Archive for July, 2012

too close to see

Imageare there times in our lives, when we are too close to a situation to see it clearly?  that we get distracted with thing, while important, is not primary?

when hearing some of the reaction to the penn state issues, and there are many at play, i think that this is some of what’s happening.  there is a lot of emotion flowing on both sides.  and i certainly understand the feeling surrounding an iconic leader and athletics hold a place in my heart as well.  however, we cannot forget or choose to overlook the the responsibility of those who are in leadership & the accountability they must be held to.

i also heard it said just this morning that the sins of the father are passed down & accountability is not just brought to one generation, or in this case one class of players.  the penalties handed down do, at first glance, feel unfair to students & coaches that had nothing to do with what happened in years past.  but when people make mistakes there are ripple affects.

really, at the root of all this is the ability to tell the truth about ourselves, the organizations & even the families we belong to.  paul writes these words:

Ephesians 4:14-16 (MSG)

No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—

can you, can i, in the midst of difficult, trying, emotional times tell the truth about what is happening?  if not, perhaps we’re too close to the forest.  if we recognize this, that is if we can tell the truth about our ability [or in-ability] to see things as they are, perhaps we need to reflect on solomon’s words in proverbs13 [how the wise seek counsel & the foolish rely on themselves].

all of this begins with our ability to acknowledge that we may be too emotionally involved to see things clearly.  there may be a strong need to invite another’s perspective & allow them to tell us what they see.

the doubting doubters…

today catching up on some reading & dug into Jesus Creed written by scot mcKnight & stumbled onto a post about doubting.  such good stuff & a reminder that life in Christ isn’t filled with certainty.  certainty in who God is & what Jesus does.  but a certainty in how this life will play out with it’s job loss, death & the change of life that infects us all.  so below is just a small portion of that posting, if you want to read the whole post here’s that link.  [the differing text font are scot’s words, my words are in this font].  then scot poses some good questions @ the end.

Alister McGrath’s book, Doubting: Growing Through the Uncertainties of Faith.  Chapters ten and eleven: Chapter 10 — DOUBT how to handle it, and Chapter 11 — DOUBT putting it in perspective are worth the price of the book. These two chapters should be required reading for every pastor or other Christian leader whose work includes ministering to those who experience doubt and conflict in our educated secular environment, especially those ministering to undergraduate and graduate students. McGrath’s advice in Chapter 10 is right on target -€- he’s been there – he gets it. The following points are culled from various places in the book, with a little of editorializing thrown in for good measure. The points are addressed at students who may be struggling with doubt – but have equally powerful messages for church leaders.

The first point is a key.

(1) Know your faith: Most of the people who ridicule the faith know little or nothing about it. Unfortunately, neither do most Christians. Many Christians have a superficial faith in the gospel; shallow roots, with external rather than internal strength. To one with an unsophisticated faith the ridicule of the world appears reasonable and deadly. The most powerful defense then is education. Read the scripture daily; read solid scholarly Christian literature (this blog is a good source of suggestions); read books that stimulate you to think about the content of the faith. A more reasoned faith with deep roots can be defended and shared. A ‘€œSunday School’ sophistication is not enough–neither is a catechistic memorized list of propositions and answers. Do not simply affirm belief in the Trinity or the divinity of Jesus €- discover what these doctrines mean, how they developed, and why they are affirmed.

If you have struggled with doubts what helped and what didn’t help?

What can the church do to help to prevent these crises?

What can the church do to help people grow through doubts and questions?

i think there is a supposed danger in engaging, dare i say embracing our doubt.  that supposed danger being this; “what if we fall head-long into full scale sin & depravity?  or end up in new age/satanism?  here’s the realistic side of that argument.

if we are truly seeking the truth we’re going to end up right next to God.  if we’re looking for the answers to difficult questions, trying to understand a complex God & look for Him in His world we’re going to find Him.  that’s not to say that we should go out, trying to experience every depravity & satisfy every urge in the name of “truth seeking.”  God’s Word is clear on that.

i think that too many times we’re paralyzed by the fear of “what if…?”

if we would seek out the truth of God, even in the midst of our wondering & struggle, i think [with certainty] that we’ll find Him & it will deepen our faith.

a lacking…

are there times in your history, if we can be honest with ourselves, that we exhibited a lack of faith?  i mean if we can really be honest with ourselves…

as we look backward & see clearly that we should have done this or gone there but it was a lacking in our belief that God was handling all the details.  and some of this is reflected in our prayer life.  i’ve come to realize that there are some significant things that happen when we begin to pray…really pray fervently for what GOD wants, not just our wish list of what would be best for us & our lives.


we entrust ourselves to God – and we entrust others to God

ENTRUSTING OURSELVES:  when we truly do this it removes our need to worry & fret over what may come tomorrow.  when we stop worrying about tomorrow we’re able to live in today, to be present.  present with God & present with others.

ENTRUSTING OTHERS:  when we entrust others to God it removes our desire to control the action & activity of those around us.  let’s be honest here [if we can].  when we see someone that we love doing something that we don’t agree with [lifestyle choice, friendship decision, etc.] we want to change that.  because, after all, we usually believe that we know what’s best.  as a parent i hope i do know what’s best for my kids & i do want to control their activity.  but when they become adults, and even before then, my control over what they do will become more and more limited.  ultimately i have to come to the realization that i can’t control all they do & that God is supreme over all things.  even the bad choices that my kids may make.

so when we entrust ourselves & others to God, through the way we pray things can begin to happen in our lives.  we begin to behave differently & our faith is expressed in new ways.  we are less inclined to use phrases like:

we’re just not ready.

i don’t know if we have enough?

when we’ve paid that off, then we’ll do…

when God invites us to do something, shift a thing that’s been in place for a long time, make a change [significant or small] we need to remember that He isn’t asking us to hold the whole thing on our own.  He’s inviting us to join Him in something He’s already doing.

[reference to this kind of life can be found in matthew 6 & 7]

so, a couple of questions before you go:

what excuses have you made for a lack of faith?

can we even admit our lack of faith?

what might God be inviting you into that you’ve been putting off?