December 25, 2012

Christmas is Pagan?

Well, it certainly has its roots in the pagan tradition of Saturnalia, and the commercialism of much of modern Christmas relates only to the worship of Mammon, but the liturgical tradition we celebrate at this time of year is purely Christian.

Why in the world would I (or any other thinking person) write about this? There are a growing number of Christians who insist on keeping the Old Testament commandments. Not just using the Ten Commandments as exemplars, but in keeping the spirit, if not the letter, of the OT law. That's a great thing to do for orthodox Jews, but for Christians who live under Grace and not the Law?

December 24, 2012

It Was Not A Silent Night...

It won't be a Silent Night in Houston, Texas tonight with a strong winter storm headed this way...And it wasn't a Silent Night all those centuries ago...

While many houses will have sleeping children awaiting their presents in the morning, many houses will be filled with tears for those that are gone. Some houses will be filled with the moaning of the sick and hungry. Some will be filled with violence and shouts of anger.

December 17, 2012


The mass murder at the school in Newtown, CT on Friday has dominated the news and most of the blogs I read. Predictably, many Christian bloggers are talking about guns or mental health; political solutions to a problem that transcends politics.

I'm not going to advocate anything about those two issues in this post.

I want to go to the heart of the matter.

What kind of God would allow something like this to happen, and why?

On the surface it seems that God is at best an uncaring, absentee thought lord; allowing horrific tragedies and evils to occur, disrupting our lives, worldviews, and theologies.

But perhaps, these things are allowed to happen, not out of His apathy towards us, but out of a caring far deeper than we can comprehend.

November 8, 2012


On 7 Nov 2012, A young man named Ryan Woods passed away after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. I only knew him online, but his walk in his final days and his previous work and writing have left a deep impression upon me. He had a great impact on many other lives as well, and his legacy will continue for many years to come.

August 14, 2012

Big God? Big Problems, Perhaps...

This is in response to Richard Beck's response to Tony Jones' challenge to progressive theological bloggers.

As a psychologist, Beck is acutely aware of the attitudes and actions of his students when they speak of religion, worship, and theology. He has written several times about the emphasis of the "awesomeness" of God in contemporary worship, and what attitudes this might bring about.

Yes, God is big. Immense. Over-Arching.

Awesome, to be sure.

But more importantly, he is, and embodies everything.


Big, small. The universe and the atom. The Alpha and Omega.

We tend to love the ecstatic feeling of the big worship services that declare and magnify His greatness and glory, yet we tend to become uncomfortable, as a society, when challenged to look deep inside ourselves for Him in the smallness of our being.

August 7, 2012

Really, People?

We want to get our collective drawers in a wad about the opinion of a chicken magnate and some politicians that disagree with him?

We want to choose up sides about how Caesar should be using the wages of our labor to do God's work?

Puh-leeze, we need to get over our self-centeredness on these kinds of issues.

We want to conflate our Christianity with our polity, and the result is that we make both ineffective and useless.

July 19, 2012

Sex, Religion, Politics, and the Weather

That covers most of the stuff folks like to chat about, doesn't it?

First off, the weather. It's hot and humid here in Houston, just like it is every summer. Those of you who don't live on the Gulf Coast have a very different concept of "humid" compared to us Gulf Coasters. We giggle when we hear you use that word, because what you call humid is so dry to us that we break out the lotion to keep our skin from cracking.

So, I was mowing the yard, and sweating "profuciously" as an old friend used to put it, and was feeling a bit cranky. So, I started listening to the Gigolo Aunts on the phone to lift my mood. I got a bit of a smirk when the song "SuperUltraWickedMegaLove" came on, wondering what exactly Messrs. Jared and Douglas Wilson (no relation, AFAIK) would think about that song about seeking love through personal ads. Which brings us to sex. And the big kerfluffle brought on by insensitive and hurtful language used by the Messrs. Wilson in a Gospel Coalition blog post by Jared.

July 9, 2012

The Hermeneutics of Grief: Part 3

Sorry, folks, but I have to begin with a bit of a rant at some of those who would call themselves brethren.

Has John 13: 34,35 been removed from the Bible? Why does it seem to be doctrinal tenet for many Christians to spend so much time and energy telling other Christians that they're going to hell? If that's what they call "loving one another", then no wonder much of America wants nothing to do with church or Christ. We shoot our wounded in the street, then say to the passers-by, "Come on in, and getcha some of this 'love'!"

