At our church staff meeting today, we looked at this reading from Matthew 11:25-30:
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Continue reading →
Two years ago, I decided to give myself a challenge as I was starting out this blog. I decided to blog my way through the longest, and what I assumed to be the most boring psalm in the Bible, Psalm 119. Boy was I surprised at what I found there! It’s basically a love song about God’s law. I thought it was nothing more than a giant sycophantic gesture. But it was my time of reading this psalm during my Monday fasts probably more than anything else when the Bible first began to breathe on me
in a mystical way. There were many verses that blew my mind but verse 113 was the one that I decided would be the title of a devotional book if I ever wrote one about Psalm 119. Continue reading →
I have been reading off and on through Catholic theologian Henri de Lubac’s Paradoxes of Faith for the past few weeks. It’s structured in a really unique way. It has chapters, but each chapter is basically a collection of 30 or so eclectic thoughts on a theme ranging from one sentence long to about one and a half pages. It’s a great thing to read when you’re somewhere you can’t concentrate super-hard to follow an intricate trajectory of thought for 100 pages or something. So I highly recommend it. This time I’m probably going to try to quote De Lubac more and do less commentary because he says so many thought-provoking things that desperately need to be heard in the church today. De Lubac was actually a huge influence on Pope Benedict (which honestly I find a little hard to believe because he’s so feisty). Continue reading →
If I keep on reading theologians like Henri de Lubac, I might not be able to resist going Catholic. The main thing that holds me back is my confidence in the appropriateness of my wife’s call to sacramental ministry and a genuine bafflement that iconic representation of Christ would be gendered in light of Galatians 3:28. Well, and then there’s the fact that like the first Protestant, Paul of Tarsus, if the Jerusalem council told me to make the Gentiles avoid sacrificial meats (Acts 15:20), then I would follow Paul’s example of pastoral authority in “interpreting” apostolic authority as something that does not command absolute obedience but should not be scorned (Romans 14). So I’ll probably always remain a Protestant in love with Catholicism but with some degree of personal unmediated access to the Word and Spirit. Still I don’t think Henri de Lubac would excommunicate me if he were the pope, since he was a man who transcended the tyranny of knowledge in its ghastly scholastic/systematic scaffolding to touch the depth of God’s wisdom. All right so I’ll stop babbling and start sharing the words of wisdom that got me giddy from de Lubac’s Paradoxes of Faith. Continue reading →
Earlier this year, during Lent, I preached without a manuscript for the first time. My preparation process shifted to oral rehearsal after a lot of note-scribbling. This past weekend, after having a very rich but exhausting spirit-filled week, I preached for the first time without rehearsing in advance. I don’t want to say I didn’t prepare, because God gave me a lot of things to think and talk about that came out in my sermon, but the delivery was extemporaneous. I’m not sure whether this will happen every week, but it was a very interesting experience. Listen to the following link and tell me what you think. God bless!
James 3 opens with a statement that often makes me squirm: “Not many of you should become teachers.” Often this passage is used to say that Christians shouldn’t teach until their theological opinions are without error (“Your questions are welcome at our church, but if you want to become a leader, you need to have [our] answers instead of [your] questions”). I’ve had people question whether I should be teaching. I’ve been criticized for sharing my raw ideas on this blog before they are fully developed. My nomination for a ministry leadership role in college was challenged because I didn’t interpret Genesis literally. I’ve had people tell me I’m not preaching the gospel because I didn’t reduce it to Bill Bright’s Four Spiritual Laws. What’s really interesting though regarding James 3 is it actually doesn’t say anything about theological correctness. Not that obedience to the truth is unimportant, but James is exhorting his readers in this context not to be Christian teachers unless they can stop badmouthing other people. And that is tremendously hard to do in our social media world where meme-spinning is so addictive and nothing is more tempting to a blogger trying to get hits and build a platform than to write a blistering, controversial hit job that can “set a great forest on fire” (James 3:5). Continue reading →