Friday, January 25, 2008

What did I forget?

I just listening to a chapel message that my friend/boss/mentor/brother Justin Heth gave on January 14.  It is called "Practice Remembering".

Inspired by the message, I began to turn through some pages in my journal.  Here is an entry from sometime in July 2007, when I was about a month into my time facilitating short-term missions in Juarez, Mexico.

Lord, lead me.
Give me your grace.
Speak to me in truth.
Let me not judge.
God, bless the American Christians
Teach me to love
I want to spit on your children,
I am sorry.  Help me to love the Church.
Lord, I want to denounce the radio and the bookstores.

I want to break the rich.
Instead Lord, may I teach LOVE.
I want to show these young people the poor.
Please Lord, may I show them a new friend instead.
Lord I want comfort and rest.

May Your will be done above all.  May I never grow weary of doing what is good.

Daddy, give me grace.  Send Your Spirit upon us, we who are hard and think we are humble.  We who know so much and yet are blind.  We who claim love and turn people down.  We who sin and then criticize.  We who teach and lack wisdom.

Lord--pour out yourself 
Lord--Bless us with humility
Lord- Do your will
AND please come quickly

Isaiah 1:18 "Come let us reason together"

I am reading David Dark's "The Gospel According to America".  So far I appreciate it greatly.  While there are so many good thoughts in the book that someone should write a book about it, I want to share a section that addresses the preference of we Northern hemisphere believers to only pay attention to those of like opinions.

p. 29 "Ancient wisdom tells us that it's the insane person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject, but somehow popular media culture in America...has reached a fever pitch that views thoughtfulness as weakness and a changed mind as treachery.

"Militant ignorance passes itself off as integrity, and our habits of mind learn to dismiss illuminating fact and testimony with the non-argument of "bias" (whether liberal, conservative, or anti-American)..."

I am often tempted to stick to the few things that I am relatively secure in my knowledge about to truly lend an "ear to hear" to views that aren't my own.  The truth is that God created us to learn form each other, and in a state of dependence on each other and ultimately Him- even for our thought lives.

We cannot be afraid to listen to our brothers or sisters as they describe the other parts of the elephant.  The One True God is way beyond comprehension, and naturally some will perceive Him in ways that eventually will help us to truly know Him.

Homework assignments: 
1. trade your News stations to the "other side" this week (ex.  CNN to FoxNews etc.)  
2. do devotions written from a different strand of the Tradition (ex.  "Book of Common Prayer" instead of "Guideposts" or vv)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Something You Have Heard Before

I found this on's Series about money.  There is more research out there suggesting similar conclusions.  We should tithe out of both obedience and love.  

Tithing Christians Would Meet Global Need
A husband and wife team of researchers, the founders of 
Empty Tomb, Inc., in Champaign, Illinois, have tracked American and American Christian expenditures as well as global needs. John and Sylvia Ronsvalle have estimated that $70-$80 billion a year could meet the most essential human needs around the world. "Projects for clean water and sanitation, prenatal and infant/maternal care, basic education, immunizations, and long-term development efforts are among the activities that could help overcome the poverty conditions that now kill and maim so many children and adults."

The Ronsvalles go on to write: "That figure of $70-$80 billion may sound like anything but good news. God may be generous, you may agree, but has he been that generous? Consider this: If church members in the United States would increase their giving to 10 percent of their income, there could be an additional $94 billion available for overseas missions."

In addition to providing the $80 billion a year needed to eliminate world poverty, tithing Christians would also provide the $7 billion needed to provide primary education for all children, and the $5 billion needed to end the preventable deaths of children under 5.

Craig L. Blomberg, Preaching the Parables (Baker Academic, 2004) p. 51; updated statistics from

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Learning to Dance

A Selection of Dr. King's words from "I Have a Dream" August 28, 1963:

 I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

WE ARE not free.  Yet.  Last week my class stayed at the International Teams guest house in inner-city Lawndale, Chicago.  Our host Mark Soderquist and his friend and fellow churchman Derrick joined us for a discussion about their story.  I cannot tell it well, but basically these two men of faith in our Lord have learned to trust each other and love each other although they did not when they started their relationship nearly twenty years ago.  They have now realized fuller that they are both created in the image of the Holy God, although their skin had different tones of beauty.

Later that week our class had the privilege of invading a sacred gathering of men that have become the Chicago Urban Reconciliation Enterprise (CURE).  They showed us about how being dedicated to spending time with people who are different than you can help you to love and understand them.  They even showed us how that can help to understand Scripture in new ways, bringing a more full understanding of how the Word is alive.

Surely this group is one that believes that the "banks of justice" and "vaults of opportunity" are not empty.

The Lord is saying "Love one another," as He always has.  Dr. King is right when he says that our freedoms are inextricably bound.  "We cannot walk alone"

Mr. Mandela reminds us that freedom requires steady and unrelenting passion, and Dr. King reminds us that we must do it together.  For everyone who is sick of the talk, hates it when they hear a man say "they have gotten what they wanted", and who has yet to feel like they can trust and be trusted by their character alone....keep going.  

 "Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."  To the Glory of God.