The 1980’s was a decade known for wealth (“Greed is good,”) excess (Donald Trump) and big hair bands (Motley Crue, Poison.) I know a thing or two about big hair; I’m from New Jersey. In 1989 MTV (“the only TV station worth watching,” said everyone under the age of 22) did something completely radical. They introduced MTV Unplugged.
Gone were the synthesizers, screeching lyrics and special amps, “These go to 11.” It was stripped of everything. Just a singer and an acoustic guitar. It was amazing.
In my own life, the fall of 2011 was tough. Gripping the steering wheel till my knuckles were white and sobbing in the parking lot of my daughter’s nursery school, I watched the hot tears slip through my fingers. At age 38 and size 14 it felt like the world was slipping through my fingers. It felt like I was losing my husband, my youth, my looks. Our business was faltering. My babies were growing up. “Oh, God, please help me,” I whispered.
I decided to do something radical. Middle aged and obese I entered a bodybuilding competition (because is there really a better time to enter a bikini competition?) Everything I thought I knew about diet and exercise was thrown out the window and I went back to the basics: Eating Unplugged.
No process foods. No artificial sweeteners. Vegetables. Fish. Brown rice. Clean eating worked for me because it got rid of all that extra stuff my body just didn’t need. I lost 50 lbs and fixed my life in the process. That was Easter 2012. Today I’m studying for my personal trainer certification.
In the fall of 2011 not only was I malnourished physically, but a little lost spiritually as well. I was raised Catholic and the scandal made me take a break from the church entirely. But the truth was, I missed God. So we started looking for a church. We stumbled upon Austin Stone, a non-denominational church that some of our friends attended. (They were nice people, so why not try it out?)
Austin Stone had FREE childcare. OK – I was praising God just for that alone. The preacher, Matt Carter, had just returned from Israel. While he was there he made a video where after a brief introduction he read the most influential sermon of all: Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount verbatim, at the Sea of Galilee where it was spoken over 2,000 years ago.
It’s strange to admit, but I never heard the entire sermon from start to finish before that day; just segments of it. Struck by the beauty and poetry and simplicity of the language, an invigorated peacefulness washed over me. Sometimes I forget that Jesus was a real person, and not just a story in a book.
Sometimes people or organized religions seem to add so many rules, rituals and regulations, all that extra stuff you just don’t need, it puts a bad taste in your mouth. So today, on this Good Friday, I thought you might like to hear Jesus Unplugged. Here is the link to the Sermon on the Mount read by Matt Carter: http://vimeo.com/27818942
If you are in Austin, Texas and looking for a church, there is a 10:30 a.m. service at the Erwin Center downtown. You can read more about it here: Austin Stone Easter Service.
Happy Easter a little early,
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