Think’n of Ink’n

I waited until my late 30’s to really become a rebel.  That’s when I got my first ink.

My grandfather had a military tattoo on his forearm, and even though he told me he had always regretted getting it, I loved the way it looked.  I always wanted one, but back in the day tattoos were taboo, and a definite no-no in the church I was raised in.  Needless to say, the times have changed.  Per statisicbrain.com, as of 2013 there are over 45 million Americans with at least one tattoo, and nearly 40% of Americans ages 26-40 have at least one.  As of May 2013, my wife and I count ourselves among that 40%.

swallow tatThe first one started as a joke.  My wife and I had made  vacation plans to St. Pete Beach to celebrate our 15th anniversary when I jokingly said to her, “Hey, we should get tattoos to celebrate.”  I was shocked to hear her respond with, “Absolutely!  What are we going to get?”  I immediately started researching tattoo parlors in the St. Pete area and trying to select just the right designs.  We finally settled on non-matching Swallows because they symbolized loyalty, a journey, and the importance of home, and found a respectable clean shop to get them done in – St. Pete Beach Ink in St. Pete Beach, FL.  The guys made it easy, their work was clean, and in the end we both loved our new ink.

eagle tat

Since then I have had two more pieces done by a local artist, Angie Meuth, at Evermore Gallery in Edwardsville, IL. The first of these two was an old school eagle above my right shoulder-blade.  It was in memory of my mother who loved eagles and had passed away in August 2013.  The second, like my swallow, started as a joke.  I had told my wife that I wanted another tattoo for an anniversary present in 2014, but I wasn’t sure what to get.  I jokingly said, “I was thinking a pirate pin-up on my arm to represent you and your love for beaches and the ocean.”  Her response was a simple – “That is awesome!”  The next thing I knew we were meeting with Angie to set-up the appointment.  I have to tell you, I pirate tatgave Angie very vague descriptions of what I wanted in both cases, and in both cases the designs she created could not have been more perfect. Angie is a gifted artist, and I am proud to wear her work. I have concepts for 2 more that I can’t wait to see what she can do with!

Of course in our age of instant information, pics get posted to social media outlets, and feedback flows instantly.  As a pastor, it is not surprising that quite a few of the comments I received were expressing concerns.  Had I given up my faith?  Was I leading people astray?  Was I going through some sort of spiritual funk? Why would I go against scripture?

Verses were quoted and prayers were lifted.

I get it – the old taboos still exist.  Some of the comments made me angry, but most were expressions of genuine concern for my well-being.  I couldn’t be angry with people who wanted the best for me – but I could certainly disagree with their viewpoints.  The responses/arguments I encountered from friends and acquaintances are ones that I think many people, Christians in particular, fear and aren’t sure what to do with when considering getting inked.

I’m not about to try to use scripture to defend tattoos – but I do not believe that there is strong biblical evidence against the practice either.  The law in Leviticus 19:28 is in the midst of a passage that warns against planting a field with more than one kind of seed, wearing garments made of more than one kind of material,not  cutting sideburns, and refraining from trimming beards.  Besides the absurdity of following ALL of those laws today is the fact that what is referred to as “tattooing” in this passage is a mistranslation and far cry from what we call tattooing today (more akin to cutting or scarring for religious practices).  One of the other major verses used as proof text against the practice is the famous “your body is a temple” passage from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  This passage is written about honoring God with our sexuality, not about the countless other issues we make it about.  Besides, most of the temples I have seen are pretty ornately adorned as expressions of worship.  If you are arguing against tattoos, I’m not sure comparing the body to a temple is the best argument.

The final argument I commonly hear is that we are to be sure that everything we do is to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).  This passage is expressing the incredible freedoms God has given us while also practicing restraint in exercising them.  It certainly admonishes believers to be considerate of others in exercising that freedom, but it is more about telling us to give God glory in all that we say and do.  Everything we do, every choice to exercise freedom or restraint, is an opportunity to give God glory.  When we try to make it about restricting actions, we lose sight of the true intent of this passage.  Whether we choose to exercise freedom or to use constraint – we can find reason to give God glory in both.

