What can be learned from the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

The country lost an amazing force when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday. How meaningful it was that this, small in stature but mighty in character woman, passed away on one of the holiest days of her religion.

Affectionately known as RBG, Justice Ginsberg, was indeed a person of great righteousness.  I personally admired and respected her even though I sometimes disagreed with her legal opinions. I was not alone in that regard. “What’s not to like?” Scalia said of Ginsburg at that joint appearance six years ago. “Except her views on the law.” Thus did the two ideological opposites attract for what became from that day on a close friendship – one their families, friends and colleagues recalled affectionately after Scalia’s death at a Texas ranch in 2016 and again following Ginsburg’s death Friday on the eve of Rosh Hashanah.” (from USA Today article) https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/20/supreme-friends-ruth-bader-ginsburg-and-antonin-scalia/5844533002/

I don’t know about you but I am tired of the rancor and divisiveness in our society these days. Why does it feel so much worse than in years past? Could it be that it isn’t but social media is making us feel that way. A Netflix documentary, “Social Dilemna”makes this very point. The way the apps are set up cause us to be pulled one way or another making us feel like there is no middle any more. The relationship between Scalia and Ginsberg begs to differ. Judge Scalia was known to say, “We agree on a whole lot of stuff,” Ruth is really bad only on the knee-jerk stuff.” Ruth Bader Ginsberg exemplified the words of David in Psalm 90:10 “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom as each day takes us one day closer to eternity. 

Her life and the relationship she had with one, so diametrically opposed to some of her views, support what I have been writing here for the last few weeks. Like the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, when faced with opposition, we need to STUDY the issue, seek to UNDERSTAND, and then allow ourselves to be VULNERABLE enough to listen to another point of view. The Samaritan had a choice. Instead of crossing the road to avoid the man who was robbed and beaten, He got close enough to SEE he was alive, FEEL his pain, so that he could be SHAKEN into action. Where do you need to do the same? Will you cross the road or meet the challenge head on?

The USA Today article goes on to say, “In an era of increasingly bitter partisan enmity, the odd coupling of Ginsburg – petite, serious, seemingly shy – and Scalia – rotund, garrulous, overtly opinionated – may be viewed as an anachronism. But many cited it over the weekend as a signal of hope.” Who with opposite view points is God asking you to build this same kind of friendship?

My Guillain Barre health challenge www.caringbridge.com/visit/michaelguthrie was the impetus for this blog. I hope you will subscribe. Contact me at michael@mrg7175..com

Loving your neighbor is more important than ever

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Loving your neighbor while distancing

Social distancing is wreaking havoc on us individually and in how we go about loving our neighbors. We were made to be in relationship so to back up, like a turtle pulls his head into his shell, is so contrary to how God wants us to live. Jesus said in John 10:10 that “he came to give us an abundant life” and later in John 15 encouraged us in this way, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” I don’t know about you who are reading this post, but I can say feeling an “abundance and a joy that is full” is not easy to do these days. I wake up many days thinking, “another day, just like yesterday, and the day before. It is magnified as I see so many people enjoying family vacations and, because of my compromised immune system, we cannot. There is a daily choice to be made. Do I slip down into discouragement or choose to make the day a positive one by finding creative ways to love my neighbors? I have found that having a mindset toward acts of service keeps me from allowing my circumstances to defeat me.

The commandment to Love my neighbor literally means to go out and care for those nearby. This moves the exhortation not just to those who live nearby who may look like us or have the same type of lifestyle, but who come nearby as we move throughout our the day, physically or remotely. As I have shared before, even wearing a mask can be a way that we love someone who comes into our proximity. Bishop Claude Alexander in his sermon, https://livingontheedge.org/coffeebreak/july-2020/ says like the Good Samaritan, we need to be willing to not go around an uncomfortable situation. Instead, be called forward so that we go through and into that place. That way we can get close enough to see, feel, and understand what is happening, why it occurred. Bishop Alexander shares that “Seeing, feeling, and understanding will make us realize we must do something about the situation”

When we are moved to make a difference, what does it look like to love our neighbor? The practical application will look differently for each one of us and that is OK. One thing is for sure though. It starts with us getting out of our own comfort zone and entering into a place where we have never been before or haven’t been motivated to make the time. The first step for the Good Samaritan was to see what had happened. He then felt the person’s pain which made him understand he needed to do something. That something cost him physically, (he walked while the injured one rode on the donkey), financially (he paid for a room and for his care, and his precious time ( he cared for the man and then came back later to see if he was OK. What starts with being open to see and responding to others who have a need or just need encouragement. Here are links to three different ministries that started with people like you and me who got shaken into action. https://charlottesvilleabundantlife.org/ https://movementfoundation.org/ https://peaceprep.com/ I share these to show what amazing things can happen when people make the choice to love their neighbors.

