Saturday, December 5, 2009

climbing trees

i don't think christians have enough fun. our fear of God, and our fasting, solitude, and "humility" preclude the possibility of delight and celebration being worship.

our distorted worldview causes us to think - i realize not always, but quite often - that if it's fun it must be irresponsible, or a poor stewardship of time.

this isn't the Father's heart. my God's never been boring.

the phrase "pure fun" has too long been used to refer to playing board games in a church basement on a saturday night while not eating too much junk food because that could rot your teeth.

when my dad gives me a present his greatest delight is to see me enjoy it.

my dad isn't perfect but i believe that he fathers because he's made in the image of the Father and His characteristics shine through in him even though they may be dim sometimes.

if my imperfect father delights in my delight doesn't that mean something for my heavenly Father?

God gives us life and everything past that. solomon writes in ecclesiastes about a man who is given everything he wants by God but never enjoys it. this - he says - is meaningless. (ecclesiastes 6.2)

christians believe God gave us life, and God gave us creation. he wasn't creating an army of slaves, but a creation he wanted to adopt as children. jesus' coming accomplished our adoption and now our hope is for jesus' return.

God created children to enjoy their enjoyment and delight in their delight.

colin gunton writes that every action we take either impedes or anticipates the perfection of all things.

the christian life is meant to anticipate and live the kingdom of God now.

the kingdom of God isn't heaven - heaven's a temporary place and will fade away with this earth - and in God's kingdom we won't spend eternity singing and dancing, we'll live lives similar to now, but perfect, and equal. always joyful, always peaceful, no hurt, no pain or sadness.

our worship is bringing and anticipating this kingdom now.

if joy and enjoyment are in the kingdom of God doesn't that mean we anticipate the kingdom when we enjoy - when we have fun? isn't worship bringing a smile to God's face? doing what delights our Father?

this creation isn't a throw-away piece to God, treating it well is good, so is enjoying it.

we need to have worship services climbing trees and jumping fences.

our God, our Father delights in our enjoyment of the creation and life he's given us. He loves food-fights - "isn't that wasteful? what about kid's in africa?"

a) it'll be moldy when it gets to them.
b) what were jesus words to judas when he condemned the sinner for pouring a year's wages on jesus' feet? "this is a beautiful offering."

a food fight can be an offering to God, he doesn't condemn food fights, nor should we.

there will be nothing boring in eternity, and i don't think there will be many serious faces.

i wrote this really roughly and i probably didn't articulate it as well as i could have with more work, but i need to write this for myself to worship more in my delight.

please, upon reading this if you're near a body of water jump in it; if you're near a muddy pit, roll in it; and if you have a cake in your fridge eat it with your hands. blast soulja boy and dance - ignore the bad lyrics and don't be a pharisee.

if i've said anything potentially offensive or theologically incorrect get the principle behind the precept: enjoy life as your worship to God, don't be condemning or a pharisee.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

ontological crisis perhaps?

i question things a lot, i think it's one of my best gifts - but it's can also be a curse.

i have a lot of questions:

who am i? what am i supposed to be doing? where am i supposed to be?

am i in the exact right place at the right moment right now? or should i be writing my homiletics assignment due two days ago? should i be living in dundas? am i giving every free moment to time with God and serving the really needy? does God want me to love and give my time only to those i like - like i'm doing lately?

i don't think i'm successful yet. i'm certainly gifted and brilliant (this is honest, not proud). but i'm not using my gifts and critical thinking skills for what i would call radical abandoned service.

also, i'm being trained to be a church pastor. i get to read lots of nice books, and hear lots of nice speakers. i don't know if it's really meaningful at all. yes knowledge is good, and it can help me. but everything that's happening will one person be changed permanently - that really needs to be changed? or will a bunch of nice christians get some nice knowledge that makes them feel better about their complacent, meaningless existence that seems to be aimed towards receiving more meaningless dvds and fun times with friends?

i don't think i'm angry, and i don't think i'm too harsh. last night i saw the i-heart movie. it was nice, i got to watch a bunch of christians travel around africa and quote people that changed the world. i don't know what the goal was. all i saw was christian tourism on a big screen providing christian entertainment. what's the purpose of all this?

why the big crowds? why big shows? i think God enjoys them - i hope he does. i think there's some purpose. i know Jesus addressed big crowds. but he spoke to those who had ears to hear. not the hard-hearted.

peter also addressed big crowds, and so did philip...and those crowds were changed. but were they ready? i think they were ready to listen and to hear what they needed to hear.