My tattoos are not about self glorification or rebellion (Dang it! I wanted to be a rebel). Instead, they are expressions of incredible artistry and celebrations of the things that matter in my life.  Listen, I don’t want to deeply spiritualize the ink on my skin, but the things they represent are, I think, valid reasons to give glory to God.  Art and the ability to create are expressions of the very creative spirit of the God we worship.  I love art – and while some will disagree – the work people like Angie do is not only beautiful, it is painstakingly difficult.  Her skill, and that of countless others in her field, are the residue of God’s creative nature, revealed through what He has created.  Isn’t there a reason to give God glory in that?

My family, my journey and struggles, and my personal faith are things I am incredibly thankful for.  Again, they are reasons that I give God glory.

In the end, that is what it is about.  My tattoos do not give God glory – but I do.

What they do for me is help me celebrate and remember the things that matter in my life. Oh, and gosh golly if I just don’t happen to like them and find them über cool every time I look in the mirror!  Are they for everyone? No, but neither are things like tomatoes, soccer, and Jane Austen novels.

If you like them and are considering one, I would just admonish you to take your time and give it ample consideration.  Think about where on your body you want it, the effects it may have on your life, and choose something with real meaning to you.  Then get some references from some ink covered people about where to go and what artists to use.  Visit with an artist and ask to see her/his portfolio and get their advice on the design – and TRUST their opinion on design, location, colors, etc.  Then take the plunge and get ‘er done! (Yes, it hurts a little – but the pain is quickly forgotten)

If you don’t like them, it’s okay, we can still be friends.  Just eat some tomatoes while expounding on the marvel that is “Sense & Sensibility” and we’ll call it even.

 

 

 

Family Matters and the Frustrating Church

famfightFamily reunions are a funny thing.  They create this bizarre mix of emotions that only occur in a family setting.  It is this tumultuous emotional churning of happiness and frustration, anger and joy that induces both laughter and temple rubbing.  Families make us feel the full spectrum of emotions, and they do so for one simple reason.

They matter to us.

The things we feel the deepest are felt so deeply because they matter.  The things that cause us the most joy and the things that cause us the most sorrow matter.  The things that cause us to soar to the heights of happiness and the things that make our bodies vibrate with anger do so because they are important to us.  If they did not matter, we would never – we could never – feel them on this same level.

For me that perfectly describes my feelings about my church at this moment.

I write this for those of you who go to church with me and for those of you may feel the same way about your own church at this very moment.  The single greatest source of concern, stress, and frustration in my life at this very moment is my church.  To be honest, there are moments that it is so frustrating and stress inducing to think about, that I wish I could just give it up and walk away from it all.

But I never could – it matters too much to me.

In the past couple of years our church has hemorrhaged people – going from a church pushing 150 to a church that struggles to break 60-70 each week.  It has cost me my career and changed the direction of my life.  It has affected me greatly, and I feel it deeply.  As our church dies, I feel like I die along with it.  The reasons people give for leaving have covered not liking the music, not liking the children’s ministry, not liking the preaching, personal conflicts, and wide variety of others.  The issues are hard to specify, making them hard to address – and it eats my lunch every time I think about it.  It stresses me, depresses me, frustrates me, and, at times, enrages me. But here is the funny thing, when I think of all of those negative things that the state of my own church makes me feel – it makes me think of one thing:

Family reunions and the turbulent landslide of emotions that can accompany them.

Do you know why what is happening in my church makes me feel that way?  I think it is because it matters so much to me.  It has to be, because only things that matter so deeply can make us feel so deeply.  What is the church if it is not family?  What is a family if it is not willing to stick it out in the toughest of times?  How can either survive if we so easily forsake them, so quickly give up on them, so rarely practice forgiveness, so often shy away from reconciliation, and so rarely pitch in?

I have to ask myself this question about my relationship with my own church – If it truly matters to me, then what kind of commitment am I willing to make to help this relationship work?  If I am truly being honest, I have to admit that there are definitely times when I have allowed those emotions to hinder my ability to lead and to worship.  I have utilized them as excuses for not serving.  In doing those things, I have become a part of the problem.

To my church, I say I am sorry; but I also say – you matter to me.  Even in the midst of the dizzying array of things I feel about you right now – you matter so immensely to me. You are my family even when I feel distant from you. You are kin to me.  It seems strange to say, but I am grateful for the frustration, the heartache, and the fear.  Those are all evidences of this strangely deep and beautiful connection I have with you.

