Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Andrea Bocelli and Assorted Other Thoughts

I'm not much of an opera fan even though I love music. For some reason, the opera-style voice sounds "fake" to me. I thought it was just my inexperience talking until my high school music teacher admitted she felt the same way. Hmm. But the minute I heard Andrea Bocelli's voice, I melted into a puddle. He has a wonderful style. I love listening to him. Except when he sings opera. Well, I can't change that personal preference, I guess. (Can't win 'em all, Andrea.)

I've been struggling lately with more blood sugar issues and migraines. Sometimes, I think I've completely forgotten what feeling well feels like. I hate that. But when I do have a good day, and more than four hours of sleep, I am elated! I wake up all smiles and am acutely aware of great health. I suppose that's a good pay-off.

NaNoWriMo is coming and I am not ready. The silly thing is that I'm not going to be working on a new project but will be attempting to finish last year's WIP. So all the preliminary work is ready: outline, characters, story line, etc. But I really should read the story again, don't you think--just so I refresh myself about what was written 12 months ago??

Winter is sneaking up on me. I feel it and smell it's nasty breath. If it weren't for Christmas, I'd fall into depths of depression with that willful weather wolf crouching just ahead.

I read all the time how Thanksgiving is some people's favorite holiday. It's not mine. It's a lot of work if you're hosting the big feast and I really dislike that gamey turkey taste I get after one bite of the designated holiday bird. I do, however, like the desserts, but having diabetes really puts a crimp in my dessert eating style. Oh well. It's all about planning...if I eat this and don't eat that, THEN I can have that pie. (Cream pie, please, not orangey punkin stuff or eggy custard pie. Eww.)

I have other thoughts in my noggin, of course, but my fingers want to go to bed. The rest of me wants to also. Thanks for reading my rambling and random ideas.

How about you? What thoughts are rattling 'round in your noggin tonight?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What Good is the Church...Really?

Readers may glance at the title of this post and think: Well, we know she'll never say anything negative so that title is just a teaser. Or readers may say: How dare she even suggest there's something wrong with the church!

I guess I feel both ways. There is something wrong with the church, and there's nothing wrong with the church. I have times when I think about the church. A lot. Sometimes I shake my head at something bad that happens in the church. Sometimes I get misty-eyed about something good that happens in the church. A few things of both kinds have happened to me.

I've been the recipient of a minister's confession that he doesn't want a mentally ill person messing up the new white caddy that "his" church bought him. That made me sick to my stomach-literally.

I've known people who played church very nicely, and then went home and did despicable, evil things to their families.

In the past, church family from various churches have told me off, told me I'm weak, told me how to grieve, and told me I'm being punished by God because I've had two husband's with cancer.

I've seen a lot, too. I've seen manifestations from God that have mirror images performed by those who listen to Satan, and then attempt to imitate God's wonderful ways.

I've been told by a well-meaning 6th grade Sunday school teacher I'd go to hell if I kept chewing gum in church.

And folks who make it their business to check out how many times I showed up in church. Just punching a church time clock every Sunday appeared to be their criteria for good Christian living.

So the church isn't perfect. It holds swindlers and cheats, gossips and brow beaters among it's folds. Like most flocks of sheep, sometimes we don't smell so good.

But I've also seen a miracle healing or two. Or more.

And I've known sweet ladies who gave and gave and then gave some more and never asked for anything for themselves.

As a child I was ministered to by my pastor who sat t by my bedside, long into the night, reading a story book to me as I recovered from surgery.

And the pastor who talked to my late husband about things in heaven when hope was over for this world gave comfort like I'd never known before.

Then there was the family who'd lost a son too early in his life. They insisted on serving my family the funeral dinner when we were grieving our lost loved one. They knew what it was like. And they gave out of a heart of compassion.

How about all the Sunday school teachers who gave hugs and comfort? Who taught hope and Christ's love?

Oh boy, and the moms who made cookies and punch for VBS, and taught stories and made crafts. They loved it, though it wore them down.

I've seen people open their hearts and their checkbooks to help others, more times than I can count.

So what good is the church?

It shows love and hate.

Bitterness and compassion.

God's forgiveness and Satan's condemnation.

And all the things and emotions that make people bad, good, ugly, and holy.

And underneath it all, is Christ and His GRACE.

We only have to look at the church to see proof Christ is needed, and proof Christ was given. The church is a microcosm of the world's people.

Maybe the best thing about the church is this: it is an example of all things hoped for and all things covered by Jesus' grace.

It is an example of, and a history of, us.

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (The Message)
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ's body—that's who you are! You must never forget this...