Monday, December 11, 2006

Head in Heart

"I wish I could get my head in my heart daddy", one of my 4 yr. old sons declared after we'd prayed together at bedtime last night. "Why do you want to do that Bub?" I questioned. "So I could see God because God isn't real" he answered.

Man I wanted to dig way deep and give him something, something in a 4 yr. old's frame of reference that he could wrap his fingers around, that he could weep at the beauty and simplicity of it and cry out "God you're here". The best I could come up with was to blow on his hand and offer a lame metaphor of God being like the wind. I said God isn't the wind but he's like the wind, he can go in and come out and be everywhere yet not be seen. He asked me about heaven and God's house and whether its in our town (he's always real concerned about going "out of town" for some reason). He understood everything I said but finished the conversation by saying, "Dad, God is not real. I'm tired and am going to shut my eyes".

I lay there between my twin sons on the Queen-sized bed they share and imagined myself 2000 years ago, hearing for the first time that a baby had been born in Bethlehem who is thought to be Christ the King. I imagined being a Samaritan in a dung hut, hungry stomach, parched throat, swatting at flies and thinking, "God is not real". Or maybe I was a Roman centurion, months from being able to see my wife and children, blood on my hands from the last three Jews I'd just flogged and thinking "God is not real". But instead, as I listened to the breath of my sons grow deeper and more rythmic, and felt the warmth of their small bodies on each side of me as I stared into the sea of stars out their bedroom window I was drawn back to the feet of a near God, an up-close and personal God, a God of peace and order in a world of storm and chaos and I found him, as beautiful as before creation and creating as never before.

What does the real God look like to my town? my county? my state? my region? my country? my world? What does the real God look like to the hungry? the thirsty? the naked? the aids-inflicted? the elderly? the lost? the lonely? Does the real God look like us?

Friday, December 08, 2006

The New, Soft Paternalism

Okay, this article shows that the self is not to be trusted (they keep studying stuff like this even though it was proven true so many thousands of years ago). It also shows that people are willing to surrender their freedom to the state because of it. Who runs the state? SELVES.

We can still trust Jesus.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Evangelicals on 'Revolutionary' Movement for HIV/AIDS

This weekend I was fortunate to drive two hours, to meet with some family, work for about 10 minutes, then turn around and drive two hours back home. I picked up my dad and he was with me for about two hours of that time. My dad is going through his own faith journey now that all he had planned for has changed. I used to try to evangelize him but now I simply love him and Jesus is calling to him from several areas in his life.
While I was alone I finally got the chance to listen to an audio book that I've had for six months (the roads a little too slippery for driving and reading), "The Divine Conspiracy" by Dallas Willard. I've read "Renovation of the Heart" by Willard and recommend both books very highly. All weekend my heart was asking the question "How then shall we live?". Willard gives an account of a test pilot pulling into a steep ascent only to fly her jet into the ground for thinking she was flying upright when she'd been flying upside down. I also began reading Leslie Newbigin's "Proper Confidence" which discusses "faith, doubt, and certainty..". I was also inspired by a Steve Coan comment in Cracked Vessels Dripping Time about evangelicals being concerned more with what they consider right and good than actually searching daily for the log in their own eye (not Steve's words but what I gleaned from his comment).

About a year ago I got hungry. I started studying my bible like nobody's business and I'll have to be honest with you, I hadn't read a book all the way through without skimming in many, many years. When I say I got hungry I mean I was given a VORACIOUS appetite and consumed book after book after book searching for God only knows what. I'm still hungry. I still couldn't really put my finger on it if you were to ask but I can certainly convey what I've learned. From St. Peter to Tolstoy to Colson and perhaps tens of thousands of sermons in between and thereafter the question "How then should I live" has been asked. I was pondering that question with my wife yesterday and it hit me. Jesus said he is "the way, the truth, and the life". Not many disciples of Christ would deny seeking Jesus and trying to follow in his footsteps yet to non-Christians we often don't look that way. We often don't represent "the way, the truth, and the life". We can never be the way but our whole lifestyle should point to the way. We cannot be the life but our whole lifestyle should point to the life. We can, however, as Christ's Bride, his body, be a pretty strong representation of the truth. Most would say the truth lies in the scriptures or the truth lies in tradition or we must seek the truth but I say we are the truth, or rather we are becoming the truth.

The word 'fact' comes from the Latin word factum which means "something done". If we are to be the "truth" we must become the Christian 'fact'. Every facet of our life must be a facet of the life of a child of a king. How does that look? It looks like the widow giving out of her poverty, it looks like the samaritan, it looks like the heroes of the parables that Jesus taught that I don't have the time to put in here.

The truth is moving. I don't care if you are one of Barna's revolutionaries in a non-denominational mega-church or a mainstream denominational church or you are an organic christian in a home church or a monk in a monastery whenever we talk to someone we must use the words and tone that we'd enjoy someone using with us (wow did Willard change my views on anger), we must serve others as serving Jesus himself, we must be in the culture but not of the culture, we must represent beauty, art, charity, and all that emanates from Love, the pure kind of love, the kind of love that drives a shorebird to flap around as if wounded to draw danger from her tender nest of hatchlings. Who can tell us how to live like that. Jesus. Only Jesus. My words, thoughts, and deeds are flap. Only Jesus, moment by moment, breath by breath.