Unwrapping Jesus

It’s Christmas,

and I’m unwrapping Jesus

Like a kid,

I’m voraciously tearing away

all the wrapping.

No matter how much it glitters,

it’s not God!

I don’t want it!

It’s not God.

I’m not satisfied until

I have him, hold him,

and he holds me.

Riiiiiiiip!

There you are Jesus,

beyond all the things I’ve made

beyond all Satan-tape.

You are there,

have always been there

waiting

for me.

Equality is a Wave We Should Ride

I have moved to a new land.

Once, I was unaware of myself,

of the color of my skin-

Yes, I was vaguely aware- 

now I am painfully so.

 

I see my brothers and sisters 

pledge violence against me,

even though I am one of them.

How can this be?

 

How can my own people ride on horses,

wielding spears of hate?

They say they do not hate, that they love.

They are only against those people,

and not me;

yet, I acknowledge that

in the heat of the moment, there is no separation.

In the fury of battle, 

the sword swings broadly;

it takes no prisoners.

 

I pray that we all would have eyes to see

that there are no “those.”

We are only ourselves.

If your neighbors are your enemies,

then all are enemies,

and if your neighbors are friends,

then all are friends.

 

For that reason, this is my plea:

that we tear down the Walls of Division;

that race and gender and language  melt away;

and that we would unite as one people

in Christ and under Christ and for Christ

forever and ever. Amen!

 

For, until we have equality,

there can be no peace.

Manna from Heaven

We prayed for food

for we were hungry and lost in the desert

lost on our own account,

though we blamed God

but it was God who gave us food,

food and rest and new life:

manna from heaven and

Canaan, the promised land

milk and honey

We could not store up this gift

it would only last one day

but it was enough get us through

not extravagant or elaborate,

no it was not meant to satisfy,

only to sustain

for we were not meant to stay in the desert

there were greater things

lying ahead

if only we would have faith

and believe! ✝

GOD’s Gym

Church is a lot of things to a lot of people. For the purposes of this exercise, allow me to argue that a church like a gym.

Gyms collect a staple fee to keep its doors open and its staff paid. Trial periods are given to new members who are still in process of deciding which gym is right for them. “Right” may vary, depending on your exercise goals, level of expertise, availability of staff, hours of operation, equipment and others resources available, and so on. You are, of course, free to try out as many gyms as you like, but know that the more time you invest in looking for a gym, the less time you are spending actually exercising.

Note: some opt for the home gym route, though the amount of people able to maintain this lifestyle while keeping up a consistent and productive exercise routine are few and far between.

New members are encouraged to seek out classes, offered by the gym, as they are new and probably could use a basic introduction to fitness, equipment, and basic gym etiquette. These classes are recommended (a) because such information is profitable and good in order to meet the member’s goals, and (b) because the staff is limited and therefore cannot meet such needs on the gym floor.

Seek advice from the surrounding gym goers sparingly on fundamental fitness matters, rather than going to the paid professional, as the casual attendee is more likely to be training in a way that is either round-a-bout or downright wrong.

Make sure to connect with your fellow gym goers. The deeper sense of community you feel, the more likely you will be to commit to an exercise routine and the more you will get out of your workout experience.

Older members are advised to keep their comments to themselves concerning new members. Remember: this is their first time, and the equipment, especially the older models, can be rather daunting at first try. Also, do not judge other’s physical appearance. Each person physiology is different, and their taking the initiative to exercise can easily be blown away by a single, thoughtless comment.

New members, you are free to aspire to achieve the heavy lifting of others, but do not immediately take on such a load. Injury and frustration will most likely if you decide to go this route.

Exercise daily. On the days you do not feel like going to the gym, go to the gym. Of course, if doing so would cause physical harm, or you have another life or death reason, then by all means do not go. But, otherwise, accept no excuses. One missed day, even with a legitimate excuse, can easily lead to others, which will only delay, if not permanently deter, your achieving your exercise goals.

As you go along, note what types of exercise most interest you and begin focussing on the exercises that help you excel in that area. The entire gym is at your disposal, but many routines will work against each other if you try to take up them all.

On that note, invest carefully in products and diets and other practices that supposedly enhance your gym experience and efficiency. A reliable set of clothing is advisable, as well as a hand towel. Everything is up to your discretion. Seek advise from the gym staff or reliable sources to find out what to invest in order to achieve the desired results, and what to cast aside as pure gimmicks.

The gym can be a very fun place, but if you are going just to have a good time, there are other locations where you can do that. Many times, in order to reach your exercise goals, you will have to push yourself very hard. You will undoubtedly experience various levels of pain and discomfort. The goal is not the pain and discomfort. In fact, if that is all you experiencing, something about your experience is wrong. However, the pain and discomfort experienced during exercise is only natural and good and profitable to take you to the next level of physical fitness.

Please, be courteous to your fellow gym goer. They are here to exercise just like you, have paid their dues, are equally deserving of time on the machines and with the stuff and having a good time.

Make no outright attempt to draw attention to yourself. If you are proud of your accomplishments, great. You have undoubtedly earned them. But going around, making noise and fogging up the mirror does nobody any good.

If you feel the need to socialize or talk on your phone or do other non-gym things, feel free to step outside and do so. Once you are done, please do come back in. However, doing those things while in the gym will distract you, others, or all the above from maximizing the effects of your time there.

For those who have been going for a while, if you feel so compelled as to become a personal trainer or even open up your own gym, please take the initiative to consult with your gym staff about opportunities in that area, or at least steps you can take to get your own routine to the level of being ready to take on that endeavor. Of course, with opening up your own gym, there are a lot of other factors to consider besides simply exercise (i. e. leadership skills, interpersonal skills, financial management, etc.). Research thoroughly before going down this route.

Do not simply cruise around the gym promoting yourself as a self-taught “professional.” There are paid staff to help the newcomer. Your ideas may counter to the ideas the gym espouses, and having a free agent roaming about will only cause confusion and dissension among gym goers.

And, staff, make every effort to help your fellow gym member in achieving their goal, looking always for ways of self-improvement, maximizing the floor space, and communal encouragement.

There you have it! Some general thoughts on church and exercise for you to apply as desired. Have a fun and fulfilling workout!