Tilling Good Ground

As a college junior, she was a latecomer to my freshman English class. The subject of our discussion was the 2001 book Peace like a River by Leif Enger. Filled with allusions to the Bible, historic events, and Zane Grey westerns, the book has plenty of fodder for discussion in a college-level class.

What caught this particular student’s eye was a line that repeats throughout the text as the narrator/main character, an 11 year old boy, advises the reader to “make of it what you will.” The it he refers to is Christian faith, faith in the miraculous works that come only from God. The narrator isn’t pushy about faith. He simply unfolds the miracles and invites the reader to draw his own conclusions.

My student found that very appealing. She explained that she had rejected faith because it had always been a source of contention in her home. Her father had come from one denomination, her mother from another. They had never been able to find the peace that Christ offers and Enger depicts.

My experience growing up as the product of a ‘mixed marriage’ was quite different. Continue reading “Tilling Good Ground”

Transfiguring Grace

Paradox:

To see my own sin—my own failings and imperfections—

To overlook yours.

Joy:

To have His grace wash over me and splash onto you,

To have His grace soak us both through,

And stain us forever with His love.

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Excerpted from Restoring the Shattered, Coming to Amazon in October

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

For Us, For Him

Broken, unleavened bread,
Crushed grapes.
The bread and wine that He was,
Flesh and blood, a sacrifice of agony,
For us.

The prayer,
Asking His Father
To take away the cup.
Then His will set aside,
For us.

The arrest,
A voluntary prisoner whose “I am He”
Knocked them down.
Then He went with them,
For us.

It was cold.
They taunted and beat Him.
They drove nails into Him,
And He let them,
For us.

Today, we follow,
For Him,
A meager offering compared to His,
For us.

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Previously posted: March 2016

A Gay Man Living Christ in the Church

Some of us would say he struggles with same-sex attraction. It’s our way of avoiding the word “gay”.

But Greg Coles doesn’t avoid the word; he embraces it.

His book–Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity–is beautifully written and raw.

When he realized–as an adolescent–that he was not attracted to girls, he prayed to God to make him straight. He continued to pray. Over the years, he dated girls.

He did not become straight. Continue reading “A Gay Man Living Christ in the Church”

Porn as a Drug to Conceal Truth

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
“Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more.” The Matrix, 1999
Morpheus offers Neo the truth. It’s a key scene in the movie, a crucial moment. Do we want to know the truth–or would we rather just go on believing “whatever you want to believe”?
Recent, secular recognition that pornography is bad for us is evidence that some Americans see the truth about the harm porn causes. But does that mean we will act on this truth–or will we choose to look away?
The Kansas City Royals are trying to discourage porn usage among the team members. A recent seminar for players featured speakers from a “non-religious” organization called “Fight the New Drug,” a group that invites participants to make an “informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness of its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.” Continue reading “Porn as a Drug to Conceal Truth”

Manhood does. Womanhood is.

“Manhood must be demonstrated. It is largely an action. Womanhood is an essence. Manhood does. Womanhood is.” (Qtd. by Stanton)
That’s a statement many would challenge today. That there is a difference–and that the difference is significant.
Some might challenge the statement as religious. After all, it is largely in the orthodox corners of Christianity that such discussion happens at all today.
But this statement comes from a secular person–one who did not advocate biblical marriage and sexual purity. Continue reading “Manhood does. Womanhood is.”

Another Guest Blog by the Dog

(Boomer sits in once more for Nancy E.)
They say he’s coming back soon–my master. It’s that word soon. They keep saying it.
I’ve been here for a long time. Time. It’s a word like soon. Time seems always to be just ahead of us. But we never catch it. Soon never seems to arrive.
It’s been a long time for the humans too.
Since the last time I addressed you, it’s been good. The humans and I get along fine. I’ve made a second home here. I have beds all over the place. The people here think a couple of them are for me. What they call a dog bed sits beside their bed, and a blanket sprawls on the floor in the office. I make do with them when I must. Continue reading “Another Guest Blog by the Dog”

Rites of Commitment

Sunday was a stellar day for our family. The kind you remember all your life if you were part of it.
Two cousins got baptized. Their cousin baptized them. That cousin became ordained that evening. We marked a remarkable day for three grandsons.
In the morning, the two younger cousins went under water. “Buried in Christ. Risen in Christ.” Now walking a new way.
One grandson remarked, “I’m really wet.” Continue reading “Rites of Commitment”

Helping Them Want the Sunlight

It’s something there isn’t much room for in the Church. It’s something that can make us uncomfortable to even think about.
Even as I write, I feel just a bit…anxious.
But it’s something we have to face.
Andrea Lucado’s English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith is a memoir of her experiences during the year she spent attending graduate school in England. It was also the year she climbed a mountain of doubt about her faith. Continue reading “Helping Them Want the Sunlight”