In the midst of many things…

what a busy week. To be honest, I am struggling with my devotional time. I’m going to make a supreme effort to make it the first task in the morning.

Currently Listening-Derek Webb’s “She Must and Shall Go Free”, his treatise on the church. It is a wonderful and challenging album to listen to.

A few thoughts and statements from Brennan Manning…

Isaiah 49:15

15 Can a woman forget her nursing child?
Will she have no compassion on the child from her womb?
Although mothers may forget,
I will not forget you.
16 I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
Your walls are always in my presence.

“no act goes unnoticed , no matter how insignificant or small. A cup of cold water is enough to put tears in the eys of god. Like the proud mother who is thrilled to receive a boquet of wilted dandelions from her child, so God celebrates our feeble expressions of gratitude” (Foster, as quoted in Manning 72).

Reading these words, I am reminded of Philipians 1:18. Paul tells the church at Philippi, that as long as Christ is proclaimed, that Paul is satisfied. This is a difficult teaching, especially as we consider the number of ways and mouths that the Gospel is proclaimed through. That God would be even remotely satisfied by our humble offerings is a wonderful concept. David Crowder touches this concept in his “A Conversation” track on his “A Collision”. The track itself is a fake interview setup with the goal of Crowder giving his purpose in his ministry. On the of the album itsef, is a symbol of an atom. He states in the mock interview that an atom does not really look like that, the symbol of the atom is just that, it is used to symbolize our concept of an atom. He goes on to state that what we do in “worship”, the tools we use (guitars, drums, pianos, etc), are merely symbolic as well. Because we are not truly holy, our worship, our offerings are mere symbols, stand-ins, weak impersonations of what eternity will look like. A mere glimpse of “true” truth. Yet, God allows that symbolism, our weak and poor attempts, to show Him honor and glory.

“What seems most obvious is seldom what’s really true” (Manning 79).

Derek Webb again-“What is Not Love” from the Album “I See Things Upside Down”

“what looks like failure is success
what looks like poverty is riches
when what is truth looks more like a lie
it looks like you’re killing me, but you’re saving my life

but I give myself to what looks like love
and I sell myself for for looks like love
and I pay to get what is not love
and all just because I see things upside down

and what looks like weakness can do anything
and what looks like foolishness is understanding
when what is powerful has not come to fight
it looks like you’re goin to war
but you lay down your life

but I give myself to what looks like love
and I sell myself for for looks like love
and I pay to get what is not love
and all just because I see things upside down

what looks like torture is a time to rejoice
what sounds like thunder is a comforting voice
when what is beautiful looks broken and crushes
and I say I don’t know you
but you say it’s finished”

Lastly, from Manning, page 83- “How I treat my brothers and sisters every day, whether they be Caucasion, African, Asian, or Latino; how I react to the burnout on the street; how I respond to interruptions from people i don’t like; how I deal with ordinary people in their ordinary unbelief on an ordinary day speaks the truth of who I am more clearly than the pro-life or anitwar sticker on the bumper of my car.”

Is that not God’s truth? This speaks to the purpose of this blog. It’s intent is to introduce you, the reader, to the people that God has used to formulate my theology. These words challenge me, because I do not meet their standards everyday in my walk. I know just the person that I am called to be in Christ. I know His demand to take up my cross daily and to bear it. this blog is my forum to introduce a little light into the darkness. The real light. Not the light as filtered through our western-American-sub-cultural lenses. But Real Light. Light that, when turned on, reveals the roaches, reveals the scars. Because only when we are properly illuminated, can we see what is realy going on, where we really hurt and ache.

In 1 John, chapter 3, John speaks to this treatment of our brothers. His setup is that if we are not righteous, we are not of God. John writes that if we “practice” sin, if we are given over to it, if it is our lifestyle, that we canot be of God. And then, at the end of verse 10, he writes that if we do not love our brother, we are not of God. Even though he uses the example of Cain and Abel, he is not only referring to fellow Christians; John is referring to Cain as a child of the devil, or the worldly, and sets up Abel as a child of God, which is those who claim the cross. If we do not love the ones in the world, if we do not love our brothers and sisters, we cannot be “in God”. The example set for us is Christ-Romans 5:8 tells us that “while we were yet sinners, He died for us”. We should not wait for people to “get saved” before we love them. Before we respect them. Before we hold them high regard. We are called to love as we have been loved. To forgive as we have been forgiven (Matthew 18:21-35).

“The command of Jesus to love each other is never limited by the nationality, status, ethnic background, sexual preference, or inherent lovability of the other” (Manning 87).

We should be stung by that gospel, because, while it has saved us, we do not honor it. Our treatment of those others bears us out. The Jesus fish sticker on our car is hardly evidence of our faith, but our treatment of the poor, and the dregs of society shows our lack of understanding.

1 john 3:17-But whoever has the livlihood of the world and sees that his brother has need and shuts up his affections from him, how does the love of God abide in Him?

If we are not cautious, if we are not obedient to God, the great sin of ommission, knowing what to do, and not doing it, will do us in. Remove the obligation and love and forgive because we are loved and forgiven.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “In the midst of many things…

  1. Meredith

    Good thoughts. God definitely doesn’t care about our Christian T-shirts and bumper stickers.

  2. Good thoughts. God definitely doesn’t care about our Christian T-shirts and bumper stickers.

  3. answer-man

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