I Would Never Have Experienced That Otherwise

I have often asked people which phrases that never thought that they would hear as a parent (i.e.  “don’t play with your poop!!).  Lately I have been keeping more records of things that my daughter has said or done that surprised me or made me laugh.  The other day my daughter was running around the house and passed some gas.  Normally I would expect her to do one of three things

  1. claim it
  2. blame it
  3. ignore it

Instead she gave an exasperated “auugh!”  She seemed to be frustrated that she had passed gas again or that it got out before she wanted it to, I am not sure which.

A couple of days ago I was preparing to make breakfast with my faithful three year old sous chef by my side.  She loves to “help” me make things in the kitchen.  When I turned the stove on to get started I heard her over my shoulder say “Let’s do this!”  I am pretty sure she stole that from another source, but it did not change the fact that she picked the right context.  I about burned myself on the stove laughing.

And finally, my 8 year old son was handed money to go into the convenience store the other day to purchase a couple of soft drinks.  He is getting used to getting responsibilities like this so that he can learn how to interact with people and how to make decisions about money as well as develop some independence.  So as he is walking into the store with a $5 bill thinking about how he is going to perform his assigned task I hear my daughter yell out the window some timely advice “Don’t scratch your butt!”

People are unpredictable, relationships are messy.  When we are young the things we say and the things we do can result in small problems or humorous stories.  When we are older it seems to me that one of the greatest causes of problems people have is forgetting that people are never going to stay in the box that you put them in, and relationships will never play out the way that you expect.  Its easy for me to love a three year old when she is unpredictable, I hope I can be as graceful with adults when they are too.

Don’t Play with Sharp Objects

I have been talking with people a lot about the razor’s edge lately.  People do not like tension as a general rule.  What I mean by the razor’s edge is knowing who you are and being willing to hold what you believe as right in tension with the relationships that you have.  We like to make hyperbolic comments and treat them as rules, when they almost never are.  A person will disown a child because of their belief on what is right because making a stand is easier in their mind that dealing with the tension of continuing in a relationship with someone that you disagree with.  Never mind that even if that person is truly wrong and you are truly right they are more likely to change in a relationship with you than out of a relationship with you.

So too Christians, many times do not want to approach a relationship with God because it is a more nebulous objective than things like salvation or reading my Bible.  These are black and white activities that are not nebulous in their minds.  “I asked Jesus into my heart”, “I read my Bible today.”  So we become very rigid and make our spirituality a check list of obligatory actions without relationship.  So too the word spirituality is a scary word that sparks thoughts of allowing ourselves to be controlled by something other than ourselves.  The Holy Spirit does not like to share control, the exact point of the Holy Spirit in us is to guide us and help us.  Many Christians don’t like to live on the razor’s edge between truth and relationship.

We become spiritually and emotionally stunted, I believe, if we are not willing to live in the tension between truth and relationship.  I believe in truth, I don’t not like to compromise on truth, I know the truths that I believe in.  But I know that truth does not make a whole lot of sense without relationships, nor do relationships make a whole lot of sense without truth.  That is the razor’s edge.

I Don’t Feel Guilty, I’m too Cheap!

I hate shopping at Walmart, I really do.  I will usually do anything that I can to avoid going to Walmart.  I actually enjoy grocery shopping most of the time.  My wife sent me grocery shopping the other night by myself and I treated it as a challenge.  I did not buy something because the price was cheaper, I looked at the cost per ounce, or per pound, or per unit (you have to keep on eye on these things, they try to trick you).  I bought a 20 pound bag of rice, something I never thought I would be proud of, but I am.

I believe in the free market, I believe that capitalism unfettered by regulation has the ability to regulate itself.  So when people tell me that I need to shop at the local store because it supports local business the first question I usually have is “how much is this going to cost me?”  When you ask me which comes first my ideals or my wallet, many times my wallet wins.  Now as a Jesus follower I know that I should not make money an idol, but does that apply to where I buy my nacho chips?

So I was filling up my 1996 Camry the other day (I have been driving it for 13 years, 250,000 on it.  May I drive it until my retirement) and as soon as I get in the car from filling up for $2.40 a gallon I am faced my radio tells me that I shouldn’t feel good about it.  The oil industry is warning me that we can’t let the price of oil slip too far or it will effect their ability to produce oil.  Auggghhhh!

So consumer self and social awareness self got into a very brief fight, and consumer self won.  Since I am from Wyoming (an oil producing state) I know that my consumer self just put itself at odds with my native land.  However I know that there are several hundred thousand people (not millions, may it never be) in the state of Wyoming that are very happy to be paying around $2.00 a gallon, oh the internal conflict they must feel.

I love small businesses, and I love my native land so of course I don’t want to see jobs lost and businesses closing down.  I am trying to remember my college macro-economics course, but doesn’t unfettered capitalism allow for these things to correct themselves?  I look forward to being corrected by those that read this blog.  Meanwhile, here is some thoughts by Ron Swanson

Autumn, The Best Workout I Get All Year

I watched a video the other day about methods of splitting firewood that saves time, it was horrible.  If I wanted to save time splitting firewood I could rent a splitter, or better yet why don’t I just turn my furnace on and not burn firewood at all.  I was once told that firewood warms you three times, once when you cut it, once when you split it, and once when you burn it; AMEN!!  I know I am going to sound like the grumpy old man from the old Saturday Night Live sketch but I cut, haul, split, and stack my own firewood (well my sons do a lot of the hauling) and I like it, heck I love it.

I think I have lost ten pounds and now I can lift a smart car in each arm because I have been trying to get a couple of cords of wood split and stacked before winter.  I have even found that firewood chucking is a great activity that burns a lot of calories.  I have a huge ditch at my house that is full of fallen trees that I have been cutting up with my chainsaw.  When I am done cutting I found it easier to chuck the logs up the hill than to haul them.  As a side note, if you engage in this activity make sure that your children are not playing at the top of the hill.

I don’t want to be inefficient for inefficiencies sake, but I will lean toward inefficiency if it means that I can get outdoors, burn energy, work with chainsaws and splitting mauls (just typing those words makes me feel more manly that I am), all the while saving money on renting equipment or turning on my furnace.  When is progress not progress, when it trades hard work that shapes us for ingenuity that weakens us.  As a society I am starting to ask myself the question about what the end game of technological development is.

Don’t Blame the Dog, It was Me.

I noticed that the last time that I wrote to my blog it was to say a fitting goodbye to my first dog “Harvey”.  Many of you might be wondering if that was my swan song, my last post, my fond farewell to blogs since I have not posted in several months.  As I said in the title, and as I have said many times when the dog is sitting next to me and my son asks “what is that smell?”, “Don’t blame the dog, it was me!”  How is that for a re-entry into the blogging world.

I enjoy writing creatively, and humorously.  I feel as though many times I am expected to write serious theological dissertations if I am going to write, but that is not me.  I am actually someone that loves a good theological discussion, and I find it very serendipitous when I can say something humorous and theological at the same time.  However it is hard to pull off humor and theology, especially today when people are so keenly aware of that which they disagree with about the faith that I have and the organization that I work for.

I actually find that my preaching ends up being very similar to my writing, I try to use humor and cognitive dissonance to get to help people to be open to see something in a new way.  I like to think that humor shows my intelligence, but based off the first paragraph of today’s blog I might need to find another way to show people that side of me.