7 Hopeful Takes

7 Hopeful Takes March 12, 2021

Is it really the end of the week? And yet I didn’t get anything done, so that’s a drag. Maybe there are some takes though.

One

Last week and a little into this one, the readings for morning prayer have been the Exodus, which meant that eventually I finally listened to this. So good:

Two

Also, I joined the Stand Firm podcast this week to talk sparkingly about Jesus and John Wayne.

Three

Apparently, there is a Twitter war going on about whether Christians should “empathize” or “sympathize.” I didn’t click on any of the links or anything, because I didn’t want to, but I did watch people take up arms by ideological camp. If you don’t “empathize,” say some, are you even a Christian? And, on the other side, if you do, you might be about to imperil your soul. At first, it seemed like nothing–the usual raging of the social wilderness. But scrolling along, it does seem that there is a meaningful difference, and that, as usual, what you assume to be true about reality and God and yourself will move you towards one word or another. Ideologically, I guess, I must be on Team Sympathy.

And that is for the simple reason that I have tried being more compassionate than God and found that it was a miserable experience. Or, as I said to someone I love this week, “I can’t go with you into your pit, but Jesus already did, and between him and me and others, probably you can be pulled out.” In other words, it isn’t helpful for me to over-identify with the feelings of others, because then I’m in exactly the same space they are, and both of us are stuck. This also, of course, assumes that I will take my turn in the pit and need help being pulled out–hopefully by people who are not also in the pit. That said, I didn’t read any of the stuff, so nevermind.

Four

Speaking of being more compassionate than God, I’m trying not to be shocked by the James KA Smith apostasy, because nothing, technically, can shock me anymore, but I do find it very sad. As this great delusion falls over the church, many many many people will succumb to it. If you think it won’t come for you, you are probably pretty naive. On the other hand, if you have worked this through, and know your Bible pretty well, I would say that the best thing is to sit back and watch it go by and pray. God is God, and he is not surprised by anything.

Five

I was bemused to see that Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s next book is going to be about women, and is going to be called Live Laugh Love. She really has her finger on the pulse of the world right now. I feel like, if I wasn’t so drowned under my own pile of work, I could have written a book about women three times over. If anyone wants to let me out of my life for three weeks to write a book-length screed, DM me. I’m sure I could offer a sane alternative to all the madness by dint of my pinky finger.

Six

And finally [chocking down unseemly sniggering], the TEC congregations that finally and completely lost in Fort Worth are really sad about possibly having to give up their buildings. I wasn’t going to post this yet–I generally save it for Holy Week–but here is my annual favorite hymn overlaid against our old sanctuary that was taken by means of the courts and finally sold to a Muslim congregation. I offer it up in the spirit of Empathy. If you don’t know what to do about all the loss and all the disappointment, try repenting of your sins and believing the true gospel of Jesus Christ who died for you:

Seven

Looks like there aren’t links up yet, so have a lovely day! And remember, not everything you like best can come with you into the Kingdom of God. Better to come to Jesus as a beggar, having given up everything you love to have him, than to demand any of your rights or your proclivities–the devices and desires of your heart. When you cry out to him in desperation, he promises to heal you and make you whole…for literally ever.

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