In the World, Not of It?

You’ve heard the phrase “not of this world?”

It’s a clever concept. The idea is simple, that we wouldn’t just float about, being swept up in the whims of culture and friendly persuasion, but would stand immoveable upon the bedrock of Christ.

I entirely agree that Christ should always serve as our compass, but I also would argue that that compass has changed shape over time, depending on our surrounding environs. Deuteronomy was written in the style of a Semitic covenant renewal. John borrows heavily from the gnostic tradition. Zoroastrianism helped open the gates to our understanding of Jesus and Satan as the champions of light and darkness, respectively. The revelations and manifestations of the most Holy God change and mutate depending on the setting in which the authors find themselves in, yet all of these experiences are ultimately submissive to Christ, who is the author and editor of our individual and collective faith journeys.

Lemme put it this way: if God were to come up to Adam and Eve and tell them about Tweeting, they would be utterly clueless, but instead He revealed Himself to them in a way they understood and that understanding continues to change over time as we as a corporate human race continues to change.

God is the God of past, present, and future. He is not confined to one cultural understanding of Him. He offers Himself to all people at all times through all ages and shall continue to do so until the return of His blessed Son, Jesus. He desires to be known and for none to be lost, going to any and every extent to fulfill those means, even coming in body, suffering and dying, and rising again so that He would experience everything we would experience and also rising above it into His blessed Kingdom.

Let us look with open hearts and minds and ears to how God wants to reveal to Himself to us today.

There You Are, Peter

Jesus was beaten, whipped, crucified, and buried. He descended into Hades and returned

to the land of the Living to present Himself before His followers, who were in hiding.

They saw Him and believed, except for Thomas, who was not there. When His disciples

told him about the resurrected Lord, he refused to belief unless He touched the scars,

and today we call that doubt. But Isaiah 53:3 tells us that the Son of Man would be so

mangled His own followers would not recognize Him. In order to know Him you had to

push through the scars.

 

This reminds me of the movie “Hook” where Peter Pan (played by Robin Williams)

returns to Neverland after being away for so long. He has been away so long the Lost

Boys do not recognize him, not until one boy pushes back the wrinkles to see

Peter as he once was.

 

Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and always. Lord, may we have the guts to see Your

scars, to feel for ourselves the Lord is resurrected.

The God of Many Hats

We want to put God in a box

He’s a loving God

a warrior God

an unknowable God

a personal God

a He

a They

a person

a Spirit

a force

When in fact the beautiful thing about God

is that His person encompasses all these things

in ancient times,

they had many gods,

a god of shoes, of war, of harvest, of whatever

then the Jews came along and made

a crazy assertion,

that there was just God

and ever since then we have tried to split Him

up into little bits

because our brains love to compartmentalize things

but God remains God

the I AM, the God of infinite potential

I’m as guilty of this as the next person

of projecting onto, of pigeonholing Him

Yet the moment we allow God to be God

the moment He reveals Himself

to be ever so much more incredible than

we ever imagined He could be

we just have to have faith and trust

enough to allow Him to do so,

and allow ourselves that potential ourselves

so that we can be everything He meant us to be.

 

 

Menudo and Jesus

We Mexicans love

our bonus material

the brain, the tongue,

the intestine, the fat

it’s all incredibly delicious

and respects the whole animal

not just the pretty parts

Nothing goes to waste

So too does nothing go

to waste with God

our bodies our experiences

the way we speak and think

nothing is overlooked

Our habit is to disregard that part of us

or ignore this experience

so that we can come up with a commercially viable

and easily identifiable product

the fact of the matter is it is all

part of a design, mind-blowing and seemingly unrelated

as it may appear.

We must continue to look to God

for answers,

lest we settling for picking through life

looking for all the pretty bits.

 

Progressive Theology

People rag on Paul

because he did not speak loudly enough

about freeing the slaves

or giving voice to women

It is important to note that

for that time

the steps that he did take were huge,

calling for the inclusion of Gentiles,

for a master to acknowledge his escaped slave

as a brother,

and boldly stating that there is

neither Jew nor Gentile,

nor slave nor free,

nor man nor woman

in Christ;

but we would be foolish to stop there,

just in the same way that our Founding Fathers

espoused liberty while withholding rights

from many.

No, it would millennia before

the Paul saw the freeing of slaves,

the protections of the immigrant,

and the giving of authority to women.

Just as Jesus did not come to abolish the law

but rather fulfill it

we strive not to debunk Paul’s asserts

but rather to see them come to true fruition

it is progressive theology.

Just as God is not quick to act,

but rather takes His time in seeing His will be done,

so too does society take its time to get where it needs to go.

We must continue to be both active and patient in that regard,

knowing that growth, whether personal or society,

takes time,

but eventually that Kairos time does come.

 

Psalm 23: God, a Friend in the Midst of Our Sorrows

We all know the “Lord is my shepherd” chapter. It’s a famous passage, right up there with the Lord’s prayer and John 3:16, but did you notice the slight shift that comes in verse 4?

In verses 1-3, David speaks nicely of God. He feeds me, He quenches my thirst, He finds me a shady spot to rest my head. Very idyllic. But look what happens in verse 4! When we enter into the Valley of the Shadow of Death (an actual place, so I hear), David stops referring to God as Lord and starts referring to Him as You. You are with me. You comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the midst of my enemies. When things get hard, David’s relationship with God becomes very personal. Not until David speaks of heaven does he return to speaking of God as by His kingly title of Lord.

Jesus invited us to refer to God as Abba, Daddy. David holds his Savior tight. We too are invited to hold tightly to our Father in the midst of trouble. We need Him always, but especially in those times. Our knee-jerk reaction is to estrange ourselves from Jesus when times of trouble. God invites us to draw closer than we have ever been.

 

Mirror, Mirror, What Do You See?

What do you see when you look in the mirror

The age, flaws, the scars

The areas of improvement

I see all that too

But I can’t help but dance despite all that

because what a beautiful creation God has made

me, made us

Taking ownership of that is the least any of us can do

It honors God and makes us feel good

So why not give it go!