Too Far Gone? Oh, Really?

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I would like to dedicate this blog post to calling some crap for what it is.

Did you know that saying, “I am too far gone” is one of the most prideful and arrogant things a person can say?

You heard me.

With your very own limited cranial capacity, you have decided that you are doomed. Multiple resources are available. Information that you are not aware of. And yet . . . and yet, you have decided that you are basically as good as yesterday’s trash.

That’s just a mess of crazy right there!

One of my favorite bible verses is found in the Book of Revelation, which I actually believe to be one incredibly hopeful book—despite how I get the sense it has been radically misinterpreted by those determined to see an angry, vengeful god bent on whooping some butt. Revelation 22 talks about who’s inside the walls of Heaven’s gates and who’s outside. But Revelation 21 happens to mention this one very key fact: the gates are always open. What you got here is a walled city—with gates. Open gates. The walls are there to stop anyone who wants to ruin the party from ruining the party. But, let me reiterate: it’s got open gates.

The book closes with an invitation to come!

Come! Eat! Drink!

You want inside? Let go of that sad little declaration of self-rejection. Let go of crappy self-identifiers that totally under-describe how chock full of glory you are. Put on that new outfit of what God has to say about you! It’s basically a massive hug-tackle. Acceptance. A declaration of how completely legit you are in God’s eyes. Waves and waves of love that ever crash upon you.

Don’t be a petulant, whiny little thing with a stick up your rear. Come join the party!

 

 

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Release From Shame

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This article is written or anyone dealing with that one secret that keeps your head bowed. That one memory that keeps you feeling like you are not worthy.

“Jesus sees you.”

For some, that is a terrifying phrase. Why? Because they have been taught a Jesus whose character is more akin to the devil.  A Jesus who accuses and is keen to call out sin. Not a Jesus who sees the beauty in a person and seeks to call it out.

People run away from a God who looks down upon them. No one wants to feel condemned. No one wants to feel ashamed. For some people, it’s even just easier on their consciences to claim that they believe that God doesn’t even exist or that God’s existence is highly doubtful.

Oh, but you are so beautiful! You were not meant to be kept in the dark. You were created to dance in the light and know love!

I remember reading a story about a man who lived in a graveyard and had a legion of demons inside of him. Did Jesus look at him and say, “Too far gone?” No. Jesus loved that man who was tormented. He cast those spirits out. The very presence of love cast torment out. Jesus saw past the blasphemous muttering to the man. He knew of the man’s pain and had compassion on him.

May you know love and no longer hide.

Hugs,

The Joy Detective

On the Subject of Things That Go Bump

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IMG_0820Fear. An intriguing topic. A strange topic.

Fear. It’s been accepted as a norm. People are expected to be afraid. It’s the only reasonable sort of thing to do when faced with certain things. Certain things like the dark, the unknown, things outside your control, mysterious supernatural happenings, that one cockroach that just jumps out at you, those people who dare think differently, eschatological theories, immigrants, Donald Trump, Democrats, Republicans . . . and—most frightening of all—YOUR OWN REFLECTION!

But, why?

Are we simply going to accept that this is the sort of way we must live our lives? Just believe it because we were told this is just the way it is? Frankly, I find this bothersome.

I once heard a story about this one man from a favorite preacher of mine, John Crowder. Crowder said there was this fellow who was being martyred for his faith. (I think it might have been St. Lawrence.) Burned to death, to be precise. But was he doing as the “end” drew near? Joking with his persecutors. Dude was so full of joy that he didn’t flippin’ care he was being burned to death.

Now, that is what I call living!

I remember the first time I had an open vision of “the forces of darkness,” if you will. I was inside this magnificent old church. St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, I believe. Huge dome. Beautiful pipe organ music and incense. My first visit to an Anglican church. Everything had been going wonderfully. I was feeling so sensitive to God’s presence. So peaceful.

Then, out of nowhere, we switch from that ambience to the pipe organ playing something akin to “Phantom of the Opera.” It was so random. I see these two sizable shadows moving up on the ceiling. I look around to see what they could belong to, but there was nothing. They just kept flitting around on the ceiling while this music played.

I laughed.

I realized something then. God is very big and very real and very good. These things are like a joke. Their presence (or lack thereof) couldn’t drown out the awe and the majesty of the imminent and transcendent one. I didn’t have to be afraid of them.