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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

The Human Condition

Magnolia is one of my favorite movies of all time.  It is one of the best stories of the human condition and the space we find ourselves in. Everyone is searching for love in their own way only they keep bumping up against the brick walls.  And what is amazing is how the soul just has to keep going.  As human beings in the midst of suffering and our brokenness we find a way to keep searching.

What I loved about it was P.T. Anderson’s subtle conclusion that the movie presents, and culminated in this song.

“It’s not going to stop till you wise up. So just give up.”

May we as followers of Jesus live lives of surrender every single day.

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I Got Soul

Tell me why I dig this commercial.

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Tell Me Jesus…

If you could ask Jesus one question, what would it be?  And if you’re brave, what do you think He would say back to you?

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The Subtle Lie

I’m reading this morning and something hit me.

Beneath the subtlety of religion (which is a system of performance) is the lie that I’m not really broken, that secretly I’m okay.  And that if I just learn the right thing, know the right material, read the right book, do the right thing, or pray a certain way that I will be okay. Nobody will notice my indiscretions.  And the very nature of the lie is to convince me that it is true, and because I’ve believed it I hold out hope that the lie is actually true. The search for those things leads me down the spiral to captivity, yet to admit the truth is to let go, which I don’t want to do because then I will have to admit I am broken.

Just thinking out loud.

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Which event in your life had the most significant impact on on your spiritual growth?

And Why?

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If you read my blog on a regular basis, you are gonna want to read this.

I love blogging but it can sometimes be hazardous to my health.  I say that in jest but in some ways it is true.  I take every word I say here extremely seriously.  I often deeply feel the weight of the stuff I write because it pushes boundaries, and provokes tension.  I read my posts over and over for clarity, hopefully making my point clear.  But alas, this doesn’t always happen.  Some people jump to conclusions that simply aren’t true.  So I feel it is necessary to make a disclaimer about this blog.

The purpose of this blog is to share my theological and missional explorations of what it means to follow Jesus.  This is me working out my faith in a public sphere.  I started this blog because I am a writer and my posts are my practice of writing.  And what I have found is that a lot of people are exploring the same questions that I am exploring.  Part of this is to connect in thought and conversation to those people, which I have.  I love these relationships, even those that don’t agree with me, because they are not always easy to find.  The Internet has become that relational connection in some ways for me.

And yet to share my thoughts with the world means that I am up for scrutiny.  I’m okay with that.  As a writer, I recognize that and I have chosen to accept that part of it.  I will not always be right.  And this is the tension in what I do.  If I fall, will you be the person who reminds me that I have, or the person who helps me get back up.  The first is the critic looking to put me down.  The second is the brother, looking to pick me up.  Which one do you want to be in life?

You see I truly believe in grace.  I believe that the cross provides us with tremendous room to explore and question and grapple with the realities of relationship with our Creator, our Daddy.  And I choose to do that in a public forum.  But my question is, do you believe in grace?  Do you believe that if I get some theological question wrong that God is big enough to get over it?  Is God big enough to steer me back in the right directions?

It is not my responsibility to police how you think or to prove my point to you.  There is vast amounts of information that go into a lot of my posts, a lot of which I don’t have the space to explain to you.  My posts are culminations of thousands of hours of thought and journey experience.  I’m comfortable with what I say.  But again, it’s not my responsibility to reveal to you the fullest extent of what I am saying.  It is your responsibility to get what I am saying.  If you don’t…ask.

The bulk of my writing points to what it means to participate by engaging love. And I realize that when I say the word love, there are six million different versions of what people think I’m saying.  I’m not talking about the ooey-gooey, sticky, sweet kind we think we find in seventh grade, but the kind that leads us to the cross, so we can find what the other side of chaos looks like.  This is the Great Commandment.  I’m not interested in engaging love because I think it will then earn God’s love.  I choose to love because He first loved me. It is also to me the fullest expression of what it means to be humans created in the image of God.  To participate with God is to restore myself and the world around me.

Much of what I hope this blog does is get you to think AND act.  Missio Dei is about participating, not just talking about participating.  I want to be in the game, discovering what it means to be following Jesus.  I don’t want to be the guy on the hill who says, “I love what Jesus said,” and then goes home never to integrate it into his life.

