Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Prayer in Church Today

Let us see what is beautiful in You
Let us dwell on Your mercy
Let us be overwhelmed by Your compassion
Let us bask in Your purity
Let us be vanquished by Your grace
Then let us, without reservation,
Allow those qualities so enflame our hearts
That we cannot help but express them ourselves

Yeah, I wrote this one. Worship was on the theme of God's beauty.

A Book I Wrote For Ian While Homeschooling Him, Years Ago

A Deeply Philosophical Self-Referential Book, Although It Is Not Very Long And It Is Questionable, In Fact, That Perhaps The Title Might Be Longer Than The Book Itself, Which Is As Well A Self-Referential Title, And Probably Contains Too Many Commas.

Chapter 1
This is the beginning of the book.

Chapter 2
This is the middle of the book.

Chapter 3
This is the end of the book.

The End.

P.S. Please send your lauds and applause to the author.
P.P.S. I apologize for my poor writing. My computer broke last week.
P.P.P.S. I wonder if I should mention in the title that the post scripts also exceed the length of the book itself. Send me your thoughts.

(Lies! All lies! They’re trying to keep me from telling the tru—)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Secret Teaching About God

"Yahweh, Yahweh God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished."

(Exodus 34:6-7 NAS)

Do Unto Others

Wednesday, January 19, 2011



What happens when we take up the cross?

"If we take up the cross, will we but suffer pain?
Nay, if we bear the cross, be sure that we will die!
The meaning of the cross is that we may be slain;
The cross experienced the self will crucify."
-Witness Lee

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Discipline of Community

Someone asked in a private message, "I have heard that to be a part of intentional community it requires reading and prayer to prepare for it. What do you think?"

There are different kinds of intentional communities, and they have different kinds of focuses. Merton would focus on prayer, because that's what his community was about. But different communities, like different people, have different gifts. You can get a community of service-minded folks or a community of evangelists or a community of Bible students... all of these are positive (see the book Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster for a description of the church as various kinds of gifted communities).

It seems to me that the one principle that everyone living in community needs to have is commitment to love the other people in the community. If you don't have that, you won't soon have a community. This doesn't mean that they need to know how to love before they get involved-- if they are in tune to the Spirit and to the other members of the community they will learn how to do that. But if a person is only half committed to the community, they will find that they are not actually in the community and never have been. If a person never spends time with the people in the community then that person will never be truly a part of the community. If a person spends time, but only to change the community, not to change themselves, they will be angry because the community never "listened" to them.

Every member of a community must be ready to listen to the community as a whole. They must be ready to change for the sake of the other. They must be ready to be flexible to allow themselves to be bent for the community. They must be ready to serve the community. They must pray for the members of the community. In this way, the community will grow in love and in Spirit and be a powerful voice in the world.

But choosing the right community is essential too. If we choose a community that is too focused on each other or on prayer, then it is a navel-gazing community, and it never grows in love as an entity. Also, if a community is only focused on the outward, on service or work, then it loses its spiritual core. The best community is a community of balance between God and their neighbor. In this way, we can be a community that both loves God, loves each other and loves one's neighbor, neglecting not a single one of God's commandments.

Monday, January 17, 2011

No Convincing Evidence

I'm answering the question, "Is there any evidence that can prove Christianity?" on the Alethia forum:

I don't think that we can "prove" our worldview to others, even as they cannot to us. Most apologetics are only assuring to those who already believe, comforting them that what they believe isn't foolish, but based on reasonable evidence.

However, I don't think "reason", of whatever flavor, convinces anyone of anything that goes against their firmly-held beliefs.

This doesn't mean that a person can't be converted. However, the "evidence" that convinces them would be personal, not intellectual. There are only two things that convinces a person of the truth of Jesus:

a. A life that is sincerely and lovingly lived in Jesus, in close relation with those who do not believe. Over time, they may see that belief in Jesus is the most reasonable way to live, not because of proofs, but because of a sincere and compassionate heart that makes other people's lives better.

b. A personal experience with the Lord. Jesus and the Father are persons, not intellectual property. If I wanted to convince you of the existence of my friend Bill, I wouldn't argue about it, I'd just have you shake his hand. Often the best evidence is the Lord just "shaking the hand" of the unbeliever. Thus, my most common prayer for those who don't believe in the Lord is that the Lord would reveal Himself to them.

I think there is a good place for apologetics, but I don't find it as useful as I did in my early Christian years.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Given to me by an Anawim member:

Watch the reflections
Beside the lake
Open your mind and an
Exploration your life will take:
Explore... look back
How often did you fall to the floor?
You kept your faith, taking
An inner strength, but said
You couldn't take anymore
Letting yourself go, the tears escaped
Your silent eyes, my dear, it
Was then, that he knelt by your side
His arms invisible, but they held you
Together, holding you tightly, as
The emotions stormed wild
Life beats us down as we grow
Old and retire, but God still loves
His scarred little child... forever.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Friend

Jesus is your friend. He is not your enemy, for He wishes only for you to live and thrive and that for eternity.

