I’m Not A Finisher

I don’t know about you, but I’m good at starting…

But not so good at finishing.

Take a look around my house, and you’ll see ample evidence of this:

An unfinished bathroom floor, a den in a state of disarray, a garage too full of junk.

I don’t know what it is about me, but I start, and then don’t finish–leaving forgotten projects in my wake. I’ve always chalked it up to wanting a new challenge. But I see this even in writing projects:

I start strong, and then peter out. I wish I knew why–so I could combat this monster.

Will you pray for me? I want to be a finisher.

How about you? Are you a finisher?

The Tao of Poo #fb

Maybe I’m odd, but sometimes I think about poop. As a young man, I used to silently laugh at all of the commercials touting the benefits of regularity.

Then I got older.

And realized it’s indeed painfully uncomfortable to be anything other than regular. Now even if fiber is the right thing to do (thanks, Wilford Brimley), this post isn’t really about the health benefits of a morning constitutional (or a high colonic, for that matter). Rather, it’s about those things which emanate from us naturally. Whether that be feces, urine, perspiration, toe cheese, what have you…

Harsh words, slander, backbiting, gossip, anger, bitterness, vengeanace… The list goes on.

There’s a theology to be found in contemplating out natural body processes. Indeed, the simple fact of the matter is that there are things which proceed forth from us quite naturally, and all of which stink. All bespeak of decay, of breakdown, of death. Of our very human condition. C.S. Lewis once wrote of there being a theology of dirty jokes, i.e., the very reason we are uncomfortable with what is very natural, and normal, is because somewhere, on an instinctual level, we realize we are more (as Yoda wisely said) than mere “crude matter.” Luminous beings are we, certainly; yet nevertheless mired in shit. Stained on the inside.

This is the Tao of Poo, natural theology:

Where everything that comes forth naturally from you, me, everybody, stinks to high heaven. This is as immutable as entropy–things wear out, and the center cannot hold…

But for Jesus.

He has come to give us new a life, a new nature, a new heart. This is not natural, but supernatural. It’s not something we can transact on our own. For “there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end of the ways thereof is death.” Our ways end in death, “but thanks be to God through Jesus Christ Our Lord” who has given us life.

Life eternal, everlasting, neverending. Even so, these bodies will fail, and everyday remind us of their decay. Whether it’s a cut, hunger–or a trip to the restroom–there’s a theology there for all who have ears to hear, and eyes to see.

Life Is What We’re Looking For

The late, great G.K. Chesterton once said that every an who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God. Meaning that that man is looking for something he can’t quite identify, and is trying to assuage this longing with sex. While we may not ever darken the doors of a bordello, we do this, too:

We look for God in things.

I suppose we should back up a bit here, define our terms. What is God? The Bible says that He is love. To which I would add: He is life. As Pascal said, we all come with a “God-shaped blank” in center of our beings.

A whole in our souls.

Thing is, we try to fill this whole with things, with relationships, with sex, with food. Every time I cram two, or three, donuts down my gullet I’m looking for soemthing, I’m believing something:

These will give me life. It’s the same reason I take vitamins: I want more life. When I eat those donuts, or drink that extra beer, I’m trying to fill this perceived lack of life within me. (I’m not here saying that these things are in and of themselves bad).

The problem here is that Christ has already come in, given me (us) life. And yet I still look to things,  to experiences, to fill me.

This is nothing other than idolatry.

Which to my mind is the root of all manner of sins.

We are idolatrous, the lot of us, when we try to find life in anything other than God. I’m not saying the things shouldn’t be enjoyed; rather that they should be enjoyed in the right time, and way.

Where are you finding life today?

We Lost the War

For decades it seems the American church has been fighting a war on culture. Well, we’ve lost. I don’t say this lightly, but it also seems pretty clear that we marched into battle under faulty premises. I mean when are we ever  mandated to convert the culture in which we find ourselves to some semblance of Christian conduct?

Is it even reasonable to expect Christian conduct, or morals, from culture? From the world? I submit it is not. Moreover, we’re not even on the same page when it comes to values.

So we’ve fought a war, which we’ve arguably lost, and awoken in a world we don’t recognize… Because we didn’t fight biblically. Pop quiz:

Where was the Apostle Paul most effective–on Mars Hill, where he tried to be culturally relevant, or with the Phillippian jailer? How about Jesus? Was He after the masses, or the individual? You see, those of us who believe serve a God Who isn’t all about efficiency. He wants the one lost sheep who’s strayed, scans the horizon for signs of the prodigal son, tells the woman with the issue of blood that her faith has healed her… Or the woman caught in adultery to go, and sin so more.

Was the command to go into all the world and save the culture, or rather was it to make disciples? You see, it’s easy to lionize Hollywood, or lambsaste the gay agenda.

But it’s hard to confront the sin in our own hearts, check our motives, and then go forth with the message of God’s love.

For individuals.

It’s easy to write off entire segments of the populace. It’s far harder to love those souls for whom Christ died.

Changed lives don’t happen culturally, or societally, but rather face-to-face, one-on-one.

But we’re afraid, hiding in our holy huddles. It’s no wonder we’ve lost the war.

But it’s not too late.

Wake up, church: the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God.

Inexorable/Ineffable/Joy

Beating our fists bloody at inexorable air, trying to defy the passage of time, we find–at the end of the line–our bodies, our hearts, our minds

Fail

As we decline into that good night.

Our rage a peripatetic fit, the fight unwinnable…

Until:

The inexorable slide is swallowed up in the tide of the grace of an ineffable God.

Our bodies made new, our minds renewed:

Free at last from sin’s crimson stains, the mortal takes on immortality

Only joy remains

Only joy.

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