Tag Archives: Kingdom

grace, works, mercy, picture of hand on the Bible

Grace Works and the Journey of Mercy

God’s grace. A wonderful Christian teaching. If you are trying to serve, if you have mercy for the hurting but you make mistakes, God has abundant grace.

The journey to the kingdom of heaven is paved by works of the Spirit. We all fall down in the journey of loving others. We stumble as we learn to embrace humbleness over power and selflessness over greed. Grace covers our fall and gently helps us back on the path.

But the American evangelical church has twisted the definition of grace into a selfish, Me-first mentality. read more

4th of July 2015

4th of July Working Poor

4th of July 2015

On this 4th of July holiday, I am deep in thought about being American. The holiday celebrates the “greatness” of the United States, the land of the free and home of the brave.

But I am troubled about what I teach my son. Is there a place for him, for us? Will our mixed-race family be accepted among the sea of white families wearing red, white, and blue, waving the stars and stripes, driving nice cars to nice picnics and nice fireworks shows? Is this nice? Is this the picture of greatness? read more

shabbat and lent, statue of Jesus

Shabbat and Lent: Religious Intersection

Shabbat shalom, friends.

As we approach sundown on Friday evening, Shabbat, of the first week of Lent, I am struck by the intersection of two great religions. Judaism and Catholicism. Shabbat and Lent.

Jesus lived in the intersection. He walked the holiness and healing of the ancient paths of Judaism. He showed us the sorrows and joy of the way of the cross and kingdom living. His followers of the cross were later called Christians.

My Personal Journey Into Lent

This is the first year I have ever celebrated Lent. Growing up evangelical, my church and family never taught the ways of Lent. They told me that Lent was a tradition of “evil” Catholics who are trying to earn their way to heaven. My heart breaks as I think back on the hateful words of people at my church saying that Catholics “work their way into hell.” read more

american individualism, american capital

American Individualism: Sunday Message

America prides itself on being a “Christian” nation, a nation “under God” with “liberty and justice for all.”

But is it really liberty and justice for all, or is it just liberty and justice for the individual, the “successful” individual, the individual with the right skin color, the right family and neighborhood, the right access to wealth and opportunities?

We worship at the altar of American individualism.

Our nation “under God” is the nation of the individual. We cherish a national belief that if “one” only works hard enough to pull oneself by his (or, more rarely in the metaphor, her) bootstraps, one will find success. read more

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014: The Government of Jesus

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

As I celebrate Christmas 2014, I reflect on Jesus and his wonderful kingdom. Look once again at this famous passage from Isaiah: “the government will be on his shoulders.” That is heavy. The government of Jesus is so unlike any earthly government we have now.

Jesus Experienced Humanness

Jesus came to earth as a baby. Just like all of us, he pooped his diapers and made messes. He cried a lot. The song Away in a Manger says “no crying he made” but Jesus was human, just like us. He cried as a baby, he wept as an adult. read more

day by day

Day by Day: Sunday Message

The prophetic life is lived day by day. The mercy and healing of the kingdom is new with each morning’s light, painted by angels on a brilliant pastel canvas for our enjoyment. Drink in the healing colors and delight in the sun that shines on the just and the unjust. All will eventually be put right. Salute the sun which brings us life in the infinite wisdom of the Father.

Day by day.

Step by step.

The earthly journey of our spirit is a wild road, full of twists and turns, foe and friend, downhill joys and uphill battles. The Holy Spirit takes our hand on the path as she heals us and builds us in wisdom. read more

all saints day

All Saints Day: The Veil is Thin

Today is All Saints Day in the Catholic tradition and Dia de los Muertos in Mexico. It is a holy day, the day after Halloween, the hallowed eve. On this day, the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest of the whole year. Today, the spirits whisper into the physical realm. Today heaven opens and touches earth. On All Saints Day, we are most awake to the other side.

The saints and mystics of old reach out from the spirit realm to all who are seeking wisdom and understanding here on earth. The cloud of witnesses cheer on the seekers to finish the race of faith. Sainthood is the crown at the finish line. read more

where your treasure is

Where Your Treasure Is There Your Heart Is

Matthew 6:19 (NIV)

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Privilege and Where Your Treasure Is

During a recent evening commute on a local bus, I was chatting with an acquaintance. He is an upper middle class white man, Baby Boomer age, solid in his job and finances. He will sometimes talk about very basic issues of power and privilege, but it is only an intellectual exercise for him. He has never known one day of need or injustice from oppression. read more

International Day of Peace

International Day of Peace

Today is September 21, the International Day of Peace. Every country is encouraged to put down their arms and observe a cease-fire. Every person is encouraged to reflect on their place in the human connection, their story of the human experience, their role in the international day of peace.

World Conflict: The way of ego

Sadly, our world is full of conflict created through greed and ego. Bullies destroy lives and pillage dreams as they lust after land on the global playground. Fundamentalists declare that their way of life, their culture, their religion, is the only true way, and they take up weapons, emotional and physical, to defend this way. The rich destroy the poor. The strong destroy the weak. War is a game that destroys the sanctity of life and mocks the international day of peace. read more

trust god, sunlight streaming through trees

Trust God: He Cares for You

The Trees Trust God

The trees take in the rain,
the mist, the snow, the sun,
each season of its own.
Reaching to the heavens,
looking to the creator for provision.

The trees do not worry.
They do not gather, store, plan.
The trees just be.
Always looking to the sky,
and the great I Am.
The trees trust God.

Learn From Nature How to Trust God

When I look at the trees outside, I marvel at their ability to trust God. They are storehouses of wisdom, growing and existing longer than mortal human life. They spend hundreds of years on the earth. Yet, they don’t spend time in fret and worry, they don’t gather and store, they don’t trample on each other trying to gather the best thing for themselves, the best status. They just trust that the Creator will take care of them. read more