Category Archives: “Disappointed with God”

The Impossible Will Take A Little While.

It is harder than it looks to know how to take Easter. On the one hand it feels like an easy home run, a touchdown, a triumphal entry.   But those were the kinds of thing we were celebrating last week. How then is this week different?   For one thing it amazes how few people  to whom Jesus appeared after the resurrection.

The first to arrive.

One would think he would be taking out billboards all over town that said, “I told you so!”  but he doesn’t.    The first to see Jesus would be the last we would expect.   It was not the disciples, not even his family, but one of the worst outcasts of all of his company: Mary Magdalene.

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“Unless our Hopes Fall to the Ground and Die” — We have some grieving to do, but not for Jesus.

The Gospel of Mark is my favorite.  I especifically  love the eighth chapter.   It is hysterical.  I still find myself being caught off guard and LOL-ing sometimes.
The disciples are dolts.  They have the hardest time learning the most obvious lessons.  Jesus goes and feeds several thousand, gets on a boat with them, and suddenly they are afraid Jesus will be mad because the didn’t pack a lunch.  Zheesh.  In that same chapter Jesus heals this man in a most unusual way and he has to do it twice.  Either Jesus is losing his touch or Mark is writing to try to be be obvious: We don’t see clearly yet.   The first time Jesus touches the blind man he sees part way. ” I see people, like trees walking around.”   I get that.  That makes sense to me.  If he is still half blind, then he is not wrong.  But there is more to be seen and it will be a shocker.   So don’t stop now…

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“How many hands does it take to wash two feet? All of ours”: One of the defining moments of my life.

John’s body was less like mine than anyone else’s in the room.  In that room full of people with some very unique bodies and abilities, that was saying a lot.   Everything in this particular prayer service was going to have a lot to do with what bodies can and cannot do, and how we live with that.  It was this night I found and answered a new question:, “How many bodies it take to wash two feet?”  Answer: All of ours. Continue reading

Oil Spill: How much should I be worried about whether God will forgive me?

In my church we most often confirm people on Easter Sunday.  It was the tradition in the area I lived at that time to have a special service on the Tuesday before Easter when members of individual congregations would come to pick up oils blessed by the Bishop to bring back to their individual congregations. I eagerly volunteered and was selected to go and represent our congregation to get the oils.  This particular service had a lot of meaning for me and I had been looking forward to actually participating in it for days.

When it came to the big day, I slept through it.  I forgot it entirely. Continue reading

Manic Maundy: How you can prevent waging a personal war-on-Easter.

ora et labora

It is springtime and it seems the hectic demands I usually have around Christmas are beginning to over take Holy Week as well.  Besides my normal work obligations I have time sensitive art projects, volunteer work, some important events with my friends and of course, church services.  I feel like I am waging my own personal  war on Easter trying to figure out what the most Christian choices I can make are.  I suspect that I am not at all alone in this.  I find myself asking familiar questions about what Christianity is all, “about,” Continue reading

Face-Palm Sunday: How sincerity can keep Christians from being Christian.

Nearly every Palm Sunday sermon I heard growing up emphasized the inevitable hypocrisy of those  who would be shouting Jesus’ praise on one day and crying “crucify him!” just days later.  During these sermons I always pictured the crowds as wicked bearded villains (perhaps with pirate hats?).

I most certainly never pictured them being anything like me.   That is why it was so confusing when, without any sense of irony,  we all picked up Palm leaves and cried, “Hosannah!” just like those bearded hypocrite-pirates that we knew turned on Jesus later.  I knew that there were sides but I lost track of whose side to be on. Sunday? Friday? Continue reading

Disappointment with God: We are in over our heads.

I have come to believe that there can be no mature spiritual life without experiencing disappointment with God.   When I was younger I would have cringed at the idea because so much of my faith hinged on my sincerity and certainty of my own convictions.   Today my faith requires no less sincerity, but it does ask me to move beyond my own convictions to a place where I can be sure of what I hope for and certain of what I can not see. Continue reading

Five Things I Will Never Give Up for Lent.

Lent is pulling into the station and Holy week is just about to begin. I think there are lessons and moments of clarity I have discovered this year just by slowing some things down and cutting some things out. Part of what I have learned about the careful dance between God’s grace and our participation is the difference between trying to make things happen and making room for God and others to do things in us. I offer these in hope you can learn from my mistakes.  These are some of my lenten attempts that, surprisingly, have proven to be enemies of grace. Continue reading