Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The source of discontent and anxiety, of struggle and fear and much evil is a matter of centeredness (or the lack thereof)--specifically centeredness in the authority of the God who is Love.

On the other hand, contentedness and confidence and peace and assurance and even righteousness and justification are found in the center, in trusting in and living for the authority of God as loving Sovereign and caring, nurturing Father.

"In what did the humility of Jesus consist? Low self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness, disappointment with his spiritual progress? Absurd! He was enthralled with his Father. In utter self-forgetfulness, he lived for God. The central theme in his personal life was the growing intimacy with, trust in, and love of his Abba. He lived securely in his Father's acceptance.

"'As the Father has loved me so have I loved you' (Jn. 15:9), he reassures us. Jesus' inner life was centered in God. His communion with his Abba transformed his vision of reality, enabling him to perceive divine love toward sinners and scalawags. Jesus did not live from himself or for himself but from the graciousness of the Other, who is incomprehensibly caring. He understood his Father's compassionate heart." --Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust

This is the mark we are missing when we sin. Not that there are "do's" we failed at or "don'ts" that we did, like naughty school-children trying to win the favor of our teacher. The mark we are missing is centeredness in the authority of our loving, caring Father who is Lord and King of heaven and earth. We move from centeredness in God's authority to care for our lives, to guide us and empower us and provide for us. We move from centeredness in God's authority to have a plan--a loving plan--for all the world, for the lives around us. And we move from his invitation and empowerment for us to participate in realizing that plan.

In short, sin is not living in that bullseye that is life from and for God, not basing life on enthrallment with Abba and his love. In the end, what else is there? We find all manner of distracting targets and we shoot ourselves off in many different directions. Then we wonder why we're lost, why we can't find love, why we can't find God. But direction, love, and God are right where they've always been--right there at the center of it all, at the heart of the matter...of all that matters.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jesus the Bomb

The first verses of John's Gospel are like an atomic bomb going off in the middle of history:

"The Word was God...
Through him all things were made...
In him was life...the light of all people...
To all who received him he gave the right and power to become children of God...
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us...
Out of his fullness we have all received grace...Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known."

All else is just fallout from that explosion, either colliding with and being consumed by its glorious, holy radiance, or straining to slink off and put down roots in the shadows. But the darkness cannot comprehend--could never overcome--the sun of righteousness rising with healing in its wings.

And what of the children, the little ones who have thrown open the windows of their lives to bathe in the grace and truth? They are nothing less than sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of that atomic-bomb-of-a-Son. They are becoming one with the wind and fire of God's Spirit, making each little child another explosion in history as the kingdom of light pours into the fractures of the cowering kingdom of darkness. That's you. That's me. Out of his fullness we have all received grace.

My Friend Thomas

I met Thomas when we ditched school together. We were 16, and my friend Scott and I had planned to skip out after homeroom and take Scott’s ...