Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Diversity Culture

Today is one of those days where every plan I made for it has fallen apart. My schedule for today was:
8 am wake up and get dressed
8:30 take Molly to work
9 am-11:30 am run errands in town and catch up on some reading while waiting for Molly to get done with work
12 pm make a quick lunch
12:30 pm-3 pm laundry, clean living room, bedroom, and bathroom
3-4 pm make dessert for Mom's birthday and run it over to her house
4:30 blog
5 pm make delicious supper
7 pm shower and rest, maybe watch a movie with my handsome husband

Instead this was my day:
8 am wake up and get dressed, take an extra pain pill
8:30 take Molly to work
9-10 am run errands, take another pain pill
10:15 arrive home crying from the pain
10:30-now lie in bed sleeping and reading, trying to ignore the pain

I am a control freak, although I have been getting much better over the last few years. God has really used my arthritis to soften my rough edges, and that was one of the sharpest. It used to be on a day like today when I couldn't get everything done that I wanted to, I would make a list for the rest of the family to get it done and snap like a drill sergeant to get them to do it. Needless to say, it made everyone in the house miserable. The years have made me learn the value of letting go. Last night, I could feel the pain seeping into my joints (I'm sure it's because of the major change in weather), my prayer was this: strength to get done all I wanted to, and if that prayer wasn't to be, then the grace to release all of it. God did not answer the first prayer, but He most definitely answered the second one.

Jesse told me this afternoon that he can't count the number of times that he has prayed for God to relieve me of this pain, and he said, "It's the one prayer He's never answered. Not once." I know that it's an issue that Jesse continues to struggle with in his prayer life; he's angry for my sake that God doesn't take it away. But I've learned that God sees the much bigger picture, and that the pain has been necessary to shape me into the person He wants me to be. It was 5 years ago on Thursday that my battle with RA began, and I would never want to go back to the person I was 5 years ago before the pain.

So today I will settle for resting in bed and hopefully I will still get to watch a movie tonight with my handsome hubby.

The Diversity Culture by Matthew Raley is a paradigm changing book about how evangelicals need to address the world. Raley frames the book between two encounters: Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well and a anti-Christian Buddhist career woman and a Baptist look-a-like with a Chuck Colson book at a neighborhood coffee house. Raley does an excellent job of describing how today's culture has changed remarkably in the last 50 years. It's nearly impossible to stereotype people strictly by their clothing, because Americans take delight in not fitting into neat boxes. Evangelical Christians have for the most part rejected this diversity as frightening and the enemy. The bookshelves at religious stores are heavy with books about how to answer questions from non-believers and defend against verbal attacks, but Raley turns the concept upside down by carefully breaking down the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well. She came from a culture that was opposed to the Jews and had a history that made her bitter and angry at most religion. Jesus didn't reject or accept her views, but created a relationship with her that allowed him to confront her on a much deeper level. Both Christians and atheists/agnostics have become bunkered down in a fear mentality of us vs them. Raley gives essential keys to breaking through the walls that divide us without ever surrendering our faith.

Today's picture is from LOLCats. It made me smile, so I hope it makes you smile today too!