Monday, June 30, 2008


Yesterday our Gospel reading wrapped up our reading through Matthew 10. It presented us with quite the challenge to be welcoming. I have yet to come across a congregation that doesn't consider itself friendly. My experience has been that probably all of them are right, they are friendly. They like the people that are around them and their friends that gather there. The mistake, I think, many of them make is in thinking that they are welcoming. That is not all so much the case. Far too often the people are too busy being "friendly" to notice somebody different than they normally talk to and welcome them.

I spent a spent a summer in Portland, OR and I got to visit a lot of different congregations while I was there. Rarely, that summer, did I have anyone go out of their way to welcome me, who was obviously a stranger. I did get dirty looks for where I chose to sit. I did get scolded for bringing coffee (the nectar of life) into the church. I did have to hunt and search for ushers to get a program on several occasions.

Spending time with friends isn't bad. The challenge is, when do you spend time with them? Do you go to them first and hope the "strangers" will still be around when you're done with friends? Or do you go to the "strangers" first knowing your friends will always be there for you? It can make all of the difference in the world. You might just be welcoming Jesus, in fact you are.

One final note on this, now that I've already said too much already... I heard somebody once challenge people to be "butts in" people. The idea is that it is natural for us to gather in groups, it's human nature. When we gather in a circle and are looking at one another we become "butts out" people that discourages people from joining in with us. When we gather in a circle looking out for new people to welcome we become "butts in" people. Which one will you be?

Thank You!!!

THANK YOU to all of you who participated in the shower yesterday. For those who were not there, after worship yesterday there was a really great shower put on by the congregation. The only problem, if you want to call it that, was that people were far too generous. We were absolutely lavished with gifts. The rest of the day was spent eagerly assembling all of the neat gifts. Even without all of the "stuff" it is wonderful to know that we are loved and supported by so many people as we enter into this new, exciting, and scary adventure of having a baby. So to all that were there or were involved in one way or another THANK YOU!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Free to Live

Here is my sermon from last Sunday, June 22. It is largely based on Romans 6, but is also influenced by our gospel reading from Matthew 10 as well.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What Question's Are You Asking?

When you're out shopping, what question's are you asking? Do you ask anything beyond, "What is the cheapest?" or "What is the best deal?" I wonder if we don't have an obligation, as people of faith, to be asking some different question's as well. Perhaps we should be asking things like, "Who is benefiting from this purchase?" or "How fairly are the workers being paid for this product?" I also suspect we should be asking questions like, "How will this impact the environment?" In a global community I think it's time for us to be thinking beyond ourselves and how our purchases impact us and begin shifting it to issues of loving neighbor and loving creation.

So, what question's are YOU asking?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Addicted to Oil?

Yesterday Thomas Friedman spoke on the Today Show, largely criticizing President Bush and his leading us to an addiction to oil. Some of what he said made a lot of sense to me. I wonder, though, has he overstated it a bit? What do you think?

Health Club Idea

My wife, Dawn, and I have been blessed with the good fortune of belonging to a great health club. I have to admit, though, joining was a little intimidating. I have been a runner for most of my life. I have played basketball for much of my life as well. Yet, I have never really used those machines before. They have all kinds of buttons and look completely foreign. There are a lot people around to watch you use them wrong, and sometimes (it appeared) lines waiting for machines so you better be able to just jump on and go so you get your workout done in time for the people waiting. It was scary.

One of the best things they offered was a personal introduction with a personal trainer. They walked me through and taught me how to use each machine and showed me how to sign up, etc. They even gave me suggestions of how to best take advantage of some of the equipments with different types of workouts. It's gotten me to wondering, what if we did that at the church? People who didn't grow up in the church very well might be intimidated by all of the "stuff" we have around the different code words that we use. What if we offered "personal trainers" to those who wanted to become a part of our church. Somebody to listen to them and their needs, to show them around and teach them how to use things, and then to offer suggestions of ways they can best take advantage of things so they can grow in their faith. It may not be a new idea, but it certainly might turn out to be revolutionary.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Why is it that whenever we seem to talk about the priesthood of all believers, that we are all called to some form of ministry or another, we tend to couch it in terms of how we can use our gifts to support the church, the institution? Are not are our gifts for ministry just as valuable at work? At home? In our neighborhood, etc.? Maybe we need to rethink how we talk about these things and refocus our lens for ministry.

