I'm in Italy coming to the tail end of a trip and find myself if a rather gritty little town where I'll catch a boat tomorrow. I didn't want to go out in search of dinner, but decided I couldn't wait until breakfast to eat something. So, I set out and along the way I saw something that struck a cord within me.
Being away from all the ridiculosity of the USofA has been refreshing. There doesn't seem to be any question about what a woman is, or what a man is. People may dress up as a cat in their own home. But, I would dare to guess that requiring every one in town to refer to them as a cat wouldn't get them very far here.
As I've traveled I've seen the many old churches... spectacular, old churches. I'd venture to say most are Catholic. I'd also venture to say that most are pretty empty most of the time. But I think, and this isn't based on any real knowledge, but on some observations and assumptions, I think that there is a fiber of an authority structure that probably comes from the "church" that has kind of "kept the wheels on" better in some of these European countries, even if church attendance isn't much of a thing.
I don't miss, or look forward to returning to the bombardment of discourse about what is happening to the women, men, children and "fuzzies" and all those on the rainbow spectrum and racism and all the other distractions of our great nation. Everybody is right in their own eyes. The Right is "intolerant" and the Far Left has "lost their minds". Everybody is banging their drum and it's deafening. So, as usual, thinking about how to keep my peace when I return has been on my mind.
There are some things I know for sure. Here are a few:
1. God's expectations for those who call him Lord and Savior are different than for those who don't. 2. "His people" are supposed to be grooming themselves, their hearts and minds to look more and more like him... A reflection of him. 3. I can't judge the heart of another person. 4. We are to love our neighbor. All of them.
Anyway, so back to my walk tonight... I walked past a car, with the long European license plate and something looked different about it so it caught my eye. It read EPH 510, which looked like a bible verse reference, so I quickly looked it up on my phone. Ephesians 5:10 "...and find out what pleases the Lord".
I think that is what I'll work on. Not letting my thoughts fall into the fray. Not staying up on the news. My life really isn't about how the trans-person lives, or the person who wants to identify as a cat. It's about how I live. What I focus my thought energy on. The condition of my own heart towards others. I really want my life to be about EPH 510... to seek out what pleases my Lord. And to do that.
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.