Christianity

For those struggling with God as Father

Our definition of Fatherhood needs to originate in God, not in the earthly fathers we have experienced. This is one of the last sermons I gave in a church that describes the way God the Father depicts Himself in Ps. 103. Hope this helps some of you get a better picture of God as He really is.

The Last Sermon I Preached

June 3, 2012 was the last time that I ever preached a sermon in a church. At the time, I had no idea that it would be my last. Looking back on that day, however, it seems so fitting that on that last opportunity to speak in the institutional church, I chose as my topic God’s paradigm of leadership in the church. I can see, looking back now, how God was faithfully bringing me even then to see things that have shaped and redirected the path of my life. As I said that day, the paradigm of the kingdom of God in its fullness is often in opposition to the paradigms of leadership and church we carry inside us. Would that God would help more of us to see God’s intent for the one body of prophets and priests under the headship of Jesus and all empowered for service by His Spirit. I hope you enjoy this moment in history for me.

The Theology of Conflict

This is a recording of the presentation I did in a church in West Virginia.  It’s a good introduction to the theory of conflict that I describe in my book The End of Conflict: Resisting False Utopia in Hope of True Restoration.  Grab a cup of coffee.  It’s about two hours long.

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/33071959

Emily and Her Grandfather

Sometimes we need to be jarred by seeing the logical outcome of our line of reasoning . . .

There once was a man of great stature in the church.  He knew his Bible more than the rest.   Others came to him for advice.  What they did not know was that this man had a secret.  Emily, his granddaughter, had lived with her mother and him ever since her father had died.  What Emily’s mother agreed not to see were her father’s nighttime visits to Emily’s room.  Emily dreaded the night and her grandfather, the pillar of the church.

Many years past.  Emily’s grandfather and mother died.  Emily died as a result of her boyfriend’s beating.  She was carried by the angels to a place of torment.  She lifted up her eyes and saw afar off her mother and grandfather in the bosom of Abraham.  She cried out, “Grandfather, have mercy on me; send my mother over here with a glass of water so that I can cool my tongue.  I’m in anguish in these flames.”

But Abraham replied, “Emily, remember in your life how you struggled to forgive your grandfather and your mother for what happened to you.  You never quite forgave them.  You had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home.  You never wanted for anything.  They forgave you for your angry outbursts, your false accusations and your disruption of the family.  They were faithful church goers and gave their life in service to the local congregation that you abandoned years ago.  So now, they are in paradise and you, well, you know where you are.  Besides all this, Emily, there a great gulf between you and and us so that they could not pass from here to you, even if they wanted to.”

Emily pleaded with Abraham, “Please, let me go back and warn my daughter.  She has never forgiven her father for what he did to her just as I could not forgive my grandfather.  If I don’t warn her, she will end up here with me.”  Her mother and grandfather said nothing.  But Abraham replied, “She has all the Christian self-help books she needs to help her see her need to forgive.  If she doesn’t listen to them, she won’t listen to anyone.  If she does not forgive her father, she will likewise perish.”

This fictional story is a grotesque adaptation of Luke 16:19-31.  It represents, however, the unseen conclusions of the American Evangelical doctrine of forgiveness.