Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What it's like to live again: Resurrection Reflections

 I wasn't a Lent Christian growing up. We were pentecostals and we didn't practice such traditions. Lent was seen as to Catholic and to ritualistic. Not that we had any objection to extended periods of prayer and fasting, but the penitence part was to "legalistic" and it was thought that it was to "dependent upon our own ability to be saved."

As long as I have observed Lent, I've never been to keen on the penitence aspect and this year was no  difference. In fact I struggled to keep my Lenten fast in so many ways. At first this really upset me, it depressed me and made me feel inadequate, but then my friend and fellow pastor Coy Remer said, "Well then you're doing it right!" I thought about that and came to the conclusion that Lent is about us humans fixating on our humanity, frailty and fallen nature. Instead of penitence we ought to focus on our propensity for sin and our inability to do absolutely nothing about it! What better way to do that than to see myself fail in my attempt to please God on my own?

This Lent, do to many personal issues, has been one of the darkest Lents of all time for me and because of this I AM SO READY FOR EASTER! This Lent I have come to the conclusion that Christ is absolutely my righteousness and holiness. Without Christ I am dead.

This Easter seems like such a gift. I reminder that because Christ lives, so shall I also live. I suppose as a pastor I should have a pretty good grasp on the last two idea's, i.e Christ as my righteousness and having eternal life through Christ, but like anything the profundity of this truth can get lost in the everyday hassle of life and can become common place especially as a pastor. This Easter I'm taking it all in, this Easter I'm gonna latch on to this idea of life, freedom, and forgiveness in Christ and truly enjoy what it's like to live again! I invite you to do the same.

Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter!

In Christ,

Thursday, April 3, 2014

You and I are bad.

I have been leaning left for so long. It's been a reactionary thing I think. I grew up with a fundamentalist faith, but one that also stressed the mercy and grace found at the cross. Despite the "stressing" of mercy and grace I often felt so guilty that I never knew how to really be free and take advantage of that mercy and grace found at the cross. So every sense my Sophomore year in Bible College I've been leaning left. I teeter back right a bit from time to time, but for the most part I kept moving left.

As a seminary student I was forced to look at both sides and because of my bad experience with the right, even though I often that it might be literally right, I kept moving left until I finally came to the point were God was so transcendent and humanity was so full of potential perfection that I though perhaps God's not a being, perhaps Gods not really that involved, perhaps Jesus wasn't God, but demonstrated the fullness of the perfection we could obtain if only we tried harder. Over these last few weeks of Lent all of that leaning left and all of the human potential for perfection has come to a head. I've had a sort of awakening, a renewal of sorts, I clear and conscience picture that the truth is you and I are bad.

We can't make it on our own. He need the cross, we need Jesus to be our righteousness, because without his righteousness we have none. We are fallen, broken and sinful. We are mortal, frail and incapable. We are human. As Nadia Boltz-Webber says, "It's dark in hear." referring to our hearts. I wont ever return to the strict interpretations of faith and scripture of my youth simply because my mind has been opened and once a mind is opened to truth it's impossible to close it, but I wont belive that I am able to be perfect simply by trying harder. I need Jesus and is victory over sin and death to save me from my own sin and death. No matter what I believe the world needs Jesus to be freed from it's sin and death. This Easter will be the most special Easter I've experienced in a long while, because this Easter resurrection will mean more than it's ever meant before.