Thursday, December 27, 2012

Forget what you've heard about Christ.

Who is Christ?

He is more than "death" and "sin" and "be saved" and "rose again". 
Christ is more than flesh and body. He is more than you've heard.
Christ does not live in a church, his body and eyes and arms, are yours and mine.
Christ does not live in the words, but is the meaning and power of language.
Christ cannot be simply defined, but is meant to be infinitely experienced.
Forget what you've think you've learned, forget what you've heard about Christ.

Have you ever sat and wondered at the beauty of a sunset?
Taken pause at the happenstance of a series of events?
Have you ever been lost in the beauty of a simple leaf or tree?
Been in awe of mystery and mastery? Of the greatness of the universe?
The creativity of creation?

Have you ever looked to the stars and felt small?
Or seen a spiders web, beautifully made and sprinkled with dew, and wondered how magical?
Have you ever felt connected to the fabric of being?
Or part of something greater than yourself?
Have you ever felt the power of the energy that holds the whole world, the whole universe, together?
The fragility of life?
Felt the balance that it all hangs on?

Have you an awareness of the power that brought existence into being?
That spoke a word forth, and created?

Christ is that.
The word spoken, that created.
The power out of which became existence.
The balance
The fragility, the life.
The energy that holds it together
The 'something' greater. That to which you, and I, belong.
The fabric of being to which we are all connected to, and from which we all came.
The wonder and magic of dew and webs and spiders.
The greatness within, the smallness through out.
The creativity
The mystery and the mastery
The beauty and complexity
The happenstance
The wonder
The beauty
The sunset.

Christ is the power, the energy, the force behind everything, that holds it all and created it all and is alive within it.

That power which, being so great, was made small into the body of a man.

Who came to love, and show the world what it really means to live.

Who died a bodily death, but rose above and still lives.

For if Christ truly died, all would cease to exist.

And because He lives, we can also live.

Forget what you've heard about Christ, and let Him show you the true meaning of His name, the word, the love, the light, the living, the life, Christ.

Biblical evidence: 
New International Version (NIV)

John 1

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

So if Christ was the Word, what did the Word do?

Genesis 1

The Beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What the Bible says..LGBT

My my my how I struggle against people who claim to be christians, but whore the name in the act of hate against brothers and sisters who are different from them - specifically against the LGBT-(TQQSIUU) population.  The ones that claim that it is a sin to be gay, and that if you are you are surely going to hell. They say "The Law condemns it" - then they tell you "it's all in the Bible! Turn from your evil ways and be SAVED!"

UGH. This boils m blood.
Lord have MERCY.  

Brothers and sisters, I want to begin by stating that we, as Christians, are not called to live by the Law, but are called to live by the Spirit, given to us by the grace of God. (1 Corinthians, Romans, Hebrews). There is nothing you can do to deserve this grace, or to lose this grace, you can only accept it. Whether black, white, gay, transexual, inter-sex, married, unmarried, man or woman, or anything else for that matter. If you were created by God (which you are), then you're welcome to this grace. You cant earn it and you can't do anything to deserve it. There is simply nothing you can do. Nothing. Except accept it.  

If you are so freely welcome to it, indeed your brother and sister next to you - no matter how uncomfortable it makes you - is also freely welcome to it. 

So stop judging them, stop telling them they need to be saved. Stop telling them they are lost or some how inferior to you and denied your grace. Remember, you did not earn it, and neither can they.

No. Our God freely gives this grace, this spirit, this unconditional un-dying love - to anyone, anyone who chooses to accept it. 

Whether you like it or not.  

In this light, the law is irrelevant. Jesus made the law- which leads to death- irrelevant. To follow the law is to lead yourself to death. Be free. Leave the Law behind. The law that condemns you will condemn you to hell. You will never escape it or please it. (read 1 Corinthians (especially the last few chapters) or 1 Colossians (Ch. 12 and 13) or Romans (romans 8 is particularly good) or Hebrews (chapters 8-12 or so)or just about any part of the New Testament really, if you don't believe me). It's there. 

That, brothers and sisters, is what the Bible says.

There is good news- there is Gospel!

