What I learned from “One Day OUT in November.”


(One Day OUT in November is a fasting/giving activity held the week before Thanksgiving by the ministry group, 40 Days. The activity was orginated by the online ministry, The ACTS Generation (Circa 2008-11). Both groups had/have as their heart to take traditional Christian faith to the next level, out of the cozy pew, and onto the streets where we live.)

So, what did I learn during my day of fasting?

First, being hungry is not easy.

The day I chose for my fast was Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving. I’d been putting it off, making every excuse known to man about why I really didn’t need to do this even though as a leader of the event, it was ‘sorta’ important that I lead by doing….hahaha.

This day it seemed that everyone was eating, talking about eating, or planning to eat. And that day, I got a cupcake. From GiGi’s. It was like the devil himself wanted to see if I could hold out.

A business who gets work from my agency gives us cupcakes when we use their services. So, here I was, face to face with this luscious treat. I tried to give it away, but got shouted down by my co-workers, who suggested I save it for the next day. So, I stashed it in the fridge of my supervisor, and tried to forget about it.

One thought hit me. How many folks didn’t get a gift of food (of any kind) on that day? How many people didn’t have a place to keep food until they chose to eat it? How many people have never tasted a cupcake at all? I had a CHOICE to stop eating. How many people out there don’t have a choice?

I got through my fast, and was a bit stressed from work. I drove to a favorite restaurant, and justifying that my fast was over (it was past sunset after all,) I dove face first into an amazing amount of food. And, sad to say, something I ate did not agree with me. I ended up being sick most of the night.

I had plenty of time to think in those hours. Other thoughts came to mind. I had money in my bank account, and could walk in, just about anywhere, flash my debit card, and eat to my hearts content. Probably way too much.

To be truly hungry in the United States means this: no debit card, no buffets, and no chance to get sick from over-indulgence. My problems are definitely different than someone who is happy to get a meal at a shelter.

What did I learn from my fast time? That, I, as an American, am RICH. I have choices that are availiable to me that others do not have. Is this because of luck, grace, work ethic or just chance? Not sure. But I do know that I have always believed…..if I have excess, and hang onto it, then I spit in the face of grace.

Having much, and not sharing with those who do not have a lot (or anything) is going the opposite way of the gospel. And yes, I do it…everyday. I could do much, much better.

On Tuesday, I CHOSE to go without food. Many people on Tuesday had no other choice. I hope this event gives me a more tender heart to those who do not have a choice, or even for those whoose bad choices have put them in a place of poverty.

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Battling the ‘God-intended-it’ lie


I want to set a few things straight this morning.

God, at least the God I serve, did not intend any of the following: rape, incest, child abuse, domestic violence (of either sex), gay-bashing, racism, sexism….or any other action where a stronger party takes advantage, abuses or attempts to take advantage or abuse a party they perceive to be weaker than themselves.

Recent political comments that suggest such a thing is even possible lead me to think that said politicians have created a god (little ā€˜gā€™) in their own narcissistic, misogynistic, ignorant image.

There. My indignant spewing is done. For the moment. At least until a misinformed candidate opens his mouth again.

I can’t promise what I might say then. All bets would be off.

There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that the God who begot a self-sacrificing son, Jesus Christ, has ever endorsed evil.

Ever.

In fact, if I have my reading right, there is a place called ‘hell’ for those who do endorse, participate in or try to explain away evil behavior.

A lot of people violently disagree about abortion, I struggle with the issue myself. Despite those struggles, I still say that I think the government should stay the heck out of people’s bedrooms (or wherever procreation takes place.) I think my charge, first and foremost, is to love those who think, live and act differently than me. It is up to a God who is perfect (and not me) to decide and sort out what he thinks (not what I think) is wrong with the human beings he created.

That brings me back to the “God intended it” lie.

I have heard this lie many times, used for many occasions. Sometimes from suffering, godly people who are struggling to cope with some unexplained tragedy in their life. Sometimes from well-meaning people who love the person struck with tragedy. They are trying to say something to help, when wisdom would dictate that if you can’t improve silence, don’t try.

We live in a world where tragic things happen. Those with traditional Christian views, myself among them, believe that due to original sin, we now live in an imperfect world. Sin keeps it happening. I believe that God allows harsh consequences in a fallen world. However, I do not believe for a moment that he intends them to happen.

God does not ‘intend’ birth defects, stillbirth, robbery, murder, car accidents, cancer or any other tragic or evil thing to happen.

Neither does God intend that women who are raped by strangers, dates or parents be forced to give birth to offspring from those unholy unions.

God does not intend that people die from preventable diseases due to lack of funding for research that could cure illnesses. In fact, I will strictly say that if it is of an evil origin, God does not intend any of it to occur at all.

I can’t imagine the pain God feels when he sees a human he loves victimize another human he loves. I can’t imagine how much pain he feels when God sees someone running for a place in government endorse policies that would victimize a whole gender.

I believe, and can give countless stories from my own life as proof, that God can and does bring good from what man intends as evil. The bible is full of such stories. But such provision should come from God. When man starts deciding when a lesson should be taught and what kind of lesson it should be, he steps into the place of God–a place no human currently on earth is qualified to fill.

Finally, it really doesn’t matter what this senator or that representative thinks, except to wave a huge red flag to warn the awake and listening public (and voters) out there.

The moment government gets involved in the things that belong exclusively to the individual and God, that’s the moment that America steps away from its heritage of separation of church and state.

Our founding fathers, believers and not, knew that a government that steps too far into personal beliefs is in danger of becoming a dictatorship. America is about freedom. Even the freedom to do wrong.

Dragging God and his assumed intentions into moral issues is a guarantee of political quagmire that ignores the common ground and insures pointless argument with no solution. One thing the bible clearly says is that no one knows the mind of God. So, before a politician (or anyone else) claims that God intends anything, maybe they should instead examine the contents of their own heart.

They may find that the god they are serving is actually themselves.