Cracking down on homelessness

I’ve seen headlines about different levels of government starting to “crack down” on homelessness. I haven’t read the articles, but I assume that the crack down has to do with treating those experiencing homelessness as criminals. Can’t have homeless people hanging around you know. It might raise some uncomfortable questions. And then people might have to acknowledge that there is a problem. What a great way to solve homelessness. Not!

What contributes to an increase in homelessness? Lots of things. Too often we concern ourselves with direct reasons – what did this person do to end up homeless? Those type of questions have their place. But they are not the best questions, or really the only questions that we should be asking.

By focusing on these direct, personal, issues, we ignore some deeper reasons – the systems in place that are hidden from our sight. Homelessness is a big challenge because there aren’t nice easy, neat, solutions. The causes of homelessness are many.

Last night I was talking with one person who is experiencing homelessness and he used language like “being stuck no matter what I do.”

I often describe homelessness as something similar to a black hole. Often people who are homeless try their best to get out of homelessness. They make the phone calls that need to be made. They work. They follow the rules. They do everything they are supposed to. They may even start to move in the right direction. And then Bam! Something happens that sucks them back in. Their vehicles breaks down, or they get sick – and a vicious cycle smacks them hard.

Let’s say their vehicle breaks down. How do they get to work? What if they get sick? What are they going to pay and what are they going to not pay? What about the added stress of this? If they can’t get to work, how will they earn any money? If they have no money, how will they have food? Or pay for what limited shelter they do have? Miss a “rental” payment to the motel you are staying in? You get kicked out and it is reported on your credit. This knocks down your credit, impacting where you can stay next. And this means you have no permanent address either, which impacts what services you can receive and what financial support you can receive too.

While the direct questions feel satisfying, they don’t solve the problem for most people. And they allow us to avoid the bigger questions. Questions like this – why does homelessness exist at all in the world’s richest nation in history?

There seems to be plenty of housing – but not necessarily the right housing. We are awash with upper income housing in our area. Landlords are often weary about renting to the poor. I get it – they have been screwed out of rent money. I described the situation above.

People don’t want affordable housing or shelters or anything like that built near them. Not in my backyard! is the response. People know there is a problem and agree that affordable and low income housing is needed. They just don’t want it near them. There are almost too many stereotypes to fight against concerning people in poverty – drugs, violence, crime, laziness, etc.

There are areas that, through policy and through other practices, avoid the recognition that homelessness exists. It is too uncomfortable for people to acknowledge. It is much easier to wave it away and pretend that all is well. If it is present, we might have to do something. And we don’t really know what to do, so that gets awkward.

Experts in poverty are now saying that the elderly who experience homelessness will double in five years time and triple by 2030. This is serious problem that is not getting better by avoiding or ignoring it.

I wish there were simple solutions to homelessness. Oh how I wish there were. I would implement each simple answer. We’d solve the problem in no time. Instead, it seems as though the problem keeps getting worse in proportion to the the headlines about how great the economy is.

Yet, the great economy isn’t working for everyone. In fact, it’s screwing some people over.

Maybe it’s time to ask some deeper questions. Maybe it’s time to reconsider what we value. Maybe it’s time to look at the actual problem.

Rapture, the earth, and foreign policy

The idea of the Rapture, popular in Evangelical and Fundamentalist strains of Christianity, came into existence in the 1830 “thanks” to John Nelson Darby. The theology Darby espoused can be summed up this way – Jesus is going to come back to get the good people, then throw a major temper tantrum in which God kills the bad guys and destroys the earth, all while the good people get to watch from the front row bleachers in heaven.

Granted, this is my interpretation of Rapture theology. And it is certainly an unkind interpretation. Mostly because it is dangerous.

Frankly, this notion of Rapture is also pretty sick too. Who actually enjoys watching the planet get destroyed and vasts amount of people be killed? Who actually cheers for this? Who wants to help move things along so that this happens?

But it’s the main idea. How does one come to embrace Rapture theology? By twisting Scripture in all sorts of ways, pulling random verses out of context, and interpreting Scripture to mean certain things that it doesn’t mean. Again, I’m not being kind about it. The fact remains that the theology is really bad.

While Rapture theology is a fun topic for Mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox theologians to dismiss as heretical and fun to poke at as ridiculous and poor Biblical scholarship, there are some serious concerns associated with Rapture theology.

In her book, The Rapture Exposed, Dr. Barbara Rossing, does an excellent job of talking about the flaws in the theology and the real life repercussions to such theology.

There are two real world consequences to Rapture theology that are deadly serious.

