Posts in Comforts
Most of the Time

So many of our stories hold onto us longer than we'd want.  As we face resurrection day, we must remind ourselves that the loss of the old life and the rising of the new is not license for amnesia.  Being made-new in Christ doesn't mean forgetting the past.  It means remembering it in light of what we now know to be true.  All our stories are vague generalities--most-of-the-times--which we inflict on every new day that rises.  Resurrection Day (Easter) is the reminder that there is an "all of the time" story which doesn't erase, but re-interprets the most-of-the-times we are so busy remembering. 

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Wars and Rumors of Wars

I spend a lot of time weeping on planes.  Well, not A LOT of time, but I think it happens to me well beyond what could be considered normal.  I suspect the causation of this bizarre behavior (I’m usually flying alone) is a concoction of how isolated I feel when I’m traveling, my commitment to listening to the most personal and most inspirational of my music library while I’m flying, and that travel often means I’m on my way to something I love or something I loathe.  Regardless, I have learned—in the company of strangers—to let the tears roll. 

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SOUL: The Attractions and Aversions that Define Us

This question of the lines (more like fuzzy fogs) where one of us ends and begins is what we—in ThirtySixWords jargon—call SOUL.  Soul is a notoriously tricky word because it is used in such multivocal ways, even in the Bible.  It is sometimes used to refer to the deepest part of person (what we call HEART), sometimes used to encompass the emotions, and sometimes is used as we use it here, to define something more amorphous and fluid: the sum total of our acquired personality and character.  We find it easier to grasp not that you have a soul (an immaterial object that you own which may or may not live on into eternity) but that you are a soul which is being made and defined by your drives, passions and interactions with the world around you.  In short, the SOUL is your deep HEART made public.

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Room For You

The holidays, beginning in earnest this week, are a notorious time for overcrowding and isolating. While media and marketing (not the least of which the church's) announce this is a time of togetherness and family, very little is said of what all this focus on togetherness costs us. For many of us family is a reminder of how crowded the table is (does anyone really notice if I'm here at all?) or empty it is... for hundreds of thousands the holidays are seasons of literallty or figuratively dining alone. 

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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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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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Sorry I Broke Stuff.

In our MadeNew Bible study on Sunday mornings we've been working our way through the Gospel of Mark.  The Jesus of Mark's Gospel is sort of a rage lunatic life wrecker type and I think that's why I keep going back.  No one gets what they want from this Jesus, but everyone gets what they need.  People love to focus on Jesus' infuriation of the religiously powerful, but this isn't the half of it.  It isn't just the Pharisees that are caught in his deer hunter target sights.  It's everybody. 

Nobody gets away from Jesus and gets to stay the same. 

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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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