Luke 10;36.37 answers the question, What does it mean to love your neighbor? When the expert in the law answered that the one who had mercy on the person who was robbed, Jesus simply answers, “go and do likewise“. As I thought about this blog post this week, this jumped in to my head. What if our love for each other was as contagious as Covid19? I am guessing your life will be filled with the abundance God promised and you will find yourself full of joy. Let’s go out this week and find out. 🙂

We are all in need of wisdom these days.

It is vacation season and many of you are packing up to enjoy some much needed time away. Thinking about vacations reminded me that a couple weeks ago I wrote we all need to see we are on a journey together. I used Chip Ingram’s analogy of taking the trip in a SUV metaphorically. To travel through these days well we need to be willing to STUDY and Learn from each other, practice UNDERSTANDING, and make ourselves VULNERABLE so we can be open to hear what others have to say. Last week I shared I have been reading through Proverbs this month. There is such wisdom in these 30 chapters. As I circled and underlined words or phrases that came off the page for me,

I have been struck by the recurring themes on which Solomon focuses. The SUV metaphor certainly works with what I shared with you last week. “Pay attention and Listen well certainly fall under STUDY. Pursue knowledge and Heed Instruction emphasizes Learn from each other. Acknowledging I am not perfect so don’t make others feel like they have to be will give you the VULNERABILITY to be grateful for God’s grace and mercy. The journey will be more enjoyable if we can offer the same to everyone around you us striving to obey the commandment to love the Lord always and love others in the same way. Luke 10:27 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

This journey called life will be made better if we allow others to help us strive toward being the best we can be. Try reading one chapter of Proverbs each day during July. Look for these recurring themes that can provide all of us the proper roadmap. Here are some of the directions it tells us to take:
1) Pay attention, stay focused on what’s next.
2) Listen to those who know what’s best for you.
3) Ask God for strength and wisdom
4) Be disciplined but have patience
5) Trust God for the outcome.
As Dabo Swinney says “Remember, there is no I Can’t. Cross the T out and make it I CAN because you Believe!”

Learn more about the adversity that brought this blog to life by visiting www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie contact me via email at michael@mrg7175.com

I am Thankful for all Things but especially my Proverbs 31 woman

I have started paraphrasing scripture while recovering from Guillain Barre Syndrome. It has helped me practically apply the verses that speak out to me. Proverbs 31 came to mind when thinking about what my wife, Dottie. Her support has been incredible over this last year and our marriage is stronger now than ever before. Here is what her sister shared about Dottie being a Proverbs 31 woman.

Dottie epitomized the proverbs 31 woman before you were sick. While you were sick she perfected the role. Dottie has always showed her strength of character as a wife and mother. Family first always providing and sacrificing for them.

Food… for a skinny girl who really does not like to eat she plans and prepares nutritious food for her loved ones. Food for you was a priority for Dottie when you were in rehab and coming home.

No idle hands… sewing lettering reading studying

She is clothed in strength and dignity…Dottie  always can handle tough situations Stronger than she knows

She speaks with wisdom… Listens and speaks wisdom Dottie thinks about what she is going to say and how it should be said Takes notes to help her remember what to ask the dr’s therapist when you were in rehab

She has the support, love and admiration of her children and husband.

She fears the lord   Studies and prioritizes her relationship with God

What follows are verses from Proverbs 31 with quotes in bold type from others who watched and wrote me about how God has made Dottie into someone quite special.

10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.  She allowed her heart to love you more through adversity. She dug deep. She allowed herself to entertain the worst possibility “What if he dies” and then moved on and fought each day. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She stayed in the moment and was determined not to let her thoughts get ahead of her, knowing that being present for Michael would best serve them both — a most generous and loving illustration of “in sickness and in health.” 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. I saw that same adoring face many times. Now, along with that face I witnessed her strong faith-filled, gracious, clear thinking advocacy and encouragement for Michael. the gift of faithful presence. Sitting. Watching. Holding space for God to do his work.  13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.  She also read and entertained herself in those long days. She adjusted to each change in venue. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  Dottie was organized at the hospital and at home an delegated when she could not be both places 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers but Dottie allowed love ones to help her care for you and her 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.  She loved on each staff member. She shared you with your family and with your friends. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.  Dottie’s tenderness, grace, and love shone brightly but beneath that surface was a fierce and determined protector. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  Dottie used her keen mind to listen and learn all things medical pertaining to you 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  she kept the unknown future at bay by  savoring each of Michael’s accomplishments no matter how small it might seem and focusing on the immediate needs of the coming day She did it really well-with grace and mercy. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  She believed her God for good. She stayed in high alert mode for months. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; Dottie allowed the kids to deal with Michael”s illness in their own way. She never made them feel they weren’t doing enough. her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” She was intentional in caring for her own primary needs, sleep nutrition and spiritual encouragement from friends.  30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Most of all Dottie kept her focus and trust on God. She continually gathered and processed available information — through the daytime and in the quiet of evening. I treasure the moments we spent together during our visits especially our evening talks, reviewing the day’s milestones and looking ahead to what might unfold during the next day or weeks.   31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. My words now. I honor and cherish her for every day giving me peace and a the words from her friends say, her care for me brought praise from all who witnessed it.