 You can be free of the law. Christ has come and He has risen! He has put the law to death and given us the spirit to live by - living through and by the spirit leads to life. And this spirit sees everyone as loved by God. As a perfectly imperfect impression of God and His love, and this spirit loves unconditionally - just as God does. It knows not how to hate or judge or condemn, but only to love.

That, brothers and sisters, is what the Bible says. 

The true mark of this Spirit within you is unconditional love for all. No matter what. No matter if this person is loving another, or torturing you. You are called to love them, to welcome them with open arms, to validate them as Gods child. 

So my challenge and question to Christians is this - 

Christ says from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

What comes out of your mouth?

Check yo self.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Judges Ch. 9

Reading judges now. Wow the Isrealites really have a hard time following God's law (who can blame them). Joshua is dead, Moses is long dead - and now the isrealites are left to follow God on their own. But, they stray and worship other gods and so things fall apart. They cry out to God who sends a judge to tell them what to do, and to rescue them - delivering them. God almost gives up on the Isrealites a few times. Still very hard. But, I really like this passage:

Judges 9:8-15

New International Version (NIV)
One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’
“But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’
10 “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’
11 “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’
12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’
13 “But the vine answerevingd, ‘Should I give up my wine,(A) which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’
14 “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’
15 “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade;(B) but if not, then let fire come out(C) of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’(D)

Thank you to for having typed this out in advance for me.


I read through the book of Joshua pretty quickly because it's very eventful. Basically, the Isrialites come into the promise land and kill a lot of people to inhabit the land.

I praise God that he doesn't work like this anymore.


Well, I've made it through Deuteronomy - a book I really liked actually. Like I mentioned in my last post, I feel like I finally started seeing the heart of God as revealed in the New Testament through Jesus. God promises to be God, and the Israelites promise to be His people. But wow- thank you Lord for sending jesus to fulfill this promise because we were in such bondage to the law, which seems so simple yet is so impossible to follow.

I couldn't help but feel like I could never measure up to all of the laws and rules, and I kept thinking wow, am I a failure? Do Christians still need to follow these laws?

And after reading some New Testament passages, like those found in  1 Colossians and 1 Corinthians, I am glad to learn that to follow the law is to lead yourself to death (precisely because it's soi mpossible to follow), but tht we have been set free from the condemnation of the law if we accept Jesus' sacrifice. That instead, we are to be led and to follow the Spirit through Jesus Christ. That to follow the spirit means to not need law. That all of our failures to follow the Law have been forgiven, completely forgiven. Now we are called to be liberated and to follow through the Holy Spirit. How amazing? God has not only forgiven us for our failure, but has given us new life, a new way to worship him- from our heart rather than out of duty.

Praise God.

Friday, June 1, 2012

In my own skin- Inspired by (quirky) women

Recently, I have re-kindled an old friendship from way back when, and my friend and I have been talking about a lot og great things. I've decided these things are great enough to share here too. 

One topic we were talking about was our tendency to want to be liked by everyone. Can you relate? I struggle pretty much every day with trying to 'say the right thing' and trying to be liked by everyone around me. It gets under my skin so much when someone 'doesn't like me' or 'disapproves'. But lately, I have found some peace with this, and so I thought I'd share why and how I've started to worry less if I'm liked or approved.

Always seeking approval and wanting to be pleasant to, and liked by, everyone you meet and are surrounded by is something I think humans were made to feel. We are social beings, and we want to be of service and bring joy to others around us. Not only that, but we want a community where we fit and belong, a family we can build for ourselves where we can be ourselves.

As I've grown over the past few short years. I have been blessed by being surrounded with a lot of women in my life. Not just women my age, women of all ages and stages, and this has profoundly impacted me. From these (mostly older) women that I've met and had the privilege of spending my time with, I have gotten to witness something beautiful that comes with aging- finding yourself. From these women, I have learned that we are not all perfect, that at times we will rub people the wrong way, or not agree, or think each other 'weird' or eccentric- but that these are not things to hide by conforming. Instead, these are things to be celebrated.

OK, yes, I've heard this all before but it's finally sinking in.

