Friday, July 29, 2011


Jesus knew what he was doing when he referred to God as "Father," the best description for his (and our) relationship.

This post by Mark Roberts is a touching memorial to the power of God as Father as seen through the eyes of a grateful son.

In a world where male-bashing is common (and, sadly enough, sometimes deserved), I need to hear words like this. Thanks, Mark, for sharing your heart.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One Problem

At times I think much of our problem as Christians derives from one, simple issue: we take ourselves way too seriously. Perhaps that says more about me than the rest of us. But, I think I see why Christians have lost our voice in the public square. We think every idea of ours will save the world.

Could we ever preface our opinion with the phrase "I could be wrong" and really mean it? That might be a refreshing change in the midst of heated battles over ideologies.

Then again, I could be wrong.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Where have all the prophets gone?

I need a prophetic voice to wake me up from my comfortable slumber. But, where can I go to hear it?

With so many voices competing for our attention, I wonder about our ability to hear the clarion call of God despite the cacophony. There are so many people talking about so many things. The noise is deafening. And yet, despite all the chatter, I think it's getting easier to surround ourselves within the cocoon of our preferences, finding voices that are merely parroting our prejudices.

For example, it's amazing to me how quickly people line up on this or that question simply because of their political allegiances. Or, how a "theological hero" makes a claim about this or that book and all their devoted followers fall in line to bash the author.

Given the rancor that dominates social discourse, I can't help but wonder if we'll ever hear a prophet say, "Thus saith the Lord," and we'll have ears to hear it. To me, it seems like the days of John the Baptizer all over again.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I'm finally at peace with the idea that has been troubling me for quite some time. I'm Baptist because I was raised Baptist.

I used to like to think that I'm Baptist by choice. And, I guess, it still holds true: I continue in the Baptist tradition by choice. But, then again, I don't think I could ever leave the Baptist tradition--for a variety of reasons: comfort of familiarity, job security, theological identity.

At the same time, there are many things about other Christian traditions that are attractive to me, like the exuberance of the Pentecostals, the mystery of Catholicism, the community of Anglicanism, the confidence of Calvinism, etc. In other words, I think I would be Catholic if I were raised Catholic. I would be Anglican if I were brought up by Anglican parents. I would be Presbyterian if my parents had belonged to a Presbyterian Church.

Of course, this doesn't necessarily apply to all people; there are many Christians who grew up in a nonChristian home. Which makes me wonder: if I had been born to atheists, would I be an atheist? I don't think so because the sacred heart of Christ draws me to him, regardless of my tradition.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I need Beauty

The older I get the more I'm driven outside to take in the beauty of what God has made. I simply need to sit and soak in the glory of God. Thus, to a certain extent, I can see why some people would rather worship God "in nature" than go to "church" on Sundays.

I'm reminded of something Brother Lawrence wrote in "Practicing the Presence of Christ"": something to the effect that "I find it difficult to think about God when I pray; but when I wash dishes I think about Him all the time." Indeed, I find myself thinking about God far more often when I'm outside fishing than when I'm inside a building singing.

Why do these observations ring true?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Make up your minds

Since Christians seem to support nearly every kind of political option in America, what does that say about our faith?

You would think that, since we share the same faith, live the same gospel, operate with the same symbolic universe ("kingdom of God"), then we'd all line up under one political movement. But we don't.

Does that say more about us or about politics?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What ever happened to Avarice?

Greed is hard to recognize. I'm not sure we see it anymore. I can't remember the last time I heard someone give a talk about the pitfalls of avarice. Why? Because it is the grand assumption of our culture. Wanting more is always better. Indeed, our economy couldn't survive without it. Think of what would happen if all of us decided to confess our sin of avarice and not live greedy lives.

I rarely think about my greedy problem. How about you? What do you do to keep from being greedy?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Social Justice versus Moral Purity

Why is it that those who emphasize the importance of social justice tend to downplay the necessity of moral purity? And, why is it that those who emphasize moral purity tend to absolve themselves of being involved in social justice?

In the evangelical world, Christians who preach "no sex" tend to find little use for helping the poor. And, Christians who rally support for the marginalized often set aside strict requirements for sexual behavior.

Have you seen the same tendencies? And, if so, why do these approaches to "what's important" in our faith appear to be mutually exclusive?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Romance and Christ

The more I think about it, the more I realize we've been sold a bill of goods. There's much money to be made by propping up the elusive idea of romantic love. Will I ever find "the one." When will love call my name? How will I know when I'm in love?

And, I think the Church has been just as guilty dangling this elusive idol in front of our eyes as our American culture.

Don't take this as "romance bashing." I think I can be as romantic as the next guy. But, when will we learn that the ultimate love, the perfect love, the love that eclipses all love is Christ?

And, when we will believe that the Body of Christ is where we should experience that true love.

Sorry. No questions today. Except, why can't we see this?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Who's sub?

I'm beginning to grow weary of the presumption that new "communities" (the word preferred these days rather than "church") are absent of cultural proclivities. That is, we easily spot the barriers of a certain Christian "sub-culture," decide to jettison the distinctions, then form a community that supposedly is raked clean of such weeds. In other words, despite all the efforts of the emergents (you know who they are) and the post-emergents (you may know who they are), we're still creating "sub-cultures" within our Christian faith.

Rather than deny the distinctives of our particular community, shouldn't we celebrate them? And, if so, how do we do that NOT at the expense of the "other"?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Time for a change

I really haven't figured out the purpose of blogging (even though I read somewhat regularly a few blogs).

So, I'm going to switch things up here. Rather than try to hammer out an idea every once in a while, I'd like to throw out some random observations (daily?) and see what happens.

Here goes: why does it seem to happen so often that when a romantic relationship sours the victim(s) appears to question his/her faith in God? "My girlfriend broke off the engagement, now I don't believe in God anymore." Over the years, I've seen this happen over and over again.

At the risk of sounding unsympathetic, why?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Boys and Girls

In his magnum opus--a twenty-five minute song!--Sufjan Stevens ends his musical apocalypse with a vision of the end: the quest of the impossible soul. After wrestling with the failure of love, the sinfulness of humanity, the prison of loneliness, the sickness of pain, the sorrow of misunderstanding, the last song takes on the problem of evil and suffering. In the end, the only claim Stevens can make is this: we can't do life without each other. With all of its messy, incongruous lines of us/them, evil/good, hope/despair, truth/lies, life affords a realism that defies any silly, utopian ideas of pure beauty. Everything and everyone is marred. Hints of the way things should be lie latent in the most difficult things. We talk about love, about truth, about righteousness, about meaning, about purpose, about direction, about resolution, about being whole. But, then life compels us to look in the mirror and say, "I can't lie to you. I can't tell you everything's going to be all right. You know better."

But wait. Someone's standing right beside me. She's looking in the mirror too. She's saying "it's okay. It's just the way life is. We're not meant to do this all by ourselves. We can do this together." This is no temptress. No serpent whispering in my ear. She is the second Eve, the new woman, the helpmate God intended all along. There is no feigned romanticism in her voice. She admits life is messy. She knows love goes wrong. This is no Eden. The ground yields thorns. Fig leaves must be sewn. Hide and seek will never end. She lives with an impossible soul too.

But that doesn't mean we can't dance. Hear the music? It's inviting us to find rhythm in the midst of chaos, to recover movement in spite of the static, to recover a lyrical life while death reigns, to find rest in the restless night, to believe the impossible.

Whenever I hear Sufjan's apocalyptic vision of the end of the world, I want to get up and dance.

Eve, where are you?