Wednesday, December 16, 2009
But during these fifty days the oldest, poorest and most miserable of the citizens put on false beards and red robes and walk about the market-place; being disguised (in my opinion) as Cronos. And the sellers of gifts no less than the purchasers become pale and weary, because of the crowds and the fog, so that any man who came into a Niatirbian city at this season would think some great public calamity had fallen on Niatirb. This fifty days of preparation is called in their barbarian speech the Exmas Rush.
But when the day of the festival comes, then most of the citizens, being exhausted with the Rush, line in bed till noon. But in the evening they eat five times as much super as on other days and, crowning themselves with crowns of paper, they become intoxicated. And on the day after Exmas they are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and reckoning how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine. For wine is so dear among the Niatirbians that a man must swallow the worth of a talent before he is well intoxicated.
Such, then, are their customs about Exmas. But the few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas, which is on the same day as Exmas. And those who keep Crissmas, doing the opposite to the majority of the Niatirbians, rise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast. And in most of the temples they set out images of a fair woman with a new-born Child on her knees and certain animals and shepherds adoring the Child. (The reason of these images is given in a certain sacred story which I know but do not repeat.)
But I myself conversed with a priest in one of these temples and asked him why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas; for it appeared to me inconvenient. But the priest replied, It is not lawful, O Stranger, for us to change the date of Crissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all. For Exmas and the Rush distract the minds even of the few from sacred things. And we indeed are glad that men should make merry at Crissmas; but in Exmas there is no merriment left. And when I asked him why the endured the Rush, he replied, It is, O Stranger, a racket; using (as I suppose) the words of some oracle and speaking unintelligibly to me (for a racket is and instrument which the barbarians use in a game called tennis).
But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper crowns. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honor of a god they do not believe in. And now, enough aabout Niatirb.
The timeless writings of CS Lewis, page 506
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Xmas and Christmas
A lost chapter form Herodotus
And beyond this there lies in the ocean, turned towards the west and north, the island of Niatrirb which Hecataeus indeed declares to be the same size and shape as Sicily, bu it is larger, though in calling it triangular a man would not miss the mark. It is densely inhabited by men who wear clothes not very different from the other barbarians who occupy the north-western parts of Europe though they do not agree with them in language. These islanders, surpassing all the men of whom we know in patience and endurance, use the following customs.
In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound they have a great festival which they call Exmas, and for fifty days they prepare for it in the fashion I shall describe. First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in thier speech is called an Exmas-card. But the picture represents birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred years ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwillint to say what these pictures have to do with the festival, guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. And because all men must send these cards the market-place is filled with the crowd of those buying them, so that there is great labour and weariness.
But having bought as many as they suppose to be sufficient, they return to their houses and find that there are like cards which others have sent to them. And when they find cards from any to whom they have also sent cards, they throw them away and give thanks to the gods that this labour at least is over for another year. But when they find cards from any to whom they have not sent, then they beat their breasts and wail and utter curses against their sender; and, having sufficiently lamented their misfortune, they put on their boots again and go out into the fog and rain and buy a card for him also. And let this account suffice about Exmas-cards.
They also send gifts to one another, suffering the same things about the gifts as about the cards, or even worse. For every citizen has to guess the value of the gift which every friend will send to him so that he may send one of equal value, whether he can afford it or not. And they buy as gifts for one another such things as no man ever bought for himself. For the sellers, understanding the custom, put forth all kinds of trumpery, and whatever, being useless and ridiculous, they have been unable to see throughout the year the now sell as an Exmas gift. And though the Niatirbians profess themselves to lack sufficient necessary things, such as metal, leather, wood and paper, yet an incredible quantity of these things is wasted every year, being made into the gifts.
(to be continued...)
The timeless writings of CS Lewis, page 505
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
~C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This man and his music are worth checking out, if you haven't heard (of) him before. His lyrics may push you, but take the time to examine what he's saying, and how it compares to your Bible. You may be surprised to find that He's giving us more Biblical truth than you favorite cable news network.
