Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last day...What's next?

I'm sure that many folks are taking today to reflect on their accomplishments of the past 12 months, as well as to look ahead to the next. Why not? I'll take any excuse to reflect for a moment. A bit of self-indulgence that is actually culturally acceptable.
2011 saw me finally graduate from Ashland Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity. Don't believe me? I have the diploma to prove it. The journey began in 1973 when I first felt a sense of call. I pretty much ignored it at went into the marketplace to chase the elusive American Dream. It was in 2006 that I finally heeded the prompting and, miracle of miracles, was accepted at ATS. I can't thank the folks there enough for this life-transforming experience. But, I wrote about that earlier in the year here.
I have always been healthy. No major issues. However, in 2011 I had 2 surgeries on my right hand. And, in all of the preparation for that, the medical pros missed a dark critter lurking just beneath the surface. In November, I had a heart attack. According to the docs, it was a pretty bad one. I have been on the mend for the past couple months, and actually feel really well. I guess if I had listened and started the diet and exercise stuff earlier, I would have probably avoided the MI. Like I've written before...I'm a slow learner.
Looking forward...
The most important issue I face is to recover a relationship with my son. This is a matter that I will not detail, but it has been a painful struggle. For any parent, estrangement from a loved one is difficult,
(putting it mildly ). Especially, one who is deeply loved. If you ever read this, I am deeply sorry, son.
I have been having serious thoughts about starting a new project in one of the more economically struggling areas near my home. I think this is a direct result of the work I did in school. When I started seminary I was primarily interested in the real disconnect between the popular worship music industry and good, orthodox theology. The stuff being offered as "true worship" music is mostly fluff and 'feel-good' clap trap. Sorry if I offend anyone, but even a cursory look will reveal that. Anyway, I digress. As my time at ATS progressed, I became more and more concerned about how we can be involved in the work of the reign of God. Do we simply need to provide dogma and doctrinal 'truth' to the culture? Or, do we need to engage the culture as Jesus engaged 1st century Palestine? I think the latter. This may take the shape of activism in ecology, economics, politics or wherever God's people find themselves in everyday life. It make also take the form of benevolence: food kitchens and pantries, homeless and battered women shelters, work against the growing slave trade in the world, and other work to better the human condition. I would like to see this happening more in my geographical area. So, the New Year will find me pursuing this.
However, I must point out that for most of the world, the more things change the more they stay the same. I was reading the prophet Isaiah this morning. The portion I read contained the story of the Israelite king Hezekiah. In the story the king survived a serious illness because Yahweh healed him. The king was granted an extra 15 years of life. During this extra time, an envoy from the king of Babylon showed up to celebrate Hezekiah's recovery. Hezekiah showed this envoy all of his riches and valuables. Many folks attribute this to Hezekiah's overweening pride. "Hey, look at all the stuff I have!" Anyway, the prophet came to Hezekiah and revealed that because Hezekiah had shown off all of his stuff, at some time in the future all of that stuff was going to be ransacked and carried off to Babylon. Hezekiah's response? Sorrow and remorse for being foolish? No. Angry with the prophet and/or God? No. It was, "The word you have spoken is good. There will be peace and security in my lifetime." Huh?!?! In fact, the writers of scripture captured the same story in 2 Kings 20:19. This must have made an impact on these writers. Peace and security in his lifetime. Let's mortgage the future against present comforts. Sound familiar? It's the same today. We are gambling the future of our children and their children against our present comfort and prosperity. The most glaring abuse is in the exploitation of the environment for fossil fuels. The fossil fuel industry is fighting tooth and nail to keep their interests alive, even though we all know that these resources are not renewable and are beginning to run down. Rather than putting the energy and funds into alternative, renewable sources it is more important to be peaceful and secure in our lifetime. This does not even broach the issue of global warming, again a result of the fossil fuel addiction that the world has. So, what will the New Year bring? I hope some common sense. I hope that those people who are expert in these things will step up the pressure on the corporations whose greed and avarice is driving the abuse. I hope that we can learn from Hezekiah's ill-fated remarks that the future is now.
Last, I wish all who stop by this blog a blessed New Year. May all of your dreams be realized. And, May God Bless You Real Good!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Devil made me do it

