What Hills will You Die on?

I got this in an email:

The five "fundamentals" of our faith are:

The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture
The Deity of Christ
Subsitutionary Atonement
Christ's Literal Resurrection
Christ's Literal Second Coming

Do you agree or disagree?

What would you point to as the five 'fundamentals?'

For the record, I am still pondering this...


Mulan 2

I just happened to catch a little of the movie my kids were watching:

One of the princesses in the film (who is being sent to meet her husband for the first time) asks the main character, 'Fa Mulan, how do you chose between your duty and your heart?'

She did not want to marry for duty, but instead wanted to marry for love.

Mulan responds by telling her that she has discovered, 'My duty is to my heart.'


Now, I don't plan on arranging marriages for my children, but (setting aside for the moment the cultural in-sensitivities of the film) it is precisely this message that is destroying so many lives...

If my duty is to my heart, then what is my course of action when I no longer want to provide for my children, remain faithful to my wife, pay my taxes, or answer my employers questions with integrity? Obviously, if my duty is to my heart, then my course of action is to simply do whatever I feel like doing, whenever I feel like it!


The interesting thing is that the movie refuses to portray the actual effects of such a moral philosophy. There is no scene where the princess tries valiantly to remain dutiful to her fickle and inconsistent moods. Nor is there the discussion of a love that runs deeper than emotional desire into the realm of willful action.

So much for learning wisdom from cartoons!


Horse Manure Revisited

I received an email the other day from a friend; someone had told him of their leaving a church because they had felt used by the church. The church had asked them to work in one of their ministries without paying them, they had said. 'yes,' but then left feeling used...

This had prompted my friend to email me; we asked the question, 'Does the church exist for people, or do people exist for the church?'

Now on the face of it, this question is a great one to wrestle with; however, when we come to the truth that the church is people, then we have to realize that the question (as poignant as it is) fails to grasp the basic nature of church, and so is ultimately an invalid question...

The question as it stands is really, 'do people exist for people, or do people exist for people?' It's a non question because it is attempting to ask, 'does A exist for B, or vice versa?' But A and B are the same thing!


The question needs to be turned inside out...

Does the Church (Christian people) exist for itself, or for something else?

The simple truth is that the Church (Christians) exist for non-Christians!

We often talk about the various functions and purposes of the Church, mission being one of them, yet the reality is the Church does not have a purpose.

Let me explain:

God's purpose is to redeem the entire world, His heart is to reveal His Son to all people, but what is His method? How does He plan to accomplish such a task? God's chosen method is to create a new thing, the community in mystical union with the Son, the Church!

So the Church does not have a mission, but rather, God's mission has a Church. To talk about the purpose of the Church is to confuse the issue, the Church is the method of achieving God's purposes...


We must take a good look at our hearts and ask, "am I the gravitational center, around which everything else orbits?" (Questions about purpose, God and His desires, my own desires, etc.)


'Is God is the center of gravity, around which we find our own orbit?" (We find our purpose by first finding His, we find our desires by first understanding His.)


So the people actually do exist for the people! But which people we are talking about is the real question! The people (church) exist for the people (world)!

Whenever we exist for ourselves, we are piling up horse manure into a massive lump of poop (hold your nose!), but whenever we exist for others, we are spreading manure over the field causing things to grow; the difference between excrement and fertilizer is whether you pile it, or spread it...

So here is what I want you to do:

Repeat after me:

"This is not about me, it is about them!


New Song from a Friend

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore, be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul, in the fountain that flowed
For you and for me and for all

On the hillside, you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And your spirit restored, by the river that poured
From our blessed Savior's side

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night

Thanks Bernard


Joy and Happiness

Happiness is about making sure that everything around us brings us pleasure, whereas joy is about a deep confidence in the love and goodness of God no matter what goes on around us, or inside us.


I know...

I know that you live, and I long to see you
I know that you speak, yet I long to hear you
I know that you are love, yet I long to feel it

Why must faith include so much blindness
God I long to love you, must love exist in the absence of passion?
Grant me a heart that is astir with flame

I have heard your voice, yet now you are silent, have you gone forever
Do not leave me to my fate, I cannot survive on my own
You have destroyed my ability to walk the path of blissful ignorance
I cannot replace the veil of this world, shielding my view of my purpose,
Yet, must I pursue your course without guidance, without your presence?

Has my right hand failed me? Where, O Lord, have you gone?
I am nothing, yet I know my place, I am a son of the Most High
My Father, how can I walk as a Son with no sense of your Spirit?




I got a phone call the other day while I was at work; my son Zane had said some nasty things to my wife. She told him he was getting soap in his mouth.


My kids do this thing that is really frustrating, but also makes me very proud of them; they fight me when I have to punish the other ones. If Zoe is in trouble, Zane will tell me, 'You're mean!' and throw toys at me...


So my wife is in the middle of preparing Zane for his punishment when Zoe jumps in.

"Mama, I don't want Zane to be sad, so would you put soap in my mouth instead?"

It is at this point that she called me...

What do you do in a situation like this? When your five year old re-enacts this most central act on behalf of her brother? Made me think through some things about what the Father was thinking and feeling, on how Jesus was motivated, on gratitude...



As A.N. Wilson (the great biographer of C.S. Lewis) recently wrote of philosophical materialists in explanation of his re-conversion to Christianity, "they seem to me like people who have no ear for music, or who have never been in love. It is not that (as they believe) they have rumbled the tremendous fraud of religion--prophets do that in every generation. Rather, these unbelievers are simply missing out on something that is not difficult to grasp. Perhaps it is too obvious to understand; obvious, as lovers feel it was obvious that they should have come together, or obvious as the final resolution of a fugue."



"Unity is indeed a second-order doctrine which follows from truth. Peace is a virtue that all Christians should seek after, yet true and lasting peace stems from agreement on Christian doctrine."

Came across this on a blog, and it got me thinking...

Is it agreement on doctrine that provides for unity?