Showing posts with label God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Tom's diagnosis of colon cancer rocked us both.  The weeks while we waited for the processes leading up to surgery to be completed were difficult, but we tried to keep busy and distracted, and we mostly succeeded.   The news after the surgery was surely as good as could be expected: the tumor was small, and the nearby lymph nodes were cancer free, and there was joy in Butlerland when Tom came home. 

Then, within a few days, came Tom's loss of appetite and vomiting.  I knew something was very wrong when I saw the greenish-black bile, but x-rays in the doctor's office were inconclusive as to whether there was an obstruction.  The vomiting continued, and Tom was readmitted to the hospital, and it was determined that there was an obstruction, a complication that never happens, but leave it to Tom... 

Tom is recovering nicely now, probably doing a bit too much too soon, but, so far, he appears to have done no harm to himself.  I told him if he has to go back in the hospital, I will not visit, but that's not true.

All of the above took a toll on both of us, and, though Tom seems the same, I'm sure the experience changed him, but in a way I can't yet see.  What I do know is that I have not yet regained my emotional equilibrium, such as it was, since the surgery.  I've thought about why I'm not yet my old self, and, indeed, somewhat accepted the fact that I may never be my old self, because life is change.

My one conclusion thus far is that when I was diagnosed with breast cancer 29 years ago, I looked my own death in the face, and I was changed.  The word "cancer" has a way of concentrating the mind wonderfully on the reality that humans, including me, are mortal.  I've been blessed with 29 years of life after the dread diagnosis, and I'm most grateful for the years, every one of which seems a gift.

But (and it's a huge "but") I had not faced Tom's mortality in any real way until now.  The good news is that I've come to realize in a way that I didn't before how much he means to me, but the not-so-good news is that the reality is scary, and my emotions, which are almost always near the surface, are out of kilter and somewhat flattened and kept at bay.  What to do? 

When two people live together for 53-plus years, the rather minor annoying habits of the other can come to loom rather large in daily life, so I've determined not to call Tom's attention to every little annoyance and to make a general attempt to be kinder and less of a scold.  In other words, don't sweat the small stuff.  And be kind.

In time, I hope to recover emotional equilibrium, and I believe I will, but, in the meantime, I'm thankful for each day Tom and I have together, and I will try to be kind, and not just to Tom.  I will often fail, but I hope I don't give up trying.

When certain Christians ask, "Are you saved?" I answer, "Yes, every day."  And that's true, and some few days I need to be saved from just lying in bed all day.  A strength that seemed to come from beyond me carried me through the stressful period, and I trust that same source, God in Jesus, will carry me the rest of the way.  You see, I believe salvation is about here and now, for today, and not so much for the sweet bye-and-bye, because I have no idea what happens in the sweet bye-and-bye.  But I have today, for which I'm grateful, and I believe God is with me, with us, to give us healing, strength, and courage.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber:
I once heard someone say that my belief in Jesus makes them suspect that I intellectually suck my thumb at night. But I cannot pretend, as much as I would sometimes like to, that I have not throughout my life experienced the redeeming, destabilizing love of a surprising God. Even as my mind protests, I still can't deny my experience. This thing is real to me. Sometimes I experience God when someone speaks the truth to me, sometimes in the moments when I admit I am wrong, sometimes in the loving of someone unlovabl, sometimes in the reconciliation that feels like it comes from somewhere outside of myself, but almost always when I experience God it comes in the form of some kind of death and resurrection.

(Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix; The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint)
How often have I said I need saving every day? I've lost count. Maybe not quite what Nadia says, for my deaths and resurrections are daily, sometimes more than once a day. Saying I believe in God is not accurate, because, as best I recall, I never did not believe in God.  Throughout the course of my life I've known the Thereness of God, even when I did not pay attention. There was no leap of faith for me ever, because God was always real to me, though I wondered at times if she had anything to do with me after starting it all. As with Nadia, there would be no point in trying to argue me out of the faith because of the very real happenings and changes in me that happened because of the presence of God in my life. Of course, some might say all is delusion, but I won't be convinced.

Have you guessed that I read Nadia's book? I read quickly for she captured and held my attention from the introduction to the end. Nadia's concept of church seems very right to me. You will hear more from me about her book, which I recommend highly, and I'll probably include further quotes.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012


"Ask Mitt Anything" session, May 2007
Mitt Romney: “That pledge says ‘under God,’ and I will not take God out of our platform,” Romney said. “I will not take God off our coins, and I will not take God out of my heart.”

OMG! President Obama will?


Obama spokesperson: “The president believes as much that God should be taken off a coin as he does that aliens will attack Florida,” she said. “It’s an absurd question to be raised.”

Whew! I can breathe again. I can tell you; I was worried.

I expect that Romney will mention God more often than Obama, but what does the Bible have to say?
Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of Hosts: 'Execute true justice, how mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.’" (Zechariah 7:8-10)

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)
So.  It's not how many times we say God or have the name of God displayed that counts, it's how we put into practice the teachings of the Good Book.

