Mission Statement

Cyber Sabbath's goal is to begin to mend the division between Christ and the world (society) that Church has created through reflections, sermons and devotionals

Cyber Sabbath is a place for the stifled Christian voice to be heard. Media gives way to much time to the extremist - over looking the theologically educated and/or the moderates in favor of what sells their view point. Here, politics aside, a pastor reflects on God's voice in every day life.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

forgiveness

As vacation continues, I sure do need to thank everyone for being patient with my blogging as of late.  As a full-time mommy on vacation, I find it difficult to find time to steal away and blog.

I am struck with the number of articles in the news I have been reading (which I will admit to more news reading as of late, so maybe I am just realizing something that is always there) about people suing others.  I have always been aware of the number of lawyers who prey on people who they think might have a case and encourage them to create a lawsuit but what to me seems alarming is the number of these suits that the news is uplifting.

Whatever happen to sometimes things happen?  It feels like we jump to these big actions - like slapping a lawsuit on someone without even beginning the process of talking or trying to work things out other ways.  And this happens in our daily life doesn't it?  Instead of going to the person or persons who you have a problem with, we go behind their backs and stir up trouble.  We seem to have forgotten the biggest part of Jesus' death on the cross - forgiveness.  For it isn't just something we are entitled to get but that we are also required to give.  (I use the language entitled here for reasons one day a blog will get into).  And yet, we often fail to remember the "other" in process of trying to save our own face, or control our own anger.

What I find even more worrisome is that the news tells us about these lawsuits - especially when they are against larger corporations but we never hear the outcome.  We never know if the story that the supposed victim is giving is the full and correct account of what happen - and so we begin to have negative feelings and perhaps angry towards the accused when we don't even know if that is valid.  OR what really happened in the end of the lawsuit.

And this happens in our personal lives as well, doesn't it?  Someone tells us about "something" or they "show" us evidence about how someone else has wronged them.  And the next thing you know, the anger has exploded.  Multiple people now are angry for the person and agree...things that they didn't like before are now proof that yes indeed actions were wrong - and yet in the pursuit for what? rightfulness? We fail to actually look at what Jesus would do - what the right thing to do is.


I do think that the problem is that we have become a nation full of people who fail to relate in community.  And this isn't just a younger generational thing...this is across the generations - this is everyone.  In our attempt to pursue the American Dream - or in our attempt to keep our families together - or in our attempt to make our life matter - we have become a very "me" centered country.  When something happens to us; we jump to conclusions and truly fail to see the other and unfortunately those who do remember the other are often prosecuted worse.

the Divine offers us forgiveness so that we can offer forgiveness to others - so that we can spread that around and all might feel the amazing grace that Christ offers.  But for us to truly live in forgiveness we must give up this need to fulfill our own wants.  We must be willing to look at the world as a community and at corporations as a people trying to do their jobs the best they can.  Sometimes things happen that led to your unhappiness but that doesn't mean that everyone has to keep you happy.

No matter where we look - this is happening, in our society, in our churches, in our schools, at our stores.  It makes it hard for everyone to do their job and most importantly makes people fear losing their jobs.  It also makes the world a place of unfriendliness and people unwilling to be themselves in fear of saying something "wrong." 

Let us stop this! Let us begin to actually spread forgiveness with compassion to those around us - let's get real with people and stop focusing on our own universe but instead the grandeur world we live in.  Let us bring the Divine Forgiveness off the cross and into the arms of those we meet!

Friday, June 22, 2012

only one right answer?

I am overwhelming concerned with this notion that there is only one right answer to the questions of the world.  I don't know if this is something that is being "taught" or "implied" in schools with the true/false questions or multiple choice tests.  But I just can't believe how many people truly believe that all Christians must believe the same cookie-cutter thing or that there is only one way to interpret a passage from the Bible. (esp. if the Bible is the Living Word, check out previous posts).

 When it comes to God - which I believe is beyond our complete understanding since none of us can truly get the concept of this infinite vast being in which we have only encountered within our limited perception of the world - I just don't understand the concept of only ONE right answer.


SO: believe in your faith - believe in your own personal relationship with the Holy Divine and trust that within your own practice, you are able to come to Holy Truths.  That your Spirit is guiding you to the truth that God has placed in your heart and trust in the power of your own answer.

