Oct 212012
 

On our own, we conclude that there is not enough to go around

we are going to run short

of money

of love

of grades

of publications

of sex

of beer

of members

of years

of life

we should seize the day…

seize the goods…

seize our neighbor’s goods

because there is not enough to go around

and in the midst of our perceived deficit;

You come

You come giving bread in the wilderness

You come giving children at the 11th hour

You come giving homes to the exiles

You come giving futures to the shut-down

You come giving Easter joy to the dead

You come … fleshed … in Jesus

And we watch while

the blind receive their sight

the lame walk

the lepers are cleansed

the deaf hear

the dead are raised

the poor dance and sing.

We watch … and we take

food we did not grow and

life we did not invent and

future that is gift and gift and gift and

families and neighbors who sustain us

when we do not deserve it.

It dawns on us, late rather than soon, that

You give food in due season

you open your hand

and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

By your giving,

break our cycles of imagined scarcity

override our presumed deficits

quiet our anxieties of lack

transform our perceptual field to see

the abundance…mercy upon mercy

blessing upon blessing.

Sink your generosity deep into our lives

that your much-ness may expose our false lack

that endlessly receiving, we may endlessly give,

so that the world may be made Easter new,

without greedy lack, but only wonder

without coercive need, but only love

without destructive greed, but only praise

without aggression and evasiveness…

all things Easter new…

all around us, toward us and by us

all things Easter new.

Finish your creation…

in wonder, love and praise. Amen.

Walter Brueggemann

Oct 182012
 

Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

Better late than never. I did not even know it was Thursday!

 Posted by at 5:53 pm
Oct 172012
 

From Puzzletop

“Yo, pp family! Erunner is in bad shape. He has been in bed for a day and a half and is passing kidney stones. He is feeling anxious, abandoned and a Christian failure. Keep our brother in prayer right now. Thanks. Pzz”

 Posted by at 10:43 pm
Oct 162012
 

I had a very disturbing conversation with a very intelligent  person yesterday.

She informed me that she was waiting anxiously for her mail in ballot so she could vote against the President.

 

Not knowing her to be political in the least I asked why she was so eager to place her vote.

She gave me the following reasons:

1. He’s going to microchip us.

2. He’s not a citizen.

3. He could be a Muslim terrorist.

4. He won’t salute the flag.

5. He gave away part of Alaska.

6. He’s allowed illegal Mexicans to flood over the border.

My pointing out that he’s deported more people than any President in recent memory along with other refutations fell on closed, angry ears.

I was honestly stunned that anyone would actually believe this litany of falsehoods and half truths, but more stunned with the question that followed.

“How can we know what is true and what isn’t”?

I didn’t have an answer…there is no unimpeachable source for news anymore.

I’m not nearly as afraid of either candidate as I am about how we receive and process information in the Internet age.

How can we make free and informed choices without facts and how can we remain free when we are so easily manipulated by falsehoods in the various media by both sides?

Do Christians have a greater responsibility to be careful of the truth than others?

Who do you trust for information…who don’t you?

Oct 152012
 

1. I started teaching the book of Hosea yesterday. The first thing that happens in the book is that God tells the prophet to go marry a whore. If this happened at First Baptist down the street there may be an issue. Never judge the work of God by outward appearances…you don’t know what God has called someone else to do.

 

2. When you teach Hosea, you teach about the sin of idolatry. Every time I’ve heard a teaching about idolatry I’ve left feeling guilty because I loved my family or friends more than I loved God and I needed to love them less so God could be #1. That was a lie from the pit of hell. The cure for idolatry isn’t loving others less, it’s learning to grow in the love of God.

3. We are as steeped in idolatry on micro and macro levels today as were the people of Israel. Furthermore, if you want to really understand this book cross out where it says Israel and write in “the church”. Consumerism, abortion, and porn are just modern ways for us to dance naked around the Ashteroth pole.

