Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Temple Goes To The Temple

(Painting by James Tissot)

Naked Thoughts on John 2:13-22.
Sometimes, we just have to clean house!
There are things within each of us which we must remove to move on. There are things and ways within each of our congregations which must be overturned and swept out if we are to cleanse ourselves as a worthy house of God. There are false idols within each denomination which must be driven out that keep us anchored to the ground and prevent us from soaring.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread.

Naked Thoughts on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.
We are Fools to believe in a God that could be tortured and killed - and by such foolishness, we are saved.
It is great to use the gifts of wisdom and discernment to try to grasp the world and our place in it; but as an archaeologist, I know the trap of having to be right all the time - of my truth being The Truth. Embracing my inner Fool allows me to become free of my need (my prison of fear) to always be right, to always appear to be in the know, to always look to be in control. To accept my foolishness allows me to better understand and accept myself and others.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Training of Radicals:

(Painting by Giovanni Batista Tiepolo)

He taught them that he would (that he must) suffer inconceivably. He told them that their own religious leaders would turn them out - reject their message. They would kill him for his heresy of Love. In three days, he would return. He said this clearly and openly so that not only his students and the crowd could hear him, but so too that the spies would hear him.

Peter was his head student, but not always head of his class, He pulled Jesus aside: "Teacher! This won't preach! there is no glory in this story..."

"Get out of him Satan, he is mine. You were given an opportunity to tempt me, and you failed. Peter: focus, and re-orient your mind on God things."

They returned to the crowd, and the Rabbi spoke again: "If any would follow in my footsteps, they must stop focusing on themselves - they must let their natural selfishness on the cross, so that it may be reborn as selflessness. Those who try too hard to stop change (to maintain their current 'lives'), will surely lose or crush what they cling to. But those who surrender their old lives for the sake of loving me or loving the world will know true Life. Is it good business to make a enormous profit, and yet lose yourself? What can you possibly give that is greater than your lives? What can the world give you to compensate you for your deaths? Are you ashamed of me? Do I humiliate you? A time will come when surrounded by the Glory and the Host of my Father, I will either be proud of you or embarrassed by you."

(Retelling of Mark 8:31-38)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Legal vs. Right?

Naked thoughts on Romans 4:13-25:

Abraham's inheritance came via God's Will, not by a Probate Court!

It does not come to us in Abraham's spiritual line through religious self-righteousness, but through grace-born righteousness (rightness). Think about it, what court can make us heirs and vacate the Will of God? What human act can modify His Will? What legal document can immutably codify the mutable? Laws deal with punishment - where there is no longer Law, there is no longer punishment. We must therefore not depend on the Law, but trust in the grace that runs through the veins and souls of humanity. Against all evidence to the contrary,  Abraham held on to his foolish trust in God's promise!

Through his despair, he hoped. Through his weakness, he leaned on the Strong One. Through his distrust, he trusted. He grew strong in the Light, and reflected God's glory. He was convinced of God's capability!

Father Abraham's righteousness came not from being right or doing right, but in believing in Righteousness. That applies to all of us. Do we believe that God is capable of being convicted and killed to void our own death sentences? Do we trust that God is capable of sharing His rebirth with us?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Church Sign of the Times:

I saw a church sign today. I slowed down to read its profundity, quaintness, or triteness.

"If all else fails, try love!"

Really? You ask us to try everything else on earth before we love? That seems to me to be more Empire thinking than Kingdom thinking. Godislove should be on the tip of our tongues, and the first thing to flow out. Godislove should be part of our muscle-memory, and be our first act. In my mind, I revised the sign:

"Try love, before everything fails!"