  1. Rapture theology espouses the belief that God is going to destroy the earth. This goes against Scripture in multiple ways. Revelation 21 is the first thing that comes to mind where we hear about God coming down to dwell with a renewed creation. Scripture doesn’t support the idea of some kind of escape plan. Nope. We’re stuck here folks. And God is going to restore creation, not destroy it. The problem with this theology is that it goes against the whole idea of stewardship of the earth. If God is going to destroy everything, then why bother caring for the earth at all? Why not extract everything we can out of the earth before God throws the temper tantrum? This is not good stewardship. This is not what it means to follow Jesus.
  2. Rapture theology espouses the idea that there has to be Armageddon – a major military conflict that consumes the whole world. The center of this conflict involves Israel. Only when Armageddon happens can Jesus come back to throw his divine hissy fit and start killing and destroying. Again, this goes against Scripture and sound theology. To say what the requirements of Jesus are, with certainty, is to make a claim of control over God. The real world consequence of this is that you have people in high level foreign policy positions who buy into Rapture theology. If they want Jesus to come back, then is it in the world’s interest to move towards peace in the Middle East, or war? The consequences of such a war are death and destruction on a massive scale. The Jesus I know from Scripture was not one who favored war for anything. He talked about blessed are the peacemakers – not blessed are those that cause great death and destruction.

Rapture theology isn’t just bad theology, it is dangerous theology. And the people who adhere to it have no business being in foreign policy or in charge of stewardship of the earth.

Loving God and Money

Luke 16:13 quotes Jesus as saying: “No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’” (NRSV)

“You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Do you hear what Jesus is saying? I mean really hear him.

Jesus is saying we can’t be all in on both of these things.

Here in America it seems as though we’ve tried to make a deal with God – that we can love both God and money.

Granted, this isn’t something special to America. Many peoples and nations have tried to make the same deal with God before. We’re just the latest rendition of the same old out of tune song.

I’m not sure how else to explain how our relationship with money really works. We have a tendency to listen to money as we make decisions. God is usually an afterthought – if God is considered at all.

We make decisions about the planet based on how much profit we can extract from it. We ignore what God has to say about care of creation.

We make decisions about the poor based on how much any support of them will cost. We ignore what God has to say about those that trample poor.

We make decisions about strangers based on how much they will cost to welcome in. We ignore what God has to say about welcoming the stranger.

We make decisions about our defenses by asking how much more we need for a false sense of safety. We ignore what God has to say about our enemies.

We determine how much worth someone has based on the job they have, how productive they are, and how much their net worth is – things that Pharaoh used to determine a person’s worth. We ignore what God has to say about how we are created in God’s image and derive our worth from that – not from what we are able to do.

We define success based on how much money a person earns, how much a candidate can raise, and how much a business can create. We ignore what God has to say about what success in the kingdom of God is actually about.

Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and wealth.” We respond by saying, “But the right people haven’t tried it the right way Jesus.” It’s the excuse that is made for every type of economic -ism that ever existed – whether it be capitalism, socialism, communism, mercantilism, feudalism, etc. On paper, all these isms work great. And then they implemented. And along the way, there are winners and losers. And we continue to ignore God’s economics and God’s use of money and wealth.

We can’t serve God and wealth. Doesn’t matter how hard we try. It doesn’t work. It isn’t worth it.

I made a mistake…

I made a mistake yesterday. Nothing drastic. No one was hurt. Just a dumb mistake. I wrote a comment on an “article” on the Babylon Bee Facebook feed that raised a question about the satire that was posted. It was a satire piece about an economic system.

I wrote something to the effect that people argue that their preferred one-size-fits-all economic systems always work, when they are tried the right way. Doesn’t matter which -ism you are referring to – socialism, capitalism, etc.

I quickly realized I made a mistake in offering a comment that questioned the unquestionable faith in the -ism being defended. If only people had that much faith in Jesus.

I tried to get out of the comments. At first I didn’t just want to ghost the person and have them think I was afraid of the conversation. That was a mistake too.

Then I quickly realized, what a waste of time this whole episode was and I went off to more productive uses of my time.

Mistake made. Lesson learned.

I’m sure I’ll make the same mistake again in the future – whether on that site, or elsewhere. Maybe the heat got to me. Maybe it was a error in judgement on my part. Maybe it was a bit of egotism rearing it’s head within in. Regardless of the the reason – it was a mistake.

Yet, it has me thinking. Why have we gotten to this stage? Why is it almost impossible to have a conversation online on just about any topic? Why is a question that is raised met with an attack or insult or just rudeness?