I think it is a tragedy that so many people experience these feelings and so easily leave a church.  It is, I think a horrible precedent and so far from what the church is meant to be.If only we could open our eyes to the reality that these things we feel – good and bad combined – are all normal things for a family.  They are, in fact, symptoms of the reality that we matter to one another. We should not fear or flee these feelings.  We should embrace them, face them, and let them serve as a reminder of the deep deep connection we share with one another.

You are all my family – crazy aunts, obnoxious uncles, boisterous brothers, and all the rest.  It is a bond that I could not break if I tried, and I wouldn’t want to.

You matter to me.

Inspire: Books

Post #1 in my year-long goal to once a month blog a list of important or inspirational things in my life:

As far back as I can remember, I have loved to read.  Books have always been an important part of my life. They have spurred my imagination, challenged my norms, inspired actions, and played an important role in restoring and preserving my faith.  When I thought about lists to make involving things that have shaped my life – books were the first thing to come to mind.  I don’t really have a favorite – rather, there are a few books that I would, right now, count as important or transformational in my life.  As with any list, this is far from comprehensive, and could very easily look like a far different list a week from now. That said, here are 5 of the books (in no particular order) that I love and would count as some the most influential in my life.

(Note – I am leaving the Bible off.  I think that is a given for a Christian, let alone a pastor.  So before you sic the dogs on me – just know that the Bible is in a category all to itself for me)

31DXagUNQrL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1) Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell

I was born and raised in a Christian home, attending church every Sunday and Wednesday as long as I can remember.  I am thankful for that, but I understand now that being raised that way comes with the danger of seeing the world in a very limited and narrow way.  As a young believer, I would say those things described my faith pretty well – limited and narrow.  As I aged I found that my beliefs were often coming into conflict with what I was learning and experiencing.  I constantly found myself bashing my head against walls as what I had been taught and raised to believe just didn’t seem to fit anymore.  Because I was serving in a pastoral role, I felt like there were just certain things that I had to believe in order to be a faithful follower of Christ.  I had questions that I was afraid to ask and doubts I was afraid to express. As those questions and doubts mounted, I reached a point where I was just ready to give up.  I felt like my questions made we weak and fearful of being found out. I felt like I just did not fit in with Christians anymore.

Then I read Velvet Elvis.  I had been familiar with Rob Bell from his Nooma videos and just happened to find this book on Amazon.  What I found in it was someone who was not afraid to ask questions, even to the point of asking some of the questions that we feel like we must not ask.  It was, for me, the breath of life I needed.  Bell’s style is easy to read, and I appreciate how he would ask questions, but allowed the reader room to formulate their own answers.  It was the first time that I felt like my doubts and questions could actually propel me closer to God.  Bell talks about faith as either a brick wall that we smash ourselves into until we give up or destroy ourselves, or a trampoline that bends and flexes with conflict – ultimately throwing us closer and closer to God with each leap and bound.

For me, Velvet Elvis  was a new beginning

(I’d also highly recommend Bell’s book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God.  In the same train of thought, check out Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christian)

frankenstein-cover2) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

During my junior year of college I accidentally signed up for the wrong literature class in pursuit of my English minor.  Imagine my shock when I showed up for Detective Lit to find that, not only was the class actually Female Gothic Literature, but that I was the only male in the entire class.  It ended up being my favorite college course.  It was here that I was first introduced the works of Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Anne Radcliffe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and many more.  I seriously loved everything we read that semester – but I was truly impacted by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

If you haven’t read the story, you may tend to think of Frankenstein’s monster as being, well, the monster in this classic tale.  Read the story and you quickly realize that the humans in the story are the true monsters, and the monster the most humane of the characters Shelley depicts. Themes of morality and virtue and their sources, creation, the need of human interaction, and man’s depravity are woven throughout this classic tale. It is saddening to watch the “monster” slowly give up hope and sink into despair as he starts to mirror those in the world he finds himself “born” into.  Frankenstein’s monster was not born as a monster, but the world he is in turns him into one.  To me, Shelley showcased how religion and belief can make men out of monsters, and monsters out of men.

(Once your whistle for female Gothic is dampened, be sure to check out Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper.)

3) The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss

I could not make this list and leave this book off.  If we are talking about books that impact the way we think, this one has to be on there for me.  It applies to racism, religion, class, and so much more.  It really is just about accepting ourselves and each other just as we are.  It is a simple lesson, but hard to learn it would seem.  It is a lesson that can change a world.

