Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good Christians?

I was reading this morning in Keller's book. He is talking about the misnomer that Christians should somehow be kinder, better, less prone to immaturity and moral failings than the rest of society. He said that kind of thinking is based upon the idea that we somehow get 'cleaned up' and then come to Christ - kind of opposite to what the gospel actually is.

Here is an excerpt I found interesting:

"Good character is largely attributable to a loving, safe and stable family and social environment - conditions for which we were not responsible. Many have had instead an unstable family background, poor role models, and a history of tragedy and disappointment. As a result, they are burdened with deep insecurities, hypersensitivity, and a lack of self-confidence. They may struggle with uncontrolled anger, shyness, addictions, and other difficulties as a result.

Now imagine that someone with a very broken past becomes a Christian and her character improves significantly over what it was. Nevertheless, she still may be less secure and self-disciplined than someone who is so well adjusted that she feels no particular need for religious affiliation at all. Suppose you meet both of these women the same week. Unless you know the starting points and life journeys of each woman, you could easily conclude that Christianity isn't worth much, and that Christians are inconsistent with their own standards."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's Been A Week

So, it's been a week since our Ash Wednesday Gathering. We had a great time together. Here are some of the comments I received:

"Tonight's gathering was very meaningful to me..."

"I love watching people come together like that."

"Loved the aroma of incense, sound of emotion, hammering interrupting the soft, sweet music..."

"Was very powerful and meaningful to me and I'm sure others as well."

"...(the) gathering was very moving, indeed."

" night..."

We are one week into Lent. How is it going? However it's going, I encourage you to remember the season. Sometimes when I start some kind of change in behavior for the positive and fail shortly thereafter, I have a tendency to put off starting again. I think we miss out when we do that.

This is a year of discovery for me. This year I have decided NOT to fast anything. Instead I've decided to add. I have chosen to face some of my doubts - both named and unnamed - and attempt to focus on God. I want to discover who he is, REALLY. I've lived much of my life with my own view of him and in recent days have seen how lacking my view is. I know I will never understand him - who wants a god that can be totally understood? But I do believe that God desires to be known. So I'm spending my time talking to him, writing about him, drawing to him, reading about him.

I've started two books that I am really enjoying. The first is "The Reason for God," by Tim Keller. The second is "The Church of 80% Sincerity," by David Roche. One is a New York City Pastor; the other is a humorist. It's too early for me to endorse either one; however, I have begun learning from each. You can get a feel for David here:


And Tim here:


Sunday, March 1, 2009

More Photos

As promised, here are more photos from our Marriage Renewal Weekend on February 14 & 15. This is Mark and Susan McConnell. They celebrated 30 years of marriage this year. Thanks to Carol Kirschke for jumping in and taking the photos.