I think part of the problem is how we think about issues and problems. We look at them in the abstract. When we talk about abortion, marriage, immigration, climate, money, or any slew of policy debates that exist, we too often approach them as verbal wars to be won, points to be scored, etc. We don’t really seem to care about solving a problem anymore. It’s more about who wins an argument and who loses. The reality is that we all lose in this system.

What if we changed how we talked about problems. Instead of talking about the issue as some abstract thing out there, what if we talked about it as if it affected us personally? What if we talked about immigration as if we were the immigrant? What if we talked about marriage if it were about our marriage? What if we talked about taxes as if it were our money? I think what we would start to see is that the issue is much more complex than the tweets and one-liners make it seem.

And you know what – that’s about as close to the reality of each of these issues as you can get. They are complicated. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to these challenges. Maybe we should stop looking for simple solutions to complex challenges. Maybe we should start thinking about them differently. And consider how lives are affected. And realize that when there are winners and losers from a policy, then we are approaching it the wrong way.

Righteousness

Righteousness is a good theological term. The essence of it means that we are in right relationship with God. Sounds simple on the surface, doesn’t it? But what does that really mean?

A right relationship. What would a right relationship look like? Sound like? What would a right relationship look like in terms of time spent together? And what happens during that time together?

What does a right relationship look like in terms of language used? How about in attention paid to the other person that you have the right relationship with?

Over and over Jesus answers the question posed to him about the most important commandment. And his answer never fails – to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and spirit. And he throws in the second great commandment when he answers this question – To love your neighbor as your self. Jesus understood something about why these two commandments are stated together.

“Unfortunately, we have been guilty of equating righteousness with holiness, or spirituality, being in right relationship with God. We have never quite understood that in order to be in a right relationship with God, one must first be in a right relationship with his fellow man.”

(Source: Mishnah and the Words of Jesus, by Dr. Roy Blizzard, pg. 17)

Look past the gender-exclusive language and you see that Jesus understood and was advocating that to be in a right relationship with God meant that we were also in a right relationship with other humans. This is why the two commandments are so intimately linked.

Inversely, if we do not love others, then we are not fulfilling the first commandment. How could we? If we ignore or push away one of God’s creations, if we are willingly blind to the Imago Dei (The Image of God), of other humans, then how could we actually see God at all anywhere? We can’t.

This theological point underlies so much of Jesus ministry and his teachings. It shows up in all of Jesus parables. It shows up in his miracles. It shows up in how he acts towards those whose intent is to kill him. It shows up on the cross.

Righteousness isn’t just some heady theological term. It is lived out.

What is news?

What is news? Have you ever really thought about what news really is? Is news just reporting something? Is news when someone does something controversial? Is news when something is done that affects people?

Does news have an obligation to offer opinions, or just state the facts? How do we determine what the facts are, especially if people can’t agree on what facts are?

Here’s what I know – As followers of Jesus, we proclaim news. We proclaim Good News. For us it is the announcement of God’s grace and mercy. It is the promise of resurrection. People will disagree. They may dispute the news. They may not like it. But there it is regardless.

What news are you broadcasting?

Injustice and Imago Dei

Why do so many seem complacent when it comes to injustices that happen? Does the word injustice seem too political so that it becomes just another abstract concept in the battlefield of politics?

Maybe people are complacent because they think that injustices don’t impact them. Maybe it’s just easier to turn a blind eye, rather than deal with something. Maybe it’s that people have the privilege of not having to deal with an injustice.

Why do some people seem more upset by others who point out an injustice, rather than the actual injustice? Do people feel guilty? Do they feel like they are implicated because they haven’t spoken up?

Maybe it just comes down to a basic principle of humanity – people seek pleasure and avoid pain. By ignoring an injustice, people are avoiding pain. Scoffing off an injustice as unimportant avoids the pain of the injustice. It avoids the connection with the victim of the injustice. I turns off our empathy and keeps the injustice as an abstract idea that can be debated at arms length.

As followers of Jesus, we have a responsibility to speak up, to be uncomfortable – to sometimes make others uncomfortable too – in order to change the situation. Because when it comes down to it, those who fall prey to an injustice are uncomfortable. And we are connected to them, whether we like it or not. At our core, we share the imago dei – the image of God. How can we ignore the image of God in another person? By either forgetting the image of God, or by blocking it out. When that happens, we lose sight of the humanity of others. We also lose sight of God.

The Gospel we would prefer

I read stories about self-professed Christians who have some weird ideas of what Christianity is about. I see comments to stories and in social media threads that proclaim loudly beliefs about Christianity that are anything but Christian. I’m not talking about disagreements over policies or politics either. Christians legitimately have a wide range of views about policies and politics. There are legitimate debates about the means of accomplishing what Jesus calls us to. I’m not talking about these debates.