JohnSteinbeck_TheGrapesOfWrath4) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I first read Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath in a high school lit class and hated it – I’m not sure why other than it was far different from the Stephen King novels I was reading at the time.  I read it again in college – this time around from a far different perspective.  I am fairly certain no novel has left such a vivid imprint of its imagery in my mind.  Set in the Great Depression, Grapes chronicles the trials and tribulations of the Joad family. The Joad’s, tenant farmers in Oklahoma, are forced by the Depression and the Great Dust Bowl to uproot and move to California.  The family faces down sorrow on nearly page of this American classic – from their land being possessed, experiencing devastating poverty, the death of beloved family members, and the breaking of family bonds. Shoot, their dog even gets run over on the highway.  Good times…

I’m not sure why I like books that seem to highlight how inhumanely men treat one another – but Grapes certainly captures this reality.  The tale captures how people of prestige and power may do whatever it takes to preserve their positions with no regard for the toll it takes on those “beneath” them on the social ladder. The story though, is about more than that.  It is about enduring hope, the importance of family bonds, the kindred spirit of the suffering, and the ability we all have to better the lives of those around us. It is about indecency and human dignity.

In one scene, Rose of Sharon, whose husband has disappeared, gives birth to a stillborn child and its lifeless corpse is tossed into a flooding river.  Where despair and grief would give ample reason to withdraw from the needs around her, Rose of Sharon instead commits one of the most disturbingly beautiful selfless acts I have seen in literature.  Trapped in a barn surrounded by raging flood waters, Rose finds herself with an elderly man who is starving and near death. Then this…

“For a minute Rose of Sharon sat still in the whispering barn. Then she hoisted her tired body up and drew the comfort around her. She moved slowly to the corner and stood looking down at the wasted face, into the wide, frightened eyes. Then slowly she lay down beside him. He shook his head slowly from side to side. Rose of Sharon loosened one side of the blanket and bared her breast. “You got to,” she said. She squirmed closer and pulled his head close. “There!” she said. “There.” Her hand moved behind his head and supported it. Her fingers moved gently in his hair. She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously.”

It is disturbing, and creepy, and sorrowful, and hopeful, and beautiful all at once.  I am pretty sure nothing I have ever read has stuck in my mind as much as that.

collier-chronicles-of-narnia-box5) The Chronicle of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis

I purposefully saved this for last – because, well these are the only books I purposefully re-read every few years.  I was in the fourth grade when my dad gave me his copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  I was hooked from sentence one, but it was the only book in the series that he owned at the time.  That year for Christmas my parents bought me the entire set (exactly like the box set in the picture). I read every single one of them before my Christmas break was over.  My dad let me read every last one of the books before he revealed to me what they were truly about – Jesus’ story, God’s story for us.  My mind was blown.  Shoot, the name of my blog is a paraphrase from The Last Battle.

I have to list them as a set because there are sooooo many different scenes that stand out to me. Even as I read them now as an adult I am captured by something new with each reading – and particularly by how much I appreciate the way C.S. Lewis thinks of and depicts God and His relationship with creation.  Particularly, I love the way Lewis creates a god-figure in Aslan that is both comforting and frightening; perceivable  and yet somehow also wildly outside of what we can imagine.  It is a story of hope in God, and God’s hope in us; of grace that defies our logic and reaches far beyond the boundaries we create for it.

I can’t detail each and every scene for you – but here are a few that captivate me every time I read them:

  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Eustace Scrubb, a nasty bratty child, has been turned by his own greed (and an enchanted bracelet) into a menacing fire-breathing dragon.  In one scene Eustace has learned his lesson and longs to be human again.  He scratches and tears at the dragon scales that have become his skin – but no matter how hard he tries, he cannot escape the dragon flesh that now imprisons him.  Aslan says to the boy, “You will have to let me undress you.” Eustace surrenders to Aslan’s mighty claws that now rip through the dragon skin – at first with great pain, but soon giving way to the pleasure of feeling the old torn away.  Aslan then bathes the boy in a mountaintop pool before dressing him in new clothes.  It is the greatest thing I have ever read. Yes, I said ever.  This will be a tattoo for me – somehow, someday.
  • The Magician’s Nephew – In one scene we get the privilege of watching Aslan as he creates Narnia – by singing.  The notes of his song give birth to the mountains and valleys, oceans and rivers, flora and fauna as he strolls through the nothingness around him – the volume and tones rising and falling to match the enormity and complexity of the things he is creating.  It is the most inspirational and beautiful version of the creation epic I can imagine.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – If you can read the account of the Stone Table and not be somehow moved deeply in your soul – well then, you have none.  Christian or not, Aslan’s selfless act of sacrifice to save Edmund (and ultimately all of Narnia) is powerful stuff that can mess up your world.  He is, after all, not a safe lion – but he is good.
  • The Last Battle – There is so much in this one that it is hard to choose, but there is a scene when a Calormene soldier discovers a grace and gospel that is bigger than you and I are capable of fathoming. Lewis gets accused of being somewhat of a universalist for what he writes here, but I think it is a mesmerizing depiction of a grace and gospel that is for everyone.

