I felt it before I saw it. I can't describe how or why, but I felt it. As I opened my front door the hair on my neck and arms stood on end, my heart rate spiked, my breath was sapped from my lungs. Right there, a few feet from our front door, in the middle of the otherwise untouched snow of our front yard, someone had carved a 12-foot by 12-foot swastika. I wasn't prepped to see that symbol. I knew something was off, but I wasn't prepped for the depth of that. I closed the door, prayed, asked the Lord for courage and clarity, and then stepped out into the cold night, fairly certain that whoever had wanted to leave that message was probably still around.
Do they need admonishment? May I give it humbly, lovingly and boldly. Do they need encouragement? May I give it faithfully, fervently and fearlessly. Do they need help? May I give it gently, helpfully and empathetically
Like most of you (I presume) I sat aghast yesterday as I saw the scenes unfolding in Washington DC, and in particular, the scenes of rioters overtaking the US Capitol. As someone who is strangely as steeped in decades of US exceptionalism as the rest of you even though I didn’t grow up here, it was stark and troubling. We expect to see scenes like this on our screens from far flung places that don’t have the experience and “sophistication" of generations of democratic experience. It felt like a movie, a far-fetched one with really bad acting. And yet, it wasn’t a movie. It was a mirror.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of spiritual gifts, the idea that God would breathe His Spirit into ordinary people in order to empower them to do extraordinary things for the communities of faith in which He has placed them. Unfortunately, we have set church up in such a way that we don't get to see much of this body of gifting at work, and we must do all we can post this season apart to get back to the body doing the work of the body rather than just large groups gathering to watch a few muscles work out on a weekly basis.
God invited them to a season of repentance and returning that was marked by quiet and trust. Sound at all familiar? Perhaps, what we are experiencing now is an invitation to a quieting of our hearts and a returning to God in repentance and trust. What is tragic, is that Isaiah tells us that many of the people of Jerusalem missed it. Instead of quiet submission, they returned to the very sources of supposed strength that they had placed their hope in and which had kept them from God in the first place. Let us not waste this season of returning in the same way.
FOR EVERY ONE LOOK AT CORONA ... TAKE TEN LOOKS AT CHRIST!
It is important in these unprecedented times for our minds to be informed, but it is essential in these unprecedented times for our minds to be transformed.
We don't like to live with tension. We don't like ambiguity. We don't know how to embrace the word ... AND. What the spread of this virus has been helpful in exposing is that we don't know what we don't know. It has revealed the limitations of our creatureliness in a pretty stark fashion. It is new to everyone and so we are all learning together. You would think that would eliminate our hubris, but it might be making it worse.
Beauty protests in a way like nothing else can. The ability to make beautiful things is a divine imprint on humanity that isn't eroded by even the most heinous of schemes to dehumanize people.
I am an exhausted Evangelical, but I am hopeful that God will use this particularly bumpy cultural moment to rouse a sleepy church from its prolonged nap of cultural Christianity, and that what might emerge from this all would be a vibrant Kingdom community of faith prepared to live as sojourners and exiles until we arrive on the shores of the land that we are actually all longing for.