Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Finding Your New Year's Resolve

I've chosen to take a break from my series on the five phrases every Christian should get rid of, before I start. I know some have expressed disappointment in my timing, and I extend my sincerest apologies. I would much rather you read a few of my well prepared thoughts than many of my misplaced ones, and lately they've been a good deal misplaced.

I thought rather than dive into what will prove to be a somewhat forward and likely controversial series, I would take a few moments as we near this new year, to share a few thoughts on the Christian life, and how we might better live it. I've you've already got your dukes up for the “phrases” series, fear not the posts are outlined, drafted, and/ or waiting to be proofed.

The preliminaries thus disposed of, I thought it might befit us to turn our thoughts to the New Year. As I approach the New Year I've been thinking of the tradition of making New Year's resolutions. It seems striking how often the practice of making a New Year's resolution is testimony itself to the perilousness of the resolution itself. If I truly desire to be better, why am I waiting till now to resolve this, and if this is to be a self fulfilled goal, aka loosing weight or being more organized, why do I resolve it at all, and rather “just do it”. For many of us, myself included, the resolution is really a conscience fix. I feel convicted by my lack in some area, and my current inactivity only confirms this lack, so I resolve to fix it. This gives my conscience its temporary relief, without my having to give up chocolate. This of course is not the same kind of resolution Jonathan Edwards made in his famous resolutions on life, but rather a sort of moral credit line, where I draw a balance of unfulfilled self expectation, for the small cost of the compounding interest of self remorse. Many of us struggle with self remorse, regret, and perhaps even superficial self hatred, simply because we have our credit cards run up to the limit.

There are of course many responses to this. The one that seems to be most culturally popular in our time is to declare yourself fulfilled. In essence, to draw the illustration a bit further, to let the card fall into collection, ignore it, and declare yourself rich. This method finds its language in the self esteem movement that swept my generations school years. It is expressed in phrases like: “find your value” “forgive yourself” and “be happy with who you are”. Now these expressions are not necessarily wrong, depending on their context, but they too often come loaded with the presumption that idea itself is enough. The problem is that if I base my image of myself on myself, I will always fail myself, leaving myself in deeper despair than I was before.

I find my resolve must come from some other source. What I need is some complete and utter exchange, a great reversal in which I am made to be what I hope to be. And so it is that my continued resolve comes from the same place as the amazing grace that saved me. The power that gives me the ability to grow, is the same power that awoke my soul. So it is that Christ is our beginning, Christ is our sustenance, and Christ will be our glory. The writer of Hebrews calls him the author and perfecter of our faith. He is the beginning and the end of time, but also the beginning and end of my time.

So how do we actively seize this power?

We don't.

The language of salvation is never that of seizing and claiming, but always of staring and submitting. Listen to the words of the writer of Hebrews as he says in chapter 12 verse 2:

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Fix your eyes on Christ, stare at him, and everything else becomes insignificant in comparison.
This enters into the practical as we ask why we want what we want. Do I want to be more fit? If I do this for my own reasons, to rid myself of my own disgrace, to win some approval from man, I have started the downward cycle of self. If I discard my self focused concerns and stare at Christ, my reasons will become his. I'll seek freedom for his glory, to prove his goodness, and by staring at the cross my resolve won't change, because my object is now outside of myself, and greater than any distraction.

For the New Year, may you loose yourself, despise yourself, forget yourself, and thereby find the inestimable Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A geeky diversion

I've always felt alittle uncertain about the results of quantum mechanics.

Friday, November 6, 2009

5 Phrases Every Christian Show Throw Out

I am a word guy. I love words. I love their power, their beauty. I love how words can paint a more beautiful picture than Michelangelo when they fall upon willing ears. I love how they can shape minds and change the course of history when crafted by a skillful mind. There is not a single great movement of history that was not directly associated with someone's powerful words. Words spoken on a hill before battle in high Scotland, words nailed to a door in Wittenburg, words spoken over an angry crowd of oppressed at the Lincoln Memorial, the dying words of a man on the cross.

These are words that changed the world. They shaped generations by their weight, and in-spite of their brevity. Do you think when Luther nailed his lengthy list of “propositions that will be discussed” to his equivalent of the town bulletin board he thought that many would be killing both in his name, and to stop the spread of his words? Words are keenly potent, even when we may not mean them to be.

Why else would the biblical author James, give so much weight to the danger of our words in the third chapter of his book saying:

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
It is obvious that, bourn on by the Holy Spirit, James thinks words are worth sharp examination.
Do we sharply examine our words. In a day and age when information is constantly available I think our words have grown cheap. Because words are so very prevalent we often don't take the time to think deeply about their implications. However if what the bible says is true, and words are as powerful as it claims, its long since time that we reclaim our words, and make every word count for the kingdom.

Now if that in and of itself is not enough challenge for one night, let me set you up for the coming days. In light of our need to reclaim a Christ centered, bible focused criticism of our own words and the others who describe I've decided to take the coming days to lovingly, but ruthlessly tear apart 5 commonly used Christian phrases that I think are horribly misrepresenting their objects and injuring our goal. Is this nit-picky, pettifogging, splitting hairs? Yes, absolutely. But if we are to speak the truth we have to speak it rightly. Our words have unseen power and we need to make sure it is power for the right. If it is the rudder of the whole ship as James says, then it deserves special attention. In the coming days I'll expound on each, and why it has earned my ire, but for now without further ado five phrases every Christian should throw in the garbage.