What precipitated this rant was a letter received by a minister and writer that I've recently come to know. He is also currently battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.

July 3, 2012

The Hermeneutics of Grief, Part 2

To recap from yesterday:
Recently, in a discussion forum I frequent, a Russian Orthodox priest who recently lost his son to suicide made the following comment in a discussion about salvation.
I know ... I am a grieving father ... but maybe that grief provides a hermeneutical key by which to properly interpret Holy Scripture.
What didn't get mentioned yesterday is that Father Alvin's son died an unbeliever. In effect, an automatic sentence to eternal damnation and torture, according to the prevailing wisdom from the "churched." An entirely different, and sad, commentary on much of the church is that many would feel no compunction at all in telling Father Alvin that his son was damned to hell.

July 2, 2012

The Hermeneutics of Grief, Part 1

Recently, in a discussion forum I frequent, a Russian Orthodox priest who recently lost his son to suicide made the following comment in a discussion about salvation.
I know ... I am a grieving father ... but maybe that grief provides a hermeneutical key by which to properly interpret Holy Scripture.
This got me to thinking about grief, and what our faith and practice could look like if we use grief as a hermeneutical tool.

Isaiah tell us that Christ is "a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief." His heart was broken at all of the lost souls, the starving beggars, the social outcasts, those despised for their diseases. He saw deeply into all of our pain, suffering, and grief, and was moved to do something about it.

"“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Taking up one's cross is a tremendous suffering and sorrow in the literal sense, so it stands to reason that we should be willing to look at it the same way in the figurative sense.

To use a hermeneutic of grief properly means to look at His teachings to us through the lens of His sorrows and grief, and not our own, lest we make discipleship merely a form of narcissism. His gaze was outward, looking at others, and what He came to do for them, not for Himself.

May 12, 2012


Sometimes when I'm bothered by something, it takes a few weeks of rolling around in my sub-conscious to become clear as to what exactly is disturbing me and why. Once it get sorted out in there, I find it easy to put into words.

April 19, 2012

The Disconnect of Connection

I came across this video of a TED talk by Sherry Turkle on Richard Beck's blog this morning. As I listened to it a couple of times at work, I realized how addicted I am to the illusion of relationship and community that social media can foster.

Some quotes from the talk:
"People text or do email during corporate board meetings. They text and shop and go on Facebook during classes, during presentations, actually during all meetings. People talk to me about the important new skill of making eye contact while you're texting.  People explain to me that it's hard, but that it can be done. Parents text and do email at breakfast and at dinner while their children complain about not having their parents' full attention. But then these same children deny each other their full attention...And we even text at funerals. I study this. We remove ourselves from our grief or from our revery and we go into our phones. Why does this matter? It matters to me because I think we're setting ourselves up for trouble -- trouble certainly in how we relate to each other, but also trouble in how we relate to ourselves and our capacity for self-reflection. We're getting used to a new way of being alone together." 

April 8, 2012


Gloria in excelsis Deo...

Sin and death are defeated; Christ holds the keys to death and Hades in His hand.

Through His death, our sins are forgiven.

Through His descent, the Good News was made known to all of the lost souls for all of time.

Through His resurrection, He brings us eternal and abundant life. Not tomorrow, nor in some future time, but right now.

April 7, 2012

Nothing Saturday?

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday...

Nothing on Saturday?

In all of the western Christian traditions, very little is said about the day between His death and resurrection. I suppose it's just another one of the insidious ideas of John Calvin that has permeated throughout the church.

It's a very different thing for the Eastern church, though, and for what the Bible says, no matter how little it may be discussed. Nor, for that matter, Calvin's opinion that Christ couldn't have entered Hell because He would have been under God's curse.

For your consideration...

April 4, 2012

"Your God Is Too Big"

I've been perusing the archives at Richard Beck's blog, Experimental Theology, over the past few weeks, and he has become my current favorite author. As a psychologist, and not a theologian, his view on many things about the church and Christ are vastly different from what you would normally hear from a pulpit or read from a preacher. Radically different than the religion that I grew up with, Beck's insights have created some cognitive dissonance within me concerning my theology, and have helped me to better understand some things that I have always felt was wrong with religion and churchianity.

This post on his blog, "Your God is Too Big", is well worth your time to read and contemplate. 

