Life again reminds me we are all so very busy with days filled and choices to be made. Sometimes I feel like a contestant on the Price is Right TV show and I randomly choose door number #3 today.. and hope for the best.
So to help guide our life decisions I would like to suggest the Closed Fist and Open Hand approach.
But.. a serious dilemma occurs when we mix our Open Hand and Closed Fist views. Just think if an alcoholic who continues to drink, a marriage without fidelity, or if I decide not to pay my bills on time.. or pay them at all. All are a recipe for disaster.
Of course, Open Hand and Closed Fist views are rubbed in our faces when we turn on the evening news where Washington is filled with Closed Fists ready to punch political opponents in the nose.. or lower. I guess this is what Washington calls 'reaching across the aisle'.
Now finally, how's the old Open Hand v Closed Fist working with God's people? From my vantage point, not so good. Just a glance on my Twitter account I could imagine..
Seriously, the church can be a prickly place. Not just your basic Predestined v Free Will, eternal security, or are Infant Baptisms ok debates? There are more serious divisions where when we do not agree on the interpretation of a passage of scriptures then someone must be a HERETIC... when maybe we really don't know and simply disagree. But then to be fair again.. some teachings are heresy.
God save us! No really, GOD SAVE US!
Now take it with a grain of salt that you are reading a blog from 'a grownup' who draws cartoons, but the following is my exhaustive (or exhausting) guide to Closed Fist and Open Hands in the Church.
The reason for writing today's blog was fueled by ongoing battles among well known evangelicals, and then watching the 'Christian' media and 'Christian' social media fanning the flames that divide us.
Of course I do believe in addressing sin and true heresy in the church. BUT.. I pray for a biblical approach.
Sigh.. Maybe from time to time I will just open my clenched fist and slap myself.
I am not positive today's blog is helpful, but the spirit of it is on my heart. May God use my fumbling words to speak truth or the desire for us all to seek truth.
May God bless you in your busy lives. Be true to God, stand for Him, know your Bibles, have good friends, and eat all your veggies. :)
Jeff ( in between a slap, tickle, & a fist fight) Larson
The Wow Factor, I would paraphrase as an experience and/or observation that grabs your attention and holds it.. big time.
When I was young I was a decent athlete, and fell in love with sports. The speed, power, finesse, strategy, and teamwork of great athletes and teams playing to win the game.
The thrill of victory and agony of defeat was the catch phrase for the old Wild World of Sports show, and this all makes me go.. WOW!
It also goes without saying (though I am saying it) I love Art. Ok, not true art.. I love cartoons, and have doodled cartoons ever since age five.
You will never catch me wandering into an art gallery pondering the works of Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Rembrandt, or Leonardo de Vinci, BUT.. I save my WOWs for Gary Larson - The FarSide, Berke Breathed - Bloom County, Bill Watterson - Calvin & Hobbes, and Jim Unger - Herman.
In fact one of my favorite Christmas presents of all time my wife bought me The Complete Farside collection (3 volumes) in hardcover. For most folks this is a waste of time and $$, but for me.. WOW!
Others are enthralled by the world of beautiful music. Personally I enjoy listening to music ranging from Jazz to Rock & Roll, Hymns to modern Worship.
But.. I don't sing so good, can't clap my hands to a beat, or even play a Kazoo. Music is that Wow for many.. but for me I am sorry but I am checking my TV for a game while drawing Back Pew cartoons.
Now as we travel further from the center of my universe we find many looking up at the night sky mesmerized by the stars while our planet orbits around a blazing ball of burning gas and realizing we are only one planet in one galaxy in an ever expanding universe all with order and functioning with more science and math that you could shake a stick at (real old saying that means ALOT) .. and the collective scientific community responds in one voice.. WOW! <-- note this was an 83 word runon sentence.
Did I choose your WOW tirgger? Well no matter if it is science, music, art, sports, or watching the Wheel of Fortune ( big fan of the wheel) realize all WOWs come from our creator. Our Wow moments are real and there is no need to apologize for shouting wow (unless you are in church, or during a funeral).. BUT step out further to realize our God is the source of all things WOW.
If we don't we miss the point of this big ol' Beautiful world. Life is not about me, life is not about my passions and hobbies.. LIFE IS ABOUT OUR GOD, and the worship and adoration he deserves.
How great is our God! WOW!
Thank you God for your amazing creation that is your handiwork, and thank you for your love and grace in this life, and the promise of eternity with you our wonderful creator.
I grew up in a good God fearing church in rural Wisconsin where the people loved and worshiped God. The joy of the Lord was real but if you were raising your hand(s).. they be expectin' you to have a question.
Since then I moved to the big city where more than a smattering of city folk in their city folk churches raise there city folk hands.
So it was only a matter of time for my close to the vest worship styling succumbed to the hand raising masses.
I started with one hand raised slightly about waist high, with a quick look to my left and right to be sure no one was watching me.. cuz I might be doing it wrong. Then one hand raised but still slightly below shoulder height, palm open of course. About 6 months later I ventured out to raise one hand above my head but only for a split second so that no one thinks I just have a question... Then quickly my hand is raised again this time for half a chorus. Finally both hands above my head high like Jesus just ran 80 yards for a touchdown!
My Worship Metamorphosis is complete!
Think of it like learning to ride a bike. You start out with both hands on the on the handle bars.. then try riding with one hand, then finally big and bold you are riding with no hands. Pretty, pretty cool.
Same thing with worship hands. You start out with both hands on the chair or pew in front of you. Then over time you let go with one hand, then finally both hands raised! Warning: The first time I raised both hands I lost my balance and fell over and skinned my shin.
Ok, I have rambled long enough to where I forget again what is true and what I made up for fun. Fact? Fiction? Hmmm, think of it as a 'hybrid of truth'. Truth be told I do not recall falling over during worship, though one of my butt cheeks did fall asleep on a particularly hard chair at our church. But that is a topic for another day..
What I do know that worship is a time to express our adoration to our loving Heavenly Father. Whether I choose to raise my hands, or remain seated with the above risk of a cheek going numb..
Posture is optional, but Heart is essential.
Note: Besides learning to raise my hands during worship I am also an accomplished 'worship watcher' (much like bird watching) always observing and collecting worship stylings. Let me share a few. There is..
Oh there are many more.. but I leave you all with one final request of any fellow 'worship watchers'. Please report back to me any 'creative' worship styling(s) you have observed so I can capture them with my vivid 64 pack of Crayola Crayons.
So until then.. Keep Calm and Worship on!
Jeff (Two Hands Raised High) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson