Seeing, and Nazi-ing.

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Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.  –Luke 11:34

I have sympathy for Nazis. But by no means does that make me a Nazi sympathizer!  In fact, there are few groups in the world that disgust me as much as they do.

With their marching, and swastika waving, and saluting, not to mention their racist, fascist words and actions, I might be persuaded to punch one in the face, and I’m a man of peace!

Remember that scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when the Nazis open up the Ark of the Covenant, and the Spirit comes out and basically smites all the Nazis?  Well, I don’t really think that’s something the Holy Spirit would do, but I can’t help but cheer. 

I try not to hate, and it makes especially little sense when that hate is directed towards a “hate group”, but groups like the Nazis, and the KKK, and ISIS make me want to scream in rage.

Oh, you too?  Alright, let’s leave a little space here for some primal screaming.  Ready?  Go!

(scream)

Okay.  I feel a little better.  I, for one, angry as these hate groups may make me, have to be sure not to just stuff down my emotions and ignore them. I think it’s okay to let it out, but as a controlled burn, not a wildfire.  I think we have a right to be angry, but not give in to hate.

So how is it that I can feel sorry for these jerks?  These walking, talking time bombs of intolerance?  Isn’t that like having sympathy for the devil?  (Rolling Stones reference, by the way).

No, it’s having sympathy for people who don’t see the light.  Who don’t see light at all.  As Jesus mentions in the passage above, people whose eyes are unhealthy, and all they can see is darkness.

What damaged their eyes?  What caused these folks to see such hate?

Maybe it was their parents.  Racism is often a passed-down trait.  They were raised to hate and fear types of people, and so they do.

Maybe it was their situation.  Maybe they need somebody to blame for their social status, or their poverty, or their unemployment.  Or course, that makes it sound like Nazis and other racists come from the lower class alone.  Racism, so to say, does not discriminate.  It can be found in all levels of society.

Maybe they never heard of God.  Or never learned to see the good in others.  Maybe they willfully stared at the wrong things, dark things.  Or saw hatred as a way to get ahead.

I don’t know why Nazi’s choose Nazi-ing (“Not Seeing”) the light of God in all God’s people, but I can attest, that light is there.  Even a Nazi is not immune from the power and love of God’s light.  There is hope.

So, although I find myself tensing up in frustration at the sight of a swastika, I just keep praying for a little of God’s light to break through.

Maybe, instead of a full-on smite, the Spirit can give those Nazis

a painful, yet eye-opening sunburn.

Have a good week,

Mitch

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Seeing Double


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Today’s devotion comes largely courtesy of a cool post from themetapicture.com.

Click on the link below and you’ll get to look at pictures of famous landmarks — taken from two wildly different perspectives.

Take a look and then come back here!

http://themetapicture.com/famous-photos-from-a-different-angle/

Beautiful and fascinating, right?

(I love all of the images, although the Roman Pantheon shot through the doors of a McDonalds made me cringe.)

Wouldn’t it be cool to see everything with both kinds of perspective?

An up close, vivid shot, perfectly framed,
and a distant wide angle shot that sets things into their proper context?

Think about how much more accurately we would perceive the world around us.
As if one eye were a microscope and the other were a telescope!

We’d be much more in tune with the world around us, and our place in it.
We’d be equal parts subjective and objective.

Most of all, we’d perceive the beauty of life with much greater clarity.

It’s entirely possible to do this!

In fact, this is a gift given us through faith.

If we look at life through the lens of faith we develop a kind of double vision.

We tap into a spiritual kind of eyesight beyond our own physical seeing.
We learn to see through God’s eyes as well as our own.

Like any skill, faith-seeing is something we must develop.

We practice through prayer, centering, and desiring to be part of the Kingdom of God.
As we progress, we begin to see the Big Picture, the world as God may see it.

We begin to see how beauty extends beyond the end of our noses.
How each small piece of life connects with the other pieces.

Shadows become more 3-dimensional.  Colors become more diverse.  The scope of life widens.

Our definition of beauty deepens.

. . .

Seeing double is how we see beyond ourselves.  How we catch the vision for the whole of God’s Kingdom.

Seeing double is how we innovate, how we become spiritual entrepreneurs, how we know our task as disciples.

You can do this.  See for yourself.

All it takes is a little faith…

and a little perspective.

 

Have a great week,

Mitch

 

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God Has A Big Nose

They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt-offerings and fragrant incense  — 2 Corinthians 13; 11a

Hearing.  Seeing.  Tasting.  Smelling.  Touching.

If you had to lose one of your senses, which one would it be?   I’ve thought about this before, and for me the answer is always the same.  I’d say goodbye to my nose.

I wouldn’t want to give up my eyesight.   I couldn’t watch movies, or enjoy a sunset.   Likewise, I couldn’t give up my hearing because I wouldn’t be able to listen to music.

Tasting?  Hey-I love watermelon and nachos way too much for that.   Touching?  It’s a more subtle sense, but it would effect everything I did.  Every embrace, every gentle breeze.  I don’t think I could give that up.

It comes down to my sense of smell.    Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of popcorn, or a campfire, or a flower, and I understand that smell effects how things taste, but if I had to give one up, that’s the one I’d have to choose.

Do you agree with my choice?  (You can vote down below)  I get the feeling God might not.

In Old Testament times the Priests thought God had a big nose.   A lot of what they would do to please God had to do with smell.   First, there were the sacrifices.   Twice or more a day they’d offer burnt sacrifices–like meat on a barbecue grill–because they believed the delicious smell would float up to God, and make God happy.  (I can certainly relate!)

And then they’d light incense, there in the temple.  The delicate fragrance would lift up to God, to delight God’s sense of smell. Apparently conventional wisdom had it that the way to God’s heart was through God’s proboscis!

Hmm.  Maybe I’ve short changed the power of smell.   I’ve read that smell is the most powerful trigger of memory.   And it’s true–the smell of the ocean breeze or a hot parking lot or the skin of a baby can evoke the most powerful responses in me.   Now I’m not so sure I’d be willing to cut off my nose to spite my face after all.

Actually, as time went on, God made it clear that the quickest way to God’s heart wasn’t just through the nose, but through faithful living.   You can only bring home a bunch of fragrant flowers to apologize so many times.  Eventually, you have to change the way you live. So, in the New Testament, the focus isn’t on pleasing God’s senses, but pleasing God’s sensibilities.

Hey, it may be true.  God may have a big nose.  But the size of God’s heart is what matters most.   The same is true with us.   These marvelous senses God gave us make life rich and enjoyable, but it’s only the connection between our heart and God’s heart that can ever truly satisfy.   I think Love might just be the 6th sense, and all the others are simply supporting players.

I wouldn’t want to do without any of them, but I do know this.

A life without love…

Positively stinks.

Have a Great Week,

Mitch