4. My remaining cat refuses to do anything remarkable or interesting, thus ruining my literary career.

5. John Calvin and a number of other commentators on Hosea go to great lengths to make a case that God really didn’t ask Hosea to marry a whore because God just wouldn’t do that…even though the text couldn’t be clearer. We’ve tried since the Reformation to “clean up” the earthy, real parts of Scripture to meet our standards of piety. When we do so, we mangle Scripture and lie about both God and ourselves.

6. I’ve come to the conclusion that this election has become a form of diversionary entertainment for some people…a sport for people who don’t like football.

7. One of the ways I defined an idol is “anything or anyone you would not be able to bless God for taking”… then hugged my boy really tightly.

8. Summer is officially over here in Southern Oregon and we’ve entered our third season…”wet”.

9. If we’re all broke, why is it impossible to find an iPhone 5 to buy?

10. Keep praying…and thank you.

Oct 142012
 

We are a people with many words and much talk:

creeds and
ads and
propaganda and
slogans and
sound bytes.

We keep listening among these words for comfort,
and we find ourselves made
anxious by the cacophony.

And then – the din is broken;
You speak and we enter the zone of address.

You speak and we are called by name.
You name and we are summoned –
summoned, commanded, sent.

We hear and cringe and pause…
overwhelmed by mandate.
We listen and you speak again:
you utter words of presence,
promises of protection,
assurances of solidarity.

We breathe easier, still afraid,
but on our way, at risk, not alone.

Give us good ears in these days,
that we may hear the mandate
and listen for assurance.

That even such as us may speak you well,
you in your sovereignty,
you in your fidelity,
you in your sadness,
and in your newness.

Let your word be fleshed through our tongues and
on our lips,
that our fleshed verbiage may truly echo
your word made flesh via Nazareth.

Walter Brueggemann

Oct 132012
 

It’s all yours today.

If you’re in Southern California and dont feel like blogging, you can head over to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and watch the anti-Obama movie.

We can add Democrats to Calvinists and emergents as those not welcome under the dove…

For the record I think the IRS code against politics in the pulpit is unconstitutional, but I also believe that this is beneath the calling of the church.

I’ll be praying for you folks during my work day…thank you again for your prayers and support.

Oct 112012
 

““My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

(Hebrews 12:5–11 ESV)

The one thing I wanted to succeed at more than any other thing was to be a good father.

It was, and is, the single most important thing a man can be.

I have failed…if not completely, at least in part.

It is not for lack of trying or lack of love…if you know me you know how hard I try and how much I love that boy.

I have given him everything I possibly could…my time, my resources, my whole life is invested in him.

There has been something else though, that I have withheld from him…something that signifies love as much as anything else I could give him.

Discipline.

Children with Aspergers have low self images and are prone to feeling deeply alienated from others.

I tried to overcome this and in the process became overindulgent and I neglected needed discipline.

The Bible says that despite my best intentions, I didn’t treat him as a son should be treated.

I didn’t act in wisdom and now we are reaping the whirlwind.

Now, the Lord is disciplining me as I am learning to discipline my son.

It hurts.

It hurts really bad.

My failures have hurt not only myself, but the one I wanted to keep from hurt the most…and the rest of the family as well.

Some of you, like me, have made some really bad decisions and you’re being disciplined for them.

You’re hurting too.

Know this…

You’re forgiven.

Our Fathers discipline isn’t punitive, it’s rehabilitative.

We’re not being punished, we’re being changed.

You’re still breathing, thus there is hope.

Our Father is wise…and through this discipline He is showing us that we belong to Him and that we mean enough to Him to correct us.

His love will never leave us, but this time of discipline will pass and leave us in peace and more ready for home.

We will always be the beloved children of the Father…this season of pain is proof of His love.

As always…make your own application.

Oct 112012
 

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

Another that I agree with 100%.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Is this essential? Is it at least essential in understanding salvation? As always, go where you like with this one.

I am continually blessed by the discussions on these articles. They help me work out my own understanding immensely.

 Posted by at 4:07 am
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