Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Glimpse of Jesus

"God is tender and loves us as just as we are, not in spite of our sins and faults, but with them. God does not condone or sanction evil, but he does not withhold his love because there is evil in us. The key to this understanding is the way we feel about ourselves. We cannot stand or accept love from another human being when we do not love ourselves, much less believe or accept that God could possibly love us." -- Brennan Manning, A Glimpse of Jesus

I am currently reading A Glimpse of Jesus by Brennan Manning. I loved Ragamuffin Gospel and every thought I've ever read by this remarkable man. This book is no exception. I read Ragamuffin Gospel relatively quickly because it was so good. While this book is equally as good, I am reading it slowly. In part because I have been a bit busy as-of-late. But mostly because of the subtitle. The whole title reads like this: A Glimpse of Jesus: The Stranger to Self-Hatred.

While I don't hate myself, I know it won't surprise my handful of readers to hear me confess that I have difficulty receiving love. From God or anyone, really. I look at others who struggle the same and I cannot understand it. I have no trouble seeing how other people (even ones who frustrate me!) are deserving of love. I just have trouble receiving it myself. And the Lord has (humorously) surrounded me with an unbelievably loving family, loving friends, and companions on this journey. He is desperately trying to show me how he loves me through others. And I know that he does...I just don't know that I know that I know.

I venture to say many of you feel at least partially the same. Or maybe you don't. Either way, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. It is a lingering difficulty in my life. It has been alleviated during brief seasons in my life, but it still seems to loom behind me. I long to be set free of this feeling and I believe that God desires that for me (and you!). But how?

For now, I am learning a lot from this book and what Manning pulls from the Word. I feel layers being lifted and I am loving it, but I have a long way to go!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Random Find of the Day

I have just returned from the local Christian bookstore. I went to browse their Bible study material to see if I could find any possibilities for my college students. While that might not seem all that interesting, it was. It was, at the very least, enlightening...

While there I could not resist the card section. I am sucker for good cards (Though there are very few good ones these days in the Christian book stores...sad, but true.). I noticed something ironic.

There was no section for "love." Interesting. Disturbing. Ironic. Sad.

Isn't that a central principle for us? And shouldn't we be about love...sustaining marriages and relationships and expressing love to each other? As it is, most of the books on relationships in the Christian bookstore I went to (a national chain) assumed not love...but difficulty and problems. The titles were mostly negative. The ones that weren't were more of a "how-to" guide to finding your mate. Those leave a bad taste in my mouth.

So, what does this say about us (Christians, the Church)?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Freedom and Relief

The subtitle on my blog says that it will be about life, faith, and living free. That said, I thought this quote was worth sharing. Enjoy...

"My praying friend, continue to make known your desires to God in all things. It is when we can speak with one another about anything and everything that conversation really affords us freedom and relief. Let Him decide whether you are to receive what you ask for or not." - O. Hallesby

Monday, July 16, 2007

Things that Disturb/Annoy Me...

Walking out of a bathroom with two un-purchased books at a local bookstore…

Non hand-washers…especially at a bookstore or restaurant!

Texting while driving

Strangers who have what my friend Julie calls “verbal diarrhea” all over you…

Changing a baby’s diaper somewhere other than the bathroom…

Public breast-feeding

40+ year-old women wearing halters

Toupees (Especially on married men. I mean, all sense of intimacy would be lost when he took that thing off to go to bed…)


Hair helmets on older (or younger, for that matter) women

Men who wear eyeliner (except maybe that guy from Green Day...)


Those shoes with the wheels on them

Little girls in strapless dresses

Jeans that are entirely too low rise (i.e. – seeing a bare rear end on a man or woman while shopping etc.)

Riding a motorcycle without a helmet


Parents who let their kids run all over the place (especially in restaurants)

Walking into a public place (restaurant, mall, etc.) without shoes

Consider this a work in progress...I am sure I will add to it often! Feel free to add your own!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Trinitarian Ministry

I am reading a wonderful book by Steve Seamands these days called, "Ministry in the Image of God." One of the great things about this book is that Seamands prolifically quotes others. I am a lover of quotes and the communion of, I am loving this book! I picked it up in a bookstore in Arkansas off the bargain table for just a few dollars (I still don't understand what it was doing on that table!). It has been well worth it! Below is a quote Seamands included from C.S. Lewis on Trinitarian ministry that I thought you might enjoy.

"The whole dance, or drama, or pattern of this three-Personal life is to be played out in each one of us; or (putting it the other way round) each one of us has got to enter that pattern, take his place in the dance. Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire; if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry." - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I am feeling...pensive tonight. Melancholy. I think it is due in part to my lack of social contact with many people today. I ran some errands and mostly sat around the house. This is good for me, as I have been going and going and going for the past few weeks. To the beach. To rural Alabama. To a family reunion. Back to Auburn. Moving to Arkansas. I have been going non-stop these past few weeks. I needed some down time...some alone time to reflect on the whirlwind that is my life.

It might surprise those of you who know me well to find out that I love just being alone. Oh sure...I am a people person. I am deeply invested in my family and friends. It is life-giving for me to see or speak to the people I love most in the world. I am deeply relational. But I desperately need big pockets of time alone to reflect and relax (two things I don't do often enough).

Today was one of those days. It was good and difficult. When I get too much time without contact with others, I think too much and over-analyze the details of my life. I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing at this point...we'll just have to see.

I talked with a handful of people by phone today that I've been missing for weeks. This was good and bad, too. Made me miss them and wish that there was someway we could create some sort of ideal village where we could all co-exist somehow. I think this way often, as the people I love most in the world are far from me these days...I wonder why God would give us to each other only to separate us like this. Then I remember that we are all where God wants us right now...and I feel a little better. I am still holding out hope for that ideal village...

My thoughts also turn to the positive. I wonder how in the world I arrived right here in just a matter of a few weeks. I am back in Fayetteville, Arkansas at a place I love and job I am sure to love. I am close enough to my family that I could just randomly decide to go home...and that is nice for a change. I think this is the start of a new and beautiful season in my life.

So, this pensive feeling...I'm not sure what to do with it. It is very real, but I'm not sure why I am feeling it so strongly. I guess it is not all bad to feel a bit melancholy and contemplative. Maybe some sleep will shake the sadness...or maybe your prayers?

Thank you...and good night. :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Divine Resemblance...

"O Lord Jesus Christ, save us from the error of wishing to admire you instead of being willing to follow you and resemble you." - Soren Kierkegaard

[I promise a new post as soon as the boxes are unpacked. For now, enjoy this prayer.]