Archive for the ‘redemption’ Category

This last weekend I had the opportunity to go on a retreat with my Tribe.  It was an awesome weekend of so much healing and restoration.  But a good friend of mine asked a question as he was wrestling with what it means to surrender to God.  He asked,

“Why does surrender so often feel like failure?”

Interested in your thoughts.


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One Thing Meme

I want to start a meme that will focus on creativity in the church.  I hope you will join me.  The meme is simple.  Select one option and answer it.

Option 1: What is one thing you have seen in the church that really produces a reflection of God colors?  It is so good that people can’t help but realize that God is present and active.

Option 2: What is one thing you would like to see in church that you know in your heart would reflect God colors?  Use your imagination.  The sky is the limit.

The protocol for a meme is as follows:

  • Answer the question on your blog.
  • Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
  • Link back to the original meme.
  • Post these rules on your blog.
  • Tag at least 5 people at the end of your post.
  • Let each person you tag know that they have been tagged.

I will start this out by tagging: Jeromy, Monachus, Dave, Tracy, and Steve.  If I didn’t tag you but you want to participate, please feel free to join us.  I’d love to see what our creative minds can come up with.

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What if Jesus called us to deconstruct? Would you participate?

I’ve wrestled with nature and emotions of deconstuction.  There are significant consequences for doing so. But what if the very nature of Christianity is to first deconstruct so that it can give way to what God is already doing in our lives?  What if deconstruction is central to redemption.

Jesus said, “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”(John 2:19)

What I love about Jesus’ statement was that He would build the church, but he called the people around him listening to tear down the temple.  It was a co-partnership in redemption.  What if it is our part to tear down the stuff that gets in the way, to face the deepest stuff that has arrested our own restoration?  What if our part was to clear the space so that he could give us what he’s been longing to give us for so long.  What if the very nature of our own restoration requires tearing down stuff, stuff that doesn’t work?

And I’m not talking about building and budgets, or robes and stained glass.  I’m talking about the lies that penetrate our lives.  I’m talking about the ones that keep us locked in oppression, in something that resembles a half baked attempt at life.

The more I work with people, the more I realize that stuff can quickly become idols and ornaments, but they are not the real problem.  They are the diversion.  They are the stuff we point to to avoid the real problem, which are the lies.  How we do church must first be center on addressing the original problem in the Garden, which was a loss of relationship.  And this relationship produced death.

The central problem in the Garden was a lie…not a building.  And central to redemption is deconstructing the lies that keep us locked in oppression.

I still wrestle with the building stuff, mostly because I’m an organization guy.  I know that structures affect how an organization accomplishes its mission.  But I want to always remember what the central work of redemption is really about.

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Getting Clean

This is a story worth watching.  Richard Jensen spent 15 years as a meth addict.  I know people like Richard.  I used to be like him in a lot of ways.  Discovering something worth fighting for is a long journey.

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Martin had a dream. (ht) Dreams inspire.  They lead us forward, not backwards.  They give us courage, not despair.  They give us vision, not blindness.  They give us a picture of a better future, not a torn reflection of what has always been.

In college I had the profound pleasure to study Martin’s life.  His oratory skills were his first gift.  But his prophetic imagination, his ability to inspire people to dream and see a future outside of oppression and subjugation was what made him an icon.

Here’s an excerpt:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

What’s your?

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Alexander Pope once said, “To err is human, but to forgive is divine.”  Someone, somewhere probably said back, “Yeah but you’re assuming I want to.”

So I’m watching Little House On The Prairie with my kids.  And the show is dealing with a man who blames his son for his wife’s death.  In response he gets drunk and beats him.  The little town of Walnut Grove gets together and asks what they should do.  One guy wants to “string him up and teach him a lesson.”  Anger will do it.  Justice must be served and a lesson must be taught.  Everyone is in almost immediate agreement.

And then Caroline Ingalls, the mom says, “Punish the man and you punish the boy.”  Her response draws immediate criticism.  And it really, really bugs the townspeople.  They want “juuuuuuuuusssssttttttiiiiiicccee.”  But she doesn’t give up.  “Destroy the man and you destroy the boy.”  Her point silences the crowd because she’s calling out the obvious, but she’s also drawing them into the best of who they are.  She inviting them to love their neighbor.    And her call to love really puts Charles in a bind.  He doesn’t want to invest in the guy either.  But he does.

So Charles ends up living with the guy and helps him discover his own humanity.  He invests in him by showing him the power of work and getting honest with himself.  And in this process he ends up gaining his trust and calls his bluff, helping the man see his own lie.  When he was drunk, the man would blame his son for his wife’s death, which happened during birth.  And what was sad is that he didn’t even know he was doing it.

It took love and trust to help the man to redemption, to trade in the brutal lies that oppressed not only him but his son as well.  It required Charles to give up his desire for justice, which is historically read as punishment, and instead invest in the man.  And this is the story of the cross, isn’t it?  The more powerful response to any situation is to forgive and love.  Only in love is there redemption.

Who says t.v. can’t teach you something?

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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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