i know we're called to make disciples - but for some reason we don't have the humility to spend all our time with 4-5 people whose lives we could change if we poured in to them. why? i think the honest answer is because no one will see how good a christian we are.

i don't know if i can attend anymore of those meetings and keep my sanity. and more than that, i don't know if i can speak at those meetings. consumer christianity is very meaningless. we're trying to feel better about our meaningless and useless lives by hearing a speaker preach something 'encouraging'. i think we'd be more encouraged if we served wholeheartedly for God.

i'm speaking as someone that doesn't do that. i know when i do - even for a moment - serve selflessly i'm changed.

i can't live in a nice suburban neighborhood and love practically the people i like to be around anymore. and i can't make my aspiration to be a leader in a cute church with nice coloured walls that puts on a good show for useless believers. yes i said useless, and i hope we're all offended.

we need to ask: what is this accomplishing? why are we meeting? is this making a difference? why am i doing this?

if the answer is "to make us feel good" i think it's useless. we don't need more placebo church experiences. i'm so tired of cute prophetic words of encouragement sunday mornings. if paul came to the church today i don't think he'd say "good music, great powerpoint presentation, and good exegesis" i think he'd say "what about them outside here?"

i don't know if i'm right, and don't take me too seriously because i'm venting. i know i'm challenged right now and i'm tired of services and christians encouraging each other with affirming words that say "you're alright, you're good". we're not good right now if we're spending all our time going to church. i don't think any christian can call themselves a christ-follower if all their free time is in a church building. i want to use expletives right now. don't get me wrong i love jesus, but i don't love the state of my life and anyone's life who is similar to me. i think i live too happy of a life with too much chaff.

i know i don't suffer to help people enough. don't worry i'm in the process of changing this.

Monday, September 28, 2009


why do i look for recognition?
why do i love more when i think there's a higher chance it will be noticed?

Saturday, September 5, 2009


recently when i've been praying and journaling about suffering and love.

i hear too frequently people leaving relationships that become difficult, or that have the potential to hurt them. yes, there are times to leave relationships - if they're abusive, or leading you in to a bad lifestyle - but otherwise i don't believe it's right to leave.

the worldly view is "get out before i get hurt" but i don't think it's biblical to apply that in our relationships. if Jesus left relationships before they hurt Him i would not have a relationship with Him.

Jesus didn't avoid pain in relationships, he didn't protect himself or stay guarded. he withdrew to pray, but never held back or distanced himself.

we're called to love as Jesus loved. this means loving without protective barriers, loving not from a distance, but right there in close relationship, and enduring ungratefulness and rejection without complaining. you will be hurt, and you will hurt, that's part of being broken, and living in post-fall culture. Jesus did it all, let's stop making excuses, i do it all the time. i love the people i enjoy, and even when i'm helping with youth i love on the people i like to love.

i need to, and we need to love people that will inevitably hurt us with the full knowledge this will happen - Jesus did it (look at Him loving peter and judas) - this is part of our calling. it's vulnerable, it's crappy, it's hard, and goes against everything we feel inside.

right now it's trendy to say things like "love the hard to love" or "love the least of these", it even sounds romantic (romantic as in cool and classy not "let's date") to talk about loving through pain and hurt, but it's not fun, and it's not something easy to do. Jesus prayed that the same love the Father had for Him would be in us, and i think we'll need that if we're gonna get even close to living it out. i need to pray for that. i need that love to help me. i can't even love the like-able ones without God.

i'm rambling on now, but i think it was mother theresa that said "love until it hurts, then love some more." she was just echoing Jesus, but i think she makes a good point.

gonna leave it there. love.

Friday, September 4, 2009

some thoughts on extremes and tensions

here are a few things i've been thinking about, i'm not finished this blog, and i'm not finished thinking and praying about my thoughts. i'm just trying to reconcile some different views, and i feel like it's important not to become too opinionated and argumentative. being 'strongly opinionated' too frequently produces an angry person separated from God by their anger. and that's not cool.

i myself am just bouncing ideas around in my head, i'm not even sure where i'm headed with these thoughts.

first thought i have:
neighborhood church
i like the local church, i like being a part of a neighborhood community, and having my church in that community. it's really significant. going 40 minutes to church seems kind of silly...look who's talking here.

second thought:
big church/house church
i hear a lot of debates and conversations about big churches with big sound and big lights. either people are saying they wish they had that at their church, or they are arguing against it. (the argument usually sounds like "we should be giving that money to the poor!", i think that's just a cover-up and that they may just enjoy being critical) people arguing against big churches, and satellite churches prefer the home-church and meet in basement style meetings with mellow acoustic or even taize style worship. that's cool, and yes, that's the way the first church used to meet, but they also had big worship meetings, and peter, phillip and all those dudes also frequented meetings with a few thousand worshipers. when Jesus came in to the city people had all kinds of expensive oils, waved palm branches and made a big scene. i think lights and sound can be very similar in the worship gathering to waving palm branches and pouring out expensive oils. yes these meetings weren't as frequent as the house-church meetings but i think they're still important in one's worship lifestyle.

