Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Things that make you say...hmmm

"I don't know how I ever got a Nobel Peace Prize, because when I see children die the anger in me is just beyond belief. It's our duty as human beings, whatever age we are, to become the protectors of human life."
-Betty Williams

"...I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment"

"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can CHANGE THE WORLD. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
-Margaret Mead

"Stop asking God to bless what you’re doing, get involved in what’s God’s doing, because it’s already blessed."

Saturday, September 08, 2007

How I think the American League will finish

The New York Yankees are going to get into the playoffs with the AL Wildcard because the bottom three teams in the AL East are awful.

I did some computation and as of 4:10, Saturday September 8, the bottom 3 teams in the AL East have played 421 games and the bottom three teams in the AL Central have played 422 games. The winning percentage for the AL East teams is .391 and the winning percentage for the bottom three teams in the AL Central is .452.

What does this mean? It means that a good team in the AL East is going to get more wins. Playing against inferior competition means you will have more wins than other teams. Translation: the Yankees and the Red Sox have bloated wins totals.

This means that the New York Yankees can play 20+ consecutive games against teams with losing records, and climb the standings as a result. This means that a good team, like the Boston Red Sox can look like an awesome team because they are always playing awful teams.

As a Tigers fan I know my team has to gain 3 games on the Yankees if we want to get into the playoffs, but I look at the Yankee schedule and see lots of Baltimore and Toronto. The two teams with the highest payroll in the league (Boston and New York) play against the worst collection of losing teams in the league 19 times apiece.

The media, instead of crediting the horrible division that they play in, and the bloated payrolls of these two teams decides to focus on relief pitchers giving the teams a boost. Ha! That’s rich.

What is even worse, they ignore the best team in all of baseball-the Angels. Recently, they demolished the Yankees. They swept the Tigers. They are making work of the best division in the AL. I think the Angels are going to be in the World Series.

Here is how I think that the AL Playoff scene is going to work.

AL East: Boston
AL Central: Cleveland
AL West: Los Angeles
Wildcard: New York

Division Series:
Los Angeles vs. New York
Boston vs. Cleveland

Championship Series:
Boston vs. LA

Pennant Winner:
Los Angeles Angels

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thoughts about Christian Cable

So recently I have been watching Christian Cable. Not because it is ministering to me, but for the same reason people watch the TV shows that repeatedly show car wrecks. I find myself amazed and shocked at the things that I hear, and often end up laughing at the actions and antics.

I believe Christian Cable has done more harm to the Christian faith than it has done good. The personalities that have been placed on the air have become just that-personalities. The TV shows have become just that-TV shows. They have forgotten who Christians are and thus they have corrupted themselves.

Acts 3 & 4 tells the story of Peter and John healing a crippled man as they enter into the temple on day. When you read the text, after they heal the man they keep on walking. They seem to treat the healing of a man who was crippled from birth, in a very casual manner. It is almost as if healings are a natural part of life.

Notice in the beginning of the text, Peter says very little. He asks for the man’s attention and then heals him and continues to go into the temple. The only reason that people know why a man who wasn’t able to walk is not jumping is because he won’t leave the apostles’ side.

It is only after the people in the crowd begin to ask how this happened that Peter begins to proclaim the Gospel. Peter did not stand up and start shouting into the crowd he had a new message, that if they people didn’t listen they were going to die. He only began to preach to the people after they asked him to explain what was going on.

Peter does not come back with hellfire and brimstone. He does not lead off telling the people they need to have a personal relationship with Jesus. All he does is explain the story. He even asks the people why they’re amazed before he explains how this man is healed.

So Peter and John set precedence for the way we interact with those who are not followers of Jesus. This model comes directly from Jesus. In Luke 10, when Jesus is sending out his disciples to spread the Kingdom message, he tells them to go to a village and heal the sick then proclaim, “The Kingdom of God is near.” Sign then proclamation.

What are the signs today? This is up for debate today in many Christian circles. Some Christians do not believe in miracles while some do. If we find ourselves in this debate we’re missing the point of ‘signs.’ Christians believe that the work of Jesus is God putting the world back together. Signs are the evidence of this.

One of the biggest themes that I feel is over looked by most pastors in the beginning of Acts is community. It is repeated over and over that they were living together, and the great things that happen come out of this community. I think you could say that community itself is a sign; a sign that things are being put back together.

What would it look like if Christians stopped leading with our words and led with our actions? What if we began to believe that God, through Jesus, is putting the world back together? What if words like all creation is groaning with the pains of childbirth waiting for Christians to be the community we are called to be.

Sadly, this is not what I see when I watch Christian Cable.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thoughts from on the Carpet

I have been working way too many hours over the past month or so, and I have not been able to sit down and type out a blog. This does not mean that I have not been thinking. I clean carpets for money, and while you're cleaning carpets you have tons of time to think (because spraying soapy water and then sucking it up isn't all that hard). Here are a few of the things I have been thinking about.

Nonviolence: I have been debating with myself over the past couple of years whether or not violence is a proper way of responding. I have always struggled with this question because it has never seemed to me that Jesus would respond by fighting back. He said to turn the other cheek.

I have also struggled with the opposite. I didn’t believe that pacifism is the answer either. How could I live with myself if I idly sat and watched another person attack my family or my community? Pacifism as a response does not seem to be the thing Jesus would do.

The problem with my thinking, and the reason that both options do not work for me, is I struggle to see power without force. Often when I would want to be a pacifist my one question was, ‘What if I am being attacked?’-I couldn’t get over this problem. I have been ingrained in my thinking to assume that power must include force.

This is the exact issue that Jesus exposed in his death. Humans tend to want to see weakness when talking about death. We struggle to see giving up life as a sign of strength. We see strength in standing at all costs in preservation; not dying. I believe that Jesus is completely throwing the “strength comes from force” motif right out the window.

Understanding power without force was my key to saying that a nonviolent approach is the best.

Community in the Church: I hate going to church alone. If you have ever had to do this, you know what I mean. It is miserable to sit by yourself and worship. It is not natural. (If I am going alone, often I’ll stay home and just go to the young adult services.) So I have tried to attend church with a couple from the seminary that is a part of the same congregation.

