Tuesday, November 25, 2003


I had a conversation with my friend, Roy, yesterday. Roy is in his 70's and has lived a colorful life. He has done many things, from heading the liquor control board in Waco, to being a railroad cop, to helping build churches. He has wonderful stories to tell. I look forward to hearing more of them.

During our talk, we ventured into a discussion about a popular televangelist based here in San Antonio. He heads a mega-church and a lucrative worldwide teleministry.

At one time Roy and his wife went to that mega-church. During one sermon, the Pastor spoke of a family he had passed on the highway. The family was driving a beat up old clunker car; it was rusted, and belching smoke. There were a bunch of kids in the back seat, and the car was barely making it down the highway. The Pastor made mention that on the back there was a bumper sticker that read, "God is great".

I wasn't there, but to Roy it sounded like the Minister was mocking that family. The Pastor said essentially that if the family were on the right track with God they would be blessed and wouldn't be barely making it down the road .

That particular Minister and his church are a story unto themselves. I don't begrudge folks who attend such churches. If that's what brings you to God...great. It's not for me. It wasn't for Roy either. He stormed out that day and never went back.

The conversation started me thinking about the nature of being blessed.

I thought about the bible stories of Jacob demanding and even stealing blessings. I thought about the popular interpretation of the Prayer of Jabez and how that turned into a financial blessing for at least one author.

I thought of the biblical blessing our Pastor ends most services with, "May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; May the Lord turn his countenance toward you and bring you peace."

Then I came home to read this interesting story.

I have no idea if this is some elaborate ruse, or if it's indeed a medical and or spiritual miracle. What I'm most intrigued by is the idea that this Swami believes he is blessed because he doesn't eat or drink and he lives in caves.

If God were to suddenly speak to me and say, "Michael, I'm going to bless you. You'll now get to live in caves without food or water" in all honesty, I would ask for clarification.

This has been a hard year. But we've been blessed. Some blessings were only discovered through pain. I guess that's how it works sometimes.

I suppose blessings are often in the eye of the beholder and that's the beauty of it.