Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bear With Me and Extreme Temperature Fun

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." That quote by Mahatma Gandhi sums up so succinctly where I'm at today in my relationship with the church.

Franklin Graham (Billy Graham's son) weighed in on the Duck Dynasty controversy recently with this. After reading his words all I can say is that I'm disappointed at the continued myopic focus on gays by Christians. It's disheartening to read the words that Robertson said and to see all of the support he received from Christians on forums and such in the wake of the interview. There is no war on Christians, just like there is no war on Christmas and from my perspective, the primary people undermining the message of Jesus are those who claim to be his followers. I considered going deep here but I'm not feeling up to it; perhaps another day. I do want to say just this: Jesus instructed his followers to love their enemies, not kill them. Jesus never spoke of homosexual relationships. Jesus was about inclusion, not exclusion. Jesus was all about helping the poor and the needy. Jesus spoke against the love of money and material things. And Jesus didn't carry a weapon. If you don't identify with this Jesus then perhaps you really shouldn't refer to yourself as a Christian.

I'm as big a sinner as anybody so please don't think I'm holding myself out to be something I'm not. What I'm really struggling with within the church right now is the way those of us in the church conveniently overlook our own sin while continuing to put a distorted focus on same-sex couples and the belief that 'their sins' are somehow in a whole other category, a category that allows us to treat them as a people who don't measure up and are falling much shorter of the mark than the rest of us straight folks. We self-righteously spurn their attempts at service within the church and that is so wrong. How welcoming is that?

I went to bed a few nights ago with the above letter from Franklin Graham on my mind and a thought occurred to me as I lay there waiting for sleep to come: what about self-esteem? How does someone who's gay/homosexual/queer/different/an abomination ever reach a level of self-esteem necessary to overcome the stigma being placed on them by the church and those it influences? If we straight folks have a tough enough time with issues of self-worth and such, how do you think it would feel to be told in no uncertain terms again and again by the church and its followers that you're not worthy and therefore you're fair game to be discriminated against? Seriously, just think about that for a moment.

Okay, maybe I went a little deeper than I'd intended to. Moving on.

Our home alarm went off at 2:30 in the morning on Thursday. I shook the sleep out of my brain as best I could and made my way over to one of the wall panels and tried to silence it but couldn't. Typically the panel will show me which door or window sensor tripped but I wasn't getting any detail about why it was alarming. The outside speaker was blaring and no doubt waking up our neighbors while the inside alarms were screaming as well causing the pups to whine from the high-pitched noises they make. I tried desperately to silence it. I ran down to the utility room and unplugged the panel from the wall and the battery backup but it was still alarming. How can that be I wondered. I ran out to the circuit-breaker panel in the garage and was able to finally shut it down there.

I phoned my brother Bryan to see if he had any ideas about what may be the problem. He was my go-to guy having installed the alarm for me when I had our home built. He diagnosed the problem as a bad smoke/fire detector on the same circuit as the alarm. He suggested I replace all 4 smoke/fire detectors that were wired into the alarm. Apparently, they only have a life expectancy of 10 years or so and ours were well beyond that age.

Problem solved.

I got the call from Miller Hill Subaru a little after noon on Thursday to let me know that our Subaru Forester was ready to be picked up. I had to bail out on plans to attend Tim Duffrin's retirement party because I really wanted to get our car back. I enjoyed the drive, finishing the 360-mile round-trip in a little less than 6 hours. It gave me a chance to spend some time behind the wheel of the new Forester they'd loaned us. It's definitely in the running for when we do decide to upgrade.

Nearly the entire country is in a deep-freeze and our temps are still on the way down with an expected high tomorrow of -17 f or -27 c. Let me reiterate that, -17 f is our expected high for tomorrow!

I've been extra diligent about keeping our feeders filled for the birds, squirrels, and rabbits that frequent them. I know it's not necessary for their survival but I enjoy doing it and Tammy loves to be able to look out her office window and see all the action as they feed.

I hope to get out tomorrow for a ride just to say I've biked in those temps. I can only boast of riding in -4 f and I need to improve on that.

It's been a long winter here so far in Minnesota and it's actually just getting started. I find it's best to somehow embrace the at times ridiculously snowy or cold weather, however, you can for your own emotional well-being. Have some fun with it! It's what I do.


John Hill said...

I was also very disappointed in the Graham response (and every other "go Robertson" response.

I really believe that we are all sinners. If the difference between eternal life and condemnation is Jesus, then we need to be telling the the story of forgiveness, not the condemnation of a particular sin. Every sin condemns the sinner; only Jesus saves us.

BTW, I remember doing the boiling/frozen water thing when our kids were little and we lived in Northern Iowa. Cool stuff.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Hi John, nice to hear from you. I couldn't agree more my friend but I feel like those of us of like-mind are so outnumbered thinking as we do.

I tuned in to a Christian station on the way home from work tonight and the discussion was about how Obama was working to take away their guns through backdoor legislation. Nothing in the program about God's grace. Nothing.

I was telling Tammy that I've never felt more distanced from the church than I am now.

Steve Saeedi said...

Why is it that smoke detectors always have to annoy us at the wee hours when everyone is asleep either needing a new battery or in need of replacement?

Kevin Gilmore said...

Actually, my brother was talking with me about this. It's because that's the time when the temperature in your house is likely the coolest and when batteries or sensors aren't operating as optimally as they would maybe otherwise be when it's warmer.

Mona Aakre said...

Kevin, now you need to mix up some bubbles and go blow them outside, try to get different sizes as they react differently.
Stay warm!

Kevin Gilmore said...

Hi Mona...I've seen that done and was thinking about giving that a try too. I wonder what temperature works best for that?

Mona Aakre said...

Kevin, I think anything below 10 would work really well, you got another chance with the next cold snap coming up this week!

Kevin Gilmore said...

Mona, I'll try and remember to stock up on some bubbles! :-)