Just Do It

Just Do It

One day my pastor invited me to join him on a pastoral visit to a nursing home. I wanted to please him, so I said I would go. I had no desire to be there. I didn’t know this woman we were going to see, but I knew once we got that out of the way we would go to lunch and we could discuss theology. I have never liked nursing homes. In high school and college it seemed like I was always connected with some group of people who wanted to go Christmas caroling at “the old folks home.” I loathed that time. The place was depressing. The old people sat there in their wheelchairs staring out into nothingness or nodding along silently clapping their hands. The places also smelled. They smelled “too clean.” They were always so institutional and if you had been in one, you’d been in them all. This day with my pastor we walked into the room....
Read More
“In Accordance With The Scriptures…”

“In Accordance With The Scriptures…”

I believe that the Scriptures are something more than a nice book or a collection of myths. I have come to the conclusion that “the Scriptures” are authoritative for my life. All of us have given authority to something or someone to shape who we are (even if it’s ourselves). For me it is the Scriptures. Writing that feels odd. I don’t really know why, but it does. I think it’s because over the last few years I have really wrestled with the Bible and the way that many in my tribe worship it as a god or god. I have struggled with things that I have read in it and worked through questions in the Greek and Hebrew. There are still questions that I have, but I have come to the conclusion that at the very least, the Scriptures are the best way for me to learn and know about Jesus. Yet, this question has haunted me, “What does it mean...
Read More
Why Carry a Cross?

Why Carry a Cross?

A missionary who has given his life to serving God and people is diagnosed with cancer. A loving father who is at the beginning of his journey of walking with Jesus develops what turns out to be an incurable infection. The child of a pastor who is highly regarded because of her faithful service to the community and Jesus dies of cancer before his life even begins. A woman with a gentle and quiet faith who prays and serves wakes up one day alone because her husband left her for another. These brief snapshots are real life stories of people who I love and care for. They are all people who are authentically trying to follow Jesus. These are not people who are false or who simply sit in the back of worship service to be entertained. These are people who you want to be around and whose faith would cause you to stop and wonder about their God. These are...
Read More
Why the Cross?

Why the Cross?

There are some really weird things about Chrstianity. First among them is how we rejoice in blood. We sing songs about blood. Blood this and blood that. Blood, blood, blood. I remember one of the first times I heard the song, “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus,” and thinking that it was a little awkward singing about blood. When we take communion we talk about eating the flesh and blood of Jesus. The first century Romans accused the early Christians of being cannibals as a result. Of course they also accused Christians of being incestuous and atheists too. But, it wasn’t lost on those early folks that this new sect of Judaism had a weird fascination with blood. When Christianity was beginning animal sacrifice was a normal part of most worship in most religions of the time. Some were even sacrificing their children. One would think that God, in Jesus, would have figured out a different way of doing this whole salvation thing than through...
Read More
Why Church?

Why Church?

Sundays are a really hard day for many people. Particularly people who have been hurt by the “church.” It’s a day where Christians gather for corporate worship and community. It is supposed to be a day of celebration. Yet, for many it is a day of shame, guilt, anger, self-protection, and anger. Not long ago there were many people who were writing about their stories of leaving church. They simply stopped going. Some of these folks are high profile Christians. Sunday gatherings were vapid and empty, the community was shallow, and it all “felt inauthentic.” So, they simply stopped. Church, they said, could be experienced anywhere. In nature, alone, in a coffee shop, or the pub. What these people wrote resonated with me in a significant way. I thought, “I could easily walk away. There is more authenticity at the ball field than in the ‘church’ on any given Sunday.” I stand by that thought. The ease with which I could walk away and never again...
Read More