Monday, February 9, 2015

Regarding the hard heart

I've found that few things are mysterious as the bent and disposition of my own heart. Is the condition of my heart something that I can influence, or am I lost to its whims and desires? When I follow the story of Saul, what breaks my heart is that he knew God was real. He knew God's plan for Israel was David. Yet with this knowledge he could never actually transition his heart and life to come alongside these truths.

What is more frustrating - all that David did, all of his innocence, all the words spoken by Samuel, Jonathan, all of the tragedies experienced by the inaugural king of Israel... none of this affected his heart in the least, other than to harden it further.

So I have a confession to make: I don't know what I think about praying for the lost. Hear me out, I'm not jumping around.

Normally, this is the point where we conclude, "It is only God who can change hearts, so pray to Him save the lost!"

And this is a fantastic conclusion but for one thing: I cannot think of a single place in Scripture where this example is given. In the midst of all the prayers recorded for us, I cannot think of one where Paul, Jesus, Peter, or John actually stop and pray for those whose hearts are hard.

Instead, their prayers revolve around the glory of God and the hearts of His children.

With all this said, there is an established orthodoxy of praying for the lost in the world. Is it tantamount to heresy to doubt?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You know that time in life when you reach the point you had always anticipated to be the goal line only to find that it is simply marked the start of a marathon?

Yeah. I'm right there.

The difference is that this is more of a 100 yard dash drawn out over 5 months. This is necessary, methinks.

From running, priorities are crystalized. Breathing? Check. Water (but not in excess)? Check. Quality shoes? Check.

Conversation is limited to what is vital. What we bear is limited to what is needed to finish the race without violating propriety. In I Samuel 7, Israel had been beaten over and over and over by the Philistines, and they were threatened again. Samuel's response to the crises: Figure out what you actually need. Let me help you out - it's God. Get rid of anything in your heart or lives that is competing with Him.

I want both. Always my heart lingers on the luxury and addictions that give a temporary shot of joy at the end of the day.

It is fascinating how our hearts see this truth in the crises, yet so quickly deny it in the mundane.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Regarding Culture and Tolerance

I have little clue what 'proper re-entry' looks like.

I recall from one of my sessions on what it is to be a 'Third-Culture-Kid', and their distinctives from 'Third-Culture-Adults', is that the children are unable to choose which aspects of the host culture to retain upon departure, whereas adults have the capacity to select various elements from both cultures to compose their identity.

I wish it were as easy as it sounds. I feel, at times, a loathing towards each culture, and at others a great compassion, while simultaneously having an utter lack of patience with those who pronounce snap judgements on either with a complete lack of open-mindedness. It brings to mind the bizarre definition the American culture holds towards 'tolerance'.

'Tolerate', meaning, "Don't announce your disagreement with, or pronounce as sin...' things involving the nature of the family, anything in regards to sex, religion, or the lives of the unborn.

'Tolerance', for them, falls by the wayside when it comes to the distinctions, flaws, and cultural perspectives from around the world. It has somehow become a label applied to our pet issues while retaining full license to spew ones ignorance on those issues that the individual feels comfortable voicing their disagreement with.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Regarding '15'

It is truly unreal how few days I have left on this side of the world. That which has been home will begin the slow recession to the past as the new announces its arrival with all gentleness of a boarding call.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Regarding Gay Marriage

Teaching is a strange thing where there are times when I'm not entirely sure where I am on a given issue until I'm forced to explain it to my kids.

So my students finally got around to asking me about my thoughts on the legalization of gay marriage.

Part of me was glad they asked simply for the fact that it demonstrates their brain has actually begun transferring theology into the world that they live in. Great start. Messy result. I surprised myself with the non-balanced nature of my response.

(Cut scene to me in front of a classroom, concrete floors, eager students of varying races, beliefs, and backgrounds)


If the question is what the Bible says about homosexuality, the answer is quite simple. Every time the question comes up the Word of God treats homosexuality in a negative light. Its never given a positive description while finding itself in lists with less than reputable neighbors.

If the question is what the Bible says about homosexuals, the answer is equally simple. Love your neighbors. Love the greedy, liars, abusers, thieves, fornicators, and murderers, because, lets be honest, you are right there in the crowd, and deeply loved by Jesus. So love well.

This question though, is different. Should a government have the right to tell two guys they can or cannot get married?

I think the question is moot. The government doesn't declare marriage. God does.

Do I think a society that recognizes homosexual marriages is opening itself up to a host of issues?
Yeah, I do.

Is this a hill that I'm gonna fight about, protest on, and march to the Capitol to defeat?
Nah. Its not that big of a deal. Truly.

Let me be frank: if you think for one second that our moral fabric rests on the legislation of the moral views of a minority (lets face it, Christianity is in that category) than you're naive at best. Prohibition anyone?

If you want to get pissed off about something that will actually motivate you to speaking out and taking action, do it in order of priority.

If I'm going to protest, I'm gonna protest the slaughter of innocents. If you're writing your senator about gay marriage while voting for a guy who pushes abortion, we need to talk.

Protest the use of slavery in the harvesting of common commodities you use in your house every day.

Protest the flesh trade.


Spend your life, and anger at injustice, well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Regarding Religion

Had a beautiful conversation with a friend. I've walked a long road with him, and in many ways had the honor and joy of watching him become a man. Recently, he ended a relationship that had lasted for many years.

When I asked him why, his response floored me.

(note: my paraphrase - memory is terrible)

"The biggest reason was because she had drifted away from just wasn't real for her anymore. I never thought that my religious views would be important enough to break up with someone over."

Few things are more beautiful than when you reach the point in the road and look back on the path travelled from the rise on the horizon, only to find the climb was not in vain. Sunsets are most glorious from the peaks of mountains scaled.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Regarding Value

Transitioning halfway around the world is a harsh tutor. Even this early in the process of returning 'home' I feel at times my heart rend with the plethora of emotions straining at every turn. As we face the mathematical reality that 1 apartment of belongings ≠ 8 suitcases of baggage space, that which is most important to you becomes an extremely practical question, with surprising results. For instance, my books are the first to be thrown in, beginning first those that are considered resources, and ending with the pleasure reading, though I have to admit the the fictional books left behind are those that received more hours worth of attention than the non-fiction.


That those which I have invested hours in (in the case of the 'Eye of the World' series, hundreds of hours),  I have little desire to take. My journey with them is complete, the story told, and there is no loyalty I feel to having them stand on my shelf on a different continent.

Yet my 'Charts of the OT' resource that I've cracked open a handful of times in four years rests securely in the 'to go' pile. That which holds fiction is of temporary value, for mulling over only as long as it provides insight into, or escape from, reality. That which holds truth is, by its nature, of greater lasting value.

Another example: my video game collection. Since games here are $1 each, I have amassed quite the portfolio of games in the past years. None of which I am taking home. Their value has passed and are being given away without a thought.

My Starbucks 'City' cups, however, will be nestled snugly throughout our baggage for safe transport home.

A game is the illusion of a journey. These cups represent actual experiences had.