Category Archives: The Walk

The trouble with Christians…

I’m watching the musical Company by Stephen Sondheim while prepping some potatoes for later, and just ran across a quote that spoke volumes to me:

“Married people are no more marriage than musicians are music- just because some of the people might be wrong doesn’t matter. It is still right.”

My immediate thought was of how this applies to those who condemn Christianity because of the way that some Christians act- we believers are certainly imperfect and badly flawed, but our mistakes do not invalidate the truth and reality of the Gospel, any more than the fact that some people (ME, for example) are terrible at playing piano invalidates all the beautiful pieces that have been written for that instrument.

Something to think about.


Altars vs Idols

Genesis 35:1-4

1God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. 3Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears. Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree that was near Shechem.

———–

God asks for altars, not idols. Idols are man’s way of trying to capture who God is and box Him into a form that man can understand. Idols are man’s way of trying to control God- of trying to show God off to others as OUR god, rather than being HIS people. Altars, on the other hand, stay put. We can’t keep them and show them off. They cost us something; our time, our effort, and our stuff, and they remain in place forever as a testament to God’s holiness, God’s faithfulness, and God’s Lordship, not our own pitiful attempts at control.


Win-Win situations

Ok, so.

Being in seminary, I occasionally have to put up with mindlessly passionate (yes, it’s possible) people spouting their own personal interpretations of Scripture. Being in a BAPTIST seminary, I then get to watch someone else with a different viewpoint argue with them for an hour afterward.

Ok, maybe not that bad, but it’s a great setup for what I want to talk about. Today I had the “pleasure” of sitting through a debate about the meaning of 1Thessalonians 4:13-18 where two people argued about what it means when it talks about the “dead in Christ.” Let me preface this by saying that I don’t want to get into an eschatological debate here, so regardless of whether you happen to be a premillenial-dispensationalist or not (say that five times fast), this next bit still applies.

The argument in class was whether when a Christian dies today, do they go straight to heaven, or do they go to “sleep” until Christ gathers all those who believed in Him together?

Instead of answering that question, I just have to say that God is AWESOME either way.

How many of us couldn’t use a nap from the time we die until the time Christ gathers us up? I know there are times that I wouldn’t mind sleeping for a few years. (Not to mention the idea that if you’re asleep, you wouldn’t notice the time lag, anyway. It would seem like you died, then suddenly woke up when Jesus gathered everyone.)

On the other hand, how good will it be to get to heaven? You’re wheezing and in pain one moment, then a split-second later you’re in heaven! With Jesus!

Either way, I’m pretty excited about this “death” thing. Heaven, or nap…then Heaven.

God is good, amen?

Kyle

PS- Yes, I really did type most of this just to use the words “premillenial-dispensationalist” in a post. Sue me.


Perspective

One of my many hats at Wal Mart is that of a “thrower” of trucks. This means that I climb into an 18-wheel truck with between 1300-2100 pieces of merchandise, then place then on a long device which conveys the item to other people who put it where it belongs.

When throwing a truck, you are right up against the (seemingly) endless and infinately tall wall of boxes that you are throwing onto the line. While this is the place where the thrower can do the most good (indeed, he is no good anywhere else), he is also incredibly unable to predict what is coming next, or to see how much is left in the truck.

While the thrower is able to see progress based on the amount of space between the back of the truck and where he stands at that moment, he is still entirely unable to see how far is left, or what will be coming next. He relys completely upon a helper, one who not only pushes the freight on down the line so that the thrower has room to continue working, but is far enough away from the wall of obstacles to see not only what is coming, but how much of the truck is left. The thrower must listen to the helper if they are to succeed at throwing the truck without causing a wall of merchandise to fall upon them, and to prevent them breaking many items in the process.

In the same way, we are so close to our lives, to our work (for Christ, not necessarily our jobs), which is exactly where we must be to remain useful for the kingdom, yet we are unable to see the future, we don’t know what might be just over that next box of Cheetos- is it a lawn mower ready to fall atop you, or a box of pillows waiting to land easily on the line? It is only through listening to, and building an intimate relationship with the Helper that Christ sent us that we will be able to be effective in our lives, and not grow despondent and fear of ever reaching the goal for which we run. We don’t know what is next, or how far to the end of the truck (or our race), but we do have personal access to someone who does, who lives inside of each of us who are saved through the blood of Christ Jesus.

