Showing posts from May, 2010

The Gospel and Microsoft Security Essentials

We are content owners of a Dell laptop running Vista. It was a free hand-me-down from my mother, who upgraded to a new laptop running 7. In fact I am typing on the Vista machine right now. We are enthusiastic iMac owners, but we don't sniff at free. But I had to protect this machine from the villains of the world wide web. I don't really worry about the wild web with my Mac, but with this Vista machine, I need to focus on defense. In fact, I had a dream this morning about getting a computer virus that took over our computer. I felt powerless and subject to the whims of someone who only wanted to use me. I didn't like that feeling.
Back in reality, when I received this machine, I got rid of the paid security software and downloaded the free one from the maker of the software, Microsoft's Security Essentials. It and the software check for updates regularly and keep it protected from my enemies. The regular happy operation of this machine is dependent on those regular upda…

slave, son, friend

"Don't get your car repaired there." Those words carry different weights depending on who utters them. If a stranger tells me this, I might file that away in my memory. If my co-worker tells you this, I might heed it. If my good friend tells me this, I'll trust him. If my brother tells me this, I wouldn't doubt him. If my dad tells me this, I'd want more details. If my boss tells me this, I'd respectfully nod.
Sometimes, when temptation comes my way, I hear the Holy Spirit instruct me. Sometimes I receive it as a slave, and act resentfully, whether I obey or not. Sometimes I receive it as a son, and ask God why and spend a great deal of time whining. But I forget that Jesus calls me his friend, John 15:15. My friend and old college roommate, Geoff, still gets me to do things I would otherwise not consider or try. But if Geoff wants me to try something with him, I usually will give him the benefit of the doubt and join him. I think my choices might be simpl…

Why turn the other cheek?

I don't consider myself a pacifist, but I do believe Jesus is sincere when he tells us to turn the other cheek. In Matthew 5:39, during the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says, "But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also." In Luke 6:29, during the Sermon on the Plain Jesus says, "If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also." These are hard sayings. Are they even realistic?
Bonhoeffer contends that the point of non-resistance is to exhaust evil. Love prevails over evil because of its endurance. I think he is somewhat correct, but I think there is more to this. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we bear his resemblance in our lives. His example inspires us. But what was his example? When subjected to evil men, he received their beatings. When he was arrested in the garden and Peter pulled out his little sword to protect Jesus from the temp…

violent messengers

I wish I could say this happens infrequently in my house, but I can't, and if I did, I would be lying. Nevertheless, I will confess the imperfection of my household. On occasion, when I send one child to deliver a message to a sibling, they feel that the authority of the message deputizes them and gives them latitude to be enforcers of the message. I did not give the messenger such authority, but they assumed the mantle of my authority. This often leads to escalating wills and rising noise levels and even pushing, shoving and hitting. Yet, I only wanted a message delivered, with the hope that obedience would follow. I consider it my job to determine what the level of consequence will be if my message is disregarded. The self-deputized might only take it upon himself to give me a report on the disobedience. They never deem it important to tell me when someone does obey me.
As I've been reading Bonhoeffer's Discipleship, I can see why many consider him a pacifist. He writes l…

sin and the transcendent

I took my youngest daughter out for a frozen custard from Rita's Ice this week. It was a renewed effort on my part to offer each child "daddy time," which I have done on and off for years. In the past, it used to be as simple as building something together. Nowadays, I take them out. I asked my little girl, who is now 10 about her future and about the daily Bible reading we've been doing. She proceeded to stump me with a Bible question. We are reading through the Old Testament together and we finished Isaiah last month. She wanted to know what Isaiah meant that all our good deeds are filthy rags, Isaiah 64:6. I never thought about it before. I just accepted it. So I took a swing. I told her that none of our deeds are done with purely unselfish motivations. We can't get ourselves out of any choice we make. Selfishness corrupts every action we make. She shrugged at my answer. Thanks for trying, dad.
I've been thinking about self-denial today. Many religions advo…

Grace at work in the Lord's Prayer

As I've been re-learning about the grace of God, yesterday and Friday, I'm more alert to those occasions when God's grace jumps out at me, like this morning while I walked the dog. Like every morning, I pray through Jesus's prayer from Matthew 6. I blogged through this prayer, link summary here, three years ago. But this morning, I was stopped in my tracks by the end of the prayer, after we ask for God to forgive us as we forgive others. After we repent, Jesus tells us to ask our heavenly Father to lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one, Matt. 6:13. This prayer I have prayed for years says simply and profoundly what I'm relearning. Repent and ask for deliverance. The prayer is not, repent and try harder, but repent and ask Dad to protect us from the things that entangle us and the enemies who try to destroy us. I agree with the band Skillet, that sometimes the evil one is myself. They have a great song on their latest CD called Monster, video,…

a Christian model for correction

2:1 So I made up my own mind not to pay you another painful visit. 2:2 For if I make you sad, who would be left to make me glad but the one I caused to be sad? 2:3 And I wrote this very thing to you, so that when I came I would not have sadness from those who ought to make me rejoice, since I am confident in you all that my joy would be yours. 2:4 For out of great distress and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not to make you sad, but to let you know the love that I have especially for you. 2 Corinthians
As I read Paul's 2nd letter to the church in Corinth this morning, I was taken aback by his compassion for this church that needed so much correction. It stands in sharp contrast to so much Christian bickering on the internet, including what I have contributed. But then, I am a legalist, see previous post, and legalists aren't known for their compassion. Literally, compassion means "to suffer with." I think Paul exemplifies this in his letter. He speak…

Learning about Grace

I confess, I am legalistic. It's one of my favorite sins. It's not my favorite in that I'm unashamed of it, it's my favorite in that it's one of my "go to" sins. Rules are not squishy. They are hard and inflexible. They don't change. Perhaps that's why I like the rules, it's my favorite way to deal with change. However, the idol of legalism is cold. Living with it is like trying to snuggle an teddy bear made of polished marble. I can't put my head down on it and rest. There is no comfort in the rules. The rules also do nothing in helping me overcome those things that I'm doing wrong continually. Two recent posts on the blogs on grace revealed my legalism and then gave me hope.
The first post came a couple weeks ago from Jon Acuff, who writes about grace all the time, even though he claims to be making humorous observations about Stuff Christians Like. I will quote the end of it, then my reaction to it. “Logic can beat sin.”I wish that w…