Why is it whenever we talk about our strengthening our relationship with God we go to an academic approach (i.e. we suggest needing to go to a class or read a book, etc.)? When I want to strengthen my relationship with my wife I don't go and read a book about women (although maybe she would appreciate that), rather I spend time with her. I think spending time reading the Bible is a good thing, but is it really a text book to be studied like a text book or encyclopedia? I don't really get the sense that it is, I think it's more for the purpose of connecting with God.

One of the great movies ever made is "Dead Poets Society" in which Robin Williams plays a teacher that challenges the establishment. Below is a scene where (if you skip the first minute) they read the introduction to their poetry book and it explains poetry in scientific terms. That is not how you read poetry, at least in his opinion, so he has the class rip that portion out of their text books.

Have we artificially created a similar introduction to the Bible? Perhaps we need to rip that out of our mind. One of my favorite lines in the movie (and I apologize if I get it wrong) is when the Robin Williams character asks why poetry and he answers, "To woo women." What if we refocused and looked at the Bible not so much as a text book to be studied, but a love letter from God intended to woo us?


This past week George Carlin died. Love him or hate him he challenged us to think about our words and language. One of my favorite routines of his was a bit of a social critique of our materialistic society. I think it is still appropriate today. Why do we have houses? To hold all of our stuff! Look at the mini-storage business, a whole industry designed to watch our stuff. Imagine that! What has happened to us that we feel we NEED so much stuff? It really seems to be a first commandment issue because how often do we end up putting our "stuff" ahead of God?

Anyway, it got me to thinking about this stuff again this week. Below is a video of the routine if you'd like to see it. If you don't like to hear swear words then don't watch it, he isn't hesitant to use them. Like when he makes the observation that our stuff is stuff but other peoples stuff we call (s#%!) junk.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Increase Your Vocabulary

I would like to share with you another snippet from "Dangerous Wonder."

Little children don't have a large vocabulary.. of words, but their vocabulary outside of words is massive. It's not limited to but includes hugs, winks, tears, squeezes, laughter, screaming, jumping, hopping, skipping, dancing, and silence. When you and I decide to be childlike, let's remember the vocabulary of children.

An elderly friend of mine went to the hospital to be with one of his children who was dying of cancer. During those last few days with his son, my friend was continually interrupted by well-meaning Christian friends who came by to offer advice, help, prayers, tapes, books, and encouragement. Even though he knew everyone was trying to be helpful, the old man could hardly wait for the people to leave. Then one evening, late, a fifty-year-old construction worker walked into the room. His son had been killed in a tragic car accident the year before. He slid a chair next to my friend, reached out, grabbed his hand, and said nothing. My friend told me he never wanted this man to leave. His silence was healing, strengthening, encouraging, understanding, and ... enough! The construction worker understood the language of children. He knew what his friend needed: no words.


It was our eldest boy's wedding, and he asked his younger brother to be best man. One of the roles of the best man is to give a toast to the new groom at the wedding reception, and Trent had taken a great deal of time to craft a toast that would honor their friendship and their love for each other. At the reception, when his time came, Trent stepped up to the microphone to begin his tribute to his brother.

The tribute never happened; that is, the verbal tribute.

Each time Trent would try to say his prepared words, they would stick in his throat and he would be overwhelmed by emotion. There was a long period of silence accompanied by the constant flowing of tears from Trent's eyes. Finally, after many frustrated attempts, Trent raised his glass and said, "To my brother!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gas Price Questions

I've been thinking about the rising gas prices and elections lately. A Minnesota congresswoman made a proposal for cutting gas prices. Most of the commentators I heard, or read, suggested that it really wouldn't work and that it was really more of an election publicity stunt than anything. That actually makes sense to me. The sound bite I heard on the news Congresswoman Bachmann said the problem with gas prices is supply and demand so we need to increase supply.

So I got to wondering, what if we decreased demand instead of trying to increase supply? What if we had a president that challenged us to lead the world in alternative clean fuel technology like we were once challenged to be the first country to the moon? Or really, what if we pulled out of Iraq? (Ignoring the military consequences for the moment) How much is the war draining our economy and driving down the value of the dollar? How much is our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan ticking off the countries who control the supplies of oil? If we were to leave, how might that effect the price of oil?