Each of these works has contributed in ways, large and small, to make me who I am today.  I still try to read as much as I can, trying to balance out reading for pleasure and learning.  No matter what, I have found that in most things I read, there are opportunities for growth.  I’d love to hear your suggestions of what I should be on this year’s reading list!

 

P.S. – Lately classes have been consuming my reading time – but when I can I have been reading through a collection of Jules Verne works (just because they are fun).  I have also discovered a love for the works of Nikolai Gogol – a quirky Ukranian/Russian author.  His works are bizarre and eccentric – check out Dead Souls and The Nose.

 

 

Searching for Light

Russell Crowe as Noah

Russell Crowe as Noah

I know we are behind the times but my family just watched the Russell Crowe Noah movie.  I have to say, I absolutely loved it.  The film was an incredible portrayal of God’s wrath and love, the coexistence of good and evil in the heart of men, God’s gift of freewill, the triumph of love, and the redemptive nature of God.  Yes, the details of the story are different from the Genesis account – but Veggie Tales didn’t exactly get the details all right either and I never saw a produce boycott.

I found myself reading the religious criticisms of the movie online – most of them regarding the inaccuracies and the “corrupt” nature of some of the source material.  The whole thing got me thinking about how many believers search the world for evil and lies – and they find it everywhere.  In fact, they become so accustomed to searching out evil, that evil becomes all they are capable of seeing.  I can’t help but wonder how different life and faith would be if instead of looking for dark in the darkness, we looked instead for the light.

In order to do that, I think we first have to realize that we (Christians) do not own the light.

We (Christians) do not own the truth.

We (Christians) do not determine when, where, or how it reveals itself.

God alone owns truth and light, and at times He reveals it in places we would never expect to find it.  I had a good pastor friend once describe the Gospel as being woven into the fabric of creation – embedded in its DNA.  I love that imagery in that it helps me grasp the idea that light and truth can be found far outside the boundaries we define as Christianity.

There is light to be found in movies not starring Kirk Cameron.

There is truth to be found in songs not composed by Chris Tomlin.

There is inspiration to be found in books, art, cultures, and yes, even faiths outside of the boundaries we have created to contain our faith.  It is there because God is not contained by those boundaries.  It is there because his fingerprints are on everything.  It is there because His essence is woven into the very DNA of all creation.

And because it is there, we can look at things outside our imaginary borders and find truth, light, and beauty.  We can look into the eyes of the Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the agnostic, and the atheist and see the evidences of that spiritual DNA.  We can watch movies like Noah, read books like Harry Potter, listen to music by Mumford & Sons, and in those things we find truths to embrace and share with the world.

Those truths resonate with all humanity.

Those truths break through the darkness.

Or we can choose to go on attack in the name of righteousness, and in so doing deny that there is light in places we do not own and drive people further into the blackness.

I think it is far better thing to search the world for beauty, truth, and light rather than go on the witch hunt for darkness.  Don’t read this wrong – I think we absolutely have to call out evil when we see it; but I think the world needs more of the light pointed out.  To me, helping people see light even in the midst of darkness is a far more beautiful and redemptive thing.  Light does not expose darkness; it obliterates it by simply being what it is.

3d-wallpapers-light-dark-wallpaper-35822I challenge you, look for light in the dark places. Point it out when you see it.  When a song speaks the truth, embrace it and declare it.  When a movie rings with truth, shout it out.  When a book, or a blog, or a person reveals the evidence of God’s DNA, even without knowing it, celebrate in the truth with them. It is the truth that sets us free – and we do not own and/or legislate that truth.  We can however help others see the truth that is already evidenced in their lives and world around them.