While I was waiting for them to meet me there, I noticed an announcement for the church’s “Connection Point,” the place where you go if you want to get connected in the church. Being a typical mega-church, the leaders understand that the 8,000 members struggle with being connected (and there are many people who just show up on Sunday morning). So they have created the Connection Point to help solve the problem-because nobody likes to go to church alone.

When I saw this announcement, it dawned on me. The church should not have community building as a program of the church, because the church is community. It would be like a band thinking playing music is just something they do when they get together. Just like playing music is central to a band, community is central to a church. We don’t do community, we are community!!!

Seeing ourselves as anything else is to not be ourselves. We do not just meet once a week, we are to live life with each other. We are not to just sing songs together and listen to a preacher, but we are supposed to be intimately connected to one another!! This is what it means to be a church. So many churches do not understand this, and this is why so many people have been turned off to the church.

Marriage: This summer I have been thinking about marriage more than anything else. This is probably because in November I am getting married. I have been engaged since Christmas and the longer I am engaged the more excited I am for the day when it is over.

I was talking with a friend about being engaged, and he made the point that being engaged is hard and I agree (especially long distance engagements). Engagement is a time of building up towards the marriage; it is a temporary state of preparing. Thus, it is a time where you are almost married, you are ready for marriage but you are waiting, and waiting can be hard.

I have been thinking about how everything in my life is now for somebody else; I am no longer alone. When I work, I am working for her. When I play, I am playing with her. When I travel, will be traveling with her. Where I call home, is not just my home but also her home. My life is to be shared with a partner. My life is now our life.

I am excited to have somebody who challenges me, who makes me want to be a better person. I was reading Donald Miller’s book “To Own a Dragon” and he made the point that if it wasn’t for girls, guys would probably never amount to much. This is not because women are nagging or needling all the time, but because we want to make her happy. I want Stephanie to be the happiest most secure person in the world, and it is because of her that I push myself to go harder and longer than I would otherwise.

I have been thinking about how marriage is a beautiful metaphor for God. The oneness that a wedded couple should be pursuing is the same oneness that we find in the Trinity. There is perfect love between the persons, perfect intentions between them, and perfect respect for each other. They are one.

I also like how Paul talks about marriage when he uses marriage to talk about Jesus and the church. The wife follows the husband as the husband gives his life for her. This is the same way that we should follow Jesus, understanding that He gave His life for us. It is all a beautiful relationship.

I have been thinking about the roles that man and woman play within the relationship. I believe that men are the strength in the relationship and women are the support. When these roles are found, the relationship works beautifully and naturally. When these roles are not found there is discontentment. This is not to say that either role is more important or either person can be taken for granted-women need men and men need women. Stephanie needs me to be strong for her, just as much as I need her support. Both need to be present for the marriage to be healthy.

Just over 10 weeks until these thoughts become a reality in my life!

I move into our apartment on August 23, and then classes start the first week of September. I will be living there, alone, until after the wedding. So in the next couple of weeks I will be getting the apartment fixed up and ready to live in.

Thanks for reading what I have been thinking about.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mark Kurlansky's 25 lessons on nonviolence

I am reading the book, “Nonviolence: 25 Lessons From the History of a Dangerous Idea,” (Random House) and I am finding it very interesting and challenging.

The author, Mark Kurlansky, writes the book in narrative form teaching the 25 lessons as he goes along. His work involves studying nonviolence in several religious and cultural traditions throughout history.

The final paragraph of the 1st chapter reads:
"Though most religions shun warfare, and hold nonviolence as the only moral route toward political change, religion and its language have been co-opted by the violent people who have been governing societies. If someone were to come along who would not compromise, a rebel who insisted on taking the only moral path, rejecting violence in all its forms, such a person would seem so menacing that he would be killed, and after his death he would be canonized or deified, because a saint is less dangerous than a rebel. This has happened numerous times, but the first prominent example was a Jew named Jesus."
Here are the 25 lessons that he poses through the book. Let me know what you think or if there are any that jump out at you as insightful.

  1. There is no proactive word for nonviolence.
  2. Nations that build military forces as deterrents will eventually use them.
  3. Practitioners of nonviolence are seen as enemies of the state.
  4. Once a state takes over a religion, the religion loses its nonviolent teachings.
  5. A rebel can be defanged and co-opted by making him a saint after he is dead.
  6. Somewhere behind every war there are always a few founding lies.
  7. A propaganda machine promoting hatred always has a war waiting in the wings.
  8. People who go to war start to resemble their enemy.
  9. A conflict between a violent and a nonviolent force is a moral argument. If the violent side can provoke the nonviolent side into violence, the violent side has won.
  10. The problem lies not in the nature of man but in the nature of power.
  11. The longer a war lasts, the less popular it becomes.
  12. The state imagines it is impotent without a military because it cannot conceive of power without force.
  13. It is often not the largest but the best organized and the most articulate group that prevails.
  14. All debate momentarily ends with an “enforced silence” once the first shots are fired.
  15. A shooting war is not necessary to overthrow an established power but is used to consolidate the revolution itself.
  16. Violence does not resolve. It always leads to more violence.
  17. Warfare produces peace activists. A group of veterans is a likely place to find peace activists.
  18. People motivated by fear to not act well.
  19. While it is perfectly feasible to convince a people faced with brutal repression to rise up in a suicidal attack on their oppressor, it is almost impossible to convince them to meet deadly violence with nonviolence resistance.
  20. Wars do not have to be sold to the general public if they can be carried out by an all-volunteer professional military.
  21. Once you start the business of killing, you just get “deeper and deeper,” without limits.
  22. Violence always comes with a supposedly rational explanation-which is only dismissed as irrational if the violence fails.
  23. Violence is a virus that infects and takes over.
  24. The miracle is that despite all of society’s promotion of warfare, most soldiers find warfare to be a wrenching departure from their own moral values.
  25. The hard work of beginning a movement to end war has already been done.

Any thoughts??

Saturday, July 14, 2007

They dared not ask...

(I credit my friend Jason Shambach for this post...he's the creative genius here)

John 21:12 has a very interesting comment. Here John writes: Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

This fits in with many other post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. The usual pattern of these appearances of Jesus usually happened something like this: Jesus appears, he is not recognized, he says something and after he speaks everybody is like, “Oh that’s Jesus!”

Look it up. It usually happens in that manner. Nobody by first looking at Jesus seems to recognize him. Why not? They lived with the guy for 3 years-maybe longer. A few of the events happened outside so there was not a problem with the lighting. Why didn’t anybody recognize Jesus?

