Search

How to Love

Called to love like Christ. Learning the "how."

On Beatitudes

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:1-11 (NRSV) Continue reading “On Beatitudes”

On Conviction

24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

-John 10:24-30 (NRSV)

What strikes me about this story today is asking Jesus to “tell us plainly.”  One of the biggest challenges of faith as it matures is listening.  The more adult decision making we humans start to do, the more we seem to wish for a “_____ for Dummies” book for just about every situation.  As Christians, we’re told to look to Jesus for these answers, but he speaks so cryptically sometimes, it’s frustrating.  Okay, we Your sheep “hear [your] voice,” but what exactly are You saying?  Am I doing the right thing?  Are you the real deal?  WHY NOT JUST TELL US PLAINLY?  Continue reading “On Conviction”

On Spiritual Diversity

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.”  -1 Corinthians 12:1-11

The rest of this text in Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth outlines some examples of spiritual gifts that people are created with.  I love spiritual gifts- but I have a problem with the way many Christians handle them.  All too often, I see this passage iterated as THE set of spiritual gifts God chose from to put in our personality toolboxes when God was creating us.

I’m of the inclination that this is entirely wrong.    Continue reading “On Spiritual Diversity”

On Magi

In this season of epiphany, we celebrate the wise men visiting Jesus and his parents bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  It’s a fairly well-known subset of the Christmas story, and it adds an important touch of sparkle to the bland context of a carpenter family in a barn with animals and shepherds.

The identity of the 3 kings of orient can be reinterpreted in many ways relatable to different audiences reading the story.  Historically, we know they were gentile priests who had high status and substantial money but were not affiliated in any official capacity with Israel or the Roman Empire.

This is fascinating to me. Continue reading “On Magi”

On Hope, via Christmas

Here’s the thing about Christmas: it’s hopeful.  When the materialism and stress is stripped away, that’s why people love it.

I think the thing that’s really really special about Christmas is that we have this Jesus who’s born and as a small baby we know how significant He’s gonna be.  We already know that He’s gonna be our God and our Savior and everything after Him is going to be completely different.  In other words, the potential energy in this baby born on Christmas morning (never mind the historical date, in this case it’s not where the significance lies) is huge and you know exactly how it’ll be realized.

The thing is, if we were to hear this story at the time that it happened, nothing about it says that.   Continue reading “On Hope, via Christmas”

Who is wise and understanding?

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.  But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth.  Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.  For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.  
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from?  Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?  You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder.  And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts.  You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures…  Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. 

Genuineness.  Genuity (?). I think it was high school when I discovered how important I think being genuine is to character.  I have very high expectations of my own real-ness, and I get frustrated with ingenuity in-genuineness (so confused about this word thing) in other people.  The author of James discusses genuineness (starting to hate this word) through the concept of wisdom specifically.  How do we measure wisdom and understanding?  Rather than give us a Mary Poppins-esque tape measure, he asks, “who is wise and understanding among you?”  I don’t think this is a rhetorical device.  He may be truly asking us to look to these people and think of why it means so much to feel understood.  We know which friends, which mentors, which peers are authentic.  When we run to someone in our support systems for guidance or just a shoulder to cry on, it’s not because we’ve methodically compared tell-tale signs of realness (notice I’m avoiding the g-word now) and decided that person is the best rationally; it’s a feeling.  When passion and love shine from the inside out, it’s obvious. Continue reading “Who is wise and understanding?”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