Monday, 30 April 2012

Over Diagnosed and Over Medicated

Last night I watched a CBC Doc Zone program from March 15 (the beauty of iPad's and "watch on demand!!) titled "The Age of Anxiety."

One of the main points that the program was suggesting is that drug companies are marketing normal human conditions as psychological disorders; and that the drug companies are doing this for profit reasons only.

Another point that the program was making is that many psychiatrists and family doctors are prescribing drugs as a first approach to treating patients who are describing anxiety like symptoms. This is being done instead of suggesting cognitive and spiritual approaches to dealing with stress and anxiety.

We are becoming an over diagnosed and over medicated culture.

An interesting comment made by one of the interviewed psychiatrists on this CBC program was that one of the reasons many people today are looking for a "pill" to help them deal with their stress and anxiety, is because of the loss of community and church in our society. In other words, it is because of the lack of connectedness with others and the lack of spiritual tools to deal with the ups and downs of normal and natural human life.

Supportive community and learning and practicing inner/spiritual disciplines is foundational to living a healthy and balanced human life.

The medicine that our culture needs most is church and spirituality.

It is time for our culture to come back to church.
It is time for us to come back to building and contributing to loving and supportive church communities.
It is time for us to come back to developing and living spiritual lives.
It is time for us to come back to the Good Shepherd who alone can lead us into abundant life.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

You are Known

As Christians, we are on the Easter journey.
A journey of growing and maturing in our awareness that we are known and loved by God our Father. And that we are called to live the Risen life of Love in Christ now and forever.
Seeking to know Christ and to enter more into His Risen life is not something we can accomplish on our own. We need a shepherd to lead us and direct us into the truth of how and why we are made.
“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”
Just as the Father knows the Son, and the Son knows the Father, we are to come to KNOW Christ, just as He KNOWS us.

In 2009, when Valerie and I were at Holy Trinity Brompton, London, England, the speaker was Charlie Macksey, the guy who painted the picture of the Prodigal Son in our Emmaus Café.
Charlie is funny and real. Being critical of Christianity for most of his life, he came to faith as an adult. The story of the Prodigal Son is a story that has really spoken to his life.
Being “Known” by God
Another point of faith that has really spoken to him, and in our Gospel for today, is the realization of being “Known” by God.
1 Corinthians 13:12
“…then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
That day Charlie spoke about…
  • the love that is always there despite ourselves.
  • whether we know it, want it or accept it…
  • …we are known by God.
He  also spoke about he freedom that comes with this realization.
  • The freedom to love others.
  • the love and joy that is not dependent on what others think or say about you.
  • The freedom to know God’s love and joy regardless of what is going on in our lives.
This is what makes us Easter people.
This is what makes us different than those who have not yet turned to this Risen love of God in Christ. 
And it is Christ alone, the Good Shepherd, who can lead us fully into this realization and loving relationship. 
The Church’s mission
As we come to “know” the Risen Love of Christ in our lives, we as a Church have a responsibility, to make others aware of this Easter Truth and reality.
We are known and loved by the Father.
Let us enter more deeply into the realization of this Risen love of Christ.
And let us continue to be more effective in loving the world around us and drawing others into New and Risen Life.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Why are our church's not full??

The best news on the face of the planet, in the entire universe, and in whatever and wherever there is creation is...

There is Forgiveness for all;
There is a Love that neither sin nor death can keep down;
That we are at one with, complete and whole, with God's Divine Life.

We are the One Life with God and each other.

This Good News is revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

With this wonderful truth and answer to the human condition, why aren't our church's full?

Why are so many Christian's not enthusiastic about their faith?
Why are Christians not inviting others to come to their churches? To come and hear and see and experience the Good News that we know, live and proclaim?

There are many reasons why are church's are not full in our modern and secular age. But one reason in particular is that we are not an "inviting" people.

The time has come and gone in our culture when folk would wake up on a Sunday morning and automatically think of gathering with the church. 90% of people today don't think of church at all!

Therefore what the Church needs to learn today is to develop within its people a "culture of invitation."

Part and parcel of being Christian today is the absolute need to make "invitation" a habitual, natural way of being the church.

We have the answer to the human condition. Deep down every human person can discern they need it.
We need to get better at inviting others along with us to church so they can find out for themselves.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

What is the object of your Love?

There is not one person who does not love something, but the question is, what to love?

What is your desire? What is it that you think about the most? What is your passion? If you answer these questions, you will know what is the object of your love.

But is that which you desire, think about most, are most passionate about, does it give you a lasting happiness? Or is it more about fleeting pleasure and  lingering frustration?

The deepest human need is to be loved.
The deepest human need is to "know" that we are loved.
It is out of our knowledge and experience of being loved by another that we are enabled ourselves to better love others.

The ultimate object of human love and desire, has to be Love itself.

As we learn to desire Love, and to Love Love, we enter a lifetime process of becoming more aware of the Presence and Source of Love and Life that is within us, and in Whose Image we are made.

We become more aware of God, of Divine Life, in us and in every other human being.