I'm told that Mormons use the KJV of the Bible.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.  As you see, the picture is from 2007.  Mitt has been running for president for a long time.  I doubt whether Romney would have an "Ask Mitt Anything" gathering now except with a carefully screened group, and even then....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


God surely anticipated that a person like Jesus would be killed by an order established on violence, but God did not kill Jesus, or require his death, or manipulate others into sacrificing him.  God may have found a way to triumph over this crime, but God did not cause it.  Jesus was killed by the definite plan and aforethought of the Powers, as the New Testament writers clearly state.
Walter Wink - Engaging the Powers, p 110

Picture from Wikipedia.

Friday, July 27, 2012


This isn’t to say that we give up trying to describe. But let’s not think we’ve ever arrived.
 From nakedpastor.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9
Psalm 100

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.

Know this: The Lord himself is God;
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.

For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world.

Then he made the earth round....and laughed and laughed and laughed...
 Don't blame me. Blame Doug.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I singlehandedly keep
this bar afloat.
My heart has bled
with repentance
a couple thousand times.
But if I don’t go on sinning,
what would divine mercy do?
He can’t bestow forgiveness
unless I keep falling
off the wagon.
 Translated by Juan Cole
from Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, [pdf] Whinfield 130

Oh, do I like this. What would God do with godself without sinners in need of forgiveness? Khayyam is such a rogue, but a thinking rogue, and he often makes me smile. (as I said at Juan's blog)

Friday, April 22, 2011


From the Telegraph:
There’s a charming article in today’s Times by Alex Renton, a non-believer who sends his six-year-old daughter Lulu to a Scottish church primary school. Her teachers asked her to write the following letter: “To God, How did you get invented?”

Instead of answering Lulu's question, Renton emailed the letter to "the Scottish Episcopal Church (no reply), the Presbyterians (ditto) and the Scottish Catholics (a nice but theologically complex answer). For good measure, he also sent it to...Lambeth Palace”.

Lulu received the following response from Lambeth:
Dear Lulu,

Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It’s a difficult one! But I think God might reply a bit like this –

‘Dear Lulu – Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised. They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from. They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn’t expected.

Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints – specially in the life of Jesus – to help them get closer to what I’m really like.

But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!’

And then he’d send you lots of love and sign off.

I know he doesn’t usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf. Lors [sic] of love from me too.

+Archbishop Rowan

How kind of Archbishop Rowan to write such a lovely and theologically simple response to Lulu.

Thanks to Ann and Cathy for the link.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


When creating husbands, God promised women that good and ideal husbands would be found in all corners of the world.

And then he made the earth round.

Don't blame me. Blame that rascal Paul (A.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


From CNN Health:
If you're angry at your doctor, your boss, your relative or your spouse, you can probably sit down and have a productive conversation about it. God, on the other hand, is probably not available to chat.

And yet people get angry at God all the time, especially about everyday disappointments, finds a new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

It's not just religious folks, either. People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image - that is, what they imagined God might be like - said lead study author Julie Exline, Case Western Reserve University psychologist.

It seems that more religious people are less likely to feel angry at God and more likely to see his intentions as well-meaning, Exline's research found.

And younger people tend to be angrier at God than older people, Exline said. She says some of the reasons she's seen people the angriest at God include rejection from preferred colleges and sports injuries preventing high schoolers from competing.

I find the results of the study intriguing and a bit amusing, in that agnostics and atheists express anger at a higher power, in whom they don't believe, for the disappointments of life. If a young person believes that God or some transcendent entity out there is responsible for tragedies and disappointments they experience, I'd guess that person is rather less likely to participate in organized religion.
"When people trust that God cares about them and has positive intentions toward them, even if they can’t understand what those intentions or meanings are, it tends to help to resolve anger," she said.

Granted, these studies aren't definitive; they are steps forward in this emerging field of inquiry and not the final word on the subject.

"What they need is a safe place to express their anger, to know that their anger has been heard and listened to," he said.
(My emphasis)

Amen to the final words.

I don't know about you, but I've shaken my fist at God in anger numerous times. God can take it. I won't say that God and I chat, but I do get what appear to me to be responses from God through a variety of sources, other people, something I read in the Bible or elsewhere, or sometimes from thoughts that pop into my mind. I state emphatically that I don't hear the audible voice of God, except through other people. And sometimes I seem to get no answer at all. As I see it, a healthy relationship with God allows for us to express our anger, and we should not feel guilty about doing so.

The Psalmists express anger quite often.
Psalm 22 (The Psalm Jesus quoted as he hung upon the cross)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.

Psalm 42

I say to God, my rock,
‘Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because the enemy oppresses me?’
As with a deadly wound in my body,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
‘Where is your God?’

H/T to John Chilton at The Lead.