For a long while it’s bugged me that the apostle Thomas’ name has gone the way of a byword. “Don’t be a Doubting Thomas,” some wryly throw about. It’s like what has happened to Albert Einstein – for such an intelligent man, we only use his name as a sarcastic insult directed at “stupid” people. Today, I think Thomas is the apostle we should most aspire to be like. And I’ll tell you why. Continue reading “Let’s All Be Like Thomas”
Some of you may have seen the recent articles that came out yesterday and today, of SocalityBarbie and the lampooning of all things deemed pretentious, fake, and hipster. I reckon you’re probably not thrilled to have your name tacked right on the front. There seems to be a lot of bashing on desiring to “live authentic” and appreciate your surroundings, to enjoy well-made things, and to actually follow Jesus as a young person. The things that do well eventually are mocked – it’s the envy of human nature. But I’ve seen other Christians making fun of you, claiming that you’re promoting a cheapened form of “cultural Christianity” and mocking the things you enjoy and like. Maybe it’s to seem cool. Maybe it’s a legitimate theological beef. Regardless, I want to leave you a brief note of encouragement. Continue reading “An Encouragement for #Socality”
In my last post, I talked a little bit about the merits of criticism and judgment. Reading comments that others have shared and just taking some time to meditate on this over the course of the day, I feel like I have a little more to talk about with this one.
Like I said before, I think that it’s a bit naive to say that there isn’t wrong in the world, in the same way that, feeling ill, it would be naive to say “I don’t have pneumonia” until one is bedridden and debilitated. Sometimes something is genuinely wrong, and it needs to be addressed. I think the crux of the matter of criticism lies in the motive.
Here’s one of the big questions, in my personal opinion.
How productive is flaw-finding?
I’m not one to minimize flaws and make flippant the pain of sin. Anything that detracts from real peace is clearly an extremely negative thing. I run from it like a man runs from a ravening lion or a lumbering behemoth in the woods, leaping over underbrush and branches, feeling the nettles and horsetails and settler’s bedstraw clawing for my elbows and ankles. Frequently I run right into it, though, in my attempt to escape sin. Thank God that God isn’t disinterested in my struggle, and strives towards a permanent and perfect disentanglement.
One of the things I recognize about myself is that I have an easy time presenting God’s truth and a hard time presenting God’s grace. I get frustrated easily and angry. Of course, God’s truth and God’s grace are inseparable. You can’t have one without the other. So, in essence, I still don’t fully understand either.
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1)
I still remember hearing a gentleman at a political meeting tell the gathered group that he had thought of the idea he was currently sharing while “not paying attention at church.” As he was speaking, because of varied distracted conversations between people not listening to him, this man ended up repeating that statement three times. I found that significant.
“Why,” I asked to myself, “would this man even bother going to church if he wasn’t even going to try to pay attention?”
There is a lot of hate in this world. There is a lot of hate in America, even from within the Christian Church. Sometimes that ‘even’ becomes ‘especially’. Mahatma Gandhi famously said “I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.”
“Does anybody know what the first command is in the Bible?” he asked.
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.'” – John 1:23
Our culture has an infatuation with the apocalypse. I have a lot of theories why, but I believe it comes down to fascination and fear of judgment. That, or the idea that after the apocalypse, somehow, God’s judgment is finished – that God is dead – and those left behind are free to make their own moral code free of God’s natural law, living in something of a metaphysical badlands that the world forgot. Perhaps it’s seen as an exciting frontier, or an amalgam of purgatory and hell where interesting stories happen, free of God’s infringement of any kind of rational order and justice.
We used to do a game with hands
Like most things, as a child, I didn’t understand
But we’d fold them and split them and we’d point them towards the heavens
Like in most things, as a child, I simply wanted to go home
It took six years to learn about steeples and what they were
I remembered in high school learning about the one we had in town
In a class about current events
People argued whether it should be taller than anything else
To this day I’m still not sure whether it really is taller than anything else
Yet I understand the intent, and I look up at that chapel soaring high above the rest
We seem to focus on that and miss the things at street level
Doors to enter into and windows to see through
Brick and mortar
Glass caked with wax and glue from a hundred years of use
I think we sometimes forget that God appreciates a handmade candle
He doesn’t focus on them and dwell on them like we do, but He appreciates them
When He sees the things we’ve poured ourselves into, He sees us, and He loves the us that’s in them
I give glory to God almighty for anything I pour myself into
And then I understand why we built steeples
Yet we argue, and we fight over whether it needs to be the tallest, when we’re missing the whole point
When we get angry and hate each other for building a building taller than the building we’ve built
I suspect we missed the whole reason we built it that way in the first place
Like most things, as a child, I don’t understand
But I fold my hands like I did then and I split them and then I point them towards the heavens
Like in most things, as a child, I simply wanted to go home