Between the Kingdom and the Culture

For my final post of October, during which I have published a blog post each day of the month, I have decided to do one that blends kingdom theology, contemporary culture, and politics. By means of a “Top Ten List,” I will attempt a serious, if not comprehensive, response to the following question:

As a citizen of the kingdom of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ, what major points of interface to I observe between the kingdom and the contemporary culture around me? Continue reading

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I Want to Finish Strong

Well, it has happened again, just like it does almost every day. I finished my oatmeal and toast, washed up the dishes, poured myself a second cup of decaffeinated coffee (although, about that, I have to ask “what’s the point?”), and walked the twenty yards across the parking lot to my office. I opened the door, stepped inside, and immediately started smiling—invariably and involuntarily—ear to ear.

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I Do What I Can

There is very little I can do about anything these days. I have no wealth, and I own no property. Financially, my net worth is roughly zero. I have no power and an extremely limited sphere of influence. Seven years without a paying job will do that.

I do have a loving wife who has stood by me without complaint for more than forty-two years, even when things have been really rough and our circumstances difficult to comprehend. I also have an eight-year-old grandson, whom I adore, and a beautiful daughter who is making me proud as a hard-working nurse and single mom. I am trying to do everything I can to pour myself into their lives and to use my limited means and resources to help make their lives richer. Their happiness is my reward. Continue reading

The Main Reason Why I Write

I recently happened upon the website of the Bible college from which I graduated forty-five years ago. I was particularly drawn to the audio recordings of presentations, mainly sermons, made in the school’s chapel services over the past few years. For nearly three hours, I listened to excerpts, ranging in length from two to twenty minutes each, from a dozen or more preachers. Many of the speakers were men I knew personally from my years as a student.

It’s hard to describe how the experience of listening to those voices from the past affected me. At first, I was nearly swept away on a wave of nostalgia, as their familiar speech patterns took me back to a time when life seemed simpler and the future was filled with promise. The longer I listened, however, the less positive I felt about the experience. Continue reading

Introducing October Potpourri

Somewhere along the line, I heard or read that writers who find satisfaction in their craft, whether through the number of readers they reach or simply through personal fulfillment with the very act of writing, do so by way of the disciplined practice of writing something 1virtually every day. Even if it’s just a few hundred words. Even if it is mainly editing something they wrote earlier. The most accomplished and most fulfilled writers know that they need to write something every day.

For some time now, I’ve been engaging in that discipline. I write something every day. A blog post, a Facebook post, a page or two in the book I’m working on, a homily for a worship service, a lengthy email. At least half of what I write is just random thoughts, collected in a notebook, never likely to be published, or at least not intentionally written for that purpose. I do not want to be known as someone who cannot entertain a thought, even commit it to writing, without insisting that somebody else read it too. Continue reading

Me? A Leader?

Four times over the past couple of weeks, someone responding to something I posted on Facebook referred to me as a leader. Each time the term was preceded by an adjective. Twice I was called a Christian leader, once a church leader, and once a spiritual leader. Three out of the four references commended me for my role and service as a leader. The fourth was more along the lines of “You call yourself a leader and still write the stuff you do?”. Continue reading

I Like To Be Got

Like everybody who posts on Facebook, I am pleased that people “like” what I put up there. My posts fall into three general categories:

  1. Theological/cultural observations that serve mainly to define who I am and what I believe, for the few people who care about that. Here’s an example from last Thursday, March 12.

Continue reading

An Update On The Arthur Book And A Primer On Self-Publishing

I’ve known for years that most people who have heard me preach think that I do a pretty good job. I hope that doesn’t sound like bragging. Truth is I’ve always assumed that if God calls you to do a particular work, he will also supply sufficient gifts so that, if you work hard, you can achieve at least a moderate level of proficiency in the task. I would hate to think that God called me to do something at which I would never be any good. Continue reading

The Insidious Evil Of Smugness

Just when I thought I had gotten over my hang-ups about what my aspirations to become a published writer might really be saying about my character, along comes David Brooks with an op-ed column that reinforces my self-doubt and suggests that my earlier hesitancy might have been a sign of prudence after all.

I am a pretty good communicator. In some respects, it is a natural ability or, some might say, a gift from God. Even when I don’t work at it very hard, I am still better than average in the communication department. When I do work at it, I can be very good. Continue reading

The Blog Is Closed TFN

I have decided to take a break from blogging for a while.

Until I reach a place in my “relentless pursuit” where I can begin to see the purpose for the trek I have been taking, I believe it is best for this blog and my online voice to fall silent. After all, I did write a post, not that long ago, in which I told the story of the abbot who noted that the monks in his monastery agreed they would not speak unless, by speaking, they could improve on the silence. At the moment, it seems that what I have to say is no improvement on silence. It is time for me to heed the abbot’s counsel.

If and when I return to this medium, it will signify that I have begun to emerge from the darkness which has characterized my pilgrimage for so long. I surrendered my life to the service of the Kingdom of God more than forty-five years ago. I have wanted to finish strong. My only hope of accomplishing that is to impose the discipline of silence upon myself for a time.

Thanks for reading what I have written over the past 20 months. I have enjoyed the experience, and I hope I have been somewhat helpful to at least some of you who have been my loyal readers.

Grace and peace to you all. And, as always,

Soli Deo Gloria.