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.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bullying - we need to own our behavior




I have been doing a lot of praying about bullying in the recent years.  I am struck by all the news stories of how bullying resulted in a truly tragic ending of a young life.  I am living in church environment in which bullies usually not only reside but are enabled by a system that continues to let them win.  I just cannot understand how our society is “OK” with such behavior.  I also recently feel that lots of pop songs are truly encouraging people to be “Brave” or to be like a “Firework” and other great lyrics that are pushing people to not let that be the normal. 
As part of my prayer I have been trying to be open to the world around me and in the last several months by heart has grown quite aware as to the reality of the bully problem.  This is NOT just isolated cases or even just a problem for school age kids – this is a HUGE society problem and we ALL need to take ownership of this and change. 
I’m calling my husband and his family out on this first.  In their family they spend a lot of time giving each other a hard time.  In fact my husband calls his sister the “ugly one” even though she is anything but ugly.  It has gotten so extreme that one time he mentioned her being ugly and she wasn’t even around.  She has her own words for him, so she isn’t blameless in this.  Although this is how they act, they truly love each other and in the years have come through to support each other when need.  Yet this is the example that our children have of a healthy (?) relationship.  This relationship is full of bullying – albeit in a joking way. 
I’m calling out all of our TV sitcoms.  There is always the one person that the sitcom makes into a character who is funny just for being – and in a way we all make fun of them.  And making fun is a form of bullying.
Many normal adults today spend a lot of time bringing people down in jokingly ways.  This is what our children see – and the people who are different are always targeted out.  If we want bullying to stop and to have a true impact on our world, we need to change.  ALL OF US.
Our Christian faith does not leave room for this.  We are asked to lift people up – lift up their gifts and individuality.  So let us do so.  If we spent as much time lifting people up as we often do tearing people down we all might have more healthy relationships and our children may get a new message instead of what we are teaching them today.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