No, instead, when I read these things, I come away with the conclusion that there are Christians who literally have no idea what Christianity is about. Some of these people I assume have been going to church their entire lives. And I wonder – how did they come to these beliefs about Christianity when these beliefs are in direct conflict with Jesus? I don’t know.

It’s the Gospel of Jesus versus the Gospel of Jesus we’d prefer. To buy into this preferred Gospel, there’s a few things you need to do. 1. Forget all the things Jesus actually said. 2. Don’t open a Bible. 3. Limit Jesus to a couple of simple ideas without any real implications to life.

Here’s what this might sound like. Forget all the stories about Jesus and the poor, the foreigner, difficult sayings, and afflicting the comfortable. Those stories get in the way. Instead, re-write the stories to match your beliefs. That’s a Scripture that people will actually read.

Remember the feeding of the 5000 Matthew 14, Mark 6, and Luke 9? Especially when the disciples want to send the people away to feed themselves and Jesus says “You feed them.” The new version of the story would have Jesus agreeing with the disciples, probably calling the people lazy, and something about always looking for a handout. This new Jesus is great. No more concern for the poor and hungry – they are on their own. Sounds just like Jesus, doesn’t it?

Remember when Jesus said this classic line in Luke 6:27-28 – “‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Yeah, forget that. The new Jesus says screw that – forget about loving your enemy. Instead bomb them, kill them, make them pay! That’s what tough guy Jesus would do. Make them submit. Doesn’t that sound so much more satisfying? Jesus, you are on a roll now.

Remember Paul’s writing in Galatians 3:28 – “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

New improved Jesus isn’t interested in any of this – it’s too mushy. Instead, new Jesus is focused on dividing and separating people. Yay – another belief that magically aligns with our preferences.

Remember John 3:16-17 –

“‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. “

Clearly, this needs to be altered. Jesus didn’t come to save people, did he? Wasn’t it really more about pointing out how terrible they were. Throw the book at them Jesus. How else are we supposed to feel good about ourselves unless we can compare ourselves to “those” people who screw things up? Come on Jesus, we all know that following you is more about being the morality police. Plus judging people is a lot of fun. Why would you ever give that up, Jesus?

Remember Jesus saying in Luke 14:27 – “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Clearly, this needs to change. Maybe Jesus could sound a bit more realistic. What if instead of this costly discipleship stuff, we had Jesus say: “Whoever does not use the bible as a weapon to make others submit to your own interpretation cannot be my disciples.” This goes along with a similar verse we’d prefer Jesus to say – you must not ever be made to feel uncomfortable in your faith or do some self-reflection that causes you question your beliefs to see if they are in alignment with actual Jesus.

Isn’t this fun!? How about one more – Matthew 25. Forget about Jesus saying such things as: “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)

New Jesus’ statement would sound something like this: When I was hungry, you told me to get a job and stop asking for a hand out. When I was thirsty, you told me where the public water fountain was in town. When I was naked, you had me arrested for public exposure – we can’t have naked people roaming the streets you know. When I was a stranger, you told me to go back where I came from. When I was sick, you told me it was my own fault. When I was in prison, you told me I should have obeyed the laws.

New Jesus is pretty good huh? Every situation gets a response and no requirement that we do anything. Every response shows how the victim is to blame for their situation. Brilliant. And it saves us from having to spend any money, time, or energy on people that should be out of sight. Besides, these people make us all feel uncomfortable, so they should be ushered out of public view – that should solve the problem, right?

New Jesus has the stories I know we’ll read. He’s got all the answers. He doesn’t require anything from us, is concerned with our comfort, moves the poor and outcast out of view, and allows us to focus on the people that really matter – each one of us. Finally a personal savior that recognizes my importance! Now there’s a Jesus that would be popular.

Except that’s not who Jesus was, or is. Thank God for that.

This teaching is difficult…

John 6:60-66 read as follows:

“When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.” (NRSV)

The context of this is that Jesus has just taught his disciples about him being the Bread of Life and that we must eat his flesh in order to have life. Sounds like cannibalism doesn’t it? The disciples who raised the question if they can accept it probably thought the same thing.

Here’s the thing – I think this passage of Scripture has as much relevance today as it did when it was written. As a society we seem to struggle with many of Jesus’ teachings – they are difficult, who can accept them?

In Luke 6:27-36, Jesus offers the following teaching:

“‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (NRSV)

Jesus tells us to love our enemies. But Jesus, this teaching is difficult, who can accept it?

In Matthew 25:35, Jesus says: “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” (NRSV).