There are several traditional answers that theologians will give as an answer. But I would like to maybe look at it in a different way. What if the reason that people didn’t recognize Jesus when they saw him is because his face was so badly beaten?

There was a horrible accident my senior year of college. A van full of Taylor University students was driving between the two Taylor campuses on I-69 in northern Indiana when a semi crossed the median and smacked the van. Sadly only 1 or 2 of the students survived the wreck.

If you remember the story you’ll also remember that a couple months later as one of the girls who survived began to wake up, did not recognize the family that was around her. What had happened was because of the extent of her injuries and the bruises to her face, she was misidentified by everybody-even her parents. Her face was so badly beaten in she was unrecognizable.

What if this is the reason that nobody could recognize Jesus? His face was so badly mangled that he did not look like himself. My friend Jason put it this way-If we put the way Jesus actually looked on flannel-graph little children would scream. If this was the case it makes perfect sense that nobody would recognize him. Just like the girl in the accident he did not look like himself.

Why is this significant? Why does it matter that Jesus face looked like it was caught on fire then put out with a chain? I think it has everything to do with the incarnation. It has everything to do with the nature of what Jesus is doing here among humans. Intrinsic with salvation is Jesus being beaten.

Let’s think it this way. The incarnation-Jesus becoming a man-is also described as “the Humiliation of Jesus.” “The Humiliation of Jesus” is the way of talking about Jesus giving up what his divine characteristics in order to take upon himself humanity. It was so beneath the very nature of who he was that it was a humiliation. Think of a king giving up his palace to be with beggars-humiliation.

This is the posture of Jesus’ life. This is the posture of Jesus. Philippians 2 says he humbled himself. And because he was obedient in this, he was exalted. It was because he humbled himself and took the posture not of greatness but of a slave that he was glorified. He did not try and become the biggest and the best but he allowed himself to be beaten beyond recognition. This is the posture as Christians we need to model.

University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas in their vision statement says this: “…our efforts focus on engaging the culture in which we live and transforming it by lives incarnating the person of Jesus Christ.”

This is what Christians are about…incarnating the person of Jesus…living like he did…humbling ourselves…taking the very nature of a slave…not seeking equality.

What does incarnating the person of Jesus mean to you? How can we follow his posture?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?!?!

Where has the time gone? June has swept past us, and before you know it November 3rd will be here! I am going to take a bit of time away from deeper things and do some writting on something else near and dear to my heart-baseball. But if you want to read something deep and thought provoking check out Stephanie's article on Simplicity-it's really good!

Now on to baseball...

This summer looks like it could be the summer of epic proportions. Everybody and their mom is doing something specialon the field. Here are a few things that have already happened as we near the All Star break:

1. Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox threw a no hitter on April 18. And the only runner he let on (Sammy Sosa) was picked off first base-meaning he faced the minimum number of batters possible (27).

2. Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies “turned” an unassisted triple play on April 29. This has only happened 13 times in MLB history (over 100 years)!!!

3. Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers threw a no-hitter on June 12. Becoming the first no-hitter for the Tigers since 1984!! (This one has been my favorite event of the year so far!!).

4. Sammy Sosa of the Texas Rangers hit the 600th Home Run of his career on June 20. Sammy did this against the team he made his name playing for, the Chicago Cubs- How crazy!

5. Frank Thomas of the Toronto Blue Jays (it’s still weird to me he’s not a White Sox any more) hit his 500th career Home Run on June 28. Ironically, in the same ballpark he hit his first dinger.

So in 125 plus years:
• Pitchers have thrown 234 no hitters.
• A player hit 500 career Home Runs 21 times.
• An unassisted triple play has happened 13 times.
• Only 5 people have hit 600 Home Runs

History has been happening before our eyes this year on the baseball diamond! If you havn’t been watching, you should have. This has been one of the most explosive seasons ever and it’s only half way done! If the season is only half over what other events could take place?


• Four other guys have the chance to break 500 Homers (A-Rod, Man Ram, Jim Thome, & Gary Sheffield).
• Pedro Martinez should come to the 3000 career strike out mark.
• Two guys are in position to get 3000 hits (Craig Biggio and Barry Bonds).
• Tom Glavin is a few wins away from 300 in his career.
• Ken Griffey Jr. is streaking towards 600 (if he stays healthy).
• Barry Bonds looks like he is going to break Hank Aaron’s all time Home Run mark (755).

The summer of ’07 could be the summer that changes everything! Or maybe it's a great year to watch baseball!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Here is an essay that Stephanie wrote the other day:

I have been reading a book that I would highly recommend to anyone and everyone, “Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne. It is an amazing look at what it means to live simply and serve wholly.

Shane is a part of a community known as the The Simple Way. He lives with a group of people in inner city Philadelphia. Their goal is to build community and love the poor like Jesus did. They live communally, which yes, means they share their incomes, possessions, and everything else with others. In our American Dream world, this is a hard concept to grasp. Most people, me included, might view this group as a bunch of hippies who make their own clothes and eat grass. As I read about this group of people, and researched communities like them, it seems they are on the right track.

Now, I’m not saying I want to run out and start a commune, though the thought is appealing, I DO believe that the Simple Way is closer to what Jesus has in mind when he teaches in Matthew about how we should pray for His kingdom to come. I think the Early Church that we read about in Acts has the right idea and that seems to be what this group is doing.

Contemplating myself living in a community like this, I come up with many conflicting scenarios.
1) If we all share the same money, what about when I see a good sale on a purse, or shoes, or cute dress at Target, H&M, Gap, Forever 21, etc. etc. I am a shopaholic. Shopping is my stress reliever. This is probably a psychological issue I need to work out, but WHAT WOULD I DO????
2) Honestly, I feel that sometimes my heart and compassion are not big enough to care about the poor. Aren’t they poor for a reason? Why don’t they have jobs? Are they are lazy and milk the welfare system for all it is worth? Yet, according to the Bible, we are called to love them.
3) Wouldn’t people think we are crazy? Hippies? A cult? I do not want to be viewed like that by others. BUT, if I truly believe what the Lord says about being hated by the world, then shouldn’t my mindset be “Who cares what others think?”

