Saturday, February 04, 2012
SOMETIMES SPLASH ART SAYS IT ALL
Friday, February 03, 2012
Is Forgiveness What We Feel?
I have spent years trying to figure out how to forgive a wrong I just can’t forget. I have tried putting myself in the other’s shoes, but when you can’t understand them, this doesn’t work. I have tried just pretending I had forgiven (fake it ‘til you make it), but I’m not that good at self-deceit. For many years I had such internal fog when it came to those days, that event, that I couldn’t even discern coherent thoughts, much less conjure up the virtuous spirit that would allow me to look beyond my experience, my pain, and forgive. I had spent years in church being told why one forgives, but no one had ever told me how. How? how could I forgive someone when the mention of their name still stabbed like a knife? What does forgiveness even mean when your heart just won’t cooperate and you can’t let go?I am reminded on C.S. Lewis' section in Mere Christianity on "Forgiveness" and "Charity,"
I still don’t know the answer. All I know is that I don’t feel that way anymore.
For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are.You have to DO forgiveness, not feel it.
But Love, in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion. It is a state not of the feelings but of the will;
Which brings me to my question. I can certainly be prepared to forgive someone, but since it must be DONE, how can it occur unilaterally? This has always baffled me, grudges no, wishing ill, no, but forgiveness is action; action that requires the participation of the other. Until forgiveness is accepted, which means accepting we did something wrong, it is but offered it is not complete.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Stuff Gets In The Way
You may be thinking, “But we are called to do things for God. And what’s the alternative--continuing to allow the people in our churches to be self-consumed Christians seeking only their own comfort?” That is a very fair concern. And I completely concur with the consumer posture that is choking much of the modern church both in North American and increasingly around the globe.Jethani uses the Parable of The Prodigal to make his point:
But the prescribed solution I hear in many ministry settings is to transform people from consumer Christians into activist Christians. The exact direction of the activism may depend on one’s theological and ecclesiological orientation. For traditional evangelicals its all about evangelism--getting believers to share their faith, give to overseas missions, and grow the church.
What brought the father joy was not the older son’s service, but his presence--having his son with him. This is what the father cares about most, not his property or which son receives more of it. While the sons are fixated on the father’s wealth, the father is fixated on his sons. This is what they both failed to understand, and it is what both Christian consumerism and Christian activism fail to grasp. God’s gifts are a blessing and his work is important, but neither can or should replace God himself as our focus.I would put a slightly different emphasis here. God's presence is what changes us, not what we do, but His presence.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Authority, Conscience, Action
A Presbyterian minister on Long Island is bucking church protocol by saying she will marry same-sex couples.I don't want to debate gay marriage right now. I oppose it, for the record, but not the issue here. The issue here is defiance.
The Rev. Elizabeth Simpson of the First Presbyterian Church of Glen Cove told WCBS radio that she will marry one of the same-sex couples that attend the church next March.
“I will make myself vulnerable to accusations or indictments, so to speak, from within the Presbytery,” she said, according to the radio station.
This woman is naked about what she is doing. It is ecclesiastical disobedience, pure and simple. Is the church, any church, a perfect representation of the will of God? Of course not, once again, not the point.
But think about this for just a moment. God Himself commanded many a person to do things that seemed wrong or stupid. (Saul to kill everything, e.g.) In other words, even direct commands from God can be outside of our understanding or agreement.
The point is not to understand or agree, but to obey. It is the height of ego to demand that we understand or agree with everything. It is the antithesis of Christ who said "Not My will, but Thine."
That's the problem I have here - a simple lack of humility.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
It Is Never About Self
I have a friend who started a blog about his automobile restoration passion. He was blogging for months with very few readers and was frustrated. He sought out professional marketing help for his blog and they gave him life changing advice! Here it is… “Go find other popular blogs and support them. Join the community. Read and comment on every blog in your niche.”There is deep spirituality in that IF you think it about it, it kind of sums up Christ's ministry.
My buddy reluctantly followed this counter intuitive advice. It took some time, but it worked. One of the leading blogs took notice of my friend’s consistent insightful comments. That leading blog wrote a short post recommending his readers checkout this new young blog. My friend went from 7 followers to 315 in a day. That’s the power of promoting community.
Avoid the temptation to promote yourself.
Should it not sum up ours?
Monday, January 30, 2012
The Nature Of God
How do we hold together the idea that God doesn’t change with what happened at the incarnation and resurrection – where Jesus was united to a human nature and took on an earthly body and ultimately a resurrection body? It’s hard to understand that God taking on a human nature and all that he experienced in the flesh is not fundamental change for him.What follows is a lot of words that amounts to a simple thing - GOD IS BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING. Anderson's response is philosophical doubletalk, a lot of words that place the essential intellectual problem in different places. There is always an unanswerable mystery, it just depends on where you are comfortable placing it.
I object to the exercise. To attempt to understand that which is inherently not understandable is to state in some implied fashion that we are on a level with God.
What we need to do is learn to live with the mystery. That is part of what it means to be servant, subject, disciple, and created human.
Isa 55:8-9 - "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."GET OVER IT!