Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’

Faith in 4 Seconds

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

This is how many of us want our faith life ….

Quick.  4 seconds.  Let me get back in the race.

This propensity struck me at a recent camp.  Sitting there in front of teens, it is ever so easy to speak to the possibility without sacrifice, to speak to “5 easy steps” to achieve this, that, or the other thing.   I am a sucker for that stuff!   It is the “health and wealth gospel” that has slid into much formal religion.   Give the gas, a new set of tires, and set them screaming back into the race.

But that is not the Gospel.

The Gospel asks time and patient investment.  It does not yield easy answers but instead authors slow transformation.  Things then “grow.”  They don’t “appear.”  There is not a “screaming off to…”  There is a measured “settling into….”  It draws from “peace” and never “frenzy.”

Not an easy message for adults or teens in this culture!

So what did I tell the teens?   With a smile, I told them, that like me, they were spoiled and lazy.  I told them that like me, as the famous saying, they were born on third base and wanted praise for hitting a triple.  And I told them they could make a difference in the world.  It will just take more than 4 seconds.

“Peace must be dared”

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

In 1934, Deitrich Bonhoeffer speaking at a ecumenical conference in Fano Denmark wrote, “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture, and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to mistrust, and this mistrust in turn brings forth war. To look for guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.”

Inspirational words.  And they come from a deep, weakened space – a man who saw his beloved Germany and his beloved Church being co-opted to serve the machinations of Hitler and the Nazi state.

As we look at Bonhoeffer’s legacy in our current series “Church vs. Hate” I am reminded of how delicate and how strong the Gospel message is.  Like Christ, it does allow itself to be get “nailed to the cross”, to suffer abuse, to suffer humiliation at the hands of the lower instincts of our humanity.  And yet at the same time there is hope, a strength, and even a daring within Christ’s message that defy those very instincts that appear to destroy it.

So lets dare.

Joy Beyond Understanding

Friday, August 20th, 2010

The goal of faith, in a certain sense, is joy, hence the Gospel or “Good News.”  Good news does bring us joy.  That bringing of joy however occurs in a different way then we might expect.

When we sit with those in pain, we occupy a sacred place.  Part of that sacredness in my experience has been that in that silent place lies seeds of joy.

As one author noted, we live straddling the line of detachment and attachment.  Christianity is about attachment.  From a New Church perspective that means connecting with God by connecting down to the even mundane tasks before us.  In a sense then everything becomes sacramental.  Talk about attachment!  That being said, there must be a balance – living by one truth at the expense of more sophisticated, mature, rounded view is dangerous stuff.  Detachment brings about balance, allowing for a more rounded view to evolve.  How could we ever make a stand in our life without in a sense learning both the mystery of attachment and the mystery of detachment?

Sitting with those in pain demands that attachment and detachment.  The pulling in and the pushing out – the breath – all part of the dance.  Anger is met with remorse.  Saddness met with joy.  Despair with grace.

That is why joy is beyond understanding.  It is the richness of depth – of joy – that evolves from those who have walked that path.  Their joy is thick and tempered, buried in a deep loam rich with the smell of earth.