• Its Jesus, Not Dinosaurs…that are coming. Advent Day One

    Ah. I begin Advent again with boxes and branches strewn about my small living room.   I just put in the last of what I call the Deadly Poultry Dishes in the dish washer and hope that I have done so prudently enough to keep the infinite number of possible turkey based bacterial death contaminates at bay… I guess we will see soon enough. I worked too many hours selling self described “magic” gadgets to strangers over the past two days and I feel harried and hurried and anxious and I feel certain if I sit down to finish writing this I will once again be late for Church.  …

  • Loaves, Fishes, and Brisket at Flipside: Fear doesn’t have to drive our friendships or our economics.

    In the story of the loaves and fishes, Jesus takes the little bit of food offered to him from a small boy and breaks it, blesses it and gives it to those who had been following him for days who had become hungry.   That small gift ends up feeding several thousand people to the point where there are several baskets full after everyone has eaten.   It is  another one of the miracles a lot of people love to reference to show Jesus’ supernatural powers.   But I spent some time with some friends this weekend that reminded me of another reading of that story.   It is one…

  • End of the Story: Most of the truths we live by are things we cannot prove. Beauty is just one of them. (Faith for Reasons)

    We live in a moment in history in which truth is only found in this fairly new thing we reinvented called a ‘fact.’    “This is a table,” we say.  It is a fact that the thing I just set my cup on is a “table.”   Ta-da!  End of story…    It is an idea that seems pretty hard to argue with until all of a sudden I take that same table  apart and plan to build a flower bed out of it.   Fairly quickly it becomes lumber.  So it is now not a table after all.   Er… right?  That is the case until I decide without making any changes to the pile,…

  • Is a Train Trip to Dallas Considered a Religious Experience? Faith for Reasons…

    I am on a train, the whistle just blew the wheels have begun to turn.  I am watching the backside of downtown Austin and it feels very much like I am on a ride at Disneyland or on  a tour of a movie studio where I,  for one second, get to peek around a corner and see how the magic happens.  Trains, I am guessing, are quite heavy and the wheels, as they say, have been put in motion.  Like it or not, I am going somewhere.

  • How my relationship with Jesus is, and is not, personal.

    When I was young I would go to camp or a youth service where I was told that what I needed was a personal relationship with Jesus.  It made a kind of sense as a lot of things do for children because I was still relying on other people to teach me how to make sense of things. So I agreed, with no regrets. However, I happen to be the kind of person, and have been since childhood, to throw myself headlong into the task at hand whatever it may be.   So I was bound and determined to have the most personal relationship with Jesus a person could have. This is…

  • Reasons for my Faith. …from someone who has nothing to prove

      J. Douglas Harrison. The Patient In the next few weeks  I will occasionally be posting some reflections on what it can mean to have faith in a time when the Christian faith may seem, at least to many people, quite unreasonable. I won’t try to provide irrefutable evidence in favor of the Christian faith.  I will not be presenting argumentative ‘facts’ or try to show that Christianity is obviously intellectually superior to everything else as others may  have tried to do.  I have nothing here to prove.   I have nothing here to buy or sell.  Instead, I believe there are different genres by which we come to see what moves people…

  • “No Wonder the Door Won’t Open, Silly. I am Already Inside.” -Three things about being a misfit in communities of grace that I keep having to re-learn.

    Clearly I write from a position of someone who sits near the exit.  I love church, but sometimes I find it exhausting. I love my weirdo burner friends, and sometimes they can be a little harsh on my faith.   I long to be in Christian community, yet, depending on the community, I find myself itching to get out. I am finding that there are hidden moments of grace ready for the taking in all kinds of communities. And when I am willing to exercise a little humility and receive it, I find that that grace goes further than the edges of my life, and often finds its way into…

  • “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…

  • “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.

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