For when you have confidence and rely on our own relationship with God and not others - you will come to the answer you seek.  And I pray it is not the cookie cutter answer you expected but instead a cloud of insight revealing to you the truth you possess. 



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jesus' hug

When you walk into any Catholic Cathedral you see the large crucifix with the body of Jesus suffering his death on the cross.  This is a very strong image and reminder of not only Jesus' death on the cross but of how we continue to place Jesus up there when we fail to keep his teachings.

However, when you walk into a Protestant church, you notice that you don't see Jesus on the cross instead the cross, if there is one, is empty.

Have you ever wondered why?  Well the theological / scholarly answer has to do with the fact that the Protestants want you to focus on the grace that was granted to us through Jesus' resurrection.  For although Jesus' death was important, we wouldn't be Christians if there wasn't a resurrection.  And although we do have to focus on living a life without sin and we do need reminders of Jesus' death, we tend to put more focus on the grace that is available to all because of God's amazing love for us.

But I have an image that I have always thought about and wanted to share with you today:

My theology has always focused on God's love and the love that Jesus asks us to spread.  When Jesus' is on that cross, dying, his arms outstretched I envision God's welcoming arms to the prodigal son.  No matter what we have done or haven't done - no matter how many times our own sins have placed Jesus on that cross, his love is still available to all of us. God's outstretched arms are still awaiting for us to accept and embrace the forgiveness we have been granted.  When we look upon the empty cross, let us remember that Jesus is down from that cross, living and moving among us - arms open to embrace each of us.  We are the outstretched arms of Christ, spreading not only God's love but forgiveness to all.

Let's strive to be that image of God - the father, mother, friend, stranger - waiting with open arms to embrace all with love and forgiveness.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

the Liberal Trap?

One thing I have been reflecting on lately is this idea of what really is liberal theology and what really does Spiritual mean...can one be both Spiritual and Christian (I would say yes, but then again I would also claim to have liberal theology).  I think that Spiritualism at its core is religious (even if the one practicing claims to not be religious).  But that isn't where I'm going today, today I am going to another place:

Are Liberals less disciplined?  Due to the open nature of being liberal and due to the openness of varied practices and the ultimate knowledge that comes with it, I think that for liberals it is easy to get out of the actual practice of discipline and praising of God. It is easy in the Spiritual practices of seeing and being open to God everywhere that we forget to just seat and "be" with God.  It is easy to be discussing the Holy and the Divine in a more pluralist culture or group and forget to remember your own savior in Christ.

I don't think that liberals are less discipline, but I do think that we can easily fall into the trap of forgetting our own God - forgetting most importantly to praise the Divine being who created us.  In trying to political correct or maybe even inclusive in language we often fail to remember the intimate part of Jesus calling God "Abba."  There is a connection, a personal understanding of God that comes with that familiar and yet intimate title.  So whether you want to call the Holy being, Father or Mother or both, just because you are liberal doesn't mean you have to give up that personal intimacy for the language that only limits a limitless God.

It also doesn't mean that we don't have something to learn from our conservative friends - or that a nice conversation can't happen.  The one thing I also feel when having a conversation with a conservative is that I have to "hold back" in order that the conversation remain civil that often leaves me frustrated but I also remind myself that they too are probably holding back and maybe more importantly compromising some of their beliefs as well. These conversations then should lead us to a better understanding not only of ourselves but of the "other."  But it is easy as a liberal to fall into the trap of considering this conservatives to be the "other" instead of being another sister or brother in Christ.

So, here is my ramblings, for whatever it is worth this week. I am enjoying far too much my beach vacation and the long days in the sand and water and most importantly playing.  I am however, constantly reminded of the God who created this all and the God who has a plan for my life.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Trust

(before I began my blog, I just wanted to apologize for my non-consistent blogging lately.  I am on a vacation of sorts, spending some time being a full-time mom and enjoying that for the month of June.  This has left my schedule all over the place and hasn't given me much time to focus on computer related items...so although many blogs are waiting in my head, June will be less dependable.)

Trust - that is one thing that I think most of us humans have the hardest time dealing with.  Do people trust me? Do I trust them? Do I trust myself? and Can I trust God?  I know I struggle with letting go and letting God as the saying goes - trusting God over myself or my own opinions is hard.  

