In a land far from here, in a time long forgotten, there were two villages separated by a deep chasm. On the east side of the wide rocky gorge was Becket’s Corner, to the west lay Paradise. For a time when the elder’s grandfathers were young, a wobbly suspension bridge provided passage, commerce, and sharing between the two villages. Over time the villages grew apart, each community blaming something the other had done. Then, one night, the bridge was gone. Both sides condemned the other for the destruction with pointed fingers, but neither could prove anything. While a few mourned the loss of the bridge most didn’t seem to care. They were content, even happy, to be on their own. One day in a far-off city, many many years after the bridge fell, Jason from Becket’s corner met F
The powerful blast of an atomic bomb is from the dividing of atoms in a process called fission. What I’m seeing across the church (and in our nation) is something like fission. There is energy and passion released in our divisions. We feel justified since we’re “not like them” and feel empowered as we push them away. This energy of division is easily seen in many areas of life, but in the church, it can only exist because of a lie. The lie that permits our division is fake unity. This fake unity is built around traditions, doctrines, worldviews, and political views. It’s a unity that fools our senses since it looks and feels like unity. After all, we all agree, we’re alike. But it is a unity created by subtraction as unwanted and uncomfortable differences are energetically rejected.
Dale - This morning as I prepare Kerry's article for publication my thoughts and prayers are with the victims, family, friends, and community of the church shooting in Sutherland Springs Texas. By Kerry Rohman Last week as I was teaching at a local homeschool co-op I asked a group of kindergarteners what war we were learning about. One 5-year-old boy proudly and quickly replied: “the silver war”. I chuckled at his response and said “That’s right! The Civil War” (emphasizing “civil” to gently correct his mispronunciation). Okay, next question. “Who was the president during the CIVIL war?” “Oh!! I know!! I know!!”, they shouted. “Abraham Lincoln! Abraham Lincoln!!” What a smart class! They must have a good teacher! If I had to pick my favorite President of the United States eve
There are two aspects of faith we struggle with at times. Both happen to be “O” words; which works nicely for our ABC’s of faith. As we talk about them it’s easy to slip into thinking of faith as religion, denomination, church, belief system, or practice. But even in these “O” words the emphasis is on our relationship with God and trusting Him. To some these “O” words seem restrictive - I hope that you will find freedom. To some these “O” words justify judgment and condemnation - I hope that you will discover the log in your eye. Some have abused these “O” words to drive personal agendas instead of leaning into God’s desire - I hope that you will see God’s trustworthy love. Paul wrote, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord
Sometimes things aren’t as they seem. Starved Rock State Park is less than an hour from where we live. Its sandstone bluffs and grand view of the Illinois River has drawn folks for years. While many take the path to the top of the rocky bluff, some choose to walk beside the river. The Illinois River is like a series of lakes. Many folks spend time swimming, fishing, and playing up and down its course. But not at Starved Rock. Next to the state park there is a flood-control dam. All along the shoreline are signs warning folks of the dangerous undertow caused by the dam. The surface of the water may look calm, peaceful, and inviting but there is danger underneath. The next few verses in our Walk Through Philippians almost seem like a side comment. Paul has concluded his main teaching
Grandpa Joe loved puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles, 3-d block puzzles, wire puzzles, and just about anything else you can think of. One of the things he brought back from his time in Germany during WWII was a figure puzzle. Essentially, figure puzzles are clay or wooden tiles of different geometric shapes that can be assembled to form larger shapes. With it came a little book, not of answers - that cost extra, but of shape puzzles. The challenge is to assemble each shape without any leftovers tiles. In a way, Paul is now taking all the pieces of the last several lessons on unity and humility to show us two examples of what those look like when all the pieces are in place. Welcome to the sixth installment of Walking Through Philippians. Over the past few lessons, Paul has been encouraging the Jes...
Our conduct is often guided by who we are with and where we are at. We act one way at work and another way while standing in a checkout line. The different groups we belong to each have their own set of expectations or rules of conduct. Motorcycle riders have an expectation of “the wave” as they pass each other on the road. Campers have an expectation of helpfulness and of respecting the temporary boundaries of each other’s campsites. Parents have guidelines that specify what is helpful and what is off-limits when someone’s child is acting up in the canned goods section of the major mart. There are formally expressed workplace expectations from employers and informally understood ones between workers. Is it any wonder then that Paul said, “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, co