Saturday, May 09, 2015
Friday, May 08, 2015
When, and When Not To Nap
I expect that Paul includes this hymn fragment here, not only to underscore the redemptive purpose of exposing, but also to encourage us not to fall asleep as we are shining. Indeed, we have already awakened and risen from the dead when we received God's grace through faith in Christ. Christ has already shined on us so that we might be transformed into "light in the Lord." But, there are times when we may begin to slip back into the darkness from where we have come. Though we have been raised with Christ, we can easily become drowsy, lulled into a kind of sleepy darkness. We stop shining with the light of Christ, leaving our part of the world in darkness and our neighbors without redemptive illumination.I get so tired. It can be so easy to withdraw, even be surly. This sounds like we are never to grow weary.
And yet there is that whole Isaiah passage about "wings of eagles." It says all I have to do is "wait upon the Lord." But waiting puts me to sleep, how do I reconcile? It must be some sort of waiting that is not so inactive somehow? Or is the waiting itself how I "shine?" Can it be that by relying on God, I make a difference?
shine sleep wait
Thursday, May 07, 2015
Are You A Sleeper?
Our message to those who live in darkness resonates with the baptismal hymn: "Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." This is the good news we share with those who live in darkness, those who, according to Ephesians 2:1, are "dead" in their "transgressions and sins," just as we once were. Through the light of our lives, we not only reveal the true nature of darkness, but also we invite its "sleepers" to rise from the dead and live in the light of Christ.Two thoughts pass through my mind when I read that. Firstly it emphasizes that there is nothing loving about letting someone wallow in their own sinfulness. They can tell us how unloving it is to harass them or to tell them that their behavior is wrong, but that is their guilt speaking, not truth.
Thus, the hymn in verse 14 underscores the redemptive purpose of exposing the darkness. We are saying to others, in effect, what was once said to us: Wake up, sleeper! Rise from the deadness of sin and darkness. Turn to God and his grace, and Christ will shine on you. You too can become light in the Lord, light that shines into the darkness so that others might turn to the one true light, Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
It is important when we do that to separate that which is just wrong from that which is ill-advised or unwise. This is why Christians need to think ethically not just theologically, but that cannot be used to negate the point.
Secondly,w hen I read this I could not help but think of the sci-fi classic "Dune."
Feom this dream, he goes on to lead a revolution to save his planet. It makes me wonder what would happen if we ever really "awoke."
revolution sin sleeper
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Caring and Community
I recently heard sociologist Robert Putnam speak at a Georgetown University event that gathered people of faith and no faith to discuss the common good. In his speech, he complained about America's "radically shriveled sense of we." The author of "Bowling Alone," the famous 1995 essay on the decline of social capital—our connection to each other through activities and institutions—Putnam converted to Judaism in part because of its strong sense of community.HOGWASH! NONESENSE! This problem is real, but not political, nor is it economic.
Putnam was talking about inequality, which, he said, causes problems that need both conservative and liberal solutions. Liberals, he said, must learn to appreciate the conservative stress on family structures and the potential of faith communities. Solutions "have to involve churches," he said in a 2012 speech.
Further, he said, "I happen to think that hugs and time are more important than money." But, he went on, "money is important, too," and that means conservatives are going to have to recognize the need for government action in everything from tax structure ...
The problem is in our souis and it belongs very much to the predominant strain of Evangelicalism that says Christianity is about personal salvation. A fact which a) creates churcxhs that are not communities and b) does not teach us to build community in other settings.
Think about it and get back to me.
church community social ills
Tuesday, May 05, 2015
You Really Should Not Tell People...
ANy good decent Christian person will work very hard when encountering difficult circumstances to find God's blessing, which is always present in any situation. But this headline "The Hidden Blessing of Infertility" was more than a bit tasteless. The piece is really a testimony along the lines I just described, but to put it under that headline is to say to people in the middle of the struggle that their struggle is not really a struggle at all. It lacks empathy and understanding, It is the worst of what the church offers, prescription without listening.
I am often guilty of this very same sin and therefore try to be particularly sensitive to it. What I know is this, if I had encountered this article when my wife and I were younger and still wondering it, I would have never bothered to read it and likely complained to Christianity Today for daring to publish it. Too many times I have heard pastors and publishers make this mistake and then excuse it by pointing out the rarity of one particular viewpoint that was harmed by the perspective.
So, we are only compassionate to the majority position?
compassion empathy sensitivity
Monday, May 04, 2015
Liturgy and LIturgy