Pursuing God through the small things

Small Things

We live in a day of extremes, and sometimes it seems our culture's highest virtue is going overboard. Everything is super-sized, quad-shot, high-energy, maximum-strength, full-throttle.I wonder and worry about how much of that infects our faith. If being radical for Jesus means being totally committed to the kingdom, that's great. But if we're obsessing on doing something big for Jesus, as if that's the only thing that counts, then we're missing something. The truth is that holiness and … [Read more...]

Christians making a difference

How Christians can make a difference

Whether it's the political activism of the eighties and nineties or the social activism of today, Christians want to make a difference in the world. But are we starting in the right place?Often we see a crisis or a need and jump to fix it. We raise funds, join a movement, buy a T-shirt, send our tithe, blog, campaign, distribute voters guides, do all kinds of things -- many of them good. But they're not enough. All those things are externally focused, which is only half the picture."The … [Read more...]

Our true identity in Christ and the momentum of holiness

Our true identity and the momentum of holiness

What can Paul Gauguin and Paul the Apostle teach us about our identity in Christ?Born in France and raised partially in Peru, Paul Gauguin's early years were marked by the death of his father, domestic upheaval, and sweeping cultural shifts. After returning to France to live with his grandfather, he joined the merchant marines, served a stint in the navy, took work as a stockbroker, married, and had several kids. His tumultuous life could have settled into middle-class ease, but then Gauguin … [Read more...]

Are you making progress?

Are you making progress?

What does the perfect Christian life look like? When asked the question by a friend, Gregory of Nyssa said it looked like perpetual progress toward God, a thought stemming from Christ's statement that Christians are to be perfect like God is perfect.This is tricky business. Perfection is easy if we're talking about the length of a yard or the number ten, things that have attainable, comprehensible limits. But what if there is no spatial or conceptual boundary? Exactly how long is virtue, … [Read more...]

Celebrating the circumcision of Christ

The Circumcision of Christ

It may sound like a curious thing to celebrate, but the circumcision of Christ is commemorated by Orthodox, Catholics, and Anglicans alike on New Year’s Day. Special scripture readings, hymns, and prayers mark the observance. There are even stained-glass windows and icons depicting Joseph and Mary handing the little Jesus to the priest for the ominous moment.The story is well known. In the second chapter of his Gospel, Luke tells us that Christ was circumcised on his eighth day in accordance … [Read more...]

Guard the eyes, douse the flames

Man guarding his eyes

Theatergoers will be able to break out their 3D glasses and watch Avatar again this Friday. They will be rewarded, courtesy of filmmaker James Cameron, with nine extra minutes of footage. Based on the news, it seems that much of the excitement swirls around just 20 seconds, the inclusion of a Na’vi sex scene. With this release, as USA Today put it, “Cameron lets his aliens get a little randy.”For anyone struggling to grow in holiness, ours is a landscape fraught with troubles. Avatar is the lea … [Read more...]

We are not our sins

We are Not our Sins

I recently learned that an acquaintance of mine had announced a pretty significant life change, and not one for the better. As often happens, many people met this revelation with encouragement, impressed by his supposed authenticity and commitment to “finally being true to himself.” While I get the sentiment, I reject the thought. Admitting sin and identifying with it are two very different things. The first is something we all must do. If there is one scripture I recall my dad reciting in his … [Read more...]


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