A word to my baby-boomer friends: this isn't the Christian music you may be used to, but it will shed some light on where we X'ers and Y'ers are coming from. It became infinitely more clear to me last spring, as I participated in a round of the Truth Project at my church, that there is a huge generational gap in perspective at work within the american church. So many still believe that this is a Christian nation, literally Christian. So so many of us know it isn't. At least not any more. I'm not saying we should pack it in and go into hiding; I'm just saying that our perspective has a huge influence on how we interact with others. If we are coming from the misapprehension that everyone already knows who Jesus is, and that we just need to get this country 'back on track' we're sadly mistaken.
There are so many people right next to us who don't know what our Jesus-lingo means, and the only representative of Christ that they are getting exposed to are defensive talking heads who condemn. Of course we all have sin, and I'm not saying that God's just fine with it. But stop for a moment and consider, if you didn't know what sin is from God's perspective, and someone pointed their finger at you and told you that you're terrible and that you're damned for eternity for being who you are, would you be enticed to listen to anything they want to call 'good news'?
We do everyone a disservice if we think we're all on the same page. Maybe fifty years ago the nation was churched enough to know what all the lingo meant. But we're not in Kansas any more. And America is not the New Jerusalem.
Alejandro R. Garcia-Rivera
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
~C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Monday, November 2, 2009
Like I said, I wasn't sure what exactly to expect at a retreat focusing on the issues involved in women's sexuality and what we could really address in less than 48 hours together. I have been part of two or three Bible studies that attempted to address this topic, and often it took weeks before participants were willing to be honest about their self image, the things that had hurt them, or past experiences. I was surprised at the speed at which the leaders took our topic to the heart of the matter, rapidly creating an atmosphere of trust and even blunt honesty that I wish could happen just as quickly and gently at all women's retreats. I was blown away at the number of women I could think of that I wished could have been there to participate. NOT because I could think of a list of women who were troubled, or needed fixing, but simply women who'd been hurt, or neglected, or believed a cruel word said to them. Women who still experience guilt or shame over some aspect of their body, appearance or femininity.
This retreat wasn't a quick fix. In fact, I left holding onto permission from Christ that I am not some broken woman who needs to be sent off to be fixed--as if there is a one-stop-shop Jiffylube womanhood mechanic that can wipe my memory, lipo my belly, and do my hair and makeup in an afternoon. Sure, there's some tender spots that Jesus and I can work on. Some grace I need to accept. This is something I think so many women need to recognize about themselves.
So, without further ado, I direct you to Kristen's ministry: A Beautiful Mess. Please visit her site, wander around, read her fabulous blog, get your mind spinning.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
So, here are some over due pics of the move to fuller. Enjoy (sorry, many of these were out of focus, I forgot to change my camera to night setting before passing it around, my bad)
Sadly we only managed to take one picture in Vegas. In our defense, Jen and I were very tired.
Getting used to seeing these everywhere. Love it.
Had to go to the beach while the girls were still here.
and maybe just a little of the touristy stuff...
How do you distract yourself when you've moved to a place you don't know and feel overwhelmed with every thing you have to do? Assemble your furniture.
and enjoy the view from your bedroom window
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
There are so many tangents I could take with this. But, I want to focus on two: her comment and my reaction. As I sat silently at the table, I was trying to figure out the best way to respond. I knew in that moment, I could reinforce her statement, or could at least give her another angle to consider; and perhaps that angle would open her up to the possibility that Biblestudy is beneficial to all, including her. But, while I paused, someone else choose to speak for me. I am a bit of an entertainer, and those who know me personally know that I'll often take the path that leads to the laugh. A clinical psychologist could probably have a heyday analyzing my need to make people like me by entertaining them, even at my own expense. And this pattern in my behavior must have been the reason that another friend at the table announced something like "oh here it comes, Nicky's going to loose it". In a split second I was choosing between the thoughts I had been considering (how to encourage this girl to engage God's word) or to react melodramatically, as was expected, and make the situation (hopefully) a joke.
I'd like to say I convinced this girl that there was no such person as a not-a-biblestudy-person. That indeed, she may have been previously invloved in Biblestudies that had dissapointed her in some way; but that must have been a shortcoming of the study itself, the method or the format, or even the theacher, but NOT that she had nothing to gain from small group study. I'd like to say that I did that.
But, I instead allowed my other friend to (in essence) tell me how to react. I didn't actually "loose it" but I did offer some kind of muddled response between what I would've liked to have said, and a response far less gentle.
