Sunday, July 31, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

Here in the United States, we are now living in a reality show. Both major parties have had their conventions and the race is on. There are candidates from other parties, but it remains to be seen how much noise they will be able to make. It's a bit cooler here in the sunny South, but the highs are still expected to be in the nineties.

On to the good stuff:

Habits to drop.
A lost art.
Good post from Matt Johnson.
Interesting article from Kyle Chayka.
Challenging article from Bonnie Petroschuk.

New swimwear for men.
Can beauty save the world?
Pic and poem for the week.
Good article from Daniel Bush and Noel Due.

Good reminder.
A book review.
Faith, hope, and love.
Another good post from Jared C. Wilson.
Knowing and believing.

Keith Giles on love.
The Rock.
Speech analysis.
Excellent post from Zack Hunt.
An apology.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

It looks like most of the US is sweltering under very hot temperatures. In some places they are at dangerous levels. If you know any folks who don't have air conditioning, please check in on them. The GOP act of the circus ended and now it's the Democrats turn. Then three months of folks telling us why the opponent is evil incarnate and how their candidate will save us all. Hopefully it will pass quickly.

On to the links:

This is interesting.
Good one from The Babylon Bee.
The man behind the curtain.
Learning from grief.

Last gasp?
World's steepest street.
Cool story.
Provocative article from Eric D. Weitz.
Some things haven't changed in England.

Interesting post from Keith Giles.
Empires and insecurity.
Chaplain Mike disagrees.
Allan Bevere on politics.

The cost of listening.
Good study on James 1:12-27.
Restoring dignity.
Good post from Sammy Rhodes.
John Frye on a game changing book . It's been influential for me too.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Blast From the Past: Encouragement

This was first posted on July 22, 2010.

While reading Jesus Manifesto yesterday morning, I came across this quote from Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022):

We awaken in Christ's body
as Christ awakens our bodies...
and everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in him transformed,
recognized as whole, as lovely,
and radiant in his light.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

The world is a rather dangerous place to be lately. Between shootings in the US to an attack on a crowd with a truck in France to a failed coup attempt in Turkey, there are plenty examples of man's inhumanity to man. Tomorrow the circus starts in Cleveland, at least the part of the circus managed by the Republicans.

Enough political talk. Here are the links:

Marci Preheim on grace.
A mega-problem.
Interesting article.
Eric Dorman on play.

Abandoning tough love.
Keith Giles on being in Christ.
Medieval wisdom.
An obituary.
Todd Pruitt on the subordination controversy.

Scruffy hospitality.
Just us.
Scot McKnight on heresy.
Missing the gospel.
From cathedrals to movie theaters.

Good post from Dan Edelen.
Good post from Jared C. Wilson.

Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lessons From Meatloaf

The singer, not the food. I know what you all are thinking. "Fred's really lost his mind!" Now that may be true, but bear with me.

In the song, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," there is a line that says, "I want you, I need you, but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you." I wonder if this might be descriptive of many in the church in the 21st century.

One thing I do believe is true is that many in the American evangelical church have a hard time being in community with other believers. I'm not talking about gathering in a worship setting once a week, although that is a vital part of community. I'm talking about spending time with other believers, gathering in homes and other places and digging beneath the surface to build up and challenge each other in following Jesus. That is community, and it can be messy at times.

I think many are saying, "I want you, I need you, but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you." In other words, they crave community, being known and loved for who they are. They want to be loved and accepted. They recognize their need for community. But.

But, when it comes down to the hard stuff, the hard work of loving as Jesus loves us, the messiness of sacrificially loving others with all their warts and blemishes, that's a different story. Then it becomes, "ain't no way!" Some hang out on the periphery, never quite throwing their lot in fully. Others find a church that only asks that they show up once a week and put their money in the offering plate.

Although we do want and need to be part of a fellowship that accepts and loves us, and that challenges us, it is not really about our wants and needs. It is about obeying what our King told us to do, to love one another and to lay down our lives for each other. That is how the world will know we belong to Jesus, not by how we vote or what position we take on social issues. The first Christians, with all their flaws, learned to live with and love folks from all kinds of backgrounds and with all sorts of issues. Even though they were far from perfect, they were known throughout the world for their love for each other and for those outside. And, they turned the world upside down.

May God help us to say, "I want you, I need you, and I will love you no matter what it takes."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

It's been an interesting week here in the sunny South. I woke up very early Wednesday morning with a feeling like a heavy weight was sitting on my chest. After a few rounds of tests, the cardiologist determined that I have a couple of arteries partially blocked. Not enough for a stent or anything like that, but enough so that I will be on some medicine and will have to tweak a few things in my diet and lifestyle. Fortunately I found out without going through a major heart episode.

On to the good stuff:

This is cool.
Christianity is not for everyone.
An open letter.
The paradox of pretty.
The end of reflection.

Are you outraged?
A guide to religious affiliations you never knew existed.
Samson reflection.
Are things getting too smart?
We could all use some perspective.

Bad faith.
Alternate endings to Great Expectations.
Encouragement. Or not.
Brexit and beer.
Questions Jesus never asked.

Gospel and Kingdom.
Geoff Holsclaw on Trinity.
World's 50 best restaurants.
Good post from Joe James.
Instead of the sinner's prayer.

Have a blessed week!

Moving On

It's been a while since I've written here. Life has been happening the past few months. I have decided to start fresh, so I'm mo...