Shortsightedly,
Kyle


C.S. Lewis, Donald Miller, Clay Aiken, and Hercules?

I recently read Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller, and I must confess that it is far better than Blue Like Jazz. When reading the latter, I found myself bored, the former, while still not something I completely agree with, had many interesting and potentially life changing ideas.

The most impacting of these ideas for me is this: our relationship with Christ is to be that- a RELATIONSHIP. Yes, I knew this before. Yes, I’ve said the same many a time. The key difference here is that Miller uses such a set of examples and anecdotes to make a point that one cannot help but feel it on a very real level. This brings up an underlying question that he also asks in the book: what if we read the Bible not as some sort of formula, not as some sort of 16-step guide to living like Christ, but really appreciate it as God revealing Himself to us. What if we read the stories of David, Moses, Hosea, Job, and all the rest, and instead of asking what things about their lives we can turn into formulaic patterns (eg the prayer of Jabez), look for who God Is in that person’s life. How does He act, respond, love, punish, reward, and love?

Miller says it better, needless to say, so read the book. (Jay, in your case, read it when I give it back to you…) I love the point he makes about the way in which our culture has erred WAY too far to the side of Science. We have made life about facts, about figures, about some cop on Dragnet saying “Just the facts, ma’am.” This isn’t the way humans live life. Even as young children, people tell stories. We tell stories when things go well, we share sorrows when they don’t. We do not tell what happened to us with numbers and facts, we do not say “I fell down three steps and fractured my left olna, causing myself pain in large quantities,” we say “I was walking and was tripped by the dog, then broke my leg, and it hurt like a snakebite in July.” Or, at least, something like that. We live stories, not facts.

I’ve also been reading The Great Divorce over the last two days, and what it is really teaching me is humility. I don’t understand half of what Lewis is saying. Oh, I understand the plot alright, the story at the fore, but for the life of me I cannot see the meaning of many of the things he talks about.

I love this sort of book. When I tried to read it in high school, I could only read a few chapters, then grew bored with it. Now, I am enthralled, but cannot understand but a taste of it. Fifty years from now, perhaps I shall begin to understand, then sometime during eternity I can just ask old Clive what he meant.

Last but not least, I would like to compare the two songs “I Will Go the Distance” by Clay Aiken and “Go the Distance” by Michael Bolton (from Disney’s Hercules). In the latter, the singer is wanting fame, glory, power, honor for themself. They don’t care about others, the people they will save, but merely that he obtains the glory he wants so badly. How much does this reflect the reasoning for why we do “noble” things? How often are our good actions the result of us wanting good PR?

“I don’t care how far, I can go the distance,
I will face the world, fearless, proud and strong
I will beat the odds, I can go the distance
Till I find MY hero’s welcome right where I belong.”

To contrast, in the former, the vocalist sings as though he were Christ, speaking with God the Father and sacrificially saying:

“I will go the distance, I will go that far.
I will give up everything to bring them where You are.
Even though I could choose the path of least resistance,
Father I will take the cross.
I will go the distance.”



Job at E-Rock

Well, I just got back from E-rock, and that is some beautiful country out there. Last night several of us hiked up the rock in the dark, and while there were some…interesting moments, it was AMAZING to stand at the top of that “exfoliation dome”, in the pitch black of night, feel the wind swirling around you, and find yourself almost entranced by the incredible number of stars that are visible. When standing there, it felt like I was right out of Job;

“Then God answered Job out of the storm. He said…

Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?”

So humbling. Wow.

Anywho, then I slept on a table, then today we went spelunking…..tight spaces…..big guy…….interesting… Anywho, came out of it ok, and it was actually quite fun. Challenging, but fun.

Well, that’s all for now. No joust.

Faith! Tis time for food/football/sleep!