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Recently, a friend confided to me that I mutual acquaintance is “not fond” of me.  To put it simply, she doesn’t like me.

Hmm.  Okay.

Nope. I’m not going to let it bother me.  Part of the reason for my calm attitude is that I know why she doesn’t like me.  I refuse to play the game.

I’m not going to trade a secret about someone for a secret about someone else.  I’m not going to try to guess who did what.  I’m not going to ante up.

I’ll be honest.  When I was younger, you could sometimes draw me in.  But I’ve learned.

Like G-ma always said, “Play nice or don’t play.  God doesn’t like it when we treat other people poorly.”  Be genuine.  Speak truth.  And let the others be.

–SueBE

 

 

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A friend of mine likes to repeat something that her father said, and in all truth it is something we should repeat and often.  I know I won’t get it entirely right but it goes something like this:

No matter where you end up, heaven or hell, you are going to be surprised by who you see along side you.  And, really, many of them will be just as surprised to see you.

Think about it for a minute.  Many of the people we’ve labeled bad or irredeemable, they are among the saved.  In spite of the very worst thing that they did, they are among the chosen.

And, in spite of our church going and sermonizing, we don’t get a vote.  Not a one of us.  All that time you spent pointing out your brother’s sins, marching around carrying that sign? Pfft.  You get no say.  I get no say.  God?  Salvation and grace come through Him alone.

And in all truth, that’s a comforting thought.

 

 

Until this week, I had never heard of it.  Motive Attribution asymmetry.  I’d never heard of it but I’ve seen it in action.  I’ve been guilty of it too.

In this phenomenon, we assume that our motive or outlook is based on love.  Whoever we disagree with?  Their motives are based on hate.

Motive attribution asymmetry is worse than intolerance.  If I think you are hateful, ignorant or just plain stupid, it is easy to be contemptuous.  If you think my opinion is immoral, I am that much easier to dismiss.

Contempt causes stress and anxiety.  Contempt divides.

Disagreement is natural.  My husband and I always joke that if we are both in the room, there are likely to be three or four opinions on any given matter.

Maybe just maybe I should try to remember that, short-sighted though the other person may seem, they too are a child of God, imperfect and flawed just like me.

Child of God.  Hopefully if I repeat it enough now I’ll remember it the next time I’m tempted to open my big mouth.

–SueBE

How much is enough?  That’s something I find myself considering every now and again.  I grew up in a two bedroom cottage.  Granted we had a basement and a garage but it wasn’t a huge home.  Yet four of us along with all of our stuff fit in it just fine.

Now I live in a three bedroom ranch with a double garage and full basement. There are three of us and I work at home.  But it’s a bigger home.  And yet, this house is full.

But when confronted with need, we get pissy.  “How dare the Pastor suggest we eat out less so that we can give more to the poor?”

It seems like the more we have, the less willing we are to share.  We are so worried that we might give it to someone undeserving, someone who is trying to scam us, someone who might squander it.

Or we might just change a life.  I read the perfect post about this earlier today at Sean of the South.

It doesn’t always take something huge to turn someone’s life around. Sometimes it just takes a small gift, a bit of mercy and faith.

–SueBE

 

 

This past week, the Methodist church voted to ban gay clergy and gay marriage.  This move reinforced their church policy that stated “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

I have friends who are now torn.  Stay with the church they grew up in?  Or stand with a gay grandchild?

This is a choice that saddens my heart. No, I’m not Methodist but I have family members who are – it is the church my father was raised in.  So I find myself asking – How is it that the leadership has failed, yet again, to truly hear Christ.  Christ, who ate with sinners.  Christ, who healed on the Sabbath.  Christ, who accepted water from the adulteress.

I understand why these people think homosexuality is incompatible with Christ’s teaching.  I don’t agree, but I do see the steps they took to reach this conclusion.

But I have to ask – why aren’t you picking on adulterers, thieves, liars and those who break the sabbath?  You could, with the Bible, make a case for this type of prosecution as well.

Or, even better, why not truly follow in Christ’s footsteps. Welcome those who are different from you.  Those who believe different things, were raised different ways and who are attracted to different people. It will take bravery but it will definitely cause much less damage to those you claim to serve.

Follow Christ.  Walk gently.  Be brave.  Make a space at your table.

–SueBE

 

Going to church on Sunday is great.  No really. It is a big part of how I recharge my spiritual battery.  Sitting amid the choir, I soak in the music and gaze up at the descending dove in the window.

