Thursday, February 24, 2011

Unpacking Camino: Part 2

Because it is very late and I need to get some other stuff done, this will be a short one.  I just want to reflect for a moment on the impact of knowing you are being prayed for.  My heart is never so touched as when I know that someone has been praying for me--especially when I realize that there are numerous people, many of whom I've never even met, praying for me.  The warmth shown to me and my fellow viajeros this past weekend is unmeasurable.  So, if you have been praying for someone, be sure and let them know.  Their knowing may accelerate the effects of your prayer, and may inspire them to pray for you or someone else as well.

If you are reading this, I have said a prayer for you.  I pray that God touches you in just the way you need to be touched.  I also pray that you will be blessed by having friends and family who pray for you by name on a regular basis.

Des Colores!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Unpacking Camino: Part 1

I've just returned from a journey.  More accurately, I've just begun a journey.  This past weekend I attended Camino at my church and was bombarded day and night with many emotions.  Over the next few days I will be unpacking my experience publicly because apparently I'm a masochist.  As a side effect, I hope that you can look to my experience and maybe see a little of yourself.  Or, perhaps, you will gain from this in some way.  Or, you might get a little dark satisfaction at my spiritual "squirming."  Whatever the case may be, sit back and enjoy...

This weekend was truly the first weekend in which have had (read "taken") the time to do some serious soul searching and self reflection in at least a year.  I'm guessing, though, it's been more like five.  The thing that most likely keeps me from doing so on a regular basis is that I often do not like what I see.

If you are black, white, red, yellow, too skinny, too fat, too short, too tall, not religious enough, too religious, not good looking enough, too good looking, not intelligent enough, too intelligent, too quiet, too boisterous, too gay, too straight, too somewhere in between, too rich, too poor, too ambitious, too lazy, drink too much, or don't drink enough; chances are, I have said something hurtful to or about you at some time--all while feeling just wonderful about myself.

Problem is, those of us "churched" people sometimes get a little too good for our own good.  We say to ourselves, "I attend regularly, sing all the right songs, serve on the right committees, and give the right amount of time/money."  What we don't see is that while we're sitting there patting our own backs, thinking we're all that, Satan is whispering "Amen" in our little ears, while people around the world are struggling with serious issues like Cancer, Addiction, Abuse, the Death of a Loved One, and a myriad other hurts.

So, here comes the first of several public apologies that I imagine will be issued over the coming days.  To God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit:  I am sorry for neglecting to love those around me in the way you have asked me to, and for failing to reflect the love you have for each of us.  To all the previously mentioned folks above:  I am sorry for neglecting to love you in a way that reflects the true love that our Creator has shown US ALL!  I hope that my thoughtlessness, ignorance, and, at times, down-right meanness has not been a stumbling block for you.  If it has, I owe you a second, deeply-felt apology as well.

If you are reading this and saying to yourself, "What is this fool talking about?" I'm grateful.  Either you have an immense amount of Grace, or you've been lucky enough to have somehow missed an attack from me.

I pray that this feeling of utter humility stays with me for more than just a few days.  As Christians, we are called to show the world what GOD looks and acts like.  I hope not another person looks at me and says, "God must be a judgmental, smug, prideful little man."  If that is the case, I will have truly failed my God.