Nov 252013
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. Of all the betrayals of trust I’ve endured as a supporter of President Obama, none is more egregious than leaving an American citizen a prisoner of a totalitarian regime. That is inexplicable and inexcusable.

2. Carl Trueman once again writes brilliantly about the celebrity culture of the American church. The only thing that would add to that brilliance would be if he placed the blame for that culture where it belongs…on the throngs that create the celebrities in the first place.

3. If Pastor Saeed Abedini were a good looking young agnostic the outcry to free him and the outrage that he hasn’t been already would be overwhelming.

4. Not only will I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving, I will not patronize any establishment that opens on the holiday for the rest of the year. Go and do likewise.

5. My favorite Christmas song? Why don’t you just ask about my favorite dental procedure?

6. Thanksgiving, however, I love. You can fully participate for the cost of a turkey and a grateful heart.

7. If C.S. Lewis were alive today he would be as reviled as Rick Warren and by the same people.

8. I’m learning from my son how to talk to my Father. Fearlessly, with expectation, in complete confidence of unconditional love.

9. If questions about your faith upset you, that’s a pretty good indication that you’re not sure about your answers…

10. Defending pastors on the basis of shared doctrine rather than biblical character is at the root of abuse issues in the church today.

 

 

Nov 232013
 

thumbnail.aspxThe pattern of faith and life is clear enough among us.

You give and we receive,

You give and overwhelm us and we receive,

You give far more abundantly than we can ask, or imagine … and we receive.

You give life and breath to the world and we receive.

 

You give miracles of deliverance and newness, and we receive.

You give rain and sunshine and food, and we receive.

You give yourself in this strange Jesus, and we receive.

You take and bless and break and give, and we receive … nourished, quenched.

You give and sometimes we are among the tenth that thanks:

thanks with our words;

thanks with our study;

thanks with our money;

thanks with our lives;

our abiding thanks,

gratitude transient when contrasted with your abiding gifts.

Amen.
Walter Brueggemann;Anna Carter Florence. Inscribing the Text: Sermons and Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (Kindle Locations 403-406). Kindle Edition.

Nov 232013
 

istock_000015991944mediumIt’s all yours today…

Some of you have asked how the ACA rollout is doing in Oregon…it isn’t.

They did send me an email telling me I’m running out of time to register…I sent them one back, but it’s contents aren’t printable.

Wonderful new article from Sarah…

Nov 222013
 

MustRead-300x230I interrupt this column to direct your attention to your far right…and my first real ad.

Now, then…

Jason has an excellent new article up…

Sarah does too…

Plagiarism runs in the Driscoll family….

Nov 222013
 

imagesTrey had become fascinated with Native American culture and this was an opportunity for him to experience a hint of it in person.

It was a one day fair at the V.A. where Native American veterans would display their heritage and their faith.

It was only moments after we entered the yurt that the medicine man engaged with Trey…the child’s evident curiosity was a welcome canvas for him to paint on.

He began with the creation story…how the Creator came to the mountain top and became a bear  and walked down the mountain on his hind legs, becoming a man on his descent.

After that, he taught us about the sweat lodge and the tools and rituals his people used in worship.

The pipe, of course, with the natural herbs and tobacco smoked in it, along with an eagle feather, bear claws and other symbols of their faith.

Most fascinating to Trey was the “talking stick”.

Once inside the sweat lodge after the purification rituals they pass around a carved and feathered stick…and every word said while holding the stick must be truthful.

It’s the Native American equivalent of swearing on the Bible…and quite useful for settling disputes.

The medicine man then pulled out his “healing stone”, a well worn rock he used in prayers for physical healing and at the time of death to help guide the dying persons spirit to the other side.

He concluded his demonstration and after we looked over some of the native crafts and clothes, we thanked our hosts and left.

I expected that Trey would have a hundred questions.

He only had one.

“Is he going to hell”?

There had been no mention of Christ, no cross,no blood, no forgiveness of sin, was seen among the tools or mentioned in the rituals.

“Is he”?

I mumbled something about grace and mercy and how we should make our own “talking stick”…

Make your own application…

Nov 212013
 

Kennedy-450x219November 22, 1963 class was interrupted by the intercom announcement. “President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas and has been pronounced dead.”

 

 

The fourth grade classroom in Clinton, Mississippi exploded in gasps, tears, and yes, cheers.

We cheered.

Some even gleefully said “the n-lover is dead!”

Yes it sounds horrific, 9 year olds rejoicing in the murder of the president of the United States. If I bring it up in a group of peers everyone agrees it was unforgivable and horrible. Everyone heard it but no one seems to have done it. But I remember clearly… guilty as charged. Time has not erased the memory nor has it expunged the sting.

Kennedy was a Yankee, he was a Catholic, he was a Democrat, his family was rich from questionable means.  He stole the election from Nixon in 1960 and he betrayed the anticommunists at the Bay of Pigs. The standoff with Nikita Khrushchev was all his fault.

He was everything we hated…everything.

“Those damn Kennedys think they rule the world.” We were Rebels, Johnny Rebs, we listened to Rebel Radio, we cheered for the Ole Miss Rebels, we flew a Rebel flag. Some of us didn’t even like Mickey Mantle because he played for a team called Yankees. At nine we were still playing with plastic soldiers carefully setting them up in battle scenes and blowing them to pieces with fireworks. But in our battles the Yankees never won, Pickett’s charge prevailed. Vicksburg never surrendered. The mythology was strong, “the South will rise again!”

