Saturday, November 06, 2010
OK, OK "FC" has only had one artist - ever - Bob Burden. But sometimes we all need to take things a little less seriously, even our unserious to begin with comic books. It does not come better than Flaming Carrot for such a break - ENJOY!
Friday, November 05, 2010
Western society thrives on the belief that all problems are solvable and that we personally can find and implement solutions. We want to see instant success that wins us applause and means we can then move on to the next problem that needs to be solved. But our world is not like that, and God is not like that either. Otherwise the time between the Fall and the new creation would have only been a few weeks or maybe the transformation would have happened overnight.Concluding:
So don’t give up on those seemingly small and insignificant steps that seem like a drop in the ocean. God does notice and God is indeed using them to build a new world of justice, peace and abundance…. but it is God not us who is building.Why did you become a Christian? I don't think that question is out of bounds given this set-up. Did you become a Christian to fix the world, or to be fixed? If the former, you might want to rethink things.
Here's the thing - if God is doing the building, why do we not "give up" on even the little and insignificant things? At least in the sense that we come to understand that there is not a gosh-darned thing we can do about it - not one. Oh sure, we may do something from time-to-time, but I think we should let go of the "mission" that the little things try to contribute to. What if we changed our focus from trying to fix things, to simply watching God fix things.
What if we waited for orders from God, instead of gave them to Him? What if we focus, exclusively, on Him?
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Thursday, November 04, 2010
...go to an empty church (they’re not hard to find), one preferably a little old and outdated, with cool tiles and deep shadows, and stained glass windows that filter the light. Go find your place within it, standing or sitting, and close your eyes and breath; all are welcome. Let yourself be present to the place, let it be present to you. The hopeful and joyous prayers, the agonized and despairing prayers, the angriest and most humble prayers of thousands who passed through before you were uttered there, or whispered, or shouted, or wept–released upon the air, through which the Holy Spirit moves. They have left something of themselves, behind; a soulful patina. You can sense all of it. You can enjoin your prayers to them, and breathe deeply, and then simply be still, and know.Then I thought of how hard such a place is to find in the United States. I have found many such places in Europe and environs - even many practically empty shrines to eastern religions in Asian nations, but in America, particularly in the suburbs, such places are practically impossible to find.
We are quick to tear down our churches and replace them something "better." WE seek the new and the shiny - we erase the past as if it had no meaning - as if we must discover all for ourselves now.
And that last sentence is the real issue - our presumption that the past is meaningless - that only the now matters - as if the invention of television changed everything so completely and utterly that nothing that came before is comparable.
What is so sad about that view is that it denies our essential humanity - as if our externalities change that which makes us. So little changes about people, yet we take fashion and technology so seriously.
It's as if God has to shout to be heard over our din.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Idolatry Of The Church
My caution concerns making theology God instead of God God. Loving doing theology rather than loving God.That may be the deepest truth I have ever read from Piper. And his warning applies not only to theology. Some would idolize church growth - some small groups, and some the charismata.
Reformed people tend to be thoughtful. That is, they come to the Bible and they want to use their minds to make sense of it. The best of them want to make sense of all of the Bible and do not pick and choose saying, "I don't like that verse. That sounds like an Arminian verse, so we will set it aside." No! Fix your brain, don't fix the Bible.
The kind of person that is prone to systematize and fit things together, like me, is wired dangerously to begin to idolize the system.
It frightens me deeply. The devil does not tempt us to the big stuff, he tempts us in the little stuff. He knows it is hard to make a pornographer of a church-goer, but it is not hard to make a idolater out of one - especially when he can get us to idolize something that seems of God.
What are the idols of your life and ministry?
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
When you Don't Believe In God...
Plants, scientists say, transmit information about light intensity and quality from leaf to leaf in a very similar way to our own nervous systems.There is a bit of anthropomorphism going on here...NO, make that a lot.
These "electro-chemical signals" are carried by cells that act as "nerves" of the plants.
In their experiment, the scientists showed that light shone on to one leaf caused the whole plant to respond.
And the response, which took the form of light-induced chemical reactions in the leaves, continued in the dark.
This showed, they said, that the plant "remembered" the information encoded in light.
Are these animals actually talking? Of course not, there is no cognition with regards to the sounds they make, there is only entertaining coincidence combined perhaps in some instances with some respondent conditioning. In our pets its kind of cute.
And many people have taken it a step too far - now our pets have "rights." Somehow, rather than focus on our responsibility to be humane, its about the dumb animal. SO, we are going to go down this road with plants as well? And precisely what are we going to eat?
Ents are very cool fiction, fun fantasy, but we have got to knock off confusing the language so that we cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality.
Of course, if you do not believe there is any more to being human and a complex set of biochemical reactions, you;re gonna make durn fool mistakes like this.
Monday, November 01, 2010
As a culture, we are fascinated by youth and terrified of age. Visiting a nursing home for the abandoned elderly gives both justification to this fear and the observation that it is ours.There is something deep and disturbing in how we age these days. This is but a single issue - that is to say what happens tot he church when it ignores the wisdom of age. Corollary to that is the narcissism of "warehousing" the aged in institutions becasue we simply cannot bear the burden of caring for them. Then there is the issue of wanting our kids to like us, so we try to act "young" and be our kids friends instead of parents. I could go on.
Right from its inception the community of Christ was intended to be multi-generational. Those who have walked similar paths to our own, both the living and the dead through their writings, are available to be heard. In honest listening there is much salvation from grief.
Do we seek a body of Christ segregated by age? When we enter a church service and see it dominated by the aged (and there are many) do we imagine we may have discovered a wealth of unhurried, untapped wisdom? Do we imagine only new books have something to offer? In most cases learning from previous generations requires some effort of cultural translation. Do we see the value in breaking out of the prison of age segregation?
There are two huge underlying issues that I see here. The first is an attempt to change the natural order of things. It is natural to age. It is natural for children to reject to some level their parents. (They have to to move out on their own.) It is natural that aging brings with it some infirmity and that the aged need care.
When we reject the natural order of things, we cannot be content. It's like a gear trying to be a wheel - it just doesn't work right becasue it is not acting in accordance with what it was built to do.
And we do so out of total self-absorption. We want our kids not to reject us. We want not to be bothered with the parents we rejected at some point. We want what we conceive is a perfect life.
But here is the thing - we are sinners and our conception of the perfect life is grossly skewed. We see ourselves as wheels when we are gears.
But the amazing thing is this - those old people we ignore - they have this all figured out. All we need to do is take a minute and listen.