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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

37 weeks

so at some point this week my pregnancy will be full-term at 37 weeks...you may or may not hear from me :) We are truly excited to be inviting this wonderful new being into our family and pray for a smooth transition for our 2 year old. 

Praying during stress

So I will be honest that these past few weeks have been full of stress - between a sick kid, this late in my pregnancy and so rough sleeping and some pretty difficult stresses at the church I am surprised (and grateful!) I didn't go into pre-term labor. 

But I find that it is during these times, when you need to be reminded of the presence of God more then ever that remembering to prayer doesn't come to easily.  And it is pretty easy to miss a devotional or two or forget to say a blessing and the next thing you know your stress is ten-fold cause you have forgotten that you don't walk alone.  Yes, we need to be living out our faithful lives and yes, there can come a point in which we ask God for just too much - but during these times it is IMPORTANT to remember to keep the communication going.  It isn't asking God to get rid of your problems or for a "cure-all" but is instead asking God's guidance in you decision making, asking God's strength for your day and reminding yourself that God is walking along side with you, knowing and understanding your struggles. 

The good habits for prayer and connectional relationships that you establish on your daily basis are there to help you especially when the goings get tough (or rough or stressful).  It is important that you continue to strive to keep that relationship open, instead of turning your self inward - this only increases your stress and leaves you feeling alone. 

So, know that within your stressful days if you take a moment to "be still" you will realize that God is there.  As the psalm reminds us: "be still and know that I am God"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"dealing" with Jesus wife

So, I am always kind-of annoyed when the whole Jesus was married debate pops up.  It was the big theme of that Dan Brown book and the debate always comes to the surface.  The part about the debate that really gets me isn't the possibility that Jesus was actually married but instead the amazing lengths that people go to either proclaim he wasn't or that the church has covered this up unwilling to admit the truth. 

I think the real question here and the real debate here should be why does this conversation make many Christians so uncomfortable? And why does this debate make many non-Christians so excited with glee that Jesus was married? 

The reality here is that this should stir conversation...conversation about Jesus' humanity and divinity.  For this is really what is at the core of this debate - how much was Jesus human and divine?  Where is the line and when does it get crossed.  For some Jesus couldn't have sinned or his divinity would be called to question, where you know from previous blogs I feel that Jesus as fully human had to experience sin - separation from God - in order to fully take on our sins and offer salvation to humanity.  But the question here isn't really was Jesus married but where does the line between his humanity and divinity blur?  Making it difficult for us to understand the truine nature of God. 

You see, when Jesus first died - when Matt, Mark, Luke and Paul were writing - Jesus was a human.  People knew him, people felt him and people saw him.  His humanity was not called into question for all understood him in that nature, a fully human being.  So, much time was spent proving his divinity.  We see this in Matthew's attempt to time and time again prove the Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.  We see this in the great extent that Paul goes into the idea that Christ is the bride of the Church and what the resurrection of Christ did for us.  You see, those early pioneers were forced to PROVE that this human being that all had come to know, even if just through word of mouth, was actually a divine God. 

As the early church wasn't even formed and there were as many practices following Christ as their were people it become very important for the earlier foundation setters that Jesus divinity was proven and understood.  This understanding of a God - a trinity God - was expanding the thought of the Hebrews and was often misunderstood as just another pagan cult group.  But it wasn't, and they were trying to explain that.

But eventually, and you can see the shift as early as the late 1century and even in some of John's work, the new generations who didn't know the Jesus who walked amongst us were starting to need to understand the human side of Jesus; and so the paradigm shift began and the discussions continues today.  The debate forever now is how do we understand Jesus as both the human and the divine Christ.  How do we live with this seemingly contradictory duality?

Which brings us to the newest evidence a piece from a group called the gnostic from the 4th century which has Jesus proclaiming someone as "my wife."  Oh- the holes in this that have proven it to be of course false, but for me this isn't what we should be looking at.  It doesn't matter if Jesus wasn't actually married, what does it say about the cultural dialogue and the early Christian church that we have such scrolls?

For me, it means that this debate of Jesus humanity was still an important part of our culture.  The gnostics just don't talk about Jesus' wife but have many other controversial thoughts - especially because the book of Thomas goes deep into Jesus' childhood and what that was like for him as he came to understand his divinity. 

You see, Jesus' marriage status is not what we should be talking about here, but instead how do we as a Church come to understand and accept Jesus as both divine and human.  Clearly there seems to be some invisible line that if crossed proves in either direction that Christianity is false...Jesus can't be either too divine or too human. 

Why is that?  What is it about Jesus' humanity that scares us - why can't Jesus be too human?  What is it about the divinity of Christ that needs to be preserved just so in order for the Redeemer to be a true savior?  And why is it that the Christian church is always blamed in "great cover ups" instead of realizing the truth that the early church, in all its flaws, was not one big cohesive group but instead a group of believers just trying to figure out and understand their faith - and to this day that is all we are, a group, mostly dysfunctional, of people trying to put a faith - a religion - to an experience and a set of personal beliefs.    

