faith

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popsicle stick theology


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popsicle stick art

My gaze has been encaptured by a piece of artwork across the room.

I’ve decided to call it Popsicle sticks & glitter.

I’m not sure what it depicts. If the artist were here I’d ask her, although I’m not even sure she would know as she is very young, lets call her Emily.

If I were to get this piece appraised I’d be laughed at, it pales in comparison to the great artists who’ve gone before Emily. It would appear to have no value, yet Emily’s parents have proudly displayed it on the fridge for all to see.

They delight in it.

They delight in it because they delight in their daughter, in her attempts to create, the effort & time put into it.

 

I wonder if theology is like art, if God delights in our heart, in our efforts, in our wrestling… even though our attempts must look pitiful.

Theology. Art. It’s all just popsicle sticks and glitter *.

 

 

 

*with the exception that Emily doesn’t wave her art work around telling everyone that it’s the only way to make art & if you don’t make art exactly like her you can’t hang out 🙂

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light


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If church is something we are, what might that look like? Let’s take a brief tour from the beginning…

IMG_3459creating…

IMG_3473

earth, light, trees, man…

IMG_3474

lions…

IMG_3480woman…

IMG_3488Woman!

IMG_3495humankind in the image of God…

IMG_3501shiny temptation!

 

fast-forward in the story.

IMG_3502

God chose a couple…

IMG_3506and said he would make them into a great nation, whose decendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky…

IMG_3509they would be blessed, and be a blessing to all the world…

IMG_3512they would look after the poor,

IMG_3513the refuges,

IMG_3516and the widows…

IMG_3521they would worship God and be a light to the other nations.

 

more fast-forwarding…

IMG_3524Boom! a savior expected, arrives in an unexpected way…

he gathers a raggity group of followers.

IMG_3528 Not only does Jesus die for our salvation but shows us what salvation looks like, lived.

IMG_3532Jesus taught about Following & Love & Lordship & Salvation &  Kingdom & Gospel & Light…

IMG_3533leaving his followers with the Holy Spirit, he says GO… into all the world.

IMG_3542And if we step back & take it all in we see Image, Blessed to Bless, caring for the Poor, the Refugee, the Widow, Loving the Least, true Worship, Gospel, Salvation,

we see Love,

we see Light.

 

This is the people of God.

This is following Jesus.

This is Church.

 

This is explosive…

 

IMG_3545IMG_3547

 

 

 

 

 

but we like to compress…

 

IMG_3549

IMG_3555

we like to put things in boxes…

IMG_3556

and if Christ says don’t hide your light under a bowl…

IMG_3561how well does it shine under a box?

IMG_3563

or…

IMG_3568a box-shaped building.

 

If your light only shines in a service, who even sees it?

 

Where does your Light shine?

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church


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Whether we acknowledge it or write it off as nit-picky semantics, Church Service = Church is something that’s crept into our culture, just look at our language…

are you going to church? I’ll meet you at church. Lunch will be after church. Where do you go to church?

Even the signs outside our buildings proclaim the same, “Lets do church together”, “Come to church this Sunday…”, “All are welcome to join us for church”.

people of godpeople of god2

Church is somewhere we go to, something we’re in, some place we’re at, something we do…

but what if church is something we are?

people of god3

adventures, Uncategorized

’tis the season to be getting


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Money-Box-Package-e1350515549776

“what do you want for Christmas?”

nothing.

 

nothing? Yep, there is nothing I want… how strange.

 

But alas it takes no more than a quick visit to the mall or peruse through the Christmas mailers to fill my head with wants, ’tis the season to be giving getting after all.

Their is not much giving anymore.

If we’re not getting for ourselves we’re getting for others so that we may in return get. Or sometimes it’s a simpler transaction, just an exchange of cash, “go buy what you want”.

 

We give poorly, my mum is in Cambodia on a short missions trip with her school, so much of what was donated was junk, easier to donate than take it to the dump.

