Archive for December, 2011

keeping it real

December 30, 2011 2 comments

Today’s entry in the writing project.  I would like to finish this book in 2012.  Discipline Paschall… discipline!  -MDP-

December 30 – Proverbs 30

“Two things I request of You (deprive me not before I die):  Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.”  Proverbs 30:7-9, NKJ

It’s hard to believe we are wrapping up another year isn’t it?  We’re in that doorway, about to step out of this year and into the next.  I appreciate the heart of Agur in this prayer.  He comes to the Lord with a two-fold request before he wraps up his life.  I suspect these requests come not out of some sort of prophetic foresight, but more out of practical past experiences.  Much like the character Jean Valjean in Hugo’s Les Misérables, he has lived in the pain of differing opportunities: some he won and some he lost.  I think we can all easily identify with that.  I can look back to episodes this past year and think, “Geez Paschall, you blew that!”  But, I also can look back and see where grace showed up and I got much better than I deserved or my actions warranted.  I like the man’s request and it helps me reflect back as I look forward.

Some believe that Agur was Solomon, but there is no factual proof.  The humility of the request seems to align with his heart though.  It just feels weird that a man who has always been coated in royalty would request such moderation.  I suspect that Solomon’s (if it is indeed Solomon) initial request for wisdom actually manifested in a true ability to prophetically identify with the subjects he ruled and those of us who still glean from his writings.  Think about what the writer requested here:  protection (from falsehood) & provision (not too much, not too little).   His concerns overlapped with specific clarity and that is good, but look again that his bottom-line was protection and provision.  You can pretty much summarize all of our fears around those two things!  You might be so hard charging into the whole “faith” platform of God’s goodness and God’s desire that you get everything that you want, that you can’t see this, but the fact that we’ve pursued God so vehemently about these two things validates how much fear we actually have about those concerns.  Agur was in touch with his humanness (see verse 2-3).  I give him a lot of credit for asking for divine help here with these issues!

What is at stake here with the writer is that he did not want to dishonor God’s reputation.  He wanted his actions to validate the impressions God had made on his heart.  He wanted to live in integrity with his life as an open book.  He wanted anyone who watched him handle the circumstances of his life to easily recognize the influence of a loving, good and graceful God.  There is a great passage in Deuteronomy 8:1-17 that challenges the people of the wilderness to consider all that HE had done for them during their 40 years of wandering.  He warned them of pride and encouraged them to be grateful and considerate.  He called them into a confident moderation that said, “Thank You Lord!”  Counsel well taken!

So, how was your last year?  Do you see where God provided?  Do you see where He protected?  How does it help you prepare to transition into next year?

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do we love Christ?

December 11, 2011 5 comments

My devotional reading today.   Hmmmmmmmmmm.

A man shocked me one day when he said, “You Christians don’t love Christ.  You hate Christ.  You hate what Christ stands for.”  He continued, “You cover up your own hatred and fear of Christ by talking about how much you love Jesus.  But if you love Jesus, why don’t you love your enemies?  If you love Jesus, why don’t you really obey the gospel, most of which you ignore?”

I heard these words and trembled inside, thinking, My God, is that true of me?  Brothers and sisters, just open Mark’s Gospel.  Most of us haven’t paid attention to nine-tenths of it.  Most of the passages are just conveniently ignored by the institutional Church and by ourselves.  In fact, I find we very often do the exact opposite of what Jesus teaches about, as if a bigger lie is easier to cover up.  Christians and their bishops have been condoning and participating in war, greed and false security for centuries, while calling themselves the Body of Christ–or even the magisterium!  Matthew 23 would seemingly make us unwilling to wear a long robe or tassels ever again!  Strange isn’t it?

When was the last time you heard that someone was thrown out of the Church for not rejoicing and exalting when they were criticized?  Did anybody ever think of it?  Well, Jesus taught that:  “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble” Matthew 5:11-13, MSG.  How come we don’t make that a matter for excommunication?  The thought never entered our minds.  – Richard Rohr O. F. M., from Letting Go:  A Spirituality of Subtraction.

This is painfully necessary.  It’s so out of “character” for us.  We need a real download to overcome the default reflex to protect the false-self.  I would like to think that we’re growing towards what Richard is proposing here.  But, top to bottom… there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of evidence otherwise.  The part about this that wears me out, is that people, who we could be influencing, are watching, fortifying their position with claims that it’s ALL hogwash.  Not just the wounded-angry , but the true seekers.


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December 8, 2011 6 comments

te/na/ciousnot readily letting go of, giving up, or separated from an object that one holds, or a position, or a principle.  Not easily dispelled or discouraged; persisting in existence or in a course of action.

I do not personally know this chick, but I WANT TO!!!  No one forwarded this video to me.  I stumbled across it on a page I check for news infrequently.

The tenacity of  KENDELL  HALL – must see video!!!.   Not only her’s, but all those caregivers and professionals who served her, tirelessly encouraged and stayed the course.  The images are riveting.

An automobile accident left her paralyzed from the armpits down.  She decided to fight.


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spin & screwed

December 1, 2011 3 comments

The power of the confessional for Catholics is not the holiness of that tiny cubicle’s secrets, but the confession itself.  It’s practical value encourages a person to bring their wrong, their sin, the hole in their soul, the wound, lay it all out there in all of its undignified ugliness, and still be received and reminded of the unconditional love of God.  The truer the confession, the richer the effects of grace.

I was reminded early this morning that the inclination we have to protect the false-self would have us spin in excuses and half-truths.  This weakness has an incredible bearing on the overall spiritual atmosphere of our personal inner health, our churches and our ministries.   The spin has us cycle in stagnation.  It goes nowhere.  It accomplishes nothing but prolongs what will inevitably be revealed:  we are broken and in need of being received (ugly warts and all).  Even the term “saving face” says much about our personal war with our false-self and ego.  Deflecting truth is not helpful to us either.  Until we can own our mistakes and take responsibility for the choices we’ve made, we sludge in the mire of our own making.  The journey through these kinds of swamps take an immeasurable toll on our peace and freedom.  Too many need a bath in the cleansing waters of truth.  Spraying perfume on a pig doesn’t really help the pig’s odor issues.  The only person deceived, is the applicator of the perfume.  Everyone else knows with their nose.  Spin in corporate America and politics is the game.  Spin with God stuff is poison to us.

Rohr talks about his work in the local jails of Albuquerque:  “In there, we try to talk without euphemism and niceties:  Don’t say the money got stolen; say, I stole the money.  Take responsibility.  Your mother hurt you, your father didn’t love you, we all know that (unfortunately, that is an all-to-familiar norm in our culture).  Now will you take personal responsibility for what you did?”  Identifying the wound is vitally important, but it doesn’t solve the entire equation.  The sooner we stop the spin and honestly say what is true about ourselves, the quicker we get to the healing we so desperately need.

The power of honest confession brings our liberation.  Spin screws us into a petrified current of isolated dormancy.


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