Dear Mr. Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

You have inspired me! I watched the recent republican debate and after watching for some time, you helped me decide where to cast my vote. Yes, you have inspired me, but perhaps not in the way you intended.

I will admit, there have been times in my life when I have felt passionate about a topic or situation and in that passion, I have said or done things that did not bring out the best in me. So I get it. I get your passion to want to win the trip to the White House. However, I am grateful that I learned from my poor behavior and have both grown up and moved on. I also learned that with true passion, comes some level of moderation. I can still be passionate about a cause or viewpoint, but I don’t have to become a bully to get my point across.

My father taught me long ago when I was in elementary school, that bullies are really just cowards. He said, “They may look tough on the outside, but on the inside…they are just a scared little kid.” So, my question Mr. Trump is, “What are you so afraid of? Are you afraid of not being noticed? Are you afraid of losing control? It certainly seems like you are tap dancing in the street desperately crying out for attention. And so the media follows your show.

Having said all of the above, I realize that I don’t dislike you as much as I pity you. You claim to be wealthy, but in reality…you are spiritually bankrupt. Your treatment of people is consistently from the standpoint of bully and your behavior escalates when you are afraid you won’t be noticed.

So, how have you inspired me? You have inspired me to unfurl my fist and stretch out my hand to welcome the stranger. You have inspired me to be more outspoken about the equal treatment and respect of women. You may have even inspired me to become financially wealthy so I can give the money away to an immigrant or refugee family fleeing other bullies in our world.

Your behavior is evidence that we definitely live in a hurting world and so I endeavor to become more compassionate. You have most importantly perhaps, inspired me to care more about the political process than I ever have before. Why? Because we do live in a hurting country and world and those who follow you for more than entertainment value, are scared and hurting too. They are so scared in fact, they believe the illusion that the only way to feel safe is to let the bully beat up the bad guy.

I don’t think you want America to be great Mr. Trump. I think YOU want to be great and the more you lose your grip on that possibility, the more scared (and bully like) you become. So thanks. Thanks for inspiring me to really pay attention and to use my voice (in whatever way I can) to encourage other Americans to not allow bullies like you to run our country. I also want to encourage Americans not to tolerate political leaders who like five year olds, are determined to hold their breath and turn blue (shutting down the government) until they get their way.

It’s time we ALL grow up and move on from kindergarten. Maybe if we all choose love rather than hate, compassion rather than intolerance, humility rather than pride, we will continue to be a great nation. I don’t think you want to be President Mr. Trump, I think you want to be Emperor so you can be great. And a small voice in the crowd cries out, “Look! The emperor wears no clothes!”

Posted in Life | 1 Comment

The short runs

Only the best of the best qualify for the Boston Marathon. They make it that far because along the way, they have practiced “the short runs.” Over time, they build up the strength and endurance to run the big race. The best of the best were in Boston with families and friends on Monday.

I couldn’t help but think of my son when I heard the horrible news of the bombings in Boston. He’s a runner. He is also a goal setter. I have never known my son to set a goal and not complete it. In a few short years, he could probably qualify for such a race. Perhaps thinking of my son, the runner, was the reason I immediately connected with my family as soon as I heard the news. I wanted to tell them how much I loved them and cared for them. I think we all may have felt the need to reach out to those near and dear to our hearts in our collective time of shock and grief.

The heroic and compassionate acts of so many runners, townspeople and emergency staff in Boston, reminded me that the marathon of life is won only because of the many “short runs” we have completed in our lifetime. The short runs are what make the difference  in order to become the best of the best.

What are the short runs? Small acts of kindness exhibited by the goodness of human kind like those we witnessed in Boston that day. Caring for those most in need with less than a thought for personal safety, hugging a grieving parent who just lost their child, giving a coat to a cold, cramping, shivering runner without asking for it to be returned, holding the hand of the desperately wounded telling them to “hang on.”

I was not at that race, but it certainly woke me up to the value of the “short runs” in this marathon called life. In a time of despair and doubt this week, I needed a reminder of what it really means (for me anyway) to run the good “short runs” of life. For me it means speaking up for those who are mistreated or abused, standing for justice and truth even when the world accuses me of being abrasive, giving food and clothing to homeless friends, offering a compassionate listening presence to a customer buying a sympathy card as she  grieves the recent murder of  two good friends.

Short runs.

