Friday, August 22, 2014

Why the wet-blanket on the ALS Ice Bucket challenge?

Several social media sites have similar images, as the one above.  What's up with the hashtag: #NoIceBucketChallenge?

My wife accepted the #ALS ice bucket challenge, and "called out" a few of her friends.  I've been called out a few times, and though you are supposed to do the challenge in 24 hours, I'm sure I will, but I have twist I want to add.

BTW, I don't feel any responsibility to defend or critique the ALS challenge, but I find it interesting that people are upset about it (what do you think is the reason behind the naysaying?).  I think people dislike the ALS challenge because THEY THINK it's too easy or a bandwagon thing and it's a distraction from some of the other world problems we have going on, like the recent riots in Ferguson MO, Putin's activity in the Ukraine, the war in the Gaza strip, or journalists being beheaded.

If my assumptions are accurate, then the people who are upset about the ALS challenge are narrow minded -- in the sense that they forget the world will always have problems and it's hard to focus on them all or highlight them all at once.  I like the saying, "Do for one where you can, what you wish you could do for the many."  If we only focused on patching up "all or none" then nothing would ever be better...

As for my twist, I think I'll wait till the middle of this winter to do the ice bucket challenge.  I think this for two reasons.  By this winter I think a lot of people will be on to something else and it will be a good reminder.  Secondly, it will remind me of the polar bear plunge.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Releasing a painful past

Mosaic art is interesting, because it's an art that utilizes brokenness.  Instead of discarding shattered pieces of pottery or glass, the artist makes a new creation out of the "worthless" broken material.  

Probably the most painful damage we suffer in this life is self-inflicted.  When we re-hash our mistakes or the mistakes of others against us, and we replay those old scenes over & over again in our minds, we will never find freedom from the past that's haunting us.

You can't hope to punish others or yourself and hope for fulfilment simultaneously; you must choose one or the other.  You can either continue to re-live your past, or you can build a new future, but you can't have both.

You may think I'm talking about forgiveness, and in a sense you're right.  But I expect you've read enough about forgiveness to know you can't expect an instant miracle.  You expect to feel free and renewed but you aren't yet.  What's wrong with you, or God, you might ask.  Maybe you can't overcome the past because you still see all the pain and the destructiveness of that horrible chapter in your life, and your imagination and attention is still glued to the mistakes which were played out in your past.  Until we go through the stages of forgiveness, like admitting we hate the offender (for awhile) and getting past the hate to see the humanness in all off ourselves, and then forming a desire to move on, we are going to stay "stuck" somewhere along the way.  

How do I get over "it" and move on?  There are several answers, most you've already heard.  Let me throw out one maybe you haven't thought of.  God is referred to as a potter in the Scripture, you know, "He is the potter and we are the clay."  I want you to think of an analogy, that of a mosaic.  Pick up the broken pieces of your life and make them into something more beautiful than you had before the trainwreck happened.  

How can we do that?  One piece at a time.  Patiently.  And by God's hand.  If your hand is jealously clinging tightly to broken pieces of the past, so tight your blood is oozing between your fingers, how can God or anyone help you transform your tragedy?  Use those bloody shards as a palate of colors to create a piece so glorious, it casts a brighter light than your darkest past ever could have.