There is something really beautiful about someone who can gracefully be themselves, something inspiring and moving. You know that your experience with that person is going to be authentic, even if it is weird or uncomfortable at times. As I have learned to love the imperfections in these women, and then learned to see the woman who is being 'imperfect' as greater than her awkward or quirky comments, I have begun to see how everyone brings something unique and beautiful wherever they go. To not be fully 'you', deprives the moment of what only you have to offer it.

Some people are funny. Some people are smart. Some people are up-front. Some people are hippies, some people are sporty..etc.etc. I have started not only to learn to embrace the quicks in others, but to love them for their quirks. From this I have learned to embrace more the defining sides of myself, the serious side,the spiritual side, the nerdy side, the hippy sider, the oblivious side, the 5-years old side, the grandma side... the list goes on. Before, these were things I would try to suppress, while trying to highlight others, or 'tone down a little". 

But now,  I have embraced them more instead of judging them as things I need to fix. I haven't stopped comparing myself to others all together, but through seeing how great it is to have such eclectic and different people around me that get along so well and each bring something different to the table, I have begun to see that I too can bring something wholly unique. I have come to accept that I'm not always interested in things that other people are interested in, that I'm not always as clever or outgoing or personable as other people, but that isn't wrong or bad. Other people aren't as quiet or gentile in conversation as me, aren't as nerdy or whatever I am, as me. And as I accept that, I realize that it's OK to be different. And if it's OK to be different, then it's OK to be myself and not try to conform to what I think other people want.

People don't always want to see reflections of themselves in the people they hang out with. People want to see something new, learn new perspectives, share different experiences and stories. People will be drawn to you no matter what. The question is, are they drawn to your authentic self (with all of it's imperfections) or are they drawn to something you're trying to hold up? It's so much more work to hold something up than to just say OK, well here I am and maybe I'm not always x-y-z but at least you know who I am, and I am authentic. 

This doesn't mean you cant still strive to be things you aren't today, it just means that you can let go of working to be someone you're not. It has helped me stop worrying about if someone likes me, if what I said was taken the right way, if I reacted the 'right' way to a situation.... it's relieved a lot of the anxiety. And I feel like I've made a lot less mistakes because of it.

Thank you to all of you quirky women out there for showing me how beautiful you are.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Deuteronomy 15

In Deuteronomy, chapter 15, Moses lays out the new law concerning the Sabbatical Year for the Jews just before they enter the promised land. The sabbatical year comes around every 7th year, and in this year all are liberated from their outstanding debts to one another, including service in the form of slavery. Like I said in my previous post on Deuteronomy, I am excited to be reading this book because it is out of this book that Jesus uses passages commanded to turn down the devil. It is in these passages here in Ch. 15 that I can really see the heart of Jesus, and the law God was trying to mend in the hearts of his people.  A few passages that especially stood out to me were:

Deuteronomy 15:4-5
There will, however, no one in need among you, because the Lord your God is giving you as a possession to occupy, if only you will obey the Lord your God by diligently observing this entire commandment that I command you today.

Deuteronomy 15:7-9 not be hard hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be.

Deuteronomy 15:10-11
Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some need on the earth, I therefore command you, "Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land."

Deuteronomy 15:13-15
Provide liberally out of your flock, your threshing floor, and your wine press thus giving him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you.

Deuteronomy 15:18
Do not consider it a hardship when you send them out from you free persons, because for six years they have given you services worth the wages of hired laborers; and the Lord your God will bless you in all that you do.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Romans 14:13-23

Paul talks about eating here, but if it serves you replace food with anything else that might cause others to stumble, food, sex, clothing, smoking, etc..

Emphasis added, verses bolded especially stood out to me.

Romans 14:13-23

 Let us therefore no longer pass judgement on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling-block or hindrance in the way of another. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual edification. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for you to make others fall by what you eat; it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble. The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve. But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because they do not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.


