How Dare You?

Are you an investor?  I think it must take a lot of nerve to put large sums of money into stuff and then hope that someday it’ll pay off! I suppose it’s kind of like the lottery, they say you can’t win if you don’t play but there are others who believe that you can’t lose what you don’t bet…I’ve been told that relationships are work, as if they’re a task or a job that has to be done and that may be true…it would explain why so many don’t work! I think it’s also true that you first must venture something before it’s possible to see a return of it, let alone to see a return on it! We sow seeds hoping for a crop and although there’s a reasonable expectation of a result it’s still not a for sure thing. I’m drawing comparisons here to various things that involve risk so that I can talk about what most people perceive to be the greatest one of all,

loving people!

Allow me to clarify, I feel as though I need to because there are so many concepts people have about what that means. I’m talking about the type of love that can and most likely will cost you everything. The type that never stops to count the cost before acting or that leaves no room for compromise or half measures.  It’s an all consuming obsession that’s primarily characterized by selflessness and a concern for what’s in the best interest of it’s “object” which of course is so much more than a thing to them…

it’s their everything! 

Many people practice a much more conditional definition of love as in,

“I love you as  long as times are good or until you do something I disapprove of.”

Another common example is the idea that I love you until it becomes inconvenient for me or until my feelings for you result in a “heartache” on my part at which point we’re through. Some people do see love as an investment, and as such they have some very definite ideas about what they expect in return and while I do believe that love always comes back to us I don’t think that anyone truly gives love only because of what they expect to receive in return.

Having said that I’d also like to say that even though expecting a return on our love investment is not in character, that when we do give, sow, invest, or commit ourselves to truly loving someone the return is guaranteed! Perhaps not in the way we might expect or from the person whom we’ve loved but just as the rising sea levels of a harbor lifts all ships we benefit from bringing more love into the world! Like am electrical wire with current flowing through it, we’re warmed by it’s passage!

I’d like to be able to say that I’ve loved that way, but what Robin Williams said about loving something more than yourself kind of left me hollow, I find it’s quite a struggle for me to love something more than I fear being rejected by it…

I’m also floored to know that this is how God loves each of us, except it’s actually so much more than I can even comprehend. He sent His only Son Jesus to be our redeemer even though I’m sure He knew that many would reject this supreme act of love!

Thank You Father for Your infinite love, please change my heart to allow Your love to shine through me more, and for me to see the fear in my life for the liar that it is!

Do I dare?

How dare you?

It’s Only Money!

For anything of real value in this world there’s always a counterfeit. Something that has the appearance of the genuine article but is actually nothing but a cheap imitation. It may look, smell or even provide us with comparable performance in the short term but that’s usually where the similarities end.

Money is kind of like that, many people often mistake it for love or happiness…

Can you imagine anyone purposely choosing a fake Rolex watch over a real one or a Cubic Zirconia over a real diamond?  You might be unaware of it but most if not all of us do something very similar to that on a daily basis!  It’s evident in some very significant aspects of our lives, from the way we treat each other on a personal level to the corporate structures we patronize. When we purchase food’s that have been commercially processed by large corporations we become part of an industry that has little or no respect for life, certainly not for the lives of the animals they inhumanely raise and slaughter or for the lives of the workers they hire for sub-standard wages to work in dangerous pesticide saturated environments and who not surprisingly also have no respect for us either! Is life sacred to you? From my perspective that’s a simple yes or no question, and if the answer is yes then the truth of that belief should extend to all life regardless of whether it’s born or unborn or walks on two feet or twenty!

Instead of approaching peoples health from a holistic perspective that takes into account the root sources of our maladies which are physical, spiritual and nutritional, we’re a nation of people who’d rather choose a pill that only masks the problem by eliminating  symptoms to some degree. We’re willing participants in a system that disrespects us by seeing our health as a business with profit as the real objective. We’d rather pay the sometimes exorbitant monetary cost and expose ourselves to the possible side effects than do the real thing which no doubt would include us making some of the different food choices and lifestyle changes as well.

Nope, hunt-uh, no thanks!

As I thought about all of this I really struggled to understand why people,myself included, seem to be more comfortable with fake than they are with real…and this is what occurred to me. Maybe it’s because before we’d be comfortable with real,which is respectful, caring and is based in ethics we’d have to insist on those same qualities in ourselves…We’d need to have a healthy self respect that wouldn’t allow us to be a part of such a thing, or consider doing the unthinkable…caring about others more than ourselves! Give us just one reason to choose something less and we’ll swoop down on it like no tomorrow which is smack dab on the doorstep of where this sort of unsustainable thinking has landed us.

We’ve chosen what we think makes economic sense, and on both a corporate and personal level we’ve gone with what will make us the biggest profit or save us the most money with not much thought being given to the long term consequences.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

I’m certainly not against people making a living and based on Paul’s writing in the above verse I don’t think he was either. It’s placing money or the power it conveys above people, to love it, which is merely a representation of value more than we do others is to sow seeds of sadness into our own lives. What we’ve failed to understand is that it is truly “Only Money” and that someday, maybe even today, we’ll live a life that reflects our accountability for the choices we’ve made.

