Two worthwhile reads for your weekend

Stop and reflect a bit this week.

A column by David Brooks calls on us to reflect on BEAUTY. It is a marvelous piece.

This is the view that beauty is a big, transformational thing, the proper goal of art and maybe civilization itself. This humanistic worldview holds that beauty conquers the deadening aspects of routine; it educates the emotions and connects us to the eternal.

Then a post by Ben Witherington on a good “election guide” as we enter into Mudslinging 2016. He bases it on the Sermon on the Mount and Romans 12-13. Neither party is impressive held to that standard, but there are some things to AVOID.

I am beyond “over” when it comes to politics. It’s been almost 2 decades since I’ve quit voting categorically one party. Voting will still happen for me, but after that is what counts as well. I will pray for those in authority and I will press Kingdom issues and continue to bring Kingdom blessing to whoever is in office. I have worked hard to adopt what I call a “pro-life” ethic in my life.

  1. I use a word that is “loaded,” but I don’t care. I won’t allow bad politics to co-opt an ethic that is worth having.
  2. That ethic is womb to tomb. The only person more pro-life in this life ethic than me is the Pope.
  3. There isn’t any political party, or candidate, who matches that ethic, so I choose to live my ethic and bless those in leadership as I try to live out Kingdom goodness in this world.

Quite honestly, soak in Brooks’ column and reflect on the beauty around us. It is a wonderful tip for the weekend ahead!

What measure do I WANT to use when it comes to Kingdom power?

24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Mark 4:24-25)

What measure I am using to pursue the Kingdom? That has a direct correlation to what I can receive in capacity in return.

So, is THIS my measure:

Or, is THIS my measure:

You hold the miracle

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” (Matt. 14:16)

The miracle is already in our hands. The power of the miracle is found in our surrender. We may need to give up something we possess. We may need to give up our ego, or reputation. But the miracle is in our hands and the key to the miracle is in our surrender.

Give what is in your hands and see what he can accomplish with it.

The place of doubt

I ran across this wonderful quote from Rowan Williams:

If you are forbidden to voice the hard questions, this might suggest that faith survives only by never being challenged. The person who actually expresses their fury or disgust or disillusion can, at least sometimes, be demonstrating faith of a sort, confidence that, if God is real, it is possible, even necessary, to say what you feel about Him – and that, unless you can say this, the God you started with is not worth believing in. This underpins many of the Jewish Psalms or the poems of George Herbert or Gerard Manley Hopkins. Blasphemy resists the conspiracy of silence about the agonising difficulties of belief, resists the stifling of a real and honest response to an unjust world…

Herbert, Job and some of the Psalms remind us that sometimes the seriousness of faith is most effectively explored precisely in the risky business of testing the limits. And without such testing, such forcefully expressed doubt, you may never know the real strength or weakness of what you claim to believe. The secularist needs to understand some of the internal critique that faith is always struggling with; and the believer needs to recognise that blasphemy isn’t necessarily a matter for panic, let alone violence. It may even be a gateway into a larger and more durable commitment.

Excellent food for thought.

We need to have room for doubt, and be willing to TEST what is true. We also need to realize we don’t have to always dwell in angst, though it gets you far more blog hits and a possible spot on the Huff and Puff Post… but there are better things to do with your time.