Monday, June 07, 2010

June 7, 2010 - Is Google Making Us Ignore God?

Came across a thought-provoking article today by Ernesto Tinajero on Sojourners Magazine’s “God’s Politics” blog. It's called "Is Google Making Us Ignore God?"

Here’s an excerpt:

“God calls on us to meditate on God and God’s word. However, does the fast intake of information from TV, film, and especially the Internet make us less likely to experience God? According to new research, electronic gadgets actually change how we think and focus. Nicholas Carr famously asked ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid?’ Will it also make us ignore God?...

The theological perspective is that this busyness of the business of modern life draws us into the world of Martha and away from sitting at the feet of Jesus. We are being called to distraction, and the quiet, still voice of God goes unnoticed – unnoticed in the flood of ever new links to follow, unnoticed in the hectic pace of modern life, unnoticed in the flood of events, information, and distractions. Through it all, God continues to call us to sweet voice of prayer. Yes, the call I am heeding –returning to simplicity and healthier life – may seem too simple to make a difference. Yet, does it make it any less true?”

I wonder what the implications of this 24/7 deluge of distractions are for our immune system, and for the cancers like lymphoma that sometimes beset it?

Judaeo-Christian religion has a time-honored solution: it’s known as sabbath. Periodically creating for ourselves islands of spiritual peace – places and times for encountering the divine – ought to be central to any long-term program of recovery.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

June 6, 2010 - Our Most Elusive Possession

Great column a couple days ago, from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. Instead of gallivanting around Africa or someplace crusading against injustice, as he often is, his June 4th column is very personal.

That’s because he’s had a cancer scare: diagnosis of a kidney tumor 90% likely to be malignant, then surgery – and then, against the odds, a biopsy revealing he’s in the lucky 10%. The tumor was benign.

Still – and understandably – Nicholas had a scare, that led him (as cancer has led so many of us) to examine his life a little more closely. Here’s the result:

“This is trite but also so, so true: A brush with mortality turns out to be the best way to appreciate how blue the sky is, how sensuous grass feels underfoot, how melodious kids' voices are. Even teenagers' voices. A friend and colleague, David E. Sanger, who conquered cancer a decade ago, says, "No matter how bad a day you're having, you say to yourself: `I've had worse....’

I don't mean to wax lyrical about the joys of tumors. But maybe the most elusive possession is contentment with what we have. There's no better way to attain that than a glimpse of our mortality.”

Preach it, brother!

A few verses from the First Letter to Timothy come to mind:

"Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these."

- 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Thursday, June 03, 2010

June 3, 2010 - Touched By an Angel

“During my illness, I had the presence of an angel that came and visited me...” This is a remarkable video, from the Livestrong website. The speaker is Matthews Brown, a leukemia survivor. It’s just under 4 minutes long, so it won’t take too much time away from whatever else you’re doing.

In the course of my ministry, I’ve heard some remarkable stories of spiritual experiences. I’ve never seen an angel, myself (at least, not the supernatural variety). Based on what I’ve heard from others, though, I’d say Matthews’ experience is unusual, but not as unusual as all that. Things like this happen to people more often than you may think.

We’ve all heard the truism, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” I found that to be true of my own cancer experience. From the square marked “Go,” it looks like it's a long way around the spiritual Monopoly board, but you do find yourself “passing Go” from time to time and collecting $200.

Let us give thanks for unsolicited, grace-filled experiences, through which we learn what remarkable spiritual resources are available to us, and how deeply we are loved!

If you’re a cancer survivor, how has the spiritual side of the experience been for you?