Romans 14:13-23

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.  Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. 
  Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. 
 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.  But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Christ: A sacrifice to sin. Romans

I have been reading Romans lately to gain perspective on a lot of things, but more specifically perspective on homosexuality. But an interesting thing has been emerging for me. Lately I have been really trying to understand Christ more. I get that he died for our sins, and through him we are saved. But Paul really outlines some interesting things about Christ in his letter to the Romans. Like Romans 3:21-31

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God(AB) has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.(AC) 22 This righteousness(AD) is given through faith(AE) in[h]Jesus Christ(AF) to all who believe.(AG) There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,(AH) 23 for all have sinned(AI) and fall short of the glory of God,24 and all are justified(AJ) freely by his grace(AK)through the redemption(AL) that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i](AM) through the shedding of his blood(AN)—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished(AO) 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting?(AP) It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.(AQ) 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,(AR) 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.(AS)31 

Emphasis added)

Verse 26 there really gets me. It was here that something started stirring in me about Christ. Christ was God's sacrifice of atonement to Sin. Wow. Paul goes on in Romans to explain how, just like all of man fell to sin through one man (Adam), all of man is released from sin by God through one man (Christ). All of sin is washed away because God sacrificed His only son, Christ. Christ lived a sin- free life, which no man could do. This is why it was necessary for God to make himself into a man in Christ, for to be sinless you must be God, but to atone for the sins of humanity, you must be human. In this way, God himself atoned for our sins, through Christ Jesus, for all who believe. And all who believe are called to be a part of another Kingdom, not this world, bound by desires of the flesh (which are sinful and lead to death), but to be a part of Gods Kingdom, bound by desires of the spirit (which are righteous and lead to eternal life). 


What does this mean?  
It first means that there is a battle within us- a battle of desires of the flesh and desires of the spirit. The desires of one will always leave us unsatisfied, no matter how hard we try to fulfill them - these are the desires of the flesh. Like greed, pride, gain, self-indulgence - things that serve individuals, but are shallow and fleeting. And then there are the desires of the spirit - God's spirit, the Holy Spirit. These desires serve others, find joy in loving and caring for others, in community and in putting others first before the individual. It is this nature that is at the heart of all of us - whether we choose to live it out or not. It is the denial of this nature that leaves us hungry and yearning for more. Often times we turn to the desires of the flesh, but really it is the spirit we need to turn to. Denying the spirit and turning to flesh is the nature of sin.

However, I think it means that we need not worry about our sinful nature, that it has been overcome for us, and that if we choose to leave it behind and die to it and follow Christ, we can be a part of something greater, free from worldly desires - materialism, individualism, self-sufficiency, greed, pride, sexual immorality and many more. Instead, we can be relieved of these burdens and participate in something far greater than our individual needs and desires. We can be a participant in the glory of God, and live out a life that fills our spirit with joy and gladness - service to others, love, kindness, genteelness, community and so much more. Indeed, it is in the desires of the flesh we turn to fill a never ending hunger which will starve our spirit and kill our faith, but to christ we turn to quench our eternal thirst and find true life.

Same Sex Marriage- Respectful Conversations

Still thinking and praying heavily on this issue. I read an article in the Star Tribune today on the "Respectful Conversations" campaign the Minnesota Council of Churches is doing. I thought it was interesting, and am hoping to get more involved in these conversations. I think there are a lot of confused christians out there, who aren't totally sure how to love their brothers and sisters who are LGBTQ...

Same Sex Marriage- Romans

Read out or Romans today. Paul talks about men and women being lead away from God, and a sign of it being sexual immorality, with men and women choosing un-natural relations with one another, specifically homosexual behavior. I think this is a passage that could be used to say that homosexuality is a sin. It is important to note though, that just before this Paul discusses that people are led away from God so that others can see what it is to be called to God. He also states that many are led to God after being away from God, like the corinthians themselves whom he is writing this letter to. He states after this that all will be saved by grace. That we are not to concern ourselves with the behaviors of others our ourselves or the law, but with the state of our heart, for out of our heart comes our salvation by faith. It makes me think that there really isn't much point in worrying about saving others, the point is to live out the faith you have by loving others and exercising the gifts of the spirit granted to you by God. This whole issue of same sex marriage being a 'christian issue is so absurd to me. Everyone is lost in sin, why are so many people hung up on this?  There is so much here, just read it. Tell me what you think.