third thought
leadership: education vs ordinary pastor/elder?
peter and john are referred to as 'idiots' by roman leaders, but they speak with the power of God, often we make potential leaders go through years of school, but these fishermen, and many other leaders in the early church were selected based on their willingness to serve. on the flipside, a lot of people (myself even at one point) look at this and rebel against the system and try to avoid education saying "i don't need an education to serve God". they're right, they don't, but my thought on this subject is that if you have a capacity (mental, or financial) to get an education God can use that even more. paul was a great choice on God's part, because he had a solid hebrew education and that enabled him to write the epistles with such a strong voice.

fourth thought
we either go super confrontational and in your face (which is sometimes necessary) or we love in to relationship and give space. let's not ignore the Spirit's role, and let's realize that different people have different needs. it's dangerous when we give too much space, or are too open-ended, and it's just as dangerous to be in-your-face making noise, and not listening to God about the person's needs.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

cheap jokes

its not too often that i feel like writing anything close to a rant, and i don't really appreciate the emotions behind ranting - i don't think they're wholesome. emotional build-ups frequently lead to rash decisions, and bad choices, but i'm gonna go on for a bit:

tonight a movie came on while we were with a bunch of people - and a girl that i now really admire had the boldness to question if it was something healthy, and wholesome to watch.

the movie had a young guy selling expensive drugs to all his friends, and the main punchline of the jokes were the ridiculous, and outrageous side effects and symptoms that the kids experienced when they took the drugs.

this isn't funny - people high and on drugs, relying on an external substance to fix inner problems, taking up crutches, isn't funny.

similarly out of a bad place of neediness too often jokes come out - cheap jokes - that cost nothing less than a few words, and a bad mind come out. jokes about sex, jokes about 'your mom', jokes about any kind of sin, or depravity - pedophilia - are not funny. they are cheap, costless and destroy our minds.

i challenge you to pick jokes without any guilt attached, it takes a lot of work, and it takes a lot of conviction - and i mess up, i'll go cheap sometimes, but convict me, catch me.

cheap grace happens when we don't give our whole lives to jesus. he says follow me - leave you're dead behind, follow me.

similarly cheap jokes happen when we try and hold on to a worldly tongue. get rid of it. rebuke it, break it off, whatever. we're called to holiness, nothing less.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

my heart

i'm gonna tell you my heart right now:

i have no idea why i follow my Father 
i have no idea why my Father loves me

yes i am well aware of the theology, and scriptures behind the Father's love. and i'm not having a crisis of faith - the problem is that i can't help but believe. 

i know my history with my Father, and i know the whole story of my testimony - deliverance from paralyzing fear, and crippling insecurity. i've tasted and seen, i've experienced joy and peace beyond measure - experiences that can't be called anything but supernatural.

why have i been given this faith? why have i been given the heart to call on Him in every trial? why am i forced - yes forced! - to cry out, scream and worship Him in all my circumstances? why was i given this heart to see Him exalted? sometimes i want an ignorant life Father! 

today i resonate with the cries of king David who lamented psalm 88 crying out "are your miracles only in the darkness, do you show your wonders to the dead? you Lord have put me in the lowest pit, and yet day and night i lift my hands to you, i exalt your name - but you do not answer. have you rejected Your servant? Father? do you hide Your face from me?"

David wasn't having a crisis of faith, he didn't have bad theology, and he wasn't a depressed man.

i'm scared because God wants us all to have a heart like David - that says "i want nothing less than the Kingdom of God now. justice to all, and holiness in all." and this is foreign to the world - our (Father's) wisdom being called foolishness.

we are called fools by our families, and friends, we are aliens in our homes. the world rejects His servants. 

and so reconciling my thoughts, what scares me is that i have a life ahead of me experiencing that kind of oppression and rejection - even among those who love Jesus. it's not something i'm excited about, and its not something i would turn away from - but i don't eagerly anticipate my suffering, or my rejection. 

i pray for peace, knowing it will come, and i draw strength knowing it's there. and i acknowledge i need saving, every minute. every second i need my Father's grace - not because i'm a sinner, not because i'm evil, but because without His Spirit i am both of those things. 

i have no idea what i wrote above here. thanks.