It’s in there…

Last Friday I took off from Myrtle, Mo. on a bus trip with the F.F.A. teacher and students for a preliminary state qualifying meet in Cape Girardeau,Mo. We drove for about an hour or more and I was getting tired so I started talking to the Ag teacher about a variety of topics related to agriculture. The drought in California, soil conservation, even the mineral depletion of our soil and the resulting lack of nutritional value in commercially grown vegetables. As I drove along I began to understand that different people perceive “excellence” in different ways and that in some peoples eye’s quantity does equal quality. When it’s all about the money, (and what isn’t these days) success is seen as profits to the farmer. I certainly don’t have a problem with that but wouldn’t you know it I would have a problem with the whole idea of money being more important than people.

I was reminded of this passage from one of the greatest novels of all time…

He loved the land no more than the bank loved the land. He could admire the tractor, it’s machined surfaces, it’s surge of power, the roar of it’s detonating cylinders but it was not his tractor…The driver sat in his iron seat and he was proud of the straight lines he did not will, proud of the tractor he did not own or love, proud of the power he could not control. And when the crop grew, and was harvested, no man had crumbled a hot clod in his fingers and let the earth sift past his fingertips. No man had touched the seed, or lusted for the growth. Men ate what they had not raised, had no connection with the bread. The land bore under iron, and under iron gradually died; for it was not loved or hated, it had no prayers or curses.

John Steinbeck The Grapes Of Wrath

Look at all of the different ways we raise food in this country, giant hog farms that Iowa Governor Tom Harkin had to ask for millions of dollars to be tacked on to the stimulus bill so that they could do something about the horrendous smell there, the toxic slurry from which has done terrible damage to streams and rivers wherever they are.3269394941_1172731d7c_b

And chicken farms? we raise poultry under conditions that would land you in jail if you tried them with the family pet. Cruel just doesn’t cover what we do to chickens, it’s sickening…they’re no longer animals, they’re only seen as “stock” inventory, they’re fed hormones and antibiotics to make them grow that have harmful side effects on us when we ingest them.2163400974_2e56ab79fa_b

These are Gods creatures, do you care?

Whats my “beef” on beef? they’re unnaturally fattened on grain so that they’ll weigh more which also increases the LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) content of the meat as opposed to being pasture fed which is much healthier for us and them! Of course throw in all of the hormones and antibiotics and we’re still just scratching the surface of the problem.

My last blog was about what I see as the state of our relationship with our health care system and how similar the church’s relationship is at times to the people we’ve been “commissioned” to be reaching for Christ. I’ve been wondering lately to what degree the modern institution we call “the church” resembles that first century church. Of course I understand that things change, and that instead of home based groups of worshipers we now have mega church’s that are run like corporations.

Here’s an example of the perception of Christian corporate thinking…356825881_d59ceb3b6d_o1

The Most Offensive Church Sign I Have Ever Seen by Jacob...K.

Another “Dandy”

I looked up the definition of the word “corporate” , here’s what I found…Corporate, is a word used to describe the shift of individual responsibility or liability from individuals or from a group of people who have come together with a single minded purpose. It’s kind of like having a scapegoat to blame your rotten behavior on, a nameless,faceless,heartless, impersonal, entity.

Nature has it’s own system of checks and balances that play out in man regardless of how intelligent man thinks he is or how special he believes he is. I see corporate farming as an unethical,unnatural, unhealthy, unfortunate, reality. I think that we were meant to live close to our food source’s, to have a connection to them, to occasionally do as Steinbeck said and crumble a hot dirt clod in our hands, to perhaps have a decent regard for the animals that sustain us. When man, for whatever reason, ignores these check’s and balances, the repercussions are always against himself, in spite of his mindset that he is the rooster who climbed upon the dung heap of love to crow.

It’s all about the relationship’s we have, to our food, to other people, and most importantly to our Heavenly Father. I wonder if Steinbeck’ s motivation to write the Grapes Of Wrath was how much money he’d make on it, or any artist’s motivation for that matter…what about you?

Someday, when it’s all been said and done, what will matter most about the way you’ve lived your life? Will it be the number of zero’s in your bank account, or will it be the difference you’ve made in other peoples lives for the better.

Our system of providing food is making us sick and starving us, it’s robbing us of critical vitamins and trace minerals that either aren’t found in our foods anymore or that are lost during processing as a result of non-ripe picking, transportation, and various profit motivated activities that I covered before relating to all different types of food. It’s got a lot to do with why we’re so overweight in this country, we keep eating and eating to try and get the nutrition we need while ingesting thousands of empty calories and unneeded fats. Is it really such a shock that we’re also spiritually starving in this country too?

So, whats your deal Alton?

Are you some kind of “chronic malcontent” ?

No, What I’m trying to say here is that man has allowed satan to pervert every blessing that God has given him into some kind of carcinogenic counterfeit…

This verse applies to everything having to do with man except that which God has had to do with man.

Proverbs 16:25 (King James Version)

25There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

So, that seems to be the central question, exactly what IS in there?

Is it love? if it’s not…then Gods not in it.

Is it just “In there?” or is it in the re-lationship