April 1, 2012

Going to Town

Entering the city, He was just a man on a donkey.

No reason to take notice of someone coming to town on a donkey, yet many had gathered to welcome Him.

Some had been with Him for a few years, most only knew of the things He had done; the daughter of Zion stood blindly.

Yet her King came not to seek glory for Himself, rather for His Father's name.

"I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." Those who could recognize the King heard the Father of the King speak.

The Father's name, glorified in the miracles of the Son; glorified again at the Cross and the Resurrection. Yet again at the Ascension.

Glorified again today in church buildings around the world, praises and song lifted up to Him.

But glorified most when His teaching of love opens eyes to see pain, moves hands to help suffering.

Let His Holy Name be glorified in our hearts and actions always.

March 30, 2012

The Feast Approaches...

People around the world are preparing to celebrate. Some call it "Easter", more secular folks might call it it a Spring festival. Meats, vegetable dishes, desserts of all kinds are being bought and prepared. Colorful eggs and baskets filled with chocolate, jellybeans and stuffed bunnies will start flying off of storm shelves. Why shouldn't we celebrate? We're about to commemorate the time that we received the greatest gift of all: Salvation from God, and our adoption into His Holy Family.

We know that the best gifts come from the heart of those who love us. They're even more valuable and humbling when the giver made a sacrifice to give us these demonstrations of love.

March 29, 2012

More Of The Same...

"Both of us want to win this fight
Both of us think the other is mistaken, so mistaken
Meanwhile, everyone wants to take up sides
So everyone helps us to fall apart
Just another fact of life, it's hard to play fair
And it's so easy to pretend to care
But if nobody wants to share the blame
Then everyone gets more of the same."
Todd Rundgren - Change Myself

A Fast-Food worker in my town makes an uncaring and callous comment to a soldier about to deploy back to Afghanistan. His mother blogs about it, and the story is picked up on the local news. The company officials handled the incident well, but in the meantime, the employee has been threatened with violence from some who have heard about the incident.

In Florida, a youth is shot and killed by a man. The investigation is ongoing, but the national furor is growing, and battle lines are being drawn. A Hollywood celebrity, wanting to fan the flames of hatred, publishes the shooters address on his Twitter feed. One of the problems with his action was that he didn't have his facts straight, and now an innocent elderly couple with no relation to the shooter has had to leave their home and go into hiding from the threats.

A Christian pastor in Michigan writes a book that opens discourse to the possibility that we may not have eternal conscious torture in store for us if we don't accept Christ right now; that God's Love and will for all men to be saved might be a bigger and more powerful thing than the way we have theorized His justice and wrath to be. Other Christians immediately denounce this pastor as a false teacher, heretic, and accuse him of leading people directly to the fires of Hell.

March 28, 2012

"Do This In Remembrance Of Me..."

 14When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 19And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood." Luke 22:14-20, NASB

Holy Week approaches, millions of Christians worldwide prepare to celebrate His death and resurrection. Yet for many of these people, Easter Sunday may be the only Sunday, or perhaps just one of several, where the Lord's Supper is celebrated at their church. I'm less interested in engaging in a theological debate (which has been settled since the day of the Apostles) but more interested in commenting on what I see as a modern culture shift in some parts of the Church.

A friend of mine attends a modern evangelical-styled church in her community. It's pretty typical of what you'd expect from that kind of service; upbeat Contemporary Christian music from a full band/praise team, impassioned prayer from the praise team leader, and a fast-paced, uplifting sermon. I asked her if they ever observed the Lord's Supper (they didn't the time I visited with her.) She told me that they did, but only about every six weeks or so, because they wanted it to be special, and not be just some ritual done every Sunday that loses its meaning and importance.

That bothered me.

A lot.

March 14, 2012

"My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?"

Some thoughts on the Crucifixion after reading the first part of Insurrection, by Peter Rollins.

Fully God, yet fully human.

In the beginning of the Gospels we see the fullness of God within the flesh of man.

In the Garden, we see all of humanity's fear felt by God.

On the Cross, we see God feeling the totality of the loneliness and desperation of our worst moments.

"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"

Doubt moves to the knowledge of rejection.

March 7, 2012

Where Does My Mind Place the Power?

Over the past year I've been struggling with certain aspects of God as I have been trying to work towards living the two greatest Commandments, i.e., love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as you love yourself. In this struggle the main thing I've had to re-think and change my views about are the theories of universal reconciliation v. eternal conscious torment.

