Blogs and Tesseracts

I have been wading in the blog world for almost six months now. Most days this is a little like plunging my feet in scented water for a spa pedicure. I emerge refreshed. Sometimes it’s more like one of those tubs on the sidewalks in Cambodia, the ones with the fish that will nibble the dead skin off your feet for one dollar and, as the signs claim, “Make You Funny.” I get my chuckle for the day. But some days it’s like a shark tank.

That’s because of the tension.

There are the bloggers with a serious case of the lovelies, the ones who showcase their children and their homes and their parties. Who saturate the heck out of their photographs and pour on the charm. Who don’t mean to, but who make me feel inadequate and unshiny.

Then there are the writers who feel it is their God-given right to strip the very skin off their words and serve them raw. The ones who beat their chests and rail at everything that’s wrong with the world. Sometimes they jolt me awake to things I needed to hear. But sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I cannot find a redeeming purpose in these tirades.

I read, and a tug of war commences in my head. But blogs did not invent this tension. They simply reflect a fact of life.

As a follower of Jesus, I’ve swung from military-like obedience to free-falling grace. Read more →

Our sin and the glory of Christ’s sacrifice

I have been a church kid all my life. I am never sure whether that is an  advantage or a handicap when it comes to actually being a Christian. By Christian, I mean a follower of Jesus Christ. What I don’t mean by Christian is a member of a church or a very religious person. My church experience (pre-Blueprint that is), while giving me some solid foundational truths from the pulpit, was most often an odd mix of a little doctrine, some moral pleas, and a lot of outright legalism. At times in my Christian walk, this made it difficult to find Jesus among the religious “stuff.” Like most Americans who grow up in church, I pretty easily gravitated to trying my best and hoping God was pleased with me. Of course I was always frustrated, because I never could “effort” my way out of sin or feel good enough to be loved by God.  I will leave it to others to say why so many of us fall into that trap. For now, I would like to talk about my journey to escape it. Read more →

Hide No More

A few weeks ago, at Church in the Park, Muche delivered a powerfully compassionate message using Jesus’ dealings with the woman at the well to point us towards Christ in our quests for satisfaction. At one point, as he continually repeated Jesus’ words—”Go get your husband!”— to this Samaritan, I held back tears. I’ve never been married, or had a boyfriend for that matter, but I could imagine the emotions stirring within her. Earlier, Muche had captured the essence of the shame she must have carried with her by drawing attention to the time of day she’d come to the well and noting that she’d made that trip alone. She’d seemingly avoided all the disapproving stares of those who were aware of her five failed marriages and her current relationship, just to end up face-to-face with the son of God. Great. It’s one thing for people to kinda know your business; it’s another thing for someone to know every single one of your thoughts. Hiding no longer makes sense. Read more →

Deciding with others

You fall into one of three categories. You’re either preparing to make one.  You’re living in light of the consequences of one that you’ve made.  Or you’re rethinking one that you were convinced of at some point in time.  What am I talking about?  Decisions.  Major decisions.  Life-Shaping Decisions. Read more →

Between Slavery and Freedom

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23)

Titles are usually helpful, but sometimes titles can be misleading. For example, Iceland is really quite green and Greenland is really quite icy.  The titles of these places mess with our expectations. Sometimes holiday titles can have the same effect, like “Independence Day.”  I’m as much a patriot as the next guy; however, on this Independence Day, I don’t want to reflect on our independence—at least in the way that we typically think of independence.  Independence Day is really meant to celebrate something more than our “liberty,” because none of us have or will ever experience true independence. Instead, we live in the tension between slavery and freedom. Read more →