Even in our charity we keep the best for ourselves

So it’s on this rainy summers day I find myself with the time to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while, to help resist that consumerist-christmas urge, to downsize, to give.

 

 

WP_000742I pulled out all the clothes I hadn’t worn in the last couple of weeks and proceeded to sort & bag most.

Aware that we often give our leftovers, unwanted & junk, I chose to show no bias to those sentimental favorites…

I said sad goodbyes to C-web & MJ college jerseys, football favorites and items put aside deemed too special to wear.

 

 

Sometime after 25 T’s, 15 tops/jeans, jerseys, shorts, shoes and hats… I lost count. My goal was to give away 75%, I think I came close to that.

WP_000743

17  bags later & it was off to various clothing bins & stores.

I didn’t do this to earn brownie-points with God or because I believe in some sort of cosmic karma, to earn kudos from friends or show you what a good person I am…

it’s the opposite, I’m not.

It’s because I so easily give in to the impulsive buy, the want it-need it-latest greatest and must have. This is my way of trying to resist that.

It’s because I believe in a God that has given so we may give… not so I can continue to get.

This is my confession, while others have suffered without, I have lived in abundance.

What I want for Christmas…

                                                        is to give.

 

 

 

blogosphere, Uncategorized

dark night of the soul


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When your faith has no room for doubt, then you are just left with—religion

 

The following is a excerpt from a post entitled “Why it’s good to doubt God”, it can be found in full here.

 

Sometimes things happen in our lives—it may be one big catastrophe or a line of smaller things that pile up—and you start having a lot of doubts. At first, when you have those disruptive thoughts, you try to push them to the side, hoping they’ll just go away, before God notices.

They don’t and he doesn’t.

So you feel your faith in God slipping away—and it is unsettling, disorienting, and frightening to watch that happen. You doubt that God cares, that he is listening; you doubt that he is even aware of who you are—that he even exists.

In such a state of doubt about God, you feel like there is clearly something very wrong with you.

“Maybe I’m not smart enough. Maybe I’m a faker. Maybe I haven’t memorized enough Bible verses. Maybe I need to go to church more often.”

Whatever it is, you’re doing something wrong. It’s all your fault.

And so we do the only thing we have been taught to do. We do everything in our power to get out of that state of doubt as quickly as we can. For some, if doubt persists, they live lives of quiet desperation, ashamed or afraid to speak up. Others simply walk away from their faith.

Surely, doubt is the enemy of faith, right?

To have faith means you don’t doubt, right?

Doubt is a spiritually destructive force that tears you away from God, right?

Wrong.

 

There is a benefit of doubt.

Doubt can do things spiritually that nothing else can do.

Sometimes we think of our faith as a castle—safe, comfortable, familiar. But what if God doesn’t want us to be comfortable and safe? What if comfortable and safe keep God at a distance?

Doubt tears down the castle walls to force us on a journey.

Doubting God is painful and frightening because we think we are leaving God behind, but we are only leaving behind the idea of God we like to surround ourselves with—the small God, the God we control, the God who agrees with us.

Doubt forces us to look at who we think God is.

If we’re honest, we all think we’ve God figured out pretty well. We read the Bible and maybe memorize some of it. We go to church a lot. Maybe even lead Bible studies or something.

We’re doing great, and God must certainly be impressed.

It is so very easy to slip into this idea that we have arrived—that we really think we’ve got all the answers and that we almost possess God.

We know what church he goes to, what Bible translation he reads, we know how he votes, we know what movies he watches and books he reads. We know the kinds of people he approves of.

God happens to like all the things we like. We feel like we can speak for God very easily.

All Christians who take their faith seriously sooner or later get caught up in that problem. We begin to think that God really is what we happen to think he is.

God is the face in the mirror…

 

You can read more from Peter Enns here.

 

There is a God we want and there is a God who is. They are not the same God… the turning point of our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.

– Patrick Morley

 

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