Monday, August 2, 2010

On being full

I started this blog last spring, and after a few posts during Holy Week I let it sit idle.  A good friend of mine periodically asks whether I'll be posting again, and that nudging has been a good thing.  I think I've been struggling with the idea that it can be a little self-centered to think that others really want to listen in to another person's thoughts.  However, I find the few blogs I do read helpful in opening up ideas, asking questions, and generally making me think.  In some ways, these are dialogues in monologue (unless someone posts replies and makes it a true dialogue.)  And that's an interesting way of thinking and communicating.  It's definitely a  good thing for me to engage the thoughts and writing of others.

The title of this blog is "In the Center of All Things," and the explanation for that choice is over on the side.  And Sunday's sermon (I preached on the Ecclesiastes and Luke texts, with a little Colossians mixed in like a nice herb from the garden) reminded me of why I thought I might write here.  Because the focus on "emptiness" that the Teacher has, combined with Jesus' parable about a rich man who thought he had everything but in the end had nothing, led me once more to the realization that this is what I want to consider here.  What does it mean to be centered on God, to be unable to move from God's presence (which, like Psalm 139 can be read as a good thing or a scary thing), to recognize that at our heart, at our core, is the love of God Jesus has made known?  That's what I want to think about and explore, with anyone who might want to explore it with me.

I preached Sunday about gas gauges, and how I tend to push the limit on my little orange light which tells me to fill up.  And how it struck me that our lives are often the same, but without the warning light.  We can be running on empty and not know it, and we can be having priorities and choices which drain our spiritual, emotional, or physical tanks, and unlike being left on the side of the road with a gas can, our life consequences are harder to trace to their source, and harder to notice until they've been accumulating over a lot of time.  So cause and effect are harder to understand and see clearly.  And that means Jesus' warnings in Luke 12 are also harder to hear, because we might be unhappy, unsettled, uncomfortable, or in deeper difficulty still, but we often don't know why.

But I have found that living with the question "where is God in my life?" helps me pay better attention to whether I am empty or filled, and knowing God's love is mine helps me make better choices which also help my tanks get filled.  But I've also come to know and believe that the relationship God has made with me is never lived just with me - it is a relationship of God to God's people, and I am connected to all God's children around the world in a profound way.  And to the people God has placed in my life in a powerful way.  They become truth-tellers to me, standing in God's place, reminding me if I'm getting empty, helping me remember I am loved by God, and helping me as I seek to walk a path of faithful discipleship.

So I am grateful to all my fellow travelers who help me keep on the path, who fill me up in so many ways.  And I think I might start writing here again, in hopes that this monologue/dialogue will be helpful to others in their journeys.  It certainly will be to me in mine.


  1. I too prefer a dialog instead of a monologue with myself. After all, it isn't much of debate if I'm debating with myself, now is it? So I, for one, encourage you to keep writing - dialog or monologue, whichever works.

  2. Joseph: Your stuff (always full of thought and depth) helps to keep my tank full. I like the double-take on Psalm 139.

    I get around the self-centered charge by my observation that I would love to stumble on something like this written by my grandfather and stored away in an old trunk. Maybe my grandson will come upon my digital "journal" some day. (As to the digital "trunk?" -- that's another issue.)