But, If Not….

In a recent Discipleship community class there was a discussion about the difference between faith and unbelief. The scope of the conversation was rather large but one particular vein caught my attention.

It started with a couple of people talking about praying for “prodigal” children for years and waiting on the Lord to work in their life. Continue reading

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Some Thoughts to Think On

I’m working on a new post for this week, in the meantime, I thought some of you might enjoy this little piece from Peter Enns.

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we talk about God too much (what with the internet and our iPhones and all)

I’m not sure where this came from.

Maybe when I was buttoning my shirt this morning, on the way to teach an adult class at a local church–another among countless other classes where I am, once again, going to talk about God.

God must be bored out of his mind.

We have a lot of free time here in the modern west, a lot of access to information, and many means for communicating that information.

And we religious types have the luxury of time to turn God over and over in our heads. Over and over. Again and again.

Nothing wrong with thinking, of course, but it can become habit-forming–especially thinking about God.

In my experience, the more we think about anything, the more we become viscerally committed to our ideas and the false security we gain for our fragile life-narratives from holding tightly to those ideas.

We actually do become addicted to our thoughts, those beautiful thoughts. We love them so much.

And the more personally meaningful the thoughts, the tighter our grasp, the greater our addiction–and the more we fight to hold on.

I am coming to the conclusion more and more that the most interesting people to listen to when talking about God are those who have suffered enough to know that their thoughts are never meant to be confused with the real thing.

I find it more interesting to listen to a “uneducated” Nigerian father talk about his faith in God after his daughter was kidnapped by Boco Haram than a western educated white male who is genuinely skillful and adept at explaining biblical texts.

The latter is fine, of course. Maybe even quite interesting. But I don’t think I will come face to face with God in the same way as when this Nigeran father opens his mouth to speak, a man with less free time on his hands and a spotty internet connection.

I don’t wish suffering on anyone, and most of us here on this side of the Atlantic don’t suffer the same atrocities as other world citizens.

And that’s O.K.

If we could tap into our own pain, to those places where we suffer (and we all do), we might find ourselves reducing the background noise of our wordy thought-worlds.

Perhaps we would find ourselves talking less, fighting less, embarrassing ourselves less, alienating others less, and finding more peace.

Perhaps. Let me think about it.

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/02/we-talk-about-god-too-much-what-with-the-internet-and-our-iphones-and-all/#ixzz3RMNuP0YU

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The Year 2015

The Plan for 2015

I’m just like most other Americans, I think about and often put down on paper my goals for the New Year.  Fortunately, I’m often successful in reaching those goals. Like millions of others there are times when I’m not.

This year, instead of goals, I thought I’d write down a few things I’d love to see happen in 2015  (Nope—no politics, the list would be way too long):

  • That I would have worthy goals
  • That I would have the courage and strength to attain those goals
  • That I would read more than I watch TV
  • That my neighbors would have their dogs poop in their yard, not mine
  • That when they don’t, they would clean up their dog’s poop
  • That people would stop, not speed up when the light turns yellow
  • That people would realize they have to pay for whatever they purchase and have their method of payment ready at the register when the time comes
  • That website creators would proof their clients content
  • That folks would quit inviting me to play on-line games. In case you haven’t noticed, I never reply
  • That Facebook would quit putting ads on my “timeline”
  • That folks would not use Facebook to display their drama in life
  • That folks would not use Facebook to carry on their love life
  • That folks would quit philosophizing about life and start living life
  • That I’d figure out a way to really remove myself from mailing lists that clog my email even after I’ve “unsubscribed”
  • That riding 150 miles a week would be reality
  • That I would again achieve the ability to leg press 400 lbs (wishful I know)
  • That I could see my neighbor more often—I miss him
  • That my wife will always know how much I appreciate her
  • That one of my neighbors would learn that rain means mud and it’s never good to park your car in the mud  :)
  • That my wife’s Thursday night ladies night would be a blessing to everyone involved
  • That my dog would realize the yellow cat really doesn’t care about his barking nor do the squirrels
  • That folks at the gym would not use a piece of equipment as their social meeting place
  • That I would be less anxious and more confident around other people
  • That people would be patient enough to read all this and chuckle when it’s appropriate.

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The Litmus Test

Recently I had a “conversation” with one of our local seminary professors and occasional teacher of our Discipleship group regarding the Trinity.  In a recent class she taught regarding her specialty, Old Dead Guys (Edwards, Luther, Calvin, etc.) she made a comment that seemed to indicate if one did not believe in the Trinity then they were not a Christian.

If you follow this blog you’ll know I took exception to that idea. Not because I don’t believe in the Trinity but because adding orthodoxy as a litmus test of personal faith is problematic. So, I asked her about her comment via email.  She confirmed my understanding and explained that belief in the Trinity was so important to proper orthodoxy that men were willing to die for it. Continue reading

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Convicted but Not Condemned

There’s nothing the Accuser enjoys more than to confuse us with things we believe are particular to us. That the detours on our journey are there because we have done something that no one else has done and are experiencing the consequences of such personal deviance.
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