Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Christian Guilt

I heard somewhere recently (some tv commentary, don't remember who) that guilt is a Judeo-Christian concept. Which reminded me of an acquaintance I once knew who was lamenting having not spent more time with a recently deceased loved one. I said not to feel guilty and he said he didn't ever feel guilty; that was something for Christians. Which brought me up short. One, this meant he was not a Christian. How sad. But also, why should I feel guilt as a Christian? Wouldn't I feel guilt even if I didn't believe in Christ as my Savior? I didn't get it.

Now some years later I have a bit more insight into that concept. Not to say I completely get it but here's what I think. Because of the way we are taught as children and because of how we are wired as human beings, we think we should be "good".... better.... better than others, better than we are, just better.  And we kick ourselves because we can't get there.  And feel guilty.

Now we know from the Bible that we can never be free from sin. Or perfect. So we are beaten before we even start. Then we feel guilty because we can't do it.

I think this guilt keeps us from embracing the most basic of Christian beliefs. Christ died to take all those imperfections we can't correct. And He loves us, warts and all. And He won't give us brownie points for trying to be "better". So, if we really believe in Christ and our relationship with Him, are we not questioning His love for us if we allow ourselves to feel guilt for our imperfections? If we are to be Christ-like, shouldn't we love ourselves as we are instead of beat ourselves up for what we aren't?

Now don't get me wrong. I'm sure God wants us to try, just so we'll feel uplifted and so we can have others be lifted up as well. After all, if we are to love others as Christ loves us, we will want to make things as good as possible on His behalf..... for them...... and for ourselves.

But I also think we should be wary of going for "better" if it is going to make us appear to be better than our neighbors. God loves us just the way we are, and He loves them that way, also. So shouldn't our neighbors see that in us? Not see us trying to be "better" all the time? How can they understand He will take them as they are if we don't demonstrate we have been taken that way already?

Christ's love for me was the hardest part for me to get. I'm not going to let it be ruined by my guilt.

God, I know I'm guilty of sin, but I also know you took that sin. Thank you! Thank you for loving me just the way I am.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas Post Update

For those of you who may have already read about the Christmas decorations at our church, I've updated that post with an excellent picture of Grandma Elsie playing at Christmas time. I can say that because I didn't take it; a fellow church member did. I asked him to share it electronically and he graciously agreed. So I'm sharing it with all of you.

I'll bet she's playing a keyboard in Heaven!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Whenever I insert a photo, it goes to the top. Sometimes you want to talk about something and insert photos about it. So here goes. This is an experiment. I've been stumped at how to get a photo placed within the text of a post.

Well, I sort of get it. Not sure I quite understand but at least I got it moved.

By the way, this photo is a year old now but aren't they good looking! Brody and Ebony!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sedalia Church - Christmas

This is a photo of my neice's wedding ceremony one year ago, Jan. 5, 2008, at Sedalia Church. Note the Christmas decorations and the beautiful tree.

Jump forward one year:

Last  night we met to un-decorate the Christmas tree at the church. Only four of us showed up and none of us were the super athletes who might have more easily climbed the ladders and man-handled the big tree. But the four of us still managed to take things down and pack it up.  Hopefully, some others have put it all away.

We all were reluctant, not because of the work, but because we all hated to see the beauty of the season packed away for the year. My sister and I especially enjoy it since we used some of our mother's memorial money to buy the tall slender tree. Our church is a beautiful but small old historic church out in the country.  Check out a fellow church member's site - Sedalia. It has an interesting story which I'll save for another day.

Anyway we've always tried to find a live tree that was tall enough to look good in the front corner, yet not so big around as to poke the pianist in the back. My Mom, respectfully known by all as Grandma Elsie, when alive played for second service. And she had many a pine needle poking her at Christmas time.

So after she took those fragrent pokes all those years, my sister and I decided to finally find an artificial tree that fit the space. Too late for Mom to experience, this was the second season we have used it. We're all enjoying it. Thanks, Grandma E!

The tree came with a zillion lights attached and so far they have worked beautifully. The ornaments are a collection of primarily angel ornaments given in memory of loved ones already gone. Green swags w/red bows, log ornaments w/candles and lights, old fashion lamps, and several nativity sets complete the festive dressing. Only the alter candles are lit now days in respect for safety.  I loved it when we lit the oil lamps in the windows for Christmas eve but I can understand the concern. There's only one door and the minister always told us at the front of the church not to fear, he had a hatchet in the pulpit and we'd all go out the windows.

Grandma Elsie played for Sunday School and Bible School as well as for church for many, many years. The kids all loved her. 

We are a congregation of many descendants of local settlers but also include many newcomers; being near a large university and a large Army base means we have folks coming and going thru the neighborhood all the time. One little boy went to visit his grandparents out-of-state but after a few days told his Mom he wanted to go see his other grandma. Knowing there weren't any other grandparents besides the ones he was visiting, they couldn't understand what he meant until he said, you know, Grandma Elsie!

Yes, that tree and the beautiful decorations mean a lot to all the church family, but especially to me. Its like Mom is right there with us, only not being poked in the back!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm a Tomboy

I commented at another's blog today that I'm a lifelong tomboy, then got to thinking. Maybe I should face up to the fact that's just wishful thinking anymore. I used to take the dust and the wind, some snow and some mud and (the worst) some heat to be outside doing farm/ranch things. Not always by choice but with a touch of secret pride. But anymore I have to fess up! I'm more of a wait-in-the-house or sit-in-the-truck kind of hand. Or at the least, sit in the stands and cheer. But I guess that's important, too! 

Several years back at a Junior rodeo I was given the job of holding a little POA pony. Well, granted the old pony had picked up bad habits as kids mounts will but still, I thought I could handle a 500 pound pony. Well, she wanted to reach for whatever green was just outside the radius of the lead rope and she didn't care that I was just as insistent she stay close by.  Long story short, she yanked when I had my back turned and I fell over a bale of hay! I fell flat! Now the fall wasn't all that bad although I was embarrassed I couldn't master this little minx of a mare. What was most embarrassing was I couldn't get back up.  Daughter gave me a hand and I still couldn't get it together. 

Yep! I'm a real tomboy..... in my memory!  Just tell me if I start to tell the same stories twice!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Knack of Blogging

I thought "Sure, writing a blog ought to be fun! No problem! Just think a thought and write it down, right?"

Well, I'm finding it not as simple as that. Its not that I don't have things to say. It's deciding if I should say it or not. 

There's knowing that the whole world can read it, not just the select folks you know will appreciate it or forgive you your errors or just shrug it off as nothing worth while or whatever.

Then, there's wondering if you will embarrass or trespass on your family and/or friends privacy and feelings. Just because I don't mind hanging myself out there doesn't mean that my associates feel the same way.

That experience can be good..... thinking about how what you say might affect others. For one thing it reminds you that you do not live alone... regardless of what you think. And it reminds you that you do in fact care for and have responsibilities toward others, even though they may have left the nest.

I'm a strong believer that the truth is best. Just maybe not too much of it all at one time and place?

If we are to be of use to our Lord, we may have to open up a bit and share instead of keeping everything shut in.  Still we may need to carry someone else's private life for them sometime; protecting our own might be good prep for doing that.

Lord, help me to select thoughts that will be of benefit to others who are exposed to my feeble attempts at blogging, either as inspiration or entertainment.