Sunday, January 6, 2019
Sometimes I'm asked what the Christian life is all about or what is the Church's purpose? My answer is pretty simple. I believe that the Church (I mean the universal Church as well as the local church) is to be about making disciples (Matthew 28:19). A disciple is a Jesus-follower which is not the same as having sinless behavior or believing proper doctrine. How does a person become a disciple? I believe that a disciple or Jesus-follower is one whose mind (and life) has been transformed by the indwelling presence of God's Spirit (Romans 12:2). There are folks who call themselves "Red-letter Christians." By this they mean that they pay great attention to what Jesus said (many Bibles print Jesus' words in red-letters.) This may be an over-simplification but, nevertheless, I could be called a red-letter Christian. Being transformed implies that it isn't all about me and my efforts. There is a mutual relationship in which I make the effort to be available to God's Spirit and trusting that God's Spirit will accomplish what is beyond my own capabilities. The Christian life is about becoming a transformed disciple of Jesus.
Thursday, January 3, 2019
I often ask clients what has to be in place for them to know that they've practiced forgiveness. As can be imagined, I get a variety of responses. Whatever else may be in place, I think to give up the right to vengeance. continuing anger and reminders to the offender are some of the characteristics of forgiveness.
Friday, November 2, 2018
Eugene H. Peterson died a few days ago. Although I never met the gentleman, through his books he became a Mentor for me. I've been reading his devotional book, "Living the Message, Daily Help for Living the God-Centered Life" I quote from todays reading, November 2, "Listening to Scripture in the form of story we learn that we are also in the story, traveling toward God, being drawn toward him. We develop a sense of journeying and discipleship. If we fail to develop the 'story sense' we inevitably start 'applying' the Bible--taking charge of a verse or doctrine or moral with which we intend to fix some fragment of ourselves [or others]. This is an excellent recipe for creating good Pharisees." We can approach the scriptures with an attitude of seeking information; creating applications or listening for transformation. It is important that we turn loose of our need to be in control and let the scriptures read us. Thanks for the many lesson, Eugene Peterson.
Monday, October 22, 2018
I think of hospitality as making time and space for a guest. We've a family friend with whom we occasionally visit. She loves to have us. However, her guest room closet is full of out-of-season clothes. The drawers in the guest room are packed with sheets, towels, blankets and other sorts of things. We have to put our suitcases on the floor and stumble around them getting to and from the bed. Our friend also works from home and she seems to have to check on something throughout the day. We love her. We like to visit her but she doesn't have the gift of hospitality. I've often wondered if I have given Jesus the gift of hospitality in my life.
One of the many reasons I like Kentucky is that there are four seasons. Each season has it's own weather as well as it's unique activities. Last evening was our first freeze. A first freeze marks, at least for me, the beginning of Autumn. It is time to bring the plants in from the porch. It is time to buy apples for cobbler. It is about time for Halloween or All Saints Day. Football is well into it's season and both the OU "Sooners" and Kentucky "Wildcats" are doing okay. Soon it will be baseball's World Series. The leaves have begun to turn radiant fall colors and we are blessed to be surrounded with many very large and mature trees. I like Autumn. The seasons motivate me to ask, "What is the season of life for me?" Erik Erikson's writings are a great help for me. I'm in the "generativity versus stagnation" phase of life. In other words it is my purpose or calling to pass on some bits wisdom that I may have gained from almost 77 years of living. I'm able to do this with Missionary Member Care, teaching at The Baptist Seminary of Kentucky as well as providing therapy for clients and 'mentoring' for younger Therapists at The Interfaith Counseling Center. I think God for the health (as well as my parents for good DNA and healthy living practices) that I'm able to continue. I frequently ask clients as well as students, "In what phase or purpose of life are you living and do you think of that as your calling?"
Thursday, September 20, 2018
The book was on the top shelf. I was just tall enough to face that shelf. Neither the bookcase nor I were very tall and I was too young to be able to read very well but the title always caught my attention, The Call of the Wild. I’m not sure whose book it was, perhaps Grandma’s because she read a lot. Neither my Dad, their son, not Grandpa was seen reading much beyond the newspaper. Some 70 years later, the Great American Read is on Public Broadcasting television, and The Call of the Wild has called out to me again. I no longer have my Grandparent’s copy; however, the book is now on my Kindle. I’ve read this great story of Buck several times. His story, and the way Jack London can describe an event, has always captured my imagination. It is one of the great books, at least in my opinion. Reading it again reminds me of the bookcase in my grandparents’ home and the book. Buck’s story is that of an archetype calling this great dog back to his ancestors from the forest and wolves. Reading The Call of the Wild again brings me back to my Grandparent’s home with fond and peaceful memories.
Sunday, September 2, 2018
One of the longest phases of the grieving process is the phase called 'Selective Memory and Emotions.' My brother, Bobby, died last September. He and I would watch the Oklahoma of University football games on television and give each other a high-five when there was a great play and, always, when OU scored a touchdown. This past Saturday was the beginning of the 2018 football season and OU was on television. I watched the football game. There were many great plays and OU scored a lot of touchdowns. I missed Bobby. There was no one with whom I could share the game and give high-fives. It didn't seem the same.