When I was younger, before the strains of legalism drove me from one church, I had no problem with believing in a literal place of torment for lost souls, and Christ's sacrifice as solely a substitution for the punishment we deserve as sinners. But in the past year, as I have tried to contemplate Christ's love more and more, I kept coming back to the question, "What is the purpose for eternal punishment in hell, and what end does it serve?"

March 2, 2012

Whose Sword?

A sword, not peace, is what He came to bring.
Not to divide the body of the Bride
But to pierce the hearts of those in the Bride.

Bringing contrition and repentance,
not factions and squabbling.
In Him, we are One; we make ourselves many.

He stands against evil, not against Himself.
We stand against evil and our self.
Yet when we admit our own mistakes, we still step back from one another.

Right and wrong, good and evil; we lose sight
of these large things through the magnifying glass of doctrine
and the microscope of opinion.

The small points do not determine who we are to Him;
only who we think we are to each other.
The vanity of Qoheleth.

His sword that brings repentance and forgiveness to our hearts
is a sword that compels us to build bridges and make ties that bind.
the torches and swords that burn and cut those belong only to us.

Forgive me, Lord, and teach me to bind and not separate,
to build bridges instead of walls,
and to see my fellow man as You see me...

February 26, 2012

Mercy and Sacrifice/Our Boundaries Within/The Pain of Love

10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13, English Standard Version

I've been reading Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality,  by Richard Beck of Abilene Christian University, and he uses verse 13 as a theme throughout the book to demonstrate the conscious (and more often, subconscious) boundaries we have in our minds, and what we do with them. As Beck is an experimental psychologist, and not a theologian, this book addresses issues in the Church from a standpoint of attitudes and actions in missionality, and not as doctrine or dogma.

Using verse 13 of Matthew 9, Beck makes the case that the deeper psychological meaning of "sacrifice" here is not so much about offering sacrifice at the temple as it is about how the Pharisees, and we as Church members today, can sacrifice people to be excluded from the Church due to their status as "sinners" or "unclean." Without an in-depth recap of Beck's argument, I think we can extend his ideas from the Church level to the level of our personal attitudes and relationships.

February 22, 2012


Forty days and nights of rain for Noah.

Forty days on top of Mount Sinai for Moses.

Forty years of wandering for the Hebrews.

Forty days and nights of walking to Mount Horeb for Elijah.

Forty days to repent for Nineveh.

Forty days in the wilderness of fasting and temptation for Jesus.

Forty hours in the tomb to bring defeat for death.

Forty days of prayer, reflection, and repentance for us.

I've never before been a part of a Christian tradition that observes Liturgical days concerning Jesus. I've always known about the recurrence of the theme of "Forty" throughout the Bible, but I'd never given much thought to the symbolism of the motif until now.

February 21, 2012

My Journey to Christ's Heart (And My Own)

My earliest memories of Church are from a small Church of Christ in rural NorthEast Texas. When I would spend time at my Grandparents house, my dear Grandmother would take me each Sunday morning to services and Sunday school. When I was very young, I mostly remember the loud, old-time Gospel preaching, and not having an understanding of what The Lord's Supper really was (my cousin and I thought it was mean that they were having a snack in the middle of church service, but wouldn't let us have any! We figured out what it was about after a couple of years, though.) I really had no exposure to any other denominations, and even though I saw their buildings, I had no understanding of doctrinal differences until I was in high school.

February 16, 2012

Interface: Commonality/Community

Ever since I started studying the Bible in earnest almost twenty years ago, I've been interested in the Greek and Hebrew words used in the early texts. In an English translation, the words are chosen by the translators to best communicate either the idea indicated in the whole sentence, or to be closer to a word for word meaning translation. In either case, I've always liked to look at key words in the original languages to look for deeper meaning and understanding of what the writers were saying, and what God is saying to me.

Last night, during a class discussion with our co-pastor, Mindy, koinonia  (κοινωνία) came alive for me. While it is used in many contexts in the New Testament, the overarching meaning is, "communion by intimate participation." It speaks of not only the remembrance of Christ in the Lord's Supper, but also the relationship of the people in the church.

Think about that second part a bit. When I look at myself, I can't honestly tell you that my church attendance is characterized by "intimate participation."