Right now I’m living in the suburbs of Chicago. I work at a place where having money doesn’t matter, but the minute I step off this campus, that all changes. I see unnecessarily large houses, strip malls on every corner, 5 year olds with cell phones, and teenagers with better cars than I could ever dream of driving. How can I be a Christian living in this culture? More importantly, is it wrong to live in this culture? Is it wrong to have a lot of money? Is it wrong to want to have a lot of money?

How can I call myself a true follower of our Lord and spend $10,000 on a wedding? Couldn’t that money go to a much worthier cause? Where do we draw the line? Is there a line?

I have worked in a suburban church, and known many wonderful people with wonderful hearts. They open their homes up to youth groups and missionaries, and roll into church on Sundays in their Lexus. I have gone to Willow Creek a few times since I have lived out here. While I know they are doing many good things and helping with many different causes nation wide and world wide, it just seems that instead of building such a huge building with water fountains and busses and a different stage design every week, they could be using that money for more important things--perhaps feeding a hungry kid in Chicago. At the same time though, my heart is torn because, like I said, I know the church is doing good things.

I guess a lot of us believe that if we just give to Compassion or donate to short term mission trips, then we are fulfilling our obligation to give to the poor. I do not want to discount giving to these worthwhile causes, or giving in general because it is a spiritual gift. But, is shelling out cash to these organizations while still living in the American Dream bubble enough?

This is where my heart is. I feel torn and unable to express everything I feel. I want to have money, a retirement plan, a reliable car, nice clothes, a beautiful home, but in the end, this will all still leave me empty. I know why it was so hard for the rich man who Jesus told to give up everything to follow Him had such a hard time with that idea.

I believe it is impossible to pursue Christ and pursue the American Dream. We have the promise of mansions in heaven, so why am I trying to find mine while I’m living here on earth?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer ’07 Update

Here are some things that are happening in my life right now.

1.) For those of you who do not know, I am engaged to the love of my life, Stephanie Ann Riggs. She is my best friend and I am soooooooooooo excited to get to spend the rest of my life with her. We are getting married on November 3rd so as of this date (June 22) we have 133 days left.

I proposed to her on Christmas night after her family had opened their Christmas presents. She did not know that I had driven down to talk to her mom the week before, but everybody in her family and a few of her friends did. So they were all hanging out cameras in hand, and Steph was wondering why everybody was hanging out.

One thing I will not recommend is to propose to a girl and then move 7 hours away. It is very tough! So guys if you’re thinking about proposing then moving to another state…don’t!

Even with the distance issue, this has been the best 6 months of my life!!

2.) I have just finished my first semester of Seminary. I had three classes: Matthew, Biblical Hebrew, and Vocation of Ministry. All classes were very good and very formational in my understanding of the Christian faith, and my latest posts have been focusing these thoughts. I believe that God is stretching my understanding of who He is and what He is doing in the world through my experience at Asbury.

Graduate work is intense, and I am continually learning to be more disciplined and more focused on my work. But it is doable.

I am currently finishing up Comprehensive Greek I, which is crazy. We are taking a 3-month class crammed into 3 weeks. This means that everyday we are studying 1 week worth of homework. AND that means that we’re expected to do one week’s worth of homework every night (it averages out to 7 ½ to 9 hours).

Next fall I will be taking “Kingdom, Church, and World,” “Church History I,” and “Method and Praxis.” Method & Praxis and KCW will be taken from the virtual campus. I am excited about those classes!

3.) I have been playing basketball 2-3 days a week on the seminary campus. Noon-ball as it is called (Why “noon-ball” you ask? Well, because it starts at 12-noon! Clever I know.) It has been the best part of coming to seminary for me. One of the tough parts about moving to a place where you don’t know anybody is that you don’t know anybody. It really was this group of guys who made me happy to be here in Kentucky.

It has been good for me, as the last couple years in college I did not exercise enough and I had gained a few lb's that I need to shed. The exercise has been good for me and my pants have been a little bit big on me! Hurrah for exercise!!!

4.) I am planning writing a book. I think that I’m going to spend the rest of my time here at seminary working on it here and there and then try and get it published. I still am in the extreme beginning of the process...aka still thinking stuff out. But maybe you’ll some day go to a bookstore and see my name on the shelf. Who knows??

5.) I am working at A D Carpet Care; it’s an interesting place. I am the guy who comes and cleans your carpet. Actually, we do mostly commercial so I am in hotels most of the time when I work (which is primarily Mondays for right now). So I have spent a good portion of my free time over the past couple of months in hotel rooms.

Here are some things to think about when going to a hotel: 1.) The lobby isn’t a good sign of the quality of the hotel, the hallways are. 2.) The carpet of the hotel is a dead give away of the quality of the hotel. 3.) If you see tons of stains on the carpet, it means that the hotel has tons of people party there. 4.) NEVER stay in at Hyatt in Lexington.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to put in a ton of hours over July and August with this company…“A D Carpet Care, call ‘us’ on the carpet!”

That’s what’s going on in my life!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What is Salvation?

As I read the Gospels, Jesus’ understanding of salvation seems to be active. To Jesus, salvation requires that there be a change happening to your person; it is not just an abstract event. I see Jesus telling a rich man to give away his wealth. I read about Jesus challenging the expert in the Law in how he views the Samaritans. I find Jesus telling the woman caught in adultery to stop. Salvation requires action.

(If you are thinking right now, “What about Ephesians 2:8-9 (we are saved by grace and not by works so no one can boast.)?” then I think you should be reading Ephesians 2:10 which ends saying we are God’s artwork created to do good works.)

Salvation I believe is best summed up this way: “Salvation is when we trust ourselves to Jesus and His way, the way of the cross (see previous post).”

Over and over in the Gospels Jesus is confronting people with Himself and His way of life. He is conversing with religious people about how they have missed the point-how salvation is not just about how good you are at not breaking the Law. He continually challenges the social structure that many of these (I assume well intentioned) teachers and people we would consider Pastors, with revolutionary ways of thinking. He’s demanding that these leaders quit bogging themselves down in theological studies and arguments and start living out their beliefs.

Jesus in Matthew 11 makes the statement: “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.” To which we ask what Jesus means when he says, ‘take my yoke?’

Well, a yoke was a rabbinical term that a rabbi would use to classify his way of interpreting the Law. And by using this term, Jesus is asking the people to take his understanding of the way that life is to be lived. Follow and live life the way that I am teaching you to live.