Thursday, September 20, 2012

36+ weeks and the baby is almost here

Ok, so I'm now 36+ weeks and in the upcoming weeks a new little person will have come into our family, so if you come on and realize there isn't a new blog...you know why. I will keep this POST at the top of the page so all shall know.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Giving up and giving in and living

so I have been remembering the passage in which Jesus claims that we must live lose our life in order for our lives to be saved (Mark 8).  And I have been trying to think about what does that mean for those of us who are faithful?  What does it mean to lose our life?

For some I am sure this is the moment that in complete despair and in an utter hole of darkness they came to not only believe but to trust in Christ.  But for many this is not what Christ is talking about, for there are many who have never really hit a "rock-bottom" moment  or a moment in which faith was not a part of their lives...

So how do the faithful lose their life in order to be saved?  Or as some claim, if you never feel that moment of rock-bottom are you never truly saved?  Well of course I don't believe the later statement...(Somewhere in my journeys across the internet I found a story, and I wish I could give credit were credit is due but I just can't remember when / where / or who I found this story.)

The story is of a young traveler who left her native home to travel the world and see the sights.  Upon returning to her small remote village, she was welcomed home with open arms and true excitement in hearing her stories.  Yet she realized that for as hard as she tried, she just couldn't explain all that she had seen or experienced for it just left many confused and more bewildered.  The villagers just couldn't envision all that she had seen for there was no framework for them to understand some of the creatures or the plants.  Eventually she just drew a map of her travels and after a nice visit, left the village once more to explore more.  The villagers framed the map and it became almost a sacred item.   

The lesson here is that they were so amazed by this map, and held it to almost a Godly level and YET no one tried to follow the map.  No one else left the village to see or experience better things.  They got so caught up in the paper map that they didn't realize it was really an adventure waiting for them.

Often we get so caught up in all the details that we fail to live our lives.  We get caught up in the church politics or in reading the Bible word-by-word.  We get caught up in following only one set of instructions that we fail to actually LIVE into Christ's ways.  Christ didn't say come and study me, he said come and follow me - come and live like me.  Unless we are willing to give into living our lives following Christ then we are just like these villages, stuck in closed life.  We might be doing well, we might be happy but imagine the sights we could see if only we followed!

It is easy to get caught up in our own lives - our own villages - that it isn't that we forget our faith or that we don't strive to live a faithful life but it is that we have failed to live for Christ.  Instead we live for ourselves.  We pray that our wills happen and our desires take place.  We pray that things turn out our way and that people start acting like we expect or want them too.  We judge people on our own beliefs in the Bible and claim that this is what it means to be Christian.  And yet, this is just living in a village, worshiping a map - or in our case: sitting in a pew worshiping a cross.  Jesus died on the cross so that we can live...

Jesus died on the cross so that we could LIVE...not so that we could look at the cross, worship the cross or hold sacred the cross without wondering what would happen if we followed the cross.  Jesus asked his disciples to take up the cross with him - to carry the burdens of being Christ and to FOLLOW his ways. 

So the challenging in losing our lives to be saved...is getting past ourselves.  Getting past our own wills, getting past our own lives, getting past our own fears, leaving behind our struggles in order to truly FOLLOW Christ...to leave the pews and walk in Jesus footsteps trusting the map left behind will take a places that our own wills never could imagine.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Whose Truth is Truth?

As we are now fully into the election year and the political cloud becomes heavier and heavier I am finding refuge once again in comedy.  I find that  the comics pointing out some of the obvious truths an flaws on both sides of the campaign give me hope that there really is hope left and people who actually do look for the real truth.  I was struck this year by John Stewart's motto for the republican national convention "a party too patriotic for facts" (trust me his motto for the democrats "the sequel, hopefully better then the first but usually not" is not any more flattering but has nothing to do with my blog).

Unfortunately, I think we have all become too ignorant for facts.   And I do use that word ignorant on purpose knowing the harsh tone it takes on.  Because in our information age and in the age when are schools are mostly places for us to keep our children occupied while we work, we have failed to not only encourage people to think for themselves but we have come to believe what comes out of peoples mouths as truths and we don't look beyond.

The problem with faith today - all faiths - is that the "truths" of the faith are often too much up to the truths of the individual follower, leading often to the abuse of the faith to push our own agendas or our own hate.

I once had this roommate who would often end a sentence with "I could have made that up" or would say a sentence like "yesterday, I lied when I said ..... I re-read the article and it actually says ...."  At first I was taken a-back by it but then later began to think it was a really good reminder that when we are hearing it through a third party then the truth we are getting is ALWAYS distorted.

