January 16, 2007

Lies, Truth, and Reality

Why is it that humanity tries its best to lie and cover up the truth? A news report today said that Fidel Castro is on his deathbed from an intestinal infection. He has turned over temporary power of Cuba to his brother and is in Spain with his doctor. Yet, the report from Cuba is that he is not in a grave condition and that he will return to power shortly.

The church and its people are no less guilty of this than the mainstream. We filter into church Sunday after Sunday with smiles on our faces in hopes of covering up the struggles we have deep down inside. In return, the church has become this place where broken people feel even more broken and isolated from healing. It has become a sterile place where everyone is perfect and ok.

I don't see Jesus encouraging this. In fact, I see him going and spending time with those who would readily admit that their lives are full of brokenness and hopelessness. He goes out of his way for them. He also goes out of his way to tell the religious of the day that they are missing the point with their religiosity. I believe he would have harsh words for the Body of Christ today.

Unfortunately, I don't have a perfect solution to this problem. How can we change the mentality that its ok to hurt and struggle inside and in a sense die while putting on the persona that life is grand and good? I think we start by saying that being Christian doesn't mean life is always rosy and perfect. Maybe we'll be honest enough to say that at times, its horrible and painful . . . and that its ok.

More thoughts to come as my brain wrestles and fights with this. . .

Sweet Bed Time Songs and Much Prayer

Every night I get the privilege of putting Hannah down to bed. Momma handles the morning/day duties; I come home and do daddy/night time duties. These include brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, putting her to bed, and singing to her for a little. It is one of my favorite times of the day.

Every night, Hannah gets to choose what kind of baby she is. There are four choices: sack-of-taters baby (which comes out "sackertaters" baby) where I throw her over my shoulder and carry her like a sack of potatoes, scooper baby (which goes way back to momma scooping her up all the time, bending her in half and snuggling her), snuggly baby (which is self explanatory), and crazy running little girl where she runs into bed without being carried.

After she crawls in bed, I crawl in and we sing. Normally I sing to her and she snuggles in and begins to wait for sleep. We have three normal songs: Ho, Ho, Ho (which we learned from Wendy Beavers/Ickes), ABC's, and You Are My Joy--a song off the David Crowder A Collision CD.

Tonight she was a sackertaters baby. Its not surprising. She was wound up from a great day of playing and card making with momma. She's normally a sacertaters baby when she is wound up. When she finally got in bed, she wanted to sing with me. We sang the normals plus Jesus Loves the Little Children and Jesus Loves Me. My time with her was so peaceful and warm. It was such a joy--a joy that I get all to myself because it is our special time.

On the heels of that, I got online and talked with some of the students from my ministry at South and at camp. Some of them are really hurting right now with problems at home, broken marriages, and struggling with past failures. My heart really goes out to them tonight. They all have hope, but it is clouded by the other circumstances around them, some brought on by themselves while others they never asked for. I wish I could create a safe place for them like my daughter has tonight--a place where they could have peace and comfort so they would actually get to sleep and have good rest. All I can offer is prayer.

I feel so hopeless when all I can offer them are prayers. I trust and know that prayer works. Its just that sometimes prayer is not too reassuring, especially for those who struggle to find hope in the day. And so, here I sit late into the night in dichotomy. I revel in the joy that my daughter and our routine brings me, while I hurt inside for those who didn't get to revel in anything this evening.

Bring them peace, Father. Give them the peace that my little angel has right now as she slumbers in the next room. Comfort them and sing over them. Hold them close; let them feel your breath and your soft touch on their face. Be everything they need and more, as you promise to be.