Posts in Altars
No, Seriously, Love Your Enemies

Extensive writing has been done as to which side of this election people of faith should stand on.  There are blogrolls the size of the Great Library at Alexandria on what “true” pro-life means, and even more so on the relative merits or lack-thereof of various political candidates, candidates’ spouses and candidates’ confidants’ sexual exploits.  You can easily find strongly worded essays, tweets and podcasts on the role of the Supreme Court in religious liberty, justice for refugees through the actions of the State and the important role that misogyny and latent racism has played in this election and every other in human memory.  I am happy to say that I have nothing to add to all of this. Nothing.

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Creating a Terrible God

As I engage with people over the years, I find that there is little about God which draws out more confusion and emotional milieu than the concept of God as Father.  For most people, this is in part because they start with “Father” as they’ve known it and then apply this frame to God. Of course, like any title which we start with our own definitions of and then expect God to fit the confines of our expectations, the frame bursts with failed containment early and explosively. This failure of God to meet our expectations, unfortunately, rarely leads us to reconsider the expectations we’ve levered against Him. Instead we blame the Monet for not fitting within an ill-measured frame. 

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Liberating a Rich Man

Below, we address one of the most controversial of New Testament passages (Mark 10:17-31), a story used to justify class warfare, to establish power differentials between paid church staff and laity and all-too-often as a lever for guilt and shame as people haven't "Let go" of enough to earn their way to the Kingdom.  As you can see from the retelling below, this modern day frame on an ancient text couldn't be farther from the rich meaning cased within.

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Landmarks of a Transforming Life

The Self-Help section is one of the largest at Barnes and Noble, and without a doubt high on the profitability scale.  The idea of an accessible and simple formula for lifetime success has now even seeped into the biography section.  There was a time when one read biographies to view from the long end of history how a life had been formed by experience, choice and belief.  Not today.  Today, the majority of “biographies” more accurately stand as mid-life memoirs (some earlier than that) and they don’t intent to map out the story of life so far, but instead to manipulate the events of an unfinished life into the few short platitudes which can create tips for a ravenous public. 

Our new ways of defining human thriving have so denigrated our ability to stand in our own skin and to relate to each other with love and respect that anyone with an objective view would jettison these views in an instant.  But without a meaningful alternative, an attainable counter-narrative to the way to life, the deep and addictive rut of the status-quo will continue to hold us in its sway. Thankfully this counter-narrative is not far off.  There are signs for optimism.

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Not Swallowed in the Sea

There are short roads that seem long and long roads that seem short. Such is the way with travel I suppose, it all depends on the size of steps we’re taking and the weight of pack we’re carrying. Sometimes, we, with grand energy, take long strides into the future believing in something that we cannot see. And sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we take small steps that are more like stumbles, so miniscule that the headwinds we face seem to simply push us ceaselessly back into the past. The loads we carry ever heavier and the road ever longer. They say the journey of a million miles begins with a single step…but more often, and even ever so lately it has not been so. It has been the journey of a mile that couldn’t be completed even with a million steps. And to you out there, to whom it may concern, we are oh so tired from walking.

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Did Jesus Come to Forgive Sins?

A Look at Atonement through the Words of Mark

I have been spending the last 4 months with a committed group of 12-15 folks who are working through the Gospel of Mark as a committed spiritual practice intended to open us up to the transformational work of Jesus.  This effort has been rich and multi-dimensional and reminiscent of similar journeys I have taken through this exact text with other groups in the past.  At certain points in the journey I will take a moment and consider the implications of Jesus' actions and Mark's explanation of them.

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Man's Great Dream of Himself

The problem with our conceptions of identity is that they have been too closely tied our felt need to “make life work.” The Truly Human in each one of us, the Image of God crying out, has neither desire nor intent to “make life work.” It is constantly and holistically aware that because of the incursive and ever-present love of God, it is life that makes us work and that life must spring from within us. When we equate salvation and therefore the resurrection of our True identities with this framework of civilized compartmentalization, we not only lose ourselves, but we lose Jesus in the mix.

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