I can tell you that my thoughts and reflections during the Lord's Supper are intimate and intense. And while I fully believe that the call to remember Him at His table is the highest part of any church service, it's not the whole picture.

Intimate participation. It's a heavy thought.

February 15, 2012

Working On Relationships With People

Yesterday, I wrote about working on our relationship with God in terms of how we treat people, and today, I'm going to make the logic completely circular, so to speak.

I'm an introvert, an extreme one. While I love having one on one conversations on subjects that are important to me, I have a very hard time with small talk and surface-level social conversations in group settings. What makes it worse is that some days my "give-a-flip" mechanism isn't working properly. It takes all the effort I have in me to simply smile and give a kind word to a stranger. But, at the same time, I know I can't live a fulfilling life, or the life God would have me live, if I stay in that mode.

To get out of that, I have to do some of the spiritual activities things that Beck wrote of in his blog post that can be misused as a substitute for simply being a decent person. I have to spend time in prayer and meditation, writing to clarify my thoughts, attending church services, and studying and internalizing His Word. Without those things, I have a difficult time keeping His will for how I relate to you in the front of my mind.

February 14, 2012

Working On Our Relationship With God

I read a great blog post by Richard Beck, professor and department chair of Psychology at Abilene Christian University. Even though it was written in 2009, "The Bait and Switch of Contemporary Christianity"  is still as relevant today as it was three years ago, and well worth your time to read. In it, Beck writes, "The trouble with contemporary Christianity is that a massive bait and switch is going on. "Christianity" has essentially become a mechanism for allowing millions of people to replace being a decent human being with something else, an endorsed "spiritual" substitute...The point is that one can fill a life full of spiritual activities without ever, actually, trying to become a more decent human being."

The question we are left with is , "What did Jesus want us to be, good church attendees or good human beings?" Look at the responses Christ gave to Peter after asking, "Do you love Me?" Each of the answers was to take care of His sheep. While we certainly aren't all followers of Christ, does not being a Christian make anyone not be one of His sheep? We know that Christ was trying to teach us a lesson there, but sometimes it seems as if we Christians only have part of the lesson learned.

I don't believe for one bit that Christ intended for this command to be something that we do to prove our love to Him (or our fellow Christians), but rather, a deep lesson in how to love him, how to transform our hearts to be more like His. And I believe that He intended for this to be a deeply personal lesson and spiritual activity.

February 13, 2012

Wasted On The Way

After all the enjoyment I had singing at church a week ago with my friends Lindy, Christian, and April, I realized how much I had missed listening to Crosby, Stills, and Nash. After buying a couple of favorite albums of theirs, I found myself listening over and over to their song "Wasted on the Way."

The lyrics of the last chorus are what stuck with me most throughout the week, "So much love to make up everywhere you turn, Love we have wasted on the way."

You're either a fortunate person, or a very young one, if those lyrics don't resonate somewhere within you.

But sitting around, dredging up the old regrets, doesn't do anything to change the present and the future.

Love is still there to grasp, everywhere I turn. I just have to see it, and not let the chance go to waste. The big secret that some of us have to learn, is that love cannot be grasped unless it is given.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. And not waste any chances to love.

February 9, 2012

Vulnerability v. False Sensitivity in the Healing Process

After a night of tossing and turning in bed over some discussion of healing and vulnerability last night, some things are becoming clearer to me after a few cups of coffee this morning.

There is a big difference between being hurt and being offended.

And there is a big difference between being offended by something and being disgusted by something.

If I say something in anger that is designed to hit someone at a weak spot, then that is purely my meanness, and the fault lies solely with me. If I'm simply stating my experience and my belief, and it somehow offends someone, then the fault is not with me, but rather with the listener.

If someone says or does something that offends me, it is solely my responsibility, because we each choose the things that offend us. Perhaps it is not a conscious decision, but it is our own choice. If something someone says or does disgusts me, it is because that has touched the deepest parts of my heart and soul.

God's law is written on our hearts, and there are many things that should rightly disgust us.

What does any of that have to do with healing?

February 6, 2012

Healing Along the Trail of Tears

It would be so much easier for me to simply ask for healing and then just receive it, with no effort at all required on my part. It's so tempting to want to think of God's healing as little more than getting a shot from the doctor. The catch is that the healing that both God and doctors offer come with instructions to be followed. That means I have to do something, like lose weight and exercise or let go of my spiritual poisons and help people that truly need help. That's a tall order in the days of pressing a button to change the channel on the TV, or just clicking on a link to go to another website.

