Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The crucifixion of Jesus is finally a mystery. We are told that when Jesus died, all died. That when he was raised from the dead, so were we. We are to believe that in the death and resurrection of Christ, something historical and objective happened which saved us and the world.

But how exactly does that work? Ho do we make sense of that? Lots of theories, but no one really knows.

While the cross of Christ is historical and did something to us objective and concrete, it also offers us healing for our minds, emotions, and relationships. In other words, the cross did something to us and for us whether we feel it or not and can also change the way we think and feel about ourselves and others. Contemplating the Son of God dying a criminal's death for us because he loves us, frees us from a lot of guilt, judgment, and self-hatred.

We spend much of our time thinking about what we and others should be and are not. This leads to sadness and anger. But, contemplating the death of Jesus frees us from much of it. The cross gives us a radical reorientation regarding what we and others should be.

  • On the cross God became limited and confined. Now I can more easily accept my own limitations and the limitations of others.

  • On the cross God became inferior so I don't have to pretend I am superior.

  • On the cross God became weak so I don't have to be strong or judge the weakness of others. 

  • On the cross God became disapproved so now I don't need the approval of others.

  • In the religious and civil courts God was proved wrong so I don't have to always demand justice for myself.

  • In the world's eyes and in the minds of his friends God was a failure so now I don't be a success or demand it from others.

  • On the cross God became poor in every way and he got over it. Now I don't have to be rich in any way.

We suffer far too much and too often because we don't measure up to what we think we ought to be. We judge others in the same way. Once we see that God became one of us and took on himself everything we don't like about ourselves, and got over it, so can we.

We are just human and Jesus showed us that that's good enough.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


On June 29, 2004, twelve U.S. soldiers coming home from Iraq were flying American Airlines Flight 866 from Atlanta to their home in Chicago. 

While passengers were waiting to board, a business man approached one of the soldiers and asked, "What is your seat number, soldier?" 

The soldier replied, "23B, sir."

The business man said, "No, son. That's my seat. Here is yours in first class." He handed the soldier his first class ticket and pointed him to the first class boarding entrance.

Word quickly spread throughout the plane and other first class passengers exchanged their boarding passes with the other eleven soldiers. 

That flight turned into a celebration. Jaded business people, exhausted soldiers, and everyone else on the plane experienced the Kingdom of God.

The best thing we can do for God, is to love and bless his children. In doing so, we make him happy and have a party in the process.

The Kingdom of God is a glad celebration.

We can throw one anytime we want.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Religion is all about contract. The Holy Trinity is all about grace.

Biblical Christianity is not one of the great religions. It is utterly unique. One way to see this truth is to reflect on the difference between contract and grace.

We live in a contractual world. Study hard, earn A's, take out the trash, get your allowance. Be nice to me and I will be nice to you. Contract always has an If - Then clause. If the tree trimmers I contract with, do their job, then I will pay them.

Contract religion (which is redundant) is about you. It's about you saying your prayers, taking a pilgrimage to Mecca, paying your tithes, witnessing, or whatever. If you do those things, then God will like you.

Trinitarian grace is the very opposite. You can't do anything to earn God's favor. It's already yours. It's not if you repent, then you get forgiven - you already are.

"He chose you before he created the world to be holy and blameless. In love he predestined you to be adopted as his very own son or daughter."
 Ephesians 1:4-5

Your status was decided by the God of grace before you could do anything. No If - Then contract was ever imagined by God. Because of our guilty feelings, we imagined it. This is where religion comes from. We have invented ways to assuage our guilt and balance the books.

"Love keeps no record of wrong." 
I Corinthians 13:5 
There are no books to balance.

By nature God can keep no good thing to himself. All he knows how to do is give freely. The true If - Then clause goes like this.  

If we believe the good news that Jesus has included us inside his own fellowship with the Father and Spirit, then we can live free. 

And only then will we see what we are made of and made for.

Only then are we free to respond to God's love with our own love.

Only then will our obedience and devotion to him be what he is waiting for.