So this leads me to the two things I'd like us to ponder together, and I really hope that you take a moment to comment, I'd really like to hear your response (especially since I had to post the short version of this, since the full length would have been tooooo long)
What do you think of the question my friend posed at the lunch table? Do you think there are people who just aren't Biblestudy-people? Do you feel that way about yourself? If not, what would you have said?
Have you ever botched an opportunity to do or say the right thing in a loving way, because you were expected to react differently?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Before I left Idaho I would frequently look up and catch sight of an osprey, or from time to time and eagle, and think to myself "here's one way I will miss Idaho. Surely I won't be able to look up and see birds of prey in the sky above LA."
As I became aware of this thought, I started purposefully looking to the sky to see if I might catch a glimpse of something large and majestic in flight. The more I looked, the more I saw. I looked for sentimental or even spiritual significance that could be attached to these sightings, and thought of a few. I cherished each sighting as a treasured parting sight of my home, as an encouragement from God, and as a reminder of promise.
When I drove out of Idaho, I chose to ride the first shift alone (with three of us traveling in 2 vehicles, there was always someone alone) because I was sure I'd probably get a little emotional. I thought about the goodbyes left unsaid, the relationships I've nurtured and the ones I've neglected. I chased the promise that the discomfort of change makes room for the fulfillment of God's bigger plans. And as I drove the lonely stretch between Boise and Mountain Home I saw what I believed would be my last bird of prey.
I've been in California three weeks now. My birds were in Idaho, and I am not, so I stopped looking up.
For a while.
But something caught my eye not too long ago. Just as I was leaving the Santa Monica beach, I looked up, and there it was. The largest bird I had ever seen in flight (I am pretty sure I was a condor, based on the markings. I had to look it up). At first, I thought it was a small plane, but as I continued to stare, it happened: wings flapped, and I knew it was a very large bird, much closer than the distant plane I had taken it for.
Today, as part of a class requirement, I spent about three hours alone with God in silence at a beautiful convent. I spent most of the time just listening, and abiding. And I just happened to look up. Circling the convent as if simply waiting for me to notice, was a golden eagle. It circled a few times overhead and then, making a few large grand passes, it flew away.
I mention all of this only to point out that I had no expectation to see such majestic birds once I was in the middle of such a big, busy city. But my experience continues to defy expectations, and I will remember, and continue to look up.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
~Glen H. Stassen and David P Gushee
Sunday, September 27, 2009
the dreaded loneliness post.
If you were expecting it to be different, you've never done this before. You've never left your whole tribe--left your Haran and gone out 'to the place you will be shown' (see Genesis 11:27-12:1). Perhaps you've never known the feeling of being hundreds of miles away from anyone who's known you for more than a few hours. The catch in your throat as you drive away from just about everything you've invested your life in. The piercing feeling that attacks your heart and your stomach simultaneously as you see your friends drive away to return to the home that isn't exactly yours anymore. It may be possible that you've never had to pep-talk yourself before walking into a new place all alone and hope to God that someone talks to you.
Yeah. Maybe you didn't know it would be this way.
And, I can't say you're the lucky one.
Maybe you did. Maybe you know that living a daring life has costs. Maybe you understand that to live passionately for your God means the choices sometimes hurt a little. Maybe you know. Maybe you know better than I do.
I heard tonight that LA is the second largest city in the country. Although I didn't know this before, it didn't surprise me. I've made the good team effort to deny my impulses to hide in my room, waiting for classes to start. I've accepted the invitations to attend parties where I know no one. To visit homes of strangers. To find comfort in the becoming-familiar faces of people who don't even know my name. And to hear that statistic tonight made me feel even smaller than I already did.
Yes. Every fun and exciting thing I've posted so far has been thoroughly true. I'm not putting on a brave face for anyone back home; and this post proves it. But this rounds out the story, because it would be a lie to tell you anything else. I'm not going to tell you I'm homesick, it's not true. I'm not going to tell you I'm not terribly excited to be here, it's not true (yes, a double negative). I'm telling you that I find it so thrilling to see the sun rising over my palm tree knowing that God put me here, and I still don't really know why.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
-the Target store here has its own parking garage, and a man who patrols said garage on a segue. It has decals of shields and badges, and is meant to look official and intimidating, but the effect somehow isn't.
