Showing posts from February, 2014

Here Comes Lent

I am a weird evangelical.  I love the liturgical calendar.  I love remembering the holy days.  And I even love Lent.

Yes, yes, it is that time of the year when many Americans loudly give up chocolate or soda or cuss words or even Facebook.  I am not thinking so much about fasting this year, though.  See, I just got done spending an entire day speaking on grace and, well, fasting for Lent isn't really remembering grace.  It is about me.  It is about me pretending to share in the gruesome suffering of Christ.  It is about me doing something that seems holy. 

Grace is that place of recognizing how unworthy we are but also how loved by Him.  Grace is that prayer I whisper before taking the elements of communion, "I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I will be healed."  Grace is quiet and startling.  Grace is unexpected.  Grace is a hide and go seek game with the Almighty.  We hide, and he finds.

Not sure how I would like to commemorate this season yet.…

Confidence Conference

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the waterthat sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
I volunteered at the Confidence Conference last year for a few hours, and I was impressed.  Not impressed at what God did, but what my young friends had put together and pulled off.  Hundreds of teenaged young ladies milling around, laughing, excited.  A main speaker who made them laugh and cry.  A band, a real band, that played a concert in the evening after providing worship for the teens during the day.  This wasn't a shabbily put together event.  These young friends of mine put on a real event.  And I was fascinated.  When I was asked to be a speaker for the break out sessions this year, I was skeptical.  I knew one of the organizers and thought she was just being kind to ask…

What's next God?

I have had this weird thing with God since I was a child.  Maybe it was just being exposed to the way the church and its inner workings by my grandfather.  I love the church, as much as it annoys me.  What I love is that the church is the body of Christ, here & now.  What annoys me about the church is that we seem to forget what that means.And I mean the church as in all the people, me included.

As a child when I discovered that there were learning institutions, specific to theology and homiletics, I was fascinated.  I didn't want to be a nurse or a teacher.  I wanted to be a pastor or priest.  I wanted to serve God's church.  What kid does that?  I remember hearing the word "theologian" and thinking, I want to be one of those.  I couldn't even pronounce the word and my grandfather had to define it for me.

In fact, and I have written about this elsewhere so I find no need to badger this idea other than to say that the fact that I was raised in churches where…

For such a time as this....

I am no Queen Esther.  In fact, I never thought of myself from her perspective.  Until I started to think about my purpose.

See, I couldn't relate to her story when I thought about her being young and beautiful, living in a royal palace.  But that isn't what the story is about. 

Esther was in the right place, at the right time, with the right gifts....and she chose to step into that, to own that moment.  Often we don't think that we are useful or talented.  The refrain is common, "What do I have to offer?"  There may even be times when we know that we have the right talent for a current need, but we pause and consider if we really want to get involved.  What is in it for us?  We look at ourselves and our experiences as unimportant, irrelevant even, to what we think we should be or do. 

Actually, I think that who we are, what we have experienced is completely relevant, because these are the parts of us that God uses. 

Kinda yucky, isn't it?  I don't li…

Who is the stumbling block, really?

Here I am, back on a soapbox.

I get annoyed with Christians.  Yes, I have a good friend who reminds me frequently that Christians aren't the only goofballs on the planet. However, they are the only goofballs who guard the truth so carefully behind their own schemes and self-importance.

I pray to be the anomaly.  I love Jesus.  I believe that Jesus came to set the world free.  I also find that Christians seem to have attempted to own his truths and leverage them for their own purposes.  Not just in Rome, but in the religious right, and in many churches and in many relationships.

I have seen many well meaning Christians try to create difference in the world.  Some succeed, but many fall to irrelevance.  It seems to me that the ones that succeed to change hearts & lives are known by their willingness to love relentlessly and are aware of their own brokenness.  Not only are these individuals desiring to make a difference in the world, they are sharing the thing that made a differ…

What are we debating, really?

So I lost over an hour of my life tonight.

I was feeling too ill to go out to youth group so I thought, geez, I may as well check out the debate.  It seemed to be the Christian thing to do.  But it was quite boring.  I have no issue with Ken Ham's worldview, or even the fact that Bill Nye does not subscribe to them.  I did feel like this was much of a bait and switch event.

See, this debate had very little to do with whether creationism is a viable scientific model.  What it has everything to do with is this: is faith reasonable?

Mr. Ham had no issue pointing out that scientists have faith in their particular beliefs.  However, Mr. Nye scoffed at the idea that creationism is even worth belief.  Mr. Nye was more gracious than I expected, given reported comments previously comparing teaching creationism to child abuse, even when he told viewers that creationism is magical thinking. We aren't trying to validate our science anymore.

In his opening statements, Mr. Ham mentioned th…