Deliberate Living – Geography, part 1

Minnesota /  You Can Go Your Own Way/ Letterpress Print on Antique Atlas Page

Artwork by Amy Rice. Please visit her site!!!

Our lives are beyond chaotic, even those of us who deal with the “problems of the privileged”, a common phrase my husband uses at work and home.

So in the midst of the chaos, we have a few options: 1) play defense, 2) play offence, or 3) live deliberately.  I will easily admit I have spent much of my life falling into the habits of the first two options, but as I gather more experiences behind me, I prefer the last.

And with the last – living deliberately – there are many options.  I envy my sister in her ability to live deliberately through food and exercise (Early Morning Run).  Two things I have not yet been able to fully incorporate into my life.  So instead, my husband and I find other ways to live deliberately.

One of my primary ways of living deliberately is through geography.  I know, perhaps a weird way to look at it.  But after spending my junior year in High School as an exchange student in Germany and living in 6 different US States, not to mention extensive travel overseas and in the US,  I have come to regard geography as extremely influential on our lives.  So where we live, vacation, go to school, work, attend church, volunteer…matters.  Where we choose to do these things is as important as what we are doing there.

Our personal geography isn’t always something we can choose.  It was my husband’s job that took us to Topeka and New Orleans.  It was his job that brought us to the Twin Cities, and his job that made our children into Minnesotans.  But even within these places on the map, we had have  choices of where to live, which church to attend, and what places to visit.

Even when we try to stretch our legs into new experiences, we can easily do it in ways that are comfortable.  I once overheard two generous women, the ultimate stereotype of the Southern hostess, talking about how they are involved in tutoring at-risk kids, but upset that the location was moving a few blocks – into the kids’ neighborhood.  This week another example came over the airways, of these wonderful cruises which provide the opportunity to fully experience the life of those outside their window – through specifically catered meals and pre-arranged meetings with the locals.

We have the opportunity to live deliberately through our personal geography.  These locations on the map end up directly affecting who we are.   By choosing where we live, where we spend our time, exposes ourselves to different people and cultures, different ways of life, different environments.

The difference between the city mouse and the country mouse isn’t just a quaint story, but a true reality.  So for my kids and for myself, deliberately choosing where we spend our time plays a significant role in my decisions.

After months of thoughts shifting through my head, I’ll be finally writing them down.  Please join with me as I pursue these thoughts, and offer you opportunities for reflection.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Writing/journal prompt: How has where you were born and/or spent your childhood, affected your life?

 

 

 

 

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For Christians, it really isn’t about gay marriage.

Okay…first off, I hate titles.  Insert “most” between “for” and “Christians” and it might be more correct.

NOTE:  These are my musings, reducing complicated things into something simple and totally ignores the many who straddle these two groups…but somehow they ring true to me, but may be sound totally of base for others.  But I wonder, is there something “right” in this, or am I totally off base?  What do you think???

Friday was a HUGE day in the history of this country as the Supreme Court decision marks a major point in our country.  There are plenty speaking to this.  Becky Johnson’s Facebook post says everything I wish I could say, and for those who love the ironic, John Stewart’s commentary is awesome.

But getting back to the point, the “debate” on if two individuals with the same body parts can get married is not about really about marriage, but about how we regard the Bible.

Is the Bible, God’s Word?  Does it encompass all of who God is and what God wants for us in plain language that is easily understood no matter your language, culture and time of birth?  Can it be decoded into Truth that is applicable to all humans, past, present and future?

Or is the Bible an expression of God’s Word, a revelation of God through Christ and a collection of stories over time of men and women’s relationship with God?

 

 

These two sides, of a very complicated spectrum, approach God and Scripture differently.  I have been in many discussions and witnessed many debates between the two, sometimes regarding denominational splits, other times over coffee.  Yet the two sides are two different sides.  Both holding strong convictions in their core beings that they are right.  Both seeing their way as the way to “Heaven”, as their way to God.

Gay marriage doesn’t stand on it’s own, but is wrapped around and in how we individually understand God.  It is one of many factors that are determined by our beliefs and Biblical interpretations.

While the people of this country must accept that heterosexual marriage is equal to homosexual marriage, that doesn’t mean that anyone is going to forced into believing that on a personal level.  Just as many men (and women) do not believe that men and women are equal, or when and how God created, or any other “controversy”.

Christians are all trying to do their best following Christ.  We just find ourselves on very different roads.

So I pray, just as our pastor elegantly prayed on Sunday morning, that we can approach each other with Grace, rather than hatred, fear and contempt.

I pray that we can honor that we are on different paths, but we are all trying to get to the same place – to God.  We need to uphold each other in our prayers, praying that we open our hearts, minds and spirits to God.  That we realize that we may be the one who is wrong, or partly wrong.  That we realize that we may all be wrong.  But at the same time, we all may be partly right, or we may all be right.

But really, does being “right” matter?

Isn’t what matters is that God loves us?  That it is God’s Grace that transforms us?

Isn’t what matters that we get out of the way of God’s Power to work?

I can joyfully tell you that many people with a wide range of Christian and non-Christian beliefs have strengthened my relationship with Christ.  Intentionally or unintentionally, they have become Christ’s hands and feet in unexpected ways.  And I thank God for sending them to me, to help me on this journey.

And ultimately, that is where I reside:  on a journey with the Spirit.

I may be on the right path heading to the pearly gates, or I may be on a path leading to the tormenting fires, but either way…my eyes are on God and that is all I can do.

That is all any of us Christians can do.  We need to set our eyes on God, and hope and pray that we are going the right direction, but whatever that direction is…we need to keep walking with Christ.

Walking with Christ.

 

Lord, life is in constant turmoil.  We are faced daily with things we don’t like and things we love.  We are faced with things that scare us, and things that make us dance.  Lord, help us all as we face each day.  Help us know You, and follow You.  As you have abounding Grace for us, help us have grace for ourselves and others.  Amen.

 

 

 

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