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God: “I have seen suffering…”

“I have seen suffering make heroes of some of my children.

The strength with which they endure their pain is a shining example to all.

But sometimes, child, suffering is only suffering.

It seems gratuitous.

It feels meaningless.

It teaches nothing.

It brings no gifts.

It just is.

It just is and you feel alone,

Abandoned, Forsaken.

You think I have gone

So you run.

Your mind skitters away from the hurt.

Your body shrinks away from the pain.

Your heart tries to shut itself against the suffering.

I see you run.

You don’t believe that I am with you.

But I am there.

When you stop running from the pain

And turn to face it,

When you can step into the agony and let it be,

When you can turn to your own suffering and know its name,

Then you will see me.

You will see me in the heart of it with you.

It doesn’t matter if your body is wracked by pain

Or your mind is spiraling through aches and anguish.

When you stop running you will see me.

I will not forsake you.

I cannot abandon you.

You are not alone.

I am with you.”

-God, through the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

(Made for Goodness, 109-110)

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in prayer

 

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On judgment.

It’s time for us to admit it: Being “judgmental” is actually necessary to being a person of faith.

Just be really, really careful (and humble) about it.

Odd timing for a post on judgment, I know, since we just finished Christmas and I’m presently sitting in perhaps the last place on earth that you would consider nasty things like “judgment.” (That place being Hawaii).

Kona coast

But in the peaceful early morning hours here in Waikoloa, listening to Mumford and Sons and sipping my Kona coffee, I came across this article in USA about some comments that Bill Maher made about Tim Tebow following their recent loss to Buffalo.

I’ve shared my opinion of Tebow and Maher to others before—and in case anyone’s curious, I don’t deify or demonize either of them. I know this is a bit like comparing apples to Slip n’ Slides, but  I’ve found Maher to be both hilarious and needlessly-offensive (I’m not necessarily against someone being offensive if it makes a point)— and I’ve found Tebow to be both annoying and refreshingly sincere. If there is a comparison to be made, they are both in many ways poster children (and caricatures) for the two “sides” of the so-called “culture wars.” But none of this is the point I want to make.

My two main concerns are: a) do I have a right to say the things I just said about Tebow and Maher?…. and b) is a Christian called to “not judge”?

The comments of the above-mentioned article feature a man who says that Maher is “evil, vile, and mean spirited” and defends Tebow…then several people proceed to call the man out as a hypocrite (and many proceed to name-call right back). Such scenes have become about as common on the Internet as Youtube videos of laughing babies and tweets about the newest Apple gadget… and I sure most of you reading this are as tired of them as I am…. but I think a point of clarification needs to be made about what “judgment” is and isn’t.

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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in jesus

 

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God wants “Godly things…” God wants YOU.

Here is another excerpt from a sermon—this one is from our most recent Sunday at our church in West Groton, Mass.

In all likelihood, this will be a common trend on this blog for the foreseeable future— to either reflect on readings from my doctoral study, or to post excerpts from recent sermons. So, it will be a combination of me trying to make sense of faith, and of me trying to explain faith to others. Either way, I hope to continue receiving feedback from others in the blogosphere.

This is the middle portion of the sermon, part of a series of sermons teaching on the Kingdom/Reign of God, using the lectionary passages. This Sunday, the passage was Matthew 22:15-22:

(NRSV) 15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?19Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius.20Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ 21They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in faith, love

 

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Slow Club.

On Monday I came across a video of Mark Yaconelli telling a story that I read in his book Contemplative Youth Ministry some time back, and thought that it was well worth sharing.

 

Mark Yaconelli on the simple joy of slowing down

 

Take the time to notice the thousands of miracles happening all around us, every day.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in lessons, youth

 

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