St.Augustine tells us"But how can we choose unless we are first chosen? We cannot love unless someone has loved us first. Listen to the apostle John: We love him, because he first loved us. The source of human’s love for God can only be found in the fact that God loved us first. He has given us himself as the object of our love, and he has also given us its source. What this source is you may learn more clearly from the apostle Paul who tells us: The love of God has been poured into our hearts. This love is not something we generate ourselves; it comes to us through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Jesus Christ, through his death and Resurrection, has opened the way for every human being to know and participate with the Holy Spirit, which is Divine Love, that has been given to every one of us.

What is the object of your love?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

To See Life in a New Way

It is Easter! After 40 days of Lenten observance, we are bathed in the light of the resurrection.

Easter is about life: life where we least expect to find it, life that overcomes the power of evil and death.

Today’s Gospel hints at this in showing us the disciples looking for Jesus in the tomb.

The disciples were invited to change their way of thinking: to see life in a new way, with new eyes.

Mary recognized Jesus when he addressed her by name, but she still had to learn that although Jesus was alive and present to her, his risen life was different.

She had to let go of what had been familiar and accept Jesus’ new way of being with her.

Death had changed everything, but it did not extinguish the life that is God’s gift.

As Christians we are Easter people, people who support, uphold and proclaim life.

Like Mary and Peter and the other witnesses to the resurrection, we are invited to recognize life in new ways, even where all seems darkness, for our God is the God of resurrection, the God of Life.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Good Friday and Freedom in Society

Today is Good Friday, and the world is called to reflect on the meaning of Jesus Christ's suffering and dying for all of humanity.

Good Friday is about the Forgiveness of Sin. 
All sin.
There is nothing that you have done or will do that is beyond the power of the Cross of Christ to forgive.

Good Friday is about the Restoration of relationship with others and with God.

Because of the Cross of Christ, there is no impediment to our awareness of the truth that we in union with God.

Good Friday is about being Set free from all the obstacles and distractions that can keep us from being aware of Love and relationship.

Because of the Cross of Christ, we are free to choose to focus on Life and Love, and not be consumed with that which is here today and gone tomorrow.

Good Friday is about being Set free from fear of death.

Because of the Cross of Christ, the door is open for us to simply receive the Holy Spirit, and to know that we share in the Divine and Eternal life of God.

Good Friday is about being Made free and equal with one another.

Because of the Cross of Christ, we can come to know that beneath our surface differences as individual human beings, we share the same Life, the One Life, the Source of Life.

Because of the Cross of Christ, we can know that we are all truly One.

Good Friday is about Freedom and Equality in every society.

Because of the Cross of Christ, as each individual discovers freedom and equality with every other person, they become agents of change and transformation in families, communities, and in societies.

The freedom and equality that we in the West so often take for granted, are the same principles that the societies of the Middle East and beyond are struggling for and longing for today.
The freedom and equality that we have in the West, comes out of and because of Good Friday.

As a Church, let us know and share this Good News with the world.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

I'm Sorry, can you say it?


Is "sorry" becoming a foreign concept?

Human beings are making mistakes and are offending other human beings as much as they ever have. But I wonder, in our Canadian culture today, if "sorry" is being felt and said as often as it should be?

When we make mistakes, are we too proud to say that we are sorry?
Is to say that we are sorry a sign of weakness?
Maybe to not say I am sorry is to be unwilling to acknowledge my own sin and brokenness.

The truth is that we are not perfect. That we do make mistakes that affects others negatively. That we are broken and in need of love and healing.

The Good News is that because of this Holy Week, because of the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is forgiveness, healing and wholeness available for us to claim and own.

But in order for us to experience God's forgiveness and love, we need to get used to saying "I'm sorry."

And not just saying it, but meaning it.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Let us not forget where our freedom has come from

As Canadians, we live in a free society.

A society that, overtime, has more fully applied the principles of freedom and equality. In the last generation our country has addressed the issues of a woman's right to vote, gender equality in the workplace, equal opportunity for those physically challenged, to name only some.

That which too many of us take for granted in Canada, people in other parts of the world are longing for and dying for. And Canadian soldiers have died and are suffering as we have sought to come along side and support some of these countries.

The principles of freedom and equality in our society, that are so precious to us, have not been realized during this time in our history because it is a "Canadian" thing to do, or because of some politicians good ideas.

We know what it is to be free and equal in Canadian society because of the effect, over generations, of the Christian Gospel.

More particularly, we are free and equal because of Good Friday.

Yet how easy we, as Canadians, forget this and take it for granted.

As politically unpopular as it may be to name, Canadian society, and the societies of the Western world, are built on Christian principles. Principles that, over hundreds and hundreds of years, have been gradually realized in the hearts and minds of its citizens.

For example, the American Constitution is a Christian document. In it is stated that all people are to be free and equal. From the time that document was written, to the time when black people in the south were no longer segregated, took almost two hundred years. And it is still being worked out.

Because of the Cross of Jesus Christ, it is revealed to humanity that there are no obstacles to keep us from knowing our oneness with the Divine Life - neither sin nor death.

Because of the Cross of Christ, as a human being takes time to be still and silent inside their minds and hearts, as they know the power of Divine forgiveness, as they know the joy of the Divine Spirit, the same Divine Spirit that is within all humans, we come to recognize our sameness.

It is this "sameness" that makes us equal and free.
It is this "sameness" that transforms societies, one person at a time, into societies that are equal and free.

This week is Holy Week, when Christians are celebrating the victory of the Cross in individual hearts and in societies.

As a Canadian society, let us not forget where our freedom has come from.