John vs The Spic N Span

I made breakfast this morning, and it was pretty good. I’d just finished cleaning up, and then Jen was going to go get her toes did. It was time for another dudes morning.

David watched an episode of Lego Ninjas on YouTube while John and I relaxed on the couch with some Barney on the big screen.

John got up and I saw him head toward the kitchen.

“Where are you going, John Ryan?” I asked.

“Dink.”

“Daddy will get you a drink.” I got up off the couch and headed to the kitchen while John disappeared around the corner.

I heard the refrigerator door open followed by a crash.

“uh oh.”

“Aw, crap.”

John had opened the door and grabbed onto one of the shelves, which came off the door, spilling the door contents onto the floor, including a glass jar of Alfredo sauce, which promptly exploded.

“Dink.”

“Crap.”

I got John his dink and planted him on the couch with a fresh episode of Barney, then headed to the kitchen for cleanup: The Sequel.

I got the broom, the mop, and a large bottle of Spic n Span cleaner from the closet. I leaned the mop and broom against the bar and set the Spic n Span on the kitchen table.

I knelt down and began picking up chunks of broken glass, dropping them into the trash one by one and cursing softly under my breath.

I finished picking up the broken glass and wiping up the Alfredo sauce and stood up to get the broom.

No broom, and no mop. I realized Barney had been turned off.

“John, where are you?” I called.

“Dayee. Shire, bat (Daddy. Shower, bath).” from the hallway.

What now? I wondered. I saw this sitting on the table and knew no good could come of it.

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I came around the corner and John was standing in the hallway with the broom and the mop at his feet. There was a strong smell of Spic n Span in the air.

In his zeal to clean, he’d sprayed enough cleaner on his chest and arms to completely soak himself, then dragged the mop and broom into the hall to start cleaning.

“Dayee. Shire, bat.”

“Aw, crap.”

We headed off for a shire and a bat and had a grand time. It took me another 5 minutes to clean the bathroom.

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I got him dressed, and we headed back to the scene of the crime. John wanted to help clean up, while finishing his dink.

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All of that between 10 and 11. We’re sitting on the couch now and hanging out with Elmo. John is grounded from the kitchen.

Tough Questions, Tough Decisions

We talked about Mormonism vs Christianity last night for the High School/College Sunday school class, and it was a really interesting discussion. Zeb showed part of a documentary that was more of a compare and contrast between the two.

It was doubly interesting because you hear so much about the similarities between the two religions, to the extent it makes them sound like pretty much just different sides of the same coin.

No. Different coins, man. Different currency.

Mormonism does not align with Christian scripture, does not align with the bible. I am not here to debunk all the many points of Mormonism vs Christianity, though I encourage you to look into the differences yourself.

There are many of them, and though Mormons do a lot of good and are without question some of the nicest people you will ever meet, there is something missing in their theology.

Zeb offered a simple question in the way of testing whether or not Mormonism or any religion is “Christianity.”

What does it say about Jesus?

After viewing the documentary footage last night and asking myself the above question I can say that Mormons can call themselves whatever they want–they do not follow the Jesus of the bible. And the Book of Mormon is not “another gospel of Jesus Christ,” but more akin to “Religious fiction.”

That being said, it obviously led me to thinking about the current presidential election.

Is it possible to separate my beliefs about politics and what goes on in the country and the world?

What do the candidates say about Jesus?

I’ve heard President Obama profess a belief in Jesus on many occasions, and claim Christianity, even in the face of stubborn and often stupid accusations. For my part, if he says he believes, I’ll take him at his word.

Governor Romney claims to believe in Jesus as well, but also professes a strong Mormon faith. I do not question his character, and agree with more of his potential policies than disagree.

The only thing is, I’ve also heard him say words to the effect that Mormonism is Christianity and Mormons proclaim the same Jesus as Christians.

That isn’t true.

If Gov Romney doesn’t believe the things he says and says them anyway, he’s covering up some glaring flaws in a religion he pays lip service to because he wants to be president. President Obama could be guilty of the same thing.

If Gov Romney does believe the things he says about Mormonism and Christianity he’s a fool and an apostate, and will one day face judgment for those things.

Based in what those two men say about Jesus and what I believe in my heart about Him, I’m going to have some hard decisions to make in the time before the election, and some hard questions to ask myself.

Can I really separate what I believe about politics from my faith?

Should I?

How about the candidates? Can they do the same?

So many questions…

The Danger of Social Networking

Yesterday I learned a valuable lesson about social networking, and that lesson is this:

Whichever social networking platform you prefer, It’s clearly an invaluable tool for getting and keeping in touch with friends and family, and useful for sharing photos and other things.