lullaby



Swish, swish, swish echoing from the baby monitor…clink, clink, clink rattle from the dog collar as she runs around trying to find her place for the night…patter, patter, patter or perhaps thud, thud clambering in the halls from the much larger dog as she finds trouble before bed…click, click, click the sound of my own fingers on this computer…these are the sounds of my night, lulling me to sleep and yet tonight’s lullaby is clouded by the doom of the night to come.  This is just the calm before the storm. Tonight, as many of the past nights this year I am holding down the fort a lone.  The three-year old has a burning fever and the baby is teething at some point they will both be up.  I’m not sure if I’m hoping they are up at the same time or praying that they aren’t.  Either way I love sleep and I know tonight I won’t be getting any.  I just truly pray there is no throwing up!
Even if they weren’t sick or teething children, the truth is there would be no lullaby for me tonight.  My mind is racing and my body is tense.  I’m as a line in a movie about stealing something with some really well known people (you know the one right?) I’m fine (freaked out, insecure, neurotic and emotional).  Although you could probably replace the “I” with insane.  You see, for the last 2+ years I’ve been dealing with the fall out of a church break up.  They say some of the worse stressors in life are losing your job, up there on the list is divorce: try resigning from a church (it is like both)!  You see, no matter what the circumstances of this break up was, like any good divorce lines get blurred.  And in the end many people get hurt.  Like any good divorce it takes a while to get back on your feet and truly “move on.”  For me the factors that continue to play out aren’t because I wish it had ended differently or I want the job back, the factors that continue to play out do so because I don’t want it to happen again or to happen to others.  You see churches have patterns of cycling through clergy because they are pretty messed up, like unwanted step children or infants who weren’t hugged enough.  Churches all have their own issues and if we as clergy can’t help them then we aren’t going to see any positive change to the decline in our numbers.  I just want these cycles to stop.  And yet they seem to be just getting worse.
At the end of this break up – came the decision to stay on at 40% time at one of the churches we served.  At the end of this came the decision to trust God that we weren’t meant to leave all we had begun to accomplish there and go someplace new.  At the end of this came the choice to rebuild a house from the turn of the century and to spend all of our money believing that we were following God’s will. 
And so I sit tonight in the still silence of swish, clink, swish, thud, swish, click, swish, swish trying with every part of me to trust God.  To do as I preach, to do as I teach and to believe that we did not just make giant fools of ourselves by not applying elsewhere; to trust that although there are people slandering our names that the rumors fall on deaf or at least more consciences ears.  And yet the cloud of doom hangs low and wide.  Soon we will not be owners of our house in the city but instead an old farm house that is currently only 2/3 sided and is missing a window.  Already we are trying to subsist on less than twenty thousand a year with gas alone at almost 4 dollars a gallon.  Already we are trying to raise a family and to meet the needs of our children without daycare and while trying to juggle our job and rebuilding of a house.  We are living on the brink of discouragement, anger and shame.  We are living with guilt and worries.  We are living on the brink of failure and yet trying to live in the hope of our God. 
A God who when we needed one window for our upstairs bathroom brought us to Lowes to find an unmarked window in the right dimensions on clearance for 34 dollars! Because God is good.
A God who has blessed us with family who can help with these rebuilding so we don’t have to pay others and our resources can go to material.
A God who in the midst of our material hunt provided us with a range fan and 2 faucets all brand new in boxes, never installed for 25 dollars. 
A God who blessed us with a house to fall back into when we needed a place to live.
A God who way back when, encouraged us to get a car with good gas miles! Go Corollas!
Some, especially those who struggle with faith, might find reasons for all the above and all other examples I could give.   One might say that doesn’t really prove God’s on your side.  It doesn’t prove you are doing the right thing – none of that.  And I could say you are right.  Those alone don’t really prove that God is on our side…but they do prove that we are in God’s plan and on God’s side.  You see, to me, these all prove that we are doing something right. 
The Bible isn’t like fairy tales were everything is happy or ends happily ever after, instead it is about real and true encounters with the Holy in our lives.  My story – my gospel if you will – would not be one without suspense, this being one of those moments.  And believe me, the suspense is killing me, it is so thick I could carve it for Halloween.  But it is just a moment.  A moment that years from now will look like a transition and I’m sure will be just part of the past.  But until then, I must invite God into the cloud, to calm the storm and provide me peace – in at least knowing that indeed I’m following the Creator’s plan.  And that tomorrow my lullaby will be wrought with love and stability.  

Written on 10/30 but not posted until now, sorry I’m crazy busy.


living with dysfunction?



Sitting in a room full of pastors, teachers and leaders in my denomination the other day, should have left me charged and feeling energized by all that we do.  Sitting in a room for a whole day with my peers should bring me hope and encouragement but instead left me feeling the heavy weight of doom on our denomination. 
We sat in a church hall, all attending (willingly or not) a day long boundaries awareness class.  Yup that is right, a bunch of church people talking about sex and sin!  We have to do this – mandatory – because 12% or something ridiculous high like that of church pastors get themselves involved in a sexual misconduct suit – in fact in other “helping professions” the percent is less than, so this is a crazy high number.  We went through all the reasons “why” our jobs aren’t really like other jobs and therefore we need to be extra careful.
There were several things that disturbed me about this:
               1. There was a shared sense from lots of the “older” pastor that seminary doesn’t prepare you for church jobs and that your first call is supposed to fail.
               2. There was an equally shared sense that although we realize that half if not more of our churches are completely screwed up and some pretty bad things are happening in them we are going to continue to do things as we have in hopes that one day society will change.
These two things have lead me to believe that our denomination have truly lost it and are living in a completely deranged and potently dangerous state of being. 

Churches should not be allowed to continue to operate in dysfunction – Paul would have been and was stern.  Churches should not be allowed to blame pastors for their failings and denominations should not allow “failure” to happen to good pastors.  Pastors need to change the way we do things NOW! 