When I was kid Flip Wilson had a character named Geraldine. Her famous line when anything went awry was, "The devil made me do it!"
Of course, those who are theologically inclined know that the devil can't 'make' us do anything. But, this, some say fallen angel, is capable of causing a lot of damage. The New Testament offers several warnings about this. Paul wrote about how the devil masquerades as an angel of light in order to deceive people. The apostle also mentioned that he was not unaware of the methods that the devil used. Peter wrote that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking to devour folks.
Popular culture from the early church to current media paint this character in many colorful and fanciful ways. But, what can we discern about the reality of how this anti-creation being operates? I am thinking about looking at this over the next little while. Mostly, so I can get my thoughts in order about it. I find that as I write and reflect I see things a tad clearer So, for those few of you who actually read this, please bear with me as I muse.
Please, if any have input, I welcome diverse opinions.

The more we change, the more we remain the same

One of my favorite professors at Ashland, John Byron, posted the following:

It seems that even in a sacred place, at a sacred time, those who have set themselves apart for a sacred duty cannot behave any differently than anyone else. It is sad, as well as telling. People are people, regardless of what their vocation. While some may state that hanging their dirty laundry out for the world to see is an embarrassment to the Church. I see it as an opportunity for people to reveal their humanity and humility. Like I wrote in an earlier post, Christ followers are no different than any other people. We still need to work to behave civilly. And, when we don't, we need to apologize and make appropriate modifications to our behavior.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some days it's better just to stay in bed

One of the things about being a Christ follower is that people expect you to always have good days and be in good spirits. There's something about the way culture and society think about God as having some miraculous control over the emotions of anyone who claims to be a christian. Well, for those of us who have slogged through the muck of everyday life the reality is different. We have the same tolerances for ignorance, bullying, unrealistic schedules, missed buses as anyone else walking around in a meat suit. Somedays just suck. Today's one of them.
Yes, as a Christ follower I will take  these cares, worries, concerns, foibles etc. to my prayer closet where I'll vent my frustrations to the One who really gives a damn and will inhale...exhale.....inhale.....exhale....until I'm quite chilled.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Receiving...or being Received

This morning as I was spending time with God, I read this in Thomas à Kempis' The Imitation of Christ, "I desire, Lord, to give myself to You as a voluntary offering and to be Yours eternally. With a sincere heart I give myself to You this day, as Your servant forever, wishing to serve You in obedience and as a sacrifice of endless praise. Receive me..."
Receive me. These words jumped off of the page at me. The text from à Kempis was in the context of the Eucharist. So, I can see how 'receiving' is related to sharing the Body and Blood. Receiving the elements in a manner that brings a reality to Christ's offering himself on our behalf. But, something else also caught my brain. In many religious circles people are taught that they must 'receive Christ.' Receive him as Lord and/or Saviour. This concept is taken directly from the Gospel according to John 1:12, "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (2011 NIV). This is one verse. One verse that has been used to define an entire generation, or more, of church-goers. But, does it accurately reflect who we are to become in Christ? Reception of something infers the conferring of ownership and control. When I receive a gift, it becomes mine. I own it. I can control it. Now, I am confident that when pressed no one would acknowledge that this is their motivation. I'm sure that they would say that the idea is more about sharing in the life and mission of Jesus in a personal way. But, I've heard way too many speak of Jesus in manner that indicates otherwise. There is a sense that I am in control of my faith and destiny rather than fellow-workers with the Holy Spirit.
I see, rather, a sense in the Scripture that we have been, and are being, received by Christ. The Gospels are full of stories about Jesus searching, seeking, turning things upside down to find a lost coin, leaving the herd in search of the one. This so he could receive us brothers, sisters and mothers. John continued by stating that no one could snatch those that belonged to him, (re. those he had received), from his hand. It appears that Jesus is the One who desires to be in control. By 'receiving' all things, he is claiming His rightful place as κύριος, Lord, over all. Paul got it. Throughout his epistles he wrote of Jesus being Lord over all things. In 1 Cor. 15: 25 he wrote that all things would be subjected to Christ, who would be himself subjected to God. Then all things would be "all in all." I don't get the sense that God is taking anything other than dominion over enemies. All other things seem to have been received. I know this is a stretch, but I want to make the point that it is we who are received by God through Christ. We who are subjects of the Divine reign. We who have been found and secured by Jesus. We, who together with the rest of creation, are held in God's hand, protected, nourished, loved on, cared for because we are God's. Not because God is ours. As I reflected on this, I was compelled to join with the Apostle Paul and exclaim, "For from him and through him are all things. To him be the glory forever? Amen" (Rom. 11:36).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's Dec. 25, 2011. A day that we in the Christian world celebrate the birth of Jesus the Messiah. Christ followers around the world will participate in whatever cultural celebrations that they can. Here, we will gather with family for a not-so-quiet day of cooking, cleaning, talking, eating, unwrapping, more cleaning then goodbyes with well-wishes.
Today I think that we will do something a little different. I want to celebrate the Eucharist with my family. The Eucharist! At Christmas? Isn't that an Easter kind of thing?
Well, yes it is. But, if we understand the supper as a time of communion with God, then what better time to celebrate that then when we celebrate Yahweh's breaking into time and history to commune with us? If the Eucharist is a time when Christ's presence is with us, how much better is it a time to remember Emmanuel, God (present) with us?
I wish any who visit this a blessed holiday, but more than that, I wish you an experience. An experience of God's blessed presence through Christ the Messiah, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
God Bless Y'all!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve....plans don't always work

