Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do Cats go to heaven

This question will not be answered until we get to Heaven, to be greeted by all who love us, including our dogs and cats. I do draw the line at rats, although i am prepared to listen to anyone who can make a special pleading or show why they should not be excluded. Since none of us can even begin to comprehend what Heaven will be like, my ignorance is no excuse to tell God, who He can't include.

This applies to people too. We will be surprised both by who we see, and who we don't see. I suspect that the most surprising thing when we get to Heaven will be the sheer joy of the place, joy beyond our comprehending. Although football fans who have rooted for a losing team for 20 years, when they finally win the Conference championship may have a slight edge on the rest of us.

Another poem about why we don't know joy.

Why You Don’t Have Joy

I offer you joy.
You want stuff.
You covet what isn’t yours.
Your greed buries My joy.
Your lust and jealousy
keep you from My joy.
Let Me strip all your stuff
that keeps you from My joy.

© Presbypoet, December 15, 2002

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Finding peace in the midst of suffering

An encounter with a pastor's daughter.

Sitting down to eat a hot dog, I didn't expect a divine appointment. I asked a 20 something woman, “Was this seat taken?” What ensued was a serious discussion about church, pastor's kids, divorce, unwed mothers, pain, pastors, forgiveness, being a real church family, and a very good hot dog.

As we talked, she reveled a horrifying story. Her married sister, is being threatened and stalked by her husband, who just served her with divorce papers. This sister has three close non-Christian friends. They say, “one thing they see in her is peace.” We saw how her sister's peace was an example of real peace available to Christians. Not peace in absence of pain, but peace in midst of pain. We pondered if pain is God's plan, or consequence of sin, and agreed it seemed a mixture of both. I told her how suffering I've gone through has refined. How God asked me. “What will you do when I allow it to rain.” Yet sin has consequences.

Then her story got even more interesting. It also included her. A reason her sister's looming divorce wasn't causing problems in their father's church, was the sister I spoke to, got pregnant when only 18. This horrified many in the church, who blamed her father for not keeping her from getting pregnant. As though being a pastor is a substitute for abstinence or contraception. She said, “I felt a need to rebel.” She estimated 250 people left the church over the issue. She thought the church was better for it. The church now was more of a family, where anything could be discussed, not a place people pretended to be nice. We agreed how dangerous it was, when people pretend they are nice.

I said, as a Calvinist, I was fully aware of the depravity of man, particularly men. How hard it was to forgive pastors. This story, an example how people look for perfect pastors. They will never find them.

She dismissed getting married. She didn't want to make another mistake, to hide the first one. It is interesting how her obvious “sin”, led to a more open church, no longer pretending perfection.

We seem to focus on visible sin. A guy gets away with it, (except for paternity suits). He can sit in church looking “innocent”, while she sits, exposed to all. Baby bulge impossible to ignore. We focus on visible sin, forgetting sins of omission are twice as bad. Easy to gossip about sin, indifferent to courage to keep a child, and not take the easy road of killing it to hide her sin. We all sin, it's just some are more visible.

Driving home, I thought how her getting pregnant, could be a consequence of her innocence. Not aware how passion's power hobbles women, she is tempted, then overwhelmed by feelings, her control center shut down. How can you know what it is like until you do it? It only takes one time to get pregnant. A lesson on sin's danger. So easy to be trapped by temptation.

Truth found with a hot dog. Another divine appointment,
A question from Jesus
Why do you pretend to be perfect?
Refuse to admit that you sin.
Who do you seek to fool?

Don't you know I forgive sinners?
Don't you know I died to free you?
Confess your need. Let me heal you.
© Presbypoet August 23, 2011

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Friday, August 26, 2011

To Be a Disciple

Jesus said “Follow Me.” to those He chose and Chooses. Follow Jesus. What does it mean? Simple answer? Just do what Jesus would do. The WWJD thing. Life as, ”Imitation of Christ”. Learn as much about Jesus as possible, and obey his teachings. The problem: This simple answer is wrong. This is why.

First, being a disciple doesn't flow from what you do, but from being intimate with Jesus. To walk with Him. Be filled With Him. When and IF you take communion, think...If I take Jesus within me, not as memorial for an amazing thing that happened around 1,981 years ago, but as a paradoxical blessing of power, Right Now, if it doesn't change me, calls into question if I truly took Him in.

It seems a paradox, if you don't believe you took him in, you don't. If you believe you took Him IN, then you do. So somehow, in the same way that an observer seems to effect what happens to electrons and slits or Schrodinger’s cat in quantum mechanics experiments, do we influence what happens in the mass? (as Catholics are fond of calling it).

I prefer to call it communion, because if lowly unworthy me somehow takes God within me, and this somehow transforms me, communion seems as close as we can to describe this amazing concept. I commune with God. Not in a master-servant thing that seems like getting scrapings from the table. Instead, this is the story of the Prodigal.

Son comes back. Father kills the fatted calf. I come to communion. I offer myself. Nothing more, nothing less. My best just filthy rags. Emptied, I can be filled. As Jesus promised, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, “Will Be Filled.” This is the amazing gift of the table. God invites me, an inconsequential being on the third planet from a mid-sized star, in a backwater galaxy, far from the center of said galaxy, TO BE FILLED. God threw a party for me. He killed the fatted calf for me. All I do is show up.