-the best way to park in Vegas is valet. Anywhere else I've been, the valet is only for people interested in dropping an extra twenty bucks for parking, but Vegas says it isn't so. Pay what you want valet service saves the day!
-Pasadena isn't humid (this I already knew) but it feels humid to a girl from the high desert of Idaho; at least for a few days. But now I've also brought the Idaho heat with me, so today we're expecting a high of 101. ugh.
-feeling confident about the LA freeway system doesn't mean you won't still get tense. Especially when the person in the passenger seat yells as a joke.
-speaking of the freeway, a gps is a lifesaver. But you should still have an idea where you're going. It's not cool when you're navigational brain stops telling you what to do while it's "searching for signal" since the last tunnel you went through. Plus if you miss your exit, you're out of luck for several more exits, as you pass by alternate route after alternate route as it recalculates multiple times.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Just a quick note to let you know I am safe and well. I'm getting things set up in Pasadena, and my space is beginning to feel more like a bedroom than various piles of stuff. I'm looking forward to orientation officially beginning on Tuesday, but am grateful that I have another day to make progress on my apartment. I have successfully assembled a desk, bookcase and dresser by myself--much to the amazement of my roommates. One of my roommates asked what they teach us in Idaho (that would equip me to assemble Ikea furniture unassisted) and I told her that we're issued a tool box in the hospital when we're born---and she believed me for a split second.
Thank you for your continued prayers as I step into this new world. I have had moments of exhaustion, excitement, and even a few tearful moments as I've thought about the wonderful tribe I've had to leave behind. I am so happy to be here, and your support has made it possible.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
10. any incident with a sky-diving Elvis
9. not likely to wind up on a date with Wayne Newton
8. not likely to wake up wed to a perfect stranger
7. will have no need to assemble our brilliant-yet-quirky team of criminal masterminds to do any of the following: steal back our estranged spouse/steal a fortune from multiple casinos/impersonate the celebrities we actually are/or take revenge on an arch enemy.
6. since we will be playing it relatively low-key, there will be no need to identify our remains by our plastic surgery; which is a good thing, since we're all implant-free, and would otherwise remain Jane Doe 1, 2, and 3 in the Vegas morgue.
5. are not likely to wake up with circus animals in our suite, or a mysterious infant.
4. are not likely to sneak down to the roulette table, claiming "I'm just going down the hall for some ice"
3. not going to wind up with a dead hooker in the trunk (ok, I'm not going to include the link to the movie reference here, simply because I disliked the film so much, I didn't bother seeing the whole thing. It makes the list because this is the item that started this top ten list to begin with)
2. not likely to have to disguise ourselves as chorus girls or drag queens to hide from the mob or exact information from an unwilling informant
1. none of us are likely to be found drunk, stumbling and swearing at the roulette table, asking a stranger to blow on the dice that aren't in our hand, while shouting "c'mon, mamma needs a new Bible!"
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. and
1. they put out.
she never uses the phrase "God told me you were going to marry me"
Monday, August 24, 2009
10. you don't have to "court", whatever that means.
9. you know what he's after, regardless of whether or not you're willing to give it to him
8. you actually know when you're on a date
7. strangers in church won't ask you how soon the wedding will be
6. church attendance doesn't count as a date
5. breaking up doesn't include the either of the phrases "the only relationship I should be in right now is with Jesus" or "let's just see what God has in store for us"
4. you don't have to find a new church when it's over
3. he will never compare you to Proverbs 31
2. his list of qualities that he's looking for in a girlfriend doesn't include a willingness/ability to home school his future children
1. well, frankly, non-Christian guys are the ones asking
and honorable mentions go to:
notable absence of the pre-dating breakup: where one person in the friendship feels compelled to organize a DTR (define the relationship) to let the other person down easily, despite the fact that they've never been on a date together.
he thinks the idea of "kissing dating goodbye" is absurd
I was at the movie theater yesterday, and my friend and I were seated in a row where there was a railing in front of us, instead of seats. It's a special row, with pairs of seats spaced apart providing space for wheelchair access, and like every other patron at this theatre, my friend and I had our feet up on the bar. A man walked up--past several empty seats and at least half a dozen other people with their feet up--and stopped at a seat next to our railing told him to move his feet, and then proceeded to sit in the seat near the bar. Although this man did not say please (or even ask for that matter, really, he barked out a command) my friend gently smiled and moved his feet to a lower bar on the railing and further away from the man's seat. After several minutes, the man got up called my friend an a$$hole and moved to a different seat.
I was stunned at the completely random and unprovoked display. Plenty of rhetorical questions abound. Why my friend? Why that seat? But finally, How often do I behave that way? The man was indeed beastly, and I am proud to say that my friend was unruffled by the encounter. It left me wondering how often I exhibit the same attitude. Sadly, more often that is ever warranted.
Not too long ago, I walked into the new Chili's restaurant near my office. It was a busy day, right at lunchtime, and I was meeting friends. I asked if they just seated three gals, who were waiting for one more person (myself) and the multiple, cute little blond hostesses just looked at me in confusion, and then pointed to a very large group to my right. "Do you mean that party of seven?" Um, no. About then I noticed my friends to the back and pointed "oh there they are". Perfectly reasonable exchange, right? Except that as I took a step away "how hard is that?" (or something else totally catty) came flying out of my mouth. I didn't even think the thought before it came shooting out of my mouth. I didn't say it directly to any of them, and so perhaps the din of the busy restaurant kept a few of them from hearing it. But I'm sure at least one of them did. What I said was uncalled for and I have no idea why I said it.
So to those unfortunate witnesses who've seen my Surly Old Lady behavior I officially apologize, and hope that you see her less and less frequently. I'm working on the old bat.
Have you ever encountered your own surly old lady or surly old man?
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Sometimes we need to remember that everyone else isn't a surperflous character in the story of ME. Rather, we have the opportunity to be an excellent supporting character in the story of Them + God.
We also need to recongize the people who are being "excellent supporting characters" in our own lives. Not to make it about us again, but rather to acknowlege that even when it is kinda about us, we aren't in a vaccum. Other people are involved in our lives.
Over and over again, God called his people to erect memorials to events where God interviened for them. He understands the necessity for us to recognize and remember far better than we do.
Who do you need to recognize has having a signifgant impact on your life?
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
So we are left with the decision to take up and bear the cross we are offered, or to let it fall on us and pin us down. We can bear it's weight; wrap our arms around it and embrace what has been designed by the world to kill us. Funny how the very thing God will work redemption through feels like the only thing we don't think we can survive. Well, that might be the point. Some part of us--the awful, hurtful, demon- in-training inside of us--isn't supposed to survive.
So, my dear, have you been broken? Does it hurt like hell? Are you going to hold onto it, stroke it and love it; find your identity in it as it consumes you? Or are you going to let Him heal you? Cause here's something else to chew on: our cross isn't our final destination. Our place of brokenness isn't our final destination. It wasn't His either. He promised to finish what he started.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Here's the song I've had on repeat for weeks now.
And when I listen to it, I just can't wait to GO.
Monday, June 22, 2009
THEOLOGY AND THE ARTS FORMAT
The theology and the arts format is designed to prepare students with a strong background and/or interest in the arts to work as practicing artist/theologians or as those able to navigate the intersection between theology and the arts. The goal is to produce graduates who will be shapers/interpreters of culture and/or theologically grounded artists. Those who wish to pursue work as practicing artists, teachers, workers in related fields, or those intending further study will gain the historical, theological, biblical, and cultural preparation that will enable them to work as practitioners/theologians.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
How often do you hear a narrator, like Harold Crick, over your life story saying "and then God did this..."? How often do you literally wrestle with angles, encounter burning bushes or see Jesus walk through the wall of your living room? Esther's story reads a lot like how we experince daily life. God's hands are all over it, there's no doubt, but the book is devoid of the dramatic biblical devices that we equate with God's involvement yet hardly encounter in our own lives. I think sometimes when we read stories in the Bible recounting the unbelieveable, we do actually find them unbelieveable. Our familiarity with these stories allows us to categorize them with fairy tales we were told as children. It's not that we don't believe God parted the Red Sea, we just don't think that's the same God we encounter today.
