Saturday, January 01, 2011
New Year Comic Art
Friday, December 31, 2010
Illuminated Scripture - New Year's Edition
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Thursday, December 30, 2010
"I Was Wrong"
I've been in the church world nearly all my life, and I have to say that I've seen many pastors that fall into this trap. For some reason, they just can't admit that they are wrong. Ever.Man oh man can I agree with that statement. I think much of it has to do with the very worldly dictum, "Don't apologize, it makes you look weak" and leaders don't think they should look weak. But here is the thing - Christian leadership is an ENTIRELY different animal.
Our ultimate leader was, in a very real sense, the ultimate weakling. Despite having the power to prevent it, He allowed His own crucifixion!
As Christians, confession lies at the very heart of who we are. Truly transformative faith begins by admitting we need to change - which means we have to admit when we were wrong.
Is it any wonder the church is where it is today when its leadership does not model the very heart of the faith.
I think that if pastors everywhere followed this simple admonition the world would be changed in ways we cannot fully imagine.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
A key pillar of modern morality is the sanctity of romantic love. We reel in horror at the thought of “backward” societies, including our ancestors’, who arrange marriages without intense emotional romantic love. While they think it nice if arranged partners have such romantic feelings, if that does not happen such partners are not to look for love elsewhere. They think a life without romantic love can be a fine life.I heard someone advance an interesting theory about this the other day. It lies in the simple idea that sex is a transcendent experience. It is more than the satisfaction of a biological urge - it is the ultimate creative act - as close as we can come to doing what God did.
An intense emotional religious conversion is not the same as an intense emotional romantic love, and one is not a substitute for the other. But the two have much in common. In fact, one could argue that someone who has lived a life without ever experiencing an intense religious conversion is nearly as emotionally impoverished as someone who had never experienced an intense romantic love.
Yet our modern sensibility does not reel in horror at the thought of a life lived without an intense religious conversion. In fact, among our cultural elites religious feelings are seen as embarrassing, and low status; they think lives are usually better without such conversions. Why?
Thus we readily confuse the religious experience with the sexual one - people turn to sex/marriage when they should instead turn to God.
Like virtually everything around us - we make idols rather than turn to God. We avoid God, yet our desire for Him is so intense that we reach for any substitute at hand.
Or worse when we do turn to God, we do so in a manner that prevents His fullness from truly changing us. Either we approach it so intellectually that it is devoid of passion and our core emotional and spiritual nature remains unchanged, or we approach Him so emotional that there is no reason or thought to it.
We come to Christ both intellectually and passionately - with our whole selves.
I wonder what I am holding back?
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Mohler's combative approach is guaranteed to prolong and heighten a fight not build a bridge. Mohler's desire to "be right" trumps his evangelical instinct to spread the gospel. Mohler's lack of patience to let the Holy Spirit do His job virtually guarantees that the scientists with which he argues will never really get to experience the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we just cannot argue with people - sometimes we just have to love them.
Here is something I know with certainty. When a person is throwing science up as an objection to Christianity - they are rationalizing an aversion to faith that really resides on some other level.
Mohler's rhetoric makes it hard for a person to be a scientist - he makes it sound like they are not merely wrong, but evil. Is it any wonder then that they retreat into their perceived "safe spaces?"
It is not infrequent these days that scientists overstep science and reach int o metaphysics. When they do, we react defensively. But here is the thing - we have th power and authority of the Creator and Sustainer of all things. We have nothing to fear, so defensiveness should not be a response in our arsenal. And certainly not the combative rhetoric of a Mohler.
We have to find a way to reach out with the love of Christ - the love that died and was resurrected for us.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Being Mystical in an Unmystical World
Muggles lack magic, J.K. Rowling tells me, and there is no doubt I am a muggle. My students are Muggles too, but worst of all instead of Dumbledore in class, they get me. Sometimes I get on the elevator in my two-story building and hope that it will open to Narnia, but it always opens to the carpet stains on the polyester floor.We so think we want a magical God. Hardcore Pentecostals with their miracles-on-demand approach to glossalia, healing and more certainly have a tinge of magical thinking. Sometimes I think people that focus to on "grace, not works" think a bit magically too - you know, "I don't have to quite porn, God will just remove it from my life by His grace."
We are warned against magical thinking as a solution to our cultural problems and it is a good warning. I have known a few people who try to live magically and they ended up either deluded or wicked. Thinking magically didn’t get these folk to Narnia, but looks like it might get them to bankruptcy, the psych center, or Hell.
The best thing about the God of the Bible is that He rejects magic while being miraculous. The Bible shows “magic” to be a dead end for what humanity wishes to possess. Once we get it, then magic is just another means to power. Magic can be manipulated, so it cannot be magical.
Miracles are wonderful, because we cannot demand them. We can ask for a miracle, but God gives us what we need and not what we want. God, if the God of the Bible exists, is all-knowing and just, so He cannot be bribed or tricked.
But as John Mark points out, Christ is no magical, He is mystical. He lets us touch something outside the material world. Finding and experiencing such is essential to our well-being. So why do we so often confuse the magical and the mystical?
For exactly the reason stated, the magical is ours to control, the mystical is larger than ourselves. Magic breeds pride, while mysticism humility - and in fact that is a good test about what experience is what.
WHat have you experienced that is greater than yourself.