This is why following is misleading. You don't have to chase God. Seek to know “mysteries”. Study for 40 years to learn “All he commands.” All you do is show up. Offer to be emptied to be filled.

Ah, here is one major problem. We know we must surrender, but get it slightly wrong. We think it's about what we give up. We try to earn a gift. “Lord, look what I gave up for you.” As though that was of slightest importance. Remember pearl beyond price, or treasure in the field.

Or we tell God. “Look what I don't do.” I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't dance. I don't go to parties. I don't swear. I don't.”..The “I don't” list is far too long to be contained in any book short of a Steven King opus, another don't... “I don't read Steven King.”

God is like the father, he doesn't care what you gave up, anymore than the father cares his son gave up feeding pigs. His son is present. Back from the dead. God offers to throw the most wonderful party for US, the amazing party is communion. Come celebrate. Come join the party. Be filled.

This is being a disciple. Just show up, to be filled. Hunger for righteousness. A disciple of Jesus, ready to embark with Him on a journey of intimacy. Learn to hear his voice. Learn to be still and listen, then learn to hear Him in the midst of chaos.

This journey is a lifetime commitment. An infinite trail of sanctification, suffering, refining and divine appointments. Like a special forces soldier dropped deep into enemy territory, totally alert to all around. Mindful. Seeking to join God in His plan, to Be a disciple of Jesus.

For those committed to communion as memorial service, ask yourself if the remembering might be to remember that you have taken Jesus within you. This is the memory to remember. Not just the amazing event of nearly 2K years ago, but that Jesus is present in you now.

Revelation 3:19 &20 points to Jesus telling us that He stands at the door and knocks. If we let Him in, He will sup with us. This is at the heart of discipleship. We take God within. We are His. We sup with him, or better still, we have a feast of joy with Him.

Three words sum up a journey with Jesus. Three words, all at the same time, in a triple paradox: Fearless, Joyful, Obedience. Simple words to meditate on and to live in a life of intimate discipleship. So simple. So hard. Each one an infinity. Together a trinity of infinity. So join with me and Jesus on a journey into infinity. The journey of joy that is true discipleship.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

On Loss of a loved pet

During the time I have been cut off from Poems From God, life has continued. That includes loss of two of our close companions. The following poem was written to a friend of mine who's pet had died.

In Time of Loss

I never knew your friend
companion for too few years.
Tis familiar pain you travel through
empty absence, hole in heart.

My friends had different names
but shared a common bond.
Gifts of love & blessing
in daily companionship.

There is strange joy hid
deep in time of loss.
The pain so real yet from
it's heart flows eternal love.

The greater blessing,
The greater loss for us
when they leave
for heaven's joy.

Presbypoet, June 30, 2010

I am convinced with total certainty, we will see those we love when we get to heaven. This includes our beloved pets.

When we had to end the pain for one of our companions, I wrote this poem, and read it to him as he fell asleep for the last time. The separation of life and death so thin, as I held him one last time.

Farewell Calvin

Carol's lap cat.
You are her's.
Her empty lap
will remind us
of your absence.

Calvin sized hole
missing from life.
No more nightly
thumps & crashes
to wake us.

Goodby Calvin.
End of 18 year journey.
Your gentle soul
will be missed
by those who love you.

Say hello to Ninja
when you meet
where pain is ended
& joy complete
to wait for us.

We will meet again
to share eternity.
Mysterious journey
of infinite love.
God's divine surprise.

© Presbypoet July 24, 2011

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Another Paradox: Cynical Innocent

Here is another mind hurting paradox. Learn to be cynical innocent. Fully aware of how evil, untrustworthy, selfish and dangerous all others in the world are. Another way of putting it: agree with Calvin we all are depraved with no hope.

At the same time, holding that dismal picture of humanity firmly in your head, be total trusting innocent. Fully able to forgive, able to reach out knowing you will get your hand scratched, bit, clawed and shredded. Not 50/50, but 100/100.

Full cynic. That's easy for me. Betrayed by brother who killed my father. Betrayed by God. Betrayed by unfaithful denomination, determined to commit abominations. Betrayed by banks. Betrayed by politicians,(no surprise). Mindful of evil. Yet in the midst of all this horror, to somehow be innocent. Not just a little, but to trust in full innocence, knowing i will be hurt.

My response to God on this one is: This is impossible. Flat out impossible. You want me to do what? Easy to trust, if i just pretend everything is FINE. Hard to trust, if i admit the true horrors that lie beneath the placid surface. True trust isn't easy.

Yet this is at the heart of being a disciple of Jesus. To somehow hang crucified in the midst of this painful paradox. Innocence and cynicism. Both together at the same time. I've no poem to share on this strange blessing. I expect one is coming when God has stretched my mind beyond its safe design limit. To hear His voice explaining the impossible, in a simple paradoxical answer.


Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm back?

Google seems to have allowed me access to the account after months of being cut off. Not sure what happened, i prefer to think divine intervention. Thanks God.

A short poem, one of many not published, my fault.

Meek Not Weak

Power under control.
800 Horsepower
ready to be
turned into action.

Meekness is power
under control.
Ready to be
used by Me.

Special Forces
highly trained
knowing when
not to shoot.

Meekness isn't weakness.
Not wimpy door mat.
Divine Power to be
sent into the world.
(c) Presbypoet August 14, 2011, inspired by Dennis W.