I hope the 50 or so Reflections of the Week and other posts in 2013 have been helpful, challenging, and spiritually illuminating. A special thanks to you all for taking time to ponder the thoughts expressed here and for your support of my work. Be blessed in Christ.
Monday, December 30, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
There is a broad plurality of recounting in the biblical text. The Torah, for example, expresses law as both the way of life and the road to death. The Gospels portray Jesus going to Jerusalem both once and many times. And in Acts, there are no less than three stories of Paul’s encounter with the Crucified and Risen One. Seems to me, we want to envision this sort of phenomena as a testimony to a variety of sub-plots that find their place in the over-arching plot of God being One God; the Creator, who is out to redeem Israel, humanity, and the world through the Messiah. Think of this rich relation and distinction between sub-plots and plot as something like a masterful symphony, where many musicians are coherently interpreting and playing different parts of the same piece of music in a majestic way.
Friday, December 20, 2013
One of the realities of grace means that we cannot assume that where we are in our spiritual journey of faith is going to be good for the other.
Posted by Greg at 2:36 PM
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Unrealistic expectations and inordinate fears of rejection will be detrimental to living spirituality. Demands to be affirmed, when not met, can result in a heavy critique of the other. And while it’s true that no one wants to be rejected, the key is not whether or not this happens, but how we respond to it when it does.
Posted by Greg at 5:13 PM
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Existential anxiety today drives a fear of losing self, meaning, and truth. Yet, the unwillingness to turn away from being one’s own authority increases. Generally, a hardness of heart and a lack of openness characterize much of the Western mindset, as it becomes fixated on itself and gives up on the possibility of finding adequate responses to its fears. In contrast to that which permeates our age, we desperately need to return to the God who is love, to truth that is sufficiently livable, to redemption in Christ, and to the power of the Spirit ― all of which can contribute to breaking the cycle of fear and lead to being truer selves.
Posted by Greg at 1:16 PM
Monday, December 16, 2013
Many Christians today have given up on being part of the larger biblical story that flows through space and time. Creation, humanity, Israel, and the rescue plan for the world inaugurated by the Messiah, are just too dense and complex. All that matters nowadays is the individual’s story with God. True, this is far from irrelevant, but when it’s all reduced to me and God, the major plot and sub-plots of the narrative are woefully missing. Not only is such a view desacralizing, but it’s downright dehumanizing as well. Desacralizing because it gravely misunderstands who God is and dehumanizing because it seriously misunderstands who humans are.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Followers of the Crucified and Risen One are caught up in-between times – already embracing life, but not yet having it fully – is both rich and dense. Life now is comprised of a compilation of escalating virtues, including sensibility (making sense), patience (long-suffering), and humility (carefully configured knowledge with limits), while life in the age to come is saturated in unquantified faith, hope, and the greatest of these love.
Posted by Greg at 8:46 AM
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Cultures and contexts are relevant features to be considered, yet they will fail as final determiners of what is true.
Posted by Greg at 4:36 PM
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Sometimes it’s so hard to believe, but nevertheless it’s true. God’s wisdom is wiser than human wisdom and God’s wisdom is Christ and Christ crucified. This seems so foolish and foolishness it is. Yet, God’s foolishness outstrips all false powers and authorities, unmasking their desperate attempts to manipulate and control people for their own ends. If we are to be spiritual people, God’s foolishness should permeate our lives, so that we might be truly wise.
Posted by Greg at 4:22 PM
Monday, December 9, 2013
A Christian view of spirituality affirms the truth that there is a creational spirituality. That is, the created world is a world that we are to explore, care for, and sustain as stewards of what has been made. Living and true spirituality does not reject the material world, but engages it in service of God. We are, therefore, to imaginatively participate in the earthly and contribute to bringing goodness to all areas of life. As God has not left creation or humans to desolation, decay, or ultimate death, neither should we consent to dying forms of spirituality that have no capacity to redeem and renew the created.
From the New Revised: Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path. Now available on Amazon.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Feelings of betrayal and abandonment are awful. Life is never less than these, though remember, it is always so much more. While time, precious time, will be necessary to process and work through our sense of hurt and rejection, love and acceptance remains the backdrop that surpasses it all. Seek, therefore, to fill up the empty spaces with good and thereby embrace the “so much more.”
Posted by Greg at 2:42 PM
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Out of the mists of time, God authoritatively re-visits the world in Messiah, who magisterially deals with the plight of Israel and humanity through cross and resurrection.
Posted by Greg at 9:23 PM
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The age long debates about the Christ have reached a stale and musty status quo. As theologians in general and philosophers in particular went down the false path of trying to sort out the ‘what’ of God, his substance – essence, the real question that probably lied on the hearts and minds of early Christians and should resonate with our own, was the mega narrative consideration of ‘who’ God is. This means that the true path of discovery moves in the direction of the ‘identity’ of divinity, rather than its speculative composition. Christ as son of God, for example, is recognized as having the same ‘identity’ as the God of Israel, and then he enacts that ‘identity’ to the awesome degree of a tight compatibility, which didn’t slip out of history, but was noticed and testified to in a plurality of ways. Packed with density, this identification trajectory begins to make good sense, as the interlocking sub-plots connect with the plot, and therefore offer a renewed perception of Messiah and all he means for God, humanity, us, and the world.
Posted by Greg at 7:28 AM
Monday, December 2, 2013
God's way of reconciliation is configured in the death of the Crucified One, which results in not reckoning people's sins against them. God has done everything that there is to be done from his side in order for us to be reconciled. This "logos" of reconciliation has been downloaded into new covenant, which through God's initiation, is written on human hearts and not tablets of stone. But the absolutely massive context for all this is God’s reconciling the world to himself in Christ. This is a big story – a mega-narrative going far beyond personal individualistic salvation, culminating in a new heaven and earth. And if God is reconciling the world to himself in Christ, we are to be ambassadors of this reconciliation, as those through whom God makes his appeal to others.
Check out the New Revised: Living Spiritual Rhythms Book 1. Now available on Amazon.