Tag Archives: question

Usher or Bouncer?

blog usher bouncer I read somewhere on the internet (I just cringed as I wrote that – I really can’t remember where I read it – sad but true – so much good stuff and I’m always reading!) a great question.  Here it is.  Are you an Usher or a Bouncer?

I love this. Especially as it applies to Christians and church and community.  To me this question is critical.

Which is it?  Are you an usher or a bouncer?

Do you welcome people in, invite them to sit, shake hands, maybe hug, smile, accept, connect?

Or do you shut people out, condemn, judge, deny, disconnect and hurt?

What are we called to do as Christians?  As humans?

I’m thinking of that song, “Rockstar” by Nickelback. “I’m through with standing in lines to clubs I’ll never get in…” Can you hear it? Aren’t we all.  Who wants to “not get in”?

I love to read about Studio 54 and it’s heyday.  I love the music and the fashion and the celebrities and the craziness.  I’m reminded now of the velvet rope and the bouncers and all of the “pretty people” getting in while others waited for hours to be rejected.

Rejection hurts.  Feeling not enough is the worst feeling – not pretty enough or rich enough or smart enough or good enough.  We’ve all felt this way at one time or another and it hurts.

 Karen Armstrong said this: “Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.” 

Rejection gives me pain. I never want to make anyone feel rejected.

I want to be an usher.

An usher lightens the load for others.  They say, “Welcome, come in, sit down, we’ve saved a spot for you, we were waiting for you,  you are important, we are glad you are here.”

This is how we build community.  This is how we honor Jesus and His message.  He said “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” He didn’t mention anything about the proper outfit or the right partner or the fancy background or the perfect past.

He invites everyone and when they show up in our lives…no matter where we are…we can usher them in.  If not physically into a place, we can usher them into a feeling of acceptance and love with a smile, a connection, a helping hand.  We can see them.  We can welcome them.

With regards to the church unfortunately I have known a lot of bouncers.  It makes me sad to think of this because so many people have been turned away from Jesus because of the “bouncers” at church living under a false notion that they are in charge of who gets in and out.  It’s sad and it’s maddening and frightening and infuriating and pathetic really.

We are called to be Ushers.

I am so grateful for all of the ushers in my life.  The ones who really know Jesus and His message of Love.  The ones who told me and showed me that to live in Christ is to live in Joy.  They welcomed me and showed me a path to generosity and kindness and non-judgment and wholeness and love and Freedom.

We are all invited.  Jesus is saving a place for all of us at His table.  I don’t just mean His table in Heaven but also His “table” here on earth. It’s good to know when we get to the table – no matter the path we took to get there and no matter the shape we are in when we finally accept His invitation and we show up… He will be there with open arms to usher us in.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup  Great Big Yes™  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

What’s the point?

I wonder, is there a time in everyone’s life when the surface stuff seems really pointless?  I mean, does everyone get to the point where they say, “There has to be more to life”?

I feel that so keenly at this point in my life.  Maybe it’s because I have kids.  Maybe it’s because I’ve lost people I love, maybe because I’ve seen destruction and sadness and disease and addiction and divorce and death.  I’ve seen healthy young fathers die suddenly and tragically, I’ve known children diagnosed with cancer or brain tumors, I’ve known kids who suffer with epilepsy and I’ve seen their parents struggle to find answers, I’ve seen families torn apart, I’ve witnessed lying and cheating and stealing.  I’ve been part of relationships that are in need of healing and reconciliation.  I’ve sinned.  I’ve fallen short.

I’ve known the people with the perfect house, perfect cars, perfect clothes, perfect kids, and I’ve heard from them about the unrest in their hearts.  I know there is no such thing as perfect yet I’ve spent time striving.  I’ve strived and I’ve achieved and even after I’ve gotten  what I wanted, what I’ve worked for, what I thought I needed, I’ve realized it’s not enough.   I’ve seen the lies that undermine us.  I’ve heard the secrets behind closed doors.  I’ve watched things fall apart.  I’ve been scared.  I’ve asked the question, “What if all this is all there is?” and that thought has left me hopeless.  This can’t be it I think…no way…it’s so empty.

I seek for meaning.

I seek because I know I don’t have all the answers and some days I don’t feel like I have any answers.  Some days I’m mean and cranky and bone tired.  Some days I gossip and lash out.  Some days I refuse to forgive.  Some days the question, “What’s for dinner?” sends me into an angry tailspin…”no one “gets” me…I’m not a cook…should I go back to work?…why are there empty water bottles in the yard?…why are there food crumbs all over the couch?…Why does it cost $75.00 to fill up my gas tank?…How did I gain 5 pounds since YESTERDAY!…what’s the point of all this?”

