The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Think Global, Act Local: Poverty

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Be aware: we’re about to get seriously philosphical (if I can spell that word)…philosophical…there we go.  I wanted to be independent and figure it out on my own; youshould be impressed with my epic spelling abiltiies…argh.  Abilities?  Yes.

Spelling…that is a global issue that affects me locally.  No…I mean yes.  It could be a global issue, but that’s not what’s on my mind on this snowy Minnesota day.

WEALTH.

photo Yes, wealth is on my mind.  I am currently reading a book called Crazy Love and I just read a chapter that made the hamster in my head start spinning on its wheel (His name is Winifred, by the way).  If I am to be perfectly honest, most of the chapters send Winifred into a frenzy, but this particular chapter connects to today’s prompt from The Daily Post.  It’s called “Serving Leftovers to a Holy God” (Chapter 5).  Chan, the author, counters the oft-seen idea that many Christians are lukewarm.  Instead, he says that being lukewarm means that someone is not a Christian.  That is a frightening thought for someone who has described herself as a lukewarm Christian (yes, I am referring to myself here…take a look at the original name of this blog!).  He highlights the problem of poverty in many places that make me, an AmeriCorps volunteer who receives a twice monthly living stipend, look rich.

(WOW!  I am in a coffee shop right now and it just got ridiculously loud…not cool, peoples.  Not cool.)

photo-1I have developed this tendency to look at the people around me, the people who have real jobs and receive a real salary, and I think about how wealthy they are.  A morning at a coffee shop isn’t a big deal for them.  Filling up their gas tank isn’t nearly as painful for them as it is for me.  And they can give to God without feeling it right in their gut.  Wow.  That last one really makes me think.  I’m going to be perfectly honest and lay some guilt right out there for you.  I feel like I’m giving my widow’s mite when I drop a check in the offering box on Sunday mornings.  Talk about a “holier than thou” attitude!

My coffee and cinnamon roll this morning would likely break the bank for half of the world’s population.  And I feel proud of myself for surviving on less than minimum wage for a year. So, how do I take the thoughts that Winifred has spun up for me and put them into action? At this point, changing my perspective will be the stepping stone, I think.  When I take myself off of the pedestal and realize that I am rich, I might have hope of action.

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An Affair To Remember

Last Sunday (as in–not yesterday), I heard a sermon about love (how great is it that someone was willing to by-pass the typical 9/11 spiel to talk about something as beautiful and pure as love?!).  But, it wasn’t exactly about loving others when they do bad things.  It was about developing a loving, passionate relationship between me and God.

Relationships are not my forte.  To be blunt, I suck at relationships.  I prefer to be independent and self-centered…especially independent.  I don’t like thinking about how I am incapable of controlling my own life or developing a path to success for myself.  In reality, success should not be my ultimate goal…unless success is defined as: falling in love with God over and over and over again.  And, I am far from qualified to control my own life.  I have no experience in control (unless you count the attempts I have made over the past 21 years).

This blog is rambling on and on…this, I know.  I should get to the point…a point!  I want to fall hopelessly and eternally in love with God.  But, that is terrifying because when you FALL, by definition, you have no control over what is happening or where you are headed.

I’m slightly a control freak…Type A…perfectionist…OCD…there are plenty of labels that work and they have all been used to refer to moi.  Now, I have something to be proud of–I’m not as control freak-ish as I was three years ago when I started college (most people get more organized/controlled/etc…I did the opposite).  Nevertheless, I am still terrified of letting go of EVERYTHING…signing over all the control to God (He’s the one who actually has it…right?)…and falling.

Love affairs are typically spontaneous.  They break the rules.  They inspire new feelings and new discoveries.  Let’s hope my love affair goes so “well”.

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3. Sunday: Kids!

Okay, okay.  I realize that it has been merely hours since I put up a review of my stargazing/moongazing experience.  But, I’ve gotta go ahead and get Sunday on here…otherwise I’ll be really backed up when Tuesday rolls around since, ya know, I’m unplugging tomorrow.  It will be challenging…especially since I never know when I might get called in to work or another important call/text will come in.  So, here’s what I decided: alternate hours when I can check my phone.  from 6-7 am, I can check my phone.  Then, I have to turn it off for a couple of hours.  Then from, umm, 9-10 I can use my phone.  It has to go away after that until noon…or something like that.  Anyways, that’s tomorrow.  And now…today…kids!

Children’s church was entertaining as always.  Normally I work in the 5+ classroom, but today I was helping out with ages 3-5…and they are hilarious little creatures.  We colored today.  Watching kids color is great.  One little boy was so brilliantly meticulous…his butterfly was lovely!  And then there was the road…we built a road with blocks.  Some boys decided that it would make a book hurdle to jump over…they almost ran into the wall a couple of times.  Oh, and the lemur.

One of the little boys had this little lemur toy.  A lemur–yes!  I don’t know why he had a lemur…but it made me smile.  Kids make me smile as a general rule.  They know how to have fun without holding back.  They savor life and each tiny experience in a way that is nearly impossible once you learn what homework is.  I look at my life and I see all of these little problems (I just ate a whole bag of potato chips; I need to take the trash out; I need to mop the kitchen; I had to work late tonight…).  I don’t look past all of that and see the beauty (I just ate a whole bag of yummy chips; My trash could be smelling way worse–I know because it has; If I wear shoes in the kitchen, I won’t notice that it’s dirty; I have a job!).  You just have to put things in perspective…blocks don’t have to be limited to building…they can be hurdles too!

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Make a Mark

So…oober oober delayed.  My failing.  Please forgive me, now…moving on…a Bible Study.

Before you continue reading, I want you to stop and think of a time when God used you in a surprising way.  (Pause for thinking!!!)

A lot of times, we tend to look at particular aspects of our lives and think that they are pointless, not good enough, or insignificant.  Lucky for us though, God can take insignificant things and make them significant.  To get an idea of this in the real-world, check out Peter Reynolds’ book The Dot (yes, I am an elementary education major).  No matter what we think that we can or can’t do, God can find a way to use us.

1 Peter 4:8-11 says  (and I’m putting this in my own words) that we should live loving, showing hospitality, and serving.  These three things can come out in various ways throughout our lives.  We might hold the door, help someone carry their bags, or just take the time to listen to a friend.  God can use our little bit of time, our smile, and even our ability to cook to bring glory to his name.

We have to let go of the grumbling reluctance and the fear of being used so that the smallest things in our daily lives will become the significant things in his plan.

 

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