This morning I had plans. I planned to finish my Christmas shopping. One last thing for my wife. Then, clean the house and finish wrapping gifts. The sun was shining and all was well with the world. Plans were in place for a quiet evening at home in front of a fire. A light supper and a time for gifting my mother in law. Then, I got a call from my brother. My dad was heading to the emergency room via ambulance. He had an episode that caused him to become very weak. We met at the hospital and waited. That 's one of the main activities at hospitals...waiting. All the test results were normal. However, the doctors in their inimitable wisdom decided to keep him overnight for observation. In case you hadn't noticed, none of this was part of the plan. God knows the real plan. Sometimes it would be nice if God would let us in on the plan. But, then, I guess that's not part of the plan. We are giving thanks that dad seems to be out of any danger and will be home soon. Why do these plan breakers happen? I haven't clue. If I did, I suppose that would make me god. We're all better off if I'm not. Plans? Well, they change. Someone moves the cheese and we need to punt. How do we respond to these kinds of plan changes? I turn to Brian McLaren for this. In Naked Spirituality, he wrote about how folks can respond to unexpected, in his case tragedy, for me plan changes, in a couple different ways. We can say that God has planned the problem, it was "preengineered intentionally by God. Or, we can explain it away as the nature of things with evil in the world. The third way is to look to the future. We can ask, "What possible good in the future can be brought out of this [change of plans] in the present?" That is the way I think I will approach this. Yeah, my plans got changed, but God is still God and I'm not. I'm glad of that.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Communion...God's choice

I am impressed by the apparent understanding of the Incarnation and presence of God that the Roman church demonstrates. Or, as it was understood by à Kempis. He wrote that the Supper revealed Christ's goodness, charity; humility as He bent down toward humanity. For him, Christ is present in the bread and wine that is regularly shared with the church. So, they regularly share in His presence. While I don't see this understanding in the Scripture, I do think that there is a reality here that we protestants miss. That is that Yahweh, by His own choice, bent down and took on flesh in order to bring God's dominion and presence to the world. This is huge! The Eucharist is one of the best symbols to describe this. While we tend to give intellectual assent to the concept of Incarnation, we do not always reflect on the magnitude of God's love and care for the creation. Perhaps, we simply take it for granted. Perhaps, because of our protestant views of taking communion our vision is blurred. But, I think we should remember that it was God's initiative to commune with us, not our attempts to be with God. We have the opportunity to reflect and remember that Christ came and gave his body and blood so that we can be sustained and nourished by him. It is his goodness, charity & humility that allows us to share in the divine presence. No, I don't believe in transubstantiation. But, I do believe in celebrating the Lord's abiding presence.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

As the Story goes.......

I have long contended that the Bible is essentially a love story from Yahweh to the cosmos. From Genesis to Revelation there are all of the elements of a good story that conveys and interprets meaning. Derek Flood looked at this idea and came up with some lessons we would all benefit from.
I think that this is a topic that we may continue to look at from time to time.