If you read the radical things that Jesus says in the Gospels, it takes a ton of trust to follow Him. Jesus’ way commands that we do not fight for our rights, instead we pick up our cross (an idea that stands directly in opposition to the Declaration of Independence). Jesus says don’t worry about tomorrow, instead give what you don’t need to those who do need (in direct opposition to retirement planning). Jesus says if somebody hits you don’t hit them back instead let them hit you again (in direct opposition to self defense).

It’s foolishness to say that I’m going to let somebody hit me a second time. It’s crazy to give away your hard earned money to somebody who has done nothing for you. But this is the way that Jesus says leads to life. He is asking us to trust Him.

Biblically, we do not just receive salvation, we take it up. We do not hunt down ways to gain eternal life; we hunt for ways to give up our lives. We do not carry around the guilt of the sins we have committed; we throw our guilt to the cross. We trust Jesus, trust His work on the cross, and trust His triumph over the grave. THIS IS SALVATION!!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Way of the Cross

In Matthew 16:24 Jesus says that the core of what his way is about is carrying a cross. What does it mean to “carry your cross?”

The cross was a shameful way to die, it was designed by the Romans to be just that. They even reserved this way of execution for the lowest of the low-they didn’t crucify citizens (even Paul isn’t crucified)-and Jesus is telling his followers that this is what it means to follow him.

A cross meant that you no longer had rights. You did not have the right to live-they killed you. You didn’t have the right to dignity-they did it in public so everybody could witness you die. You didn’t have the right to privacy-they took off your clothing. You didn’t have the right to freedom from suffering-they purposefully let your death take days and maybe even weeks.

Carrying a cross is to totally give up your rights.

This is the way that Christians are supposed to be living their lives. But sadly this is not how most do. Sadly, many Christians hold on to their rights. They end up doing the exact opposite they fight for their rights; which is against what Jesus was about.

Christians even are known to fight and argue to promote Christianity. What’s up with that? Should we be sitting around fighting about what we believe? How far have we come from Jesus’ way of thinking if this is how we are acting? Are we spreading the message of giving up our rights by arguing for our beliefs? Something just doesn’t make sense to me.

If we believe that abortion is wrong do we really think we’re going to stop anybody from doing it by calling them baby-killers?? Do we honestly believe that fighting to prove that abortion is wrong in the public sphere is going to stop people from having abortions? Is this our best solution?

Is telling people their actions are wrong even our job as Christians? Is this giving up our right? Are we really the moral police? Is that the point? Or did Jesus have something bigger for us to be working towards? Instead of calling out people we believe are wrong, why not go to them and introduce them to Jesus. Introduce them to the man who wants to heal all the wrongs and abuses in their life.

I have often thought that far too often the Pharisees get a bad rap in the Bible; all they’re doing is getting people to try and live the right way. They’re trying to get people to follow the Torah. The problem is that this is not the point of the Law. The point of the Law is to show the world the way of God (in the Gospels: “Kingdom of Heaven”) by living it (Exodus 19:3-6).

Over and over in the Old Testament the prophets come down hard on the people because they forget that they are living examples of who God is and then end up Empire Building. They end up not being who they are called to be-God’s people.

We are called to live differently than those around us. We are called to live out our faith, not defend it. “Defending the faith” is not a Christian ethic, it’s Muslim. Muslims believe that the kingdom of Allah is spread by struggling (jihad); Christ said to lay down your life and pick up your cross.

How about you? Are you picking up a cross or are you struggling?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Thoughts on Truth

Ways people have historically understood truth:
1. Authority
This was the primary way that people understood Truth in the medieval period. In this period, the authorities were trusted to understand the Truth; the common man was not. Truth is linked closely with a power structure under an authority.

This was the primary understanding of the Catholic Church. The Catholics say that it is the Pope who had the right to say whether or not something is true. The problem here is when the Papal community was obviously corrupt. Once the popes authority becomes compromised, Truth can become very quickly distorted. Which is what happened toward the end of the medieval period.

The Reformers, particularly Hus and Luther stood up and said the pope is wrong, and that simple reason and logic partnered with study of the Bible could explain what was true.

2. Logic/Reason
Logic and reason are the staple of understanding how truth is talked about in the modern era; truth is logical and rational. Truth has a strong relationship with Math and Science in this way of thinking.

This way of understanding truth is in an abstract form of truth. It is based in logical and reason, and neither of those are tangible. Truth becomes in this way of thinking static, and unchanging. It also becomes disconnected.

Post-modern thinkers reject truth in this light. There is a grass roots movement of “po-mo’s” who disagree that there is an objective truth out there. Truth as an abstract immutable force in post-modern thinking just does not exist. Truth must be seen as something that is to be experienced.

3. Experience
The primary way of introducing ones self to truth in the post-modern mindset is through Experience. One does not know truth by being told what to believe about Truth, not by following a logical ascent to Truth, but by experiencing Truth. Truth cannot be separated from experiencing it.

This is the conversation that many Christians are having today. They are talking to Christians who are based in a logical and rational ways of understanding Christianity. The problem is that these Christians are looking for abstract conversations about the nature of truth, which the post-modern mindset does not want to have. To the post-modern thinking Truth, cannot exist unless there is a subject experience.

I do not believe that post-modern thinkers deny that there is Truth; I think that they do not understand Truth as an abstract reality. It has to be tied to flesh and blood.

The way that I think many people approach these three descriptions is to ask the question, “Is one way of understanding Truth more right than either of the other two?” To which I wonder is that the right question?

I believe that to understand truth all three ways methods must be applied. Each of the three methods is flawed and can lead to abuses. Each of the three methods checks and corrects the other two. When one becomes primary (i.e. logic and reason in the modern mindset) abuses become evident, and Truth itself becomes distorted.

What do you think?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Left and right and wrong

So recently Jerry Falwell died. Jerry was the founder of Liberty University, Thomas Road Baptist Church, and the Moral Majority. Right after he died, I went to the New York Times website and read comments people made about his life-people honestly did not like him. In more than one post, Falwell was compared to Hitler!

Now I understand that the Gospel is not supposed to be popular, and we’re not supposed to be trying to be liked; but the level of hate that people were attributing to Farwell was shocking to me. In no way should a follower of Jesus life a life that they could be compared to an evil dictator.

