Patience…the ‘Holy Grail’

11 06 2012

The fruit of patience

I have always prided myself as a patient person.  When asked what some of my strengths are as a person, I almost always think of patience first.  I’m more of a laid-back individual, and for the most part am able to ‘go with the flow.’

Yet two things have made me realize that I’m not as patient of a person as I think I am and that I am a part of a society and culture that needs immediate gratification, immediate results, and immediate fulfillment.  This is what we have become isn’t it?  With social media, 24 hour news, fast food, among thousands of other conveniences that we have been given, immediate results and response to our questions and needs are expected…demanded really because if our needs are not met in a timely fashion then, well…just think about the last time that your patience ran out when your food took too long, or you didn’t get the news that you wanted at the soonest possible time, or you had to wait in the doctor’s office for an hour and a half or two.

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Does God have a sense of humor or what?

30 05 2012

So, yesterday I wrote a long post about how perhaps the K.I.S.S. method isn’t the best way to go and we shouldn’t be worried about embracing complexity, mystery, and complicated questions as Christians when dealing with God.  I still stand by my what I said; however, I was called into question during my devotionals today.

Every morning I read through a daily devotion and right now I am reading through one based off of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s writings.  The title of today’s was: Simplicity of the Good News.  The quote that they centered the devotion around was out of Bonhoeffer’s book, The Cost of Discipleship:

“It will always be true that the wisest course for the disciple is always to abide solely by the word of God in all simplicity.”

Haha! 🙂 Pretty funny, right?!  I do admit that we human beings have no problem over complicating just about anything and everything and simplifying things can be very beneficial to our lives and our faith.  I suppose there is good and bad about both.  We shouldn’t try to over-simplify our faith and God.  At the same time we shouldn’t get in our own way by overcomplicating matters either.

What do you think, K.I.S.S. or complicate?

KISS It? Naw!!!

29 05 2012

In preparing for Holy Trinity Sunday coming up, I was sadly reminded of a long struggle that we seem to be up against.

For the last couple decades or so, the church as a whole and pastors all over decided that in order to reach more people they had to abide by the K.I.S.S. principle.  Most of you, I’m sure, know what this is: “Keep it simple stupid.”  While not totally PC, it does get the point across and for many aspects of our lives this is a good, simple rule to live by.  We human beings have a way of complicating just about anything, so a little more simplicity in life couldn’t hurt.

Well, leaders in the church as a whole, denominational and non-denominational, decided that this was appropriate and necessary moving forward in the church.  We had lost touch with the people.  We were way over their heads.  We couldn’t connect with them anymore.  We couldn’t expect them to understand the Gospel if they couldn’t understand any of the words coming out of our mouths. (Quick side note: notice all the ‘we’/ ‘they’ language…maybe the problem lies more in that distinction and separation than the words coming out of our mouth, but more on that later)  So out with Perichoresis, out with Prolepsis, out with Soteriology, out with Justification, out with Sanctification. Now, don’t ask me to define all these words 🙂

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Where to start…With Thanksgiving

26 05 2012

Jessica, my spouse, recommended that I read One Thousand Gifts immediately after she finished it.  I am now beginning to understand why.

This is one of those books that you begin to read and you’re like, “Okay, yup, um hmm, I agree with that, sure…” and so on.  Its principle is very simple: be thankful for everything in life because God gave it to you.  Voskamp starts from the perspective that everything in life is a gift from God.  Now this isn’t new or ground breaking, right?  Most of us would admit that we should be thankful for everything from our food, our homes, our relationships, to our very life.

Where she begins to break new ground, or at least bring a new perspective on things for me, is when she admits that those of us who buy into this perception of ‘thanks for all things living’ do it with blanket statements.  We give thanks to God for all things all the time.  Not that we give thanks for all things when they happen or when we think of it.  We literally say, “Thank you God for everything.”  The question is, “Do we mean it?  Do we live it?  Do we emit thanksgiving and praise for everything?”  I think most of us, definitely including myself here, would say, “No.”  I say it because I know I should, because I know it’s the way I should be, but it isn’t how I live my life.  I don’t show my thanks to my family, friends, and certainly not to God for everything that is done for me.  I keep living selfishly for myself, then try to tell myself that what I have received I gained out of my own will and doing.

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Freed for…The three year journey

25 05 2012

So, this blog has been about three years in the making, all of which was work done in my thick skull before letting it seep out and into the public now! Ha!  I tried starting a few years ago with high hopes and aspirations.  I was away on my pastoral internship, was a brand new father to a beautiful boy named Aidan, and I figured I had lots of extra time on my hands to blog.  (I’ll throw another “Ha!”  in here)  Obviously that did not happen, though the thoughts that I wanted to put into words and begin to have conversations with other interested folks did not go away, they simply percolated and formulated, for the better or worse (probably a little of both).

And so, now I find myself almost a year into my first call at a wonderful church in North Dakota, with my wife and my son who is now 2 and half years old, and I have less time now than I had then.  So I said to myself, “Now’s a good time to begin.”  All kidding aside, I look forward to this journey and hope that you all will join in on the discussion.

“What will the discussion be about?” you ask.

Mostly nerdy theological discussion, but hopefully nerdy theological discussion that matters, that moves us, that changes us, that helps us to realize that we are called to something greater than ourselves.  What?!  There is something greater than me, myself, and I?!?!  Yes, Sisters and Brothers it is true 😉  Hard to believe I know…

I hope you all enjoy and that you join in on the conversation.  Oh yeah… if you have a topic, a theological question, a theory, or advice on what to have for dinner that you would like to be addressed here please feel free in the comments or e-mail me.  Most things will be up for discussion, of course if I sense anything that is vindictive, fight-picking, bullying, or something other than constructive life-giving conversation then it will not be up for discussion.

Until next time,

Christ’s peace to you!