The Holiness Project – Spiritual Sacrifices “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of...Read More
Jesus did not use parables to teach them about the cross, he spoke plainly. It was his life that would be the lesson, his experience that would be their teacher. The Way of the Cross is always so. It is clear and plain and needs no fancy words. It is a path which we must walk, not endlessly discuss. It is the dust of the road on the way to Jerusalem that is the aroma of real life. The question is…and always has been…will we follow?Read More
The Way of the Cross – Lenten Season 2018
“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing……if you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15: 5,7,8 NIV).
When my daughter was 12 years old, she was full of curiosity. And she would ask very good questions too. But she didn’t always like the answers.
“Why is God hiding?” she would ask. “Why doesn’t he protect me from hurting myself. Doesn´t he love me?” “If God loves the whole world, why doesn’t he just get rid of hell and let everyone go to heaven?” Those were the good questions.
But she had other questions as well. “Who was Cain’s wife?” “Who created God?” and “What is heaven like?” Obviously, we had a lot of talks together coming home from school, walking in the park, sitting in my office.
Do you remember the book called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne that they also made a movie out of? It was really popular for a while and promoted what they called The Law of Attraction which claims that thinking positively about something can make it appear in your life. A dubious idea at best. It was clothed with some religious language (ask, believe, and receive) and fits well into the Prosperity Gospel that has swept through the American churches in recent years. It sold 20 million copies at least and was translated into more than 50 languages. Rhonda Byrne certainly attracted a lot of money and fame into her life.Read More
Frederick Buechner, in his book Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale, tells us that the world of the gospel is “a world of magic and mystery, of deep darkness and flickering starlight It is a world where terrible things happen and wonderful things too It is a world where goodness is pitted against evil, love against hate, order against chaos, in a great struggle where often it is hard to be sure who belongs to which side because appearances are endlessly deceptive. Yet for all its confusion and wildness, it is a world where the battle goes ultimately to the good, who live happily every after….That is the fairy tale of the Gospel with, of course, one crucial difference from all other fairy tales, which is that the claim made for it is that it is true, that it not only happened once upon a time but has kept on happening ever since and is happening still” (quoted in The Sacred Romance p. 46).Read More
We have been talking about the Sanctification Gap, that chasm between the holiness and perfect love of God as seen in His justice and mercy on the one hand, and the depths of our sin, our selfishness, our inability to love ourselves, much less God or anyone else on the other. That Sanctification Gap continues even after we have been justified by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ. In fact, precisely because it is a substitution, that it isn’t our righteousness, the gap exists because we are not made immediately perfect in love. Our Sanctification is progressive. But that gap between our Justification and our Sanctification also creates a credibility gap, both in our own eyes as well as in the eyes of other people. And so it should. It is a necessary part of our situation as Christians.Read More
This little story is making the rounds on the internet and on facebook. I love it. It’s a wonderful way to describe our situation as we live in darkness and grow and prepare for our delivery. It is very well done. But the metaphor isn’t perfect and I would like to improve it a little bit. Let’s talk about the umbilical cord….
So, the two babies are there in the womb but one has an umbilical cord and is fed by her mother but the other one is dead and withered in the womb (but still able to talk and discuss and “pretend” that it is alive when it is really quite dead). The metaphor is already starting to get ugly but it is closer to the truth.