My day began with a wonderful reflection on love by my good friend Geoff, wherein he talks about the dangerous tendency for Christians in our day to be very busy about loving their enemies, all the while their relationships within the church and at home are malnourished (or wither and die). You really must read his post: “Loving Your Enemies Does Not Preclude Loving Your Friends”
If Matthew 5:43-48 is your only rubric for Christian love, then you might be tempted (as Geoff points out) to only love your enemies, to the neglect of those closest to you.… Continue Reading
I firmly believe that one of the greatest problems in the church, in our families, and in all of humankind is the lack of communication. I don’t simply mean a lack of speaking. Rather, what I mean by a lack of “communication” is (1) a lack of clear speaking, (2) the lack of persuasive rhetoric, and (3) the pervasiveness of deceptive glory-of-self (denigration-of-another) motivated speech.
Ask my wife; in many ways we reverse the “typical” gender stereotypes, that of the closed off silent man and the always jabbering woman.… Continue Reading
Category mistakes and lack of nuance are fallen humanity’s two highest
virtues vices. This human tendency to “tell like it is” is rampant in theological high towers, partisan Facebook posses, the fourth row of your local church congregation, and in the White House press room. Nobody is safe. Everyone is an extremist.
Enter Cecil (the lion) and Cecile (the human being).
“I looove chocolate!”
One area where lack of nuance is pervasive (and very often destructive as a result) is when we speak about love.… Continue Reading
The Parable of the Toddlers
There once was a 3-year-old and his 1-year-old brother. The eldest experienced the frustration of the younger, whom did not always “get it,” and the elder (quite justifiably) reacted against these frequent injustices. But the provocations went both ways.
The eldest too got on little brother’s nerves. He often responded as many 1-year-old’s do, with fussing and gnashing of teeth. In those teachable moments, the boys’ parents were careful to correct older brother’s provocations, but they were also quick to correct little brother’s whining: “We do not fuss to get what we want,” “That is not how we respond,” or some other variation of the sort.… Continue Reading
There are two ways that we can be affected by the narratives we consume; watching movies/shows, reading books, or talking to and sharing with others.
To see someone struggle with depression, the loss of a loved one, or overcome (or be consumed by) a traumatic life event can be an exercise in processing.
In life, we seem to process events in our own lives with hindsight and can rarely process the present in helpful ways. Other narratives, whether the experience of a friend, a movie, or your favorite book, can help us process life on-the-fly.… Continue Reading
If you are not growing weary from Christendom’s talking past each other on the issue of religious freedom/anti-gay discrimination/a rarely-more-nuanced-middle-ground-description of the brou-ha-ha; if you are not weary then you are a tribalist, controversialist, who gets off on sparing with any comer. How’s that for vitriol? Consider yourself judged by me! I kid, I kid.
Toward the goal of not talking past each other, I want to briefly consider the state of marriage in ‘Merica.
A Celebration of Love, Commitment, Etc etc
When you attend a 2014 wedding in the great US of A, you are most likely to hear, even in the most churchy of church ceremonies, a few blasé reflections on love, a few comical anecdotes about commitment, and maybe even the rare exhortation that “marriage ain’t easy.” The ceremony, often times called a celebration (along with funerals, but that’s another post), is all about the future bride and groom, celebrating their love, kicking off their new digs in style, and generally treating the get together as a slightly-more-formal Super Bowl party.… Continue Reading