I realize that many people probably don’t like that I write poetry, do crafts, and post pretty pictures on the same page where I tweet about my anger at our liberal government for its attacks on life, freedom, religion, and innocence. You know, it’s all about branding ourselves, and we wouldn’t want to break our naive beliefs that we are all perfectly in line with the values and beliefs of everyone we know and every passerby on the street. I have been tempted to start separating into several more focused blogs because it is not my intent to offend anyone with my beliefs, plus I have a gazillion different interests. Yet, I shall stay Perfectly Messy. It exactly sums up the stage of human development we are in. We have put ourselves out here on social media, mostly with much self-control and selective self-promotion, while unwittingly creating the opposite effect. We are losing control of what we expose of ourselves. It is scary yes. Will we use this amazing awareness of each other to advance our human experience, or just hide in fear? Will we pretend that if we avoid Facebook our sheltered worlds won’t change? Will we see the beauty of our vast wholeness while respecting the vast diversity inside and all around each of us? Will we be made more whole by overcoming the attacks on life, freedom, religion, and innocence?
Christians take communion to be reminded of Jesus’s promise that we are one in his body. This means we should stop looking for him in far off places. He is everywhere inside and all around us. We could literally be a spark in his very eye.
Have you ever heard this old story?
A Zen master said to a monk, “You must see the universe in your cup.” The monk looked into his cup, but didn’t see the universe, so he threw the cup away. The Zen master said, “Oh, poor cup. We think the cup is too small to hold the universe. Intellectually, we can’t see how it could fit. But wherever we go, the whole universe always appears–in a cup, a window, in a smile, in a word.”
Jesus came into the world to teach love and forgiveness. Simple and wonderful enough. But the way to heaven? How is that? We know he died for our sins so that we will live forever if we believe in him. God loves us so much he sent his only son to die for us. This is the gift of salvation.
Do you ever wonder exactly why God needed to send Jesus? Did a vengeful God really demand a death sacrifice to settle the score for our evil ways? What parent would do that? Sure, human sacrifice was the hip thing to do thousands of years ago. The story of Abraham and his son prove that God was not happy about it. (Did you know human sacrifice is alive and well today? We sacrifice babies by the millions in order to have “better lives”.)
I think this God-of-wrath premise is exactly the point where many atheists decide that the whole God idea is too hokey. (Curiously, though, many atheists are fine with our human sacrifice of the unborn.)
I think our God-given free will is the key to understanding more about God, Jesus, and our salvation.
We Christians have this basic understanding of the bible: Old Testament = God creates and then judges the good, bad, and the ugly. New Testament = God gives his only son to save the world from sin and death–and we are promised a new heaven and a new earth when Jesus comes again. All of this is told via generations and generations of imperfect people, who often didn’t quite understand what was happening to them.
Did God expect us to be perfect from the start? Since he did create us, he’s obviously known all along that we’ve had free will. Maybe he originally had high hopes for us, that we’d get along just fine by keeping his commandments. Yeah. We totally flunked for thousands of years while he worried about us all going straight to hell.
Yes that’s what I said. Because God doesn’t send us to hell. We send ourselves there. And God worries about it. Because that’s what parents do.
How do we send ourselves to hell? By sinning of course. What is sin? Sin is anything that hurts us. Anything that hurts us is basically the result of a human-made, poor free-will choice. Every human-made choice has a consequence. In this ultimate game of endless possibilities, the Ten Commandments amazingly sum up every type of hurting each other there is.
What is hell? Hell is the miserable realm where the heaviness of our sin (emotional pain) keeps us down. Literally down.
Back to God worrying about us sinning and hurting each other. He had to do something. We weren’t going to find the way to heaven on our own. So he sends us baby Jesus, the perfect, innocent, and beautiful Prince of Peace who grows up to suffer and die under human hatred–all for you. If you use your own free will to accept this gift, eternal life is yours.
So how exactly does Jesus save us for eternity?
Jesus told us the greatest commandment: Love each other. We know this simple truth instinctively. It is the perfect magic of salvation. As we believe in and accept his love for us, we are transformed. We share this beautiful love and forgiveness with others. We shed the emotional heaviness of sin that would doom our souls to the deep and dark. We literally lift each other up to find the light of God.
We were lost and heavy. God sent Jesus–The Light and The Way–to teach us to hold hands and fly.
Now let your heart soar!
You will turn over many a futile new leaf till you learn we must all write on scratched-out pages. – Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983), American writer
Well here I am. I apologize for my lack of attention for nearly 4 months. In addition to the lame excuse that I’ve been busy, I have another reason for avoiding you. I have been trying to make decisions on what I want to write about, and rather than bravely blogging my thoughts and ideas, I have chosen to simply clam up. Actually, maybe it’s a good thing I’ve saved you from my ramblings. If I’m going to drive you away I guess I’d rather it be due to my silence than because of what I write.
