Reading Posts

Busy Times

So my wife and I have been in the processing of moving out of our apartment and into a house. Needless to say it’s been a bit chaotic. I’ve still been reading some great books and I’m about to start another interesting one. I’ve been tempted to blog on what I’m reading right now but the parts that interest me are too edgy or controversial to start an online conversation. If you’re interested in some new theological ideas then I would encourage you to read it too. The book is called The Theology of the Dark Side by Nigel Goring Wright.

I just bought a new book that should make for some intriguing conversations. I didn’t buy it new though for as my friend told me, “you never pay full price for heresy.” It should be interesting, stay tuned…

Cloudy Discernment

After taking the time recently to analyze my top three spiritual gifts I determined that discernment was number three. That’s why I was pretty rattled when I read this quote from Donald Miller,

“In my own life, I notice I validate people who like or validate me. When I say so-and-so is a nice person, what I really mean is so-and-so thinks I am a nice person. And if I sense a person doesn’t like me, or thinks he is better than me, my mind will find all sorts of criticism” (pg. 117).

The quote comes from the book Searching for God Knows What and is among scores of other ideas about how we think of other people. I would love to say that the quote isn’t a good representation of how I am but I find myself understanding exactly what he is saying. If we are ever going to love others like God intends us to then we have to realize that our worth comes from Christ and not from what they think of us. Can we truly love those who do not love us? I see what Matthew 5:43-47 is talking about and why it is so hard to do.

The Relationship of Power

I’ve been thinking through an idea that keeps getting bigger as I read more and think more about it. It was triggered by something that I read in the book Spiritual Leadership by the Blackaby brothers. It says that

If Jesus provides the model for spiritual leadership, then the key is not for leaders to develop visions and to set the direction for their organizations. The key is to obey and to preserve everything the Father reveals to them of his will. Ultimately, the Father is the leader. God has the vision of what He wants to do. God does not ask leaders to dream big dreams for him or to solve the problems that confront them. He asks leaders to walk with him so intimately that, when he reveals what is on his agenda, they will immediately adjust their lives to his will and the results will bring glory to God. (pg. 29)

What this quote is alluding to and the bigger idea that has been brewing in my mind is that maybe a lot of Jesus’ power came from His intimate relationship with the Father. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that Jesus was God in flesh but maybe we attribute too much of what He did to His divine nature as opposed to His relationship with the Father. I think it’s safe to assume that Jesus was closer with the Father than any person has ever been.

The really intriguing idea that comes from this is: what could God do through us if we were more in tune with Him? I’m starting to believe that we could have almost “supernatural” abilities because of how close we would be to what God is doing. The reason I started thinking of this idea in this way is that I heard a person that I really respect tell me about an opportunity that he recently missed. He said that he could have noticed something that was going on with a person if he would have been closer in his walk with Christ.

How would I act differently if I were closer in tune with God’s heart, with God’s purpose, and with God’s values? Could I discern things that would be otherwise impossible? Could I know about things that God would do but hasn’t yet? Maybe we are our greatest limitation to living a powerful Christian life.

Clarity vs. Intrigue

I started reading Brian McLaren’s third book in his trilogy, The Last Word and the Word After That, and have already read some comment-worthy ideas. He explains about our desire to know all the facts as we learn and grow in our relationship with Jesus:

Clarity is good, but sometimes intrigue may be even more precious; clarity tends to put an end to further thinking, whereas intrigue makes one think more intensely, broadly, and deeply. Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom of God is a case in point; his parables don’t score too well on clarity, but they excel in intrigue.

This is a very encouraging thought. Often we get frustrated when we can’t put all the pieces together but as McLaren points out, that can cause us to be very productive with our faith. If we have everything “figured out,” then we lose our drive to learn more and get closer to Him. It sounds like we should be grateful that God is far too big for us to fully understand.