“(We) are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

 

 

 

The Journey of Gray Beard

2014 was a year of continued transition for my family and me.  The end of 2013 found me moving from full-time pastoral ministry into a job as a service writer for a friend’s garage.  2014 found me settling into that role, struggling to adapt to life after full-time ministry, and enrolling in school as a full-time IT student.  I tend to think a LOT about my beliefs, and I think those transitions have really forced me to reflect even more deeply about what I believe, why I believe it, and how those beliefs impact my life.  As a result, the end of this year finds me a far different man than I think I was when it first began.

I can honestly tell you that I really struggle with my faith at times – even finding moments when I am not really sure at all what I believe.  There are moments when I truly think I keep expressing faith for no other reason than I can’t imagine my life without it.  Belief is the only reality I have ever known, and so to give it up seems comparable to severing an appendage – I just can’t imagine life without it.  I am thankful for that because, in those times of uncertainty, it keeps me from running full tilt off the cliff.

51cc33a700d53I see plenty of others who seem like they never waver in faith, who never question what is true, and who seem rock solid and unchanging in their convictions.  At times I envy those people.  To be so convinced and so unable to be moved off of what they believe seems like a place that is far less scary than where I often find myself.  For many of them, their faith is like being curled up under a fleece blanket on a plush recliner before a crackling fire.  It is a place of great comfort and warmth. Mine, however, can feel more like a midnight ride on a treacherous mountain road in a torrential downpour.  Sure, the views can be amazing, but getting there grays the beard. Yes, at times I envy those of the recliner ilk, but then again, I am rather fond of the gray in my beard.

The journey has changed and is changing me.  It has brought me to the brink of despair and the very nanosecond before giving it up.  It has led me see the world in new ways, broadening my theology, and increasing my desire for understanding.  It has given birth to a sense of raging inadequacy in my efforts to make sense of things, while at the same time breeding courage to question the unquestionable.

I have always taken the view that beliefs that do not change me are useless, beliefs that are not changing me are dead, and a faith that is not in some way developing/growing/evolving is not faith at all.  The older I get, the more I realize that I have been wrong on a lot things.  That realization alone is responsible for the lion share of changes that have taken place in my life in recent years.

My goal for 2015 is to blog at least once a month.  Each month I hope to present one list of important influences in my life.  These may be books I have read, songs, movies, or art that has inspired, or people who have impacted my life in good and bad ways.  The hope is to share bits and pieces of my journey with you as I become what I am becoming.

IMG_0264I can’t wait to meet the me that exists at the end of 2015.  I cannot promise you the journey will be a pretty one.  In fact, I can probably assure you that I will piss off my fair share of you, disappoint many, befuddle more than a few, and be the inspiration for a few hundred face palms in the coming year.  I share my journey though, because I hope that for some of you it will be inspiration and encouragement on the treacherous roads your faith travels.  May our beards grow gray together.

Symbolically speaking, ladies…

The Burden of Being Good

NagasakibombThought for the day – If you are going to declare your side good and right, you must be held to the highest standards of conducting yourself ONLY by what is good and right.  That means good and right for all mankind – not just what is required for self-preservation.  Being on the side of goodness and rightness means that the playing field is tipped against you, and yet your side will never act against what is good and right to tip it back.  To act counter to goodness and rightness in order to level the playing field disqualifies you from wearing the labels good and right.

Justifying wrong in the name of right is evil’s greatest deceit.

Microblog: Sheep and Goats

micro04

I miss blogging on a regular basis but find myself less than inspired to dive too deep into a subject right now.  So, in lieu of the grandiose, I am going to experiment with micro-blogging.  These will just be short posts, a few sentences or single statement, on what I am thinking and/or questioning right now.  Mini-thoughts are all I am capable of lately.

The hope is that the discussion then becomes the real meat of the content.  Sooo, don’t hold back on the comments….

Thought for the day:

Christians who declare other people as “Christian” or “Un-Christian” because they believe and/or think differently on a topic are counter to the Kingdom.  Matthew 25 – There are going to be some surprises regarding who is “in” and who is “out”. Thinking about how right you are and how wrong they are seems a bit more out than in to me.

I’m pretty sure Dan Haseltine is in though…