During the weekend we had opportunities for moderately safe adventures, including hiking and repelling. Some men went fly flishing too, though I'm not sure there's much danger in that. There would have been if I'd gone along.
When I was a kid, sometimes my siblings and I felt it necessary, even dire, to interrupt our parents’ alone time. There may have been popsicles involved. At age seven, I didn’t know what was going on behind their closed door on a Saturday afternoon, but my brothers and sister and I had this deal that we always discussed ambling down the hall toward their door. One of us would quickly say, “I knock. You talk.”
A couple weeks ago one of our pastors was preaching about worship and told the story of Mary and Martha, how Martha was doing all the work while Mary just sat and listened to Jesus. I was wondering if maybe the argument wasn’t all Jesus’ fault. Could Jesus have committed the unpardonable sin of being the guest that arrives early?
We instituted a policy with our girls, though we’re not always consistent with it, that whoever hits back will receive a harsher punishment than the original offender. She who retaliates will get a longer timeout. The words, “But she hit me first,” were all the confession we needed. (In this system I guess you’re better off striking first.) This is an attempt to help them see that our hearts, darkened as they are with sin, are bent towards revenge.
By far the least favorite description of my worship leading came about eight years ago. My critic didn’t intend to compare me to this musician; he just couldn’t think of anyone as mellow—Barry Manilow. Though it was arguable that my style resembled “Mandy” or “I Write the Songs,” it was that the worship songs I preferred tended to be the slower, more contemplative ones. In a set of six songs, at least three, maybe four, leaned toward slow or moderately slow.
These weren’t innocent people but the same ones who derided and even killed the prophets God sent to win them back. Their hearts were full of infidelity, and they laughed at God in their sin.
A couple weeks ago I bought new windshield wiper blades for our minivan. I know what you’re thinking: Wow, this sounds like an exciting post! So here’s a teaser: I’m recounting the moment the Owens Family was saved from annihilation. ... Every time I change our wiper blades I think back to the moment that was pivotal in mine and Cindy’s life together. More than twice a year (you should probably change your blades before and after winter) I recall the event that propelled us into the future together. This was the day, Valentine’s Day of 1998, when I helped Cindy change the wiper blades on her little green Mitsubishi Mirage.
Worship isn’t something we add into our calendar as a set appointment or something we put on our checklist. Worship is our calendar. Worship is our to-do list. (It’s also our checkbook … or, debit cards. Who writes checks?) Everywhere we are and in everything we do we can worship God, or we can ignore him. If you need a particular style of music or crosses in view or altars or stained glass, then you’ve missed it.
Artists can be so hard on themselves. I believe this accompanies artistic talent, pushing us to reach for higher heights in art. And as Christian artists, we should want, like court musicians, to play our best for our great King and Master Artist. If not for perfectionism would any of the great artists (musicians, painters, writers, poets, dancers, actors, photographers, sculptors, etc.) have produced the masterpieces we treasure today? If not for perfectionism, wouldn’t art be mediocre? Wouldn’t all singing be a karaoke performance?
Hedonism, the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness any way possible, doesn’t satisfy. Neither does religion, which is like stagnant water. Religion convicted her of her hedonistic lifestyle, providing her with ample guilt to keep her devoted her entire life—and empty. But the reality of guilt and the emotion of guilt must lead somewhere other than religious exercises. So she brought her guilt to Jesus, and he overturned the verdict and began the process of eradicating her burden of guilt.