I am bothered by … toxic, cheap charity that never really helps the oppressed. I am bothered by … a painfully natural church representing an untamed and supernatural God. I am bothered by … trivial answers to complex problems. I am bothered by … shallow christianity that never leads to true discipleship. I am bothered by … having to choose between charismatic excess or play-it-safe spiritual dryness. I am bothered by … politicians hijacking the words of Jesus. I am bothered by … christian belief that never translates into christian experience.
By request, this is an excerpt I read from my journal last weekend. Read it like I wrote it, unedited. Everybody has their native sin – something that seems to be part of who they are. Add to that a culture of self-worship, sliding standards, and personal happiness as the ultimate pursuit and we have a perfect recipe for cultural […]
I’m not quite sure how it happened, but we have (at least) seven children. Recently, my three-year-old daughter wanted a piece of the action with one of the big-kid games called Connect Four. It was the end of a long day and I really didn’t feel like teaching her to play the game, so I tried to let her win as quickly as possible. When she refused to cooperate I took matters into my own hands, and strategically connected four of my own chips. Game over. “Oh no, Daddy. The game’s not over till we fill up the whole thing.” Reluctantly, I submitted, as we dropped a chip in every single square. What felt like an hour later, her face lit up as she looked into my eyes and said, “Now that was a good game, Daddy!” How exactly was that a good game? “Because I was with you.” My heart melted. The purpose of the game was to be with daddy. Yeah, that really was a good game. The way you know if something is good is if it fulfills its intended purpose. That’s why I don’t get angry with my tennis shoes when they don’t drive nails into the wall. That’s why gay internet phenom Antoine Dodson still eats Chick-fil-A. (Youtube it.) And that’s why my little girl was thrilled to play the longest game of Connect Four in human history. So how do you know if a human is good? […]
It’s the morning after the Chick-fil-A drama and I’m still chewing. I remember the day I was sitting next to an incredibly nice gay guy, enjoying a really good conversation when he dropped the ultimate conversation-killer. “What do you do for a living?” I hate that question. I hate that question because people can’t help but size you up when […]
Christians have to get better at communication. We are sense-making creatures, and in the absence of good communication we connect the dots for ourselves. The problem is, ever since the Fall we humans have been pitiful dot-connectors. So communicate. It saddens me to think about relationships that never start because Christian guys don’t choose to communicate their intentions. Or marriages that stagnate because couples stop talking. Or friendships that dissolve because relational misdemeanors become felonies in the absence of communication. Or spiritual orphans who remain Fatherless because no one has enough guts to communicate the gospel. If you’re not going to tell them, people are going to connect the dots for themselves. And that could get ugly. Because dot-connecting is meant to be done in community. So communicate. In Proverbs 27:5 Solomon said, “open rebuke is better than love concealed.” At least we know where we stand. I’ll try to put a few handles on this communication challenge in the message this weekend.
I was speaking with a young couple on the verge of getting married and the subject of my marriage came up. The more I talked about the marriage I have experienced – and the wife I enjoy – the more grateful I became. My final assessment was, I am so blessed it’s crazy. As I walked away from the conversation I began to think about how rose-colored my glasses seemed to be in that moment. Was I really being honest? Was I setting this couple up for disillusionment when they don’t feel that reality I described? God knows how many difficult seasons these 17 years of marriage have endured . Some of that has been basic life tribulation. Much of that has been my sin. A microscopic amount has been my wife’s sin. 🙂 During many seasons of difficulty I’ve not been so positive. So why was I walking away from this conversation with such joy?
Toxic Charity, Robert Lupton Communicating for a Change, Andy Stanley Grace-Based Parenting, Tim Kimmel The Street Children of Brazil, Sarah De Carvalho The City of God, Saint Augustine Reverse Innovation, Indra K. Nooyi Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton Click here to read other reading list