I don’t know if I will ever qualify for the Boston Marathon. I doubt it. My son…quite possibly. Regardless, I know one thing for sure. I will never make it through this marathon called life by avoiding the short runs, those small acts of kindness that I can offer along the way.

Lifting heartfelt prayers for the victims and grieving families. I also offer my deepest gratitude to those who modeled simple acts of kindness and displayed God’s light in a time of darkness.

I pray that more of us will endeavor to run “the short runs” so we may all be called the best of the best as we cross the finish line of this marathon called life.

Cindy

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I should have listened

His bony finger poked me sharply. “They will crucify you!” He stabbed me again with his sharp finger, his nail cutting into my shoulder.” You are a truth-teller…and that’s what they do to truth-tellers…this church will crucify you!”

Those were the words of a homeless man some thirteen years ago. I ran into him after a meeting at a local church. The meeting was a collaboration of people who were interested in the rights of homeless people. I had just spoken the truth about a situation that was less than helpful to our (as I called them) “guests” in the homeless community. There was, at least an attempt by the church to try to do something about it. Telling the truth, as I saw it, was part of the process.

At the time, I had not had the privilege of learning more about how to interact with homeless people who struggled with mental illness. I had no clue how to respond to this man. I simply thought to myself (and I’m ashamed to admit this now that I’ve learned more about mental illness) that he was just crazy and in desperate need of meds!

I should have listened. Something inside of me whispered, “He’s right…you’re on dangerous ground.” I should have listened…but I didn’t. I continued to tell the truth over the years in times and places where the “truth” would not be heard. In fact, the truth, as told…would come back to bite me in the…well, need I say more?

Interestingly enough, there were more homeless folks with mental illness who told more “truth” to me over the years, than the “helpers” in the community. There was a desperation in them, a desperate need for healing and an overwhelming re-offense by some in the community who were “supposed” to be helping them, at least according to the Gospel I know.

The bottom line was, this man knew something. He was, as I see now in hindsight, displaying the prophetic. He knew something as he stood on those grounds and repeatedly jabbed me with his sharp fingernail. He knew something and was trying to warn me and thank me at the same time. I should have listened. Little did I know that twelve years later, his words would become reality. It was then, that he became the sane one and I was tossed into the world of crazy.

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The Walking Wounded

I was on my way to work this morning and noticed a man coming toward me on the sidewalk. He walked with a slow gate and was limping a bit. As I looked closer, I saw a brace on his left leg. It seems he had a knee injury. As we greeted one another, I was reminded of the number of (what I call) the “walking wounded” in our churches today. Those who are grieving or hungry or unemployed or divorced or have been chastised by some well meaning Christian…or…or…well…you get my point.

I couldn’t help but wonder how many people in our church today are also limping through life, in a spiritual sense.  So many people attend church and carry deep hurts and wounds and yet they feel they need to put on that happy perky Christian face so they appear to have (as they have been told by the church)  “enough faith” or “a confident trust” or “true depth of Spirit.”

What a disservice we do as Christians when we ask how someone is (in church) and they respond with a curt “fine.” Yet, we never pay attention to how the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ who is supposed to reside in Christians) may be prompting us to use our gift of mercy, or encouragement or discernment or better yet…the gift of healing!

Now some folks reading my comments here might think it’s time to buy me one of those white jackets with the sleeves that tie in the back. But quite frankly, I’m serious.

If Jesus is our model (if you are a professed Christian) then why is it that we have fallen so short in the church today, of following His ways? Why is it that we put on a happy, perky Christian “face” (façade) when the truth is…we may not be so happy? Why is it that so many of our fellow church members are willing to settle for woundedness? (ours AND perhaps theirs!) Is it because they don’t know how to deal with the wounds? Is it because they are trying to be politically correct and mind their own business? Is it because self pride tells them they don’t need God and they can handle their problems on their own?

Who knows?

My point is, if we are truly following the way of Christ and developing as disciples of Christ, then we should be using our gifts to help others. If we have been given (by God) the gift of mercy, shouldn’t we be giving a cup of coffee to a homeless person in our neighborhood ourselves instead of writing a check to a long distant mission a safe 6,000 miles away? (aka sanitized giving) If we have been given the gift of discernment and a heart for justice shouldn’t we be able to tell when corporations are cheating their investors and say something about it? Or are we so convinced that the little guy (or gal) can’t do anything about the BIG guy (corporate America) (The story of David and Goliath might be a good read right about now!) that we have somehow lost our courage to speak up when we see our own employers cheating or telling a lie?