Gray was our color, but life was black and white. Everything was neatly arranged and little signs warned you not to transgress. The water fountain at the zoo had a sign, “white only,” another announced “colored.” The bathrooms were likewise, “white” and “colored.” Restaurants served whites in the front but set up tables for coloreds in the storerooms. The state fair was for the whites except on Friday night, that was set apart for the ‘colored folk.’ Everything was black and white, it was all very clear and everyone knew their place. It was important to stay in your place. This is the way it was, the way it had always been, the way it should be. No one really said it, but the implication was pretty clear. Contact was dangerous and defiling. Yes we all went to Sunday School and read about the lepers, the Samaritans and the prejudice but we didn’t see a connection. It was different. Right? Fear is strong but so reasonable, so practical.

1962 was fresh in our minds. Ole Miss was invaded by Federal troops. JFK sent Yankee, troops to the Rebel campus to force integration. James Meredith enrolled in Ole Miss. Despite the promises and efforts of Governor Ross Barnett the President of the United States had sent guns to subdue us. Not since the Civil War had Union troops occupied our land. His actions created more problems than they solved as we saw it. They incited riots, people died. On top of it all our beloved Ole Miss Rebel football team sailed to an undefeated season. Yankee prejudice kept them from a national title. Such was the narrative in our black and white world.

That fourth grade classroom was white. JFK was black, dark, sinister and he needed to go. Now he was gone. You’re damn right we were glad. At nine you are very clear about such things. What followed was a long grizzly weekend of TV coverage. The mood of the nation did not reflect that schoolroom scene. The days unfolded slowly like a horse drawn cart in a funeral procession. They climaxed with a small son and a salute. A little boy’s tribute to a fallen father.

Those weekend images challenged the mythology, black and white values began to vanish. Who was this man whose death we celebrated?  And who was that nine year old boy?  I remember them clearly, very clearly, both are gone now. Gone too is that black and white world, and the longing for gray revival.

Fifty years have passed.

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, this 59 year old man salutes you, mourns your untimely death and cheers your life.

Nov 212013
 

MustRead-300x230Sarah on Advent…

A great word from the great Matt Redmond…

In case you missed it…Noelle hit a home run in her first at bat…

Nobody understands Driscoll and Mars Hill like Wenatchee the Hatchet…

Janet Mefford just slays Driscoll on Youtube…

Nov 212013
 

Slide1We’ve talked a lot about spiritual gifts in the wake of John MacArthurs “Strange Fire” debacle.

What we haven’t talked about are our own gifts and the ones we believe God is using in our own lives through others in the Body.

What’s your spiritual gift?

I have my own take on this…I believe God gives the gifts as they are needed day by day, thus one person could walk in many of the gifts in their lifetime.

I think I have done that far more than having one gift that characterizes my “ministry”.

Your turn.. what is your gift(s)?

Which ones do you covet?

Nov 202013
 

Two of my best friends in life have new blog articles out…

The Small Rain

Heavy for the Vintage

Add one more friend and another read…

More Than Coping…with a gripping story about schizophrenia.

Go and readeth…

Nov 202013
 

week7-thumb-1Prayer…is frustrating.

I’ve written too much on my own frustrations in this area, but I had a minor epiphany of sorts the other day.

Oddly enough, the epiphany came through reading the Psalms and what I learned I’m going to share in hope that it may help you as well.

We need to learn to “lament“.

 

Many of the Psalms are this sort of prayer…Psalm 102 describes itself perfectly, “A PRAYER OF ONE AFFLICTED, WHEN HE IS FAINT AND POURS OUT HIS COMPLAINT BEFORE THE LORD.”

I think many of us fit that description…

The part that was an epiphany was understanding that by the time the writer cranked out an inspired psalm he had already been praying about the situation at hand and watched it deteriorate as he did.

“How long, Lord…how long”?

Now, that “resonates” with me.

How do we pray like the psalmist when things threaten to overwhelm and overcome us?

These prayers have a basic structure that we can replicate in our own prayers.

  1. They are prayed…addressed to… spoken to…God. If you’re going to complain, complain to someone who can do something about your complaint. When we invoke God’s name we know that we are speaking to the one through whom all things are possible.
  2. Tell Him where it hurts, tell him what you need and why you need it. Now is not the time to sound spiritual, now is the time to pour out your heart. Don’t hold back.
  3. Ask Him to do what only He can do…answer the prayer. If you could answer it yourself, you already would have. Acknowledge that He alone is your hope in the matter.
  4. Remind Him of why He should answer you…He’s your dad and He promised.
  5. Promise to praise Him for who He is and what He will do.
  6. Thank Him for hearing you…and thank Him as if He’s already answered.

Now, using that bible based structure…write out your own lamentation.

Read what psalmists before you have written as a model if need be… Ps. 3,  Ps.22, Ps.57, Ps.139 and the one I’m using, Ps.102

Write it as if it were going to be immediately Fed Exed to the throne of grace…because in spiritual terms it is.

I would suggest that you actually write it out…so you get it all out of you and into Him.

Save it as a testimony, a memorial stone if you will, to come back too when you need hope for the next crisis and need to write the next lamentation of your soul.

There will be a next time..

Let me know if this was helpful and if any want to share their own examples, that would help us all.

 

 

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