Saturday, June 27, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I have a brother four years my junior, and in some ways you couldn't find two people that were simultaneously so similar yet radically different. Some of you know that my walk with Jesus has really increased in intensity over the last few years, and one of the ways that I've been challenged is in trying to make sense of my brother’s decisions, life, and brokenness, particularly when his stuff spills over into his family’s life and well being.
But this post is not necessarily about my brother.
It is about how talking to Jesus makes me different.
I have a story, ... one that just happened this morning, ... that illustrates this point.
My mother was admitted into St. Elizabeth Hospital last night. She has fluid around her heart, ... complications from the Myelofibrosis, ... which is causing her breathing difficulties. She is having a procedure to drain fluid from around her heart this morning. Actually, she is in the ER right now as I write this.
But this isn't really a post about my mother either.
It's about how Jesus changes me.
Here's the story: Jen and I visited my mother last night in the hospital, and I came back this morning to be with Mom before and after the procedure. My brother had visited my mother last night after we left and left me a copy of a DVD. It was very important to him that I get the DVD, ... so important, in fact, that he sent me a text message last night to remind me to get it. Actually, he sent the message twice. He didn’t want me to leave the DVD at the hospital.
The DVD is titled “Religulous,” and is written by comedian Bill Maher, who also stars in the film. According to Maher, “the title of the film is ‘portmanteau’ derived from the words ‘religion’ and ‘ridiculous’; the documentary examines and satires organized religion and religious belief.”
After arriving to the hospital room this morning and seeing the video, and after I began to understand what the premise was about, … I became furious! I just couldn’t believe that my brother would choose this particular moment in time to share this video with my mom, … and with me. I felt like calling him on the phone and chewing him out, … telling him to never, ever, call me again. I wanted to tell him how insensitive he was. I wanted to let him know how wrong he was. I wanted to show him how angry I was.
Then the nurses and aides came in to take my Mom down for the procedure.
I didn’t have time to call, but as I walked along side the cot, I was seething with anger, shaking my head, … waiting for the moment that I would be able to tear into my brother. Here I am with my mother, who is very afraid of what’s happening, and my brother has left a video, … while his mother is in the flipping hospital … that is critical of faith?
Having to walk from her room to the waiting room gave me a moment. It gave me time.
I prayed. I asked Jesus to show me what to do, which is new for me. In the past, I would have already called him, would have already told my brother to F--- Off, … would have already allowed the pressurized volcano inside of me to erupt, … and would have felt justified in doing so.
I would have given into what I now understand as “the plans of the enemy.”
But this time, … I asked Jesus for help, and instead of calling my brother, I typed him this text message:
“ [Brother], I can’t for the life of me understand why you would bring a video that is critical of faith, particularly right now, and ask me to watch it. I just don’t understand. Why? Why right now? It’s times like these that people NEED their faith the most. Couldn’t you have waited until things are a little less frightening?”
I hit the “send button,” and it felt good. I shared my feelings in an honest way, without anger, without tension, without the enemy’s ways, … and it felt right. I expressed what was on my heart, but I hopefully did it in a way that will not walk he and I down the road toward another distant argument.
I felt free.
My brother responded with a text saying that his timing was awful. He apologized. He said that he wanted to get my opinion of the video because he respects my advice about such things.
Maybe this will give he and I a reason to talk about Jesus.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I love the parable about the man with no legs riding on the shoulders of the blind man. It reminds me of what the Body of the Church can do when the elements that comprise it work together. The same could be said for human-kind, I think, which is what some speakers may mean when talking about creating God's Kingdom, heaven, right here on earth.
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