January 12, 2010

NPR Wisdom

I was listening to Morning Edition during my commute today and I heard something that made me think. During a plug for supporting public media the announcer said that "sometimes it is worth it to stop everything and just to listen." I'm pretty sure that they were talking about that moment when you put your shopping or appointments on hold for a few minutes to stay in your parked car to listen to an NPR story that has captured your attention, which I have done and I wholeheartedly feel that that is a worthy cause I feel that this phrase has much deeper applications.
Often times in New England I feel that efficiency is so highly prized that quick response and action are prioritized higher than actually listening to what people are saying, processing it and responding thoughtfully. How often do we miss what other people say or even respond with a completely inappropriate ("not making sense" not "naughty" inappropriate)response? One i have caught myself saying is: when some says,"What's new?" I will respond "fine thank you, how are you?" First of all they didn't ask how I was, they asked what was new in my life. Second, I'm assuming that they won't actually care about my response to I answer "fine" instead of how I really am. craziness!!!!
Imagine the implications in everyday life if we, even for just one day, made an intentional effort to actually listen to what everyone said to us and to respond after first thinking about what they said and how we should respond. I can imagine that while some people would be flattered or intrigued, others will become easily frustrated by not receiving a response at the speed that they expect.

But even deeper than that, God frequently calls us to "stop and just listen." This is so unamerican. Stopping everything, all the multitasking, worrying, juggling and spinning plates, to listen to someone Who wants to focus on Him alone. If anyone else were to demand this type of attention it would seem absurd and yet this is exactly what God calls us to do, to "be still and know that He is God." Most times He doesn't even want to tell us what to do but reveal a part of who He is! Reading God's Word, prayer, church, the sacraments, all of these are ways that God speaks to us and these are all things that should never be multitasked. God deserves a singular focus.
I remember a speaker talking about being still and allowing things to settle during that stillness. She used the visual of a mason jar filled with swirling muddy water, you couldn't see anything other than brown, but when she let it sit eventually the dirt settled to the bottom and the sticks and rocks that were previously hidden became perfectly visable. I think that there are probably imbedded sins and idols that are easy to hide when I am busy, God is calling me to be still so that I have to focus on Him and to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal and root out those sins.

Random bit of wisdom from WNPR.

January 10, 2010

My own home

It has been a while since I have written, but now that I don't have cable sucking time away from me I have more time to write :-)
God has given me a new adventure, He is no longer calling me to be content not living on my own but He is now calling me to be even more responsible for the gifts He has given to me and to rely on Him for provision. He has given me the opportunity to move out on my own, not too far from Mom and Dad but a lot closer to work. I moved about a week ago and am just now starting to feel a bit more settled into this new place.
Now that I have this opportunity to start fresh I am trying to start some good habits, like being more intentional in the food I buy and eat by creating weekly menus and shopping for more organic and/or local items, saying no to cable television (although I do have an antena TV and a blu-ray player), and spending more time each more in God's word. Right now I am doing My Utmost for His Highest as a devotional and reading through the Gospels. The beginning of My Utmost focuses a lot on knowing Christ truly and not just superficially so I decided to read through the gospels and to pray that God would use this time to open my eyes to who He truly is and that that personal knowledge of Him and His holiness and power would effect how I live my life day in a day out. I know that without the work of the Holy Spirit this will not work at all, I have no ability or even desire to see this through on my own.

In other news I am readying Plenty, the books written by the people who started the 100 mile diet. I was surprised to find out that they are from Vancouver! I was definitely expecting them to be somewhere with a longer growing season. So far it is pretty good. I recently finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver which is also about eating locally. It was a very enoyable book to read and made me want to at least make an atempt at eating more locally. Although her viewpoint is very pro-evolution it is easy to insert God's will and promises into her writing as she does recognize the divine at work in how human's are provided for. She simply focuses on the created instead of the Creator.

I have been thinking a lot about hospitality lately and I am beginning to think that it is not so much a gift or an action as it is a lifestyle. I think that at its essence, being hospitable is just loving others and seeing their needs as a higher priortity than your own comfort or preferences. That idea of sacrificial love was the topic of today's sermon at church. To think, just showing people grace while dealing with a frustrating problem, holding a door for someone coming in behind you, bringing in sweets to share at work, all ways to show hospitality without ever inviting someone into your home!