“Christians don’t shoot Christians.”

There is an interesting article at CNN.com regarding the pastor’s wife in Tennesse who allegedly killed her husband. She been charged with his murder but has recently pled not guilty. Obviously, this is a very sad story but it is also a very interesting look into the dynamics of Christian faith communities in small town, rural America.

This quote caught my eye:

“What would cause a godly woman to do such a thing?” asked neighbor Sharon Everitt, echoing the question that has hung over the rural town since late March. “Christians don’t shoot Christians.”

If so, then who do Christians shoot?

Advertisements

The Great Omission #3

willard.jpg“However we may understand the details, there can be no doubt, on the biblical picture of human life, that we were meant to be inhabited by God and to live by a power beyond ourselves. Human problems cannot be solved by human means. Human life can never flourish unless it pulses with the “immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe” (Esphesians 1:19). But only constant students of Jesus will be given adequate power to fulfill their calling to be God’s person for their time and their place in this world. They are the only ones who develop the character which makes it safe to have such power.

But, someone will say, can I not be “saved”-that is, get into heaven when I die-without any of this? Perhaps you can. God’s goodness is so great, I am sure that He will let you in if He can find any basis at all to do so. But you might wish to think about what your life amounts to before you die, about what kind of person you are becoming, and about whether you really would be comfortable for eternity in the presence of One whose company you have not found especially desirable for the few hours and days of your earthly existence. And He is, after all, One who says to you now, “Follow me!”

–Dallas Willard from his new book “The Great Omission”

This book is good.

The Great Omission #2

willard.jpg“Nothing less than life in the steps of Christ is adequate to the human soul or the needs of our world. Any other offer fails to do justice to the drama of human redemption, deprives the hearer of life’s greatest opportunity, and abandons this present life to the evil powers of the age. The correct perspective is to see following Christ not only as the necessity it is, but as the fulfillment of the highest human possibilities and as life on the highest plane. It is to see, in Helmut Theilick’s words, that “the Christian stands, not under the dictatorship of a legalistic ‘You ought’, but in the magnetic field of Christian freedom, under the empowering of the ‘You may’.”

–Dallas Willard from his new book “The Great Omission”

Reading Dallas Willard is like getting kicked in the gut repeatedly.

The Great Omission

willard.jpg“As disciples of Jesus, we today are a part of God’s world project. But realization of that project, it must never be forgotten, is the effect, not the life itself. The mission naturally flows from the life. It is not an afterthought, or something we might overlook or omit as we live the life. The eternal life, from which many profound and glorious effects flow, is interactive relationship with God and with his special Son, Jesus, within the abiding ambience of the Holy Spirit. Eternal life is the Kingdom Walk, where, in seamless unity, we “Do justice, love kindness, and walk carefully with our God” (Micah 6:8). We learn to walkthis way through apprenticeship to Jesus. His school is always in session.

We need to emphasize that the Great Omission from the Great Commission is not obedience to Christ, but discipleship, apprenticeship, to him. Through discipleship, obedience will take care of itself, and we will also excape the snares of judmentalism and legalism, whether directed towards ourselves or towards others.

Now, some might be shocked to hear that what the “church”–the disciples gathered–really needs is not more people, more money, better buildings or programs, more education, or more prestige. Christ’s gathered people, the church, has always been at its best when it had little or none of these. All it needs to fulfill Christ’s purposes on earth is the quality of life he makes real in the life of his disciples. Given that quality, the church will prosper from everything that comes its way as it makes clear and available on earth the “life that is life indeed”.”

–Dallas Willard from his new book “The Great Omission”

Beauty, Mercy and Total Embrace

rohr_lg.jpg“Perhaps my single greatest disappointment in most of the world’s religions is that they succeeded, against all odds, in making most people afriad of God! Do you realize how absurd and horrible that is? It pretty much makes it an unsafe and scary universe at the core, where no one is at home and everyone is paranoid. It makes the mystical adventure impossible. It turnes religion into a self-serving brokerage business, always picking up the pieces after a kind of “taught and learned helplessness.” The result has been massive neuroses, nonstop aggression and a phenomenon unique to the West: atheism.

Anyone who has any authentic inner experience knows that God is only beauty, mercy and total embrace, and nothing but beauty, mercy and total embrace. The Trinitarian nature of God makes that theologically certain. The only people who don’t know that are those who have never sought God’s face. In my experience there is an almost complete correlation between the degree of emphasis one puts on obligations, moralities, ritual performance and one’s lack of any real inner experience. Once you know for yourself, you will be plenty “moral,” in fact, even more so, but it all proceeds from a free reponse, from the Trinitarian flow passing through you. It is a response, not a requirement, an effect of having known love, not a precondition for getting love. God is always the initiator, always good, always available, and the flow is always free. Yes, sin is real and common, but it merely means to stop, resist or deny this onmipresent flow of God’s love.”

Richard Rohr from his book “Wild Man to Wise Man”

WWJR/My Wife is Rad!

IMG_7598.jpg

Today my wife bought me this fine piece of machinery for Father’s Day. Just so you know, you’re looking at 49cc’s of pure, unadulterated power coupled with the loving embrace of Mother Nature (70 mpg). As I was riding back from the dealer today at the unthinkable speed of 35 mph, I was thinking that if Jesus absolutely had to choose a vehicle for transportation, the Honda Ruckus would be it. It is the preverbial “donkey” on the farm of two-wheeled vehicles. I had such a blast on the way back. I was only honked at once for going too slow. The best moment was when a dude on a Harley passed me, I looked over to him and gave him a little nod, aknowledging our kinship out on the open road. He just shook his head in disgust. It was awesome. Obviously he was threatened by my sweet white camo paint job.

I have to aknowledge the inspirations that have led to this purchase; Lloyd and Harry, Al Gore, my addiction to American Chopper, and the celebration of fathers. Thanks sweetie!

Now the hunt begins for the first accessory: a “In case of the Rapture, this vehicle will be unmanned” bumper sticker.