When I leave church, I have a tendency to get busy.  I’ve got a checklist and things to do.

Pick up something for the food pantry.

Check on so-and-so.

You see we are the hands and feet of Christ and part of that means moving and acting among the people.  I had a great reminder of that just this past week.  As you leave the Toddhall Retreat Center you see a sign.  “You are now entering the mission field.”

Go.  Walk among the people. Help them see the light of God.

–SueBE

 

You know how it is. Some people instantly “get” you.  No explanations are needed when something cracks you up because they’re laughing too.

I had never thought about how this might look to others but then someone at church stopped a group of us.  “Do you know how worrisome it looks when you’re all laughing.”

Cricket.  Cricket.  Cricket.

Seriously?  Why would it be worrisome?

You see, he wasn’t joking.  This was one of those well-intentioned warnings.  “You must not know how this looks to someone else…”

Frequently, we’re laughing about something we goofed up in choir. “Oh, well.  Maybe no one heard.”

Does this mean we should stop laughing?

Nope.  Laughter is a gift from God.  When we can laugh at our own mistakes, and there are plenty of mistakes to laugh at, they become less worrisome. And who knows?  Maybe next time we really will do better.

Until then? We have the laughter which helps keep us positive.  And, apparently, more than a little annoying.

–SueBE

 

 

 

Ask me to name a president whose a social justice warrior and first on my list will be Carter.  Definitely Carter.  His work with Habitat for Humanity has earned him the #1 spot on this list.

But Eisenhower?  I can’t say that I would have even considered him until I saw this quote.  In trying to find out when, Eisenhower said this, I’ve seen it quoted by warriors (Colin Powell), justice organizations, peace movements and more.

This reality made me think.  Often we assume that we know how someone feels and what they are thinking especially when it comes to things like Justice and Peace.  We think we know who is for each and who is against.  But this has helped me see the truth of what is stated in 1 Kings 8.  Only God knows what it is in every human heart.

Only God.

–SueBE

 

Valentine’s Day seems the ideal time to contemplate the meaning of love. Not to be off-putting, but I think most people get it wrong. Love is not what you see on TV — passionate kisses, travel, excitement, diamonds the size of grapes. Or at least that’s only a tiny bit of it. Love, real love, is a whole lot grittier…and a whole lot more mundane. Here are just a few of the ways my husband says, “I love you”:

Love is giving me the last bites of his cake/cookie/pie, despite the fact that he would like to eat it himself, because he knows how much I love sweets.

Love is helping me slow my breath when I’m having an asthma attack.

Love is private jokes, a secret language, references only we know…but love is also taking the time to learn my family’s secret language and odd references, and using them like a pro.

Love is indulging my whim to try every taco place in town in search of the superior taco.

Love is always saying, “Thank you” after I’ve prepared a meal…no matter how inferior.

Love is massaging my shoulders as he passes through the kitchen, squeezing my hand in church, touching my cheek as I watch TV.

Love is accepting that our lives are not glamorous and being happy with simpler pleasures.

Love is going to Mass with me every week for years and years, despite being (at the time) an agnostic, and then surprising me with the happiest possible shock — becoming Catholic himself.

My husband’s love — much like God’s love — is always right there before me…if I take the time to look. Wherever you are this Valentine’s Day, whether in a romantic relationship or not, take time to search for signs of love. They may be simple, but they abound.

If I’d thought about it, I would have matched today’s quote with a photo of chickory.  I didn’t drink coffee until I was in college.  Add decades onto that and you have the date when I had coffee with chickory in it at a Mardi Gras celebration.  “Wow!  This is really good.”

We do a pancake breakfast at church to celebrate Mardi Gras.  When he heard my comment, one of the old timers told me all about chicory as a way to stretch coffee when times are bad.  When I told me Dad about it, he told me that my mom loved coffee with chicory.  Given the fact that she loved STRONG coffee that shouldn’t have been news.

Curious as always, I looked chicory up online.  See that blue flower beneath this paragraph?  That’s chicory.

I was flabbergasted.  I’ve seen this my whole life along Missouri’s rural roads, in vacant lots, here and there across the countryside.  That’s chicory?  I thought it was just a weed.

I try to remember this moment before I get all judgy.  I seldom know why something or someone is essential in God’s plan.  But then again I’m not all knowing.  There was a time I didn’t even know what that glorious blue flower is.

–SueBE

 

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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