That said, social networking has an inherent danger. Like text messaging, you can’t grasp the subtleties or nuances of a conversation when you’re reading a status update, tweet, or whatever other services call it.

Also, because even though the people reading the things a person says are supposedly “friends,” they often don’t really know each other, or at least not well.

So while whatever point you’re trying to get across may be true and valid, you never know who you’re going to offend by making it. And there are clearly also some people who sometimes use social networking to say things they would never say in person.

Because of this, there are times when something that starts with a perfectly innocuous question often ends in ugliness, hurt feelings, and possibly even far reaching consequences.

Mainly, this is because you never know what’s going on (or has gone on) in a person’s life when they read your stuff.

Consequently, you also never know when they’re going to flip out on you and start puking ugliness or saying things they won’t be able to get back.

The other thing to consider is a person needs to weigh the material they’re going to share and decide if a huge and impersonal platform is appropriate.

I would also offer this: if one has a problem with something said, a simple email or private message can go a long way toward clearing things up. It can also avoid dozens of people feeling the need to attack or defend a person or point.

It’s possible to confront someone in an appropriate manner and resolve a situation without hurting feelings or having a person blow a gasket, which is what happened yesterday.

I’d also say that if you’re a person with thin skin and a hair trigger, then social networking is probably not for you. But if you do choose to use it, stay away from contentious topics.

For my part, because I have a problem with not saying what I really feel, or not calling BS BS, I will probably hereafter restrict my comments to things like “lol,” and only share things like

My Miracle

I believe because of my mother.

Well, not just because of her. It isn’t because of something she said, and she never really shared anything with me that I can remember. What I do remember is standing outside her hospital room not long before she died and hearing her pray with an old pastor from the Bahamas, the father of a family friend.

I knew she’d read the bible occasionally prior to that day, but she hadn’t talked about it. At least not to me. What I heard from outside that room was the old man’s voice becoming stronger as he prayed–his accent less pronounced. Then I heard my mom’s faint voice going through a prayer of repentance.

I remember sitting with her a while after that, after they’d induced her final coma. I was alone in the room and I remember holding a newspaper and not being able to read it. I remember looking at her, and she was so skinny. Her cheeks were sunken in and her mouth slightly open, rasping breath in and out. Her eyes were cracked open a little, too, but she wasn’t really there anymore. Morphine is a great and terrible thing.

I remember telling her that my sisters and I loved her, and that it was OK for her to go.

It was a few days after that she actually did. My sister Valorie was with her. I remember the call coming in the small hours of the morning.

I don’t know how deeply Jesus sank into her heart in the time she knew him, but I like to think he spoke to her as the lover from Song of Songs:

“Come now, my love.

My lovely one, come.

For you, the winter has passed,

The snows are over and gone,

The flowers appear in the land,

The season of joyful songs has come.

The cooing of the Turtledove is heard in our land.

Come now, my love.

My lovely one, come.

Let me see your face. And Let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is beautiful.

Come now, my love,

My lovely one, come.

Song of Songs 2:10 – 14

I became a believer in Jesus in March of 2000, but I don’t think I really experienced the fullness of the healing he can bring until 2007. I heard author Brennan Manning preach from the above scripture and it resonated in my heart.

I think Jesus calls out to all of us in that voice one day. Henri Nouwen speculates the Abba of Jesus called those words to him while he hung on the cross:

Come now my love, my lovely one come.

So that Brennan Manning conference was in my mind when my pastor gave a sermon not long after. He was relating the story of his mother’s passing, and how he led her to Christ. A radio softly played old music in her hospital room and at the moment of her death, the song “Heaven, I’m in Heaven” came on the radio.

That absolutely wrecked me.

I remember asking a friend from Healing Prayer to pray with me after the service and just coming unglued, totally falling apart in the third row of the sanctuary. I don’t remember what my friend prayed that morning, but I realized that was the first time I’d ever really grieved my mother’s loss.

I remember peace coming over me that morning, and it while the arms around me were my friend Ron’s, they were really the arms of the Christ, and his comfort was whispered into my ear through the earnest intercession of a good friend.

I think that morning prepared my heart for my wife more than anything else. I know I would have been useless to her had it not happened.

I’m feeling that comfort anew this morning. I’m sitting here on the couch holding my sleeping son and typing on my phone with my right thumb. I feel the love of my savior through my little man who loves me so much and sleeps so comfortably on his daddy’s lap.

It wasn’t my mom who led me to Christ–it was many things and many people all working together that did it. Many prayers rose to heaven on my behalf.

It was my mom who eventually led me to healing, whether she meant to or not.

So until God calls to me from Song of Songs, I will serve him to the best of my ability, and I will try and show my kids through my life what he’s done for me.

0727, 2 September 2012

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