I debated about quoting scripture in only my second blog entry, but the point is valid. Revelations 3:15 in reference to the Church in Laodicea says. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

God’s point here is that He is not impressed with the lukewarm church…the church that doesn’t take a commitment to Christ seriously. What are we (each) willing to give up for the sake of Christ? There will come a time in the future, when we are asked to give up far more than we may realize for the sake of our faith. Are we ready for that task? Are we up for the challenge? Trust me, lukewarm won’t cut it during such times.

The Message Bible reference to this scripture states the point a bit more simply: “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot-far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stagnant.”

Personally, I think it’s time for the church to move away from stagnant and seek the living water. It’s time for the church  to find refreshment by welcoming the Holy Spirit into worship. When we count the number of minutes our services are supposed to last, or we make sure we don’t choose the wrong hymn because the wealthy church going doctor might not put as much in the offering plate (because he hates that song!)…we’re doing it wrong! We have, as church, missed the mark. We are wallowing in stagnant waters.

It took courage for Jesus to turn over the tables of the moneychangers in the temple. It most likely took courage for Jesus to ask the Samaritan woman for a drink of water (since Jews were to avoid Samaritans like the plague!)

If Jesus is our true model, isn’t it time to ramp up on the courage? It takes courage today to expose our wounds, to welcome the stranger, the divorced, the homeless, the destitute into our pretty pristine church buildings. It takes courage to tell our boss no when s/he asks us to falsify the data on a report. It takes courage to speak up for children who are being abused. The bottom line is, it takes courage to be a TRUE Christian!

It takes courage to admit that some folks who have never set foot in a church really have a greater anointing and show deeper love than many “Christians” warming the pews on Sundays. I’ve known (and experienced) so called “Christians” (see me making air quotes as I type this!) who (for the sake of the law of Christ) have inflicted far more wounds than offered healings…and that my friends, is not okay!  (And yes, I include myself in this accusation as well.) I am grateful to be able to turn around and go a new direction (the definition of repent by the way)  and I pray the same for our churches.

It should be our purpose to HEAL those who come to church, not create more “walking wounded.”  As members of the TRUE Church, we should do what Jesus commanded us to do. “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

I really would like some fresh water in our churches. You know, that “living water” that Jesus told the Samaritan woman about.  I’m tired of the stagnant…politically correct, let’s not rock the boat, don’t stir the (stagnant) waters church.

I suppose saying all of this takes a little courage. It’s not much, but it’s a start for this reluctant prophet.

More courage and Living water to each of you!

Peace,

Cindy

Posted in Spiritual Life | 2 Comments

The whys and what fors

I have always liked to write. I promised myself when I was semi retired (and let’s pretend that I am for the moment) I would write. Writing, for me is a cathartic art. You will notice that I am not overly concerned about proper grammar and proper word formatting. Maybe that is because I’m not concerned about rules. In fact, I like to believe that I’m more of a rule breaker, than a rule follower. The same is true with my writing. So, there you have “the why.”

I’m going to express the words and visions and stirrings of God’s Spirit within me. Needless to say, like Jeremiah, I will also vent a bit. Hopefully readers of this blog will be able to receive not only the encouragement offered here, but also the frustrations expressed. I believe God is a bit frustrated with the “church.” (lower case “c” intentional) and that topic brings me to my title. The Reluctant Prophet.

The title of my blog is a spin on the book by Fleetwood Range, The Reluctant Spiritual Director. This was one of the first books I read when I began my ministry in the Art of Spiritual Direction. I loved the book, because like the author, I was hesitant at first about the calling…the calling to listen for the deeper heart of God in those I met with. In addition, I absolutely loved the title of the introduction of Range’s book. “Warning! Hazardous Material!” I have a sense I need to make a note to the readers of this blog that so too, some of the material in these writings may be perceived as “Hazardous Material.” Of course, that depends upon whether you agree with what I share here or not. It is hazardous in the sense that many ears will not be able to hear, and many eyes will not see. Nonetheless, I’m called to write and to share what is on my heart and in my spirit. And so we begin.

I welcome you here and hope in some way, you are encouraged and that with each post, you question what it is that God is calling you to pay close attention to. Sometimes, I will be writing more personal thoughts. Other times, I will share what God is speaking to my heart and then there will be times when I will simply Be Still and know that God is God…and I am not.

May you, the reader be blessed to do the same in your own life.

Peace,
Cindy

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