Monday, November 16, 2020

Removing The Altar From Its Sacred Place

As we come to our fire-pit this week, we see it much clearer than it was before, but it still has plenty to be removed.

This week, we work on our religious debris. Same as other things, some of what we pull out just needs to be cleaned up and will end up going back into our pit. Other things will need to be thrown out altogether. 

What do we need to remove, then?

Let’s start with the obvious. All ideas and beliefs, no matter how sure we are about their truth, need to be removed from our pit. Everything to do with our current faith, if we have one, needs to go. Every reason for lack of faith needs to go as well. 

Traditions that go with that faith also need to be removed. 

And there are other things that need to be removed with these items as well. 

Patriotism is near to religious ideas in their fervor. Remove everything to do with patriotism, and love of your country and the things about it. 

Also, individualism needs to go. If you feel dependent upon yourself for anything, toss this one out of the pile.

Anything that you place in some position to save you in any part of your life is in the religious category of debris, which means it needs to be removed this week. 

And with it, with everything else we have been discussing, is your worldview. Your worldview is the mental and emotional lens through which you view everything around you. It is how you identify what is right, good, trustworthy, beneficial, and what is not. That needs to go. 

Don’t worry, your pit won’t be missing these things long. Once we get the pit cleared out, we will build up a strong, hot fire that is good and useful. But for now, we keep cleaning… next week.

Monday, November 9, 2020

What Goes In, Must Get Out

We have already done a lot of work cleaning out this pit of beliefs that we have, and it is looking better. But, there is more work to be done. Today, we remove the things that entertain us.

Let’s face it. We tend to get bored easily. So bored, in fact, that the average American spends nearly 50 days per year on their phone, picking it up 58 times per day! And that is just the phone. That doesn’t count the other devices, like tablets, computers, and televisions that bring us our entertainment. 

We consume all types of entertainment: Social Media, News, Singing/ Dancing, Music, Cat Videos, Tik Tok Challenges, Nature, Anime, Cooking, Horror, Drama, Sitcoms, Documentaries, Reality, People Watching, Musicals, Sex, Theatre, Sports, Fighting, Politics, Comedy, Preachers, and the list goes on seemingly forever. And frankly, I don’t feel like listing anymore. You get the idea. There are many things that can entertain us, and we must remove them from our fire-pit. They don’t belong there, and they usually extinguish the fire, so let’s just remove them. 

That's some hard work, so we'll stop there today.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Trading out Politics and Economy

We stand here looking at our fire pit of beliefs. We really want to see our beliefs burn hot. We want to get this fire started. 

But instead of the properly prepared foundation, we still have a mess of things that includes things that are good, things that are too big for the fire to start with, and things that don’t burn at all. And then there are the things that are toxic if burned. 

We have spent a couple weeks now pulling cultural debris out of the pile. We have found some treasures. And we have found some garbage. 

Last week we discussed civil issues. This week, we remove the political ones. 

The big election is coming up in one week, so you may not think this the best time to be pulling this out of the pit, but trust me - it’s for the best. But the candidates - but our country - our nation’s soul - trust me, it is for the best. 

We have such strong political opinions based in culture. Every part of culture feeds our political opinions. In this pit, we find most of this cultural stuff tangled together. It needs to be separated, cleaned up, and then placed back in the pit at the right time, with purpose in mind. So, for now at least, it goes.

And with it, economics. 

“Money makes the world go round.” so the saying goes. But economics is about so much more than money. It is about how you interact and trade the resources at your disposal.

Land, food, clothing, transportation, labor, tools, parts, raw materials, ideas, drugs, sex, power, influence, control, time, and on the list goes. If someone has something and needs something else, and another person can fulfill their needs by meeting the other’s needs, then economy is born.

Money is a tool that summarizes the many resources, and makes trade easier. But economy is about so much more. 

So look at what you need. Look at what you give in exchange for those needs. That is your economy. And your entire economy needs to be pulled from the pit. 

Your economy extends from you and your family, friends, and employer on up to a global scale. Think and and similar sites. Oh, and the local superstore. Take that and remove it as well. You need to examine and define your fit into the economy. So let’s remove that for now. 

That’s it for today. It was a lot, but it was good. Next week we will continue to clean out the pit so it will be ready to build a spectacular fire. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Removing the Social Blocks

 Now that we have cleared out the scientific advancement from our belief fire pit, let’s move on to social issues. 

“But there are some serious issues here that really need to be dealt with!”, you are screaming at me (through your computer screen.)

And so they will. But not today. Everything needs to be pulled out of this mess of a fire pit, before the right things can be put in, in proper order. So let’s do this.

Right now we are approaching the end of what seems to many to be the worst year in human history. I’m not here to debate that claim, but rather to point out a few pertinant things that contribute to that claim. 

At the top of this list is COVID-19. It is a virus that I wish were as viral as this blog (not very) but it is exactly opposite. It is a highly contagious virus that can range in severity from no symptoms whatsoever to death, and the effects don’t end when the virus is defeated; they can linger for a long time, and then you can get reinfected. So across the world, in an attempt to reduce the number of infected and dead people, we have been isolated from each other by advice and mandate, which brings us to the next issue.

The government: is it our saviour? Is it our executioner? Is it a benefactor? Is it a thief? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it…?

The government is mandating a lot of unusual things right now and it is talking about giving out money as well. We also have judges up for nomination. And we are trying to get everyone in the country (United States of America - It’s my home, so that is what I talk about). Oh, and the elections are fast approaching where we will be deciding who the next President will be, as well as deciding who controls the legislature. A lot is going on in our government. Exciting times. 

