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.

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.

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

An Undeserved Love

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—-
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

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

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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