“Its not religion”

“traditional and contemporary worship”

“God hates sin but loves the sinner”

“a spirit filled church”

“the emergent movement”

Now that I've insulted everyone at least once for the night, via con Dios.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Past Musings Vol 2: Stop the Alphabetical Opression

Origional publication April 7 2007

Now that I've finaly caved to the pressure and started updating multiple facebook apps. (give me a break they let me have an online bookcase, and be a jedi, how could I refuse) I've found a pointless beef. The music app is "i like" not what I like, I like this stuff, but "i like" as in the, i pod, i mac, i phone, i book, I schmuck etc. A shamless mac plug. Whats next I shoes, the I toilet, perhaps bottle opener. Now don't get me wrong I have no problem with the apple/macintosh computer company as such, I'm too ignorant of computers to have an educated opinion on that age old conflict, however I do want the letter I back.

How long will we allow the very letters of our alphabet to be shamlessly held hostage by big buisness. What if Warner Brothers wanted Q for some reason, would we be willing to just give up on words like Queen, and Quill, making them "Q"-een and "Q"-ill? I wan't I back and I'm not afraid to say it (I think I actualy owe steve jobs $20 in royaltees for that sentence)Its not realy good advertising anyway.

Honestly their marketing department must be incredibly lazy. Let me give you a senario."Hey guys we got a new product, we want to name""Oh cool whats it do""Well pretty much everything, it surfs the internet, keeps your schedule, tracks your stocks, and tells your future""cool""So what do you thing we should name it""umm... I thingy""thats incredible""thats I-credible sir"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Past Musings- Vol 1- If I don't live to see tomorow

For the comming days I'll be posting past blog posts in an effort to aquaint you with the journey I've taken. I believe there are worthwhile nuggets contained in the comming passages, however you may have to forgive the poor spelling and delivery of a young man. If nothing else, feed your nostagia.

If I don't live to see tomorow
Originally Published : Monday, January 1, 2007 at 2:11am

I'm not realy sure who reads these notes. Granted if the comments are any indication, not many, that is unless I say something, provocking, brash, stupid, or all of the above. However I cannot look back on 2006 on this newyears day without saying this in every media I posses. As I prepared for the new year, I played a board game wherein the object was to guess what other people think of you. An intriguing concept I assure you. What I found was no suprise I am sure. Many times people saw through me, peicing deeper in to my heart then I thought possible, often on a whim, or Joke, cutting to the quick. And yet even more often, their realisations only scraped the surface passing over so much more I had wanted them to see. I am drawn to wonder, how often have I misrepresented myself to those around me, without even trying, they might never know the real me.

Deep within the core of who I am, there is something I do not want you to miss. I beg, I implore you to take notice of it. It simply is what I am, without it I have no reason to live. It both powers and difines me, and yet is greater than I am. Simply my faith in christ. I know many dismis this as a drug of weakness, and I have spent a great part of my time and intelect on defending the truth,the logical defensibility of the diety. But quite simply at the end of the day, you need to know that all the logical and yes even scientific proofs of God are only the evidnence of what is still taking place. As the weather vane scientificaly proves the wind, so does loosing yourself to the gale.

I almost wince to say it. If you know me, you know I stink. I feel that by taking the name of christ I drag it through my mud. I am the greatest of failures, yet that is what makes christ amazing. He has taken even my shame. I am not good enough for his heaven, none of us are. If God is good, he must do what is right, Justice, is for me to die. Christ took that Justice, and by him I live, but it is more than that, he lives in me. I wish I had time to speak with all who read this note.

It is simply the most important thing I could ever say to you. Time is short, we have been given another year, don't bet that you'll have another. Seek the lord while he may yet be found.

Why Should You Care What I Say?

I suppose the simple answer would be you shouldn't. I have no particular qualifications, nor can I claim prodigious skill as a writer. In fact for many months I couldn't bring myself to write regularly for public consumption simply because I know the world is filled with words. Everyday empty people write empty words to be spread around only to provide a greater diversity of disguise for their emptiness. I am afraid that too many days I am one of those empty people. There are so many others who have so much more to offer, who I feel are too often over looked. Too often having failed to fill with Christ I too have nothing real to offer, and I have no desire for people to be filling their emptiness with my empty words.

Yet something else compelled me to finally break my silence and start writing again. Perhaps it is vain ambition. Perhaps it is simply the need for self assurance, but part of my build up needs to communicate. It longs to hear and be heard. I have been far too blessed of God to be silent about what he shows me. I have no special insight beyond my simple God given uniqueness of perspective as one of his children. What I do have is the word of God, and the ability to write.
Why should you care what I say? Perhaps you shouldn't. But perhaps God has brought you to this humble blog for some reason, even if that reason be to set me straight. I only hope if you do chose to read these words, that they always compel you to investigate the word of God in a deeper way, that we all may grow in deeper understanding of him.

It was once said to me that telling others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is like one Beggar telling another where to find bread. And in such spirit I invite you to the Beggars Market.