And along with the governmental distrust that many on both sides of the political aisle carry, there are huge questions in the realm of civil rights. The ever present black/ white issue persists in what is very much a gray area. LGBTQ+ community is striving for increased recognition under the political and social civil rights banner. Immigration  keeps coming into our view as one after another human rights violation accusation is made. And let’s not forget that half of the people in the groups mentioned and the ones unmentioned are grouped together in another fight for equality while men and women together are raising voices for those without functioning vocal chords. 

And let us not forget that poverty persists, with homelessness in tow. 

And drugs and alcohol are still used to make highs, higher, induce memory loss, bring hope, and other reasons for their use.

And the list of social issues goes on. You know what social issues raise your eyebrows and get you going. 

Take those, and toss them out of this pile. Right now, they are in the way and will keep your fire from burning as bright as it should. 

And next week, we will remove more from our pile.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Dragging off Culture

 An important note before we begin. Everything comes out now. We will rebuild this over the next few weeks with what should be there. But for now, we need to be intentional about thoughtfully clearing out the clutter from our belief system. 

So let’s begin with cultural beliefs. These are beliefs that we accept from family, places, groups, media, books, radio, teachers, textbooks, politicians, civic leaders, etc. all around us as we grow from infancy up through childhood, teenage years, young adulthood, middle age, old, ancient, and on. It is what informs our background, shapes our subconscious perceptions and decisions. We rarely know or understand all of how culture has affected us, but today we look at that a little bit. Even your language is a product of your culture, and affects how you think and what you believe. So let’s begin thinking through this.

Let’s start with scientific advancement. Every culture has some degree of this. Humans, from the beginning of our known existence have been fashioning tools to enable us to do more with what we have. A recent name for this is scientific advancement. We research, find out why things happen as they do, and develop technologies and tools based on our new understanding. And each culture has particular technologies and tools that arise from where and who they are as a group of humans. 

Some examples for the sake of this post will include the internet, which fosters the spreading of all kinds of ideas, information, and affects every other aspect of culture. We also include such theories as evolution and such.

Within our belief system, these all need to go, at least for the moment. All tools that we build to serve us are under us and should not be in the belief system. And, for the moment, explanations for the origin of life need to be removed, so that we can intentionally and thoughtfully work through these issues in a way that works with other parts of our belief system, when we get to it.

That’s it for now. We will look more at culture next week.

Monday, October 5, 2020

First Glimpses of the Fire Pit

So we come to it. We want to get a fire going. It will warm us, protect us, help us to see. It will look pretty, be mesmerizing, sound hypnotic, and be generally amazing. Oh, and it will be dangerous. Very dangerous. A fire is not something to treat flippantly. 

So we come to it. And it is a mess. The fire pit is a mess. Over time, while we were not using it, paying attention, taking care of it, it developed into a mess. It has garbage, sticks, logs, ash, charred pieces of things long since burned. 

It is not as simple as taking a match or lighter to this pile of random garbage - at least not if you want a good, useful fire. 

So we begin the process of preparing the pit so that we can build a good, healthy fire. We take the garbage, and sticks and logs and charred remains of old fire, and we remove everything from the pit so it is clear and clean. 

Once the pit is clear, we can begin to build the fire. But that is for a different post.

Like the fire, what we believe will warm us, will protect us, help us see our lives more clearly. It will look pretty, be mesmerizing, sound hypnotic, and be generally amazing. Oh, and it will be dangerous. Very dangerous. A belief is not something to treat flippantly.

So we come to it. Our system of beliefs is frequently ignored, except to throw more things into the pile. In the time since we last paid attention, it has turned into a mess. Pieces of different ideas that we burned through, new thoughts that never got processed, clever ideas that don’t fit with anything else, practices of various faiths and worship practices whose foundations we have either never known or have long forgotten. 

It is not as simple as just picking up a new set of beliefs just because we think they might be correct. We have to clear the old stuff out before we can begin to build a healthy, good, belief system. 

This is difficult, because there are a lot of heavy things on this pile. And some of it can go back in, even though a lot of it will just be tossed out. So let’s get to it. Next time, we will look at the process we will use to clear out our figurative fire pit, and then after that we will take a few of the big things out. 

After we have cleared it out sufficiently, we will start building the fire up and get it ready to light. 

And then we will move on from there. 

See you next week.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Cleaning the Fire Pit

This weekend, I had the opportunity to start a fire in an old fire pit. This round, metal fire pit has not been used much at all in the several years my in-laws have lived at the house. But on Saturday, I got to start a fire in it. And there was a lot of stuff on it - wet, damp, large, small, dry, leaves, sticks, logs - a lot of stuff indeed. And we also collected stuff from the yard, and then brought other stuff to help start the fire.

And so I began my craft, forming the clutter into a shape I thought would work. Then I lit it, and it died quickly. I adjusted some stuff, and lit it again. And again, it didn't stay lit. After several more attempts, I was getting very frustrated, as I am pretty good at starting fires (Thanks Elkhart Boy Scout Troop 1).

Finally, I cleared everything from the pit so I could start it the right way.

Sometimes, as Christians even, we have some old, wet, unusable (for now anyway) clutter in our souls and minds and lives. Then we ask God to light us up with passion for him and his will, and are surprised when not a whole lot happens. We need to be decluttered. But we cannot really do it ourselves. That is the work of the one who knows how we work; who knows how to light up our souls.

So ask him to declutter you. Ask him to clean away what needs to be removed in order for you to live life more abundantly. Or maybe you just need to give him permission. Either way, now is a great time to do it.

Prayer of the day:

Lord, you made me and you know me.
You know what drives me and you light my fire inside.
Please clear out whatever is inside me putting the fire out.
Please place your Holy Spirit in me to light up my soul in you.
In the name of Jesus I pray,