Monday, July 9, 2007

Unnatural, Unfair, and Unjust.....the only way to be.

I am reading a book called "What's so amazing about grace?". Its blowing my mind. I remember sharing with my wife, quite a while back, that I was struggling with grace and how it works. Paul's writings in Romans were spinning me in circles. I couldn't get my brain around grace. But this book is really making it come alive for me.

You see, grace isn't natural. I think that this is where I was missing the boat. All the times that I have read the parables in the gospels, and I never got 'em. The prodigal son? Didn't really get it. Thing is, I knew I didn't get it.

But, grace isn't just unnatural, its also unfair. Is it fair to forgive someone? No. It would be fair to give them justice. Is it fair to not "get somebody back" or "get even"? No. An eye for an eye. That's fair. Is it just to forgive? I don't even need to answer that.

Here is the parable that really got me. Guy owes another guy 1 million dollars. The guy he owes the money to forgives the debt. The whole thing. First guy goes out, finds a dude who owes him $5.00, and demands justice.

See, he didn't get that he had been shown grace. He didn't really get it. And, it showed when he demanded his $5 or justice. $5 compared to $1 million? Are you kidding me? But, that is what I do everyday. God forgave me. How can I not forgive?

Here's the kicker. If I don't forgive, God won't forgive me. The rest of the parable goes on to tell how the guy who forgave the million dollar debt heard what that little punk did, reinstituted the debt and had him thrown in prison for life.

But don't miss the attitude. I don't think that God is sitting there saying "If you don't forgive others, I won't forgive you. So pooey on you." No, that's not the God I know. I think its more like he is saying, "Look, I wanna forgive you. I am willing and able. But if you don't forgive others, you won't be able to accept my forgiveness. Funny thing how forgiveness works."

Did you ever forgive someone and they had a kind of "what are you forgiving me for? I didn't do anything" attitude? See, you are forgiving them, for your part. But they aren't accepting it.

Forgiveness and Grace are unnatural, unfair, and unjust. But, they are the answer to this world's problems...........and the only way to get to the next.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Answer me this.

Someone I respect sent me this question:

Which person is morally a better person?

Rich goes to church every week. He has a job and pays all his bills on
time. He has no criminal convictions. He has never cheated on his
wife. He doesn't drink alcohol, smoke, swear, take drugs, or go to
strip clubs. He never steals. He avoids a couple that he knows lives
together without being married because it's a bad example to his kids.
He marches in pro-life rallies. He votes Republican because "they let
people who work hard keep their money instead of giving it to slackers."
He's pro capital punishment because "those people forfeited their life
when they murdered someone else." He doesn't do any charity work. He
complains about people who make dumb decisions and then pay for it by
becoming single mothers, get STDs, or become addicted to drugs.

Al has been married and is currently divorced, but he has a girlfriend
that he regularly sleeps with. He attends church on Easter and
Christmas. He drinks moderately. He let his brother live with him for
a year even though it was an inconvenience because his brother lost his
job for stealing. The brother eventually got another job and moved out.
He helps out once a week at a soup kitchen because he feels sympathy for
the poor people there and has made friends with some of them. He had a
Lexus for a while, but felt guilty about it and sold it. Now he drives
a fairly used Camry and sends $100 per month (even though he's saving
$200 per month) to a charity that helps the poor in Africa.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The best beer in the world.

So, I didn't know what my first blog here should be about. On my professional post, I always put boring stuff about Real Estate. So, I thought I would write about one of the things that I love. Black Butte Porter. This is, by far, the best beer I have tasted.
I used to live in Salem, OR. Black Butte is brewed near Bend, OR. The first time I tasted it was in 1995. Back then, It was only available on tap. It tastes better on tap.
In 2004, I moved to Southern California and couldn't find it available anywhere. Recently, Beverages and more started carrying it. I was very happy the day I saw that label with the Metolius River flowing mystically out of the ground at the base of Black Butte. I bought a six pack, went home, chilled it for a short time (it is better if you don't get it too cold), leaned back on the couch and took a long, deep drink. It was one of the better pulls I have had in my life.
If you haven't had one, you should try to find it and try it. It is not for the Bud Light drinker. This is a real beer. Strong molasses flavor, with a hint of chocolate. It is thick, filling, and dark. A couple of these puppies after dinner on a warm summer night will make you forget the bad things going on in your life. At least for a few minutes.