The reason that Falwell was attacked was because he stood up for what he believed. In fact, that was the purpose of the Moral Majority. He wanted to motivate those with moral opinions to stand up for what they believe and vote conscious, which actually what most people applaud.

I respect Falwell’s integrity. Al Sharpton, Falwell’s ‘political opposite’ in a public address even had the same remarks. I only will say this: I do not believe it is the way of Jesus.

Luke 10 is where Jesus sends out the disciples to spread his message concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. It is here He gives his followers the method by which they are to spread the message. He gives these commands:

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’

This is what I see Jesus telling His disciples: Go out, give evidence of the Kingdom of God, and then explain the sign by saying, ‘the kingdom of God is near.’ This is Jesus instruction on how to spread the kingdom.

Jesus does not tell his followers to debate moral issues with people they come in contact with. He simply tells them to give evidence that God’s kingdom is here. To Jesus truth of the kingdom is not in the weight of the argument for it, but in evidence of its presence. This is why I think that political coercion is not the way of Jesus.

Coercion is defined as ‘the use of force or threats to make people do things against their will and force used to make somebody do something against his or her will.’

Does this seem to be what Jesus is telling his followers to do?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Personal Manifesto

Here is my personal statement of belief that I have been working on:

I believe we live in a broken, fractured world. Death and destruction are all around us. It seems that living is a monumental task, as even nature itself is looking to kill us. Death has become the only thing in life that is guaranteed.

I believe this brokenness is the result of the sin that we all deal with. The root of sin is self. At the root of every sin is the placing of self and selfish wants over the laws of God, and the welfare and concern of others.

The first human beings sin, and by sinning have broke the relationship that they had with God. The result of the fracture is the basic peace that was between Man, God, and Creation. I believe that individual sins also lead to systematic evils that we see in the world. Humans have created systems that oppress other humans. Racism, sexism, ageism all factor into the systems that are used to oppress those around us.

This is the story of man. We see from creation one generation and humans are killing each other. We also see that that almost as soon as there is any type of organization in the world, it is used for evil (the Tower of Babel). Every organization that man has created ends up in some way oppressing others; even the organized church has participated in oppression.

God’s motion has always been towards humanity. Even as the first man and woman sinned, God was right there taking the first steps towards healing and restoration. While humanity is continually finding different ways to make the break larger, God has continually chasing after his beloved creation.

The ultimate sign of God’s pursuit of humanity is the person of Jesus. Christians believe that what God wanted for the world, we find this in Jesus. We believe that His life was lived perfectly, without sin. Thus empowering him to be able to stand against the brokenness and sin that is in the world. Jesus then told his followers to be like he was.

Jesus in his stand against the brokenness and oppression he saw, was betrayed, arrested, falsely charged, and crucified by those he was calling out. From heaven, God saw Jesus to vindicate him raised him from the dead. We believe that it is by the power of this resurrection the sin and brokenness of this world has been defeated. It is through the power of this resurrection that sin and brokenness in our individual lives can be healed.

This is the core of what it means to be a Christian. We follow Jesus’ lead in standing against the sin and brokenness in the world. We become the agents of restoration and life standing against the sin and brokenness in the world.

Christians need to stand up for healing and restoration, but this does not imply that we fight against the evils that are around us. What I mean is that we be agents of healing and restoration. Instead inciting conflict, we instead spread the love of God for the world. Our healing and restoration process should not result in conflict-this is only bringing more brokenness.

What do you think? Does this sum up what we're about as Christians?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Can Christians be pessimists?

I think that our church is full of people who are pessimists. They don’t think that there’s any hope for the world.

I lived my formative years growing up around people who feared the evil around them, and forgot that God is stronger. They lived their lives in fear that somehow if they came in contact with the “ways of the world” that somehow either they would become tainted or they would set themselves up for some sort of moral failure.

I guess my questions is “Can Christians be pessimists?” Can we not have hope in the work that God is doing in the world? I believe that the power of Jesus resurrection has empowered those sent out to spread his message. Isn’t that the story in the early church?

Christians in the Roman Empire were social outcasts. They couldn’t buy or sell. Large percentages were slaves and women (both who had few rights). They were heavily persecuted and killed. And yet somehow the Gospel of Jesus (the Good News of Jesus) continued to spread. It spread until it Rome became Christian.

They earliest Christians preached that Jesus had come to restore creation. That through His work death had been defeated and the restoration was possible. Not only was it possible but it was happening! It’s actually how they organized themselves. They were bring resurrection to their world through how they lived their lives. This is how they lived and look what happened.

We are living in an ever-increasing post-Christian society. Europe, Australia, and America can no longer be seen as Christian nations. The average Christian today is a woman from Africa or South America; nations with no wealth or social stature.

So can Christians be pessimistic? Can we believe that in all honesty that we’re in a big mess and the world is beyond saving? Should we just kiss the post-Christian community good bye and say there’s no hope in the Gospel (the good news) every changing our own culture?

Maybe, just maybe if you say there isn’t any hope for the post-Christian western community, if you believe that Jesus’ work didn’t do enough…maybe your view of what happened on Easter morning some 2000 years ago isn’t big enough.

Monday, April 09, 2007

New Beginnings

Easter happens on the 1st day of a New Week!

The symbolism of the resurrection being on that beginning of a new week should not be lost when you read and reflect on Easter.

Creation happened in a week. And on the final day of the week God rested. His work of creation started and ended in a week.

Jesus resurrection happened on the first day of the week. One way of understanding what is happening is to see a new week of creation happening. Jesus through his death and resurrection has started a new creation!

This new creation is based upon life. The New Testament authors keep coming back to the idea that death came through Adam, and life comes through Jesus. That the old creation is characterized by Adam's sin, but the new creation is characterized by Jesus resurrection!

Happy Easter! HE IS RISEN!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Who's your Turtle?

So tonight, the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes out in theaters.

Let’s be honest, it won’t win very many awards.

It might not make that much money.

There may not even be that much of a plot.

But it will still be significant for many people.

We were talking about the Turtles at dinner tonight and (I think I am on to something with this) every guy in their 20’s is a fan of the Turtles. If you are in this demographic you know what I mean. You love the Turtles!

Every guy that I know has a favorite Ninja Turtle. I took a very unscientific survey tonight as people were leaving dinner. Every guy had a favorite.

