Friday, March 26, 2010

Singleness of Heart

Singleness of heart is one of the great needs in our time. The fast pace at which we live and the constant pull of media creates a multiplicity in our heart and attention. This fractured self struggles to be centered and present in the moment. It is so bad that we really don't know how to be present to God and one another. Jesus calls this singleness seeking "the kingdom first". Our hearts are to be focused and centered in the reality of Christ's kingdom in our midst.

A person centered in the kingdom reality gives off a different energy than those who are centered on the multiplicity of the world. Those who are centered are more alert, sensitive, peaceful and truthful. They live life from a different place and with a different resourcing.

Slowing down, creating space in our lives is the first step. Solitude and silence are essential and returning to a prayer word or scripture phrase is essential in the pursuit of singleness of heart.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The questions we ask reveal a lot about who we are and where we are going.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yesterday I prepared the last of my venison back strap for the family. For those of you who do not know what the back strap is, it is one of the most tender and best tasting cuts of meat. Prepared properly it is a great meal.

What was interesting about using the last of the back strap is that I can't go and get any more. The deer season isn't until September in the earliest (assuming one goes for the high hunt) and so I have to wait until the season comes. This is blog worthy because in our American consumer society there is rarely a scarcity of anything. Occasionally toys or other collectables are hard to find but usually we can find what we want by going to other stores or shopping online.

This lack of scarcity leads us to believe that we can have whatever we want whenever we want it. With the use of credit we don't even have to wait until we have te money. Credit combined with abundance is the fuel of consumerism and materialism. It isn't until we are faced with the inability to have something that our consumerism is revealed. This has lead me to rethink the discipline of fasting. Fasting is a way of taking a break and saying no to something, we force the "no" upon ourselves to help break the cycle of consumerism and the temptation for a habit to become an addiction.

Frugality (simplicity)is saying "no" to unlimited consumption. We realize that if we have an "unlimited" amount of something it means that someone has to go without or we deplete the resource. Take deer for example. If we all had unlimited amount of venison then we would be back to the market hunting days which almost eradicated deer as a species. Today with the current hunting regulations and the practice of conservation there are plenty of deer. If I personally had an unlimited amount of venison given the current practices then someone else would have to go without.

Notice how unchecked consumerism leads to addiction, depletion of resources and the uneven distribution of resources (also known as poverty and injustice). The disciplines of fasting and frugality (simplicity) help us combat the force of consumerism and therefore help us break the addiction to more and unlimited stuff.

Also by saying no to consumerism then our resources become freer for others, we can share what we have because we have learned to be content through our practice of frugality and fasting. We have learned that food and stuff are not our source of strength and joy, God is.

I guess I learned more from that deer than I thought :).

Friday, March 5, 2010

Given into our hands

Stewarding the Earth in cooperation with and according to the will of God is the task given to humans.

We are to be proactive in our care for all that God created through Christ. As people who bear His name we need to keep in the forefront that this Earth and all its creatures who are his. They are not ours, they are his given to us to steward and care for. This stewardship includes the use of animals for food and clothing. This is a great gift given to us by God in Genesis 9:2. Shortly after Noah has rescued two of every kind of animal God gives an additional use for animals, to killed and eaten so that we can have life.

God is generous in not sparing even the lives of the animals for us. God who created and sustains all life has given us dominion over the lives of the creatures. This is an awesome responsibility and one not to be taken lightly. We must treat the life and death of animals with reverence because it is not us who gives life to all and it is only because of God's gift that we can take the life of an animal. We certainly don't worship the animal but we do worship the God who created them and treat them as a gift from him and a sign of his generosity and love. Therefore they are not something to abuse because in doing so we dishonor the one who gave them to us.

Love for Christ deems the necessity to use wise principles in how we manage our personal and societal impact on Christ's creation. We see this kind of wisdom emerging in many of the conservation organizations who are working hard to restore habitat to animals, manage their numbers through controlled hunting and create an awareness and care for the gift and beauty of nature.

While these groups are not inherently Christian I think that all Christians should support these groups. Currently the church is not poised to make the impact that these groups are and it does not need to. Christians can work like yeast in these organizations bringing spiritual knowledge and depth to the conservation movement. We have a necessary and important role to lay in the movement.

Living the gospel

I am reminded of men like Charles deFocould who longed to "cry the gospel" with his life. I think that sometimes we can get distracted by things that just aren't primary. We need to keep the kingdom of God first and foremost in our life and in our minds. We need to be looking at the ways that we are living into the kingdom and looking for the kingdom reality in our midst. I hear far too few Christians speak of the kingdom of God.

We speak of the church, the work of the church, society, even the gospel but yet not the kingdom. Far too few Christians seem to grasp the fact that Jesus came to preach the good news of the present availability of the kingdom of God. This is reality and it is this reality that we should base our lives and seek to live more deeply into. It is what we pray "thy kingdom come, thy will be done". We are people of the kingdom, servants of the king. A disciple is a person who is learning to live in the kingdom reality by learning from the one who brings the kingdom, Jesus of Nazareth.

This is living the gospel, it is a call to surrender ourselves to a God who gave himself for us.