Learning to be Forgiven

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I wonder how the Prodigal Son felt about the party thrown for him? We hear he had been living in squalor and was ashamed of himself; he came home to throw himself at his father’s feet and beg for a servant’s position, stripped of his sonship. We also know that the father saw his beloved son coming home and ran to meet him, kissing him in his filth, clothing him in the finest clothes, and hosting a massive celebration over his return. The father refused to let his son be punished or perform any penance for his sins, even though the son requested it.

When we tell this story, we assume that everyone was happy and joyful, aside from the jealous brother, but I have to wonder about the Prodigal Son. He’d just been completely forgiven and washed clean in his father’s eyes: he wasn’t punished, and he was elevated back to his son-ship and position of authority in his father’s house—why wouldn’t he be happy? I never thought too much about it before—until I was forgiven. Continue reading

Be Still: a confession

Be Still

Be still, and I know that I am God.” “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

These are the lines swirling through my mind tonight. I am convicted, more than I have been in a long time: I lost the love somewhere along the way. I don’t know when or where, but I lost it, and have become the hollowness of a pot clanging into a drawer–a harsh, abrasive sound that doesn’t enrich, instead detracting from pleasure.

I stopped being still. Continue reading

How to Grow the Fruit of the Spirit

We’ve all tried to improve ourselves at some point–especially with the New Year so fresh in our memories, we may be seeking to modify our behavior or emotional attributes over the coming months. I have plenty of experience with this, and it usually hasn’t been good. For a while, I really wanted to be more patient, so I would restrain myself and try to not manifest my impatience with people or situations–this is the method that I use for ‘growing’ in my patience, or any other attribute that I want to develop. I want to have something, so I force myself to mimic it’s behavior on the outside, even if I don’t have it on the inside; while this certainly is better than me flipping out on everyone around me, it isn’t true patience. I can “fake it til I make it” all I want, but I’m still just faking it. If I’m restraining my impatience and not showing it on the outside, I can’t claim to be patient because I’m still tapping my toe and glancing at the clock internally.

Just as New Years serves as the impetus for a lot of people to modify their behavior, I often decide to change because of sermons or Bible verses. The section of the Bible that talks about the Fruit of the Spirit is one of the worst sections for frustrating me with its inaccessibility. I read about the Fruit of the Spirit and take steps to obtain that fruit in my life, just like we talked about above. If I turn to sermons or Bible studies about the Fruit of the Spirit, most of them lay out some steps I should take to get it in my life: once again, this has proven ineffective and frustrating time after time.

Why does this happen? Continue reading

Why I Stopped Loving Christ and Disliking Christians

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“I love Christ, but I can’t stand Christians…” Can you relate to that? I can. So many have been burned by systemized Christianity or Christians; everyone’s story of how they’ve been hurt is different, but these days it seems like everyone has one. Whether it is frustration and helplessness stemming from the layers of traditions and habits, or wounds inflicted by a church or professing Christians, the pain is there and the dislike for ‘Christianity’ is born, even though we still love God. Conservative, backwards, homophobic, irrational, hateful, hypocrite, judgmental—these are all connotations that have attached themselves to the word “Christian”, and it’s painfully obvious why we’d want to distance ourselves from it.

But there is a problem with all of this….. Continue reading

The Problem With Living Dangerously For God

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We are called to live dangerously for God, refusing to take the easy route that seeks to reap the benefits of a relationship with God with none of the risk. It has been incredible to watch this truth be rediscovered in the Christian community over the past few years; once someone recognizes that truth and lives it out, the impact on their life inspires another to try it, and thus it has spread like wildfire. People like Francis Chan have been speaking about this for years, encouraging people to not “hug the balance beam”, but instead to get up and do something spectacular and risky for God. If we lived like this, the world would be a better place.

So, what problem could there be with all of this? Just keep reading… Continue reading

Welcome to the Rape Culture

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Trigger Warning: This post discusses rape.

I’m glad that I have two sisters, and not three or four. If I had four sisters, one of them would be raped, and I don’t know how I would live with that. Statistically speaking, 1 in 4 women either are raped or experience a rape attempt in their lifetime. How can we live with this?

I’m scared to have a child because of what could happen. We live in a rape culture, and something has to change. Continue reading

Let His Blood Be On Us!

Let His Blood Be On Us

30 A.D. Jesus has been captured, and Pilate is being pressured to execute Him. When Pilate hesitates over killing a man he finds no fault in, the people reassure him: “Let his blood be on us and on our children!’”1 Little did these people know what they were wishing for: the murder of God to be laid upon them and their children. They were asking to shoulder a blood debt that could never be repaid or removed, not even by their very deaths. How they would have shuddered and wept if they fully knew what they were asking for! They would become the takers of innocent blood which would soon gush from God’s corporal body, flowing out to cover them and their children. Continue reading

Throwing Stones at Mark Driscoll

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I don’t particularly like Mark Driscoll. I have nothing personal against the man, but I think that his views on women are frightening, his picture of God seems to be crammed into a very particular view of men and warriors, etc. To be fair, I’ve never gotten around to an extensive reading of his teachings; every time I start, I get turned off by aforementioned things. With some of the recent controversy surrounding him, he was back on my radar. As I was thinking about Driscoll, a startling thought popped into my head: Mark Driscoll looks a lot like one of Jesus’ disciples. Continue reading

When God and Time Intersect

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When Jesus died on the cross, He did so as a substitution—no crime shall go unpunished, and His death opened a way for us to pass the guilt of our wrongdoing onto Him, where it was punished. This substitution allows us to walk away free under the payment Jesus made, if we enter into a relationship with Him. As Jesus breathed His last breath, undergoing the death penalty we were headed towards, He shouted out those three words in a visceral cry:

It is finished.

These three words are powerful, and in them lies the key to understanding a profound truth about the nature of God’s grace and forgiveness. Continue reading