This is part of a larger parable on how the nations will be judged. We are told that how we treat the least is how we actually treat Jesus. In essence, how we treat the least is actually a representation of what we think about God since the least are made in God’s image.

Jesus tells us to welcome the stranger. But Jesus, this teaching is difficult, who can accept it?

In Luke 10:25-27, we hear a famous parable:

“Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” (NRSV).

This parable is often misunderstood with most people thinking that it about being nice to someone who is hurt on the side of the road. It’s much more radical than that. The parable is given in response to the lawyer trying to define who it is acceptable to not treat like a neighbor. Jesus uses the Samaritan as the hero in the story because it is the exact type of person the lawyer would never have defined as a neighbor. The fact that he can’t answer Jesus’ question at the end by saying the Samaritan, and instead gives a technically correct answer that averts saying the word, shows this. To get a good feel for what this parable would sound like today in contemporary America, substitute in Central American immigrant for Samaritan.

Jesus tells us that neighbors are more than those that look, sound, or believe like us – and are not all from our own country. But Jesus, this teaching is difficult, who can accept it?

In Luke 9:23 (as well as Matthew 10:38, Mark 8:34, and Luke 14:27), Jesus says the following:

“Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (NRSV).

Jesus doesn’t call us to comfort, but rather to death itself – daily. It is only in death that we can experience resurrection. It is only in death that we let go of our egos, our attitudes, our strongly held beliefs, our earthly loyalties and allegiances, our idols, our desires, etc. In death we are released from it all, and are made anew – resurrected. We are called to die daily to self. Only then can we truly be followers of Jesus.

Jesus tells us to die daily to ourselves. But Jesus, this teaching is difficult, who can accept it?

The statement and question of the disciples can be applied to most of what Jesus said and taught leaving us with nothing. Will we be like these disciples who made these statements and then turned back and no longer went with him? Or will we be like Peter who makes this statement: “‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68, NRSV).

Is following Jesus just too difficult to actually do? Do we have excuses for why we cannot accept what Jesus says? Why do we want to claim to be a follower of Jesus if we believe it is just too difficult?

Who can accept what Jesus is teaching and commanding us to do? You and I can. Together. With Jesus.

Heart monitor

I’ve had arrhythmia for years. Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat – it is actually pretty common and comes out in many different ways. For me, when I experience my arrhythmia, it feels like my heart skips a beat or flutters. I’ve usually experienced this for a day or two once a year. It’s a bit disconcerting to be able to feel you heart beating and then not beating like normal – waiting for it to kick on again.

Recently I encountered what I thought was my yearly episode with arrhythmia. Only this time it lasted longer – about five days. Then it went away. And then it came back. It disrupted my sleep. It gave me anxiety. It caused me to think about last moments. So I went to the doctor. My doctor listened to my symptoms and decided that I had acid reflux (go figure) and hooked me up with a heart monitor. No stress test needed since I put myself through a stress test at the gym every time I run – according to the doctor. He had an EKG run on me and he also told me I have a very healthy heart – which was reassuring and had a calming effect on me.

The heart monitor is small and taped right to my chest. You wouldn’t know it is there unless I told you. I am to wear it for a total of two weeks.

The heart monitor will record my heart beats and rhythm. I can click a button on the monitor whenever I feel an irregular heartbeat and then record the time and what I was doing in a journal. Fortunately, I’ve had several instances to record. I say fortunately because then there is something for the doctor to look at.

The heart monitor has me thinking about several things as a result of constantly wearing it and paying attention to my heart.

I’ve been thinking about Jesus monitoring my heart. What would he be monitoring? I imagine it would be something more than just tracking heart beat and rhythm.

Would Jesus’ heart monitor be measuring my attitude and practice of stewardship? Would his monitor be measuring how I loved people – neighbor and enemy? Would Jesus’ heart monitor measure my prayer life? How about my discipleship? Or maybe measure how I get into God’s word?

What would Jesus’ heart monitor be for our church? For our nation? What would Jesus measure for these?

I wonder, what events would we be recording in our journal? What would cause an irregular heartbeat that we notice? Would the irregular heartbeats be associated with conflict in our churches and world? Would they come when a shooting happened? Would we notice an irregular heartbeat when the planet was experiencing some kind of destruction – like the fires in the Amazon? Would we feel our collective heart skip a beat for the rise of fear and anger and tribalism that exists around the world?

I’m wearing a heart monitor. I’m listening to my heart. I do this because I was scared into it and it was disrupting my normal patterns of living.

I wonder what it will take for the world to take notice of it’s heart, for disciples to pay attention and to act. I wonder…