Thursday, June 30, 2011

a great gift

"What a great gift it would be if we could see a little of the great vision of Jesus – if we could see beyond our small lives! Certainly our view is very limited. But we can at least ask him to call us out of our small worlds and our self-centeredness, and we can at least ask to feel the challenge of the great harvest that must be gathered –the harvest of all nations and all people, including the generations of the future."
- J. Heinrich Arnold

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the over-heart

Above, below, in sky and sod,
In leaf and spar, in star and man,
Well might the wise Athenian scan
The geometric signs of God,
The measured order of His plan.

And India's mystics sang aright
Of the One Life pervading all,--
One Being's tidal rise and fall
In soul and form, in sound and sight,--
Eternal outflow and recall.

God is: and man in guilt and fear
The central fact of Nature owns;
Kneels, trembling, by his altar-stones,
And darkly dreams the ghastly smear
Of blood appeases and atones.

Guilt shapes the Terror: deep within
The human heart the secret lies
Of all the hideous deities;
And, painted on a ground of sin,
The fabled gods of torment rise!

And what is He? The ripe grain nods,
The sweet dews fall, the sweet flowers blow;
But darker signs His presence show
The earthquake and the storm are God's,
And good and evil interflow.

O hearts of love! O souls that turn
Like sunflowers to the pure and best!
To you the truth is manifest:
For they the mind of Christ discern
Who lean like John upon His breast!

In him of whom the sibyl told,
For whom the prophet's harp was toned,
Whose need the sage and magian owned,
The loving heart of God behold,
The hope for which the ages groaned!

Fade, pomp of dreadful imagery
Wherewith mankind have deified
Their hate, and selfishness, and pride!
Let the scared dreamer wake to see
The Christ of Nazareth at his side!

What doth that holy Guide require?
No rite of pain, nor gift of blood,
But man a kindly brotherhood,
Looking, where duty is desire,
To Him, the beautiful and good.

Gone be the faithlessness of fear,
And let the pitying heaven's sweet rain
Wash out the altar's bloody stain;
The law of Hatred disappear,
The law of Love alone remain.

How fall the idols false and grim!
And to! their hideous wreck above
The emblems of the Lamb and Dove!
Man turns from God, not God from him;
And guilt, in suffering, whispers Love!

The world sits at the feet of Christ,
Unknowing, blind, and unconsoled;
It yet shall touch His garment's fold,
And feel the heavenly Alchemist
Transform its very dust to gold.

The theme befitting angel tongues
Beyond a mortal's scope has grown.
O heart of mine! with reverence own
The fulness which to it belongs,
And trust the unknown for the known.

- John Greenleaf Whittier

Monday, June 20, 2011

the historical adam

My dad handed me a provocative article from the magazine Christianity Today discussing the growth of the theistic evolution movement led by Francis Collins, the director of the National Institute of Health and director of the human genome project. The article was not written to persuade, rather to inform. I was informed. We naturally live within the world that is at our arms-length. Often it feels like my world, the world of homeless youth and family and finishing school, orbits around a different sun. As I read the article, which rose above the typical bickering that often distracts from substance in articles concerning both science and faith, I wondered again, "What is man that you are mindful of him?" (Psalm 8). One of the most important questions that needs to be asked is "what is lost if we deny the existence of a historical Adam and Eve?" Even more, are there certain limitations or blindspots that scientists and theologians harbor? What saves? What heals? Science will never understand a miracle. It cannot reproduce it. The God of the Bible is not limited to natural laws. "Who can hold back his hand or say to him, 'What have you done?'" (Daniel 4). God will never be proved by science, because he will never be dissected. God is not informed by natural laws. Christians should not forget that the earth is not a throne, but a footstool (Psalm 2). It is a plaything in the hands of God. None of these things discredit science. Science helps us understand the physical laws, which helps with and endless list of things like growing food, delivering babies, and building bombs. This is their domain. Do not ask them to write poetry or describe the events that led to the civil war. There is always the danger in discovery to regress. To gain the whole world and lose your soul. I think we will find in the end that it is not science that has the final word in describing what makes humans unique, it will be a tender Word, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well please."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


if...the praise of man elates me
and his blame depresses me;
if i cannot rest under misunderstanding
without defending myself;
if i love to be loved more than to love,
to be served more than to serve,
then i know nothing of Calvary love.

- Amy Carmichael

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It’s Not About You -

It’s Not About You -

On June 5th I am giving a baccalaureate address to the graduating class of Bremerton High School. The article above helped confirm what I have been thinking about writing, pondering on my pillow the last few nights what advice I would have given to a younger me. I think hope you find this article as helpful as I did. I am aware of the fact that my generation is walking into a river of restlessness. The soul of my generation is lost in itself. When you walk into a river it allows you to boast and feel confident while the water plays at your ankles. Let it rise to your knees and the tables turn. With the slightest push you will fall. We are wading dangerously deep into the ambiguities of pluralism. We allow everything to change us because we have stepped away from firm land. Let us pray with urgency and speak with tender, strong voice. God save us from ourselves!