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.

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Breaking & Bad Moments

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Breaking & Bad Moments.
Ricky Maye

Brokenness is the table where we all meet.

The occasion for each of us may be different. For many it’s hurt, abuse, or abandonment. But, you know what I mean when I say broken; pain and hurt that isn’t necessarily physical, but can transcend anything physical.

This surpasses any boundaries of explanations. Sometimes it can only be expressed by a scream, a shriek, or a sigh. No matter how much eloquence we use to depict this broken feeling, only you can know the word or sound to describe what broken has meant for you.
Over the years of talking to people, I’ve gotten a good description of what it feels like to be broken. Of course we all have our own experiences of feeling broken, and most describe a feeling of something missing. One woman told me “it was like a piece” of her left. It could have been a divorce, a letdown, or even a bad event.

In ,פָּרַח The Hebrew word for broken, In English it’s pronounced pârach, and .means to bud, to sprout, or blossom
In the plant world, a seed can easily be almost thought of as magic. Its mystical formation from a tiny seed somehow just became a thriving plant to rise above the rough ground it’s saturated in.

In actuality, all plants are born as seeds on the earth. All plants are encaptured with a purpose and the readiness to explode with purpose into the world. However, this seed must wait until its maturity. A seed is never just born into a plant. It’s something that has to reach a certain point.

There comes a moment in the seeds life where it experiences a breaking point. Although this sounds bad it is actually the tipping point of the plants life and purpose. The breaking this seed is going through is a spreading out… a spouting. This is the moment the seed decides to become a plant. Now this word pârach is making more sense. Why would a breaking mean to be sent out or sprout? Because this breaking you’re feeling is normal. You’re not imagining it. Yes this broken feeling has taken a piece of you away. But, it’s bringing you to fruition. Yes it is painful but it will help purpose burst forth. In the breaking moment you’re one step closer to purpose. You are about to flourish.

A wound is a place where the energy of the world enters you.

I would say we all experience these moments of brokenness. Some to different degrees and some that last longer lengths of time.
Those that aren’t broken haven’t really lived.

In our society we love to embellish the negative. Its easy to call attention to the bad around us. Call me unrealistic, but I think those moments of brokenness can be seen in a new way. A better way. As I said, the word pârach is the word broken in Hebrew, and alludes to a sending out; a sprouting, much like a plant.

I’ve always wondered why we deal with these broken feelings and experiences. I’ve always wondered why we actually feel like something’s broken or something is missing.

Being broken is nothing to be ashamed of. It is an exciting celebration of what will come. Something better is coming along. It’s inevitable; a seed must become a plant. You will grow past this and mature into a bigger and better purpose.

Over the next few weeks I will be discussing my thoughts from the hit show, Breaking Bad, as I go through it. I can’t tell you how many people have told me to watch it. I think there is much wisdom in this modern piece of art. I’d like to see if we can uncover something under the surface.

My last word here will be, that in every breaking moment you are laying down deeper roots of purpose that will be shooting out like beautiful flowers blooming.

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Us the Walking Dead

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Us the Walking Dead

With acclaimed shows like The Walking Dead and blockbuster movies like World War Z, the discussion over the zombies and the living dead have been running rampant over the Internet and many water coolers.

But what if I told you I didn’t think that many of us were living far from what we see the zombies as being. But this is not a viral strain, disease or mass infection. This is a little bit harder to see; this could be a relationship, work environment or even a bad habit.

I thought it would be interesting to discuss some of the roots and etymology of the word zombie since you all know how fond I am of word roots. But then I decided that I wanted to take this in a different direction.

This living dead perception that we have isn’t necessarily as far from reality as we’d like to think.

We treat life with certain precautions. Life is something that we are careful with. We treasure it, we cherish it and the majority of us understand the fragility of life. You don’t go out and run through the freeway because you know there is a very high chance of you not living through that decision.

See how we unconsciously cherish life and use crosswalks, drive safely and take the right amount of medication. We cherish the life that we are given and it shows in each one of us.

But we also have this emotional life and we have this mental life and the spiritual life. And the life that we have in these moments is just as real and sometimes more real than the life we are living right now. You know those moments when you are overwhelmed with emotions and it feels like you are dying yet you’re still breathing.

Just as we agreed that we wouldn’t see people running through freeways due to the fragility of life, I don’t necessarily see people exercising that same caution with their emotional, mental and spiritual lives.

When I look at the lives of many people I see them slowly killing themselves. Placing themselves in situations that are killing them. Whether it be a job, relationship, struggle. Whatever the situation, it may be slowly killing them, and many of us are in this place right now.

Many will say to each day that it owes them a living yet they aren’t concerned that they haven’t even lived one moment of that day.

You’ve seen these people; they often resembled the zombies that we are so fixated on. They are the walking dead. I’ve been in that place and it is not something I would wish on anyone. They are not feeling nor are they responding but they are dazed and crazed because they are dead inside. It is so easy for us to take part in things that may be killing us. It can easily mean we are taking on too much or placing ourselves in contact with toxic people.

I would encourage you to embrace life in your living. In all of your living don’t forget to live.

You need to stand up and remove the things that are killing you and those things that are taking a negative toll on your life. It’s very easy to get caught up with the standards we set up in our world that we forget to take care of ourselves. We then allow ourselves to be killed slowly and become one of these living dead, one of these zombie characters we watch.

