The Ashford Reality… April 1, 2013

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AshfordOnce again, I cheated my alarm clock out of the privilege of awakening me. Ever since I was in my early twenties, I have always been able to think about the time I wanted to arise right before dozing off, and literally like clockwork, wake up  near the exact hour. I doubt this gift, so I always set an alarm clock, which usually ends up going off when I’m in the bathroom, unable to reach it.

Thus I began my day early.

I am taking a road trip today back over to Houston, Texas, to share tonight in Ashford. After all these years–nearly forty–I am still an excited little boy at the prospect of journeying somewhere to share my talents to fine human souls. Over the years, pieces of my ego have been trimmed and discarded, and lessons have been learned about better approaches to achieve more satisfying results–but the enthusiasm remains.

I guess I’m kind of an odd bird. I have never been comfortable being a miserable anything. When I hear my fellow-believers talk about the pain and suffering of Christianity, I am bewildered. My understanding of the message is one of abundant life, in which our joy is full and we are given the responsibility of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, as God’s grace affords us the opportunity of being a city placed on a hill.

So it was in that spirit that I set my goals for my journey to Ashford.

First of all, I just want to tell those delightful friends, “I love you.” It’s not that I want to be mushy or silly–rather, life is about finding a reason to love others. If we don’t, we start acting like we are abandoned on a desert island called earth, and our entire mission is to hoard coconuts, because there is no chance of ever being saved. I refuse to feel that way. Saying “I love you” is just as much or more for me than it is for the hearer. The absence of love is always the introduction of ignorance.

The second thing I want to impart to the fine folks of Ashford is, “You are loved.” Not just by me, but also by the last group of folks I just left, who have opened up their hearts and sent along a sensation of inclusion.  I also want them to know that God loves them. Even though we have made the mistake of attempting to turn God into a person, and therefore cursing Him with virtues ranging from cranky and cantankerous to being a hippie and free love advocate, God is actually a spirit. He is a spirit of light and He is a spirit of love, and whenever you find those two at work, He is there in the midst.

I guess in constructing my Ashford reality for today, I will tell the folks that love is needed for change. Change without love is like a car trying to run without oil, as the gears grind, heat up and smoke, destroying the engine. Love is the oil of change. If it doesn’t motivate the change, then we resort to things like intimidation, anger, frustration and guilt. Nasty stuff. Love gives us a reason to change because we know that even if we falter in the process of revising ourselves, love persists.

And finally, tonight in Ashford I will tell them that change is coming. We can no longer preach a God who is disgusted with human beings. We can no longer have two political parties which are locked in a Hatfield-and-McCoy feud. We can no longer feel superior to one another and think that we can achieve equality and justice. We can no longer have men and women fighting each other in situation comedies and think that one of the genders can solve the problems of earth without the other. We can no longer insist that who we are is sufficient without a little bit of repentance and a whole lot of God’s bolstering.

So there you go. You can see why I’m excited. I get to go on a road trip to bring a blessing to people I do not yet know. I get to say:

  • I love you
  • You are loved
  • love is needed for change
  • and change is coming.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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