Same Sex Marriage - 1 Corinthians

I read out of 1 Corinthians today to try to get some more insight on biblical perspectives on this issue. In it Paul writes how Christians are part of the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world. It just made me realize even more how Christian Theology is not meant to be a part of the State or the government of this World. Christians are not called to follow the law or form the law, but to be lead by the Spirit. Even more so, we are not called to judge, but to love.  I encourage you to read it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

LGBTQ-AC-XYZ... same sex marriage

Brothers and sisters, I want to begin by stating that we, as Christians, are not called to live by the Law, but are called to live by the Spirit, given to us by the grace of God. There is nothing you can do to deserve this grace, or to lose this grace, you can only accept it. Whether black, white, gay, transexual, inter-sex, married, unmarried, man or woman, or anything else for that matter. If you were created by God (which you are), then you're welcome to this grace. You cant earn it and you can't do anything to deserve it. There is simply nothing you can do. Nothing. Except accept it.

If you are so freely welcome to it, indeed your brother and sister next to you - no matter how uncomfortable it makes you - is also welcome to it.

So stop judging them, stop telling them they need to be saved. Stop telling them they are lost or some how inferior to you and denied your grace. Remember, you did not earn it, and neither can they.

No. Our God freely gives this grace, this spirit, this unconditional un-dying love - to anyone, anyone who chooses to accept it.

Whether you like it or not.

In this light, I believe, the law is irrelevant. Jesus made the law- which leads to death- irrelevant. To follow the law is to lead yourself to death. Be free. Leave the Law behind. The law that condemns you will condemn you to hell. You will never escape it or please it.

But there is good news- there is Gospel!

 You can be free of the law. Christ has come and He has risen! He has put the law to death and given us the spirit to live by - living through and by the spirit leads to life. And this spirit sees everyone as loved by God. As a perfectly imperfect impression of God and His love, and this spirit loves unconditionally - just as God does. It knows not how to hate or judge or condemn, but only to love.

The true mark of this Spirit within you is unconditional love for all. No matter what. No matter if this person is loving another, or torturing you. You are called to love them, to welcome them with open arms, to validate them as Gods child.

So my challenge and question to Christians is this - 

Christ says from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

What comes out of your mouth?

Check yo self.

This being said, below is an exploration of my diving in to the Bible to see what the Bible has to say about same sex marriage. Above is my conclusion- below, and in the posts that follow- is the evolution.


With the marriage amendment coming up soon, I have been thinking and praying a lot about same sex marriage. As a christian, this shouldn't be, but is a tough topic. Sure, the Bible says same sex relations are an 'abomination'. Google search defines abomination as

  1. A thing that causes disgust or hatred.
  2. A feeling of hatred.
 Yes, indeed it is. One only need to look at a few headlines today, like this one, or news stories like this one to see that same sex relations do indeed cause feelings of hate or disgust. But this is a shortcoming of people, not of God. God loves all, everyone, all sinners (which we all are).  If he accepts any of us (even just one), he must accept us all. For no sin is greater than another, and we are all sinners. Jesus atoned for our sins and gave us new life, new freedom from sin if we follow him. Christians are called to follow Christ, this means to love others as Christ did, and judge not. Although we may not all support same-sex relations, we are not to judge or condemn those who engage in them (whether they be 'right' or 'wrong'). And, we are especially called to love them just as we are called to love everyone else; by serving them, not by condemning them.

Some christians argue that to not take a stance against same-sex marriage is to support same sex marriage, and because of their religious convictions they must take a stance against it. To this I say that we, as Christians, are not called to force others to carry our own convictions. Religious convictions should not be the same as the convictions of the state. As Christians, we are called to be a part of God's Kingdom, not of this world. It is not our call to force our will upon others. It is our call to love them, radically. True love is never forced. Because we are not citizens of this world, if this world condones same-sex marriage (even if you think it's wrong) it isn't on your hands. We are not responsible for the behavior of others (not even other citizens of Gods Kingdom). Especially not those of this world. Why? Because we are not called to pledge allegiance to this world. Does this mean we are not responsible for our own behavior? Absolutely NOT. But, because we are not of this world, we are not responsible for what this world governs as legal, or illegal.

