“God is with us in our horror, our terror, our violence, and our suffering. God refuses to add to the evil and violence, but instead responds with vulnerable, compassionate love. That’s how God wins.” –Marcus Borg “How to win” seems to dominate our attention be it sports, business, war, politics, an argument, or just in general the game of life. We all want to be happy, successful, secure, significant, competent, in control, and affirmed. These are not bad in and of themselves but when “winning” these becomes our emotional program for happiness, we are headed for trouble. The cross
Two weeks before Lent, I began thinking and praying about what I was to “give up” for this holy season of preparation for Easter. Chocolate and other favorite foods (full of calories) came to mind! I’ve done without these delicious delicacies during other Lent seasons, I felt like it didn’t really seem to fit for this year. I typically don’t talk about what Christ has invited me to “give up” during this time, but it’s a fascinating time to talk to the children who have been in my care through the years. Chocolate, TV time, electronic games, completing chores
This past Sunday was the fourth week of the Lenten journey. One of the readings was from Psalm 32. Consider these words from David… Psalm 32:1–2 (ESV) 1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. This man knows about forgiveness. This man knows about mercy. He knows that true happiness is possible for the one who has been forgiven…much. In a grief recovery group we cover the topic of forgiveness. We discuss how forgiveness
Henri Nouwen writes these words in A Cry for Mercy, "Every day I see again that only you can teach me to pray, only you can set my heart at rest, only you can let me dwell in your presence. No book, no idea, no concept or theory will ever bring me close to you unless you yourself are the one who lets these instruments become the way to you. But Lord, let me at least remain open to your initiative; let me wait patiently and attentively for that hour when you will come and break through all the
I (Jim) am reading Jonathan Edwards on Beauty during Lent. Yes, Lent is historically a time when Christians face their need for the cross of Christ as we prepare for Easter week. We give up things in order to feel our compulsions. I’m all for that. But I’m going at things differently this year based on my dad’s words to me when I was a kid–if you want to see if a stick is crooked put it beside a straight one.
Have you noticed the danger inherent in the phrase, “falling in love?” I like the love part, but not the “falling” part. I’ve taken some really bad spills as a kid and as an adult. Winding up bloody and bruised is no fun. Couldn’t there be a better term than “falling” to symbolize the beauty and excitement of romantic love? The answer is ‘no’. Falling is exactly the imagery needed for this transcendent experience. Why? Because the mystery of love requires losing our balance. It requires relinquishing control. It demands the vulnerability opening our soul to another.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the day begins the 40 day Season of Lent. All Christians do not follow the Christian calendar and the various seasons because it is not found in the New Testament. But all Christians do realize the importance of reflecting on the 40 days of the temptation of Jesus. That is the focus of this season in the Christian calendar. And it is a necessary focus. We need to remember how Jesus was tempted. We need to remember how we are tempted. We need to remember His faithfulness to His Father. We need to remember our unfaithfulness. All of this prepares us