Mercy and Justice  

Posted by BT

Brian McLaren tells a great story.

Imagine you are at Niagara Falls, and you see someone in the water, floating quickly toward the waterfall. You jump in and save them. After drying yourself off, you can hardly believe it, but you see another person flailing in the water. You hop back in and save them, too. Again, the process repeats itself. Soon you have saved the lives of ten people. This is mercy.

After the tenth person is saved, you realize something fishy must be going on. You walk upstream and find a man throwing these people in the water. You stop him from doing so. This is justice.

By what means is it okay to stop this person from throwing more people into the stream? How does this relate (if at all) to the current situation in the Middle East?


Posted by BT

Did you ever just feel like you were out of creative juice? I didn't have much to start with, and now I'm feeling like I'm dangerously approaching empty. I couldn't even come up with a title for this post.

Had a tremendous lunch with John Ballenger on Thursday (and I don't just mean the food). As I've said many times when commenting on his blog, John has a way to put things into words which I've been trying to articulate for a while. He did it again Thursday. We talked a lot about small group/community life and the role those things play in the Church. We talked about my need to examine whether my philosophy of ministry meshes with the church's need for small groups. We talked about the Kingdom. All in all, I left encouraged and feeling inspired to make meaningful strides in my ministry, which is a nice thing to feel when leaving the company of a brother. By the way, one of the most memorable things he said: "We talk about how blessed America is, but when you look at what Jesus has to say about wealth, perhaps we're really cursed." Frighteningly true, John.

Kari, Braden, and I headed to Kentucky this weekend to see my parents. Braden had the time of his life in the swimming pool (especially spraying himself with the hose). It was really nice to be with Mom and Dad for a couple days. Then we returned home Saturday night and were treated to an amazing service at church yesterday. The focus was the prodigal son, and I was rocked by a quote from Henri Nouwen used during the service. As I sat stewing about the way I felt I was treated by a certain person, I found myself almost depressed because of that perceived injustice. "Why doesn't he like me? Am I that annoying? I probably should just leave him alone. He's tired of hearing from me. Of course I'm that annoying. I would annoy myself." The cycle went on and on, even as we were corporately singing some amazing music. Then, during the teaching, Jason throws this quote on the screen, from Nouwen's Return of the Prodigal Son:
"At issue here is the question: ‘To whom do I belong? To God or to the world?’ Many of my daily preoccupations suggest that I belong more to the world than to God. A little criticism makes me angry, and a little rejection makes me depressed. A little praise raises my spirits, and a little success excites me. It takes very little to raise me up or thrust me down. Often I am like a small boat on the ocean, completely at the mercy of its waves…" God help me.

Kari and I are really enjoying Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. His story is remarkable. Sitting on my desk is a box of books which were recommended by Bell (as well as by a number of friends of mine). I'm excited to dive in.


Posted by BT

Lest I should incur any well-deserved wrath, I simply added the ads to my page because I thought it would be really interesting to see what topics ended up being advertised (they're supposed to advertise things which are related to posts).

Interesting that the first ad I saw had to do with Christian Millionaires.


Reliving college...  

Posted by BT

It's been a while since I posted. Here are the most recent happenings...

  • For Father's Day, my amazing wife landed tickets to see Seinfeld live in Columbus. He was HILARIOUS. My face hurt from smiling so much after just five minutes, and tears streamed down my face after ten. And he was on for an hour. Some of his funniest bits were about eBay and Raisin Bran. It was a wonderful evening.
  • Now that I'm college and career pastor, I'm remembering what college life was like. Three nights in a row I've been up until 1 AM or later. Ouch.
  • I just found out that the freelance contract I have with one company, the one that pays the best and sends the most frequent projects, is about to come to a close. I trust God will provide the extra income we had planned on, but I will sincerely miss writing for them. It's something I have truly enjoyed.
  • I find myself strangely upset (or jealous or something) that my name is not linked to all my friends' blogs. It makes me feel as if what I have to say is not important or something. I'm sure this is a tool of the devil (and it hearkens back to this post, which I just reread with tears in my eyes). When will I grow? When will I change?
  • I'm still dealing with the small group ministry here and trying to figure out what it looks like. At times it feels like an unscaleable mountain, but mostly I'm just excited about it. I still seek insight from all of you when it comes to answers to the questions I posted here.
  • I'm really fed up with the American League's dominance over the National League.