What is the point?

This is the question that leads people to seek for something spiritual to hang on to.  I believe we all get to this question.  To me, this is the most exciting question of all questions!

I wrote a blog post about my friend (“Mountain Climbing”) and he commented on it.  I’m worried no one will see the comment since it was a couple posts ago so I’m copying it and printing it here.  It’s really good and really honest and I didn’t want you to miss it.  These are his words:

Allow me explain my point of view on climbing, life and religion. I’m an atheist. But I do believe in spirituality. To me, spirituality has nothing to do with religion or God. My definition of spirituality is the thing that makes you feel whole. The thing that makes you warm inside. The thing makes you feel like you are part of a bigger thing or purpose. The thing that makes you feel like everything is going to be ok. The thing that makes you feel insignificant yet huge at the same time. For a lot of people, this thing is religion. Religion makes them feel whole.

For me, it’s nature. Being on a mountain and looking down, sticking my head in an ice cold raging stream, laying on a giant rock that’s warm from the sun, wrapping my arms around a 100 year old tree, seeing bazillions of stars at night, looking out over an ocean or an endless prairie and hearing the sound of silence. All these things make me feel whole. They make me warm inside.

Spirituality is something that everybody needs in their life. Life sucks without it. I don’t believe in God, but if someone chooses God because it gives them spirituality, then I respect that. Some people spend their whole life searching for the one thing that makes them feel good and never find it. You’ve found yours in religion. I’ve found mine on a mountain.  They are similar yet so different. 

We are all seekers.  We are all looking for something that will make us “feel like everything is going to be ok”.

Where are you seeking?

I heard Diane Sawyer talking about a father who asks his kids every night, “What good questions did you ask in school today?”  Isn’t that great?  I want to encourage my kids to ask good questions.  Heck, I want to ask good questions.

Some “religious” people shy away from asking questions, some are afraid.   Some “religious” people think it’s wrong to doubt or to wonder or to seek.  I don’t.  But then again, I don’t call myself a “religious” person.  I have to correct my friend in that one part of his comment.  I have not found my spirituality in religion.  I have found my hope in Jesus Christ.  This is different.  It’s a critical distinction for me.

Religion in the dictionary means:  a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

I am a member of a church and I think community is a very important part of living life as a Christian.  However, Religion can be messy and political and flawed and cumbersome and hypocritical and boring – not always but sometimes. I even believe there are times when “religion” can actually get in the way of a personal relationship with Christ.  I keep it simple.  I seek Jesus.  Jesus is love.

I’m getting to know Jesus better and His Father God and the beautiful gift of the Holy Spirit.  The more I learn the more excited I become to find out what’s next for me and for the world.  But in order to get to what’s next, I must seek and ask and follow where I feel I’m being led even when I don’t have the answers.  It seems the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.

I do know my God is big enough and strong enough and real enough to walk with me wherever I go.  He’s not going to leave me because I question.

In fact, I picture Him asking me at the end of each day, “What good questions did you ask today?”

What about you?  How would you answer?

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved 
 
 

Religion?

Honor the tradition but expand the understanding. That’s what religions must do right now if they hope to be helpful to humans in the years ahead.

Neale Donald Walsch
Tomorrow’s God

My kids are growing up. 

This means many things.  Based on our dinner conversation tonight, one of the things it means is that they are beginning to question.  They are questioning everything. 

I see this as a good thing.

I remember my childhood priest told me (when I was in a questioning phase) that it’s okay to ask questions.  It’s good.  He made a point of telling us that he does not want us to “check our brains at the door”.  That worked for me.  He told me I was okay for asking.  I was not only okay but on the right path. 

I want my kids to know they are okay for asking and that through the questions, we find ourselves and we find God. 

I found a video of a young man that is extremely intriguing to me.  I don’t agree with everything he says but he has a heart for Jesus.  It is called “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus”  If you have a minute, take a look at it, (click link below) it makes you think. 

Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus

I’ve also posted the Catholic response.  It too makes you think. 

Catholic response

I realize anyone with a camera can spout their beliefs on the internet.  I am not holding either of these videos up as the “end all, be all”.  I like the idea of the questioning.  I can relate. 

My daughter had some real questions about what she heard “Christians” think and stand for that didn’t sit well with her. 

Do not let others define what “Being a Christian” means to you. 

Seek Jesus. 

This isn’t about a church, a building, a philosophy, creeds, laws or big words you can’t pronounce.  This isn’t about politics.  This isn’t about shame or guilt or judgment or debt or death. 

This is about a relationship between you and Jesus.  This is about Love.  This is about Life.

Seek Jesus. 

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved