We hear the word “precious” bantered around like it is something ordinary. We might hear: “Oh doesn’t so-and-so look precious?” The word seems pedestrian. We hear it everywhere. I like this definition of precious: (from dictionary.reference.com) (something) highly esteemed for … Continue reading
Robb K. May 6, 2014 Five years ago, to the day, I awoke long before the sun was up to prepare myself for the longest and the shortest day of my life. I took the hottest shower I could stand. … Continue reading
Where can I go, when I’m addicted? Betsy is an attractive middle aged blonde, living with her parents. In this economy it is difficult to make ends meet. Appearances are often deceiving. Besty had travelled from the mid-west, to take … Continue reading
People have often asked. Just what are you?
To use a phrase coined by Pastor Dave Hart from Sanctuary San Diego: I am a Cyber Minister. I have been performing ministry over the Internet, for over 20 years.
A lot of my ministry is on-line using a computer, mouse, a keyboard and the Linux operating system. (Thanks Joe.) Why a particular operating system? Linux is what’s called a free open source system (FOSS.) For me FOSS isn’t just a philosophy, it is a way of life. It has a level of transparency and openness that permeates my entire life.
An on-line presence, allows me to focus on here and now. To pray with people, and touch their lives in the present, rather then waiting for snail mail, a phone call, or Sunday services. The need is now. I can pray now.
I am part of a larger community. An on-line community of believers that expands to the outermost recesses of our tiny orb, called Earth.
Come. Join me in this new 21st century adventure.
In a world where even the sparest population has a connection to the internet, there are literally billions of people, who remain disconnected. Not technologically, but socially. Few see the disconnect of the disabled person and spirituality.
In the United States alone, 1 in 5 people fall into some category of being disabled. (disabilitystatistics.org)
Sensory disability (blindness or deafness)
Physical disability (movement impairment)
Mental disability (learning, remembering, concentrating)
Social disability (Autism/Aspergers)
Let that sink in. 1 in 5. 20% of the population of the United States are disabled. Can an on-line ministry bring people together? Let’s explore opportunities that may be next door, or down the street. Those who are shut-in due to one of the disabilities above. How do you minister to a person whose mind is sharp, but whose body does not function? Often we think of special needs. This caters primarily to children. But what about the adult who has suffered a traumatic brain injury or a devastating stroke, that has left them without the ability to communicate? The brain works. The body does not. We may look at someone, and say: “Oh! Special needs,” and lump them in with the children.
Parents with a severely autistic child. It might be just the 2 parents, and a child. Going out is impossible. Where are they going to find a baby sitter? Where are they going to go in public, where people don’t judge or make snide comments behind their back? Where can they go to be with God on their schedule? Their world is just home and work. No social contact with the outside. They need spiritual nourishment as well. Why can’t an on-line ministry serve the needs of this community?
Those of us on the Autism/Aspergers spectrum find social encounters to be awkward, un-inviting and painful. An on-line ministry allows us to be as connected to the world as we want, or to remain as anonymous as we need sometimes.
An on-line church experience is NOT the first thing the pops to mind. There is a disconnect between these people, and an on-line ministry. I am in a retirement village. Everyone here is over the age of 55. Some of the people I encounter are well into their 90‘s. Many can not get out of their home. Elderly and forgotten. How do you reach these people? Nothing will ever replace the care and compassion of the human element. We can minister to physical needs, but do we stop and consider the spiritual component? Why not connect them to an on-line community, where people can worship, meet and be spiritually infused 24/7/365?
On-line church allows people who are the most disconnected from society, to be part of a transforming life experience and enjoy the fellowship and simple joy of being connected to the rest of the world. Begin to point people in the direction of an on-line community of fellow believers.
There are many that are unable to be a part of a brick and mortar church. An on-line community awaits. All of us need to invest time in making a human and a spiritual connection to others, and begin to break the barriers of loneliness and spiritual isolation.
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:25 NIV)
If you have read my post Letter to a friend with Cancer then you know Robb has dealt with some very tough issues. I got this note today:
My wife and I have been patiently waiting to announce our pregnancy until we felt like it was the right moment to do so. We’ve had a very tough time with pregnancy and tried for many years without success. We watched many of our friends become pregnant and we always did our best to be encouraging to them while dealing with our own issues of infertility. If this is something that you deal with or have dealt with in the past, please know that we are always willing to lend an ear or to speak with you about your struggle. I know this may be a weird thing to write about as we announce our newest, and possibly only, addition to our family. However, we know what it’s like to struggle and want to be as transparent and compassionate as reasonably allowable. We can laugh with you, cry with you and if you want us to be angry with you, Christina isn’t very good at that, but I’m good enough for the three of us.
At the risk of sounding preachy, indulge me for a moment. We cried when doctors said I had cancer. We rejoiced when I remain cancer free. We cried when we were told we couldn’t have kids because of the treatments, we rejoiced when we found out we were pregnant. I don’t always act like I believe in a Healer. Sometimes, I don’t. Call me fickle, but today I believe in one. Rejoice.
I met Steve over 20 years ago, when they were doing a radio show, called RadioHope. Steve was in Phoenix, and I was living in Southern California at the time. We corresponded for years. At last I had found a kindred spirit.
God brings people into our lives for a purpose. Fundamentally, he transformed me and my ministry. I used to hang out with the metalhead crowd. As I got to know Steve, I discovered he had compassion for the outcasts of society: the punkers, goths, skaters, cutters, homeless, elderly. Anyone whom God put into his life.
Steve grew up in Arizona, but would spend time visiting a small town in Minnesota, where his family and my friend Cyndi now lives.
I never knew a lot of Steve’s past. But you could tell from his writings, especially poetry, (see Outcast Press ) that he was no stranger to pain, suffering, or brokenness. Complaining is definitely something that was NOT part of his essential nature. Reaching people with the gospel, was his goal. At the centre of his existence, you would find an Evangelist. One who well understood the human condition, and one who would take the time to build a genuine relation with someone.
If I had only two words to describe Steve, one would be hopeful. If you travel around Phoenix, Tucson, or any town that he visited, he did what he called an art installation. He infused hope wherever he went. He would bring healing art (Dia de los Muertos style) to the homeless. If you see the word “HOPE” on a fence or by way, you knew he had been there.
The other word that describes Steve, is humble. Steve was not ostentatious, and his only penchant in life, seemed to be sports du jour. He loved to watch a good game on TV with his family. Steve had the right balance between ministry and home. A value he passed on to his sons.
For me personally, he was the one who painted my new home. I was privileged to have him as a friend, a kindred spirit, and a fellow shadow dweller.
I will always remember his contentment in life, his dedication to God and his family, and his spirit, which made all men yearn for the Creator of the universe. See you in Heaven, old friend.
”When a man of God dies, nothing of God dies.”
— AW Tozer
“Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in our soul.
and sings the tune without words,
and never stops at all.”
– Emily Dickinson
The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly
The entire purpose of our existence is to learn how to discipline our natural passions and tendencies, and in the process, develop the highest of all attributes – that of charity. Never forget, however, that charity and service are not the same. Charity is a characteristic trait, service is a kind act! And while charity is certainly developed through continual kind acts of service, charity also seeks no reward and is initiated because of unselfishness and love rather than the hope of recognition.True service and charity are usually not accomplished through great one-time opportunities or philanthropic acts; but they are most often demonstrated best through habits of small, quiet, humble, and unrecognized actions of every day. Albert Einstein perhaps said it best when he penned: “only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” This truth explains why happiness is found from within, not without; and perhaps more importantly, it more fully explains why confidence and self-esteem improve and depression and sadness flee the moment we start to think of and help others. Ironically, our lives are found in the losing of them!
Participation in these simple acts will certainly not be acts sufficient to be recognized on the news, be worthy of some award, or be justifiable to carve a name on a plaque. However, the continual participation in these unselfish acts of service and love will in time produce the greatest reward – that of the development of character, a life of service to others, and the eventual possession of charity. And while the reward for such acts is usually only an appreciative and grateful benefactor of the charitable act, the real satisfaction comes from the happiness that will inevitably result from a life of unselfish service.
Elderly and Senior Citizens:
1) Visit your local nursing home and simply visit and talk with patients, sing songs, tell stories, read books, play games, take them on a walk, put on a performance, etc.
2) Help an elderly neighbor by raking leaves, mowing lawn, weeding flower bed, shoveling snow, wash car, clean house, etc.
3) Visit widows or homebound individuals – make them a meal, stop in to say hi, help around house, etc.
4) Spend an evening teaching a senior citizen how to use the computer or internet, painting or drawing, scrapbooking, etc.
5) Go to nursing home and have a Karaoke night – sing songs they want (the ‘oldies’). Have them teach you their dance moves!
6) ‘Adopt a Grand-friend’ – every once in a while, pick up the phone, send an email, write a letter, or go and visit your ‘grand-friend.’
7) Help an elderly person by picking up their medicine, retrieving their paper, helping them with grocery shopping, taking them ‘out.’
8) Put together a puppet show, performance, or take a game – and have a fun game night with the senior citizens. (Take them a treat too).
9) Make a meal and just go visit an elderly, sick, or widowed person in the neighborhood and just have a fun evening together playing games, telling stories, and talking.
10) Visit grandparents, widows, or local elderly people in the neighborhood or nursing home – and write down their history. Just talk to them, ask them questions, and record their answers. Then, present that history to their family (decedents)
Startling as it seems, I spent over an hour on the phone with my best friend, helping me to understand life.
Brad helped me understand that I am powerless to change the situation in which I find myself in, regarding my Dad.
There is no going back to the halcyon days of yesteryear. It is, after all, what it is. Dying is a process I am just beginning to understand, as I myself, enter my 6th decade on this seemingly rotating ball of boredom at times.
I am learning that time is perhaps the most precious commodity we humans have. Memories are fashioned in the context of time, whether they be good or bad.
I have not been here. It is painful. It is powerful. The lessons being taught, are not what I desire. Control. It is an illusion, to an extent. I want control of the situation, but it it not mine to orchestrate.
Perhaps as we look back at our own life, and understand the necessity of brokenness and barren spirit, we begin to understand the essence of life itself. We sequester that which is painful. Which is tedious. Which is dull, and mundane.
It is in these things, we find the true meaning of life. Simply to love, and to be loved.
Thanks old friend, for reminding me of the value of friendship. “To rejoice with them that rejoice, and to weep with them that weep.” (Romans 12:15)
“A joy shared, is a double joy. But a burden shared, is half a burden.”
— Jewish Proverb