Archive for September, 2009

Lately I have found it difficult to pray. Could be that many of us have this similar experience at times. When that happens, I don’t think God suddenly gets worried or that he loses sleep. I think he’s patient. I’m glad for His patience because I certainly have none.

A recent post concerning Rich Mullins caused me to break out my worn copy of Mullins’ The Jesus Record and listen to the beautiful lyrics and music that Mullins composed shortly before his death. In the midst of some whining (my own) that I never quite hear from God as much as some others seem to, the lyrics to one of the songs stood out to me and I heard His voice loudly.

Mullins had a brilliant way of reminding the pilgrim to just pay attention to beauty, to be completely honest with the one from whom we can hide nothing, and to cry and pray and cry and pray until you have nothing left to cry and pray. I lamented to some friends, just last night, that I never thought God could feel so far away. Then, these:

Rich Mullins
You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt
Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread
Did You forget about us after You had flown away
Well I memorized every word You said
Still I’m so scared, I’m holding my breath
While You’re up there just playing hard to get
You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that’s not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then
Did You ever know loneliness
Did You ever know need
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep
And don’t see the blood that’s running in Your sweat
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You’re up there just playing hard to get?
And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained
And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow
All I really need to know
Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can’t see what’s ahead
And we can not get free of what we’ve left behind
I’m reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret
I can’t see how You’re leading me unless You’ve led me here
Where I’m lost enough to let myself be led

And so You’ve been here all along I guess
It’s just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get

(Rich Mullins, Hard to Get, from the Jesus Record, my emphasis)

These lyrics came along at the right time. I’m glad that when I can’t pray my own words, there are the words of others that I can pray. I’m glad when I can’t pray, or won’t, that the Spirit never quits; that Jesus never stops interceding.

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I came across this in my reading time today. I think you will be blessed.

There’s a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, ‘Why on our hearts, and not in them?’ The rabbi answered, ‘Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your hearts, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.’

I’ll spare you the source so that you won’t miss or dismiss the point. Have a nice weekend everyone.

jerry

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[my apologies for the length... the more I read about these asinine objections to reconciliation the more my anger grew!]

I was enjoying some cheese and wanted a little whine to go with it, so I ventured over the Crosstalk blog where the lead headline is “Rick Warren Sponsors Forum with Emergent Heretic“  – accompanied with a picture of Miroslav Volf.  The headline led to an article.  The article led to a  radio broadcast. And of course, the radio program exposed the heretics.

It reminded me of the game called Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon.  It’s a whimsical variation on the “small-world” concept that says all humans are connected by no more than six degrees of separation.  And just to put a fine point on it – I can connect myself to Kevin Bacon in as few as four degrees.

Not to be outdone, Crosstalk appears to be able to connect any disliked Christian to a heretic in much the same manner.  The difference being – connection means guilt.

It goes like this:

Rick Warren sponsors a heretic. The heretic is Miroslav Volf… because he appeared with Tony Jones… at a conference with Jurgen Moltmann… who embraces C. W. F. Hegel.

Imagine my surprise to learn Volf was a heretic because he appeared with Tony Jones, who held a conference with… well you get it – six degrees of GBA.  Problem is – none of these blog connections showed what “doctrines of demons” Volf actaully teaches.  So I listened to the broadcast… until the “caller amen chorus” kicked in. The radio broadcast was hosted by Ingrid Schlueter with Chris Rosebrough as her guest.

Since the radio broadcast was also void of any specifics as to why Miroslav Volf should be considered a heretic who teaches the doctrines of demons (unless of course a hefty dose of GBA is proof enough) I decided to make a few observations of the program itself.

The host began by declaring she does not care about definitions or distinctions when it comes to  Emerging or Emergent.  This, of course, makes things a lot easier – particularly in the game of Six Degrees of GBA.  Ignoring distinctions allows one to paint with a much much much broader brush.  it also relieves one of the necessity to define what individual actually think, say, teach, or belive – just find a heretic and assume they are all unified.

The Guest mocked the Emergent for embracing seemingly contradictory beliefs – he said embracing contradictory concepts sounds crazy.  This made me think of other crazy contradictions like… three persons and one being (the Trinity) or wholly God and wholly man (the incarnation) or free will and… well you get the picture.  This was in the context of Hegel, who (and here I agree with the guest) carried the whole contradiction thing too far.  Yet, in mocking those who embrace contradictions, the guest embraced the hosts disregard for definitions and distinctions.

