My goal in the writing today is to bring fresh view to this famous tale, of course, but also to draw its mythic imagery firmly into the present as a clarion call to the frailty and possibility entrapped in every human heart. Including yours, including your neighbors, including your enemies. The ancient Jews built a worldview (a worldview that became the foundation for Jesus’ life and ministry) where we are undoubtedly all in this together, and if you ever question the extent of this, we have no farther to look than the infamous flood.Read More
New to ThirtySixWords? Here's an overview of all the interconnections between the parts of our identity. This Lexicon is a guidemap through the content for ThirtySixWords, but if you'd like to know more, you can also explore more deeply by exploring the below:Read More
By engaging the HEART we engage the only transformation possible of holistic renovation. We can have better habits, manage our emotions, take better care of bodies, read more books, pick meaningful causes, but all of it will be difficult and willful like a man steering an elephant until the HEART itself experiences meaningful growth.Read More
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.Read More
In all my years among the Bible-believers, one thing has become increasingly true: we have a problem with the Bible. It is not the problem that the thumpers would have you believe that we just need to read it more and then obey what we read. I had the lead in a Sunday morning musical entitled “The Bible Tells Me So Show,” (a riff on Jeopardy!) as a child. I know a lot about reading the text and doing what it says. And in all my experience, this admonition has does us little good in the work of real transformation. In fact, the evidence shows that the trend in such trite admonitions is that it has proven to harden the hearts of the convinced and the not-so, deepen the divide between the insiders and the outsiders, and build up a pantheon of exegetical celebrities whose fame is purely based on their ability to guilt us into more “Biblical” action.
No, read-it-more/do-what-it-says is not our problem.Read More
It is tempting to enter the drama of what is stake in the world slowly. To ease you, my dear reader, into it, like a 18-month-old child into the zero-entry end of the pool. To one vantage point this seems the kind thing to do, until you realize that this easing our way into things is exactly how the frog got himself boiled. The heat of the world turns itself upon on slowly, barely noticeable to our drifting selves, until we are inundated with the heat and friction of lives gone wrong with seemingly little do about it, and the saving ledge of that boiling pot is so far away.
For this reason, we must, as with anything that matters, jump into the deep end of the pool. We must be caught up in a twister, walk through the wardrobe, fall down the rabbit hole, take the red pill.Read More
I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear... The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
- Henry David Thoreau
The gospel of life begins with a want. This is to be distinguished from a lust. A lust comes from the skin, it is easily satisfied and comes back like a sinus infection or a hunger pain that you feed with Chinese takeout. No a want, a longing comes from the gut, from what the Bible calls the spirit, and it is insatiable, taunting and vague. This gospel-want is vague because of its object. It is a want for God, a want for the Infinite, a want for one’s place in a cosmic fabric knit together by the heart of its Maker. Such a want can’t be described in easy turns of phrase, neither can it be limited to the words we use to describe it. Even to say the want is for God, begs the question: which God? The Christian God? The Catholic God? The Evangelical God? The self-help God? The universalist God?Read More