Don’t know if anyone is still reading this old thing, but just in case: I’ve started a new blog, focused on social justice. I’d love if you checked it out! Here’s the link.
This one’s in honor of my dad for Fathers’ Day. Dad helps me contemplate God without letting me forget to revel in the mystery. I love you, Daddy.
Dad and I love to bicker about theology. He prefers the Tradition, Reason, and Scripture quarters of the Wesleyan Quad. I prefer Experience and (Dad would dispute this) Scripture. Our most common debate starts over my belief in universal salvation, but boils down to a fundamental question: why be a Christian?
To hear youth ministers tell it, we should be Christians to feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and have a cosmic therapist to depend on. Good ol’ John Wesley feared a-roasting on Satan’s barbeque. In the middle, there are those like Dad who want to be transformed by Christianity; they recognize that true happiness only comes when we fill the hole in our heart with God. I usually hang out in the middle.
But a part of me is even uncomfortable with that. If I do something because it’s going to benefit my life, aren’t I being selfish? Continue Reading »
How do you spell exhausted? V-B-S. Vacation Bible School has come again and for Methodist churches using Cokesbury, my church has the Shake It Up! theme this year. The kiddos learn “God’s recipe” for their lives with a new “secret ingredient” everyday, e.g. Give Happily or Remember Jesus Often. Yes, it’s corny, but anything is a theological improvement on Camp E.D.G.E. of yesteryear (don’t ask). I love getting to know a group of kids over the week and to share the faith with them. It’s a daunting call, but I try not to doubt myself.
It’s interesting to me: my church is as liberal as they come, but the curriculum is not. Really, liberal doesn’t do my church justice. I love my congregation, but we’ve grown stale in recent years. It’s rare to hear the name “Jesus” or even “God” in the contemporary service. Scripture is viewed as a nuisance to get around, not a gift to swim in. Life is hard and painful; faith exists to create a community who can help us through it. Yet these grade-school aged kids hear about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. We tell them to share, give even when it’s hard, and trust God unconditionally.
We expect more of six-year-old children than adults. Continue Reading »
My family, mostly Dad, has begun a blog about my little brother’s autism. A post Dad wrote the other day isn’t really “religious,” but it was too touching for me not to re-post it.
Yesterday, I took Dan Dick and Barbara Miller’s personality test to determine my spiritual gifts. My top three were Prophecy, Faith, and Knowledge. I was a teeny bit disappointed to discover that Prophecy does not mean I can tell the future. Rather, it means to be God’s mouthpiece to His people – to foretell the future that God has in store. I guess that’s fitting for a Christian blogger. Blogs probably don’t have a quantifiable impact on the church, but it’s still important that anyone or anything that claims to speak God’s Truth be… well, what exactly?
What criteria separates the good Christian blog from a bad one? The only way to determine that is to know the mission of the Christian blogosphere. Then the good blog is the one which fulfills that mission. But what is our mission? Are we a sort of cyberspace community garden, each blogger tending a patch in hopes it will yield fruit? Are we a think tank for the church, formulating strategies and policies? Or are we simply an extension of seminaries and should stick to theology? I believe the key to a successful church is intentionality. I wonder if it’s also the key to the blogosphere.
The absolute greatest, most awesomest blog post ever is at this link.
“People have fish on the back of their cars while living exactly like everybody else.” – Reverend Joy Moore
The sermon I heard Rev. Moore preach at DYA was so jam-packed with spiritual awesomeness that I could write a book on it. This quote in particular changed my life. I realized that if you can’t go to function and by the end know who are the Christians by how they act, then we’ve done something wrong.
Yet as a church, we’re not very good at constructive advice on how to live differently. Congregants want an instruction manual on faithful living. The clergy seem resistant to provide one, perhaps for fear of becoming Catholic (X in the morning + Y in the evening = Christian). I, however, don’t find practices nearly as suspect. Our grandmother, Judaism, is based in the principle that practices and rituals are a natural response to faith, and reproduce that faith. A routine of practices is in fact the Christian life.
So pray twice a day. Read the Scriptures. Join a covenant group. Love til it hurts. Volunteer. Give more money than you can afford. Forgive. This is what it means to live differently. It’s far more radical than it appears. The unspectacular practices are just that: practice. Moses had to spend 40 years in Midian doing the simple stuff before he could tell Pharaoh, “let my people go!”
For what are we practicing? What Rev. Moore called “God’s great project.” We’re working toward no less than the salvation of humankind. Brick by brick, my son, brick by brick.