I admit, I hate where the price of gas has gone. I believe we've gone up around 400% in the past decade (I believe it was around the year 2000 when I was still paying around $1 per gallon). However, I wonder if this won't end up having some positive consequences. Will it drive us to new discoveries and technologies? Will it finally force us to make some decisions about life style that maybe we should have made previously? What do you think?

Marriage Confusion

If you've been watching the news lately you've probably caught on that "gay" marriage has been legalized in California. Of course it's going to be challenged in court and it probably won't be settled for a very long time, if at all. Now I understand that people have a variety of feelings on the subject as these marriages right or wrongness. I think I can also understand why one might feel one way or another. What I don't quite understand, and maybe somebody can help me understand, is the extreme comments against this law. I heard quotes from people on the news saying things like, "This is a slippery slope to the destruction of our society." I think I even heard it implied that this would destroy our economy. Really? Is it that bad? I guess I'm just not quite clear how legalizing "gay" marriage might completely tear apart the infrastructure of our country. I can see where it might make some people uncomfortable (although I would remind those people who are uncomfortable with this law that it is not requiring you to enter into such a relationship).

Honestly, I'm not quite sure I have a point here today. However, I am wondering if anyone can explain to me how legalizing marriage for same sex couples might signify the end of the world?

Monday, June 16, 2008


I heard an artist once talking about sculpture. He spoke about looking at a block of wood or granite and not only seeing the picture of what he wanted but also the picture of what then needed to be chipped/carved away. I kind of got me to thinking that maybe leadership, or at least church leadership, might be a little bit like sculpting (it sure feels a lot more like an art than a science to me).

When looking at an organization like a church congregation I think a leader needs to see what it can eventually look like, and then what needs to be chipped away or rearranged. Are there programs that are good (or at least satisfactory) but are masking what it could be? Are there people that might be better suited in other areas of ministry? Are there different parts that need to be built up to properly fit what the leader sees? It certainly sounds like artistry to me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Outside Appearance

How many of you grew up like me with parents and other adults drilling into you that you "don't judge a book by its cover," that you judge people by their character and not by how they appear on the outside? How many of you have worked to instill that in your kids? I think it's an awesome value. It's the sort of value that I try and embrace. I think that's part of why I've been struck by the reaction that I've gotten today. (Sure, this isn't the first time I've gotten this kind of reaction, but it is the first time [I believe] I've chosen to say anything about it.)

Today I have chosen to dress slightly more relaxed than normal. I don't think it's bad. It's not like I'm dressed in shorts and a T-shirt like I'd prefer to be. I am wearing a decent pair of shoes, a shirt, tie, and blue jeans. I'm pretty confident that it's the blue jeans that have thrown people a little. The visitors we've had in the office today all have made comments about the way I'm dressed, saying things like, "Oh, is it casual Thursday?" It's not totally unusual to get such comments because I, sometimes, like to wear some clothing items that are, let's say, a little out of the ordinary.

For some reason it struck me more than normal how judgmental those kinds of comments really are towards me (or others). Now, I wasn't at all offended as they were intended as friendly banter, but I was struck by the comments. Part of the reason I like to make unique clothing choices from time to time is to make the point that it doesn't really matter what one wears. Why should it matter? Don't really believe that we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover?

Reflections and Headlights

Here is an interesting video by Kidz in the Hall, Talib Kweli, and Bunn B. It's a hip-hop video that takes on politics, on behalf of Barack Obama. Hip-hop is music of the people, or a snap shot of current culture. (Did you know "liturgy" comes from a Greek word meaning "public work?" Sounds similar to me.) At the beginning of the video you hear the MC's challenging the politicians to speak to their issues, the issues of the real people. I realize Obama has been accused of being an elitist and McCain has been a politician for years, but what excites me about this upcoming election is that I think both candidates have the ability to relate to the common, every day person. (Note I said "ability" I think it can be argued with both of them how well they do relating.)

Check out the video, I think it's interesting. Also, I encourage you to hang on (or at least skip to) the comments at the end. Obama challenges hip-hop artists to not only be mirrors of the culture, but to shine headlights into the future as well.

Thinking about mirrors and headlights, what are we doing as a church? Are we simply reflecting the culture? Are scrambling to try and find the next "fix" that will relate to, or reflect, the culture so it will be more palatable to the consumer or are we shining the light of Christ into the world?