So the only way to "know" for sure is to go to the source.  Unfortunately for most faiths out there our sources aren't around and what is left behind are written words with centuries of thoughts and insights written in between the words.  The ability to take a first hand look at the Bible, or Torah or any of the worlds Holy books is impossible because even if you don't follow that faith you are coming to the book with some encounters with its people or the rumors of its faith. 

And so truth becomes hard to find.  And worse in a day and age when truth can be a finger tip away we would rather forgo the use of it in order to pull at people's emotions and hope to get a deep emotional reaction that then leaves people believing in your own false reality and leaves them forgetting about the fact checking they should be doing.

Once more, unless you actually witness or hear a recording of a conversation between two people, then a quote from it is always bias - why? Because no matter how hard we are listening to the other we are always interpreting...putting our own into whatever it is that they are saying.  We are always taking away more then just the words - we might be using body language or inflection to add to what we think is being said between the lines. 

And yet, despite this crazy ability for us to leave rational minds aside in favor of the emotional untruths that come our way we are also spreading a different kind of reality out there - and that reality is the one in which we don't trust the words that come out of people.  We no longer take words at the face value but instead must look deeper.  The 24 hour news coverage is amazing at this...if there is something they disagree with especially, they can spend hours spinning and flipping the words, bringing in experts to talk about body language or inflection, all to prove that there was "more" there then what was stated.  "MORE" then the words spoken.

And that is where truth begins once again to take a huge plunder to really mattering.  You see, in our attempt to become politically correct or perhaps to conform or even perhaps in our attempt to be liked and have friends, we no longer believe what comes out of peoples mouths - we must read into them, we must add our own interpretation and we must analyze all that was said.  For sure they cannot be speaking the truth because we would never ourselves speak the truth would we? 

Worse yet is when we do find someone who does speak the truth - who isn't trying to hide or cover up - who isn't speaking in half-truths or in riddles.  And these people, although rare and few and far between, end up living frustrated lives in which they get persecuted and accused of lying.

When it looks like a horse, spells like a horse, it is one - even if it has a horn strapped to its head - there are no such thing as unicorns.

I think the challenge for faithful people should be not living into the Word of God but instead living into an authentic life in which they actually try to live the Word.  Speaking the truth and inviting people into REAL relationships, not relationships built on lies or relationships built on half truths.  Not relationships in which we "hide" part of ourselves or refuse to share the true struggles in our lives - but OPEN relationships in which we truly seek out the real in each other and find the Holy that dwells in the sacred space of authenticity and truth.

That is what people are looking for in Church - in the institutions of faith.  Somewhere they can go, be accepted for who they are and be real - have real relationships.  We are a people sick and stuck in our lives of "faking it."  From trying to fit into your workplace to keep your job to competing with each other on social media.  What people are looking for is a refuge and a place for reality.

But today, churches are less real then ever before.  People come to church pretending to be the best Christians and keeping their struggles to themselves in some distorted belief that they have to have it all together.  Churches are fighting within each other and with each other over silly and petty things.  I know a church who is so jealous of another church within its communities success that they are actually taking actions that only brings suffering to both churches - because for sure it isn't there fault that they are failing...

Let us be REAL people!  Let us find the truth that is not set within our own realities but is instead set up in the reality of our faith - the reality of sacred and let us work on real relationships.  Let us not let the emotional words of others pull our rational strings away from us leaving us to believe false statements and let us begin to live in truth.

For only when people coming together with real and authentic hearts worship the Word and spread God's message will the truth behind Jesus' love be felt by all those around and will Christ message and Kingdom be made available to all!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Spiritual emptiness

spiritual emptiness is one of the greatest problems facing all of our faith traditions today.  With the never ending involvement of electronics in our lives - early and early in today's world; we are always connected and always have the "answers" one touch away.  And so, we are left, not knowing how to listen the voice of the Holy and worse, not willing to always give into God's time.

My husband is a good example, he really didn't want a data phone because he thought that they were not needed but in an attempt to be more organized, he eventually broke down to get the phone.  Now he uses data to an extreme (luckily we have unlimited).  Not only is he always looking things up on his data phone but he often turns to his phone when he is bored to kill time. 

Now, I am not saying that he is spiritually empty by any means, but he is an example of just how much the technology we have access to can not only infect our lives but it can take away from us the valuable time we need to communion with our own thoughts and to truly listen to God.  With the sounds and images that otherwise come our way, we all need to activity take some time in our lives to sit back and shut it all out. 

As a mother of a young two year old, we have chosen to not only limit the TV but also sound in general.  Our little girl loves music, but I purposefully leave no electronics in her play room and although will play music for her during the day, don't give her constant background noise.  I find that she sings to herself or plays with one of her musical toys.  But playing in the quiet gives her time to be with her own thoughts, her own imagination an most importantly gives her a chance to develop Spiritual discipline early - cause children need that too!

As our lives become more convenient, we need to remember to look beyond what is planted in front of us and what the Holy might be trying to tell us.