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Showing posts from July, 2013

One of Those Things You Need to Hear Every so Often...

"Dear Jamal, "Somone I once knew wrote that we walk away from our dreams afraid we may fail or worse yet, afraid we may succeed. "You need to know that while I knew so very early that you would realize your dreams, I never imagined I would once again realize my own. "Seasons change, young man, and while I may have waited until the winter of my life, to see the things I've seen this past year, there is no doubt I would have waited too long, had it not been for you." -- William Forester, to Jamal Wallace, in Finding Forrester

Three Things We Shouldn't Say

There are certain little religious expressions or sentiments you hear repeated so often that you start believing they’re based on Biblical truth, even if they aren’t. Three things we, as people of faith, really shouldn't say. “God helps those who help themselves” is one such sentiment. Well...that’s true insofar as it goes: yeah, sure, God helps people who participate in their own well-being. No problem there. You want to help yourself get better or stronger or kinder or more generous, sure, God’ll be more than happy to help you help yourself. The problem is, that expression is often said so as to imply that the opposite is NOT true: that God doesn’t help those who don’t help themselves. And – Biblically speaking – that’s just…how shall I say it?... mean-spirited b.s. God is constantly helping those who cannot (or will not, or choose not) to help themselves. In other words, God is constantly helping the help-less. In fact you might say God is a God OF the helple

Where would you put your relationship with God?

Today I want to share something important to me, something that I read by the writer John Eldredge some years ago. It was one of those observations that once you read it, changes the way you think forever. At least that's what it did to me/for me. What Eldredge writes in Journey of Desire: A Journal and Guidebook is that the Bible uses a number of different metaphors for our relationship with God at various stages. And, he writes - the rest of this is a direct, but slightly edited quote - notice how the metaphors (and our relationship with God) ascend, or grow, in a stunning way: Potter and clay. At this level we are merely aware that our lives are shaped-even broken-by a powerful hand. There isn't much communication, just the sovereignty of God at work. Shepherd and sheep. At this stage we feel provided for, watched over, cared about. But beyond that, a sheep has little by way of true intimacy with the Shepherd. They are altogether

The Meaning of Life...and How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies.

Maybe you already know the meaning of life. And maybe you already have a trick for getting rid of fruit flies. If so, please comment, and add to the conversation. But if you don’t have a good working definition of the meaning of life, and if your kitchen does suffer from occasional fruit fly infestations and you have no idea how to get rid of the little buggers, well, then: today’s your lucky day. Because even as a Philosophy major and full-time minister for the past twenty years, I’ve never found a better one-paragraph definition of the meaning of life than the one below. It’s not new, and it’s not one I’ve made up: it’s from the 1550’s, and is from St. Ignatius Loyola, who was the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). And while he didn’t call it “the meaning of life,” he did call it “the Principle and First Foundation” of his Spiritual Exercises, which were (are) the bedrock of his (Ignatian, Jesuit) spirituality.   So here it is: the Principle and First F