Bee's & God

Have you ever heard someone say something to a kid like, "God created the bee and the devil created the stinger."? Does it concern you at all when you hear things like that? It does me. It makes God too easy to understand. When God is easy to understand there is nothing left to fear. I think that's a problem. I think we have become a little too lax in our view of God and created something more along the lines of "Buddy Jesus" in "Dogma."

Does anybody remember Luther's explanation to the 10 Commandments in his small catechism? "We are to fear and love God..." What happened to fearing God? I mean good ol' knee shaking, teeth chattering, cold sweat inducing fear? As kids we feared and loved things like the boogie man or monsters under our bed. What happened to our viewing God in this way.

When we stop fearing God, when we stop being in awe of God, then God becomes innocuous and insignificant. We can get away with anything and we are left without expectation. Yes, there's still grace, but I think there are expectations. Look at our home lives. Parents love their children and offer them grace, but they also expect them to clean their room, act responsible, give their best on school work, etc. Is God all so much different?

God created both the bee AND the stinger. We can fear the wrath, the disappointment, and/or the presence of God. As it turns out God IS dangerous. However, we can also love God and feel comforted by God's presence in our lives. Imagine the disciples out in the boat as the storm arose and Jesus spoke into the storm saying, "Peace" and the storm settled. The disciples must have been scared to death to understand that Jesus could control the weather. (Can't you just see Peter whispering to Matthew, "Don't make him mad!") The disciples must have been completely comforted knowing that Jesus could control the weather. (Can't you just see Matthew whispering back, "Yeah, but thank goodness he's on our side... right?")

Cheap Doesn't Always Pay

Given the current price of gas I have taken to driving slower, much slower, to save money by increasing gas mileage. Last night was really no different. I was driving home from St. Paul, cruising along at 55 mph. I had a good number of people pass me, but that was OK because I was in no big hurry. Although, I wonder if maybe I should have been.

Somewhere around Pine Island (the town about 10 miles North of us) it started to rain. As I got closer to home the lightning really began to pick up. It started to lighten a little as I arrived nearly home. I turned down our block and about four houses in there was the brightest flash of light and loudest clap of thunder I may have witnessed in a very long time. As the light faded, so did the street lights. As I got to our house I pushed the button for the automatic door opener... nothing... Turns out I don't have a house key on my key ring either. Why would I? Every time I come home I just drive into the garage and I'm good to go.

If only I hadn't been so cheap. If I had driven the up to the speed limit of 65 I would have been home approximately 15 minutes sooner and would have avoided being locked out of the house for an hour while they worked to restore power.

Then again, maybe I wouldn't have been locked out of the house if I had learned a lesson last year when we got locked out of the house at the end of vacation. Maybe if I would have learned and put a house key on my key chain. Maybe we could have found a good spot to hide a key around the outside of the house. Of course making extra keys and stuff would cost money. Is it really so bad to be locked out the house? Not if it saves you money. :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Congregational Critique

I would like to offer a challenge to those members of Christ Lutheran who are reading this blog. I have read in several different places that this generation coming of age now (18-40 year olds depending on who is writing) is looking for two things when considering joining an organization/group. First, there needs to be genuine community. They won't necessarily join for the community, in fact it seems they rarely do, but it needs to be present there for them to join. Second, they want to make a difference in the world and so that organization/group needs to allow them to join in making a difference.

When I look at traditional church structures typically the group responsible for creating genuine community is called something like the "fellowship committee." It's true everybody needs to be responsible, but typically it's the fellowship committee that works hard to help facilitate community within a congregation. The group traditionally responsible for making a difference in the world is called the "social concerns committee" or "service committee." Again, everybody really is responsible, but there typically needs to be a group to facilitate opportunities.

So here is the challenge to Christ Lutheran members reading. When I look around at the structure of our congregation I do not see a fellowship committee nor do I see a social concerns committee. So who is going to be responsible, and hold us responsible as a congregation, to work at creating genuine community and making a difference in the world?

Thoughts? (Am I off my rocker? Right on target? Something else?) Ideas? (What changes would you suggest? How might we address this?)

Religion and Politics

As I understand this notion of separation of church and state we seem to have got it all mixed up over the years. First of all, as I understand it, this notion is not actually in the constitution. It actually comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson. Second, my understanding is that it was a phrase termed to keep the government out of running the church and creating a state church as they have in most (if not all) European nations. I think it was assumed that leaders would most certainly bring their faith to the table as they entered in political discussion.

