Friday, January 30, 2004

The false self

Here's a quote from Brennan Manning that speaks to something that I believe God has been trying to teach me in the last several years: discerning the false self that I attempt to "sanctify" or cover by overlaying Jesus on top. Christ wants to enter the raw and unspoken places and know me, and you.

"Living out of the false self creates a compulsive desire to present a perfect image to the public so that everybody will admire us and nobody will know us."
Brennan Manning, The Rabbi's Heart

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Brennan Manning - Rabbi's Heart

Here's a quote from Brennan Manning that speaks to something that I believe God has been trying to teach me in the last several years: discerning the false self that I attempt to "sanctify" or cover by overlaying Jesus on top. Christ wants to enter the raw and unspoken places and know me, and you.

"Living out of the false self creates a compulsive desire to present a perfect image to the public so that everybody will admire us and nobody will know us." from Brennan Manning, The Rabbi's Heart

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Soccer and basketball

My daughter, Ashley, is playing basketball for the first time. She's 10. She's played soccer several seasons.

In the bleachers, soccer is to basketball what relaxing and enjoying the mountains is to driving through NYC in rush hour. Basketball is a bit more loud and intense, and parents are making the most noise.

I'm with Cal Ripken: let the kids play, watch, and encourage them when they do well. And if one has an impulse to tell the kids what to do from the stands, then sign up to coach.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Brother Lawrence and Brother Warren

When the decision of my covenant group was to study a book that we can buy at Sam's Club, I was a little wary.

But, I'll take Brother Lawrence any way I can get him, even distilled through a A Purpose Driven Life. Brother Lawrence modeled a form called "breath prayers." Now, these are different from the standard prayers I often catch myself almost mindlessly saying, "Help me, Lord." While my "help me" prayers are not all bad, they tend to be self-focused and convenience-for-me-driven.

BL, on the other hand, strained through the book I bought at Sam's, says to choose a line of comfort or challenge or presence of God: "You are with me." "I receive your grace." "I want to know you." "Help me trust you." "I belong to you." Rick Warren also suggests using Scripture as a mobile personal contemplative excercise (I made that part up): "For me to live is Christ" or "You will never leave me or forsake me."

Someday--if not already today--we might be quoting Brother Warren.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I was talking to a postal worker...

This morning I was in the post office mailing a book manuscript off to a publisher and the man behind the counter, Curtis, an older post office employee who has a goatee and wears purple glasses asked me what the book's about. I told him and he said, “I am a believer, and I’ve discovered that the only way is the life in the Spirit.”

I agreed, started to say something, then didn’t really have words come to mind to add and stammered then just kept quiet. Had I lost my nerve to say something about faith or Jesus, even in front of a confessed believer? Or was I doing what my grandpa Ross taught me: when you don't have anything to say, don't put words in the air. Should I have had words to say, been ready to "give account"?

I had never said anything to this man except, "I'd like that priority mail" or "how much less is the price if you don't send my package through the meat grinder before delivery?" or somesuch phrase.

He said "I write poetry, and I'd like you to read something I've written." I said, "We don't publish much poetry but sure, send it, I'd like to read it...you know my address."

If Curtis gets the courage to mail a poem to an editor who doesn't publish poetry, maybe I will learn more about his faith, learn something from him, find out why I had nothing to say, then perhaps we will fellowship about the savior we were talking around.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Gospel Advocate (January 2004) put out a list of books they encourage Christians to read, discuss, and test...with the Word of God as our authority.
I've read most of these books, and I recommend that you read the books with Bible in hand, ready to be transformed in your heart and mind, drawn closer to God, and see for yourself what you and your church believes. Talk about it. Comment here on my blog if you wish.
I've written or published reviews of some of them, and for those I've supplied links:

John Mark Hicks, Come to the Table
Tim Woodroof, A Church That Flies
Shelly & York, The Jesus Proposal (reviewed by Larry James in NEW WINESKINS, Sep-Dec 03)
All of the Heart of the Restoration Series
Jeff W. Childers, Douglas A. Foster & Jack Reese, The Crux of the Matter
Keneth L. Cukrowski, Mark W. Hamilton & James W. Thompson, God's Holy Fire
Frederick Aquino & Jeff W. Childers, Unveiling Glory
Max Lucado, In the Grip of Grace
F. Lagard Smith, Radical Restoration
Richard T. Hughes, Reviving the Ancient Faith
Billie Silvey, editor, Trusting Women

Monday, January 12, 2004

Bret Favre

One of the best images of Sports in 2003 was Bret Favre's Dec 22 incredible performance only a day or two after his father died. In a later interview, he said he'd dress out for the game but didn't know if he could play; he couldn't think.

He said, "I know my dad would have wanted me to play." He simply went out and played for his dad. The best image I'm referring to is Favre, his helment pulled down, his chin strap in that characteristic unsnapped look, and tears streaming down his eyes. He couldn't think yet he played one of the best games of his life, because he played to please his dad, to honor him.

Washington Post article

Friday, January 09, 2004

Riding Shotgun

promise to keep my eyes on the road while I'm driving, but I can only see as far as the headlights shine. I'll need your directions and reflections along the way. So get in and hang on as we share experiences, loving Jesus and the writing & reading life...

The link below will take you to the web site that I administer and edit articles for (and often allow writers to end sentences with prepositions on).

www.wineskins.org

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Spatula Hockey

My four-year-old son can't get enough of my time. It's not that he's demanding, though I do warn him about becoming so, but he's like every child: he wants his parent's time more than anything in the world.

This morning, before work, between getting the girls to school, Jacob and I played Spatula-Hockey. What, you ask, is Spatula-Hockey? Two spatulas. One big black Gatorade top (OK, it doesn't have to be black, but if you want authentic puck color, there you go). Two chairs for making the goal between the legs (sit to the side of the goal and spatula only is your defense and offense, not your body). Oh, and you'll need a slick wood or linole-however-you-spell-it floor. Finally, two crazy dudes like Jake and me, and you're playing Spatula-Hockey.

After we played three games, Jacob said, "Dad, how bout a game of football in the backyard?" I was heading out the door.

"Under the stadium lights, son, after work," I said.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Luther the movie

Went to see LUTHER the movie in late 2003. Decided to review it and submit it to a cool new magazine called Relevant (link above will get you to the site). I've never written a movie review before, and the Relevant Magazine readers who responded to it (and the editor’s note saying I spoiled the plot) show me for the rookie movie reviewer that I am.

LUTHER is a powerful film, artistic, vivid, and a must see—only chance at this point might be the DVD release…

Review: Relevant Magazine