Month: January 2012

January 16, 2012 / / Uncategorized

The beauty of days in which we recognize icon’s like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the movement he represents is that it offers us the perspective of just how far we’ve come, and it is a solemn reminder of where we once were.

I have recently observed a number of scenarios that have caused me to question what Christian equality truly looks like and what our collective next step must be.  What better setting to offer these reflections than the holiday dedicated to a man who championed the “content of character” as a person’s value rather than the color of their skin.  This was truly a man who envisioned a community in which “all flesh” see things together.  I thank God that I have grown up in a world that stepped beyond the tragedies of segregation and mass, racial injustice.  My lifetime has not known appearance as a perquisite.  My classrooms, locker rooms, universities, teams, and social settings have always been painted with a beautiful spectrum of diversity, worlds apart from where America could be found on the eve of King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.

A host of courageous leaders pioneered a movement for equality in that decade.  But that was the need for that decade.  That was the necessary step toward true equality in that day.  I look around and ask, What must be ours?

January 16, 2012 / / Uncategorized

No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made.

Matthew 9:16


Undeniably, we live in a culture that loves a quick fix. Drive through oil change, 15 minute tire rotation, fast food, and social media in 140 characters or less. This is nothing new. If there is a quicker way to fix something, why not? It seems like we would even sacrifice quality for expediency sometimes. Okay, maybe it just doesn’t “seem” like it. It’s true. I mean people are eating up some disgusting fast food like its going out of style.

We’d often rather throw a quick patch on a problem than really get to the heart of what’s wrong. Sometimes, things simply require significant maintenance or an extensive overhaul.


These words of Jesus come in Matthew 9:14-17 as a response to the questioning by the disciples of John over the issue of fasting, but the real issue is clear. They are concerned about what it takes to be righteous. “Why we doing this and your disciples aren’t?” they ask. “How do we maintain an appropriate level righteousness before the law?” they wonder. As we see over and over in the teaching of Jesus, he will quickly reveal (whether or not they realize it) that something serious, something extensive, is going to happen.

The religious structures that were in place are going to have to experience some serious overhaul. In fact, the old must be replaced with something new. A patch simply will not do anymore…

January 10, 2012 / / Uncategorized

In a recent class which primarily engaged the theology of mission, I was asked to submit a final statement regarding my own personal theology of mission.  The full version is a bit longer, but in light of my recent thoughts about the church’s role in the world, I found myself returning to the conclusion of my statement.  It is by no means comprehensive, but I am both encouraged and greatly challenged by where I ended in writing this.  May it provide the same for you:

The Church

If I know anything, it is that mission does not begin or end with the church.  Yet, here the church stands in the peculiar position of being called and at the same time unnecessary. Called, in that it has been given a mission, a purpose, an assigned task; Unnecessary in that we must confess that the work of God is in no way limited to the church’s participation, ability, or faithfulness.  Nevertheless, God’s abundant power must surely not nullify the reality that scripture reveals His propensity to use the ordinary and unexpected to display his power on earth.

If mission is an assigned task or a calling, then I find the mission of the church to be relatively clear.  In his people, God is making himself known.  In this way, the church becomes the embodiment of the mysterious kingdom of God, the display of His ways and His character…

January 7, 2012 / / Uncategorized
churches can be ugly.


The Church is Ugly, and I love it.

I was reminded this week on several occasions just how dirty, ugly, and messed up churches can become. Fortunately, each of these examples was closely followed by the powerful role that churches and ministers play in the lives of congregations across the world.  The Church, more broadly, can be equally condemned.  It’s no surprise that my peers often reject it, that large numbers of people who consider themselves followers of Jesus do not consider church as a part of their life.  It’s no surprise that many families found attending church on Christmas day this year to be cumbersome, obligatory, or unnecessary.  It’s not breaking news that the church has long lost it’s place of privilege in the world, and with that has disappeared the sanctity of the body of Christ and the believer’s likelihood of loving it.

Yes, churches fight, argue, split, and have some less than commendable people.  As one of my mentors put it, “every church has some jerks.”  So, why bother?  I hold a very high view of the role of the local church in my own theology.  As a minister in a local church, and a seminary student, I find myself inescapably tied to it.  And let’s be honest, that isn’t always pretty. I don’t always like it. And sometimes I look around at the public perception of ministers and cringe.  But the reality it is: No matter how ugly the church may be, I am called to love  it.

January 4, 2012 / / Uncategorized

“There are things for which an uncompromising stand is worthwhile.” -Bonhoeffer