Must be nice…

You’re probably familiar with this phrase or some close derivative of it:

  • x,y,z never happens to me…
  • I’d do anything to have something like this…
  • Wish I were so lucky…
  • I never win/get anything…

I’m sure you could add several other ones to this list. We’re all guilty of these types of responses and have been the recipient of them as well.

 

With social media taking the place of so many other forms of communications these types of statements seem to be on the rise. I think it is due to a couple of things. First, we’ve become much like the ancient Egyptians where we only record our victories (successes and positives) as opposed to a balanced view of our personal history/story. Secondly, when we encounter our social media threads we find ourself envious of the ideal life that we’ve pieced together from all the ‘great‘ things happening in everyone’s lives around us.

What would it look like if our first responses to good news for others was NOT to compare our own situation but instead to celebrate the favor that they’ve gained?

Our behavior on social media often reminds me a bit of a biblical story of ‘The Prodigal Son‘ where the one brother returns and the other’s response is something along the lines of, “but I never get to…” When we insert ourselves into these moments for other people we’re often guilty of stealing some of the joy, redemption, happiness that they were to receive. Just imagine if the older brother’s response would’ve been to contribute to the party and celebration as opposed to detracting from the moment?

So let’s challenge one another to celebrate the good that befalls our neighbor, cherish the moments of success of our friends, heap gladness onto the fortune of our family members. Let’s learn to bask in the glow of each others joy.

 

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#ThingsJesusNeverSaid

Hashtag-Comic

Right now as I type, the inter-webs is still blowing up along the hashtag #ThingsJesusNeverSaid – This is a very clever thing. A place for progressive Christians, non-Christians, and conservative Christians to sling the proverbial spit and mud at their blind counterparts in 140 characters or less.

I have to admit many of the posts made me chuckle. Many made me angry. Many more made me quite sad. Again we’ve found a way to rob our ‘one anothers’ from civil discourse and meaningful dialogue. We continue to pursue biting memes and short-hand kvetching as opposed to sincere conversation.

We can stand around pointing fingers all day long but on this day (It is ‘Good Friday’ as I write) no fingers were being pointed by Jesus. In fact on this day Jesus said very few things…one of the more profound things that the New Testament declares he said is, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

It breaks my heart that the church that is to be known for its ‘love of one another’ is instead trotting around and showing its disdain for one another. This is always the danger of taking a religion that had a communal concept of life and salvation and allowing it to transition into a faith that is all about personal salvation and personal gain/growth. If we could only return to the time when the church was in it together…not to win rhetorical dance-offs but rather a time when the heart of the faithful was about lifting the oppressed, serving the marginalized, caring for the downtrodden.

Jesus, it is said, died for the entire world…not for those we like or agree with. Jesus exposes power structures that rob others of their fullness of life. Jesus served the oppressed in order that their hope might be restored.

The irony of #ThingsJesusNeverSaid is that most folks sincerely believe that Jesus is in full agreement with their quips. I find it hard to imagine that Jesus, who fought for the dignity of ALL people, would side specifically with any of us in our foray into Twitter fame.

Put down your hashtags…put aside your polemics…lift up your neighbor whether they are gay or straight, conservative or liberal, male or female, fundamentalist or progressive, religious or not, optimistic or pessimistic, friend or enemy.

Because the one thing we are assured of in the Gospels is that Jesus did say to “love our enemies” and on this particular Holiday we are even called to remember that Jesus not only loved them he also stood before G_d asking on their behalf for their forgiveness. May we learn something from this day of remembrance.

Peace to you and yours. Remember: Agreement should never be a prerequisite for loving others.

Look Around Us

When we remember that the Christ dwells in each and every person around us (Mt. 25.31-46) – we are compelled to stop and remove our shoes for where ‘they’ stand is Holy Ground.

Whether ‘they’ are our friend or foe, in agreement or disagreement the Christ is in them and we should be compelled to serve them.

Next time we wonder, “Where is the LORD?” We should just look around us.

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