Saturday, April 04, 2015
Friday, April 03, 2015
"What do you want?" was a question that Jesus loved to ask of people. There may have been many reasons behind his question. Maybe, by having them name their desires, Jesus was also nudging them to identify the hesitations and fears that obstructed their transformation. Maybe Jesus was calling the sin and sin-sick into the necessary commitment that change always requires of us as we participate with God. But no doubt Jesus was putting before them a great risk, the risk that is involved in prayer at its best: to admit our desires and believe that God wants something for our great good.I know so many people that WANT but have no idea what it is they long for. I love the fact that this paragraph is hinting that to name our desire is to confess to our wrong-headed desire. As with all manifestations of sin, we cannot do away with it until we name it.
Here then is Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount discussing "lust in the heart." God wishes to change us so fundamentally that He changes what we desire at the deepest levels. But to do that we have confess that our desires are sinful as much as acting upon them. That is total surrender. You give up not just doing bad thing, but wanting to do bad things.
Are you willing to let God in that deeply?
depth desire transformation
Thursday, April 02, 2015
I’ll just note again that chivalry was a system, which imposed numerous obligations on women, as well as on men. It is, I think, impossible to critique what has happened to notions of masculinity, without thinking about what has happened to notions of femininity in our culture. But that could lead to dangerous heresies.I reread those words not long after reading these from Michael Barone:
Obama critics have pointed out his fondness for the first person singular. He said “I,” “me,” or “my” 63 times in his 1,631-word eulogy for Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye. He spoke twice as long about his own family experiences as the heroism for which Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor.I could not help but think about how often we decide we do not like the old system, but we fail to create a system to take its place and we end only with a narcissistic mess. I will freely admit that I am not much good at understanding the other - in fact I am pretty lousy at it. It's a problem with me.
Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani succeeded in large part because they were curious about other people different from themselves. Barack Obama prefers to look in the mirror.
But I know I need to try - it's an obligation that makes the world work. As chivalry was a system for the sexes to co-exist so the Christian mandates on behavior and other-focus a prescription for a system that will make the world work better. We don't like the obligation inherent in the system so we reject it, but we put no other system into place to replace it. We are left only with chaos.
Obligations are not avoidable, the question is what are the right and wrong ones. I think history, let alone God, have made it plain which obligations for all work.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
How much, I wonder, does our fast food, TV dinner lifestyle disconnect us from Christ and God’s family? Eating alone, isolated from our human families, unaware of where our food comes from and of those who have produced it, strips us of both our humanity and our divinity. To be made in the image of God means to eat together with friends and strangers alike. It means to make the excluded feel included, as Jesus did by sitting down with the tax collector. It means to see abundance when others see scarcity, as is demonstrated by the feeding of the 5,000. And it means to be caught up in a foretaste of the kingdom banquet feast, as the first disciples were when they ate the last supper together.A little overly poetic for my taste, but I agree with the sentiment. Community matters and dining together is part of community. I find it amazing she can talk about this and not bring up the sacrament of communion.... But that is a little beef - I have a big beef:
Perhaps its time we all joined the Slow Food movement, a global, grassroots organization linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment.Why does a pastor have to move from building the community in their church to a p[political cause? Why is the community building not enough? Why does it have to come with environmental overtones?
Isn't that one way the gospel gets corrupted? When we add agendas to the clearly defined agendas of Christ? Getting Christianity right is so hard, do we really need to burden ourselves with other things?
church community overburden
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
About What Are We Enthusiastic?
Wow. Talk about hitting the nail on the head — “If you were really spiritual, you were going for a total life commitment.”I agree with that wholeheartedly, but to it add a caution - there is the reverse danger that full Christian commitment is entirely contemplative and never results in action. The real fact is that genuine action can only occur when we are right in our contemplative and personal lives. This is yet another both/and, not either/or situation.
Danielle’s insight is to recognize that the “total life commitment” in the culture of evangelicalism is not necessarily to the person of Jesus Christ but rather to the mission and program and expectations of the culture itself. Though it would claim to represent Christ’s calling, in fact it is the culture itself that often defines the “lifestyle,” the honored vocations, the meaning of total commitment. She rightly describes it as a “pressure cooker” that appeals to “activists” who will not feel that they are “taking God seriously” unless they are “getting with the program” wholeheartedly and without question.
But back to the original point, when I was on Young Life staff I had an inside joke with a friend and we would constantly tell each other our "testimony." It went something like, "I used to be a wretched drunkard until I accepted Young Life into my life." It was a way for us to blow off the pressure that would build in us between our need to build the ministry and our desire to build fellow Christians. Sometimes, even ofttimes, these things would compete with each other.
If I could sum up my objection to the mega church, this is where it would be - that it places the ministry in front of what the ministry is supposed to be doing.
Therefore, if we are to be serious about our faith we much constantly ask ourselves the question that is the title of this post.
enthusiasms life ministry
Monday, March 30, 2015
Living in Light
Ephesians 5:8 echoes the language of Isaiah, and in so doing we become part of the biblical story. But now, those who live without God are not just in darkness. They are darkness. And those who live with God are not just in the light. They are light.I heard it preached recently that many of us think that our justification by faith means that God does not care about our sin any more. How errant a concept. God came to destroy our sin, rip it from us and remake us into being that are sinless. I love the way Mark Roberts puts that here, make us into beings of light.
That's something pretty amazing to live up to, existing as a being of light. I sure do fail at that every day - bet you do too. But do we realize that?
You know to get away with God does not care about our sin, we have to think that they are pretty minor sins. Most of us don't think too much about the slights that might happen in our relationships, but it's a different story when we are deeply and grievously wronged. By thinking that God does not think much about our sins, we fail to understand that our sins wrong Him in the worst possible way.
More, when you look at a burning light bulb, do you see spots of dark? If you do, I bet you change it. We don't want bits of darkness in our light do we? Should we not be working to expunge them?
It's high time we dealt with sin, not just the fashionable sin of the moment, but the sin that is rooted deep, deep in us. The sin that prevents God from finally breaking through. The sin we are most afraid to look at ourselves.
That's what the love of God is really about - we need not fear to look at it. He loves us enought o help us deal with it.