Jesus' time is different than ours. Often we want Him to solve our problems immediately, or to make them never happen, but Jesus knows, even though we do not, that the road to joy often comes through suffering and anguish. He doesn't want us to wallow in this suffering, but to pass through it to joy. Joy is the goal, suffering is the means.

Jesus, like most of the spirit world, doesn't move in our time. Every moment in anguish is like an eternity to us and Jesus moves on a seeming geologic scale. But Jesus has a timetable. The end of suffering will come. We just need to wait for it.

Jesus often lets us know when He is working in us, for He wants the Father to get all the glory. However, when He acts, it is when we least expect it, when we think everything is at its end. Then, suddenly, Jesus is there, giving us what we need, although often at the last possible moment.

Jesus' plan isn't as laid out or organized as we might think. He has to work with us, and we often change our minds every few minutes. So Jesus works with us in order to cause our souls to live and thrive so that we might be our own and we might help others to be thriving on their own as well.

Jesus offers a lot and his promises are huge: eternal life, a just kingdom, a community of love, all our needs met, a relationship with the Father, our sin wiped away, healing and hope and joy and peace in our hearts. We look at these promises and sometimes we think that Jesus won't... can't keep them all. What we need to realize is that Jesus is no liar, nor is He a monster-- rather he sees our life now and our live after our death as a continuum. To live for eternal life is true faith, and it is this faith He strives to encourage in us.

Jesus isn't a flatterer. Rather, he shows us who we really are. Sometimes we cringe at the pain we ignorantly caused others. Sometimes he attempts to convince us that we aren't as wicked as we thought we were-- that there is actually some good in us. One by one, He takes the blocks away that separate us from the life we should live, the life of love for others. The reason it seems to hopeless is because there are so many blocks. But He faithfully takes them away, slowly and steadily.

Even though we might proclaim Jesus as Lord, we often struggle like a puppy twisting as her master gently attempts to get her out of the twine she is entangled in. We often don't know He is working to free us. And we don't know how complicated it is. In struggling to get out of his grip, we often make the mess worse. But he just sighs and keeps working, for we are in His grip.

His work isn't external, but in our hearts, working with His Spirit to free our hearts from within our hearts. This is why we often don't know He's working.

This is true for me, and true for everyone who submits to Jesus as Lord. Not necessarily every Christian, but everyone who bows to Jesus in their heart-- whether they bow in church or not.

I pray that you would fully realize and rest in Jesus' blessing. For the one whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

The Enemy

By Clay, a member of Anawim

Satan is your enemy. He's not your friend as he wished only pain and sorrow to bring about your end.

He has no timetable for the way he works as he leads you down the road you follow to his domain of misery in which he wants you to wallow.

He moves as fast as the erosion of a rock or the ripening of an apple for Satan needs no clock.

He never announces his arrival with any fanfare, but comes upon you when you think no one cares while you sit in hopeless despair.

He stealthily slithers in on silent feet to construct his web of wicked horrors and deceit for it in your soul he seeks as his coveted prize with your defeat.

He speaks to you of his wonderful rewards-- oh so sweet and grand-- as he takes your young and trusting hand to lead you to his supposedly promised land; there he injects his hatred into your heart to keep you in his endless dark.

With his silver tongue he showers you with his golden words of praise, while on his cold merciless bed he made you lay as he performed his sick and evil feats. Your spirit he slays.

And now finally in his ruthless icy heartless hard grasp, at last he steals your innocent part.

The more you struggle to become free, the more he laughs at you in his hysterical glee for what he has done to thee.

This is where he loves to reign: in your heart, filling you with his misery and pain.

I know this to be true as God has shown me, in my heart, what has happened to you.

And now by God's command I take my stand beside you, where I will stay and pray until the day Satan sets you free by God's command -Uncle.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Saving v. Risky Spending

Something I fell upon: a fable by Reb Zalman Schantar-Shalomi in the book, The Jew In The Lotus.

A man who believed in reincarnation went to a Swiss bank with a ton of cash. He told the bank to hold the money until another person with a certain password came, then the account could be managed by that individual.

Thirty years later a different man came to the bank and gave them the password, demanding that they give him all the money. When the bank owners questioned his judgment, he said, "I told you to save it then. But now it is time to use it.?"

Religious tradition is formed so that our communities might have continuity. The best people to invest that tradition are conservatives. But the best people to spend that investment are those who will take a risk.

It is time to spend our investment on risky love.