The Back To Eden Movement

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Let’s get naked.

I mean it.  Let’s get naked. Let’s go back in time…back before this moment:

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.  –Genesis 3:7

Let’s spit out the forbidden fruit, and tell the serpent to talk to the hand, and hang out in some place — any place other than next to that infernal tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Who’s with me?

Let’s choose not to Fall this time.  Let’s stay innocent and happy.

Let’s frolic in the garden, and maybe name some more animals, and just be there with God.

And if that means giving up our free will, and never growing and branching out and using all the knowledge we have in our brains, it’s a small price to pay. Right?

I mean, I look around and I see so much misusing of that ole Free Will.  Don’t you?

Maybe we’d be better off without it.

And so… you get to hear it here first:

I’m officially launching the Back To Eden Movement!

And in the next breath, I’m announcing that the Back To Eden Movement is closing down.

You see, for every time I get exasperated and despairing, for every time I throw up my hands and say, “I give up, God…put me back in the Garden, and reset me, and I’ll be your devoted robot”

For every time I say that, I immediately remember that Christ came to THIS world, with all it’s messiness, with a message of Love and Hope, Salvation and Service.

Stripped naked of all pretenses and ulterior motives and sinful behaviors, Christ revealed to us the core of human living.

Christ modeled for us a way of life that works in THIS life.  It’s not always easy.  Sometimes it’s downright painful.

But Christ showed us a way of life based on using our God-given abilities and gifts in the service of the Kingdom.

No Eden required.

When I long for a more innocent world, for a simpler existence, I need only affirm my discipleship to Jesus, and I calm down.

We may not need to head Back To Eden — maybe couldn’t if we tried.

Instead, we are moving toward the Kingdom.  (A New Eden?)

where Clothing ourselves in Christ…

Is probably not optional. 🙂

 

Have a great week,

Mitch

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You The Grouch

A wide berth.

That’s what I’m tempted to take around you, today.

You know why?  Because today you seem to be a little…

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GROUCHY!

Fair enough.  I have my Oscar the Grouch days, too.

But why?  What causes us to prickle up and bristle like a porcupine?

What flips that switch that causes us to take everything the wrong way, to roll our eyes and speak in a rough voice?

Is it job stress?  A messy house?  An unpleasant phone call?  The cold?

I don’t know, but it can really hit us this time of  year.  One minute we’re fine, and the next…

We’re GROUCHY!

Wait, now I’m grouchy, too.  Thanks a lot.

This stuff is contagious.  If we went out in public we could start an epidemic.

Is there a cure for grouchiness?  Is there an antidote, or must we slump down into our trash cans and sigh with exasperated resignation?

Hmm.  Maybe that’s it.

Maybe Oscar is always grouchy because he lives in his own trash.  He refuses to separate himself from the thoughts and feelings that are making him grouchy.

Here’s a verse from Ephesians 4:31-32:

Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Maybe that’s what makes us grouchy.  We forget to take out the trash.  

It couldn’t sound simpler — when grouchy (or worse) thoughts and feelings come, we’re supposed to throw them away and get rid of them.  They’re not useful or helpful.  Grouchiness is not something to embrace!

Or it shouldn’t be, but this kind of trash is sticky.  Like gum on the bottom of your shoe.  All too often, just like Oscar, we choose to just live in it.

The antidote, as Ephesians describes, is kindness, forgiveness, and tenderheartedness.  With each other, ourselves, and God.  How could we have forgotten that?

Okay then, grouchy pants.  It’s time to take out the trash.  And I’ll do the same.

The next time we run into each other, let’s be living in God’s love instead of our trash cans.

Acting out of kindness, rather than grouchiness, can be a tough role to remember to play sometimes,

but you’ll be happy to know that the more you play it,

the less you’ll deserve an Oscar.

Have a Great Week,

Mitch

originally posted January 2014

 

Calling Off The Search

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Today, almost three years after it went missing, investigators have called off the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

Here’s what a joint statement from the three governments conducting the search had to say:

“Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting edge technology, as well as modeling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft,”  –http://www.cnn.com

There may come a day when someone finds the wreckage of that plane, out there in the ocean, but that’s little solace for the loved ones still wondering what happened.

It reminds me of other difficult searches people undergo.  Most notably, the search for God.

There may be circumstantial evidence–like debris washed up on the shore–but pinning down definitive proof of God continues to elude us.

In cities and villages, on college campuses and even in our local churches, there are many who have been searching, searching to no avail.

And so, many have called off the search.  If there is a God, the proof remains murky, down in the depths where it cannot be found.

There’s a problem with giving up the search for God, and it this:

It presupposes that God is the One who is lost or hiding.

And that’s not true.

God is not lost.  We are lost.

God is, in fact, searching desperately for us.  Longing to bridge the gap between God’s powerful Grace and our stubborn hearts.

God is near.  Close as our next breath. Obscured from view by sin and fear and doubt and anger and shame and even the coldness of our logic.

People are like Malaysia Airlines flight 370.  Lost, hidden, damaged. Desperate to be rescued but broken and silent.

Ah, but unlike that aircraft, we have a locator beacon that works, if we choose to use it.

It’s called faith.

Faith is a steady, spiritual “ping” that cuts through the layers of murk that separate us from God. Faith signals our desire to be found. Delivered.

For some, it may take years to tune that beacon in to the frequency of God’s Grace.

I know this because I once was lost, but now am found.

I know this because faith is a spiritual muscle that must be strengthened and developed.

I know this because millions and millions have been pulled from the oceans of chaos by our powerful Rescuer.

God will never call off the search.

Nor should we. Keep looking. Keep pinging.

It may not happen today.  It may not happen tomorrow.  But it will happen.

A light in the depths will surround you.

And you will know.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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LEAVE ME ALONE

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I was leaving church last night, turning onto College Street, when I saw a figure crossing the road.

My car lights cut through the silhouette, revealing it to be a young woman, walking by herself.  She could have been high school or college age.

She kept her head down as she crossed in front of me.  Once she’d crossed, I was able to see what she wore on her back.

In huge letters, on the back of her hoodie, were three words:

LEAVE
ME
ALONE

So many thoughts went through my head:

  • She could have chosen so many messages to wear.  Why would she choose that???
  • Maybe she was a total introvert, and truly just needed her space.
  • Perhaps she was deeply troubled.  Coming from a rough home.  Broken and isolated.
  • How do we share God’s love with someone who wants to be left alone?

She passed on by.  I have no idea who she was.

But I’ll admit it.  It bothered me.

It made me wonder where she got that hoodie from.  Did she put the letters on herself?

No, it turns out there’s a market for that kind of catch phrase.

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I found her hoodie online.  $50.

There were t-shirts, bomber jackets, hoodies, hats, pants, and more, all with that same slogan.

I wish there wasn’t.

It’s one thing for a person to desire solitude. For regenerating, for peace and quiet.  It’s another for a human being to send out a message to the cosmos expressing a desire to not be part of it.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. –Genesis 2:18

I believe this is true.  Men and women were not created into isolation.  We are a people of family, a people who live and love together, even when things are tough.

The fact that there are millions of kids out there wearing these messages of isolation reveals nothing we shouldn’t already know:  Some people have been so burned by being with others, they’d just as soon go it alone.

Hey, maybe she wore it to be cool, or ironic, or trendy.  I don’t know. And I want to respect her privacy if that’s really what she needs…

But I’ve also learned not to automatically believe everything I read.

If I knew that girl…she’d have definitely gotten my attention.

Whether she thinks she wants it,

or not.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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