Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hummingbirds

I'm been a bit beat down by the flu the past couple of days, so the thinking process is going even slower than normal. So, I'm posting something I wrote a few months ago.

We have a hummingbird feeder outside our back porch and it's fun to watch them hover and drink the sugar water. It's interesting that they have to come back often to drink because of the amount of energy they expend flapping their wings at such a fast rate.

Another thing I've noticed about hummingbirds is that they are very territorial. An aggressive hummingbird will chase others away from the feeder and will actually sit in a nearby tree watching for an interloper. In fact, a beautiful ruby throated hummingbird that was the first to come to the feeder was driven away completely by a brown one. It seems to me that an amazing amount of energy is wasted defending something that never belonged to them. The feeder is there because of the good graces of my wife and me. So instead of sharing the bounty with the other birds, one bird wastes his energy to defend something that is a gift and not his to keep.

How often are we, the Church, like that. We take the grace that has been freely given us and jealously guard it from those who don't agree with us in everything. We think that God's grace, like the sugar water, was given to us alone. We put God in a little box and try to interpret everything by the limits of that box. We waste an awful lot of energy defending things that either are indefensible, or are not vital. Then, we don't have the time or energy to spend on the real work that Jesus gave us to do - making disciples who follow the Christ.

I'm not saying that Biblical truth doesn't matter or that we should adopt an "I'm okay, you're okay" philosophy. I am saying that we need to take a hard look at what we believe and make sure that we believe it because it matches up with what God says rather than because "it's the way we've always been taught". Is our Christianity Biblical or cultural? Did the faith we hold begin in the 1st century or in the 19th and 20th centuries?

Are we disciples of Jesus? Or, are we hummingbirds?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thoughts on the culture war

There's a great article on the culture war here . It's the article by S. Michael Craven on Feb. 14.

I agree with his assesment. The splintering of the "Religous Right" and the willingness of younger Christians to consider voting for more liberal candidates shows that the war is over.

Now maybe we can stop fighting and get back to doing what we are called to do in the first place - make disciples.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Giving it all up

In A Renegade's Guide to God, David Foster tells a story of a wealthy man who built a large art collection with his son. The son goes off to war and is killed. Later a soldier shows up at the man's door with a portrait that he had painted of the man's son, saying that the son had saved his life. The portrait is given an honored place in the man's art collection.

The wealthy man dies and his entire estate is put up for auction. The first item is the portrait of the son. The crowd is waiting for the "good stuff" i.e. the Picassos, Rembrandts, and other great works. No one bids on the portrait. Finally a man bids ten dollars. It is the one who painted it and ten dollars is all he has to give. Because no one else bids he is the highst bidder. The auctioneer then says that the auction is closed. There was a clause in the will that states that the son's portrait was to be the only thing auctioned and that whoever bought the picture would get the entire estate. So the soldier, who gave everything he had to get the son's picture, also got everything else.

That's what being a Christian is all about. You give up everything you have to "get the Son", and you get everything else that the Father has. It's all about a relationship with Jesus. It's not about a bunch of rules, how you dress, what kind of Bible you carry, how you vote, what kind of music you listen to, whether you smoke or drink, or any other external things. It's about whether you realize that you can not save yourself and that Jesus Christ loves you and has died for you so you don't have to die. It's about having a relationship of love with the Creator. It's about following Jesus and letting his Spirit guide you and form you into his image.

Jesus said he came to give us a life that is abundant and full. That's the way Christians should be. Are we?



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Read this!

Check this out. It'll have an impact on you. (If it doesn't, check and see if you have a pulse.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Are you a hippie?

Are you a hippie?

You are a Hippie

You are a total hippie. While you may not wear birks or smell of incense, you have the soul of a hippie.
You don't trust authority, and you do as you please. You're willing to take a stand, even when what you believe isn't popular.

You like to experiment with ideas, lifestyles, and different subcultures.
You always gravitate toward what's radical and subversive. Normal, mainstream culture doesn't really resonate with you.


I wonder if some of the things that supposedly make one a hippie are some of the same things that are characteristic of a follower of Jesus.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Lent

Over at http://www.jesuscreed.org, Scot McKnight suggests a good thing to do for Lent. I'm going to do this as a way of doing something positive rather than just giving something up. You're invited to join in, as something on its own or along with something you are already doing.

Meme

I was sort of tagged by a couple of people. So here's the way this one goes:
Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
Find page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.

Here's my 3 sentences.
"Reading my essay usually took me about ten minutes, though I have heard of men who occupied almost the whole hour. Lewis listened with extreme intentness, not, I am all too sure, because of the fascination of my words, but because it was his duty. Once, in the middle of my essay, his phone rang."

I figure since there are probably only 5 people who read this, I'll tag all of you. :)

Edit: Thanks to re:patrick for bringing to my attention that I forgot to mention the book title. :( It's Remembering C. S. Lewis: Recollections of Those Who Knew Him

Third Week of Advent: Anticipation

This was first published on December 12, 2012. Jesus, as Israel waited in anticipation for you to come, so we wait. We anticipate your ret...