I don't know what makes a person sleep better one night and then not the next. I will be the first to admit that I'm not smart enough to know anything about the brain. I guess you could say that you wouldn't want me to be wielding a knife as you slip into a drug induced sleep as you prepare for brain surgery. But, I still wonder why this is.
Yesterday, after church and after snarfing down a quick lunch from Arby's and after setting up the Celebration Center and after getting mad at my wife, then getting over it, then directing an hour and a half orchestra rehearsal, then after striking all of the stuff that I had just set up, then wielding questions from the orchestra members, then going home, then eating dinner, then watching TV I had a good night's sleep. Maybe I was just exhausted.
My wife had a migraine, which she says she hasn't had one like this since she was in middle school, so we went to bed at 9:00. I read for a bit, of course. I am reading "The Kingdom Focused Church." I'm not sure about the book. It was recommended to me. I read a paragraph that I can only paraphrase because I don't have the book in front of me. It said: we have to tell people that Christ died for them so that they don't get sucked into New Age religion or Islam or Mormonism or other false religions. What?!
First of all, how do you define "false religion?" Although I do believe in Christianity, I also believe that there is merit in questioning your faith. After all, if you don't question, how do you learn? Secondly, who ever said that Mormonism and Islam are two "false" religions. I don't know much about either, but I do believe that Mormons still believe in God and Jesus, just through a different pathway. How is that false?
Second...well, as I sit and think, I don't have a second point. I was taken off guard by this statement in the book. Can't people believe in what they want? I know that part of the Christian faith is evangelizing. I think it says that many times in the Bible...in Acts and the letters of Paul. But when did it ever come to the point that we should evangelize because we believe that all other people who aren't Christians will "fall away from the the fold" if we don't strike them over the head with holy water and pronounce them "saved?"
I don't believe in being saved. What are you being saved from? The big, black, dark pit of despair that God will send you to after you've done wrong? I don't believe that God created such a pit, since God is all about love and compassion. God IS love. God is good. Plus, how is that supposed to change you? Poof...now you believe in a God, so life is great and peachy. Here's your certificate of savedness.
A history (not a philosophy or religion) teacher I had in college said, "God is wanting you to love him. God is wanting you to follow the 11th commandment that Jesus laid down at the last supper: Love one another." I'm not sure, but I don't think it says anywhere that we are supposed to toil and, because of working for God, hit rock bottom just to get into Heaven.
I digress, of course, because I'm talking about renewal. The pastor at my church has been doing a sermon series all through Lent using the word "new:" New Name when speaking about Abraham and Sarah (Abram and Sarai), New Covenant when talking about the promises God has made through Noah and the flood, etc. He has been saying that Lent is a time of renewal...a time to quiet our "insides" and be with God. A time to follow the journey of Lent and end up with Jesus on the cross, being killed by Rome so that he could rise again and we can have renewed life.
Iowa, yes the state, is entering a period of renewal. The Supreme Court just passed a law stating that same sex couples can be married in Iowa. I read about it on the internet since I wasn't around a TV to watch it. I did watch the news when I got home. There were people crying because they had waited a long time to get married and have the same rights as straight people and there were people crying because it is against the laws of God to have same sex couples.
This makes me ill, to watch people use the name of God to say that others are bad for living the lives that they were born to live. Disagree with me if you must, but I don't understand how a pastor, on the television, on the news, where thousands of people can see him can say that God will strike the people down responsible for this travesty. I don't understand.
But it seems that in this state, we are renewing our laws and definitions of what marriage is. I applaud the state for being so bold. I applaud the state for giving same sex couples who love each other the option to have the same rights as straight couples. I think it's a renewed day in the state of Iowa.
I like having a period of renewal, whether it's because of a good night's sleep or because of the decisions of other people affecting your life. Renewal refreshes us and leads us to clearer thinking and working. I hope that you all find renewal soon.