7 Things I Want To Teach My Kids About Spirituality

Image7 Things I want to teach my kids about Spirituality.

Often I think, the last thing the Internet and blogosphere need is another list. There are always special cases where the words and insights bring us into alignment. Today was my birthday and I received a few emails reminding me to reflect. Well I did, and as always a little too much but I though about my life and what I wanted to share with my kids. Something bigger than morals, something larger than words and books. I want to be able to share with them something that can not be captured in a doctrine but explodes with relevancy.

7. Sex
Sex is one of the most spiritual acts that you can participate in. You are valuable, treasured, and you do not need a purity ring or a “true love waits” commitment card to find value within yourself and your sexuality. Since the days when I was a child growing up, all I can remember being taught about sex was that bad things happen when someone has sex. I wasn’t taught that sex and my sexuality was something to be valued and treasured.

I remember reading a book called “Kissing Dating Goodbye” from a guy who I couldn’t for the life of me understand why he couldn’t have any girl he wanted.  Being taught about not dating from a handsome guy is like being taught about poverty from a rich man.

6.  Love
Oh I know this one was predictable, but the word Love is used over 500 times in the English Bible. The Qur’an uses the word Love almost 70 times. Whether it is the Greeks Agape or the Middle Easts Hubb or even the French’s Amour, we are encaptured by the need to be loved and give love.

Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Life without love is no life at all.”
Shakespeare Pleaded that we, “Love all…”
Jesus said, “Let me give you a new command: Love” The Message

Despite our many obvious and veiled differences, we all have the same passion for love in our lives. A baby reaches out with love to a mother it only unconsciously knows. We open a book in search of love. Music, speaking, plays, etc all bring feelings of love. Love, I think is the one thing that is beyond our verbal boundaries of expression.

We must take this Biblical love literally or we cannot take anything literally.

5. Paths
There may indeed be one answer, one way, and one God but one piece of wisdom I’ve gained is that God may use many different paths, methods, and ways to bring people to himself.
But Paths are tricky. See paths can have obstacles and unseen hindrances. And no matter what path you take, you will undoubtedly face turmoil and pain on each path.
My hope for my children, and all those reading this is that while on these many different paths you travel, you exercise patience, grace and love.

4. God is Good
Throughout Churches,I’ve heard one consistent phrase since I was young, and this phrase wasn’t hindered by denominational factions. Southern Baptist though episcopal-all the way through the progressive, I heard the Phrase, “God is Good, and all the time God is Good.” I love this phrase probably for different reasons than many. I believe it’s meant as an exclamation of God’s goodness towards our lives. I want to teach my kids that above all else, “God is Good.” He is goodness, good things,and good hopes. In every bit of goodness is an opportunity to experience God.

It is not just a phrase to say, but something to experience everyday.

3.  Heaven and Hell
Hear me out on this one. I know we are treading some thin lines. But for my kids, I want them to know that one thing the Bible teaches consistently throughout its covers is this concept of a Heaven and a Hell. Definitions, locations, and interpretations can cloud what I think is the real beauty of the reality of a Heaven and Hell idea for Christians and non-Christians alike. (I am using the words Heaven and Hell loosely since few times are they mentioned in the same manner and objective in the scriptures. I am using the modern words as a pointer to a bigger but mainstream concept that we have of Heaven and Hell.)

The reality of Heaven and Hell brings to the surface the intense revelation that this moment – this life is about more than just this moment. It’s about more than just this life.

Life, it is more than just you. It gives us the revolutionary realization that this moment is more important than we might think because it can affect myself or someone else down the road. My struggles can be my generational burden.

Whether or not our beliefs and doctrines of Heaven and Hell match,  the literary descriptions, or are even all on the same page, we can find a muse to be more conscious of our actions and deeds. If we live with heaven in mind, we’ll see heaven in our sight.

The notion of Heaven and Hell is somewhat of a reminder for everyone that this day, no matter how bad it may be, has an ending. That in every moment there is a choice to be made; to do good or not.
2.  God Loves Religion
Religion often gets a bad rap, sometimes understandably so. The news is often so crowded with the stories of abuse and harm that we don’t get to hear the good being done in the names of many god’s spiritual leaders and religions. I am a believer that God loves religion. The Bible gives us a clear statement on what kind of religion pleases God.

James 1:27 Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I think that we can misinterpret what God wants us to be zealous about. It’s not a book, persona, or building. It is people.

In our day of equal rights, mentoring, and giving we can all agree this is the type of religion we need to be focused on. If religion is to be, than it should be an example of charity and assistance. This should be the focus of everyday expressions of God and belief.