But the really important things in life usually aren't about instant gratification.

In some odd bit of prescience, I titled the image above "Healing" when I had originally taken it.

February 2, 2012


Late at night, on a road out in the rural areas far from big cities, someone spins the dial on the AM radio looking for a station to tune into. I've done it myself many times. Some of the channels are empty, some may have a distant signal that will come in clear enough to understand easily. Much of the time, you'll hear two or more stations from afar, struggling to gain the radio's full attention.

As the stations fade in and out, you can sometimes hear a weaker signal that remains steady underneath the static and noise. With some careful attention, you can manage to listen to that station while ignoring the louder ones that waver and shift.

Listening for the still, small voice of God's guidance can be like that sometimes. For me, it can be like that much of the time. Worries, resentments, and desires all compete to drown out that one quiet voice. It takes patience, practice and attention to consistently listen for it.

February 1, 2012


It's a very foggy morning around SouthEast Texas today. A fairly common occurrence during this season, when the ground and Gulf waters have been cooled by Winter, and warm humid air moves off of the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the time, the fog will lift by mid-morning, but sometimes, it stays foggy for days.

It's hard to drive; the visibility is low, and the roads are slick. Cars slide around, and hit each other or go off of the road completely. It's hazardous until the warmth of the sun lifts the fog and dries the road.

It's similar to what can happen in our lives and hearts at times. Events and things cause the view to become hazy, but we think we can guide ourselves safely, because we've managed OK so many times before.

January 27, 2012

The Pain and Joy of the Kingdom

A couple of days ago, my good friend Lindy and I were talking about the different Bible classes we're in, and some of the subject matter that comes up. She spoke of the thought that so many of us have about what it will be like "when we see Jesus", in terms of how Heaven will be. That part of our discussion stuck with me, and brought up some disquieting thoughts in me.

He comes to bring a sword, not peace. Not to fight earthly wars, but to attack and pierce my selfishness and contentment. His Word slicing my soul and spirit, judging my heart.

His Kingdom is in our midst/within us. Luke 17:21 can be read both ways. It's in the sometimes vast gap between us, and in the depth of our own being.

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. But I have to reach out my hand to touch it.

January 24, 2012

Who Am I, Part Three: A Brother

There are a lot of times that I really wish I could find, and be with God completely in my solitude. It would be a lot less painful to just go and sit under my personal bodhi tree and be at one with Him, rather than looking for Him where he is truly to be found.

The sunken eyes of the hungry children. The cries and tears of the widow. The anger of the betrayed. The nameless dread of the condemned prisoner.

In other words, in you; in the hunger, loneliness, anger, and fear that is in you.

You scare me.

Who Am I, Part Two: The Orphan

In my previous post, I wrote of who I am in God's view, in terms of a relationship with Him, and His promises. It's important to understand who I am in relationship to myself, and why I so desperately need the gifts He offers.

I'm a fraud.

A lying, deceitful fraud.

Ask me how I'm doing, and I'll tell you that I'm feeling great, and everything is fine. Can't have you thinking I'm weak or needy. I'll even pretend to be interested in how you're doing, but in my mind, a dozen things are vying for the top position of my attention. Important things, mind you, like worrying about something that may or may not happen tomorrow, or trying to set aside some time for self-loathing.

The funny thing is that when my mind is occupied with those boogeymen and imagined needs, I rarely stop to think about what my true needs are.

Who Am I: The Adopted

It's a cool, rainy day today. Sitting in my workshop, watching the rain fall, I'm thinking about a question posed in a Bible class that I currently attend: Who am I, really?

Looking below the surface at this question brings up a lot of strong feelings in me. Am I my mistakes, my errors, my failures? Many days, I feel that way. But those define me only if I choose to let them; they are simply a part of me and what I have done in life.

January 1, 2012

New Year's Day

It's going to be a good day, and I believe this year will be better than the last (all in all, last year was much better for me than many previous years.)

One thing I know that will be better is my spiritual growth. We have some great classes coming up at our church, and I'll be able to participate in several of them. I think I'm looking forward to that the most this year. Along with that comes feeding my soul better things. I have several books on my Kindle by N. T. Wright, Henri Nouwen, Francis Chan, Rob Bell, and others that I will get through in the first quarter this year.