Now, it seems, we have completely reversed matters. We have people who will fight to their death to bring the American flag front and center into worship (Is that really a symbol of our worship? Can we find important places outside of our worship space for the sake of those who find their patriotism to be important in their life?), and some of those very same people who will go to battle to remove the ten commandments from the courthouse. This just doesn't seem right to me. I think we need to work to reverse this trend. Let's keep the government out of our church business and let's stop trying to shut God out of our courthouses and political dialogues.

Kelly Fryer wrote an interesting post about this on her blog today, which you can read here. Her suggestion is that JFK started this trend of taking faith out of politics and political discussion. It would make sense that he needed to be elected as a Catholic at that time. However, she wonders if Obama may be taking steps to interject faith back into the discussion. If he is it will take all of us helping to be successful in bringing it back in.

Monday, June 09, 2008


We've recently had a good deal of rain in this part of the state. One of the things that seminary drilled into me as a Lutheran is that when you see (or hear) water you think of baptism. So here I sit, drying out from the Noah like rains and bracing for the next round that should start up in a day or two, thinking about baptism and water.

The recent rains have brought flooding to Northern Iowa and parts of South East Minnesota that REALLY don't need flooding. Last August we had some pretty serious flooding around here as well. I imagine a number of folks still weren't fully dried out from last fall when new floods came. So, I know that when I hear about water I'm supposed to think about baptism, but with all of this flooding I can't help but think that this water stuff is dangerous. (Oh yeah, there was a story on the news this morning about a many who drowned when a sailboat out of Galveston, TX sunk on its way to Mexico. So, yeah, this water stuff is dangerous.)

The big, long prayer we pray whenever we have a baptism is called by many, "the flood prayer." I suppose that's appropriate, and not just because Noah is mentioned in the prayer. I think baptism is dangerous. Think about it. We confess to believe (as Lutherans) that in baptism we are drowned to our old sinful self and raised to new life in Christ as the Word of God is breathed into us. God grabs hold of our lives. We become one with Christ. Now, that's dangerous stuff.

YES, God has big plans for your life. YES, God wants to work good things through your life. Now, let me ask you, how many of those "good things" or "big plans" do you suppose line up with what YOU want or what the world is calling you to? Some might, but what do you think people thought of Noah as he built a giant ship in the middle of the desert? What do you suppose people thought when they discovered that Mary was pregnant and not yet married? (Let me tell you her life was absolutely in danger.) What do you suppose the reaction of Theressa's family was when she became a nun and followed her call to move to India? What do you think your boss might think if you asked for a week off to go and help clean up after the floods? Or a year to go help out following the earthquake in China?

This water stuff IS dangerous business.

Hoping Against Hope

Here is my sermon from this past Sunday. As a Lutheran, I have to admit, I was a little concerned with a title like "Hoping Against Hope" because I didn't want it to fall into the world of "prosperity gospel" or Joel Osteen. I think it turned out OK. What I'm most impressed with is the changes in how they are now recording the videos at worship on Sunday. With the microphones going directly into the recording the sound is so much better. Way to go team!

Confidence or Denial?

I think it is important for us to be confident. It is amazing how far a positive attitude can take a person. Yet I've been wondering lately, at what point does confidence, or a positive attitude, turn into a denial of reality?

In regards to this question, to see this fine line, an easy person to pick on is our current president. One of the great things he brought to this country, especially in the immediate after math of 9/11 was his supreme confidence and positive attitude. We were going to work through this as a country and come out stronger. We all believed him, if for no other reason than we needed to. Yet on the other side of matters are images of him giving a speech underneath a banner declaring victory or this past winter scoffing at the predictions that gas would reach $4 per gallon. Well, it seems we haven't quite reached a point where we really can declare victory in Iraq and $4 per gallon is now a reality. It kind of makes him look buffoonish.

So at what point does confidence move from an asset to a liability? How do we remain confident with a positive attitude, but not deny reality? I ask because I try (at least publicly) remain as positive as I can. I try and counter what appears to be panic because of the perceived negative situation with positivity and confidence that we will get through it just fine. However, I fear that my confidence and positive perception have been received as denial of the situation and I end up looking a bit like a buffoon in the situation. So I ask, how do we find that line? How do we walk it as leaders?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Better than God

For some reason, today, I am struggling with the platitudes that people feel compelled to share when people die or are dying. I know they mean well and I don't want to be mean. Still, I am struggling because I don't think people really think them all the way through.