Religion is what we would call a tool that assists in connecting us with what we cannot explain. As with anything religion can be perverted. But if you are religious about anything, be religious about serving and loving.

1. Miracles

I spent the past two years visiting over 200 churches while working on a new book and a journey of what I called My Spiritual Re-discovery. In the majority of the churches they spoke about miracles being an essential part of the Life of Jesus. I agree. I think often the biggest miracles of Christ went under shadowed by the more talked about happenings.

This is something I’ve always agreed with. However, my view of a miracle is a little different than what I’ve seen in many churches.

In the Biblical book of Luke, we get a clear description from Jesus himself as to why he was here and what he was focusing on.

“…to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed” – Jesus

Jesus had a different view of miracles than I see in many churches today. He repeatedly told the people, “See that no one knows about this.” Matthew 9:31

What if the real miracles were the forgotten teens Jesus mentored whom we now call disciples? What if the real miracles were the times he served and gave of himself?

I believe Miracles should be a daily part of this life journey we are on. It’s not necessarily a blind man being given sight or the dead being raised. Often times it will be needs being met, service being offered, and assistance with burdens.

You can be someone’s miracle today.

What makes the Bible special is that it isn’t a record of God, because God cannot be contained between two covers and some ink. What ultimately makes the Bible special is that it has the ability to tell the story of the reader, and is as unique to each person as the hair on their head.

What I am saying is, instead of us often taking what the Bible says seriously, we should take what it’s saying to each one of us seriously.

The Spirituality of Scooby Doo

Ricky Maye on Scooby Doo

Ricky Maye on Scooby Doo

The Spirituality of Scooby Doo

1969 was filled with heroes of all kinds. It was a year that was bigger than life. Superheroes of all kind ran rampant through all walks of life.

The Beatles were at their height. Man was on the moon for the first time and Music festivals including the infamous Woodstock brought in over 800,000 people together for causes bigger than themselves.

1969 was a year of brave, strong and innovative people shinning in front of a gazing world. Imaginations were being stretched and ordinary people were solving all the worlds’ problems. Or it seemed. This was a wide-eyed generation with many types of Superhero’s to watch.

1969 saw TV shows such as bewitched, Star Trek and The Avengers running through the minds of ordinary people watching at home on the couch.

Amongst all of these heavy hitters, a new show began its run on the airwaves. A revolutionary show that would showcase everyday people changing the world, the broken and fumbled kind of man solving problems, this indeed would be revolutionary in a time of superpowers, bigger than life figures and sci-fi shows. Scooby Doo aired for the first time on September 13th, 1969.

My friend Len Winneroski has coined the phrase Ordinary Weakling and I love its appeal and igniting flair. When we look at the spiritual life, for most of us it can be filled with such outlandish expectations and hopes. Personal and metaphorical obstacles that can rival the skyscrapers in some cities can often seem so big we find it hard to get out of the bed each morning.

The beauty of Scooby doo was the bravery of an ordinary group of people to deal with outlandish situations with no help from super powers, radioactive spiders or billionaire contraptions. That day in 1969 was the launch of a new trend in our world and I’d like to share a few things we can gain from this change in pace.

  • Superheroes are no longer chosen; they are everyday people that just embrace the world’s call for help.
  • You don’t need superpowers to be someone’s hero. 
  • You don’t need explosions and celebrations to save the day. 
  • More than anything. We learn that you do not win by force, violence or anger but by attention, friends and perseverance. 
  • A hero stands up to the villain in himself. 

Often the villain we learned in this year of 1969 in The Scooby Doo series wasn’t a mutated super human or a bred from birth personification of evil but a man that often looked just like us.

In the popular cases of Batman and Spiderman facing the demons inside each of themselves we also can relive those unmasking moments in Scooby Doo where it was someone just like them, it wasn’t an “evil”, it was a person.

Sometimes the biggest hindrance to a dream is that which is staring at us in the mirror. 

Maybe our greatest enemy isn’t the evil around us, but the evil inside us.

Below I am sharing a video from a great musician, Derek Webb with a song that ties perfectly into this topic.

Thanks for reading.

Ricky Maye

What does it really mean to Live Biblically?

bible-pagePeople often surprise me. That is to say I am often surprised by how people interact with other people.

This week was no different, with tensions surrounding the Supreme Court’s recent contemplations and multiple recent tragedies this week. I happened to witness a lively but very civil debate.

However while walking by I overheard the phrase, “you just need to live the Bible.”

Is it possible to live the Bible? If so than how do we go about living the Bible, or living biblically?

