Monday, May 18, 2009

Become like a child

3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Mathew 18:3

I often wonder what parameters Jesus had in mind.  How old were the children he referred to?  We pass along stories about babies talking to God and children with great wisdom, but do we truly value their perspective?  Do we have any intention of "changing to become like them"?  Sometimes I wonder if it is simply the ability to wonder and to allow the fantastic to be real that children offer as a critique to our over developed sense of self importance.  

Sam is in a magical age at 3 yrs. old.  The other day he fashioned a pirate hat out of thin air and put it on my head.  Tonight we had a dialogue about super heroes, although he was wearing his "Cars" pj's.
Disclaimer: He is 3.  Most conversations are about body functions.
Sam: Dad, I'm Superman!  Superman doesn't pull down his pajamas to go potty.
Me: He does if he wants to go potty.....he goes Super Potty!
Sam: Oh, I want to go Super Potty!
Next step in the process of going to bed is prayer.
Sam: Dad, Superman doesn't sleep.
Me: He does if he wants to keep his super powers.  He does a super prayer and gets in his super bed for a super sleep.
Sam: OK, I'll get in my super bed.
The nightly prayer ritual involves me repeating the following prayer after him.  Treva instigated this ritual.  I repeat at "/" while he leads me through it.  Dear God,/ Thank you/ for our family/ forgive us/ and watch over us./ Amen.
Sam: Daddy, you're Batman!
Me: I'm Batman?  Why, Sam?
Sam: Because you do good Bat prayers.
I tussle his curly mop, kiss his forehead and say good night.  A few minutes later he comes out for the ritual second potty before bed.  
Sam: Spiderman makes Spider poop.
Me: Oh-ka-ay.  Let's get you back in your Super Bed.
On his way to bed, holding up his bear.
Sam: Does Spider-man have Spiderbear?
Me: Yes, Sam...I'm sure he does.  Good night.

Cute, yes.  Theologically relevant, maybe.  Not in a systematic way, more like a window into  something more.  

We are what we believe.  So wear that pirate hat proudly, Friend.  There be dragons and nasty work afoot.  Take Sabbath rest when needed, for you will need your Super Powers in the morning.  Don't think you have Super Powers?  How about the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?  If you believe in Christ Jesus, these may be yours in some form or fashion.  

Now, speaking of such things...I'm going to go get in my Super Bed.  Good night, and God bless!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nice Artwork

So, I'll be getting back to that book soon, but today has other thoughts.  Obviously I am not an avid blogger.  My family and my work tend to be higher priorities.

Today is Mother's Day.  The youth led worship, we honored mothers and graduates.  The sermon included a live painting as a literal illustration.  Fun was had by all!  My mother was in town, and I'm glad she got to see it.  Afterwards we all went out for lunch.  I wear a collar in worship, and I have to admit that it's always weird wearing it in public.  For one, I don't normally wear it outside of worship.  For another, I get a lot of stares.  Especially when I am out with my family.  Every now and again I get addressed as "Father."  It's an odd mix between being in a position of undeniable faith expression and feeling like a representative of a cultic practice that is disconnected with real life.  What I mean by that is that we separate life and faith in our culture.  When people see a priest in the public sector (or a man in a collar with a family)  they either don't know how to act, or (worse yet) they know exactly the prescriptive responses to offer to appear like they are part of the club.  The same thing happens with the religious jargon that becomes popular for a time and fades away.  Sadly it is difficult sometimes to have a conversation where faith can simply be expressed without the need for pretext or definition.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about.  I'm here to talk about tattoos.  I've wanted one for sometime, but I've never wanted to pay what a good one costs.  A tattoo is not something you want done cheaply.  Anyway, I'm in Starbucks waiting for a drink for my wife and I.  The person before me has ornate, thick, black lined tattoos covering both arms and a few on his hands.  He is mid 30's, has a British punk band t-shirt, and is of European dissent.  The artwork looked like a mash up of polynesian tribal and celtic designs.  We were both waiting for our drug of choice, and so I complimented him.  I got a noncommittal "Thanks."  He was obviously not interested in talking to the priestly type.  I didn't want to pester, but I took it as a challenge to at least interact on some level.  I talked to him about my interest, turns out he is a tattoo artist with a shop right down the street from my house.  I got mostly yes/no answers, except for one interesting jewel.  After telling me that it took about 12 hrs total to get both arms done, I asked if it really hurt as much as they say.  He shrugged and said, "It's not that big a deal if it's something you want."

I was expecting something more sarcastic than that, or maybe something more sinister.  But that's it, huh?  How much do I wine and complain about the opportunities that present themselves in my life?  Quite a bit, apparently.  12 hours of gouging areas of skin that contain little more than muscle and nerve, and it's not a big deal if it's something you want.  

I got up at 5:30 a.m. this morning to be ready and make final preparations for worship today.  I'm not bragging or complaining, but I did struggle with being thankful for the opportunity of it.  Paul says that all his suffering he counted as nothing in comparison to the grace of Jesus Christ.  It's not that big of a deal, suffering that is, if it opens the door to understanding God's grace.  That's a tough sell when you are in the thick of it, but in hind sight it has been true every time.  I think I'm going to go "get in the pit and try to love someone."  For those who didn't get that, it refers to a line from a song by Kid Rock.  The "pit" is a mosh pit where kids slam dance against one another.  Life is like that.  We bump into each other's junk.  Most of the time we try to keep away from each other or pretend that we aren't effected by each other.  Love expects something more.  Life and faith are messy.  They aren't the separate entities we want them to be.  Let's mix it up!