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I miss my text messages.  On the other hand, I feel like I’m able to focus on my work quite a bit better without three or four extraneous conversations going on throughout the day.
I did realize one hiccup to my great ambition though, and this is the way of it. In my Triad(of 4 people) we hold each other accountable for stuff and sometimes send out group texts when we’re having temptations, using thoughts, internal crises, etc. I remembered that we do this and had a heavy stomach. Thought to myself, That would make for an exceedingly awkward conversation…
In truth, though, the guys I meet with in Triad are among the most noble and gracious and supportive I have yet encountered. Speaking in voice to them of my struggles probably wouldn’t be too bad…
I had a Happy Portland Biker moment yesterday. Yesterday being Valentine’s Day, a day of peculiar male rituals. Seems that between 4:00 and 6:00 pm, plethora and multitudes of men stream into stores empty handed and emerge with bouquets of flowers and bags of chocolate. Joining the flow sort of made me feel like a corporate tool, but then I also liked having opportunity to bring pretty things home to my wife.
Anyway, the happy moment was this. I was riding my bicycle, so had to fit the bouquet into my backpack. Upon emerging from the store, I perceived with mine eyes another man, on a bicycle, with a bouquet stuffed in his backpack, just as I did. My face just had to smile.
I’ve been mulling a bit over the concept of sacrifice today. We in Christendom really like this idea. Sacrifice has been modeled for us in some rather remarkable ways beginning with Jesus, who made himself the sacrificial lamb, and continuing with the early church fathers who sacrificed their lives for the sake of their beliefs, all the way to post-modern times in which, among the persecuted church, our brothers and sisters are called upon to likewise sacrifice their lives for their faith. In these examples, sacrifice is noble.
There’s a dark side of sacrifice, though. In these situations, abusive people take advantage of people’s desires to do go and force them into doing more than they are able. These are situations where spiritual abuse happens. An example would be the pastor-figure working long days and long nights for not enough pay for rent and food and, when he asks the church for a raise, he’s told something about trusting God and not being selfish and dying to his carnal desires.
Variations of this story have indeed happened.
So part of the reaction against spiritual abusers who take advantage of the concept of sacrifice is the idea that one must first take care of one’s self. Self-care and assertiveness are healthy concepts that have come from this idea.
The idea of keeping yourself safe has its own unhealthy extreme, that being where you close yourself off to people, are never generous and never invest in anyone else. That’s not healthy either.
So…I suppose my mulling is mostly a question of balance. How much sacrifice should I make, can I make while still being a healthy person and keeping myself safe? How can I be safe and healthy without becoming selfish and self-absorbed and calloused?
Musings, musings, musings…
Now the sun has fled the sky and the good baristas are cleanin’ up. Time to go home.

How gracious is the Lord
How patient
He has not destroyed us for our mistakes
Nor abandoned us for our lack of understanding
How great the Creator
He has filled the earth with beauty and wonder
And infused His goodness into all things
So that He may be found by all who have eyes to see.