Sunday, December 04, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
In between us
Good and evil wait
To lie beside us
In our bed we make
In between us
Caution never heeds
We prey on weakness
Then beg for sympathy
In between words
Silence parades so confusion is heard
Our voices afraid
To speak up and reassure
So in between words we remain
In between us
Hope we've yet to see
We long for healings
But the scars never leave
Silence fills the void
Of love and hate
An effective tool
When used to separate
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Finishing few of the school books, digests, articles in the past few weeks, there has been a book that I have been waiting patiently to read, not for school, not because of debates around it but simply to enjoy it, soak in the wisdom of a man that I really appreciate and think highly of, and a man that my co-pastor nudged me to read back in the day when I was a pastor. Today I began reading Eugene Peterson's memoir called The Pastor, it automatically struck a chord with me. After serving as a Youth Pastor for 7 years, I appreciate so much of Peterson' wisdom and insight of the journey that brings people to be a pastor, or maybe to acknowledge that they are a pastor. To have a voice in a community and to be trusted to have a voice.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
1 Corinthians 13 is one of the best-known passages in all of Paul - partly, I suspect, because many couples still choose to have it read in public at their wedding, though if they reflected on it line by line they might find it quite a daunting challenge:
Love is great-hearted; love is kind, knows no jealousy, makes no fuss, is not puffed up, has no shameless ways, doesn’t force its rightful claim; doesn’t rage, or bear a grudge, doesn’t cheer at others' harm, rejoices, rather, in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things; love hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails...
The love of which Paul speaks is clearly a virtue.
It is not a "rule" of the sort that is so out of fashion nowadays, imposed in an arbitrary fashion and to be obeyed out of a sense of duty. (We shall discuss the more serious question of proper rules and their relation to virtue later on.)
It is not a "principle", a generalised rule which a person either obeys or disobeys.
It is not a "prudential maxim based on calculated effects"; though it has to be said that if even a few more people lived in the way Paul describes, a lot more people would be a lot more happy.
Nor, especially, is it the result of people "doing what comes naturally". At every single point in Paul's catalogue of what love does, and what love doesn't do, we want to say, "Yes, I see what you mean. However, left to my own inclinations, I would be small-minded, unkind, jealous, fussy, puffed up, shameless, and so on. In particular, left to myself, there are some things I wouldn't bear, many things I wouldn't believe, several things I wouldn't be able to hope for, and a whole multitude that I wouldn't endure. Left to myself, doing what comes naturally, I would fail." But the point of love is that it doesn't [fail].
That is why love is a virtue. It is a language to be learned, a musical instrument to be practiced, a mountain to be climbed via some steep and tricky cliff paths but with the most amazing view from the top. It is one of the things that will last; one of the traits of character which provides a genuine anticipation of that complete humanness we are promised at the end. And it is one of the things, therefore, which can be anticipated in the present on the basis of the future goal, the telos, which is already given in Jesus Christ. It is part of the future which can be drawn down into the present. - N.T. Wright After You Believe
Monday, March 28, 2011
Malice can find root in any heart and it loves to grow, it conquers and it is violent. Violence does seems to be everywhere, wars and rumors of wars are constant reminder of this. Watching the news it is easy to feel completely hopeless and defeated as numbers of people are killed and mentioned with no regard for each of the persons significance, no they are just another number in the news. Nothing more just a number... and if they are not from our country, coalition, or cause, they are even less.
And of course there are reasons for this violence, there seems to be always reasons ... but its not just out there it is also here, just last night watching the news I heard about a girl walking home, three boys pulled up in a car forced her in the car and raped her.
What causes the heart to be so violent. To decide in your heart and further more to have friends who decide together to act out in such a horrific way?
We are so broken... Perhaps this is why I know I need God. These are my thoughts today as I reflect on lent and the news, I don’t want to heavy-handedly explain why you need God too... I just know there was a time when I didn’t think of malice, and hope there will be a time when I/we won't do any either.
Today I am reminded of this quote by Douglas Coupland in his short book Life After God: "My secret is that I need God--that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem to be capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love."
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the church begins the journey through Lent to Easter, walking and identifying with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through his example of prayer and fasting in the desert while he was being tempted.
We are reminded again to follow Jesus as he calls us to do, most poignantly as he tells the young rich man to follow him, by putting God first in his life, and selling all his possessions and giving them to the poor. N.T. Wright in After You Believe describes it like this:
"But what we notice in Mark 10 is something which seems to portray in a different dimension. For start, it is a call, not to specific acts of behavior, but to type of character. For another thing, it is a call to see oneself as having a role to play within a story - and a story where, to join up with the first point, there is one supreme Character whose life is to be followed. And that Character seems to have his eye on a goal, and to be shaping his own life, and those of his followers, in relation to that goal."
