Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The essence of being a Christian

I was just reading John Ortberg's book "Soul Keeping" and he writes about a study (Neural Consequences of Religious Belief on Self-Referential Processing) done by neurologists:

"Non-religious subjects used one part of the brain to evaluate themselves, but another part to evaluate others. Christians used the same part of the brain to evaluate themselves that they used to evaluate others."

I interpreted that data to mean that Christians see others just as they see themselves: broken and hurting people in need of love and compassion. It is the essence of being a follower of Jesus.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dog Walk Spirituality

I just returned from taking my 3 dogs for a walk. There is a fairly secluded park I like to take them to where no one frequents so I can let them off their leash and run around. They have 3 distinctive styles of walking with me and I think it mirrors three distinctive styles of walking with God in our spiritual journey.

Milo Spirituality: Milo rarely leaves my side and if he does he makes sure I am always within sight.  He couldn't be happier than just walking slowly by my side. Some say he is boring and too safe.

Zeus Spirituality: Zeus is at his own pace, which is usually slow. He stops and smells everything and if it wasn't for my frequent reminders he would linger and linger with a risk of getting lost. He moves at his own pace. Some say that his casual approach is annoying.

Omega Spirituality: As soon as I take Omega off his leash he is off like a flash. He is in the woods, he is in the field he is back and forth all at 100 miles and hour. Sometimes I think he is lost and then he pops out of the woods 50 yards in front of me. He is investigating everything. Some say he is reckless and dangerous.

The great thing is they all enjoy their walk and I enjoy walking with them.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An e-mail from God

We were talking in Bible Study how it would be nice if discerning God's will was simple. I even suggested how cool it would be if God sent us an e-mail every morning telling us exactly what we should do. Then I thought how scary that would be. I imagine mine would look something like this:
Good morning Terry, I love you so much.
Today I would like you to visit that lady who rubs you the wrong way and in that visit I would like you to be loving, kind and compassionate to her. 
I would like you to stop being judgmental towards that person you view as judgmental.
Stop getting so angry at people because they don't use their turn signals or because they're driving slower than you would like.
You know that friend you complained about losing, work hard at reconciling that relationship. I know you have every right to be hurt, but reconcile it anyway.
Get your nose out of the books and find someone and brighten their day.
And remember everyone you encounter is hurting in some way, be kind to all you encounter.
Live your life abundantly today with love as your driving force.
Have a great day my child.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Noah Movie

I finally got to see Noah after reading at least one hundred reviews and posts about it. I didn't want to form an opinion before seeing it myself. What I read was all over the place from "best movie" to "absolutely hated it". 

I thought it was really good. There was some amazing imagery, symbolism and paradox. Some things that really stood out for me:
* The struggle for Noah to interpret and discern God's will. Those who thought he was a lunatic, did you also think Abraham was a lunatic? In my opinion as someone who daily struggles with what God wants me to do I can relate to Noah who was doing it on an unimaginable scale.
* Tubal-cain sharing the animal flesh with Ham was eeirly similar to Eve sharing the forbidden fruit with Adam. Choosing selfish pride over God.
* Noah hovering over the twins with a knife screamed Abraham and Isaac
* Ila's conversation with Noah after they made land was redemptive. He chose you to make the right choice and you chose "mercy and love". Breath taking!
* I had read over and over how it doesn't mention God. Well that was not true. They call God: "Creator" over and over again and if you don't think "Creator" is a title for God, well… They also use the masculine pronoun for God time and time again. In case you're still angry they didn't use the name God, I advice you to give the Old Testament a more thorough read.

My interpretation of Aronofsky's interpretation of the contemporary Biblical text (which is generations of translators and scribes interpretation of a story told around ancient Israelite's campfires) is this: Mankind, through selfishness and greed, destroyed the world. The Creator's flood wasn't meant to destroy, but redeem and give the created order another chance.

Anyways I'd like to see it again with a notepad and pen in hand because I think there was a lot of really cool things that I missed or have already forgotten.

One final thought, I know a lot of people got angry and said Noah was heartless for leaving Ham's woman in the trap and not saving her…hello! If Noah was heartless for that what was God in all of it!?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Walking Dead

Siddhārtha Gautama, Laozi, Jesus, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and almost every other wisdom teacher in-between said the same thing: human beings suffer from a dis-ease. Our lives are marked by suffering and grasping, anxiety and self-preoccupation, bondage and exile, blindness and convention, and feelings of unworthiness and insignificance. We are as Robert Kirkman defined: The Walking Dead. But all the great wisdom teachers also knew there was a cure. {Working on my Easter Sunday sermon}

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I think I am going to have to make blogging a spiritual discipline and then maybe, maybe I would blog as much as I would like to. Instead I have an idea, I think about it, I form a blog post in my head and then I go to sleep and forget everything!


I've been sad a lot lately. I've even cried a lot lately. And I don't think it is a bad thing—as matter of fact I think it is an indicator of my growth in grace and Christlikeness. You see it isn't things like the Lions losing or my motorcycle not running like I want it to that has been making me sad. It is the way people treat each other and creation that has been making me sad. When I see people being abused or oppressed I want to cry. When I see creation being abused and pillaged I want to cry. I'm developing a tender heart (as my friend Joe Skillen would call it). I think Jesus is sad when he sees how we treat others and the world around us. I think God grieves when we use the things we should be enjoying as pawns to manipulate others. I think the Holy Spirit groans when we use our talents to pursue power. 

But then I see something like the little video (see below) on Facebook this morning and I weep—not tears of sadness, but tears of joy! I'm reminded that we are created Imago Dei and no matter how much darkness is heaped on that, the image of God can still shine through—and brightly at times!

Weep with Joy

Friday, January 31, 2014

Tracking progress

Over the last 6 months I've been trying to cut weight without losing muscle mass or too much strength. It has been a slow process, but a rewarding one. I've been able to measure that progress simply by looking at myself (sometimes a scale can be deceiving). I know I am making progress when I see new definition or separation or a new vein popping out under the skin. It is exciting when this happens.

I am also doing Lumosity which is supposed to keep my brain healthy and alert. 4-5 times a week I log on the website and play what appears to be a video game, but in reality is testing and stretching my brain function. After each session I am given a Brain Performance Index (BPI) which tells me how well I am doing. It is very easy to track my progress!

I've also been pushing towards increased spiritual growth and at times I wish tracking my spiritual growth was simply as easy as looking in the mirror for new changes or having a program spit me out a Spiritual Performance Index. I've read a number of books on tracking or measuring spiritual growth as well as engaged in many conversations about the subject with people much smarter than myself. Here are some of the many suggestions on how to measure or indicate spiritual growth:
* Are you treating people more lovingly
* Do you have more trust in God
* Do you sense God's presence more often
* Are you serving the needy more
* Are you less judgmental
* Are you more understanding of people's plights
* Are you less stressed
* Are you at peace

There are many, many more indicators out there, but those are some of my personal favorites.

I'm raising a glass to toast you on striving towards holistic health (mind, body soul)! Keep on the journey and I hope you recognize when you have grown in any of the areas!