Wednesday, August 28, 2019

How Flawed Are You on a Scale From One to Ten?

God blessed me with parents who were flawed. They had weaknesses they were never able to conquer. Still I loved them. My parents were ordinary people; there was nothing at all exceptional about them. My dad drove a taxi in downtown Dallas for years.

My mom was a waitress at Bob White’s Barbecue over by White Rock Lake. Daddy once had an affair with a well-known stripper downtown. Momma once stole a package of ham from the Winn-Dixie.

I knew all their weaknesses when I was still just a little girl playing out in the street with my brothers. I knew mama drank too much and daddy had a gambling problem. I still loved them.

I remember when Daddy was dying – he lived in Tyler so we had to make a 2 hour trip to see him. But we went at least once a month. We spent time with daddy. We went out to Luby’s to eat. We went to the store and bought groceries. I still remember all those times we spent with daddy when he just had 4 or 5 months left to live.

A lot of stuff has happened to me throughout my life. I always think about my parents. What would they say or how would they handle this? All you have to do is figure that out then do the opposite. Because my parents never made good choices. They always screwed up.

I knew all that at a young age, but I still loved them so much. I cared if they were sick or lonely. I think that’s one thing I miss the most about this part of my life. No one cares about me. No one cares if I live or die. It’s a lonely feeling. It’s hard to admit. I wish it wasn’t true. But I’ve always been true to myself so I have to admit that no one really knows me at all – but it finally stopped mattering to me.

I once cared a lot about all this shit. It really would bother me to work so hard to be an amazing mom and then just be completely rejected AND for no fucking reason (pardon the word—it fits here).

The one thing that stands out is that I always believed that you reap what you sow. But I look around and that isn’t true. Men who have lied, cheated, stolen, assaulted women—they’re running some of our biggest companies. Are they reaping what they’ve sown? No! They’re miserable human beings with no integrity but they’re ultra wealthy. So try and figure that out.

Why do they teach us at church that you reap what you sow? What’s your evidence to support this statement? Why in hell should I believe that?

So many questions, so little time. I leave you with this: If you don’t have any flawed, imperfect people in your life, then go out and get some!

When all your friends are sweet Christian people who would never do anything wrong—when none of your friends has anything in their lives they can’t master – then you aren’t going to learn anything important from those people.

You learn something valuable from people like my parents. Ask ME how divorce feels or how it feels to come near to dying but survive—how it feels inside a Category 4 hurricane. Ask me about raising kids—about being left behind. About striving for something your whole life only to have it just out of your reach.

I can tell you so much about Dallas, about canning, about gardening, about writing—but I don’t know anything about love or relationships. How is that possible? I’m hoping it’s more common than most people think—that way, I won’t be a total freak!

But, if that indeed is what I am, then may I accept my fate with grace. That’s all we can do at the end of the day. Just try to go out with some dignity and grace.

So here's the Big Question: How flawed are you on a scale of 1 to 10?

Be honest, now!! LOL!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Do Preachers Make Too Much Money?

I’ve been a Christian for 50 years. During that time, I’ve been in countless church meetings, conferences and Christian events. We always prayed and tried to choose a good church that taught the Bible wherever we lived. In all those years, I can’t tell you how many church services I was in where the preacher/pastor taught and encouraged people to give.

I get the reason for that. They’ve got a light bill and rent to pay. But as the years rolled on, the message changed from simple teaching about the benefits of giving your tithe each week to ludicrous messages. Preachers would actually encourage people to send them $1000. They would all but promise that if you would make this type of sacrifice, then God would certainly reward you with a big financial breakthrough.

They had so many stories about people who had done this and gotten huge cash windfalls. Of course, my husband and I were never in a place where we could send that much, but we did faithfully give larger amounts than we could really afford.

All these years later, I look back on that and I see it for what it really was and is. We made those preachers into multi-millionaires. And most of us never got that spectacular financial windfall.

What they should have taught is to give yourself away—not your money! Give yourself to your family, your friends and your neighbors. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t send some ministry a lot of money! He gave HIMSELF away!

He laid it all on the line! And He did so that each of us could be reconciled to our Creator…so that our sins could be washed away. Imagine someone like me—with all the things I’ve done throughout my life—imagine if God would give me a clean slate. That’s what happened. All my sins were forgiven and God gave me a fresh start. And He continues to do that each and every day-because I haven’t stopped making mistakes.

As long as we live in these earthly suits of flesh, we will all screw up from time to time. And we will need to be newly forgiven all over again. That’s grace. That’s how it works.

If only those preachers would have taught us what Jesus taught, think of how different the world would be right now. Millions of Christians around the world helping their neighbors, volunteering at the children’s hospital, bringing food and blankets to the poor and homeless.

That’s what ALL Christians should have been doing all these years. Instead, we sent our money to those preachers and now they all live in huge mansions. They have airplanes and expensive cars and servants. The congregations they are responsible for still live in crappy neighborhoods and drive used cars. We still buy our clothes at Ross or Goodwill. What they taught us was a lie.

If we will begin NOW to go out into the world and love people—if we will search for people who need help and help them—if we will give OURSELVES away, then God will help us and bless us. He’s waiting for us to get a clue. And a few people do; I don’t want to minimize what some Christians and organizations are doing across the world.

But the individual Christians are still sitting at home listening to a message about how they can live their best life. They’re not out in the highways and byways trying to help some poor struggling family.

If only a small portion of the Christian church could get this revelation, the world could be turned upside down in a few years. I don’t know that this will happen. I pray it will, but realistically speaking, it probably won’t. It’s just too easy to sit at home and listen to messages or read books about how you can become a successful business owner.

It’s hard to get up, go out into the world and touch the untouchables.