Enjoying the freedom of being good enough

Archive for the category “Oregon”

More assorted thoughts

This is a continuation of some of the ideas presented at the School of Theology my wife and I attended.

  • The bottom is the first place that many find a place to stand.
  • Nothing can separate us from the love of God. We imagine that there are things and circumstances and sin that separate us from the love of God. But those are just imaginations. They aren’t true.
  • When you see the Father, Son and Spirit interact with each other in deep love, you are seeing the deepest essence of who God is. There is no hidden agenda or attribute of God lurking behind the surface or in the shadows.
  • The three exegetical rules that govern many of us in the ministry are: 1) Job security, 2) Peer recognition, and 3) Homeostasis.
  • If we really know the character of the Father, then we will run to Him with open arms and beg him, “Please judge me to the core.” The fire is for us, not against us.
  • We often look for leaders who are good at being on the platform, while Jesus asks us to be at the table.
  • If you don’t trust God, you have to trust systems.
  • Are you smoking the brand you’re selling?
  • I don’t care if those “outside” the faith hate us. I care that they know we love them.
  • When we are suffering we find creativity. Creative suffering happens when we look for God in the midst of suffering. This is our push-back.
  • We need to move beyond inquisition to inquisitiveness.
  • On the road to Emmaus, the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus and know he was the Messiah until Jesus broke bread with them. This speaks to the importance of an apologetics of relationship.

It was truly a rich week.

Assorted thoughts

My wife and I had the privilege of attending the School of Theology recently in Oregon. SOT is an intimate gathering of about 20 people from around the country who assemble to discuss theology and its implications/applications. The specific theological focus on the table was exploring the beauty of the Trinity.

I’m offering a variety of thoughts, observations and statements presented during the week. I am purposely omitting names of the speakers. I’ve learned the hard way that Christians tend to become polemic around personalities.

We draw circles around theology, organizing theological “truth” by who is “inside” and who is “outside” our particular camp. We often refuse to listen to those outside our particular group, dismissing their views merely on the basis of who is speaking rather than being willing to evaluate actual content. We much prefer to listen only to those we already know agree with us.

We resist the discomfort of learning and growing. We opt for the psychological security blanket of affirmation and conformation.

As an ancient Greek philosopher noted, “It’s impossible to teach a man what he already knows.”

I can be as guilty as anyone.

With that, here are some nuggets of thought from SOT:

  • Much of what is presented as the “Gospel” is basically, “You suck. Try to suck less.”
  • In the fundamental, evangelical paradigm, what’s important is being “right.”  Unfortunately, everything else gets crushed, one way or the other.
  • You cannot compare your damage with anyone else. Everyone has their own capacity to bend, adapt and adjust. There is no simple solution to the healing of the human heart. This the beauty of the work of the Holy Spirit being poured out on every human heart, on a personal level.
  • “Unbeliever” is not a category. It’s an activity.
  • The lies that exist in our heart do not exclude us from the fact that God includes us in His love and His life.
  • Shame destroys our capacity to discern between an observation and a moral statement.
  • The value of ambiguity is that it reveals the heart.
  • The greater our maturity, the more we are like little children.

I’ll share more at another time.  To close, here are a few pictures I took during our free time at SOT. Lake Sparks is part of the Cascade Lakes near Mt. Bachelor in central Oregon. It’s beautiful at sunrise.

Multnomah Falls

Our family took a winter trip to Oregon to visit our daughter. We discovered Multnomah Falls is more magical than ever in the winter. Waterfalls symbolize refreshment. Jesus invites us to such a relationship with Him. He offers us rest and promises that His yoke is easy and His burden light (Matt. 11:28-30). Is that our experience in ministry?

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