Tag Archives: Christianity

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 with less magic but one that might actually be a bigger miracle. Continue reading

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)

The Creation of Adam

The Creation of Adam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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, to burn it in a fire.  Without moving an inch, by mere planning in my head,  it becomes fuel.  This pile of wood is fuel for my fire, end of story.   …Or perhpas this is where the importance of ‘story’ just begins.  Continue reading

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

Austin Amtrack station (Texas, USA) Français :...

Austin Amtrack station (Texas, USA) Français : La gare Amtrak d'Austin (Texas, États-Unis) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Continue reading

Welcome. Let us Work Toward a Hard Goodbye. — Living well in the discovery and the loss of friendships.

“Well,” Fr. Francis said, “That is a relationship and relationships go through transitions.”   Of all of the things I have been mulling over in trying to make sense of a painful friendship, this one made the difference.  It was so simple, and apparently truthful because it made my gut ache. Continue reading

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.

Buddy Christ

Buddy Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 a dangerous prayer.  The trouble began when I took it so seriously it started to take my life in some surprising if not shocking directions that none of my youth pastors had anticipated. Continue reading

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 to live as they do. Continue reading

“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 the open wild. Continue reading

“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…

Continue reading

“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

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