Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Unsocial Media


We have visited the comic strip, Sherman's Lagoon, before, and it's time again to thank Jim Toomey for this bit-o-truth.


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Truth is...while this is funny, it's also not funny.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Glimpse of "A Glimpse..."


Allow me to present an appetizer platter of worthwhile nuggets from Brennan Manning's book, A Glimpse of Jesus: The Stranger to Self-hatred.




  • [Quoting Bernard Bush] I hope it is clear that feelings of guilt, accompanied by anxiety, fear and restlessness, arise from deep within ourselves and are not an accurate gauge of the state of our souls before God. We cannot assume that he feels about us the way we feel about ourselves, unless we love ourselves intensely and freely.
  • Salvation cannot be earned or merited but only humbly and gratefully received as a loving gift from the Father's hand.
  • As in any lovers' quarrel, the making-up not only absolves the past but brings a new depth of trust and security to the relationship. There is more power in sharing our weaknesses than in sharing our strengths....The sinful and repentant prodigal son experienced an intimacy and joy with his Father in his brokenness that his sinless self-righteous brother would never know.
  • I heard Jesus say, "For love of you I left my Father's side. I came to you who ran from me, who fled me, who did not want to hear my name. For love of you I was covered with spit, punched and beaten, and fixed to the wood of the cross."
  • Because the mystery of iniquity lurks on the landscape and the power of sin waxes strong within us, we may come to the Lord bucking, screaming, and kicking. The self dies a slow death; the resistance to the Spirit remains real. The readiness to relinquish everything is more a painful process than a mystical zap. "We are accustomed to imagining the experience of conversion or sudden call to grace as an 'Oh, joy!' phenomenon," write Scott Peck. "In my experience,...at the moment we finally listen to the call we may say, 'O thank you, Lord', or we may say, 'O Lord, I am not worthy', or we may say, 'O $#*!, do I have to?'"
  • Recognition of the problem is not the answer. Action is.
  • The Word of God calls into being a faith-community characterized by unity without uniformity. Jesus is the way, but his light is refracted in myriad ways by multiple personalities.

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Truth is...one final quote sums up the whole book: "The first step in liberation from self-hatred is to move from the darkness of self-delusion into the daylight of God's truth."

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Meism


I was recently struck with the realization that I am totally egocentric when it comes to the pop culture of my upbringing.

What I mean is, I don't recall being 25 or 30 and having people express shock and dismay if I didn't have a working knowledge of Glenn Miller's discography or couldn't recall a particular Milton Berle routine. And yet, I find myself surprised when I have to introduce Jim Croce or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to some young adult today.


And then, while I was in the midst of contemplating this phenomenon, I read an article by Scott Riggan titled "Are We Not Entertained?" The gist of its focus goes like this:

We approach our selection of a church with the same criteria we approach everything else: does it meet my needs? It seems like a reasonable metric, right? After all, if a restaurant doesn’t offer food to your taste, you don’t go back. If you can’t find the clothes you like at a particular store, you won’t shop there again. So it’s not a stretch for us – as consumers – to expect our church to provide programming that clicks for us. A preacher that we agree with – and whose teaching style appeals to us. Music that we like. We expect our church to conform to our preferences.

Riggan says a lot more, and does a good job of balancing the challenging and empathizing aspects of his concept. It's a short article, and I encourage you to CLICK HERE to read the whole thing.

Truth is...Beloved has been trying to get me to see my personal culture-centric issue for quite some time, and I owe her an apology, but the bigger issue here is remembering that worship is not about me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Do You Still Not Get It?"


Sometimes, a question is just a question, but other times, it's a swift kick right where you need it.

Mark 8:16-21 (The Message)

The disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus overheard and said, “Why are you fussing because you forgot bread? Don’t you see the point of all this? Don’t you get it at all? Remember the five loaves I broke for the five thousand? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?”

They said, “Twelve.”

“And the seven loaves for the four thousand—how many bags full of leftovers did you get?”

“Seven.”


He said, “Do you still not get it?”


From my journal, December 21, 2000

Jesus put the question to His closest followers: "Do you still not get it?"  -  And He can ask me the same thing today, I'm sure.

