What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Logo Opinions

Here is a proposed logo for our new church name. What do you think?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Polar Opposites

There is a church in our general area that has a new bumper sticker announcing a web site called Their old bumper sticker used to read, "If you still sin, you're not saved!"

I'm not making this up. (Although I wish I were.)

I always cringe when I read these kinds of pronouncements because I wonder about the perception this gives people who don't yet know Christ. Naturally I also feel for the person duped by this errant theology.

I saw the new bumper sticker on a car today while I was waiting for my wife to join me at the swanky Golden Arches restaurant for dinner. Sitting there in my car I was reading (I'm often reading) a book by Brennan Manning entitlted, Abba's Child, The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging.

Abba's Child is what every believer is to God, because of Christ. We are accepted as our Heavenly Father's child, not because we don't sin, but because of our faith in the only One who didn't. I had previously read Ragamuffin Gospel by the same author and was blessed by it.

Manning is an overly transparent sort of ink slinger. I like his authentic style. He is a Catholic priest, a recovering alcoholic, and not very victorian with his language sometimes. But he's a prophet when it comes to calling attention to the heart's longing for a genuine relationship to Christ. He grew tired of the hypocrisy in his own life and doesn't mind pointing out the same in the lives of others.

Why I bring his book up in the context of the misguided bumper sticker and web site is what Branning says.

"I began writing Abba's Child with one purpose in mind: to recover the passion that fired my desire to enter the seminary and seek ordination to the priesthood. In the process I discovered that all I wanted from the years of silence and study was to fall in love with God." (Page 9)

"For many years I hid from my true self through my performance in ministry. I constructed an identity through sermons, books, and storytelling. I rationalized that if the majority of Christians thought well of me, there was nothing wrong with me. The more I invested in ministerial success, the more real the imposter became." (Page 35)

"Accepting the reality of our sinfulness means accepting our authentic self. Judas could not face his shadow; Peter could. The latter befriended the imposter within; the former raged against him." (Page 44)

Polar oppostites: striving to achieve the unachievable goal of sinless perfection versus knowing that you are accepted because of the faith-based relationship you have with God through Christ. Trying to impress people by announcing they can "sin no more", as if you have already achieved this state, versus, trying to lead a mature Christian life because you love God.

I'm thinking of a title for a better web site...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places - Part II

Picking up from a little over a month ago (Jan. 13 blog entry) on the first installment of comments on the book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson.

Page 38 - "We live in a culture that has replaced soul with self." An obvious yet profound observation.

P. 41 - "The primary way in which we cultivate fear of the Lord is in prayer and worship - personal prayer and corporate worship. We deliberately interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to God, place ourselves intentionally in sacred space, in sacred time, in the holy presence - and wait. (Emphasis mine.) We become silent and still in order to listen and respond to what is Other than us. Once we get the hang of this we find that this can occur any place and any time. But prayer and worship provide the base."

I found this thought to be at the heart and soul of why many people don't get it. Intentionally attending to God is so foreign to the lives of so many professed Christ followers.

P. 117 - "When we work we are most godlike..."

P. 121 - "...fear is the most frequently mentioned response to Jesus' resurrection."

Beginning at page 130 and continuing through page 222, EH talks about how Christ Plays in History. (This wasn't my favorite part of the book because the coverage wasn't as freshly inciteful overall as the first and third portions of the book.)

P. 142 - "The passion story takes place in one week but it is given space far out of proportion to its chronology. Matthew gives a quarter of his pages to the passion; Mark a third; Luke a fifth; and John almost one half."

Next time...Christ Plays in Community, pages 226-329.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Trivial Tidbits from "Who Knew?"

"Who Knew? Things You Didn't Know About Things You Know Well," by David Hoffman, MJF Books, New York, 2000.

Page 1 - "If Jell-O is hooked up to an EEG, it registers movements virtually identical to the brain waves of a healthy adult."

Page 43 - "A chef's hat is tall and balloons at the top so as to counteract the intense heat in the kitchen; the unique shape allows air to circulate around the scalp, keeping the head cool."

Page 69 - "The man who commissioned the Mona Lisa refused it.

Page 196 - "On the average, we forget about 80 percent of what we learn on any given day."