I also want to be the guy who asks the questions nobody is willing to ask.  I want to explore and grapple with the hard stuff about the journey of faith and following Jesus, some of which is theological.  And if you have a hard time seeing those questions exposed, this is likely not the right place for you.  But if you need someone else to expose the questions so that you too can wrestle with them too, then this is likely the place for you.  I encourage you to comment and share your thought, even if you don’t agree.

I will not spend my time managing what you think about me.  This is your responsibility.  But ask yourself if you are okay with your conclusion if you get it wrong.  Again, if you have a problem or disagreement…ask.  I am always open for a good conversation.  Sometimes we do need to talk and this is also a forum for exploring ideas and engaging generative conversation.  Oooh, there’s that sticky emerging buzzword.  But it’s true.  I don’t need arguments in my life.  I need conversations, people to explore with, to understand with, and to practice what it means to follow Jesus with.  Are you one of those people?  I hope so.  If you’ve chosen to read my blog, I value that time.  But generative conversation is when two people communicate in a way that both are heard, not spoken to.

When you come here you chose to do so.  But with that choice comes a responsibility.

Your responsibility as a reader and a commenter.

  • If you come looking for something in my writing and I don’t say it, It doesn’t mean that I haven’t said it.  It means that I haven’t said it in that post.  My posts are to express my thoughts and grapple with its meaning, not answer all your questions.  Look deeper that simply your first conclusion about something.
  • Take responsibility for your words as you comment.  Think before you write them and consider how they sound, not just what you are saying. Be gracious in your questions and comments.  We all have feelings.  Nobody hears what you say if you first make them feel like crap.
  • If what I write makes you mad, FIRST ask why it makes you mad.  Chances are its not only what I said but that I have come to a conclusion that is different than you.  This often creates tension that is hard to deal with.  This is a place for me to expose my questions and conclusions.  But don’t get mad at me for coming to my blog.
  • If you don’t understand, ask clarifying questions that help you understand what I am saying.

Let me conclude by saying that I truly appreciate all of you for your engagement and time.  It means A LOT to me. Much love to you all.

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This is the story of my ongoing resurrection.  And sometimes I don’t like it.

“I do not believe Christians are called to believe in the resurrection of Christ.  I believe we are called to be the resurrection of Christ.  To be the site where resurrection takes place.”

This quote, from an interview with Peter Rollins, has been sitting in the back of my mind since I read it.

The truth is, I want to be done.  I don’t want to be in process.  I don’t want to be reminded tomorrow by a still, small voice of how I am participating in my own destruction.  I want to be complete and whole.

Sometimes I “feel His pleasure” and I sit back reveling in his grace.  I bask in the glory of love and the fruit of when I participate.  I sit back and enjoy His hand in my life, shaping me, molding me, producing wonderful fruit that is so enjoyable and tasty.  This is the life I was designed for.  This is the life I want to lead.

And then I go and screw it all up.  I bite right into the temptation to strike back at my neighbor or brother.  I lose site of who I am.  And these moments invite me to judge myself, to take His place on the judgment seat and crucify myself.  Each moment that my brokenness rears its ugly head, I am invited to wonder if He still loves me.  The voices inside my head shout very loudly, “How can you still love me?”  Because grace is such an unnatural thing.  Its stupid good.

And at that moment, the second temptation is to fake it.  It’s just easier to put on a happy face and pretend that everything is fine, to hold onto the condemnation that destroys my heart.  On the outside everything is fine.  On the inside my heart feels like it is being crushed.  And what is really funny, or sad depending on your point of view, is that everyone around me can see it.  They can see the stale aftertaste of a life fermenting in its own crap.  It’s just so obvious.

This is the moment of resurrection.  This is the moment when my Father calls me to the road less traveled, to participate with him in my restoration.  This is the moment of trust when I need, no want, to believe that grace really is the rule of life.  And as I take the risk, He then he gently takes my hand and leads me to the mercy seat, reminding me that the cross is still reigning supreme.  He reminds me that to harm others is to harm myself.  To love others is to love myself.  Which one do I choose to participate in?

And this is the thing.  Resurrection is an ongoing process.  It’s didn’t just happen but is happening in my life.    I’m still a work in progress.  It requires me to admit that I’m broken, that I don’t have it all together, that I still have work to do.  I can’t hide.  I can’t fake it.  I have to trust that He establishes me, not my neighbor.

So resurrect me Father, so that I may reveal your glory.

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