Archive for the 'random' Category

01
Oct
13

Unity in conflict

Disagreement, conflict, friction and opposing preferences are all part of life — even life in the local church community.  There is just no way around it.  As Christians, we’d all like to agree on all things all the time and enjoy the ensuing harmony.  But realistically, we will never agree on everything even on matters relating to faith, theology, and practice.  And if our hope for harmony rests in us always agreeing we will be sorely disappointed.

In his book, This World: Playground or Battleground?, A.W. Tozer explains it this way, This world AW Tozer

“Some misguided Christian leaders feel that they must preserve harmony at any cost, so they do everything possible to reduce friction. They should remember that there is no friction in a machine that has been shut down for the night. Turn off the power, and you will have no problem with moving parts. Also remember that there is a human society where there are no problems: the cemetery. The dead have no differences of opinion. They generate no heat, because they have no energy and no motion. But their penalty is sterility and complete lack of achievement. What then is the conclusion of the matter? That problems are the price of progress, that friction is the concomitant of motion, that a live and expanding church will have a certain quota of difficulties as a result of its life and activity. A Spirit-filled church will invite the anger of the enemy.”

Tozer is right, a living and expanding church will have a certain quota of difficulties and disagreements.  God understands this and is neither surprised nor displeased when friction and disagreements arise among his people.  For God, the issue is not will such things happen but how will we handle them when they do.  The enemy works for anger and division.  The Spirit of God works for humility and unity.

In our secular culture, I believe a key to the Church’s future impact rests on Christians’ ability and willingness to sometimes agree to disagree on non-essentials.  Humbly accepting some of our differences and joyfully rallying around those things that unite us – specifically around the one who unites us, Jesus, is critical.  Given our sinful tendencies, Jesus recognized the challenge and prayed for us  – his followers – the Church.  He said, “Father, I pray for those who will believe in me…that all of them may be one, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”  Summary?  Unity and oneness was Jesus’ desire for his people.

True oneness, however, requires a realistic understanding that conflict occurs.  But it also requires we learn to humbly live with the tension of disagreement.  As Tozer says, “The dead have no differences of opinion.”  Let’s face it … if you have an opinion it means you’re alive.  But no living human being is infallible. So as long as we joyfully unite around the truth of Jesus and his Gospel of grace, our ability to impact the world remains strong.  Perhaps this is one other thing we in the church can all agree on.

16
Apr
13

Evil in Boston

The tragedy in Boston reminds me of the downside to true freedom — as a human being it cannot fully guarantee my safety.  With freedom comes risk and at times sad consequences.  As author C.S.Lewis aptly pointed out, “God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can’t. If a thing is free to be good it’s also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.

boston bombA world of automata – of creatures that worked like machines – would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they’ve got to be free.  Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently, He thought it worth the risk. If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will – that is, for making a real world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings – then we may take it it is worth paying.”   Today I’m praying for those victims who have suffered the tragedy of freedom.

04
Dec
12

True poetry

At the devil’s booth are all things sold,
Each ounce of dross costs its ounce of gold;
For a cap and bells our lives we pay,
Bubbles we buy with a whole soul’s tasking:
‘Tis heaven alone that is given away,
‘Tis only God may be had for the asking.

James Russell Lowell

19th century American Romantic Poet

17
Nov
12

ode to confection

I think that I shall never see
A treat so wonderful as thee.
A cake whose utter sweetness brought,
Straight to my mouth without much thought.
God’s gift to us, divine and tasty
Pulled from our grasp abrupt and hasty.
My heart is heavy, my taste buds sad,
My mind confused, emotions mad.
Can I recover from such a prick
Against my soul that’s made me sick?
I think that I shall long time burn
For measured justice and your return.
But fools like me who love you so
Must say goodbye to you Ho Ho.

03
Oct
12

Good science

This may surprise some but not those of us who tote a smooth cranium.  New research done by the University of Pennsylvania finds men who choose full-on baldness by shaving their heads are perceived as being more masculine and dominant than other men, as well as taller, stronger and more powerful as leaders.   The   proof is published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science.  The study shows that bald men have an edge as long as they are completely shorn… tonsures or comb-overs are out of luck.  Unfortunately, the study also indicates bald may not be perceived as beautiful and in fact less attractive.  My guess is that  will soon change!  I say –“go bald or go home.”

17
Sep
12

September

Ok, so it’s 17 days late but oh well. WH Auden’s, September 1.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In the euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages;
May I, compose like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

WH Auden

31
Aug
12

Holy Sonnet

Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

13
Aug
12

The Low Anthem

This is not a new band, although they are new to me. The Low Anthem blends an indie folk hymn-like sound with beautiful harmonies. If I could sing falsetto this is what I’d want it to sound like. Through the lyrics of their song Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, it seems the group struggles with the “broken system” of our world and natural selection’s ultimate meaninglessness. My good friend Dave Swanson offers a thoughtful summary of the band in his review on Rednow.

Set the sails I feel the winds a’stirring
Toward the bright horizon set the way
Cast your reckless dreams upon our Mayflower
Haven from the world and her decay

And who could heed the words of Charlie Darwin
Fighting for a system built to fail
Spooning water from their broken vessels
As far as I can see there is no land

Oh my God, the water’s all around us
Oh my God, it’s all around

Who could heed the words of Charlie Darwin
Lords of war just profit from decay
And trade the children’s promise for the jingle
The way we trade our hard earned time for pay

Oh my God, the water’s cold and shapeless
Oh my God, it’s all around
Oh my God, life is cold and formless
Oh my God, it’s all around

09
Aug
12

Grace is…

“Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world. It is a floating, cosmic bash shouting its way through the streets of the universe, flinging the sweetness of its cassations to every window, pounding at every door in a hilarity beyond all liking and happening, until the prodigals come out at last and dance, and the elder brothers finally take their fingers out of their ears.”
― Robert Farrar Capon

01
Jun
12

Prayer by CS Lewis

“Master, they say that when I seem
To be in speech with you,
Since you make no replies, it’s all a dream
– One talker aping two.

They are half right, but not as they
Imagine; rather, I
Seek in myself the things I meant to say,
And lo! the wells are dry.

Then, seeing me empty, you forsake
The Listener’s role, and through
My dead lips breathe and into utterance wake
The thoughts I never knew.

And thus you neither need reply
Nor can; thus, while we seem
Two talking, thou art One forever, and I
No dreamer, but thy dream.
– C.S. Lewis, 1964




re: the random-ness

Husband. Father. Senior Pastor of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, IL.

Ok...so you've located the place where I put down my random thoughts. The key word here is random: music, sports, art, food, books, news, spiritual musings, weird stories, etc. I'm especially interested in how everyday experiences of life intersect with the ancient stories of Scripture. Thanks for reading.
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"No problem can withstand the assault of substantial thinking." Voltaire

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