We are not to abide by the law of this land, but instead to abide by God's law. But not through force, through love and by choice. Through a decision and a desire to follow Christ. Does God force us to love Him? No, what kind of love is that? Forced love is no love at all. We are allowed to choose our relationship with God. God wants us to choose a relationship with Him, because He knows that through choice comes willingness. God does not seek forced relation, but willing relation in which we desire to have God move in our lives and change our hearts. It is through this willingness that we are called to follow God's law obediently. If we obediently follow Gods law, to love radically, there is no need for worldly laws.  One whose heart and will are aligned with Gods wants the best for all and peace (at the cost of their own life, not the life of another). It is a heart of service, not of force.  We are to be ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, here on earth. Just as if we were to travel to a foreign country. It is not our duty to force the world to conform to our beliefs or standards, but it is our call to love the world and to live by Gods standards, regardless of what the world thinks or does. Are we called to live differently? Yes. Absolutely. But this does not mean forcefully. And this does not mean denying others the right to a relationship through the state.

Others say that if the State allows for same sex marriage, but the 'church' stays against same sex marriage, that the 'church' will be seen as actively engaging in acts of discrimination and hate. This deeply saddens me. The church should have never been made into an institution. The Church Christ talks about is a living, breathing body of people who believe in and follow Christ and His teachings. It is you, and me. It is your hands that Christ uses to feed the hungry, your eyes through which He sees the world, your feet on which He walks. It is us, individuals, who make up the body of Christ.  Not an institution. However, yes, the church (little c for the institution) may be seen in this light, and that's a tough situation to be in. In my opinion, if the church is seen this way it is a failure on behalf of the church. The church is called by God to love, and to be seen as a place of hate or discrimination shines a light directly where it needs to be shined. For my brothers and sisters, our greatest failure as a Church will be where we have failed to love.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Conversations with Mormons

There have been two mormons that continually come to my door. I have begun to learn about the mormon faith because of them, and the more I learn the more I pray for them.

I had, before today, wrestled with the call of God to be Christ to those who come to us seeking. To me, I wondered if that meant opening my heart and home to these Mormons, despite their attempts to convert me and test my faith. Aren't we to open our hearts and homes and give anything asked of us to give? Surely, if these Mormons were Atheists, I would talk with them about my faith, and welcome them with open arms. Wouldn't I? Through prayer, God led me to reach out to a good friend of mine, who directed me to 1 John 4. As I read, I continued to 2 John and it was in this passage the Spirit spoke to me.

"Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. Do no receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person" (2 John 9-11)

I realized, through this verse, that God calls me to meet other peoples needs. If someone comes to my home seeking food, shelter, water - I am called to give it to them, and regardless of if they were Mormon, I pray that I would. If someone comes to me seeking to find God, well they should not come to me to find God but, I believe I would be called to share what I do understand, and I pray that I would. However, if someone comes to my home to deliberately try to lead me away from God, and is not eager to learn what I have to share, then I am not obligated to welcome them into my home and listen to their false teaching. They seek from me what I cannot give- my faith in God. Indeed, to welcome them in to critique my faith would greatly increase the chance of me perpetuating their own Theology (by noticing the 'shortcomings' of my faith), and lead them on to continue to try to pursue me and my soul. I am, still, however, called to treat them with kindness and dignity. Lord help me do so.

I had arranged to meet with them today around 1:30, but upon reading 2 John, I resolved to write them a letter. Below is that letter.