Living a phrase of the Bible can be damaging. Expressing the Bible in your own life can be life changing.

In our pick & choose society we can often forget that the Bible isn’t a book full of good phrases and suggestions on how to live.

It is the raw and unfiltered accounts of real men and women who were trying to live and know God in their culture.

The word Bible is a fairly new word in  the whole picture of history. The word the ancients often used to describe the words of God or the inspired words of God was scripture. The word Scripture is used all throughout the Bible and Old Testament books such as Daniel and the book of Psalms.  In Hebrew the word is כתב and is pronounced kathab, it means a record of things.

The Bible isn’t an account of broken people who become perfect and try to live in a certain standard. The Bible is a chance for us to see the unique paths people that people travel with God.

The Bible is an exposé, and gives us a look into what real spirituality is; a journey that for each person is unique and distinct to that person. The Bible is a raw look into different people from different cultures exploring what is means to follow God  and share that hope in their day.

I believe living Biblically is essential to a life of faith.

Living Biblically means embracing diverse roads, different journeys and celebrating uniqueness.

If we take living Biblically to mean a set agenda for everyone to live by, than we are no longer dealing with a divine inspired spirituality, we are dealing with  man made standards.

If that was the case living biblically would be…

Dashing little ones against stones.– Psalms 137:9

Having slaves. — Leviticus 25:44

I will not go on with the many Old and New Testament scriptures that would not be fit for today’s living. My hope is that you begin to see the Bible not as an explanation of God but as an exploration of God.

When a faith is bound by two covers, it’s a book. When faith is built on God it has no boundaries and no walls.

So let us live Biblically and embrace difficulty and rise up against injustice and destroy walls people put up around God.

An Undeserved Love

20130311-104914.jpg
—-
Mark 10:17-22

As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before Him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good – except God alone. you know the commandments: “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honour your father and mother.”
‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’
Jesus looked at him and loved him.
‘One thing you lack’, he said, ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. The come, follow me.’
At this, the man’s face fell. he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
—-

A few months back I was visiting a church in a small suburb of Cincinnati. I was ushered around the church in a spur of the moment tour.

I was told how the building is a city landmark and of the recent remodeling and modernizing of the sanctuary and meeting areas.

At one point in my Christian life I would have listened attentively and gasped in exclamation of the work this church had completed. However my mind wandered as he spoke of the church only being able add genuine marble to walls and pillars as if they had failed somehow. The giant translucent cross on the stage was hand carved into one solid piece of precious stone and lit with color LED lights.

As he went over a small list of the remodeling and additions I couldn’t help but notice after living in this city for year I had never heard of it. Later I asked dozens of homeless individuals, children in foster care and others I work with. But no one had heard of it.

Jesus, being approached by this man we have dubbed “The Rich Young Ruler”, notices one thing at the forefront of the conversation. The mans definition of Good is very twisted. But even still he kept the law. He did what was written. He was successful.

Jesus told him he’s lacking something bigger; giving.

Most of you reading the beginning of this stood where I stood. We gathered a distaste for this church. I wanted to hate them. Money going into the walls (literally) and not into the community of where it’s needed.

What hit me was how Jesus reacted to his “wrongness.” He was wrong, he was lacking, and Jesus said so.

But what reaction do we see from Jesus?

Subtly it’s written, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”

It’s easy to say we wanna love the misfits when we are misfits. But to extend our love to those of pious living, selfishness and hate… That is a true test of faith.

I walked out of that church that day and loved what they were creating. One thing they lacked, but I looked at them and loved them.

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Following Jesus, this Rabbi from Nazareth was of the utmost importance to these teens and young adults he called disciples, each of whom came from every existence at the time.

Some of these followers left family, some left lovers, others left jobs and some were rejected by the world around them. These men and women knew what it was like to be unwanted and alone.
At times, we see them exhibit that following Jesus was more important than funerals of family members, more important than having any possessions and more important than life itself. (Luke 9:61)
Following this Jesus was so important to these young men and women that they would neglect everything so that whatever Jesus was doing at the moment would be the one and only focus in their daily life.

I can make that statement fully confident that this was the mindset of many of Jesus’ followers.
I can see that same passion with teens from every denomination in Christianity.
But wait, I can also see the same passion with Buddhist, Muslim and Mormon followers. It’s limitless; the passion exhibited is something that seems to be universal and not exclusively tied to Christianity or followers of Jesus. We have even pondered how serial killers and cult leaders could also have similar dedication from their followers. So following Jesus must be about something more than just walking a similar path he did.
In fact, we see this passion in music scenes that have risen in the past such as Jazz, Hip-Hop, Hardcore and more. We have witnessed that all have followers that exhibit similar passion.

