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Showing posts from March, 2016

using

I am studying for my doctoral oral defence these days so have little time to write thoughtful blogs or give much attention to other topics. However, I came across a quote from C. S. Lewis a few days ago which speaks not only to my doctoral research but resonates with my ongoing mission to rescue Christianity from the language of "being used by God." Really, we ought not to speak this way. The idea of God as a "user" is deeply disturbing, and adopting this view makes us, as followers of Jesus, prone to imitate this ends justifies the means type of thinking. In essence, we become utilitarian propagandizers instead of people who pursue genuine and loving encounter.

So here is Lewis on the distinction between using artwork and appreciating it as art. It applies to so much more than art, going to the heart of how we view all of creation (everything from other people to the holy scriptures to the flowers that grow in the field), whether as mere tools or as beautiful, li…

having a conversation with God

Prayer. It seems so easy and so difficult at the same time. Hans Urs von Balthasar writes these words about prayer:

"Most Christians are convinced that prayer is more than the outward performance of an obligation, in which we tell God things he already knows. It is more than a kind of daily waiting attendance on the exalted Sovereign who receives his subjects' homage morning and evening. And although many Christians experience in pain and regret that their prayer gets no further than this lowly stage, they are sure, nonetheless, that there should be more to it. In this field there lies a hidden treasure, if only I could find it and dig it up. This seed has the power to become a mighty tree bearing blossoms and fruit, if only I would plant and tend it. This hard and distasteful duty would yield the freest and most blessed kind of life, if only I could open and surrender myself to it." [1]

I often have the sense that there is so much more to conversing with the Creator of…

two wills become one

I have been doing quite a bit of reading and thinking about freedom in the past year or two. Some of it has to do with my doctoral dissertation and some of it has to do with my ongoing spiritual formation and a personal desire to be truly free. When we think of freedom in our Western culture, we often think about the ability to make our own choices, to say I don't want to eat pizza today, I want to eat sushi. Or I want to do what I want to do, not what you want me to do. We often see freedom primarily as self-determination, autonomy, and the ability to say No. However, freedom can also be thought of as consent, having the ability to align ourselves with another, the power to say Yes to someone. I want to say more about this second sense of freedom, but first, a bit of an overview of the scriptural idea of freedom.

The Greek words we translate as freedom in the New Testament are:
1. eleutheria: freedom, liberty, especially from slavery; the liberty to do as one pleases, freedom fr…