Pastors, we live in society, we buy groceries, we get gas, we drink and we eat all in the same places and with all of these people outside our churches and yet we cannot get ourselves to operate within the world, instead we continue to accept this never ending cycle of dysfunction…I cannot help but wonder why.

acceptable behavior?



Yesterday as we drove along a highway at 65+ miles per hour a person began riding our bummer.  So close that indeed we were afraid that they might hit us and all of a sudden we realized why – they were taking a picture of our license plate.  Yes we have a specialty plate – one I would call clever and funny – but I wouldn’t call it safe to take a picture going down the road.  In fact, without warrant, we have invited a culture of people to take pictures of our plates while driving.  This is not the first time it has happened and probably won’t be the last.
This bothers me.  Not only because I truly feel that my space and privacy is being invaded because I don’t know where this picture is going and who will see it but because people feel it is perfectly fine to do this.   
So this blog is a rant on our society…what cell phones have done for us.  We have become a group of people that are essentially very lonely because we cannot be with ourselves.  And this is one example…people cannot just enjoy the laughter of seeing our plate they must share this experience. 
Social media, cell phones and whatever else that keeps us connected has left us unable to connect with ourselves and God. It is so bad that our need to share our experiences instead of delight in them that we go to great and risky lengths to share them.  Here we have people willing to get into accidents at 65+ miles per hour for what? To share a laugh…it begs me to ask if I laugh alone in a car did I really laugh at all? (if a tree falls in an empty forest does it make a noise?) 
Is this bizarre behavior?  I think it should – I believe that this is why we are becoming a less religious nation – because religion asks us tough questions – religion asks us to spend time alone…because being Spiritual doesn’t have any set parameters and often only requires us to go to a yoga class and spend one hour in silence with a bunch of other people who don’t ask us to do anything more than drink coffee afterwards. 
I challenge you to think about this.  To ask yourself if you can be alone with yourself or if that bothers you and work on being able to be alone – work on your sprit but finding ways to find community not within the social media or the instant gratification but instead in people who will pray for you, be there for you and encourage you to be the best you can be – a church.  There is nothing like a truly loving church community. 

sitting back



“Ten, Nine, EIGHT, even, sekx, eve, four, three, TWO, ONE…BLASToff” my three old one can now count down.  Where has the time gone?  I cannot believe that just yesterday she was a baby…and I thought parents were crazy when they said that. Life is just too fast and it just seems to be getting faster and  faster…as we rush around getting everything done before our “clocks” run out or at least before anyone and everyone else I truly have to ask myself is this all that we are meant to do. 
I would say that life now is busier than it was, but I’m not sure that is the case. Instead I would suggest that as long as humans have been around, life has been busy.  Today it is a different kind of busy but as the end of it all we are trying to survive…making money to spend money to live (instead of out hunting and gathering.)  And what do we have to show for it?  Most of us don’t make the history books but instead only live on in memories and we don’t remember people who were so busy that they didn’t make time for us…
Maybe I am rambling, maybe I’m feeling a bit old tonight as I look on my children who seem to be growing in a blink of an eye, maybe I’m just realizing how long ago high school was but I think I have a good point here.  Without the HOLY, without finding time for God in our lives and in our days, than we are just wondering around so busy that it is a good thing we don’t have to think to breath. 
It isn’t about taking the time to sit and smell the roses, it is about taking the time to sit and examine our lives and our relationship with God – it is about looking forward to what is to come instead of dreading it.  As we have been trying to trust God these last few months, I am forced to stop from my crazy and hectic life and thank God for the blessings that I do have.  To find thanksgiving within the small and every day.  If I don’t do that, the busy takes over and I begin to lose purpose.
So, tonight I am sitting back and enjoying my children, my husband, our life and most of all the God that I trust to provide all that we need – because up till now God hasn’t let us down. J