On not setting up idols of other people and events.

I feel there’s a lot more behind this work transfer than I’m being told. I feel that it’s being done to keep someone else happy. I feel that it is being done to get me out of the way. While I would appreciate honesty, I’m not letting this get to me anymore because I believe that God is in charge of everything.

God uses people, even faithful people, to advance the kingdom. Even to say that the four layers of managers above me are in charge of my future is to give them more power than God. It is to set them up as idols. No, I’m not worshiping them. But to think they are truly in charge fundamentally ignores and negates the fact that God is in charge.

The same is true of a disease or an accident or a disaster. To say it controls your life is to say that it is your god. Yes, you are affected. You are forced to react, to change position and place. But if you truly believe that God is in charge, you know that everything is from God and that it is happening for reason, and that the reason is good because it is from God.

This does not mean that everything will be awesome and wonderful for you. This does not mean that because you are a follower of God that you will have everything go well, you’ll be healed of your sickness, you’ll have the best things. Your will is not the point. God’s will is. You are a player on the stage, a pawn, a puppet. But with God pulling the strings and directing the play, everything will come out exactly as it should.

These lines from Psalm 119 speak to me right now
ט Tet
65 LORD, You have treated Your servant well,
just as You promised.
66 Teach me good judgment and discernment,
for I rely on Your commands.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep Your word.
68 You are good, and You do what is good;
teach me Your statutes.
69 The arrogant have smeared me with lies,
but I obey Your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are hard and insensitive,
but I delight in Your instruction.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I could learn Your statutes.
72 Instruction from Your lips is better for me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Master and servant

Who is the servant? The technology, or the person who owns it?

I was in the middle of painting this morning and the phone rang. I have only one special ring and it is for my husband. This was not that ring. So it was someone else. I considered stopping what I was doing but that would mean not having enough time to finish my painting. It might also mean that my phone got covered in paint.

I don’t have the kind of life where people have to get hold of me every second of the day. It is important to me that I have my life like that. If people are having an emergency they can call 911, not me. I am not a manager and I am not a parent. I am not a caregiver to anyone. I am not anyone’s AA sponsor. I believe each person should take care of themselves and not have emergencies that I have to take care of.

So when the phone rang my instinct was to jump up and get it, just because society tells us we should do that. But thankfully I ignored it. Training can be broken.

How many of us think that we have to jump the moment the phone rings? If we are driving we feel like we have to answer it. Or we feel like we have to answer that text. The phone rules us, not the other way around.

There was a lady who is changing at the Y and her phone kept going off with texts. She looks very frustrated. Every time she would reply, her friend would reply, and then she would have to reply again. I said “Just put it down.” But she said “No, if I don’t answer immediately they begin to worry.” I said “Tell them you are changing at the Y and it can wait.”

This has happened many times. There is a no-cellphone policy in the changing room at the Y, but nobody obeys it. Even if they don’t get that people don’t like the idea of possibly having their picture made while changing, they still don’t get that they don’t have to use their phone all the time. It can stay turned off. We don’t have to be connected all the time.

It’s like I have to do an intervention with people. Perhaps we are addicted to our technology. While our cellphones makes life easier, in a way, they have made life more difficult.

While they have
in theory
made us
more connected
to each other,
they have made
our lives
more disconnected
and
we are
more disconnected
from ourselves.

Is this what we want? Who is in charge, the technology or us? We have to decide it is okay to turn your phone off. You don’t have to have it on while you’re driving. You don’t have to discuss all of your life’s business while you are walking through Walmart. Nobody wants to know it anyway. How did you survive before you had a phone surgically attached to yourself? You did just fine. People say “Oh I have to take care of my bills while I’m driving.” No, you don’t. How did you take care of them before you had a cell phone and before you could pay them online? You wrote a check and you mailed it in and it got done. Things don’t have to be done any faster these days, we have just been trained that they do.

If the technology isn’t serving you, then you are the servant.

Water and Words – on infant baptism.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’m against infant baptism. I’m cool with some ceremony where the parents commit to raising the child as a Christian, and ask for the help of the Church to keep them on track.

But I don’t get the purpose of actually baptizing their child.

There are way too many people who get their child baptized and then leave the church. There are also stories of grandparents who are concerned that neither parent is Christian. They take the child to a church on the weekend they have the kid and get her baptized, unbeknownst to the parents. There are also stories of parents whose child is gravely ill and they ask for an emergency baptism.

In all these instances they aren’t planning on raising the child as a Christian. There is something else going on. Do they think that there is something magical and protective that happens when a child is baptized with water?

Jesus never baptized anybody with water. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples after he ascended into heaven. The water is just a symbol. It isn’t the real thing. It is the commitment to following Jesus that matters. We need ceremonies to let us know that a change has occurred. We need ceremonies like we need doorways, to show us transition and evolution. Baptism is a ceremony, but it marks a change that occurs within the person. Just pouring water on someone and saying some words doesn’t make them a follower of Jesus.

It seems like idol worship for people to baptize their children. It seems like they think that words and water will do the trick. It seems like they think that that is all there is to it. Get baptized, and you’re in the club.

But baptism should be a choice of the person, not something done to you. I think that deciding to follow Jesus is too important for someone to do it for you. It is like deciding to be vegetarian. That is a major choice. Your parents may think that being vegetarian is something that you should do for your own good, much like following Jesus. But if you aren’t in agreement with it, you aren’t going to keep doing it once you are out of their house.

Then again, you can get baptized with water and it doesn’t mean anything. You still aren’t connected, you still don’t get it. It isn’t the water or the words. It is the Holy Spirit that makes it work.

The Holy Spirit baptizes. That is like being upgraded from a 110 to a 220, like being transformed from a garden hose to a fire hose. It is overwhelming. When you’ve been touched by the Holy Spirit you are never the same again.

Let us stop baptizing children. They aren’t able to make that decision, and it is too important for it to be made for them. Let us remember that God is the one who saves us, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It isn’t the water. It isn’t our words.