Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fourth Week of Advent: Love

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.  And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:17-19

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

This week we light the Advent candle of Love.  We remember the love of God for all mankind and look forward to the day when that love has its fullest expression at the end of history.  We long for the day when love is truly the new law and we patiently and diligently work to make that a reality sooner rather than later.  Followers of Christ, compelled by love, expand it’s borders each and every day.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Advent Week 3: Joy

A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more.  Matthew 2:18 

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22

This week of Advent we are supposed to light the candle of Joy.  It is supposed to symbolize the joy that we feel at the coming of Christ and the joy we will experience when he finally sets the world right at the end of all things.  It is supposed to be an inspiration to us to embrace the good news that will be a great joy to all people.

It is hard to be joyful today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Second Week of Advent: Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  Ephesians 2:17

Monday, December 3, 2012

First week of Advent: Hope

"The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering."  Exodus 3:7

"The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness

a light has dawned."  Isaiah 9:2

Advent began around the 4th or 5th century as a way to celebrate “the arrival” of Christ.  Like Mary we wait expectantly for the coming birth of Christ and like all our brothers and sisters before us we also wait for Christ's final coming at the end of history.  We celebrate what God has already done and look forward to what he is going to do in the future. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

No easy answers

I take it as a compliment when people ask me questions about theology and the Bible.  It conveys a great amount of trust on their part and I am happy to be able to aid them in their spiritual journey.  I am thankful for the influence I have been granted in people’s lives.  This truly is a gift from God.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Becoming a Better Internet Citizen: Disagreeing agreeably

We have seen a fair amount a disagreement on the interwebs in the last few weeks.  I am sure that we will see plenty of it tonight after the presidential debate and I am sure it will not end there.  In the last few months we have had dustups over gun control, gay marriage, free speech, and the location of Romney’s binders full of women to name a few. 

Regardless of your level of eloquence or passion on a particular issue you have probably disagreed with someone at some time.  This is not a bad thing!  You have a right to advocate for yourself and be heard.  There is nothing wrong with this but how and why you do it makes all the difference. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Beyond the meme: The federal budget is nothing like your household budget.

I have heard this argument from both sides of the aisle, “Government should operate more like a household.”  Typically this is an appeal to bring our expenditures more in line with revenue which makes sense.  I agree that it is not good to run at a 45% deficit which is around what we are currently running.  However I have seen this go much further in recent months.  In talking to people the rhetoric is more heated and has become, “The government should operate EXACTLY like a household and that is how I am voting!”  The more I think about it the more I find this idea impossible, impractical and also misleading.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why I would hate living in the Star Wars Universe

If I lived in the Star Wars Universe I would have a healthy dislike for the Force. Whether Jedi or Sith I would just not like them, here is why.

Every major war in the Universe has been fought by them. They are always fighting each other and everyone gets sucked into it. Even a cursory glance at Star Wars lore will reveal that when the Jedi and the Sith are at odds the whole universe has to suffer. It does not matter what else might be going on the Sith are seeking their Revenge and the Jedi their Return. Empires rise and fall, whole planets and ways of life are destroyed because they can’t get along.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Quotesplosion: What is the meaning of life?

Quotesplosion is where I compile a random list of quotes about a certain topic.  Mostly it is to showcase the multiplicity of opinions that humanity has to offer but I hope it does spark some honest thought as well.  The point this week is to have some fun and think a little about what matters.

The quotesplosion question is is: What is the meaning of life and how do you live a good one?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Christian Fiction: America is a Christian Nation

My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place. John 18:38

For thought we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
2 Corinthians 10:3

The Christian Fiction section at the book store has always been a oddity to me.  As a kid I would make a beeline toward it to get the latest adventure of the Cooper kids, the evangelical equivalent of the Hardy Boys, only to be disappointed that The Door in the Dragon’s Throat had no dragon in it.  I later discovered that Frank Peretti did write books with actual dragons in them but overall I felt a bit disillusioned by this section of the local book store.  These days I walk by this section and chuckle a bit.  Labeling a section Christian Fiction has got to seem a little silly to those outside the house of faith.  

Recently this section has got me wondering about my beliefs.  Was there anything that I held dear (like belief in dragons) that needed to be put to rest and placed in the fiction section of my brain.  Fiction is great but when mixed with reality can be disastrous.  I have wrestled with several issues recently but one in particular I keep running up against.  It is the fiction that America is, or ever was, a Christian nation.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thoughts: Chick-Fil-A, biblical marriage and loving the least the last and the lost

August 1st has come and gone and I am sure that Chick-Fil-A feels really loved. I am sure that they had record one day sales.  Some places even ran out of chicken!  I am also sure that many in the LGBT community feel “put in their place” by the Christian conservative community.  Free speech may have "won" but for some reason this whole thing doesn’t feel right to me.  It seemed to me that Wednesday’s Cluck-pocalypse may have done more harm than good, if it accomplished anything at all.  Maybe I’m wrong but I have some questions jumbling in my head that I feel are important.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent is here

For dust you are and to dust you shall return - Genesis 3:19

The time is now, the Kingdom of God has come near.  Repent and believe the good news. - Mark 1:15

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent.  Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the forehead of believers as a sign of repentance and mourning.  Ashes were a common sign of mourning in the Bible and are appropriate for this season.  While this is an ancient tradition, developed long ago, we can still claim it in new and fresh ways today.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

God loves women and has a wonderful plan for their life too

I am writing this in response to a challenge by Rachel Held Evans.  This challenge was sparked by a statement made by John Piper.  He, and others have repeatedly stated that the God of Christianity is inherently masculine and that Christianity ought to be so as well.  You can read the original article here     

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Kaine: My Greatest Mentor

My mentor chilling in the snow.  He probably just peed
I have had several mentors in my life.  Great men and women who have come alongside me and driven me to think deeper and work harder.  While their tireless effort has shaped me in powerful ways one being has outstripped them all in lasting impact and constant relationship.  His name is Kaine.  He is my dog.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Merging our Bubbles

I have been thinking about bubbles lately.  Sometimes they hit each other and pop, other times they collide and make something bigger and better.  We all grew up in some kind of bubble.  You did not choose it because all of us grow up living in the culture our parents created. Exposure to the outside world increases with time but for a good chunk of our lives their bubble is our reality.  This bubble probably included a host of things both good and bad. Because we all have bubbles and it is our nature to press beyond them I want think on what we do when we realize there is more to this world than our bubble. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Beauty in puddles

Recently my wife Lindsay and I moved from Colorado to Indiana.  On the one hand this was an easy move.  We are now closer to our fantastic family and are able to work with friends we love.  On the other hand we left a place and culture that we had come to call home.  We love the people here but we miss the beauty there.  At times a “home sickness” bubbles up in my heart and I echo the words of Bilbo Baggins, “I want to see mountains again, Gandalf, mountains!”  (yes I actually said that and yes I am a nerd).

Friday, January 6, 2012

52 weeks and 52 articles

Edit August 8, 2012:  This project kinda fell on its face.  I am going to keep writing but my life got a little crazy for a while and I let it slide.  Hopefully I will be getting back into it soon.    

For many years now I have wanted to start writing for reasons beyond school and work.  Now that I am finally finished with seminary and running out of excuses I am deciding to make it happen.  This year I am going to write something substantive at least once a week.  52 articles in 52 weeks.  For those of you that write professionally this may not seem like much but for a humble beginner like myself with more than one day job this challenge is more than a little daunting.  I hope I am up to the task!