Indictments of the supposed guardians of orthodoxy proliferate throughout the Scriptures. Prophets are continually speaking God’s word to a faithless people who set aside his commands for their own benefit. Jesus is even more to the point with his sarcastic irony towards the religious elite of his day concerning the pretense of washing hands to be clean. Pseudo-orthodoxy called for ceremonial washing before eating. Jesus says this is an absurd charade because it leaves the heart uncleansed. Those today that wave the banner of “we’re orthodox and you’re not,” need to seriously consider where their hearts are, rather than inspecting the hands of everyone else.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
Having our life story re-narrated from a redemptive perspective won’t make the sordid past go away, but it will provide us with a new way of looking at it and its capacity to negatively impact the present. Redeeming memories, through Christ and the power of the Spirit, is one of the ways we are brought into community with the God who lives. And in this community we are sheltered, comforted, and loved so that we in turn might shelter, comfort, and love others.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
When we assume that everything is headed for destruction, we reject the value of God’s creation. It becomes misused, misunderstood, depleted, and torn apart. All manners of disfiguration blot out creation’s capacity to praise God. Some Christians believe destruction is God’s way with the created, so why care for the planet? Go ahead. Let it go. It’s all headed for the flames anyways. But, this is not the case. For the intensity of redemption precipitates transformation now and then fully at the end of the age. We want, therefore, to promote the worth of the created, and in this way enable creation to give praise to the infinite personal One who created it, even as it too awaits a final and glorious destiny ahead.
Monday, July 15, 2013
It doesn’t seem to make much sense that God would be angry or threatened when humans accomplish good things. After all, this is one of the chief reasons why we exist. In fact, a key feature of the creational mandate is that humans would step forward and represent God in this manner. When we do this well, as evidently sometimes happens, God should not mind. He may even applaud the accomplishment with both hands. Well done! But I guess we’re not quite sure what to do with this possibility. Usually, we’re told that it is inappropriate to value what we accomplish. Part of the logic of this view is that when we accomplish something good, it can lead to arrogance or idolatry. Yet, I would want to argue that while this is sometimes the case, it isn’t necessarily so. That is, we do have other options. Take this example. Keep accomplishing good, but steer clear of arrogance and idolatry. When we do so, we partially fulfill our Creator’s call. This means there seems to be a place and space to see our accomplishments of good as valuable, without them turning into something that is anti-God.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Christians should not reject creation. In other words, we are to explore, care for, and sustain the planet. This is truly living spirituality: to engage our environment in service to God and one another. Since God has not surrendered creation and humanity to desolation, decay, or ultimate death, neither should we resign ourselves to dying forms of spirituality that have no capacity to redeem and renew the created.
From Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
We are humans, not machines.
Monday, July 8, 2013
Breaking down the familiar is hard work. We get so used to what we’re empirically bombarded with that it tends to crowd out any other options. That is, an actual world immersion can deprive us of a possible world vision, which goes far beyond what the literal eye can see. Yet, the real world will always be a hybrid of the two.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Tragedy blows through us, disorients our gaze, and leaves us suffering. Groping becomes our sphere of momentary orientation, as we sink into a sense of desperation and helplessness. Aiming to think correctly and practically in this realm is shattered and even space offers us no escape from ourselves and the deeply frustrating experience of loss. Yet, as genuine a dilemma as this is, we are not allowed to dwell in resignation and passivity. Life itself, as configured by the Creator, forces us into and towards a re-orientation mode, where we start to grapple in the darkness with the response of tragic wisdom, as most fully expressed in the Crucified and Risen One. While a configured life and tragic wisdom will not resolve all our conflicts, they offer a fragile, but true conviction and experience that directs us on into the future with hope.
Monday, July 1, 2013
Living spiritually is enhanced and enriched through the Psalms and their frequent affirmations of and appeals to God’s covenant loyalty. Many of these writings, however, may shock us with their realism. In the midst of our sometimes automatic pilot spirituality, where everything is supposedly bright and happy, some of the Psalms remind us that community with God and the path to life are far from straight forward. There is and will be brokenness, mystery, dark times, judgment, desperate searching, and much more. Though these circumstances frequently lead to illumination and new understanding, arriving there means going through—not taking a detour around—facets of spirituality that may not fit our desired schemes, notions, and expectations of God. In other words, the path may sometimes become difficult and the destination may seem far away, but the hope remains that God will be faithful to lead us forward. The Psalms are a richly textured slice of life with God, and they offer us revelatory insights into humanness and living spirituality. From the New Revised Edition of Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.