echoed in my head:
Eat the meat while your coat is tucked into your belt. Put your sandals on your feet. Take your walking stick in your hand. Eat the food quickly. It is the Lord’s Passover. That same night I will pass through Egypt. I will strike down all those born first among the people and animals. And I will judge all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.  The blood on your houses will be a sign for you. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. No deadly plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
(Exodus 12:11-13, NIRV)
There is an urgency to Passover, reminding me of my urgent need of salvation.  My best efforts are "woefully insufficient," as I recently read. God is my only source of freedom. So though I won't be painting my doorway with lamb's blood tonight, I will be baking some unleavened bread.  

I might even tuck my shirt into my belt. But if my husband asks, I'm just going to just say it's a French tuck.