Looking for contact with God can sometimes seem to be an arduous task. Often we expect something direct – a clear pathway opening up between God and ourselves, like the wrestling Jacob, the law receiving Moses, or the barren Sarah; yet are disappointed when this does not usually take place. Perhaps our vision would improve if we began to reflect on the indirect ways in which God, through nature, the trustworthy other, and Scripture, can create conduits bridging the distance that we may be experiencing. Being attuned to the manifestation of God through these configurations opens us up to new ways of seeing and perceiving the multifarious touching points between us and the great and mysterious I Am.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013
Having significant roles to play in belonging to the drama of creation and salvation is both a task and a joy. Thankfully, God illumines the path so that we can give valid testimony to his existence and redemption, as we work for and rejoice in his kingdom project to renew us and the world.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Christian truth is something like a complex web of fragile inter-related connections and relations that stretch, but do not break. When truth is pictured in such a reality-image, it allows us a flexibility to explore new possibilities without the fear that if we find more truth, everything we have previously embraced and believed will disintegrate. Not so. I would wager that during our journey some strands will come undone and have to be re-joined elsewhere, while others are going to be innovative and expand the web to another dimension, as it takes on greater intricacy, verve, and splendor.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Many people today are caught in a commitment phobia syndrome. They have a difficult time knowing who and what to trust or be suspicious of. True, because of human limitations there will be appropriate places where it is almost impossible to decide which is which. This is a complicated scenario and frequently produces a stalemate for them. But, when it comes to God, self, other, and world there will also be perspectives that are more or less trustworthy. In some contexts, suspicion will carry greater weight and trust less, yet in others trust will be stronger and suspicion weaker. If this is the case, which seems likely, it means two things are true at the same time. Even though trust and suspicion may sometimes cancel each other out, they do not always do so. If they did, all interpretations would be equal and we would be perpetually stuck; unable of building on anything, having convictions, or confidence in what we know and believe. In fact, so often today, ironically, a trust and suspicion stand-off functions as a metanarrative – a totalizing point of view – that people can end up being committed to without recognizing it. But this is absurd. There are no complete or comprehensive narratives. Furthermore, no one really lives this way. Metanarrative is an illusion. Sliding scales of trust and suspicion are unavoidable. We’re just those kinds of selves, who live in that kind of world.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Capacity for contact. We’re hard wired for connection with God. But this becomes distorted and mired in self-deception. Think of this along the lines of trust, desire, and imagination. We don’t choose these – they’re just part of who we are. In contrast, we do find ourselves with a choice of whom and what to trust, desire, and imagine. This is where our hard wiring gets short circuited. We choose the wrong who’s and what’s and trust idols over the living God. Graciously, God has set in motion a rescue plan – redemption – that will re-connect our short circuits and take us toward new contact with him.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Forgiving others for the deep wounds they have caused in our lives is something that takes time to grow into. But recall that we are beings in time. We exist in and through past, present, and future. Thus, we should not expect instantaneous resolutions. God is patient with us. Forgiving, then, may be a long process and hopefully it will be one that we are challenged to take more seriously as each day goes by.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Being and becoming Jesus’ follower, according to Mark 8, means to deny self and take up a cross. This does not mean to be a zero, nobody, or nothing, but to set aside self-centered interests, especially with regard to our own messianic ideologies. To do so is cross taking and following Jesus. Self-denial then is denying a particular self – a self-consumed self, a self-sufficient self, a selfish self, which all amount to a false self. Not sure there is anything more radical than this. Breathtaking! Appropriate self-denial makes sense and has the ring of truth, as opposed to the deception that we so often see in the contemporary context, which suggests that a total refusal of self is necessary for following Jesus. On the contrary, God actually wants selves to show up and be accounted for. The question is: who will be present?