"The message that Jesus – the crucified Jesus! – is the world’s true Lord is to be made precisely through the church’s following in his footsteps"
This obedience is not works but a building of character, virtue as Wright describes it, that aims at a goal. The goal is for our character to fuse with our maker and develop in us: faith, hope, love, humility, chastity, patience, gentleness, the virtues that our broken world precisely needs. It is in this season that I am reminded, that Christ Jesus our Lord suffered so that we would live, and that we by clothing our self with Christ (Romans 13:14), may bring this same Good News into our broken world.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20)
Monday, February 28, 2011
Jesus is giving us a way by which we can keep from being defined by those who act unjustly toward us. When we respond to violence with violence, whether it be physical, verbal or attitudinal, we legitimize the violence of out enemy and sink to his level. When we instead respond unexpectedly- offering our other cheek and going the second mile - we reveal, even as we expose the injustice of his actions, that our nemesis doesn't have the power to define us by those actions. In this sense we serve our enemy, for manifesting God's love and exposing evil (the two always go hand in hand) open up the possibility that he will repent and be transformed.
Peter addressed this point when he spoke to a congregation about to undergo unjust persecution. "When [Jesus] was abused" Peter said, "he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly" (1 Peter 2:23). So when we are persecuted we are not to resort to violence (as Peter himself had done in the Garden!), but we are to "sanctify Christ as Lord" in our "hearts." IN this way, he continues, we "put those who abuse [us] ... to shame" (1 Peter 3:16). Our refusal to sink to the level of our enemy opens up the possibility that the enemy will see the injustice of his treatment and perhaps be freed from his dehumanizing mindset.
- Gregory A. Boyd The Myth of A Christian Nation
- Jonathan Hill à la Karl Barthwrites in The History of Christian Thought,
Sunday, February 27, 2011
What I find most assuring and compelling are the quotes by two theologians, authors I trust and appreciate:
“In the current religious climate in America, it isn’t easy to develop an imagination, a thoroughly biblical imagination, that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ in all people and all circumstances in love and for salvation. Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination. Love Wins accomplishes this without a trace of soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction in its proclamation of the good news that is most truly for all.” – Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, and author of The Message and The Pastor
“Love Wins is a bold, prophetic and poetic masterpiece. I don’t know any writer who expresses the inexpressible love of God as powerfully and as beautifully as Rob Bell! Many will disagree with some of Rob’s perspectives, but no one who seriously engages this book will put it down unchanged. A ‘must read’ book!” – Greg Boyd, senior pastor at Woodland Hills Church and author of The Myth of a Christian Nation
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Although now long estranged
Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned,
And keeps the rags of lordship once he owned’
Man. Sub-Creator, the refracted Light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
With elves and goblins, though we dared to build
Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seed of dragons--’twas our right
(Used or mis-used). That right has not decayed:
we make still by the law in which we’re made.
- J.R.R. Tolkien
Thursday, February 17, 2011
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.
Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.
“True art, true knowledge, true technique are a "vocation," a "calling forth" that imposes upon man his native "calling." Since Roman engineering and seventeenth century rationalism, Western technology has not been a vocation but a provocation and imperialism. Man challenges nature, he harnesses it, he compels his will on wind and water, on mountain and woodland, The results have been fantastic. Heidegger knows this: he is no Luddite innocent or pastoralist dropout. What he is emphasizing is the price paid. Things, with their intimate, collaborative affinity with creation, have been demeaned into objects. The German word is Gegenstande, which, literally and marvelously to Heidegger's purpose, signifies that which "stands against," which "affronts." We may, on the levels of utility and abstraction, have made ourselves lords of creation. But the elements of the natural world have become Gegenstande, They stand against us. Our relationship to and with them is, to use a sociological tag, "an adversary relationship," a confrontation. We are alienated from that which we decompose and exploit, as the Hegelian master is alienated from his indispensable servant. Of the two vital senses of Entbergung [Heidegger’s term for “revealing”] we have retained only the coercive, the literally extractive. We have compelled nature to yield knowledge and energy, but we have given to nature, to that which is live and hidden within it, no patient hearing, no in-dwelling. Thus our technologies mask Being instead of bringing it to light." (Martin Heidegger, 139)