Saturday, January 28, 2012

How we will know I have given up

How we will know if I have seriously given up on that dream job at my alma mater:
  • I will switch churches.
  • I will stop blogging anonymously.
The second one may never happen (due to laziness or a philosophical choice related to my beliefs about writing and art and stuff).   Next time, I'll post about the first one.  For real.

Friday, January 20, 2012

How we love . . .

I really need to write something about how (and why) I need to find a new church to serve in, so that seems to be the last thing I actually want to write about.  While I was procrastinating and cleaning a lot of things right now, including archived post topics (I'm set for the next ten years in terms of topics), I found this quote from a blog post, and it got me thinking. 

"I’ve also found that the more I trust in Christ’s redemption to be sufficient, the less overtly religious I am. And, quite honestly, the more suspect overtly religious people become to me. When I’m with somebody who talks zealously about faith, about Jesus, about the Bible, after a while, I find myself wondering whether or not their faith is strong at all. For instance, if I were with somebody who kept talking about how much they loved their wife, going on loudly and profusely, intuitively I would wonder whether or not they were struggling in their marriage. I would wonder whether they were trying to convince me they loved their wife, or if they were trying to convince themselves."

I found myself thinking about the great shema.  We are called to love the Lord with heart, mind, soul, and strength, and I wondered how talking about God is loving him.  Which of those categories does it fall under?  All?  None?  I wonder if this comes back to the fundamental truth that love is an action, a verb, something you prove by your actions.  Is it that our words, to some extent, don't matter?  Or is the problem that our actions and words don't match up? 

How do we love God?  How do we show others that we love God?  Is the answer to both these questions the same? 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rhymes with respect, I think

I was thinking the other day about what is required of us as believers.  We are called to extravagant, even ridiculous, love that isn't given only to the deserving and those who will appreciate it and thank us.  It's supposed to be like the outrageous love that has been given to us (while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us).  What a mystery the love of God for His fallen creation is.

Came across this definition from Gina Dalfonzo while catching up on email from the past, er, five years.  It made me think.  I really need to remember this when I'm getting irritated at my noisy cube neighbor or when someone is talking my ear off even though I am shouting with every kind of body language known to man that I want to be left alone or when I'm in a bad mood and am tempted to return a snide comment in kind.
"Christian courtesy is rooted and grounded in the idea that every person—however much we may dislike him or her—is made in the image of God and precious in his sight. It is an ideal that we may struggle to live up to, but the struggle makes us better people; it reminds us to show kindness when every impulse and instinct is urging us to do the opposite. It requires of us something deeper than a rally or a video, something more than the obligatory apology that follows most celebrity catfights. It's a lifestyle that has to be consciously lived every day."

I really wonder what this looks like.  I don't think it's quite the same as kindness.  If it's something we're supposed to imitate from Jesus' life, I think there are certain times when the gloves are supposed to come off (He had a real problem with people cloaking their agendas in the trappings of religious holiness, for instance), but I do wonder how my behavior would change if I was able to see each and every person in this light of truth

Serious political mudslinging season is nigh.  If the politicians who claim to be believers would practice Christian courtesy towards their opponents, well, wow.  What would that be like?

Friday, January 6, 2012

3 random quotes that made me think

1. "It may seem circular, but such is the nature of the gospel. God loves us because he loves us. It doesn't get any simpler, or more profound, than that."

2. "Just because the issue is morally complex doesn't mean there aren't answers. It does mean, however, that there are limits to what we can say with certainty."

3. "Giving money to the poor is part of what God has ontologically made the very structure of the universe. That is, the universe operates by a principle of charity. That God loves the world. That God loves the poor. We're to love the world and love the poor, and if we do such we will benefit from acting in a way in which God himself acts."

Any thoughts?