In these times of confusion, I love to dive into the wisdom that is the historical writings of Judaism. For me, the wisdom hidden in many early Jewish writings is a daily inspiration and guidance and more-so, knowing Jesus searched for the same wisdom in his life.
One of the Hebrew words used for following someone in the Torah, which is the name for some of the Jewish scriptures or the Christian Old Testament, means to follow after and carry something.
This is insightful and easy to pass over, as with much wisdom that presents itself in life.

When they spoke of following someone, it didn’t stop with following after someone but they insisted something would have to be carried. Following was not just about walking after someone.

The illustration we are beginning to see is that if someone follows a person or idea, they begin to carry what they are following or they begin to carry something the person they are following is carrying.

The Christian journey as it has evolved has also changed in its idea of what being a follower of Jesus really means.

I mean this not as an insult but an accountable observation. In our western churches, it’s often rare to see a church take place in a public place or common area.
Padded pews are a luxury of the Jesus follower of the past. We now have booming mega churches, media software that out-does most organizations, church brand coffee, bands that are composed of award winning musicians and sound systems that put arenas to shame.
Is this what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Come follow me”?

Are we carrying the same passion and call Jesus did when he walked the earth? Is his burden our burden?

Are you following Jesus empty handed?

Adapted from Barefoot Christianity coming next Tuesday!

facebook.com/barefootchristianity

Low Life

Low life; a step into real Christianity.

The spiritual journey often begins low. More often in church height in spirituality is encouraged. More learning, memorizing and volunteering seem to be a sign of spiritual maturity.

However the message of Jesus tends to be focused on those that live low; those that give everything and those that have little left.

Jesus gathered his disciples to a field and gave them a raw word of direction. Jesus boldly proclaimed that the goal of everyone should be to take up their own cross and carry it. (Matt 10:38)

This is a call for hardship to be embraced and suffering to be celebrated, but it is also a call for each of us to journey lower.

Some see this as invitation to die with Jesus but that would be without reason, yes it’s a nice sentiment but not a reality. Us dying with him is less than void, his death is what mattered in regards to experiencing this eternal life God has in store for us.

We are not called to die on that cross but to carry it, to experience it, to journey with it.

The cross is heavy, it’s burdensome, and it is just plain lowly. When that cross is pressing down on our backs and we can’t stand anymore, we become low. This is spiritual maturity according to Jesus, not the heights of ordination, leading studies Bible studies or church attendance.

Mary thanked God for recognizing her low status when impregnating her with the divine seed. (Luke 1:48)

Embracing our low standings should not be our only goal. We should seek to take whatever good standings we have in money, talent and resources and share that with those who are in need of whatever we can provide.

Paul echoed this in his writings to the Romans when saying, “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
(Rom 12:16)

In some churches the goal is how high you can get; how many service attendees, how many financial pledges they can bring in. In contrary, the christian life cannot be lived in height but only in low stature.

Thanks Giving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for many and for many of us it has become a day of the year we try to remind ourselves of the blessings we have received.

The word Thankful in Hebrew is yadah and means to throw something back.

In this holiday season present and coming that primarily are about money being spent for food, gifts and Decorative’s let us remind ourselves to give back out. See, being thankful isn’t about showing an emotion and being humble for a day, it’s about giving back out or as the Hebrew word illustrates to “throw back out.”

Your blessings can only be blessings if they don’t end with you.

—-
My thanks for 2011

First of all I am thankful for my family. My mother who is battling cancer and glaucoma and still standing. My brother Allen who is returning the gift he experienced as a youth by leading teens and standing with them. Most of all my kids who mean the world to me and Liz.

I am thankful for the multiple jobs I work, even though I work more than last year, it is so much less stressful.

I’m thankful for my house. I’m thankful for my friends. Most of all I’m thankful to be able to share my writings with all of you and I’m thankful for this year being so successful in my book projects. (I have so much better planned for next year!)

Lastly and most fitting. I’m thankful for my beliefs. My doubts, my fears and my struggles. I’m blessed to have so many people walking with me on this spiritual journey. These past three years have been crazy, hell and full of so many ups and downs but as one wise women told me, “thank and do.”

I wish you all happy holidays in all your endeavors and traditions. I pray that this season speaks to you and blesses you.

I Love and cherish you all.

Ricky Maye

if you haven’t picked up a copy of my new book please do.

http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Spirituality-Spiritual-Revolution-ebook/dp/B005G7U034/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1322079016&sr=8-4