Prepared for the presence of Christ

Today I was reading Thomas à Kempis' The Imitation of Christ, as I often do for a devotional. He shared about being properly prepared to experience Christ's presence in the Eucharist. I am not from the Roman tradition and do not appreciate any kind of -substantiation, so some of what à Kempis wrote has no resonance with me. However, his position on contrition and humility before Christ did. He wrote that Noah, Moses and Solomon all prepared vessels that represented God's presence for salvation. David danced, sang and psalmed before God. This reveals how people should act in the presence of God...with joyful abandon and all of our being. God's presence is a big deal!
Earlier this week I was also reminded that God is, in fact, always present within God's good creation. I thank Brian McLaren's book Naked Spirituality for bringing this back to my mind. God is indeed present. It becomes our responsibility to be present with God.
With à Kempis' writing as a back drop, how then should we prepare to engage God in God's immanent presence? Should we not live as humble, contrite people who are favored to enter into the presence of the Great Creator? While we don't have boats or boxes or buildings, we are, ourselves, vessels that contain the Spirit and real presence of Christ. At this time of year, especially, it would be a good thing for we who call ourselves followers of Christ to reflect on the merciful, loving presence of Abba Father, Jesus the Messiah and the Holy Breath of Yahweh in our lives.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More prayer stuff

Back in October of 2010 I posted about Prayer Tools. In it I shared a couple things that I do that help me to pray. Today I'd like to add to that.
Many years ago I had heard the term "breath prayer." As I understand it, these are very short prayer offerings that can be said in the time it takes a person to take a breath, (Inhale/Exhale). While in a Spiritual Disciplines class at Ashland I found one such prayer in one of our texts. It is a prayer that is ancient. Today we know it as the "Jesus Prayer." It has a couple different looks. One is simply "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me." The iteration that I have found most helpful is "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." This can be said within the span of 1 breath. It also embodies truth about who Jesus is, and in relation, who I am. I confess that Jesus Christ alone is the Messiah; Lord; Christ. I also confess that this Jesus is the Son of God. (Sometimes I substitute 'Son of the Living God.') The prayer ends with supplication, a plea for Jesus' mercy. It is only this mercy that comes to me from Jesus' grace.
This simple prayer may not seem like much, but throughout the course of my day when I say it, my attention is drawn to Christ's presence with me. It helps me to re-focus away from the stress and hassles of the day and toward the peace and reality that comes from God alone. Scripture instructs that we never cease to pray. This prayer is one that, through repetition and reflection, can help one to do just that.

Life with Jesus on the Ground

Read the following that I found over at

Back in the 1970's I was a part of  a community of Christ followers who desired to live radically for Jesus. We were part of the Jesus Movement of that day and chose a communal way to live that out. So, I can readily identify with these New Monastics. Following Christ is active. Follow is a verb. There's no such thing as Couch Potatoes for Jesus. The last few months this has been driven home me in many ways. Hopefully, prayerfully, the future will see more "lived faith" than discussed theories of faith.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Biblical World: The Theology of Snoopy

The Biblical World: The Theology of Snoopy

Fruit Bearers

Recently, I heard a pastor deliver a message in which he expounded on the need for Christians to bear fruit. He then went on to look at Galatians 5, stating that was the only place in the NT that really discussed fruit, (sorry, wrong). He deduced that the lists in that text reveal that fruit in the NT deals with character issues, (again, not so correct). Now, I don't want to be too hard on this person. This is the kind of stuff that is offered from pulpits in many, many evangelical churches. It's about me and Jesus and how I treat my wife, kids, and members of my church group.
But, I think that there is a little more to bearing fruit than simply thinking the right things and behaving in a particular manner. There is the idea of service to those outside of our own groups. Caring for all who are poor, homeless, hungry, sick, blind, lame, unemployed, orphans...and the list goes on. John the baptizer told the crowds who came to him to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. He then explained what that was; "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." To the tax collectors he said, ""Don't collect any more than you are required to." Even to the soldiers he exhorted them, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely--be content with your pay."
Jesus stated in Mat. 7 that folks would recognize false prophets by their fruit. He then showed what he meant: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." To make it clear what he was not talking about, he added, "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'" It seems that the religious stuff isn't the kind of fruit that we need to be concerned with. There were proper things to do, maybe like the whole of the Sermon on the Mount that preceded this statement.
Even Paul got it right. Colossians 1:10 states, "And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." In every good work? Yes! Fruit bearing is being "doers of the word." not simply listening or giving lip service. Ok, it also involves good character. But, it's not limited to that. In fact, I think that good works will necessarily come out of a people of good character. The converse is also true. The verses following Col. 1:10 explain that endurance and patience, (and good character?), will result from doing good works. If we wait for character to develop on its own, good works may never happen.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas season