Dear Elders,
     I have prayed much about you and our time together today. I am sorry that I am not here at our planned meeting time, but I have chosen to go spend some time with a dear friend of mine. I believe you will be disappointed, and I also trust you might se my choice as an act of fear. The truth is, I do fear. I fear for you and for your souls, but I do not believe you want to hear this, so I will give you space and allow you to go the way you choose, but if you choose to listen to me here, there are some things I do want to tell you.
    We are all saved by grace, not by works. Grace is something we receive, that we do not deserve. Sometimes, often times, this feeling of un-deserving leads us to believe that we must 'earn' Gods love, honor, favor. But, you cannot. God is not a man. He did choose to make himself smaller than He truly is, and came to reveal himself in a man, Jesus Christ. God birthed himself, through the VIRGIN Mary, His own spirit in flesh - this his Son, Jesus the Christ. He did this to show us, through living example, what perfect relationship with him looks like between people and Himself. He showed us and taught us that it is through loving God and a personal, intimate relationship between ourselves and God, that God works within us and makes us whole. It is God alone who can do this, all you can do, are asked to do, is to be willing. This takes great faith, and great love, and you (just like I) cannot, CAN NOT gain salvation or lead yourself to salvation. But, if you are willing to trust God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit within you, God will save you; if you choose.
    I fear you have lost this message. It is by deeds, acts and behaviors, you have been told, that you will one day become like God. Brothers, truly I tell you that God and all His glory dwell inside you already. There is nothing you need to do or can do to change that. Why would you want to be like God, or be 'another God" (there is only 1 true God) when you already participate in being God already? Do not be tempted by teachings which promise you power, for all power is Gods and His alone. It is satan who tempted Jesus with the power of all of the heavens and earth, why do you not believe it is satan also who tempts you with the same promise? But you can turn away from his temptations, with Christ behind you. If you choose to ask him, He will give you the same strength he had when He told Satan "away with you satan! for it is written 'worship the Lord your God and serve only Him" (Matthew 4:10). 

    It is your choice whether to truly listen here, and I will love you regardless, as will the Lord. No matter how much you try, you can never lose, or gain, His Love. I pray that in your walk, you truly find Christ. I pray that one day you seek His glory, not your own, but it is your choice. If there is ever a day, when the day comes, you are burdened by the load of seeking to be 'god' or "a god", Christ will be there to carry the load for you. For it is his burden alone to carry (the burden of being God) and His deepest desire that you surrender and let Him, trust Him, and have faith in Him, that He is God, and you do not have to keep trying.    

With love,

I realize as I type this that there are errors, and I deeply regret that I did not stress the importance of Christ dying on the cross for our sins. But these are a hard people to reach, because in our first conversation in person they claimed to know this and to believe this. They teach that after Christ was resurrected he came to the Americas to teach the natives (which had no cultural context in which to place Jesus, nor a history with which to place him in...). So they believe this already. My stress, as I wrote this, was to try to emphasize that the desire to be God, to rule over kingdoms and planets, is not a call of God but an allure of the human Ego. 

I may never know what comes of this. I pray that God uses it (and any of my foolish mistakes) for His ultimate Good. That they find freedom and peace in Him, and turn from trying to earn it for themselves. They already have much of what they seek, they have just believed otherwise. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Food and family - an example of daily christian failure

Well, I have officially realized, once again, the depth of my ignorance.

Something I have felt pretty passionate about (and still do), is eating good food, that comes from good stores and hopefully, grown locally. I like fresh, and not processed, and try to support small business when I can. When Tyler and I lived in the city, we tried to make as much of our own food as possible, buy from local growers, and support our local economy. Why? Well, read any of Michael Pollans books, or just do the research yourself. More than just being healthy, we felt like this was one way we could exercise our christian values. We have friends who we wish so much to be like- they try to minimize waste by buying as much as they can in bulk, eat good delicious organic food, hardly buy meat... the life man.

 But, now that we live in Chisago with Tylers parents, we no longer buy our groceries (which is awesome). But Tyler's parents, who don't exactly like the work of making everything from scratch, don't have the same buying habits as us. We have been complaining non-stop for a few months now. What's there to complain about? We don't buy our own food...thats a pretty neat gig. Yes, thats what the obvious response to this situation is. But Tyler and I have surely found ways to complain.. "the food isn't 'healthy', it's frozen, it's packaged in more plastic than there is food, it's processed, it's not organic, it's bought at (insert store name here) and they don't have moral practices, it's not locally grown.."blah blah blah.

While these may be good things to be mindful about... they are missing a big point.

Tyler and I eat like kings. Kings!! We have more food than we know what to do with, at our fingertips, anytime we open our pantry or fridge. In the famous words of Britta from Community, "There are kids starving in Uganda for goodness sakes". Who am I to complain that the food I don't buy for myself, isn't good enough? Can I afford to buy better food? Not right now. When I can, will I? Yes. Until then, should I complain about the abundance of food I do have?