A friend of mine has a baby girl who is dying before his families eyes. Somebody posted a note to the baby girl that said, "Peace to you and your family as you grow your angel wings." It's actually not as bad as some of the other things say at times like this. Still, it is pointing to (and maybe even assuming) things that are said like, "God needed another angel," or "God must need her."

Let's think this through a little. If you are saying that God needs this person then you are suggesting a couple of things. First of all you are suggesting that God is needy. God is God, so does God really need anything? Second you are suggesting that God needs this person more than the hurting person left on earth. While that's hard to believe, but if it is true that would make the person you are trying to comfort better than God. Now that is a bold statement. (I know that's not the intention of such statements, but I believe we need to think more about the implications of what we're saying. Especially in a culture that is becoming less and less biblically literate and more and more theologically mailable.)

I think it's dangerous territory when we start thinking, or making claims, that we are somehow, in some way, better than God.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What Do You Believe?

It's funny how often the question of what you believe comes up. In a culture where church attendance is falling off like a cliff edge in the Alps, we still are bombarded with the question of what we believe. Yesterday we went to the latest of the Indiana Jones movies. (It was good, but I'm also glad we paid a discounted price.) Like other installments of the series the viewer is challenged to take on different beliefs. I was particularly struck when at the climax of the movie the "bad guy" asks Indiana, "Don't you believe?" He responds with, "I do believe, that's why I'm backing away." For me it then begged the question, "What do you believe?"

So, what do you believe? It seems that lots of people believe, but what do they believe in? What do you believe in?

It was also interesting, and maybe only to this pastor, that one of the main conclusions drawn at the end of the show was that true treasure was really knowledge. It reminded me of Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and discipline." It made me want to jump to the conclusion that faith really is the true treasure. If the treasure is knowledge and the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord and fear of the Lord really is faith, then it must be concluded that faith (meaning faith in God) really is the true treasure.... Perhaps a bit of a stretch, but I've got to tell you that this preacher is willing to make that leap... at least for today.

Another Take on Passion

There they were at Simon's house. Interesting I suppose that they were even gathered there, just look at the guy. Just the sight of him tells you that he's sinful. The dinner party was going nicely until this disheveled woman with eyes red from crying enters the room. She staggers over and breaks open a jar of perfume, and not the cheap stuff mind but the kind you save for very special occasions. What was she thinking? In fact, as she begins showering the guest of honor with this perfume some of the others object to her wasteful behavior. "By golly, that bottle was worth nearly a year's worth of salary," the guest exclaim, "just think how much we could given to the poor!"

Honestly, do you think they would have given ALL of that money to the poor if they had been given the opportunity? I know I wonder, but maybe they would have since Jesus was the guest of honor and the people gathered at the table were those who at least claimed to be followers of Jesus. Yet Jesus didn't scold her for this seemingly wasteful behavior, not because he didn't care for the poor but because he recognized the passion that overflowed in this woman and came out as exuberant gratefulness.

What are you grateful for? What might that look like in your life?

At the end of August my wife, Dawn, and I will have our first child. I can imagine it will be shortly after that we will crawl into bed with every muscle aching from exhaustion. We will roll over and give each other a little hug and a kiss good night. We'll hold hands as we lie on our back staring bleary-eyed at the dark ceiling. A grin will begin to grow from ear to ear and one (or both) of us will mutter something like, "I can't believe it!" For me it's a picture of extreme gratefulness, it's a picture of passion.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Discovering Passion

What are you passionate about?

That can either be a wonderful question or horribly painful. If an answer immediately comes to mind it is wonderful because you immediate go that place where energy begins to bubble up from deep within you. If you don't know, or even worse have forgotten, then it can be painful because you instinctively know what joy that might bring but instead you recognize gaping emptiness that is there instead.

So where does that passion come from? I suspect a big part of that answer comes from discovering how passionately God loves and cares for you. How can one really forget the image of the prodigal son crawling back to his father ready to beg for forgiveness when he is tackled and embraced with a bear hug to last all eternity by a father who had been heartbroken by the loss of his son. That passion in which the father embraces the son and calls out to his servants to prepare a celebration, we are told, is the exactly the kind of passionate love our heavenly father has for us... So I suspect when we tap into that kind of passion, it's difficult for us not to be passionate as well.