Well, it's Monday the 19th. Christmas is less than a week away. I still have shopping to do because the ads on TV tell me that. I saw a news blurb over the weekend that really tipped me off to this. The person being interviewed said that the next week's dollars spent on shopping would tell whether Christmas would be successful this year. Of course, I want to do my part to ensure that Christmas is a success. I wouldn't want the fact that my daughter is visiting from California be a factor in Christmas' success. Being able to worship or spend time with friends and family apparently have nothing to do with it, either. People expressing their gratitude for their bounty by going to Walmart and paying for someone else's layaway purchases doesn't quite get it. Although they are spending money, it's not for themselves. Clearly, subversive. No, Christmas will not be successful unless we all suck it up and spend the money we don't have on stuff that no one really needs. I don't know how Christmas has lasted so long. After all, didn't someone say once, It's all about the economy, stupid?
I'm sorry, but it's not. It's about people caring for one another. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and any other flavor of religious or not-so-religious people accepting and nurturing one another's humanity in a time and place that does everything to denigrate humanity and fracture our relationships with one another and the Cosmos that sustains us. It's about a kind and Generous Creator who has shown love for the creation by sending a baby to invade our small corner of the universe. A baby to illuminate the heart of God that cries out, "Peace! My good will is poured out upon all of those with whom I am well-pleased!" Perhaps, the ultimate success of Christmas will be people of good-will and hope actually embracing this statement and paying the peace and good-will forward. I don't know...just a thought.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hell, the ongoing it real?

I just read an interesting idea about Jesus' parables that end with the promise of divine retribution. Here's the link:

Derek Flood presents a simple, yet thoughtful, look at this issue. With so many, especially the Emergents, questioning the existence of eternal torment for simply not believing like many Christians do the question deserves much and diverse discussion.
I'm not totally sure I agree with all that Derek wrote, but that's because I haven't yet taken the time to really reflect on it. However, I do agree that presenting Hell as the motivation for evangelism totally misses the mark. God's love and mercy are the grounds for our belief and our sharing.

Who's your daddy?

This morning I was reading Matthew 21:33 and following. This pericope is usually called the Parable of the Tenants. In it Jesus told of some folks who had been given charge over the vineyard belonging to someone else. It was their job to care for the vineyard and, at the end of the season, to give the fruit to the owner. Of course, they reneged on this and abused and killed those, including the owner's son, who came to collect the fruit. This is usually sited as abuse by the chief priests and Pharisee's in Roman Palestine. It gives justification for these so-called leaders to be ousted by the disciples of Jesus. As I reflected on this, however, I began to see that these leaders had a compelling desire to protect and control that which they had been given charge over. They were comfortable with the arrangement. Perhaps, because the landowner was what we would call an "absentee landlord", they felt that they knew better than him how best to care for the vineyard. They may also have felt entitled to the land and its produce because they were the ones who cared for it. In any case, they were mistaken. The vineyard was not theirs to control.
I think that the church has developed a similar mindset. Although we say we trust God to care for and protect the church, we do not know how to relax our grip. I have heard leaders in my own church talk a good game about raising up young men and women to be leaders. However, what they are really saying is "When we think that you have become enough like us, then we can trust you to lead." Like the tenants, we claim to know what's best for the vineyard we have been given charge over. We want to protect it from the chaos that will most certainly come if we allow the next generation to come and lead in their own gifting as Christ followers. We want to protect and "oversee" them as if we are their parents. The ancient churches even refer to those overseers as "Father."
I think that we are missing a great opportunity to share in the work of the Holy Spirit if we do not step back and learn from these young adults. Young adults who are expected to pick up the mantle of leadership in the culture, society, politics, the marketplace, and, yes...the church. We are not their parents, but their fellow laborers in the vineyard of the Master. It's time we embraced that.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Virgin birth...fact? Does it really matter?

