A Simple Faith?

(Reposted from theFish.com) There is a common phrase that sportscasters use when a rookie is struggling on the football field. They say the game needs to “slow down” for that young athlete. That means the action is too fast and furious for them to react correctly. When the game “slows down” that player will be much more effective. That simply means that with experience and growth the athlete will learn what matters, what to react to, how not to get faked out, and how to respond properly in each situation. The game really doesn’t “slow down” but the player’s response to the speed of the action is much more mature. I think that is what is happening for me after all of these years. My once frenetic efforts to be a “good Christian” are slowing down. I think I am learning more about what matters, what to react to, how not to get faked out by Satan, and how to
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The Lure of Revenge

(Reposted from theFish.com) Over and over and over I hear stories of pain inflicted by well meaning or too often not well meaning churchgoers. And I get really angry. REALLY ANGRY. All caps angry is rare for me. My first response is usually sinful. But I am not unique. A couple of guys who were really close to Jesus had the same sinful response to bad behavior. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” (Luke 9, NLT) My response? You betcha! The response of Jesus? But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village. As much as my heart cries out for vindication and revenge Jesus says no. You go
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A Way To See In The Dark

Sometimes this faith journey goes pretty smoothly and it is easy to express your trust and dependence on God. At other times it feels lonely, frightening and sad. I have been navigating the latter reality of late. I give grace and it is not returned. Every street feels like it is one-way. Dear friends are deeply wounded by people who claim to be following Jesus. I agonize over how these believers can wound so deeply and still say they know Christ? Marriage vows are abandoned at the altar of self. Illness ravages families and friends. I question my ability to have any impact for Christ as I stumble clumsily through my own journey. It is at these crossroads that we realize how much we are really trusting God. A song by Jason Gray resonated with me. Most of Jason’s songs do resonate with me and I am beginning to suspect he has a spy camera on my faith walk. The
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The Mystery of Grace

(Re-posted from theFish.com) I think a lot about the church. When you write a book called “When Bad Christians Happen to Good People” you tend to hear from angry and wounded churchgoers. I have received hundreds of emails and blog posts from hurting believers. If a modest selling author and blogger like me gets that many responses then you can extrapolate that this is a big problem for the American church. A study by the Barna Group among unchurched adults shows that nearly four out of every ten non-churchgoing Americans (37%) said they avoid churches because of negative past experiences in churches or with church people. My heart aches when I hear stories of people who have been wounded and even abused by the churchgoers, leaders and pastors. I used to get angry and self-righteous. “How can they call themselves a Christian?” That is a question that I am often asked. But now I am more inclined to ask the
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Lean On Me

(Reposted from theFish.com) Recently I have just wanted to be selfish for a while and let others fend for themselves. I am tired. And then the song “Lean On Me” cycles up on the iPod. That is not funny Lord. The lyrics sung by Bill Withers talks about being there for others. Life happens, John Lennon famously said, when you are making other plans. Life has been happening to us in recent months. Sometimes in our lives We all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there’s Always tomorrow Lean on me, when you’re not strong And I’ll be your friend I have been thinking a lot about community. I have, to be honest, had many moments recently when I wondered if living in messy community with messy people is worth it. One of my dearest friends is Dr. Gil Herren. He used to tell me stories about working the emergency room at
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Like My Dog?

I have confessed in the past that my Southern Ohio and Kentucky roots helped me develop an appreciation for country music. Now and again I venture over to the country channels to sample some of the latest offerings. Recently I heard a song that made me laugh and made me think. The title of the tune is “Like My Dog” and singer Billy Currington is lamenting that he wishes his significant other would “love” him like his dog. He never tells me that he’s sick of this house He never says, “Why don’t you get off that couch?” He don’t cost me nothin’ when he wants to go out I want you to love me like my dog I want you to love me like my dog does, baby When I come home, want you to just go crazy Not sure that philosophy will resonate with the stunning Mrs.Burchett. Regular readers of my ramblings know how much I love my
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Where Is Your Hope?

(Re-posted from theFish.com) My least favorite time period occurs every four years during September and October. Those are the months leading up to another Presidential election. My distaste is slightly mitigated by the start of college and pro football but I still detest those weeks. Why? Because those weeks are when normally nice and civil human beings become angry, hateful, bile spewing, frothing defenders of their politics. Ridiculous motives are assigned to people for committing the apparently unpardonable sin of looking through different political lenses. Hateful (and almost always courageously anonymous) posts are left accusing their opponents of everything from hate to stupidity to treason. The tone of our political discourse is depressing. On television the techniques most often used are more volume and interruption instead of thoughtfulness and exchange of ideas. This is particularly tricky for followers of Jesus. Of course our faith directs our decision making (or it should). But does that allow us to demonize those who
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