Thursday, August 25, 2005

Family Man

A couple of days ago I woke up and heard Emma (my daughter, age 2) calling for me. I went and got her out of bed and laid her down between Dana and I. We all went back to sleep for a while. When I woke up again I rolled over and Emma was just looking at me and smiling. "Guess what? I love you!" she said. I melted. Every morning before I leave for work I give Dana and Emma each a hug and a kiss. Emma chases me to the door and says "More kisses!" and "More big hugs!" Recently she has started adding "Give Mama more kisses and big hugs!"

Last night before we went to bed Dana and I were talking about the day. Dana said "I took Emma to the park this morning and then we came home. I fixed us sandwiches and we went outside to eat them on the back deck." She said all of this very "matter-of-factly" as if it were no big deal (and maybe to you it isn't). By the time she finished telling me about it I found that I had this big goofy smile on my face and tears in my eyes. I said "You are a great mom." She laughed a little, thanked me and asked why I said that. I sort of rambled (like I'm doing now) and really had trouble explaining my reaction to what she said. I love that I'm married to Dana. But, also I love that Dana is Emma's mother. I love that Emma has a mother that takes her to the park. I love that they come home and make sandwiches. I love that they go outside and eat them together. I love my family. That night I think I prayed the most sincere prayer that I have uttered in a long time:
Thank you for Dana
Thank you for Emma
Help me to be a better husband and father,
Help me to be a better follower of Jesus.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Unquestionable Faith

Is there anything about your faith that you've never questioned? Is there anything about your belief in God that you refuse to question? Does it make you angry when certain things about God are sincerely questioned by others?
Do we imagine that God is afraid of our questions or that He can't handle them? Do we actually believe that we are somehow stronger because we blindly accept certain ideas or refuse to wrestle with our beliefs? Do we think God is cringing in some corner of Heaven begging "please don't ask that?"
Do we think it is noble to blindly accept things without ever really thinking through them? Is that really what we are trying to convince people of?

Why do we get angry when others question things we hold to be true? Why does it bother us if they reach many of the same conclusions we hold to be true, but take a different path to get there? Might it be an issue of pride rather than truth?

Is it possible that faith could become stronger because of questions and weaker when we refuse to ask them?

Is truth afraid of our questions, or does it actually long for them? Doesn't faith imply a certain level of uncertainty? Could it be that God is more readily found in humble questions than in proud certainty?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Velvet Elvis

OK. I just can't wait until Thursday. I have to tell you about Rob Bell's New book Velvet Elvis. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Seriously, stop what you are doing and go buy it now. I have seen it in virtually all mall bookstores I have been to in the last couple of week or you can order it through the links below. It is available in several formats. I have the audio and the print versions. Has anyone else read this? If so, voice your opinion in a comment.
CLICK HERE for a sample chapter. And check out my review on Amazon.

P.S. I'll still post something new on Thursday

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Short Post From Cincinnatti

I'm posting from my cellphone, so this will be short. I'm in Cincinnatti on an inner city mission trip. I'll try to post more later. Internet is a little dodgy here. Check out my youth blog for pics from this week.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Books That Changed My Faith

I don't quite know how it happened, but somewhere along the way I became a book nerd. It's a good thing that I did. It challenges me. It forces me to think. In a way, it saved my faith. I thought I'd take a few moments this week to share a few books that rocked my world (in a good way). In my opinion, if you haven't read them, you should.

1) Brian McLaren's "A New Kind of Christian" Trilogy. "A New Kind of Christian", "The Story We Find Ourselves In", and "The Last Word And The Word After That" These books challenged my thinking on what it means to follow Jesus and helped me understand some of my own discomfort with how it has been practiced in the modern era. The fiction format makes for engaging reading on deep subjects.

2. Brian McLaren's "A Generous Orthodoxy" Believe it or not, this book helped me to learn to love and appreciate my own faith tradition all over again.

3. ANYTHING by N.T. Wright (aka Tom Wright), but particularly "Following Jesus". I actually read this quite recently, but it is an excellent, easy to read intro into Wright's thought. Wright will really challenge you and redefine for you what it means to follow Jesus. He may also change your perspective on where the whole project is going.

4. Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz" Read Miller's book and you will feel like you have made a new friend. He doesn't present himself as an expert. He's just a guy sort of thinking out loud. This is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. You will cry, laugh, and be stunned by his depth and poiniancy, sometimes all within seconds of each other.

5. Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy" This book is deep. I would not pretend that it is either an easy or a quick read, but it is deeply rewarding.

There are other works that I have enjoyed and feel have helped me. There are other books that I would hand people in response to specific questions or subjects. However, these 5 selections I would recommend without hesitation to anyone who seeks a deeper faith and new lenses through which to view their Father's world.