There has been quite a reaction to an article written by Albert Mohler. This article was in response to another by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. Mohler's argument that one must accept the virgin birth of Jesus as fact or risk one's position as a Christ follower. He wrote, "This much we know: All those who find salvation will be saved by the atoning work of Jesus the Christ — the virgin-born Savior. Anything less than this is just not Christianity, whatever it may call itself. A true Christian will not deny the Virgin Birth."
While I personally do believe in the birth of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels, Mohler's inflamed rhetoric does little to convince anyone who is not a Christ follower of the truth of Christ's life and mission to reconcile the Cosmos to Yahweh. It does, however, point to the narrow focus of some. Having read some other articles by Mohler, I think that this recent one reveals more about Mohler's view on biblical inerrancy than to anyone's faithfulness to Christ.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Interesting article in Sojourners

I came across this article about violence in the Bible over at Sojourners Magazine. The questions about so-called God sanctioned violence have been asked for as long as there have been people to ask them. Derek Flood has a good take on Paul's "re-purposing" of Old Testament texts in the light of Christ.
Note that you will need to sign up to read it, butt hay, it's free.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's a matter of vision

Over the past few years I've begun to have an issue with folks who hold to a fundamentalist/literalist view of the scriptures. These believers steadfastly claim that every word is inerrant and true for all people in all places at all times throughout history. The belief that the Bible is historically and scientifically accurate...even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
I have read other's scathing rebukes and dismissal of these followers of Jesus. Some well-known writers and speakers have jumped on this bandwagon to castigate the dogmatic simpletons who don't use the brain that God gave them.
As I have prayed and reflected on this, especially my own complicity, I have to say that Yahweh has rebuked me. In my zeal to unleash my learning and understanding of the 'truth' about the Bible, I have unwittingly become that which I sought to correct. I have become judgmental and dismissive of these who are beloved by God. For this I have had to ask for Yahweh's forgiveness and have had to change my direction of thought.
We have no calling, nor right, to judge these others. We do, however, have the right to disagree. We have the right to discuss openly our concerns. This discussion must be open and two-way. I think that we must be willing to be changed, also. Building walls of dogma don't lend themselves to unity within the body of believers.
As I considered these things it occurred to me that Yahweh has given various gifts and particular vision to various people. Paul wrote about these things to the church at Corinth. I don't think that the base issues are much different now. Some people thought that their particular knowledge was better than some others. Judgements were made and people were marginalized. My vision is sacred and special to me. It is not necessarily any other person's vision. I think many of us would do well to remember that.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The many faces of me

This morning as I was spending time with Yahweh in prayer and reflection, I began to realize that I have much to be grateful for. Six years ago my life was pretty much a train wreck. (That's a topic for future consideration.) Through the experience of going to seminary and rubbing elbows with other Christ-followers God began a process of transformation that is ongoing today. I am grateful for Yahweh's reclamation project that is my life.
As God continues to transform me, I am becoming aware of the many faces I put on throughout the day. There is the face that I wear at home as I pray. There is the other face that my wife sees. At work, church, with friends, in stores, on the highway...different faces for every occasion. Jesus was not like this. His life was characterized by a unity of purpose and presentation that few of us can emulate. But, emulate we must. I think that folks who are called to follow Jesus and become disciples must allow God to mold and fashion us into more Christlike people. Painful...sure. Necessary...absolutely. This is an interesting journey we are on. May Yahweh continue to guide us on the way.

Sticks and Stones....maybe words can hurt me

I read an interesting take on the language of the Occupy Wall Street movement this morning. Author Brian McLaren offered an experience that he had with them. It is an experience with 'words' that many of us, certainly me, don't even think of. Words come coursing from our tongues with little or no consideration of what they are actually saying. At least, we don't think about what those who hear our words will actually take away.
In a short post, McLaren hit the mark about the violence that certain words and phrases can evoke. Violence that is not intended on the part of the speaker, but is there nonetheless.
He cited Mat. 5:21-26 as an example of the power, and consequence, of 'words.'
Perhaps, if we who claim to follow Christ would reflect on the Words of Jesus,  we would see more of the reign and dominion of God revealed in our world.
Please check out McLaren's post:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Can Christ followers actually care about the environment?

I just read an article by Katharine Hayhoe, an environmental expert from Texas.
It is at:,0,2075349.story
It seems that some folks are actually starting to 'get it' about the effects that humans are having on the environment.
Being an Christ-follower puts me in a group that many times denies and denounces the idea of humans having anything adverse to do with the environment. That's a left-wing propaganda thing. Well, I happen to agree with the environmentalists. By, as Ms. hayhoe wrote, using the brain God gave me I have to agree.
Anyway, if anyone stops by here, please check out the article.