Thursday, August 31, 2006 

Meeting places

I attend quite a bit of meetings. Too many, some would say. I even attend meetings for the sole purpose of reporting to other meetings. And so the cycle continues.

In the church, we are inundated with meetings, and sometimes those meetings can be frustrating especially when it appears that only the wheels turn and no forward progress is made. But I am reminded in meetings that ultimately the goal of followers of Jesus is to arrange a meeting between those who do not know the divine and the One who is divine. Put another way, as Christians our call is to witness to the gospel in such a way that when we meet with God - the real, lay it all out on the table kind of meeting - we are transformed. The difference is so noticeable in our words and actions that people see (and feel!) God in us.

Isn't this what God does: meet us? Isn't this what the incarnation - the coming of God made flesh in Jesus - is all about? Isn't this what the story of Pentecost is about? The exodus? Isn't this the witness of the resurrection? The celebration of communion? The new beginning of baptism? God is meeting us, over and over again. It might be slight and barely perceptible, but it is there. It might be obvious. But God arranges meetings all the time. Now if we could just show up to those meetings more often.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 


One of my favorite movies is built on this line: "When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep... and you're never really awake."

Scripture reminds us about sleep too: "Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep."-Psalm 121:4

I think that we go through life in a state of insomnia. We never really are awake. We are never really asleep. Too often, we tread life like we are taught to tread water. It is mundane, laborsome, and defeating. It lacks beauty, art, and peace. Where is the vigor? Where is the abundant life? The grays all run together.

I want to really sleep. I want to rest well - the kind of rest that you know after a workout - where every aching muscle in your body relaxes and then collapses only to rejuvenate after the rest. I don't want this just for my physical body. I want this for my soul. This is the call of Jesus - rest for the soul AND rest for the body. Rest from oppression and rest from worry.

I too want to really live. I want the abundant life that comes with knowing, honoring, sharing, and living in tune with the God of creation, the God of the incarnation, and the God of the Spirit movement. I want all the joy and love that comes with honoring God and loving neighbor. And I want it for others too.

But perhaps for me to really live, I must first really sleep. Sleep, biologically, rebalances our bodies. Rest in the Lord, spiritually rejuvenates our relationship with the God who has called us to be Christ's body - to live, to serve, and to love. I thank the God who gives me sleep, because it is that same God that gives me full life.

Thursday, August 10, 2006 

.: Could you put someone's eye out that way?

My friend Steve, a pastor in the Central Texas conference has good things to say on his blog. This is especially true this week. It's about risk, our aversion to it, and God's call to take it. Check it out here:

.: Could you put someone's eye out that way?

May we remember that when we risk for God in this world, all we risk is dust. "Dust to dust, ashes to ashes."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 


Recent musings have landed my thoughts on the process of sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which we are made holy. John Wesley likened Christian Perfection to holiness, saying that Christian perfection. . .is only another term for holiness." ( Sermon on Christian Perfection).

One of the things I hear often in ministry is the phrase "nobody's perfect" or "we all sin" or "I’m only human." On the outset, all these things are true. Taking a large perspective of our landscape, humans, and indeed humanity, are sinful, are not perfect, and are finite. But I wonder if these descriptions mask a larger, spiritual issue: that of perfection. I will show my Methodist under-girding here, but I find those types of excuses (and they are ones that I make on a daily basis!) limiting on the grace God offers us. Indeed, if we are really encapsulated by the grace of God, and through Jesus we can be made whole, then it stands to reason that we too can become "perfect" in this life.

The Apostle Paul said that he hadn't attained perfection yet, but that he was striving to that goal. While he hadn't attained it at that moment, perhaps he thought it could be attained in this life. If for some reason we think that it can't be attained in this life, then it will not be attained in this life. God's realized eschatology will never come into fruition simply because we have limited God's grace in our lives. So maybe the point of this post is simply to see if we can't strive for perfection, with the goal being perfection in this life and the next. Maybe it's just a self-fulfilling prophesy. If we think it can be done, imagine how much harder we would work at it.

Friday, August 04, 2006 


I have gotten back into reading the New Testament in Greek. I had stopped doing it for a while because it is an arduous task, and I have to spend time looking up vocabulary. Reading the English translations are much easier.

The trend in scripture translation is to make it more accessible. For example, The Message, The New Living Translation, and the New Century Versions all purport to render the scriptures in a more affable format. I use these translations often in sermon preparation, but I have begun wondering if this really is a good way to digest the scriptures. I mean, isn’t God worthy of us really struggling to find the meaning of the words on the page? And shouldn’t we too know that thousands of Greek manuscripts offer divergent phrasing on nearly every passage in the New Testament? Oh, and isn’t it noteworthy that the Greek language’s vocabulary is much more complex and that translators have to make very important theological decisions about which word they think is the correct word from a Greek word that may or may not be the original word?

Now, don’t get me wrong, Bible translators are much more dedicated and educated than me. They have spent tireless hours trying to get it right, and for the most part, they do an incredible job. If they didn’t keep doing it, then we would still have the King James Bible, which is perhaps the most poorly translated edition available, as the standard for scholastic Biblical interpretation.

But the question still remains: should we have to work at knowing God? And if the scriptures are a divine revelation, then shouldn’t we have to work to know them too? Is it good enough to use one translation? Is it good enough to read the scriptures in paraphrased form? These are detail questions that I struggle with in my pursuit of loving God

I have to constantly remind myself that these types of questions are important only if we set our lives to loving God and loving people. That is, in the end, Jesus said, the paraphrase of all the scriptures.