Your life is precious. You wouldn’t gamble your very breath. Just in the same, you might be in a situation that is physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually killing you. For your sake and those who love you, Get out. You are no use to anyone dead, even if it is only emotionally, etc. We don’t need to become a walking dead mom, worker or person. We need to be full of life.

Anyone can die; in fact we all face that fate. Anyone can be unhappy and miserable. Only the determined and strong will truly live. I know that can be you today.

Wrestling with God

I sat down with Scott Blair and the wrestling with God podcast. Give it a listen.

Lots of new stuff coming up. Stay tuned in.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wwg-episode-5-interview-christian/id643511551?i=159693240&mt=2

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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.

Fondling the Hell out of people

Those broken days… I remember vividly the dark cloud that seemed to follow overhead. The headaches, the rain; I can’t seem to forget those sh!tty days.

Being a part of churches so long, I understood how to fake a happy face and that “I’ve got it all together” swagger. Oh, but when they would find out my misery!

I got bible verse after bible verse, because nothing pays an overdue bill like a King James scripture.

I received kind words like it was a prescription. If Miss Joanne saying “It’s gonna get better baby”, or Pastor Joe chiming in “It’s in God’s hands” didn’t solve everything, they wouldn’t hesitate to offer those same kind words at the same time tomorrow; maybe in a double dose.

Unlimited well-wishes and robotic, somewhat programmed, kind phrases are all great… However, they lack realness and seemingly have little sense of reality.

There is something wrong when, once we come into contact with a broken, homeless or hopeless soul, we simply offer a little change or, even worse, a bible tract. Nothing better than a bible tract roasted with my secret marinade!

I don’t think this is the type of compassion Jesus had in mind. The compassion we see exemplified in Jesus’s life was almost intimate.

The Hebrew word for compassion is רחם (racham) and is defined as “to fondle”.

The implications to what real compassion looks like are unfathomable… and kind of dirty.

Compassion now is more personal. Compassion beforehand could have been generalized as giving change, offering help, even pity; all nice gestures, although very impersonal and lack the sort of intimacy we see with the life of Jesus.

The word fondle brings a picture of lovers with a fiery, passionate flame overcoming them… so much so that they can’t keep their hands off the other.

What if this kind of passion was exhibited… a kind of compassion that brings you into a spiritual and mental relationship with that person.

To be continued.

Next Part will be up tomorrow

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Let’s Talk About Sex (And Compassion)

Let’s talk about sex (and Compassion)

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Larry Flynt at one of his Hustler stores and the creator of Girls Gone Wild Joe Francis on one occasion a few months back

We shared words of wisdom and Love together and I realized that these guys are not the enemy I had once believed and once was taught.

Around five or six years ago I would have been one of those protesting someone sitting down with Larry Flynt, today I’m walking down a different road. Now I am the one sitting down with people like Larry Flynt.

I’ll get to what we talked about after I share with you a few misconceptions and ideas about sex. The Bible consistently brings up two distinct ways to apply a word, scripture, teaching and so on. The first is the physical and the second is the spiritual.

The word sex can be found to be defined as, “to amputate, or to cut off.”

So the physical act of sex is an intimate encounter reflecting in intercourse. The spiritual aspect is an encounter that is intimate in a different nature.

This spiritual aspect of sex is a giving up not a giving in. It’s a handing over rather than a handling.

Speaking of handling, the Hebrew word used for compassion is racham and is defined as, “to fondle.”

Now compassion can join our conversation, because it is just as dirty and raw as this discussion. Compassion is less of a social justice, humanist word and now a word describing an intimate encounter of aid and help.

The word fondle brings back memories of new lovers who can’t keep their hands off each other for me, I would bet it’s similar for you.

What if compassion took on this same intensity? We couldn’t help but help those in need; we couldn’t help but to console the hurting.  We couldn’t help but hold the broken. We can put the passion back into compassion.

Feelings and emotions erupt and display when you have given yourself in a spiritually intimate way, just as when you give yourself in a physically intimate way. Now your defensive for that person, now you have a Love for that person that can’t be put into words, and when that person hurts, you hurt.

We can go much farther into this and I may do that in a future book or blog.

The lesson we can gain is that people are not numbers, accomplishments or notches on our spiritual belt. They are people in need of something more than a bag of rice or a couple of bucks in change and some pocket lint.

We have the opportunity to have a spiritually intimate encounter with each person we come into contact with.

Later I’ll post the interviews but from the both of them but I gained a sense of insecurity from both. Even through these generations sex hasn’t been the answer for them it’s led them to more questions.

As we discussed sex means giving a part of yourself, this is why when he isn’t being faithful if feels like your involved in the “others” sex acts, or when she begins her adulterous performance in that hotel in Reno you might as well have been there, because it sure as hell felt like it.

Be careful with your partners, you have them with you, treat everyone with respect and love so much it creates life.

Lastly I would like to say when I met Joe Francis it was something last minute, but when I say down with Larry Flynt there were a few people who were condemning this man to hell. Let me tell you I had spiritual conversations with both and you’d be amazed at what these men have in their hearts. Instead of picking up stones and signs and bibles. Just talk and walk with these men, really they are all on the same journey as all of us.

*My newest and first full-length book is out now for digital download for the Kindle, Nook and iTunes. It is Available for purchase through http://www.rickymaye.com and by the end of the month will be available via amazon.com and bookstores near you.