Mom and Boys

Figuring it out one day at a time.

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The sin I wear.

Over the last 24 hours I have been thinking a lot about sin.  I have this amazing talent when it comes to sin, I am incredibly brilliant at noticing other people’s sin,  specifically other Christians.

Amazing isn’t it?

With that said, it is easy to see that I have my own inner vat of sin just leaking out of me at every chance it gets.  The thoughts really kill me.  The fact that my sinful thoughts are just as bad in the eyes of God as my sinful actions is completely disturbing.  Is there no reprieve?

One thing I always pride myself on (theirs another one, pride, I’m on a role), is that I know my own sin.  I fear that if you lain me down on a table and cut me open down the chest, you could visually see my black, bruised, sinful heart crawling with maggots and oozing with complacency.  I can feel this inside me, I know that it is there.

I am aware.

But I have come to think that being aware is not enough.  Being comfortable in the sin that I possess is dangerous. It is not enough to say “I am a prideful person, I am judgemental, and I gossip.  But that is just the way I am “.  I should be struggling with this.  Sitting around admitting that this sin exists in my life and then depending on God’s grace and love IS NOT ENOUGH.

It is not enough for me to know.

I know.

I need to be struggling.  Everyday struggling.

If I am not struggling, I am not growing.

“Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed”  -James 1:14


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Jesus Land

My pastor’s wife drives a Lexus.  I like my pastor.  I like my pastor’s wife.  I think both of these people are wonderful, loving, passionate ministers for Christ.

But my pastor’s wife drives a Lexus.

I discovered this disturbing fact yesterday while waiting for a Kids Life meeting to begin (yup, that means I teach 6 days a week now, i am definatly going to heaven- just kidding).  Before I even begin this story I should first explain the two worlds that I live in.   Every day I travel 15 minutes to arrive into my work world, an inner city school.  Like any inner-city area every day I see young kids that are exposed to violence, every day I see kids that are hungry, and everyday I see kids that are starving for a compliment or an encouraging word.  I also normal wonderful families doing everything they can to survive while enjoying their children and their lives.  I love this world.

When you drive only a few miles down the highway from world number one, you will find world number two.   One of the top five wealthiest counties in America.  This is my other world.  This is the world that I spend my weekends in, and this is the world in which my church is located.  This also happens to be where my pastor lives, deep, deep, into world number two.

Driving to my pastors house reminds me a lot of the Ben Folds song JesusLand I don’t know why because the music video is completely different than what I see on the way to his house, but it still makes me think- Jesus Land.  In fact, I was actually playing that song through the neighborhood on my way to this meeting (i love me some Ben Folds).  I was sitting on their  porch watching an intense game of badminton waiting for the meeting to begin when I saw the Lexus pull up in the drive.  What?  Pastor’s wives are not supposed to drive luxury cars.  I was thinking a large white van would be more appropriate (ha).  But really, I was upset about this.  So upset in fact that I instantly turned sour and wanted to go home.  My mind immediately pictured my other world and I wondered if my pastor had ever thought to consider the poverty-stricken world only a few miles north when he decided to purchase a Lexus for his daily ride.  I wanted to leave.  I thought of Satan.  Is this him?  I have finally found a church that I like, a pastor that preaches about true love instead of hatred, and I am slowly getting involved and finding a place in this church and now I want to leave.  Just like that.  All because my pastor’s wife drives a Lexus.

While I was thinking about this today and how much the whole Lexus thing irked me to the core I thought of an exert from Mere Christianity, written by C.S. Lewis.  I specifically remember it because it made such and impression.

Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

Does this seem to you exaggerated?  If so, think it over.  I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others.  In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, “How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?”  The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with everyone else’s pride.  It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise.  Two of a trade never agree.

I think it is now an appropriate time to mention that I drive a Volvo.  Not exactly a Lexus but still considered a luxury car.  It is not like I am rolling around in an old beater so that I can give every spare penny I own to hungry children.   I am being hypocritical.

You know it is not bad that my pastor’s wife owns a Lexus.  It is certainly not my place to judge anyone or anything.  Over the course of this week I think that I have become blatantly aware that I have a problem with pride.  First with the whole prodigal son issue and now with this.  And the thing is, even though I can see the problem within myself.  I cannot get rid of it.  I am still bothered.  I am still turned off.  And there is still a small part of me that wants to leave.

Psalm 10:4

In his pride the wicked does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

Lord give me the strength to get over my pride and love all people without judgement. Help me get over my own insecurities so that I can love others better.

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The prodigal son returns…to this blog.

Luke 15

I am feeling a little bit torn on my topic of discussion today.  I feel like it is only appropriate that a blog concerning Christianity and a relationship with Christ should talk about the resurrection on Easter sunday…but that is just not where my mind is taking me today.  And it must not be were my pastor’s mind was taking him either because he decided to teach about the prodigal son this morning.  Go figure.

In fact I was actually a little irritated when I realized the message in church today was going to be about the Prodigal Son.  First of all, I just “studied” this parable earlier this week and second of all, as I described in this blog, I just don’t like this story because I really cannot relate to the prodigal son.  In fact the whole title of the blog was “what about the brother?”  What is the point of the story when you do not relate to the prodigal son but you really can only relate to the older brother.  Well God must read blogs because the first thing my pastor said this morning was that Jesus was not telling this story for the benefit of people who relate to the prodigal son, but instead for people who relate to the older brother.  I was shocked.  I have never once heard this and I have heard this story a thousand times.

There are three characters in this story; the father who represents God, the prodigal son who represents a sinner, and (here is the kicker) the older brother who represents a pharisee or in modern day, a holier-than-thou religious member.  Great…I sympathize with the one character in the story that in real life I cannot stand.  Do you think God is trying to tell me something?  The older brother was actually described as someone who is proud and looks down on others who do not choose to live a lifestyle like their own.  It was harsh realization.  Just a few days ago I was telling the world how I relate to the older brother in this story, and then the following Sunday I find out the older brother represents an arrogant ass.  It was like looking into the mirror I never wanted.  It was actually kind of funny, because the whole time I was listening to this sermon I was thinking that it must just be the way the parable is told because in real life I am not jealous or bitter and I am certainly not proud or think I am better than others.  I kept thinking that the older brother was still completely justified in being angry, and that anyone who was listening couldn’t possibly argue with that.  The older brother seriously got screwed.  It wasn’t until the service was almost over that I figured it out.  I don’t know what exactly my pastor said but it was one of those what-would-jesus-do type of comments.  If the older brother in this parable had an attitude of Christ, how would he feel in this situation?  Would he be angry, bitter, jealous, proud, or would he care ONLY about his brothers well-being and welcome him back as his father had?  I think the answer is obvious… so obvious that it took an entire Sunday morning service for me to figure out.