Showing posts from June, 2013

Heaven and Hell

Some day, in God's redeemed land, we will laugh together and dance together, and we will be together, eternally, without the persistent fear it will all slip away before we realize what it's worth.

For now, though, we have the choice to live either in heaven or in hell, to occupy the Kingdom of light or the Kingdom of darkness. And those who choose hell bring it with them, into every relationship and every interaction. And those who choose heaven do the same. Eternal life is not a destination but a present reality.

And then there's Jesus. Jesus Christ, God of the universe, straddling both Kingdoms reaching down to pull us from darkness into the light. The brunt of hell's fire berating Him Christ grabs hold of us and won't let go, never, not even once we've passed from darkness into the light because the light is the realm of His constant embrace.

You don't have to sell me on hell or heaven, because I've seen and tasted both. I've been bathed in God&#…

The Jesus Prayer: A Play in Three Acts

The Jesus Prayer goes:

"Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me."
Remember that.
Act 1: Delilah
So I have formally decided to name my new car Delilah, because she is beautiful but she's betrayed me and I can't trust her anymore. The list of pickles into which she has gotten me is getting longer and more maddening by the day, and the memory of one of the more harrowing of said pickles is still tender, as it took place not two months ago on the way back to George Fox from a job interview in Portland.

The interview was for a position in Young Life's Associate Program, a dream job of mine except that it would require me to live wherever they might place me, rather than in Springfield where I had resolved to go after graduation. My interviewers and I reached this impasse at the end of my interview, them telling me I would have to live away from home and me trying to humbly communicate that I must return home, that home is where I felt God calling me.

I left the i…

Happy Father's Day

A couple years ago, on Father's Day, a friend texted me something I don't think I'll ever forget: "I know it must be hard for you on a day when we all celebrate our fathers, but I think it's really admirable that you recognize you have a heavenly Father who knows and loves you." I don't have that phone anymore so it's hard to tell if that's exactly how it went but the gist of it is stuck in my mind and heart for good. I go back to that memory when I get discouraged about the state of that friendship, which unfortunately happens from time to time, or when Father's Day bums me out, which happens every year like clockwork.

On some level I know my friend is right. I do believe God can be the father I need, but for years I've tried to use that knowledge to talk myself out of honoring any legitimate grief I may have felt for my earthly fatherlessness, and it's beginning to wear on me. It's a tough, uncomfortable line to walk, between my …

God of the Freaks

There's a type of person who doesn't feel comfortable at church. There are several actually, and these people, these beloved children of the Most High God, feel so ill-at-ease around our judgmental eyes and caustic tongues they stop coming to church altogether. And we blame them for it.

"Get over it! God loves you anyway, come to church!" we say, as if it's fear of God which keeps them away. Perhaps sometimes it is, fear of the hateful God of heretical doctrine, but it's clear to me that far more often it is not God who drives them out, but His children.

We claim grace, God's grace, His unmerited favor for us weary sinners with all our breath. We speak of Christ's compassion for the other, for the marginalized, for the "freaks" of His day, then we preach a very different sermon with our gossiping whispers and hostile glares.

"Did you hear who she's sleeping with?"

"Can you imagine showing up at church in that?"