But as I was in conversation with a random stranger the other day, she said to me something like: all the times in my life when I didn't trust God and instead went my own way that is when everything got messed up.  That was when I was tithing or giving back, that was when my marriage fell apart and when I felt most alone.  And I give that an AMEN!

When we trust ourselves over God, we often make decisions based on only what we know in the here and now; often these decisions are based on fears of what could be instead of hope.  We trust God least when we think that life could get out of control but usually in going our own way life gets out of control.

For me, I felt truly lost when I realized after one year of college that not only did I have no idea what I wanted to do with me life - I knew I wasn't on God's path.  I knew that I was following my own and paving my own way into a life I thought I wanted, but I wasn't happy.  So, I took a leap of faith - or more truly a leap of trust.  I trusted that everything would work out and I would find my way, if I just followed God's call instead of my own.  Instead of driving to school to unpack and start a second semester, I drove to school to drop out.  At first I didn't like using that word as it seemed like I had failed - "drop out" seemed like a label for someone who wouldn't amount to anything.  But I knew I was doing the right thing.

For that next year I worked, I prayed and I came to believe in myself when I wasn't in control - when God was.  I heard God's call for me and I felt God's plan.  And in taking the steps to follow God's plan I was led into the life I have today - the life that I could not have imagined in high school but the life nonetheless I knew I was meant to lead.

And on this journey, the Holy has been working around me and through me.  The Holy has pushed me to try some new things and to see differently the world around me.  I was led to new theologically thoughts, I thought were too liberal and found a new understanding for some I thought were too "out there."  And in trusting the Divine, my world has been transformed.

Now that doesn't mean that I always believe that God's plan is right or that I have stumbled a time or three.  It doesn't mean that I haven't at times forgotten how to trust God or believed I knew better.  But it does mean, that I am only human striving to live a fuller life, a life filled with grace and love.

The disciples followed Jesus, many without question.  They left their lives in order to be Jesus' students, friends and eventually apostles.  They took a leap of trust believing in what this radical man had to say.
And today, we are asked to take that same leap, but with one difference, this radical man we are following in not as tangible as he was to first 12. Our Jesus is much more subtle and our Jesus' teachings come to us second, third even hundredth hand.  So our job takes a bit more trust - not only in God but trust in ourselves.

We have to trust ourselves enough to know we are making the right decision.  We have to trust in ourselves enough to not back down to the secular world that makes fun or be-littles us. We need to trust ourselves enough to let go of our own wills and let God's move in.  And we have to trust others enough to let them see this side of us.  To let them into our Spirits and let them meet the Divine.  We need to trust others enough to spread the word and to continue on in Jesus' teachings.

But trust is hard.  Not just trusting God but trusting ourselves and others.  It isn't something that we humans do naturally.  This probably goes back to our ancestors who were trying to survive in a different world.  A world in which survival meant that one trusted only ones own instincts.  But we live in a different place.  Let us take a step toward trusting, first in God, then ourselves and then the world.


One side story to trust:
It is always hard to believe every needed person who comes your way.  Especially when there are a lot of needy people, or they smell like booze (or worse), or when they are just asking for too much.  My husband believes in helping the best he can cause he would rather be taken advantage of  and when he meets God have to apologize for giving to much then not enough or missing the person in real need.  But this story isn't about him.  One hot summer day in Atlanta, while my mom, me, sister and a friend were leaving the Coke Cola museum, a man who seemed to be begging approached us.  He told us this long story that ended with the gist that he, his wife and two young daughters were broken down without gas.  If we could borrow gas money, when he got where he was going he was sure to give back to us what he borrowed.  My mom decided to give him the $20.00 he was asking for, but told him it was a gift (she wasn't gonna give our address to a stranger who might come and steal from us).  He blessed us and said well then "God will repay y'all double."  We left the area, believing we would never get that money back.  The next day, we went to a water park (our friend was visiting from out of town).  When we got there, a large church group in front of us realized they need a few more people in order to get the group rate.  They asked if we would like to join their group for the day and get in at the cheaper price and have lunch with them.  We said sure and that day God saved us $40.00.

We could come up with reasons to not believe God was in this but we could also trust that in trusting this stranger and trusting God's teachings, we were brought to a path that not only sent us message but truly reminded us of God working in and through our lives.