Sadly, it has taken me 9 months to realize this. I wonder what else I am being an idiot about. Sometimes I get my values mixed up. Being grateful for what I am given, and loving my family, should come before the 'quality' of my food (which I don't buy...) Duh.

Yep, still working on getting there Jesus.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I am the Problem

Reading Blue Like Jazz, and loving it. On page 20 Donald Miller reminds me of something so obvious, I almost forget it every day. It brings me so much healing to remember. The world is a messed up place, but it's because it's filled wih messed up humans - like me. I cannot change the world, unless I first change myself. Like Gandhi once said "Be the change you wish to see". So simple. But I am really, the only thing I can change.

"I started wondering whether we could actually change the world. I mean, of course we could-we could change our buying habbits, elect socially conscious representatives and that sort of thing, but I honestly don't believe we will be solving the greater human conflict with our efforts. The problem is not a certain type of legislation or even a certain politician; the problem is the same that it has always been.
I am the problem.
I think every conscious person, every person who is awake to the functioning principles within his reality, has a moment where he stops blaming the problems in this world on group think, on humanity and authority, and starts fo face himself. I hate this more than anything. This is the hardest principle within Christian spirituality for me to deal with. The problem is not out there; the problem is the need beast of a thing that lives in my chest." (Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, Pg. 20)

Yes, indeed. It is within ourselves we must first look to change the world. This is why I think Christ taught so much on having the right heart. All of the 'rules and regulations' of organized religion, I think, are intended to help grow the right heart, but they get in the way a lot too.

It's also what's at the core of the meaning of having a 'fallen state', of the 'fall of man', of 'original sin'. You see, we are each responsible for the horrible things in this world. We are all called to deny the way within us that tells us to be selfish and hoarding, and instead to choose to be selfless and loving. But it takes work, because there is a beast within us, the "ego'' or 'original sin' or 'devil', that tempts us. We must learn to be good, teach each other and love each other. That is how God intended it to be. We have to work to make it so. Live like Christ. I really believe if everyone lived with Christs heart, lived the way he taught us to live, the world would be blissful. It would be perfect. It would be how God intended it to be. So I am a christian. I want to live like Christ, try to live with his heart.

I am the problem. Christ, in me, is the solution.

Organized religion and the devil

I know so many people turned away from christ because of religion it makes my heart sink. I know so many christians far from christ because of religion it makes my heart sick. I once wrote in my journal

"I wonder if organized religion is the devils way of tricking us into distracting us from God. As if to keep our minds busy about the rules and regulations, things to divide us, so we aren't just living like Christ and loving others and God, things to unite us."

I am reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. In it he writes"
"I believe the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather to have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man's mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God." (Miller, Donald. Blue Like Jazz,  Nashville Tennesse, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2003. Pg 13)

Interesting. Apparently, I am not alone.

"Forget the church, follow Jesus"

I've been reading a lot lately. Lots of Christian books. My latest reads include
Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Sterns
The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an ordinary radical by Shane Claiborne.

I have been really encouraged by these books. They are great books that I think get at the heart of a lot of what I think it really means to be a christian and live like Jesus. They are convicting as anything and make me want to sell my possessions and live on the streets. Seriously, I had thoughts of raising money to buy a house to start a ministry in the poorest neighborhoods of St. Paul or Minneapolis. I almost emailed my pastor to ask for the money, it was radical. I still really want to do this, but I will wait until the time is right. But these stories, these books, have reminded me how hard it is to truly be christian. How scared I am to really follow Jesus. But I think something is changing. I even read a recent artilce in Newsweek, the cover story actually, titled "Forget the Church, Follow Jesus", by Andrew Sullivan You can read it by clicking here. Yes, indeed people are waking up. I am not alone in claiming back Christianity in the name of Jesus, not the 'church'.

But what about the church? Can I say something obvious? The church is not a building. It is the individuals who follow Jesus. I love this quote,

"Christ has no hands on earth but yours,
no heart but yours, no feet but yours. 
Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out,
the feet for which he is to go about doing good"

So don't be too quick to forget about the Church, your body is the Church. You can decide not to go to church (little c, the building church), but the real Church (capitol C), is you, it's me. It's our bodies, our hands, our feet, our eyes, by which Christ continues to live, if we choose to let him live through us.