Tuesday, March 19, 2013


"I just can't convince myself to believe in God."

I hear this all the time from young people.  Why are they so stuck?  Why do they feel the need to convince themselves?  How do they propose to do it?  And if God is real, what's the point?

When Jesus asked his disciples to come and follow, they had little knowledge of what they were stepping into.  They didn't know that they were following God.  They didn't feel they needed to convince themselves of anything much more than, "Hmm, this should be interesting, let's go check it out."

Why don't kids feel that freedom today.  Where is the "gospel confidence"?   By this I mean, have they heard that the gospel is attractive, that it's good, that it makes sense of the world and us, and that it is apparent to those who are tired, weary and down-trodden.  They wear themselves out trying to believe in something and they don't even know what it is!

Have they heard that the gospel is about hope?  Have they heard that it's not about joining a club or a clique?  Have they heard that it's not just another self-help program?  Have they heard that it's actually real?

A friend of mine used to say that the gospel is headline news everyday, the headline news that "JESUS IS ALIVE!"  I hope that I can step away from my own posturing and mind-games long enough to consider this news.

We all need to consider this reality.  This reality that Jesus is alive changes the game.  If it's true, everything changes.  Explore it.  Search it out.  Live it.  And hope in it.  I believe this is the Christian mandate - whatever mandate means.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Monster

I just read an email/article on "Telling Better Stories with Our Lives."  I shouldn't do stuff like this to myself on Mondays.  It's masochistic.

When and if I get out of bed on Monday mornings, I don't typically see the bright side of anything.  It's got to be hard on my family, but I try to grunt myself to the pantry, grab some cereal and hide behind my bowl and allow the sound of my crunching echo out all the eager or not so eager noises of my 4 and  6 year olds.

Sometimes Melissa, who I'm suspecting really is from a really distant planet, will venture into my inner life with financial questions, plans for the week, reminders, etc.  She's pretty daring, but she's learning that these sorts of quests she takes are doomed.  Totally doomed.

That's why I'm a little befuddled by the article I had handed to me by a friend as I entered the office.  Can't a Monday under-achiever have a little peace without being reminded by (OK I'll name him) Donald Miller telling him that he needs to be living a better life?!  That living a better life could effect the lives of thousands who are waiting for him to step up to the plate, swing and become the super-star that the needy world needs to today.  On Mondays I'd rather bunt and pray I get to first.

It doesn't help that we have 5 day work weeks here in America.  I know there are places where the most that's expected of a male is to squat in place and tell hunting stories and doodle in the sand until the women ask him to move.  That may be where I belong, at least on Mondays.

Walking into work I was greeted by the security guard with a cheery salute and the innocent question, "How's it going?"  I put on my best manic smile and gave my standard bare faced lie, "GREAT!"  I wonder if said greeter ever suspects that an individual could be experiencing that much greatness that many days in a row.

And then I get here and read this article and depression begins to set in.  "Welcome back" the article seems to say.  "Welcome back to a week of guilt, with generous slabs of "you should be doing something meaningful with your life" and a side of pressure from great author who used to not take himself so seriously.    

But all of this kind of leads me nowhere.  Especially on a Monday.  God does good and even great things through people just like me - monday monsters who see the gray in everything.  People who just can't seem to find the right pants.  I did find the right pants today, so I guess my week is off to a better than normal start.

I need a savior today as with every-day, it's the only way through.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Re-imagining Jesus

It's been a while since I last posted anything.  I've sort of been overwhelmed with thoughts.  So much so that I haven't have the clarity to put any down in a post.  Forgive me whoever you might be, as I feel I have much to share, and we are after-all in this life thing together.

In my current state I'm reminded of something my Aunt caught my Uncle saying to himself, in his deep country/southern accent, as he was walking through the house, "So many thoughts running through my head."

I really dig that.  But I am grateful that a lot of the thoughts I have running through my head these days are positive ones.  I am a cynic with a propensity towards melancholy, so it's a weird joy to be having thoughts of gratitude, encouragement and hope running through my head.

And I believe that my current state has much to do with my parents, wife and friends praying for me.  Prayer does change things.

In fact I've been pondering how the author of Hebrews describes Jesus continually praying for us before the father.  I'm often suspicious of Jesus.  I often see him with blond hair, effeminate gestures and the pompous philosopher style of someone that was too good for this world.  It's been bred into me by all the artistic renderings we have of him here in the west.

But I believe those artists must have been demon-possessed.  Jesus is all-together earthy.  He is all-together for the empty and down-trodden.  And I believe he is someone, that if I met face to face today, I would not want to let go.  I'd be inviting him over to have dinner, see the kids, meet Melissa, and he'd probably be treating us all to our new favorite frozen yoghurt place for desert.

I believe his thoughts on life would be challenging but not judgmental.  I believe that they'd be fueled by a real playfulness and joy that would make chasing his thoughts attractive.  I believe that his thoughts would create in me more thankfulness, more joy, more hope and I believe I would be undone by his kindness and earthiness.  I also believe he would do a lot of listening, the kind of active listening that shows when someone really cares.

After all, in Jesus God became small and insignificant.  He became one of us.  He ate with us, played with us, challenged us, healed us and ultimately invited us to live a full life.

I take myself way too seriously with "So many thoughts running through my head."  And I think Jesus would encourage me to slow down, fill me with new thoughts and help me relearn how to think about this thing we call life.  And I imagine he'd  be good with jokes.  So good indeed he'd have me snickering snot all over the place.

Perhaps that would be the most profound thing Jesus would bring.  His humor.  That's why I think he would like the painting above.