simply too casual

Thou waitest for the spark from heaven! and we,
Light half-believers of our casual creeds,
Who never deeply felt, nor clearly will’d,
Whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds,
Whose vague resolves never have been fulfill’d;…

Matthew Arnold

A human being becomes human not through the casual convergence of certain biological conditions, but through an act of will and love on the part of other people.
Italo Calvino

IMG_1677
(Adare Manor, Adare, County Limerick, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

There once was a time when we were more stately…
We were more formal, more deliberate, more serious.
We were respectful, mindful, courteous.
We gave honor to where honor was due.
We were appreciative and we knew how to convey our gratitude.
We were respectful to those who were older, who held office, who defended our Nation.
We knew that it was ok if we didn’t always agree with someone else’s opinion, we could appreciate the differences of thought while still being polite, kind, courteous.

We dressed in our best when going to the airport, to church, temple, to school, to a play, out to eat or to the movies.
We took pride in our appearance despite our social status.
We appreciated the work done by all as we all took pride in what we did.

God was the Creator
Jesus was His risen son
and the Holy Spirit, a Divine Mystery.

We were wooed and awed by the Divinity of the Creator
He wasn’t our friend, our pal, our buddy…
But rather He was our God.

We worked hard, studied hard and revered our faith.
We marveled in the mysterious.
We knew of our place in the Universe and were humbled to be participants.

We were human and appreciated our humanness
We respected life
As we mourned the loss of life
We cheered for the good guys and we collectively rallied against the bad

We were civilized and took pride in our civility.
We appreciated orderly and clean.
We worked hard for what we had, even if it was very little, we were still proud.

Today we have grown overtly glum, smug and casual as we consider most of life passé.
We have become rude, disrespectful, self absorbed and consumed by massive consumerism.
We don’t give a damn about others or what they may think or care how they may feel—
Just take a look at our politicians, entertainers and athletes…
We want everything for nothing, as in we want it all and we want it now…
We wear entitlement like a badge and are proud for all to know it.
We don’t want to work hard for what we have, preferring to take the easy way up and out.
Clothes are optional as everything and anything goes.
Our faith has been dumbed down to a feel good prosaic.
We make excuses, demands and assumptions.
We have grown mean to one another, hateful to those who have differing opinions and distrustful to anyone who dares to cross our path.
We don’t have much time for religion as it tends to slow us down.

As the question now begs to be asked…
Are we now the better for who we’ve become?

Christians today appear to know Christ only after the flesh. They try to achieve communion with Him by divesting Him of His burning holiness and unapproachable majesty, the very attributes He veiled while on earth but assumed in fullness of glory upon His ascension the the Father’s right hand.
A.W.Tozer

there’s always something better

My father said there were two kinds of people in the world:
givers and takers.
The takers may eat better,
but the givers sleep better.

Marlo Thomas

“The greatest need of our age and of every age, the greatest need of every human heart, is to know the resources and sufficiency of God.”
― Albert Benjamin Simpson

DSC02544
(curious and opportunistic grackles check out the water tub / Julie Cook / 2015)

Having thrown out a bucket of corn for our resident deer, it didn’t take long for the invading passerby grackles to find the golden nuggets dispersed within the grass.
With life having been relatively dry up until the last few days, we’d put out a tub of water for our thirsty four legged friends.

As soon as the grackles approached, ready to descended onto the corn, they first hesitantly and cautiously headed toward the black tub.
A single grackle arrived in order to investigate.
Then a few more appeared hoping no doubt that the big black tub held a treasure trove of corn.
More and more grackles arrived with each new arrivee having to check out the tub for a possible plethora of food–
Obviously not satisfied by the existing kernels scattered throughout the grass.

DSC02548
(curious and opportunistic grackles check out the water tub / Julie Cook / 2015)

DSC02545
(curious and opportunistic grackles check out the water tub / Julie Cook / 2015)

DSC02552
(curious and opportunistic grackles check out the water tub / Julie Cook / 2015)

DSC02551
(curious and opportunistic grackles check out the water tub / Julie Cook / 2015)

I suppose we’re a lot like the never satisfied grackles, as we often seem to think there is going to be something bigger, better and more which must be lurking elsewhere other than that which has been graciously offered and set before us. It’s as if we are constantly hoping to find that which is easier for the taking and neatly given without our ever having to work for what we get. . .

So it is with this thought in mind that my prayer for today is that we may each stop long enough, taking time from our chaotic lives, to find the gratitude within our hearts for that which we already possess, as well as for that which has been graciously offered and lovingly placed before us. . .all without the expectation and desire of seeking anything else or anything more. . .
May we truly appreciate the effort we exert. . .which in turn,
makes each reward that more sweet. . .

DSC02549

DSC02553

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9