10Q10Q -- faith, life, rethinking church, following Jesus...stuff

Come join in the discussion of faith at the Koinonia Page where scripture and life intersect in conversation and exploration. Visit on Facebook, Twitter, and Dave's Web Page too! I'd welcome your company at Palmyra First United Methodist Church, where I hang out, too, come and see!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Go Big (with a) Big God

Good News!  Jesus is alive and no one believed it.  Don't believe me?  Check out Luke 24.  Empty tombs and angels didn't convince the women or the men.  It took conversation, community and connection with Jesus.

It's good news that no one believed at first, because that means I'm not unusually slow.  It means that there is hope for us all.  It drives home the point that God's love is bigger than expected.

Everybody came with too tiny expectations.  God came with Big Plans.  I'm challenged to Go Big with a Big God.  That's Easter for me.  It's all the stuff we usually talk about and so much more.  How will you Go big with a big God today?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday Video

      Good Friday is hard to explain and understand for many.  Here is a video to offer images instead of words. Good Friday in Video Images 

  • What is meaningful to you about Good Friday?  
  • What is perplexing or difficult?
Some other Links:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Uncertainty and Holy Thursday

It's Holy Thursday, I'm reflecting on John chapter 8 and this day, just because I happen to be reading through the Gospel of John right now, and two challenges come to my attention:

  1. To follow, pay attention to, what God has to say.
  2. To lovingly identify things that are not God-stuff, Love-stuff, so that they don't define my path.
I got here noticing these verses and their relationship to one another:
  • “If any of you have never sinned, then go ahead and throw the first stone at her!” John 8:7
  • “I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark”  John 8:12
  • "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32
  • "God’s children listen to God’s words."  John 8:47
And by noticing with how I yearn to throw stones.  Stones like "I'm right" and "you're wrong."  Stones of apathy and safety in the face of injustice.  Stones chiseled from my fears and brokenness.

I want to speak like Jesus to the Pharisees and say "I say just what the father has taught me" (vs.28c), when at least as often, if not more,  I need to hear Jesus speaking to me just like he spoke to the Pharisees.

This begs the question, "How do I know when I'm speaking Jesus stuff, God's Word, and how do I know when it's just the stones I long to throw, my own words?"  In short the answer is, it's not easy to know.  The starting place is prayer, study, community and relationship.

I struggle with this question especially living in divisive times where people in all quarters do battle for ideological supremacy with gleeful harshness.   I don't like the way Jesus was attacked.  I don't like how I see people within and beyond the church treat each other at times.  

Yet, didn't Jesus and the Pharisees look at the same scripture coming away with differing interpretations?  And didn't Jesus challenge them with loving boldness?    It's not new, but how do I pay attention to God, to truth, to light, to Love? How do I know when I'm speaking God-stuff with love?

I have some tools I use:
  • I pondered the Wesleyan Quadrilateral as a tool from my tribe to help me sort this out.  This does help me in the relationship and study.  But it doesn't prevent my prejudice.  It's a filter not guarantor of love.
  • I considered my study tools, commentaries, bibles, articles and books.  They too help, acknowledging they are sometimes in part mirror on my preferences, and in part a window on truth.
  • I thought and think often of my covenant community as a touchstone of accuracy.  Yet I know being in covenant doesn't always mean agreement.  And my tribe may not always be right, even though we seek the Light.
So here's where I've landed, as I watch the drama of Holy Thursday unfold. I definitely don't want to be the guy that betrays truth, light and love.  And I don't want to get in line to join the opposition that will crucify Love.  So for me it comes down to choosing and speaking with gracious love.  A love that encircles to include, rather than a love that circles-up to exclude.  A love that encircles with respect, conversation and a shared journey.

I'm talking about gracious love like that woman, in the opening story of John 8, experienced.  She was guilty of adultery.  This was not disputed.  It was legal and socially appropriate to stone her to death.  This was not in question.  Yet grace, restoration and hope were added by Jesus.  I can't help but notice and want to emulate that.

I'm talking about owning my place in the community's conversations about things like state's rights, gay marriage and gun control.  I'm seeking to put grace, restoration and hope there too.  Right now for me that means I think state's rights and federal power will always be in tension; that being gay is not wrong, immoral or against what the bible teaches;  that guns have a place with our second amendment, but love and care have a larger place that requires thoughtful limits and accountability.  And in my place giving thanks for grace that has brought me this far and even greater grace that continues to grow and refine me.

I'm talking about people who think differently that do I.  I want you to know loud and clear that I love you.  You keep me sharp.  You are God's children.  We need one another.  When you tick me off I will need your grace and love, as well as God's.
I'm talking about acknowledging that we all think our own beliefs are correct, or we wouldn't believe them.  And with that nod to reality, trusting that in conversation and community we can, with the Light Who Walks With Us, work together.  We can honor and respect one another.  We must hold holy and civil conversations.  And God is plenty big to handle it all.

That's how I'm leaning into my two Holy Week challenges.  What are the invitations and challenges of the day for you?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beyond Discouragement... Me... I Believe...

     I found myself a bit discouraged and spent some prayer and reflective time seeking to understand and adjust my path. What was revealed, or that I discovered (depending on your theological preference), was that I was not being true to who God had made me to be, who I truly am. In that insight and gift I jotted down what "I believe" as a marker of who I am. It's a work in progress...

  •  I believe in Living Love (God & Neighbor… like Jesus)
  • I believe God’s bottom line is Love not judgment.
  • I believe the Holy Spirit convicts, God judges and it’s my job to love.  I will claim loving and allow you to respond to your part.
  • I believe the Church is the Body of Christ (it’s about community).  I’ll be my part of the Body, and I’ll gladly help you with prayer, encouragement , &  equipment to be yours.
  • I believe we each are responsible for our gifts &  calling, and that together we’re responsible to be the Church…Loving & serving… great command & commission together.
  • I believe rest & play are part of God’s design & calling.  Less than that is brokenness, sin, & simply doesn't work very well.
  •   I believe Love is more powerful than any strategic plan & more attractive too.  I also believe that a gracious goal is good.
  • I believe that if I can’t speak with love I should pray until I can and so that I can…neither avoidance or aggression is loving.
  • I believe that if what I do isn't good news to outsiders and those hurting, I’m missing something vital.
  • I believe faith’s design is simple… Live Love.  We complicate it with fear, and I know that perfect love casts out fear.
  • I believe the bible is powerful—I take it very seriously.  I believe it is most powerful & true when I take it seriously & not literally.
  • I believe love & creativity have been the hallmarks of the Church in health, and that fear & control have been evident when we struggle.
  • I believe we owe the world no apology for Jesus’ Love and a big apology when we fail to live that love convincingly.
  • I believe God is big enough for us to love God & one another, even when we define the details differently.
  • I believe God loves everyone, no exceptions.
  • I believe I’m still growing and will express my faith differently tomorrow from how I have today.  That’s growth, not uncertainty!
  • I believe I’m as screwy and broken as the next person and always need God’s help, forgiveness & grace.  I need others as co-journeyers and co-adventurers in this faith expedition.
  • I believe that someone won’t like what I believe and that’s OK.  I’d love to hear your beliefs and talk over coffee.  If, however, you want to complain about my beliefs or attack them or me, please see your therapist first, not me! ;-)
  • You see I believe God made me, God loves me and God cares for me.  I believe that God has called me, the Church has confirmed that call and the Spirit is shaping me.  I believe I’m forgiven even when I don’t feel that way.
     In short, I believe in living love. It is in this place I focus, I grow and I trust God.  
     How about you?