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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A New Year Revolution

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A New Year’s resolution is often about coming to a resolution and declaring new hopes for the new year. Some diet, work out or even stop drinking Starbucks. All this because we seek something to resolve inside us. But life doesn’t resolve. We will never understand why… We will never have everything we want…

Life just doesn’t resolve. We will always have questions life will always present us with the Mistry, and there will always be wonder.

One thing you can be sure of is that you are anticipated, you are not an accident, you are revolutionary.

While many will seek to make resolutions that five & ten months down the road will be forgotten or lacked.

I’ve been there, many times we are not happy with the results of a new year resolution or may have not gotten the answers we’ve wanted. One thing you can do is be confident in who you are and what you were created to be.

I think instead of making temporary resolutions this year we can seek to become revolutionary beings in our actions.

The word revolution has a tainted past and can bring an unsettled feeling to many. The root for the word revolution is centered around revolving which is a constant ,oving and progression.

Resolution is about becoming complete. While revolution is about growing, progressing, and going forward. That is what this new year will be about you becoming a better you you becoming forgetting where you came from and not experiencing that again

Revolution isn’t as much about impacting but rather initiating.

Let us press on beyond the past, let’s move above the hurt and focus on being better people, to the world and to ourselves.

I often see many homeless men and women and people are aware of the need for change, but revolution isn’t brought by giving change but embracing change. Revolution happen in your life, in our world, in our communities by embracing change and moving forward.

I encourage you as this year ends and a new one begins not to seek resolution but to create revolution within yourself.

You are a Revolutionary.

Ricky Maye

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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

Resurrection

Jesus Empty tomb

Death is the one time we see Jesus angry in one situation and tearful in another. Death for all even God is a powerful occurrence.

He responded to one of his disciples, “Let the dead bury themselves…” (Matt 8:22) when a young follower needed to go to a family funeral, Jesus was angry because other business had to be taken care of at that moment.

In another incident Jesus was approached by two sisters who had a history with him; Mary and Martha. Their brother Lazarus was lying dead in a tomb and they needed the help of Jesus. (John 11)

A pause follows, and then we read that Jesus wept, simply and shortly said, but powerfully visual (John 11:35) this thing called death even brought Jesus to tears.

When I hear that vibrant “come forth” for Lazarus to rise out of that tomb from the lips of a trembling Jesus, I personally hear, come forth dead dreams, dead hopes. Maybe Jesus was trying to hint at something bigger than just physical death. He being God would have been familiar with death and departure.

I am defined by what I overcome.

Jesus taught that we, yes you, and even me, we can overcome this death. Because I’ve died, I’ve woken up and I’ve felt so dead some mornings and with some unexpected blessing Life comes out of nowhere.

This week we have heard much about death and even Jesus resurrecting. Often in my teaching I quote Paul in his principle of an often spiritual and physical meaning in many things. Many of the acts of Jesus are not unavoidable instances but certain solid statements. The cross was a statement. The resurrection was a statement for each and everyone of us. The resurrection was not about death is was about Life.

I can go on all day about life because I’ve experienced death, death is not who I am, I have overcome death, and I am overcoming death every day.

Death cannot stop you, depression cannot stop you. Life is promised to you.

In the Christian life we will view death as less of an unexpected occurrence and more of an opportunity for Life.

Death is an opportunity for God to bring back things that have died and bring life again.

Those unfinished classes.

That business.

That record.

That book.

I’m sure you’ve had some dead things in your life and maybe still have some dead things. But today is a reminder that dead is no longer the end. Jesus proved to us that death does not have the last word. Go and experience life this week.

Direction

Direction is an odd thing. The direction of a situation offers a completely different perspective of a situation.

Chaos and disorder can be on one side of the street. However, across the street can be an entirely dissimilar view of an exactly identical and hectic situation. It’s not a new situation but a new perspective.

I came to this reality in a very personal way while sitting in a group at the home of a friend. Around the circle, we begin discussing dates that meant something personal or special to us. Myself and another in the group had the same date. This date to me offered acceptance and hope; it was a day of love. For him it offered a completely different view, the day was occupied with destruction and heartbreak.

That instance to me was an eye opening moment; I had not previously thought of how two people in similar parts of town could experience two completely different days on the same day.

In one moment Peter a disciple of Jesus hears a voice calling out his name. Water shoving its way into his mouth, rain hitting his head so fierce that he thinks he just might not make it through. Faintly his ears are overcome by the sound of hope calling out his name from inside the boat.

We’ve played over this scenario many times in Christendom; the picture is carved onto Bibles and painted by some of the greatest artist. Some of the greatest sermons and literary works were carved in Christian History by men of God searching into the heart of this passage.

We are always caught into this moment with Peter as he fell into the water fearing for his life, calling out the name of one of his best friends, Jesus.

I know what you’re thinking. This story seems oddly familiar. However despite the over-publicized doubt of Peter I honestly believe that we all have faced this moment; a moment of uncertainty, a moment of doubt or a time when the storm was more powerful than you anticipated.

I think it’s important to note the whereabouts of Jesus during Peter’s life crisis. Jesus is with him. Jesus is in the midst of this storm. The savior is on the water, in a place of exposure and vulnerability. He is there in our mess, in the middle of our storm. His Glory is intercepting our humanity, writing on our heart, “here lies Jesus.”

We can have these moments to experience God’s Glory during these good and amazing moments, but we can also experience God’s Glory on a boat in the middle of a storm. The beautiful revelation we gain is that God is still in the midst of the storm with us.

Is there a better story?

This is incredible. It’s life-changing. It’s mind-boggling. He is right, there; no matter what direction, no matter what perspective.
**An Expert from the upcoming book, Barefoot Christianity

The leading Father (A Fathers Day Post)

The leading father

Since my early days in church I’ve often been told I had to relate to God as a father. I just couldn’t…

See, I never knew my father, he caused my mother horrible pain and left our family to fend for itself excelling us into a deeper poverty and depression.

Amongst all of this constant struggle just for daily food and hoping for shelter in the coming months as bills piled up, in church I was told to pray to God, my ABBA father.

That word ABBA was foreign to me. Not in the sense of the definition, I just didn’t know what it looked like in human form. In my mind I didn’t see much of a difference between God and a deadbeat father.

Over the past decade my thoughts have changed. Now I want to share with you some insight about real fathers. I hate to disappoint you but this blog won’t be specifically tied to God being our father, I think he has a message for you today.

One of the Hebraic words for Father is אמן and is pronounced ‘aman.

The definition beautifully brings to mind the prefect expression of what a father is and can be.

The definition for the Hebrew word for father is one who offers his right hand.

This word father here is more than a person who works, provides and loves. This word father is about a person who seeks to lead, guide and walk with you.

I’ve never had a father. But I have been very blessed in my childhood to have many men and women come into my life to lead me and take my hand while on this spiritual journey and this life journey.

My hope on this day when we celebrate fathers we include those mentors, spiritual fathers and all who have had a hand in leading someone.

I am convinced that God loves puns when reading the Bible, and this Hebrew word used for father is ‘aman…or as our English eyes might see it, A Man. A man is someone who leads. A man is an example. A man is a guide.

Happy Fathers day to all the fathers