Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Caught in the Act of subverting Christian Confession to Sin

Sarah Boxer has written a very perceptive article that contains excellent spiritual exhortations for anyone with ears to hear. Her first main insight reveals perverted appearance of on-line confession sites. She compares a flasher to this poster of sins. I think she is right about that. Confession can become a sanctified way of revealing in our sin. The “flasher” metaphor captures the mode of this error well. The point of confession is to become Christ-like by bringing a weakness before God so to acknowledge an area of need of God. We trust Christ and allow His Body to enter into our wound and bring the freedom and love of Christ into our wounds in order to heal the root of sin. The root is the real cause of sin, not just changing behavior. So, anonymous web-confessionals are ill suited for any healthy use. There is no owning of one’s sin if one will not own up to who they are. If one did, there is still insufficient community to aid in healing. Further even if sufficient “virtual” community existed, it is unlikely that this venue is capable of manifesting the love and freedom of Christ necessary to heal the actual wounds of the “sinner.”

A second insight fills in details about the dramatic disconnect between that people who think of the sight as a “healing” and prayer-filled environment and the performance of another sin. Boxer quotes a reader who expresses that he believes in the genuineness of the people who contribute. Boxer’s response is worth quoting at length:

“Oh, but there is [fakeness]. And it is the fakeness, the artifice and the performance that make this confessional worth peeking at. The secret sharers here aren't mindless flashers but practiced strippers. They don't want to get rid of their secrets. They love them. They arrange them. They tend them. They turn them into fetishes. And that's the secret of PostSecret. It isn't really a true confessional after all. It is a piece of collaborative art.”

How often are Christian accountability groups simply guilt groups or some other version of performative art? How often do we treasure our sin or make it an object of “beauty”?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

When I took this image a few years ago, I just liked the look of it. Now I feel more and more like I look like it. Not that I think I am merely a broken down old shack. Instead I am aware of the fact that I often want to retreat into the inadequate shelters of my own creation instead of living out loud in the beautiful world that God has created. Within my shack it always becomes winter, but stepping out and living as I truly am strangely changes the weather. Maybe it is only I who changes, but it seems to be the only way to hasten Spring. Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 31, 2005

God still speaks

Modesto Truck- Saturday, March 19, 2005
Martha, the kids and I were all traveling from Modesto California after visiting Martha’s grandmother (in her mid-nineties, so we see her when we can), having stayed with her Uncle Joe and Aunt Susie. Martha is driving, I am sitting in the passenger seat, and the kids are in the back seat (Aidan is 4 ½ and Hope is 17 months old, each in their car seats). The kids are watching a DVD (I believe it was Toy Story) on a borrowed potable player and Martha and I are talking. We had left Grandma’s care facility at about 11:30 a.m.
We are traveling in our Gold 1995 Saturn Wagon South on 99, and traffic is heavy but moving quickly. It is about 12:00, and it the whether is constantly oscillating between overcast with patches of sun and intense down pour. For the moment, it is not raining.

A faded light blue, late model (possibly from the mid-80’s) American pick-up truck speeds in front of us. But because of the heavy traffic is forced to remain in our lane directly in front of us. The gate of the pick up is a grungy yellow, and although the engine sounds as if it is running well, the smell of the exhaust is distinctly perceptible and clearly coming from the truck. The exhaust has a twinge of bluish hue (which I have a brief thought about the possibility of its fuel mixture being too rich). In the truck bed just high enough to be visible is a row of neatly stacked small logs. Under the row of logs a line of blue is visible from a tarp. It is not exposed too much, and was not flapping very much considering that we were traveling about 65 mph. A few minutes after the truck got in front of us I had a vision of the truck and a large cylinder (which I believed at that time was a large log) flying out of the truck toward our car. [The following reactions happen very quickly, less than one minute] I held up my hand and started to pray, I felt that I could hold the log there. (I don't know why I thought that, but that's what I thought at that time). I was not sure what I should what to do, when my wife says “What are you doing?” Something taps out windshield or the upper part of the car near the windshield on the driver side. I immediately say in a calm firm voice. “I am holding up a log that will hit us. Get in the other lane.” Martha changes lanes instantly and obediently without question and speeds up so that we are nearly perpendicular to the truck. Then I said “I just had a vision that something is going to fall off that truck.” Martha simply replied “wow,” and then a large blue cylindrically shaped bag (it looked as if it had collapsible chairs or a 12 man tent in it – at the very least stiff, long objects within) flips over the back of the truck and tumbles into the place where we were (relative to our position to the truck).

Martha looks to me and says “I don’t know what I would have done.” I reply “I don’t know what you would have done either.” We both felt that God had directly intervened. We have been praising Him since.

I have told this story several times (about 7-9 times at the time of recording this note) and had several conversations with my wife about it. She has also told several people this story; so, the details are fresh in our minds. This story has been read and confirmed accurate by her, and recorded in detail March 24, 2005 – 5 days from the time of the occurrence.
Yours truly,

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Be filled with the Spirit

Journey with Jesus: Be Filled with the Spirit by K.P. Yohannan Gospel for Asia
I have read articles like this having different reactions - positive, ambivilant, and negative. All moodiness aside, I think the K.P. is right here. In my words, if the Holy Spirit were to be taken from the world I should notice a difference in my life (even apart from the dramic way the world outside of me would be changed). K.P. is urging us to be filled now (like Roy Hesion did in his book "Be Filled Now"). I am pursuing God in this way. If you have been drawn closer to the Lord by something lately, please post it in a comment.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Augustine’s Cure for Religious Contempt

In The Confessions of St. Augustine (Book II, Chapter 7), Augustine creates a map for Christian’s to follow who wish to avoid the pitfalls of self-righteousness and judgmentalism. First, Augustine begins from the humble position of a pardoned sinner. Second, his understanding of God’s grace and mercy includes the sins that he avoided because of God’s guidance. Methodologically he suggests that starting with oneself and one’s own weakness, which is a natural self-righteous inhibitor. Humility of this sort is not simply for building virtue, but to enhance ones ability to love. Third, Augustine expands the details of the map for one spared various sins by the guidance of God. (For the rest click over to a team blog I am on).

Friday, March 11, 2005

If you want to see my daughter, check out Happenings. I need to post a newer one, but she is still so cute! More Augustine soon!