Well folks, it is. And Esther's story--a story that happens right in the middle of a whole lot of unbelievable activity--that reminds us that God is present in our life too; even if we can't hear a narrator tell us so.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I recently coined the term "Americanity" in conversation with a friend. I was looking for a term to apply to the faux-christianity that seems so apparent through our culture. Where people call down on a benevolent mystery-god who will take care of them, and reward them in the afterlife for having been a good person. This god is always on your side in a fight, cares that you have a lexus with leather and seat warmers, and doesn't really care if you don't care about the homless, widows or orphans. He is appeased becasuse we put the phrase "In God we trust" on our money, and by our self restraint in traffic, when we don't chase down that jerk who cut us off and beat the living crap out of him--even though he really deserved it. The god of Americanity is faintly aquainted with the God of the Bible, and has little use for the name of Jesus (unless you've hit your thumb with a hammer). But the gospel? Oh my goodness no. To the god of Americanity, the gospel of Christ is devisive and judgmental. It calls people to actually put something else before themselves, and that can't be good, right?
But now I see that I had only half the picture. Americanity is coming into sharper focus. I realize that there are what we might call liberal and conservitives in the religion of Americanity--and the conservatives have published their own version of the Bible! Yes, the christian nation of America is here to save the world; but first we must save ourselves.
This does bother me, I hope you know. I've never been a big supporter of hyper-patriotism/supreme nationalism. I love quite a bit about our country, am grateful for the freedoms I enjoy, and hold the men and women who fought and who died for those freedoms in high regard. They deserve more than respect. But all this still comes in second to my true nationality, as a citizen in the kindom of Christ. If Jesus was concerned about policial supremacy, he really missed his chance 2000 years ago. Bummer.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
All manner of avoidance aside, I still dwell on the persistent thought that I am not good enough to go to seminary. Not smart enough, not talented enough, too uneducated in all things theological; mundane rather than profound. No number of Don Miller's lovely chaper/essays will convince me otherwise, no matter how funny they are read aloud.
So, it's back to plan A. Pray. Trust. Hold on with both hands. Cause either way, I'm not going to make it through this thing alive based on myself alone.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I am sitting in the Library coffeehouse in
Sometimes it is so hard to be succinct.
One of the topics I am attempting to be articulate over is the area of my calling. I am currently in the position of trying to navigate between two areas of life where it seems very evident I have been equipped to serve. On one hand, I have been exploring my giftedness in the realm of teaching bible study. I’ve had the privilege in the last couple of years to teach on several occasions, and to even co-lead a study with another woman (who happens to be a stunning example of Godly womanhood) named Becky.
On the other hand, I have been passionate for some time about the arts, and the role and calling of Christian artists in relation to the seeking world; especially toward fellow artists who may have been burnt by "religious people" in the past. There is a prominent contingency within the arts world (at least as far as I’ve encountered) of artists who have encountered someone claiming to be Christian, yet whodid not seem to embody any Christlike characteristics. Quite often, the encounter left them feeling more judged, abandoned and disenfranchised by the god who supposedly created and loves them. I’ve spoken to many artists who have had an encounter of this sort, and have found that one of the recurring character traits of those who did so much damage is their steadfast resolve to unbendingly stand their ground. They’ve engaged in conversations that quickly turned to debate, and were persistent past the point usfulness.
If truth is actually truth, it will remain truth whether we are stern or gentle about it. The resulting difference is the effect of our words and behavior. In fact, I believe that when we communicate with calm confidence we are far more convincing. Quite frankly, a gospel message that requires us to be rigid jerks in order to make our point isn’t much of a gospel. The Jesus I know is firm and confident, but also filled with love and grace. Jesus isn't a jerk, so there is no need for us to be, either. Yet so many engage the non-believing world in a manner that is so defensive it’s offensive. (I’m not talking about the offensive nature of the Gospel—the truth that pricks against our flesh and offends us simply because it exposes us for what we are. I’m talking about our attempts to proselytize that only alienate those we are trying to endear.) Many many more have been argued away from the Kingdom than argued toward it. Think about it.
So, this begs a question. Do we know the difference between standing our ground with firm conviction in what we know to be Truth, and argumentative behavior that is off-putting? When we are sharing our faith with others, are we standing our ground, stamping our foot, or digging a hole and throwing them in?
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Madeline L'Engle, Walking On Water