Post-Deutschland Musings...

Pardon the meanderings... I'm back from Deutschland, slept in til about 8:30 (what what?) & feel very rested. I believe that the rhythm & pace we have been trying to follow with the Hillside Sabbath was incredibly helpful to our time in Frankfurt.

  • Reno is hot, but it's a dry hot. I like it.

  • The Mosel is a beautiful region in Germany, possibly more beautiful than anywhere I've ever been. I laid down among the grapevines (intentionally) & could just feel the tangible sense of rest, of purpose, the pace of life that has been going on there for generations, with families living where their great-great-great-greats had been. It inspired awe in my soul. And, for the first time in my life, made me long for the green that Nevada hath not.

  • We focus a lot on success & failure. I'm not sure God does that nearly as much as we do, & don't believe that a lot of what we call "success" would meet His criteria for the same. Ditto for failure.

  • Grace is good. I need it. And to give it.

  • My wife is an amazing woman. And like the Dornfelder from the Schwaab vineyards we just visited, she's getting better with age. NOTE: this isn't to get brownie points from her either, as she doesn't read my blogs. (And I said "whoooaaaahhh.")

  • This "pondering" is a little longer, so I'll go to traditional blogging format:

    Based on the saying (Augustine?)
    In essentials (the things we know for sure are of prime importance to God,) unity. In non-essentials (the things that are debateable, doubtful, not known for sure, open to interpretation,) liberty. In all things, charity (love, acceptance, care, concern).

    For the last year+ I've been pondering, wondering about, & observing how much of our Christianity (mine & yours?) has been based on our culture rather than on real faith essentials... meaning, much of what I grew up in, experienced, & have observed (& continue to) has been more a product of our country of origin, the life experiences, & the definitions, practices & traditions that have been passed down to us by our very well-meaning elders... the result ends up being a Christianity defined by what we don't do. Something that I have heard over & over & over, ad nauseam, from other Christians is "you're not doing it right" referring to how I live for Jesus; my values & convictions; my priorities & life choices. Someday, I may do a post with the top 10 "We don't do's" for American christianity, so I won't list them here... But, you know what they are, don't you :)?

    It's funny because different groups have different lists of things that they would consider to be "essentials" - my take is that if its something Jesus & the scriptures emphasized, the church has been connected with, still applies & matters regardless of your country of origin, culture & cultural experience, & technology (or lack thereof,) it might be an essential.

    Bummer. We don't associate with other "believers" that aren't as enlightened as us. That we "do it" or "don't do it" right, while others don't. Don't believe it? Read the yellow pages, in the ad section for churches. Check out how we differentiate ourselves from other churches. Usually by the "We don't's". Hmmm.

    It gets me to thinking about my perspective, the point of view that I have. Is it godly? Or have I created my own god in my own image, one who reflects me, my likes & dislikes, my preferences? Am I espousing a theoretical christianity that nothing to do with living a godly life? Or is the "godliness" I proclaim more closely tied to epic, stoic, &/or ascetic belief systems?

    Freedom. It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. Are we free? Or are we bound to religious traditions & practices that lead more to the exaltation of self than the glorification of Jesus Christ?

    2 launchings into the blogosphere....:

    shontell said...

    I met a Nigerian pastor who now oversees a local church. He was commenting on how strange it is for him to see so many traditions that were originally started out of need. He used to example of the turban. He said, in Africa especially, turbans began because it was hot and the sand blew in their eyes. Now people are so attached to them and use them as a part of their religion. While I quickly agreed with his point and judgmentally thought to myself how silly people are for being sheep, it later made me think there are probably things I STILL do only because of religious tradition rather than in obedience to God. sigh

    Jen in Budapest said...

    P. Louie....enjoyed the time here in the states. Looks like I will go back Sept. 5th so if you have a moment and want to get together, let me know. I've enjoyed time at Hillside. What a great community of believers. Love it. Thanks for including me and making me always feel welcome...Love and blessings to the Hillside family.