Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I believe we live in a dualistic society.  We love to put things into categories, we love our labels.  We look at people as winners or losers, rich or poor, privileged or those to have pity on.  I believe that much of our thinking is either/or thinking.  Someone is either in this category, or they are in that one.  Someone is either a winner, or they are a loser.  I believe that the gospel message pulls us away from this type of polarized thinking however.  I believe that the gospel message is a both/and message instead of an either/or message.  All is taken into account, all is included.  God is willing to accept all of us, even the broken parts of us.

I believe that both/and thinking frees us in ways that either/or thinking cannot.  If my primary mode is either/or, I will be seeking to divide, to put things into this category or that.  I will not be able to take things as they are, I will automatically be judging them and evaluating them from the start.  If on the other hand my mode is both/and, I'm more able and willing to accept you for who you are, and also to accept all that you have to offer.  Both/and thinking accepts people and things for what they are, and then invites them to share themselves.  It is a much more inclusive, a much more expansive way of thinking.  I believe that both/and thinking is more about saying "yes" than "no" or "maybe."

Imagine with me for a moment.  What if we saw the day as gift, as inclusive, as what we can add to it and what it can add to us, as able to expand our understanding, as increasing our ability to love and receive love.  I believe this type of thinking and seeing is grace, and also is the affect that grace has on our lives.  Only God can bring about this in our lives, and my openness and vulnerability with him can be a foundation on which a both/and attitude is built.

Monday, September 22, 2014


We are known by God, inside and out.  There is no recess of our soul that he does not know, no crevasse that is unbeknownst to him.  Therefore let me come out of hiding, let me walk into the light with freedom and confidence.  Let me let go of fear, of crippling darkness, let light be my brother, my companion, my friend.  Into the light we will go, moving from grace to grace, from mercy to mercy.  Let the light be my home, my truest desire.  All that intrigued me about sin, about trying to control my life, let it forever be forgotten in the great light.  I want to hear a whispering in the wind, to know full well where it comes from, full well what it means, and to sell all to be a part of it.  I want to love from the inside out and outside in.  I want love to open up for me depths I never imagined, grace I cannot yet see.

Yes, we are known by God, inside and out.  My intentions do not go unnoticed by him.  His grace beckons me surrender in my deepest parts.  The parts I deemed insignificant, he says wait, I am hear, there is peace, this is good.  Even in my wavering and my doubt, even in my fear and failure, he is present.  His love never fails.  This is truly his story, I can participate, I can play a part, but ultimately it is him moving through me that brings about true redemption.

We are known by God, inside and out.  I need not perch my beliefs, like a hidden alter trying to reach the heavens.  I need only to say "yes".  I need only he.  He put creation into motion and since then has been working creatively with it, inviting us to participate with him in his beauty.

Praise be to the God of all heavens, of all earth, of all creation.  Praise be to the God of all comfort, of all grace, of all joy.  Praise be to the God of all refuge, of all shelter, of all places where I lay my head.  Praise be to the God of the animals, of each people group, of everything good.  Praise be to the one, the only, the infinite God.

Monday, September 8, 2014

With all of me

I need not mistrust the different parts of me.  For all of them are given by God.  All are to be used in unison, all are good.  I need not fear thinking, for God has given me my brain.  I need not fear exercise, for God has given me a body.  I need not fear rest, for God created us to need it.  I need not fear excitement, for we are given a capacity for it.  I need not fear fun, for it unites all of the other parts of me.

God made our minds and bodies to be used.  Accepting a Christian life isn't resigning from the use of our brains or any other part of who we are.  It is to use them more fully, in the blessed confidence of children of God.

I think we forget sometimes that Jesus became enfleshed.  He took on a human life.  I believe that this shows us that we are good.  God was willing to become what we are in order to show us that we need not fear or mistrust what God has created, ourselves.

Yes I make mistakes with my mind and body.  But that does't change their inherent goodness.  Remember, before we did anything wrong, before we took our lives into our own hands, we had perfect communion with God.  Before the fall, Adam and Eve didn't fear or hate themselves.  They were able to humbly accept that they were radically loved without limit.  The love of God is what they knew.  Grace was first.  Love was first.  Sin came later.  So to return to Christ is to return to our original destiny, being lost in the love of God.

I picture God as an energy radiating through the universe, drawing all things into it, making all things one.  We were not only created by God, but were also created in his image.  We need not fear that this all surpassing love doesn't reach us, or that there are recesses in our soul that it doesn't reach.  I believe accepting our identity of a loved child of God is the task of our lifetime.  To internalize this love, to dare to believe it's true, to dare to let it accept us in our brokenness, is our calling.

So in light of this, I don't need to fear myself.  I can think with the power provided by God.  I can experience life fearlessly, without reservation.  I can use all my faculties in bringing him glory.

I believe that human love gives us a picture and snapshot of God's love.  I picture a father, playing with his child, not concerned if the child is doing anything right, only caring that the child is smiling and laughing.  The father, only concerned with life for the child, delights in the child's joy.  If I can believe this about human love, it opens me up to the possibility about a grander love, still deeper, still more persistent, still more present, than we can imagine.  And believing this about the divine, helps me still broaden my capacity for human love.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Embracing Ambiguity (Embracing Faith)

We will never have this life all figured out. We will never have a corner on the market of all truth. Pure wisdom will always be outside of us. But this is ok! We weren't meant to have it all figured out. We are called to live by faith. The call is to walk into mystery, into truth that is guiding us, not truth that we have control over. I say this to encourage us all, it is a great freedom to know that I'm accepted in my not knowing. Faith keeps us in the fight. If I decide against all hope, I've quit the fight. Similarly, if I've decided I have it all figured out, I've left the fight as well. My capacity for mystery, for love, for great truth is dying, and my capacity to hold these things is diminishing. But there is good news. All faith requires is saying yes to God. To open our hands and receiving from him. It does't require that we understand the gift, only that we let it change us, only that we live into it. We live in a society where answers seem to be more praised than questions. But we tend to seek only the answers that confirm our status quo. Whereas questions, questions open me up to the Other, to receiving, to mystery, to what is beyond me. I see this as great news. Faith states to us to stand in the mystery, to abandon our need for control, to drink in deeply to the mercy and love found in this life. Faith helps me to view the sunset, the impeccable mountain, and though I can't quantify the beauty, though I can't accurately explain it in words, I can be grateful for it. Faith helps me get beyond being hung up on the content and helps me engage more in the process. Faith means I already have what it takes to let mystery touch me, I need only to succeed to it. Faith isn't created a beauty from nothing, it is awakening my eyes, my mind, my heart to the beauty already present in the universe. It's less of a spirituality of addition, more of a deepening trust in the God already at work in the world and in my life. At times, I may encounter two or more ideas that seem to be opposing without knowing which if any are accurate. But faith speaks into this situation allowing us to rest in the love and Presence that are God. And, if I'm not quick to react, if I hold the tension in a loving grasp, I may see the truth on both (or all) sides. Weary travelers, let not your unknowing and doubt undue you. Rather, let them propel you into deeper mystery, into mystery that more readily holds all things without passing judgement. Let us together be invested in the God of mystery, who gives of himself in abundance no matter how much or little we realize it or accept it.