Thrive Tribe Step Two


10418846_10152630208560797_4156375463449326414_nOur first step into finding a place where we can thrive in becoming the person God wants us to become is believe, thinking, speaking and acting in a positive manner… that no mater what the issue we are to act in such a manner that after the conversation is over we remain brothers and sisters who have come to a deeper appreciation for each other’s point of view.

The second step is probably going to bring us greater fulfillment and a deeper sense of purpose: “It is we change the world through one act of random kindness at a time.” In my church life – my role as a pastor in the United Methodist Church I have sought out and accomplished the sharing of this grace. I must admit that it uplifts the giver and the receiver if we walk humbly in this role. However, if you walk into this seeking to use it as some sort of religious trick it may just backfire… and blow everybody to pieces.

With my past experience I was looking forward to using this as a tool to bring about peace and reconciliation. However, it seems that this has already backfired. I must admit up front that I was doing ok until this past Sunday when the Trump people sent this Stephen Miller guy out to blast all the talk shows with this statement: “The President’s powers here are beyond question.” That is so 1939 Germany… right in the middle of the night of the long knives… that I found it very difficult, almost impossible to speak a word of grace… not that I am above it or better… just that it seems that these people are making it almost impossible for grace to thrive.

So, my friends, I really do need your help. Republicans and Democrats alike need to send me ideas on how we all can come together in grace, live in grace and move forward in grace. How can we offer up random acts of kindness when we are being shot at before we even get to the church? How do we speak the gracious word when another lie is being discovered as part of the fabric of the Trump political cloth? So let’s join together to develop a plan to be kind, forgiving, honest and healing.

Thank you for making this journey with me.


Over the years I have written about the grace of God many times. God’s grace has seen me through some mighty tough spots… giving me strength in my weakest moments. In face, grace has been my theme. The majority of my writings has been about grace… the free and unmerited love of God which blesses us in our faith journey. I invite you to search out grace in my works on line:

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Steps Into Thrive Tribe

img_6421Perhaps you are feeling a bit like me lately… kinda overwhelmed and under-fortified? I have sought for over forty years as a pastor, four years as a Marine, and other growing up and into life years to be fair, kind, positive and forgiving. I learned early on in life from my parents that my being forgiven is tied to how I forgive. If I refuse to forgive… harbor ill will toward others… and keep sores recorded I will find that I am not hurting the other guy. I am ultimately hurting myself and stunting my own spiritual growth.

It hasn’t been easy to always forgive or to be positive even when the other guys is spewing out his venom. I have been hurt deeply by people I deeply cared about. I have even apologized in front of the church for something I did that was not wrong… the apology was given just to keep peace in the family. I have swallowed a lot of pride, dined on crow way to often, and had my teeth loosened from turning the cheek so much. I must admit there have been times when the Marine part of me wanted to take over and let the pastor in me sit this one out… times when I wanted to take that someone out behind the woodshed and have a good old fashioned “come to Jesus” meeting.

Over the 2016 election cycle I have found myself less and less forgiving and more and more angry. My world has grown darker as the days have gone by. I am not proud of who I have been becoming… for that person is not positive, uplifting or forgiving. I feel that I have become so angry because people have refused to see the darkness in the heart of Donald Trump… forgiven him of all the unacceptable things he has said and done while crucifying Hillary for emails. I simply could not believe that he got a pass on behavior that for anyone else of any other party in any other year would have found themselves totally unacceptable to people like Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham or the entire Republican Party. My anger grew and grew while I spoke more harshly to friends and family about their blindness to all things Donald.

After the election, in my shock, I was afraid that our new president would have us in WWIII before long. I think I formed a “defend the constitution party” of one… and I sought to make sure that Mr. Trump’s feet were held to the fire. I still believe he should be held accountable for his words and actions… but perhaps with a more gracious spirit.

So my first step in finding a thrive tribe… a place where I can thrive and become the person I have always sought to become… a peacemaker… is to be positive, speak in a positive manner… think in a positive manner. I simply cannot lose my own soul in the process of speaking the truth. I stand with those who believe that God is in control and in the end good will win over evil. However, I do believe that faith requires participation. Our prayers for goodness sake should have legs… knee pads and strong running shoes. Faith is not just right and wrong but many shades of grey. A debate can’t be just points scored… but compassion and understanding revealed. We must find a way to speak compassionately to those with whom we disagree so that after the conversation we have a better understanding of where we both are coming from and still remain brothers and sisters.

So the first step in becoming and remaining positive is to go to where Jesus is, speak the words Jesus would speak, and act in the way Jesus would act.

Grace and Peace

Steve


Peacemaker… I have been labeled that over 40 years in ministry… because I have sought to live that way. You will find something of that peacemaker attitude in my writings found on line:

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