The guys who liked Leonardo liked him because he was the leader.

The guys who liked Rafael liked him because he was sarcastic and tough.

The guys who liked Michelangelo liked him because he was the party animal

The guys who like Donatello liked him because he was always making things.

These were the answers. It isn’t just that guys had a list of things that they said and I just grouped them together, these were pretty much the answers that everybody said.

Across the board.

We have four different personalities represented here: the tough guy, the good guy/leader, the party animal, and the thinker/philosopher/engineer. This is just an observation that I have made, but I think that the Turtle that you like is in some way the person that you see your self as or the person that you want to be.

Now I am probably thinking way to hard about the Turtles, but this is just something I have observed.

It’s uncanny! Wait, that’s not the Turtles.

What do you think? What Turtle is your favorite?

Monday, March 05, 2007

"our tomb is empty"

Sunday night, I was watching the "unveiling" of the Family Tomb of Jesus. In case you haven’t heard, there is a pseudo-archeologist who claims to have discovered the Tomb that Jesus was buried in with his family. Now I didn't realize a few things #1 Jesus had a family and #2 that he was still in the ground, but this is what the program said was the case.

26 years ago, a construction crew unearthed a family tomb. They called archeologists and when they arrived they found an ossuary (or a burial box, that holds the bones of a dead person) with the name “Jesus son of Joseph” written on the side. Also in the tomb were 9 other ossuaries, four (4) others with names.

Along with the name “Jesus son of Joseph,” archeologists found inscriptions that they claim to be that of Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Matthew (supposedly a relative of Mary), and Jude (here’s the kicker-Jesus son). Now these names are all from long chains of assumption and bad interpretations of both Biblical texts and extra-Biblical texts (specifically a 4th century Gnostic Gospel).

Needless to say, as I watched this program I was shocked by the claims that they made. They said that

1.) Jesus body in all probability was not resurrected.
2.) This find also gives strong evidence that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married.
3.) Jesus and Mary had a son – and that this son was the disciple that Jesus loved.
4.) That this find is where the James ossuary is from.

The theological reprocussions are limitless as everything that they claim is against the greater tradition of the church, and contests the Biblical account. You have to force your way into the text to find what they are trying to prove.

The show was about as unscientific as you can get, as everything was done halfway. One of the guys that I watched it with made the observation that he could have done more with the evidence than they did. Literally, it was almost comical to see how many errors and poor assumptions (which we all know what assuming does) that the team made during the course of their work.

The show was a 2-hour special and it could have been cut down to about 30 minutes, and we would have learned the same amount of information. The majority of the documentary (if you can call it that) was spent on tasks, conversations, and entire scenes that had almost no relevance to the findings. It was that poorly put together.

All of the actual archeologists that were interviewed during the show, and in the hour-long critical conversation afterwards were highly critical of the findings. Taking turns they all pointed out the flaws in the process, the statistics, and the assumptions that were so confidently made.

In one of the scenes, the crew was trying to look into an enclosed tomb by looking down an air pipe, (placed their by order of rabbis, so that the souls of the people in the tomb would not be trapped) when they discovered that it was in fact the wrong tomb. The tomb that they were looking had all the bone boxes removed, and this one was still full of the ossuaries.

When the crew learned that this tomb was still full, one of the crewmembers made the remark, "Our tomb is empty!" To which I replied, "So is ours."

Peace be with you

Friday, March 02, 2007

balla Jesus

So I was checking out facebook the other day when I found this picture (Actually it wasn't this picture, it was this picture with the text: "Jesus says: Get that (beep) outta here!"). Now come to find out this picture was not made by people trying to make fun of people, but it was made by Christians (here's the Jesus Statues)

I'm sure that this figurine was made by well intending people. I'm sure that they had good intentions for doing what they did, but come on...Jesus playing basketball? (and there are more figures of Jesus playing other sports) Yes Jesus loved kids, and I'm sure that he played with them, but this is not the image of Jesus in the Bible. Let's look at a few images that we see of Jesus in the Bible.

Jesus was a teacher.
When you look at the person of Jesus and what he did for most of the time in the Gospels, you see a teacher. There is some scholarly cantor back and forth, but it can be argued that Jesus was some form of rabbi. Rabbis or teachers were the teachers of the Torah, and they spent the majority of their time teaching and conversing about the text.

His 12 disciples were his primary students. They literally followed him around and he taught them how to teach his message.

Jesus definitely had a message and a new way of understanding the Scriptures. People followed him all over the countryside to hear his teachings. They couldn’t get enough of his teachings.

This is one of the images of Jesus.

Jesus was a revolutionary.

Jesus would have been considered a revolutionary. Just not in the way that we often think of revolutionaries. Jesus taught his disciples how to be a different type of revolutionary. What do I mean?

Now at the time of Jesus there was a group of people called zealots. These guys said that God would protect and provide for them if they rebelled against the Romans. So they constantly were waging war against the establishment. They committed violent acts against Roman guards and any person who collaborated with their rule.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was the Jewish aristocracy, an elite minority who were placed in power by the Romans, they tried to do everything in their power to keep the Romans happy. Now these people were very anti-Zealots and helped the Romans out in whatever way they could. This small group of people actually included the Jewish priests and their community-known as the Sadducees.

Now Jesus came to the forefront of the political debate. He called the Jewish leaders out and said that they were wrong for the way that they gave into the Romans. While he stood up against the Sadducees, he was not like the Zealots. He said that the establishment was corrupt and evil. Through subversive teachings he led his followers in ways that would undermine the way of life that was status quo in the first century.

So Jesus was a revolutionary.

Jesus was crucified because he stood up for the marginalized:

As Jesus stood to those in power and he angered them, so they killed him.. They hung him on a cross between two men who were political subversives. His execution replaced the execution of a Jewish insurgent who had actually lead a rebellion. Why?

He stood up for the people who were in bondage. He told the Sadducees and the Chief Priests that they were blind dogs and that he was proclaiming a new kingdom. When you are in power and hear somebody saying that they are coming with a new kingdom, you get a bit nervous. Now when that person begins to raise support, when people begin to follow him, you begin to think of ways to end this problem, which is what they did.

Jesus was preaching in the temple and he began to call the Temple authorities out for the way that they were running the temple. He condemned them and the people who were being oppressed must have heard the marvelous news anxiously. Somebody was standing up for them against the people that were oppressing them.