And of course Warren is guilty of wanting to promote social “reconciliation” and forgiveness between people, but outside of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Why is reconciliation in quotations?

What made me truly angry… What the show, the blog, the host, the guest completely ignored (I’d be surprised of they did enough research to even know) is the context from which Miroslav Volf speaks.  He is a Croatian (a member of the Evangelical Church of Croatia) whose country (and his family itself) suffered greatly in the resent Balkan wars.  He has a very vested and very personal interest in seeing religion used, not to exclude and promote violence, but used to embrace and promote reconciliation. Even if the parties are outside of Jesus Christ.

Forgive the person anecdote -  but it is relevant… several years ago I stood in the Muslim section of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  A village absolutely devastated by the war.  On a mountain overlooking the city stands a very large cross.  Through a translator an elderly Muslim man said to me “They put their guns under the cross and shelled our children.”  The cemeteries in the town are full of graves – have you ever been in a cemetery where all the lives end within a two year span?  Those who shelled Mostar were Serbs and Croats — Christians.  Now of course we understand that they are not truly Christian – but (much like distinctions and ODM’s) that distinction is lost on the Muslims of Mostar.

So until the host or her guest have walked the streets of Mostar (pt. 1) and seen firsthand the devistation and violence done in the name of God and Country (as I have) – or – until such time as they have fled into the night because their neighborhood was being shelled (as Miroslav’s family did) – until such time I invite them both to shut up and quit their bitch’n about someone else who happens to think social “reconciliation” and forgiveness between people even if they are outside of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a good thing.

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In full awareness that some of our readers despise truth when it comes from the mouths of those with whom they find no fellowship, I publish this beautiful paragraph from the pen of Anne Lamott:

[Rahab] did it [hid the Israelites spies under flax on her roof in defiance of the king's orders] because she was desperate, and so she listened to her heart. In my experience, there is a lot to be said for desperation–not exactly a bright side, but something expressed in words for which ‘God’ could be considered an acronym: gifts of desperation. The main gift is a willingness to give up the conviction that you are right, and that God things so, too, and hates the people who are driving you crazy….Something told Rahab that if she aligned herself with the people who had been brought so far by faith, she would be safe as well. This gave her the radical conviction that she should be cared for. Rahab believed that God was trying to get her attention, and she listened.

–Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, 20, 21

Today God got my attention.

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A long-time reader of .Info recently provided us with this gem:

Topic: Yeah, but, what about, you know, Jesus and the Bible and stuff

So I was perusing Challies‘ positive article on Rick Warren, and as I noticed all the ODM wannabes lining up I realized that they all made appeals to what would Luther, Spurgeon or Edwards do.

Anyone missing from that list?

Missing? [puts on his "online discernment ministry" glasses] Nobody I can see…

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Who said this:

I really have no faith in politics…. If I thought you could change human hearts by laws, I would but I don’t.

[FYI: It's not fair to use Google...]

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Why – oh why – do we never learn.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

My prediction: September 22 will arrive on schedule, no worse for the wear.  (Though maybe a woot-off if we’re lucky)

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-Rich Mullins (October 21, 1955 – September 19, 1997)

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We have had a place to submit ideas for our authors to write posts about for some time that hasn’t been working all that well.  However, that has been updated.  So feel free to use the submission page (the link is on the left side of your screen) to share your ideas with us.  However, we want you to remember that just because you want us to write about something, that doesn’t mean that we want to write about it.

Thanks for your continued dialogue.

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Presidential SealI couldn’t help but post this nearly picture-perfect abuse of Scripture, as illustrated by a tinfoil-hat-wearing Christian with slightly too much knowledge of video production for his (and our) own good:

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Now – I don’t hide my political affiliation, nor my utter (and nearly complete) disdain for the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Even so, I think that stretching the historical (and linguistic) truth to shoehorn the newspaper into one’s voodoo-theologics is just plain silly…

PS: Apologies for my AWOL-ness recently – I hope to be through this particular stretch of woods in the near future…

[HT: A 'Christian' friend of mine...]

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