Sunday, October 30, 2005

If you pray

If you pray, pray for University Baptist Church, Waco.

**Young senior pastor has evidently died while baptizing a young gal - her status is unknown or bad. His lapel mike fell in the water and electrocuted them both during the baptism.**
*** Correction: the pastor died, the gal was not in the water yet. The cause is not necessarily a falling lapel mike. The cause is being investigated at this time (this information per the website).
*** Correction as of 11/1/05 at 10:00am

The church-folk are in pain, the family (wife and 3 young kids, evidently) are dealing with the death of their husband/father in the church gathering itself. Prime warfare (mental, emotional, spiritual).

[This information comes from someone at the service, but was given to me indirectly. I cannot verify the specifics (death, kids, etc.), but it is obvious, even from the website, that it went very wrong this morning.]

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Why Inerrancy Matters . . . or Doesn't

If you have not been so privileged to enter this dialogue, there is much discussion amongst some of my friends regarding the Bible being without error (“inerrancy”). In particular, see Goz and Brett and the comments on each site.

[For the record, both of these guys are: (1) pretty smart! (2) committed so fully to the health and life of all people that it rivals comprehension (3) good friends of mine, men for whom I would fight and die for, men whom I am unashamed to say that I love, men I have fought with against that which kills (4) both of them love God dearly. I can also write the same of Jason Fischer and perhaps some others in the mix]

I should like to propose an idea and then some questions. I am putting words into others’ mouths, which is wholly unfair. Please correct any and all of my misunderstandings.

Idea: we are NOT talking about the same thing in essence. One side of the discussion is about the importance of inerrancy. The other is about the practical ramifications of maintaining inerrancy, given the current situation of the Church in the western world. For myself, I still hold to full, 100% (“verbal, plenary”) inerrancy. My issue is that this theology has become toxic. The line between passion and belief is SUPPOSED to be blurry, I would contend. When belief is no longer married to passion, there is an extreme danger that the belief will become a reality by itself. Belief without corresponding life-expression is a worthless belief (in my opinion). This has been brought to light most recently by the post-modern philosophers of Europe (mainly in the 80’s). What I contend has happened, is that Christians have come to the following state: believing in inerrancy is essential, living the ramifications of this belief is a good idea but not necessary. Further, living the ramifications does not erode the belief nor its importance.

Issue #1, then: the doctrine has devolved into a belief that (quite accidental to the doctrine) precludes the believer from living according to the Bible.

Issue #2: post-modern critique of this doctrine. There are a multitude of theologies that claim to hold inerrancy but hold to MANY, fully different beliefs. So the question eventually gets posed, What good is Biblical inerrancy if one’s theology is NOT inerrant? I have a friend who is sincerely asking this. I appeal to those reading this to help me. Sincerely. What would you say to someone who says, “Ok, say the Bible’s 100% true. That doesn’t help me know what it says or what I am to do since my/your interpretation is up for debate.” How many times have you and I disagreed with God-loving men and women?!?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Truth served better with Relative

If I hurt/offend my wife, does it really matter what is "truth" about what happened? And if we both disagree on what "happened" - does an outside, objective "truth" really matter?

If I hurt her, then the relationship needs repair. Does Tara (or do I) need to know what "really" happened or does one need restoration. If Tara rightly discerns what "actually" happened, does that make me feel all-better? Nope. I want to know that she is concerned about ME, about my heart!

The "truth" is, I would much rather have someone who loves me and is concerned about me before the "truth" of the situation. [Note: this is NOT relativity but rather a move of priority from "objective" truth/reality to "personal" truth/reality]

Does the truth of a human (which changes over time and is different from human-to-human) weight less than truth observed, third-party point-of-view, objective? Or am I saying that the truth of Love First is more valuable than Truth Observed?

The Gift of Chronic Pain

I work with a good man named Mike Wallace who is a little younger than me and in a wheelchair. He broke his back in his teens (?) and is paralyzed in his legs. He lives one of those half-handicapped lives in that he drives (a "normal" car that has an accelerator/brake add-on - but anyone else could drive his car fine), etc. And he talks about the past (pre-accident) just like a non-broken-back would.

His legs hurt, though. All the time. We were talking the other day about chronic pain and he concurred - either it hurts or one is waiting for the pain to return. My lower back still hurts, usually. Sometimes a lot, but almost always at least some pain. It has become a part of my world, limiting what I can do (or at least forcing me to choose between what I want now with pain later today or saying, "no").

It has become so common for my back to hurt that when it doesn't, I notice. My back has become my vision, my world. Every thing I do or plan has to go through the "back filter" to get approval. My back is how I think. Always.

But therein lies the gift. I now know what it means to have one, single thing be the defining factor in my whole life. I am always either afraid of it, enjoying reprieve, thinking about how to improve my "back situation." Even last night as I sat with Tara talking (my favorite!), I was also thinking about my back (should I get up, should I move, is this posture okay, should I be doing some kind of ab. 'flex').

The gift of knowing what it is like to have one, solitary "thing" define my everything. Now I know, as well, what it can mean to have my one "thing" be "I am a child of the living God, I am under the mastery of Jesus."

Having lived with and without chronic pain, I am afraid I must say: for me / from my history, I don't know that it was possible for me to enter into 100%, all-day every-day Child of God without chronic pain. It is much easier, then, to be a chronic follower of Jesus because of my experience being chronic.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Its official

It’s official. We are “in” with OC International!! After praying with friends and family, we (all just mentioned plus OCi) are sensing that God is leading us in a new direction. Not fully new, just a new expression. Thanks to all who pray(ed) for us, challenged us, gave us insight, etc.

We desperately want and NEED continued connection, influence, and love from all as we begin a somewhat vague future (that begins with mountains of paperwork!!). At the risk of seeming co-dependant, Please don’t leave us now :-)