What is a friend? (Part 2)

September 6, 2006

Becky’s response to my last post and her subsequent post got my mind whirlin…(perhaps ducking is in order). Then Susan began a series on pastoral care which included her stories in three different churches. As I mulled over Susan’s and Becky’s thoughts, I detected a bit of overlap. (Though I would like to speak more of Wendell’s wisdom, the seminary bookstore was closed on Sat., so I don’t have his book handy. As such you are stuck with my wandering musings).

Since the small group forms the nucleus of many contemporary churches, one would expect this environment to breed the type of friendship of which Wadell so eloquently speaks. My experience bears this out. Those in my church who are indeed friends or who have played the friendship role in my life (Wadell has raised the bar of friendship a little higher than I would) have done so in various small group settings. They lovingly and gracefully bring out the “mirror mirror on the wall” at just the opportune time. Read the rest of this entry »


Love, Love, Love

July 17, 2006

I wrestle with the tension between God’s transcendence and His immanence. On the one hand we witness Isaiah’s encounter with the presence of God and see his utter anguish as he exclaims, “Woe is me! for I am undone” (Isa. 6:5 KJV). Isaiah’s experience of God does not instill a sense of oneness with God, but accentuates his understanding of the infinite gulf between the Creator and the creature. However, Jesus is my friend and my desire for this relationship is demonstrated as I seek to obey His commands. (John 15:14).

But…after Paul’s unique, transformative experience, he was not led to speak only of the softer side of Jesus, but reminded the Christian community that “the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Rom. 1:18 NIV). Though saved by faith, Paul could not completely escape his sinful nature and like Isaiah exclaims “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:24-25, NIV). But this does not convey the full story since my Savior is also “gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29, NIV) and I can joyfully rest in him. (Lest one make the mistake of assuming that God is wrathful and Jesus is nice, it was Jesus who said to Peter “Get behind me Satan!” – Matt. 16:23).
Reconciling these apparent contradictions in God’s nature requires an understanding of God’s essential characteristic – Holiness. When we spot a glimmer of God’s holiness, we begin to comprehend our distance and sinfulness. We are also filled with the immensity of Christ’s sacrifice and as such our gratitude to our savior minimizes the likelihood that we would take for granted his presence in our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Aesthetically Speaking

July 14, 2006

This pic is evidence of beauty that can only reside in the eyes of the beholder. This was my 4 year old’s Birthday cake that was decorated by her and her 6 year old brother. But it does beg the question about beauty. Is true beauty (and in my limited understanding about aesthetics I’m defining it as that which in some capacity reflects the glory of God) something that each and every Christian, regardless of training in aestheics, should be able to recognize? Can art that bears similarities Jackson Pollock’s “One” (which to my untrained eye is similar to my daughter’s cake) be truly beautiful? I have so many questions…perhaps I’ll glean some answers as the Saturday philosophy party…