So they killed him, on a cross. Because he stood up for the marginalized, they killed him.

This is the image of Jesus in the Bible. He was a real person who stood up for real issues and dealt with the same stuff people we stand up for today. This is why Jesus playing basketball seems to fall short.

Get to know the Jesus in the Bible, not the Jesus playing basketball.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Core Values

These are the core values that I put into my teachings. In everything that I teach, preach, promote, believe, and push for in the church have these 7 core values behind them. So here they are.

Hope-I believe, as Christians we should be the most hopeful group of people in the world. We follow the Life and Teachings of the one who said that he was the hope of the world. How can we be anyway else?

Love-Love is the core of the Trinity. Jesus became man because of Love. He said the core of the Torah (the Way) is, loving God and loving your neighbor. Loving God and loving our neighbors is the way we should order our lives.

Peace-At the core of the Bible is the concept of peace. In Hebrew the word is Shalom. Shalom means more than just a lack of war, but it means wholeness and oneness (with God, neighbors, and the world around us)

Purity-We are called to be pure. Sanctified. Set Apart. Jesus says, “be holy as I am holy.” As Christians we have for thousands of years that we can pure lives, that the Spirit can work in our lives and we can be pure.

Freedom-Sin at its core leads to bondage. It binds a person in its webs, literally creating slaves. Christians believe that Jesus, through his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, is victorious over sin and death. By his stripes we are saved.

Unity-The church is one body. The Jesus says a body that is divided against itself cannot stand. We are one, instead of finding the endless ways we can divide ourselves; the church needs to be about finding the ways that we are one.

Mercy-Jesus talks endlessly in the Gospel accounts of being merciful and generous in the way that we live our lives. It is of the utmost importance that as Christians we live our lives with a sense of the mercy that God has shown to us, and how we have been blessed and in turn show the same mercy towards others.

These are my 7 core values. I understand that my brief definitions of each are but the tip of the iceberg and we could spend years talking, twisting, turning, and reflecting upon their full meanings.

May your lives be consumed with Hope, Love, Peace, Purity, Freedom, Unity, and Mercy.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A rant about the Lions...

The times are changing...I am engaged. I am moving to Kentucky. And I'm thinking about switching my loyalities from the Detroit Lions to the Chicago Bears. Now to me this is a serious thing. I have never done something like this. I have never rejected one of the teams that I have grown up with, so it's hard for me. I have many fond memories of watching the Lions (many of them involve Barry Sanders) so it's a struggle for me to break with my past.

My main problem comes with the owners the Ford family. I honestly think that they may be the worst owners in the NFL. Not only do they hire Matt Millin, but before good only Matt, they never allowed the team to make decisions. The problem with the Lions is not the fact that they are horrible, but because they have an owner that doesn't know how to own a team. At least good ole Jerry down in Dallas hires competent people.

I remember the Lions as far back as the 1991 season, that year the Lions defeated the Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs. Then got smashed in the next round by the Washington Redskins. But still they were a playoff team. Had a Hall of Fame running back. They featured an All Pro return man in Mel Grey. So they were an exciting team to watch.

Since 1991, they have 0 playoff wins. They didn't provide for their Hall of Fame running back (who by the way carried the team for like 10 years with out a good q uarterback) and he just retired. Who could blame him, the best they could do was Scott Mitchel? They wasted a draft pick on Andre Ware?

OK let's get on the draft picks. Charles Rogers (bust), Mike Williams (bust)-there's still hope but I'm not holding my breath, Joey Harrington (not a bust, but they never had a good line and he became shell shocked from getting hit on 3-step drops), the above mentioned Andre Ware. I mean even I know that if you want to build a team, don't use three consecutive picks on guys with the same position. But then again it took them three times to get a guy who sometimes makes good plays. It's like they're not even coached when they get to the NFL.

Coaching! Need I say more. Wayne Founts? I mean what's he doing now? Bobby Ross? Now Bobby did a good job, just he didn't have the guts to open up the offense. Gary Mueller? He's an old Michigan boy, so I don't want to diss him, but come on he was Bo's assistant, that's about it. Now Mariucci, I thought he'd be a good coach, but I guess he was a small minded jerk. But maybe that's ok, but his teams always looked like they'd just woke up and had watched TV all week.

TV. This is something that drives me crazy, every year they are horrible, and I'm forced to watch these guys bumble around for like 2 1/2 hours a Sunday afternoon. My dad watches them and nobody else. It's not like they're not talented enough. Because one week they'll progress in one area, and the next week digress in two different areas. What's funny is that when the announcers and commentators talk about bad teams, they're talk about Arizona but they never talk about Detroit. It's like they know there is nothing outside of a work from God that will fix the problem and they jsut ignore it.

So it is for these reasons that I am considering dumping the Detroit Lions as my NFL team. If you have any comments or objections let me know.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

seek forgiveness

Last week I watched from my living room the final moments of the vile dictator of Iraq. This man murdered many hundreds and thousands of people in his reign of terror. His deeds are nothing less than condemnable. It was a justice, when his evil reign was ended and it is justice that he be punished for what he has done wrong. But…will that ever heal the pain.

Last week I heard that Michael Jordan and his wife were getting a divorce, and she claimed that he had been unfaithful to her. Everybody would agree that justice for Mrs. Jordan would be millions of dollars. But…will that ever heal the pain.

We have all felt the pain when somebody has harmed us. And we wanted to get even. But…will that ever heal the pain?

Yes, justice is fair. Yes, we have the right to justice. But justice will never heal our pain. Seeing Sadaam executed will never heal the pain that evil has done to the people of Iraq. Justice will never make Mrs. Jordan feel better again. And getting even with a person who has wronged you will never heal your pain.

Justice never makes the world a better place. Only forgiveness does.

The message of the Bible is not “seek justice!” Instead it’s “seek forgiveness.” The Bible is the story of God forgiving man of their sin. God could have chosen to seek justice for our sins, but instead what did he do? He personally paid the penalty himself for the sins of humanity. Now He calls us to follow his lead. God puts the premium on forgiving your enemy and loving your neighbor, not pursuing justice.

How are you seeking justice instead of seeking forgiveness? Take sometime and ask yourself this question. Then if you really want to seek forgiveness, take the first step.

And may God bless you for following his lead.

Peace be with you.