Lent – Day 38

I listened to discussion on the radio last night about one of the current hot topics, gun control. One woman, who had been shot as a teenager, said it didn’t change her outlook on the subject – she still supported owning guns. She said something like, without guns being available, the shooter would still have gotten one.

An earlier report, several days before, shed the most light on this subject. The study’s author found that the majority of gun-related deaths, almost two thirds, were from self-inflicted wounds. Suicide. So while we dance around the elephant in the room, addressing the more horrific incidents of violence, the current dialogue does nothing for the greatest number. Seems to me kind of an opposite use of the Pareto Principle, the 80-20 rule.

But as is usually the case with these topics, my thoughts turn to Jesus and how he modeled life. What would he have done? I think it’s cliche to say he would abhor them, even if I cite the passage about those who use the sword. Instead, I look at how he cherished life. All life; but especially the downtrodden, the ignored, the shamed. It comes down to values. Do you value life? Do you value life so highly that in addition to taking care of yourself, to protecting animals, to protecting the unborn, to caring for the sick, you wouldn’t think to kill another human being?

Is life that precious to you? Or is it only your own?

J

Lent – Sunday 1 – Day 5

In sports they call it Selection Sunday. We are at that same juncture in this season if we are following along with the RADAR process. We have come up with a list of things we would like to address, and want to choose one to focus on. Just one. There’s no need to overdo it or attempt to do too much.

I think it’s common to have this image of ourselves where we think we are infinitely malleable, able to change how we act in an instant and it will be permanent. Kind of like waking up at 50 and hearing your body tell you it’s not 25 anymore. It’s a rude awakening, for sure!

I’m going to listen today, just be quiet and listen, to understand what I should focus on, and make the choice tonight. (If I’m not rushing it, I’m not rushing it!) Or is that procrastination? Am I putting it off, delaying the inevitable? For what?

It amazes me when I wait before doing something and learn something valuable. Usually when I don’t wait, I also learn something valuable, but the lesson is painful, and sometimes expensive. The reason? Had I waited, new information would have changed my decision, of course.

Free day? No. But I will be resting. Resting and listening.

May God guide your choice, and fill you with peace.

J

 

New Lenten Reflections ebook is out!

Irrational Joy: An Alternative Path Through Lent, is now available on Amazon here. Free borrow for Prime members, 99c otherwise. But, this coming Sunday through Ash Wednesday, the download is free, it’s my Lent promotion. (Since previous journals have been available on this site for free, I wanted to give readers a chance before Lent begins to grab it as well.)

Here’s the cover:

Cover of Lenten Journal

In it I use a technique that I’ve named RADAR for the process of change one might use to make a change in one of their habits. It’s an acronym for Realization – Awareness – Discovery – Action – Reflection.

The Realization is a discernment process whereby one comes to accept that they want to make a change.

The Awareness phase is one of becoming aware of when this behavior occurs, and what triggers it.

The Discovery process is when one looks at what alternate actions or responses might replace the habit in question. (Notice I’m not calling these bad habits. I’m merely saying they are an ingrained behavior which you’d like to change. It’s your response to some situation or environment, and you’ve come to realize it is not helpful to you.)

Action is when you actively replace one habit with another.

And the Reflection phase is one of looking back at how you’ve changed and assessing the process. Change in many is miniscule, and sometimes goes unnoticed until someone else remarks on the difference. The Reflection process attempts to review the differences and see if the change has had the effect that you intended.

If you choose to follow one of my Lenten journals this Lent, I’d be happy to hear of your experience.

John

Slow Down the Rat Race in Your Head

Ever feel like you’re mind is running on steroids, jumping from one thought to another, racing to the next task on your GD (gotta do) list?

How do you slow it down? How do you quit measuring where you are and just be there? I’m sure there are plenty of meditation sites that cover this idea. Have you ever noticed that most ideas aren’t new, they’re just packaged in a way you now understand? Well, this might be another one.

I’m looking at this upcoming Lent as a different time. Not a quiet time that will pass in 47 days and then I’ll return to where I was before. No, a time where I will become aware of some part of who I am, or more directly, who I pretend to be, and look at how I might make some adjustments to the pretend changes to a more realistic view of myself.

In other words, to show others who I really am. If you’re interested, the journal is due out before Lent and will have some days of free downloads. (It’s cheap, anyway, at 99 cents.)

John

New Lenten Journal Coming

A new journal to be used for Lent is in the works and should be available before Lent begins. If I can get the paperback ready in time, that will also be available. The main difference is the paper book will contain color photographs to assist in reflecting.

The approach with the journal is, hopefully, somewhat different that what you are used to – no giving up things, no doing extra good works – nothing like that this time. When I thought about Lent and its intentions, I realized or thought that for many people this is just a ‘time-out’ time, a quiet time that is soon forgotten in the Easter season.

I am coming at this Lent in a different way. One thing I read years ago was that you couldn’t change someone; however, by changing yourself, you would force them to change as they would now have to deal with someone new. The focus of this Lent, in the new journal, will be one of self-discovery and change – something that might lead to a permanent or more lasting movement in your faith and life.

John