"I've fed thousands from just a little, and had more leftovers than I had to begin with. I've walked on water. I've stopped a raging storm dead in its tracks, just by saying so. I've rekindled lost passion. I've moved you from comfort and familiarity until the new became comfortable and familiar...am I not capable of managing your every need? Both now and into the future?"

Truth is...Of course You are, Lord. You are able. I need only to trust and obey.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

When E. F. Hutton Speaks...


Am I the only one here old enough to remember the E. F. Hutton commercials?

The scene would be a busy restaurant or a tennis match. Two people would be having a semi-private conversation, and one would say to the other, "Well, my broker is E. F. Hutton, and he says-" at which point, all other activity and noise would immediately stop and everyone's attention would be focused; intent on hearing the sage advice of E. F. Hutton. "When E. F. Hutton speaks, people listen."


I had an E. F. Hutton kind of moment recently while reading A Glimpse of Jesus, by Brennan Manning. When one of your favorite writers chooses to pass along a lengthy quote from "the most important book [he's] read outside the Bible"  -  a book that "has revolutionized [his] understanding of Christ and the meaning of Christian discipleship"  -  it might be a good idea to pay attention.

Hence, this excerpt from On Being a Christian, by Hans Kung.

The church of Jesus Christ is a home not only for the morally upright but for the moral failures and for those who for a variety of reasons have not been able to honor denominational teaching. The Church is a healing community proclaiming the Father's indiscriminate love and unconditional grace, offering pardon, reconciliation and salvation to the down-trodden and leaving the judgment to God.

A Church that will not accept the fact that it consists of sinful men and exists for sinful men becomes hard-hearted, self-righteous, inhuman. It deserves neither God's mercy nor men's trust. But if a Church with a history of fidelity and infidelity, of knowledge and error, takes seriously the fact that it is only in God's Kingdom that the wheat is separated from the tares, good fish from bad, sheep from goats, a holiness will be acknowledged in it by grace which it cannot create for itself.

Such a Church is then aware that it has no need to present a spectacle of higher morality to society, as if everything in it were ordered to the best. It is aware that its faith is weak, its knowledge dim, its profession of faith halting, that there is not a single sin or failing which it has not in one way or another been guilty of. And though it is true that the Church must always dissociate itself from sin, it can never have any excuse for keeping any sinners at a distance. If the Church self-righteously remains aloof from failures, irreligious and immoral people, it cannot enter justified into God's kingdom. But if it is constantly aware of its guilt and sin, it can live in joyous awareness of forgiveness. The promise has been given to it that anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.

Truth is...forgiveness and grace are a messy business, and it's good to have close companions along the way. That's what I call Church, and that's what I wish for each person reading these words.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's-Day-A-Phobia


Ah...Valentine's Day...chalk-like hearts with two-word phrases, boxes of chocolates, bouquets of flowers, infinite opportunities to disappoint...

Yes, there are a lot of traditions associated with today's festivities. And if a fellow feels like he has to live up to expectations, there's a lot of pressure.

Well, here's a little more.


What does or doesn't happen today...or on ANY single day...is not nearly as important as how you treat your spouse throughout the whole year. Which is why I've chosen today to direct you to a post from July 8, 2013 titled Homo Sapien Husbandry.

It started like this:
You've heard of animal husbandry, I'm sure. Well, this is like that, only specifically about being a human husband. There are certain things that I think every man who is married ought to know and do. Just in case you were wondering, here they are:

To read the rest, CLICK HERE.

Truth is...perfect love casts out all fear (I John 4:18), but only God's love is perfect. I still have to work on mine and how I show it.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

5,000 People; All Glad I'm Not Jesus


It's been said before..."There is a God, and you're not Him." Well, I just read a journal entry of mine from December 2000 that indicates what a good thing it is I'm not.


RE: Mark 6:30-44
So...the apostles get back from their preaching tours and Jesus wants to get away with just the 12 for a restful break. They sail across to the other shore and are met by a crowd of thousands.

The next phrase is a telling truth that points out a major difference between Jesus and me: "At the sight of them, his heart broke  -  like sheep without a shepherd they were."

Had it been me, I would have felt exasperation bordering on anger...anything but compassion. And they definitely would have been on their own for supper!

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Truth is...If the truth were known, all would clearly see I've still got such a long way to go.