I won’t attempt to bore you by cramming 4 months of self-indulged scrap-blogging just to make myself feel better. I will attempt to give you a brief view of where my heart and mind are these days.
New blog? I have been tempted to start one. I’ve been saving a list of clever names and tag lines, just in case I go through with it. In the meantime, I’ve decided to “write on scratched-out pages” here on My Green Velvet Life.
Twitter. You may have noticed I hang out there a lot. It is a great place to become skilled in The Poetry of Concision and quickly share endless articles and helpful resources. But I must admit it leaves me feeling impatient with traditional writing. Did I mention it is fun and addicting?
Pinterest. Pinners, I know you understand. Non-Pinners, just imagine having the entire world as your wish book. As you giddily pin your life away you realize your one true wish is to simply have time to pin all of your wishes . . .
State of the world. If you know me or if you read my tweets, you know that I am a Christian, pro-life conservative who is deeply worried about the United States and the entire world. We are not protecting life and freedom. Why are we allowing leaders to trash the U.S. Constitution? This perfect human rights document should be an example for the entire world. Not because Americans are better than anybody else. Because free people are the only people capable of making our world a better place. Weren’t we all made to live free? Whether or not you believe in God, can you deny your innate free will? Would you deny it in others? Have you ever read James Otteson’s Moral Case for Capitalism?
The story of God & us. Have you been watching The Bible on The History Channel? An interesting comment I’ve been hearing is how people don’t like the violence in the stories. There seems to be a growing need for more understanding of God and the stories in the bible, yet a shrinking ability to find time for church, discussion, or even debate with people who don’t believe in God. Going forward, I will try to share more of my deeper thoughts.
For now, I’ll leave you with a few tidbits:
Deeply Messy Topics (doesn’t mean they can’t still be fun)
God: The picture that makes me smile.
Bible for the Clueless: Stupid = not to. Practical = how to. Miracles = do too! Jesus = listen to.
Free Will & Evolution: Why God made them perfectly messy.
Religion: Trying to put God’s love into a box.
Free Speech & Humility: Why social media is a spiritual tool.
Sin: It’s anything that _____. (My pre-school Sunday Schoolers could get this.)
Technology: Discover what it really is.
Revelations: It’s about seeing not waiting.
Perfectly Fun Topics
Recycling: More cards and art projects of course. Plus, Granny’s Never Ending Art Project . . . if I can find time to actually start it.
Brilliant Advice: You’ll be an all-star if you take this handy item to your next spectator sport.
Recipes: I’ll probably never top my fabulous Ode to Jergens Lotion Bagel Spread. But I’ll try!
Thank you for visiting,
As we celebrate hope and love this Easter, I’ve been thinking about some of the words of Jesus:
Be like children. Faith and love. These are natural states of our being, from the moment we enter life. Babies bask in love. You might wonder how a newborn baby can have faith. I believe the very act of being on earth is a commitment of faith. How beautiful and strong you are, just to be born into God’s creation! Religion is very lovely, yet with many rules we must learn as we grow up. Many people need the structure of certain kinds of religion to help learn and share God’s love–we’re all at different levels of understanding–but let’s remember that religion is structure only–not the contents–of God’s love. Think of it as a jar or a box we use to help us hold God’s love. If there is no structure, the contents simply spill into everything–not exactly a bad thing, considering the content, although it can be a bit messy for us humans who tend to like structure.
Love your neighbor as yourself. This gets complicated only because we each have different ideas about how to share love. We get hurt when we expect others to love us in the same way we give our love to them. This is why babies are so easy to love. They haven’t learned to think of love in different ways yet. For them, love is easily defined: sleep, eat, clean clothes, warm cuddling . . .
When much has been given a person, much will be asked of that person. I don’t think Jesus had socialism in mind. I think he was talking about personal responsibility. God gave each of us our own free will. What shall we do with this amazing gift? Use it! We help write The Story God Made. He is with us as we make choices that affect every page-turning scenario, but he wants us to do the page turning. Every time we make a life-affirming choice, no matter how small, we help push our story into a higher level of light and love, to the place God has promised to us.
I am The Way. But what of people who have never heard of Jesus or the bible? Who’ve never been baptized? No problem, because God works big. Just think of what Jesus embodies: Simple, beautiful love. Love is The Way. It is so big you can’t fit it completely into any jar or box. It is, however, pure delight to try and fit into an Easter basket.
Happy Easter! Wishing you light and love!
Hello Friends! I had fun playing with poetry this afternoon. Below is my very first Picture Prompt Challenge at http://onestoppoetry.com/. This cool picture is courtesy of iPhone artist Iquanyin Moon. You can read her interesting story at One Stop Poetry.
Okay, I did it. Now you can too. Find your poet within, that is. Go for it!Journey Signs Each childish line a fractal. Each awkward step a blistered portal. Each golden shadow a shady meadow. All the distress of life a medium of perfection. What is this olden mystery? Of feet and life and sand? Maybe all God knows is that we leave a beautiful patina.