Topics: Spiritual Life

Living a life in an intimate relationship with God. These posts touch on what that means or looks like in the real world.

Christianity According to the Old Testament

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

31 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,
declares the LORD.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the LORD.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.” – Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NIV)

I find this passage fascinating – I can get out of this some interesting aspects of this “New Covenant” from this passage alone.  These thoughts were inspired by a class I was in a couple of years ago, but more recently have been on my mind…
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The Glory of the Average Person

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

This is something that’s been bothering me for some time, and I finally decided to write about it any pass it along to bother someone else…

I love books, movies, and video games about important people – people who are talented, famous, brave, and selfless – people who make a big difference in the world around them for good.  Whether I’m reading Ursula LeGuin, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, or the Bible, or playing Fable, Final Fantasy, or Star Wars (Knights of the Old Republic), I’m somehow taking part in a story where the main character rises to greatness to save their world and make a difference for good.

Here’s my problem: Looking at how my life is going, I don’t think I’ll ever live up to any person in those stories I like.  It doesn’t look like I’m ever going to be a talented, gifted, or famous person. I don’t think I’ll ever have a chance to do something incredibly important or really good (in a big way) in the world.  Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts on suffering

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

When it comes to difficulties and tragedy in life, a question has always been on my mind:  why does God not reveal apparently important things to us, especially things regarding terrible experiences that have the potential to emotionally ruin us?  Why does God remain silent as to its meaning or ultimate purpose in our lives—people whom he has a loving relationship with? Didn’t he himself suffer on Earth with clear purpose?  Shouldn’t we likewise be knowledgeable of the reasons behind our portion?

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Living it

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

It’s been a long time since I’ve written something here, and I’m discouraged about it.  I remember praying the other day about not being able to read and write more about spiritual things, and I suddenly had this thought come into my mind:  Yes, I had been studying and writing a lot about morality, selflessness, and a dependence on God.  However, I am reminded daily that I do not live in the world of peaceful quiet spiritual reflection but in a stormy one full of dirty diapers, screaming children, sleepless nights, and an exhausted and frustrated wife.  All I have time to do these days is eat, sleep, and spend time with my kids until I can’t move from the couch.  Oh – and go to work and try to do something useful.

There is a time and a place for deep thinking and quiet reflection.  However, I think the power of the spiritual life lies in the difficulties of reality.  Impatient men learn patience, people distant from God draw near to him because of their need.  It is here somewhere that we are fashioned into the nature and character of God and we bring a little light into the world in the process.  We are shaped not so often by our thinking, but by the events in our lives.  Most of my spiritual reflection has been based on reactions to difficult events in my life.  Now it seems the opposite is true.  I have thought a lot about patience, selflessness, and the character of God.  Now its time to live those beliefs and bring light to the world again.  My wife and children need it.

The End Justifies the Means

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

This is going to be one of those topics I don’t like writing about because it’s going to upset nearly everyone who reads this blog (if there is anyone left).  But the purpose of this weblog is to inspire people who are interested in finding truth, and what I am about to say is an important part of finding it.

About four years ago, I attended a bad church.  The pastor of this church had a problem – he constantly lied (about anything and everything) and plagiarized.  When my friend confronted him on this problem, he responded with a lot of self-centered dribble, but one comment he made stuck out in my memory:  he simply asked my friend how many people he had personally led to the Lord.  What was he implying?  That his tactics, although unorthodox, lead people to Christ.  This excuses his sermon plagiarizing. This somehow excuses his constant lying.  In other words, the end justifies the means.  I couldn’t believe I was hearing this from a Christian pastor.  My rosy-colored view of the Christian “church” began to slowly fall apart from that point on.  But this wasn’t the first time I saw this. Read the rest of this entry »

Dangers to finding truth

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

I was just doing my daily reading this morning, and I came across some interesting quotes that really got me thinking:

“Get truth and don’t ever sell it.” ~ Proverbs 23:23

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: …the feeling that everyone is wrong except for those in your own little group…” ~ Galatians 5:19-21.

These are two passages point out dangers that the person who is searching for truth will inevitably encounter. Since truth is what this website is all about, and the people who come here to read stuff care about it, I thought it would be a good idea to write about these dangers.

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A possible key to moral living…

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Over the past couple of months, I’ve taken a good look at myself, and realized that I’m not too thrilled with what I see. I’ve become discouraged with the blatant fact that I cannot become a more moral person by mere effort. If I look hard enough at my motivations for doing good things, I begin to see I have partial selfish reasons for doing nearly all of them.

More recently, I think I’ve discovered something that has really helped me, and I thought I’d share it with everyone out there who struggles with being a moral person and has decided to devote their life to doing what is right. You know who you are, and you know what I mean by being “moral.” To put others first in your priorities, to love without expecting to be loved in return, to not steal, lie, wish harm to others, or to talk badly about them, etc. We have a desire to leave our spheres of influences in better shape then if we were never around to influence them. In fact, we have decided that being moral and following a moral code is more important than anything else – it is a cause that drives our lives as we sit in the passenger seat.

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Accountability & Authority

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Hierachy vs. Network

*updated on Oct. 15th*

I wanted to speak about a thought I closed my last post series with: accountability. This religious term has a lot of baggage for me, and I am assuming it may to my readers as well. But understanding what it really is, or at least defining a healthy version of it, is important for formulating a final idea I am trying to reach – what a good working spiritual authority structure looks like. I have concluded in my past post that current religious power structures don’t take into account the fallibility of human moral corruption. Human leaders + power = inevitable corruption. Just because people are Christian and are expected to be moral doesn’t protect them from moral decline that people in all other spheres of power are susceptible to. To temper this unfortunate truth, I believe a leadership structure overhaul is needed. In the closing thoughts of my last post, I mentioned that the glue to hold a better structure together is – you guessed it – spiritual accountability, a feature that is hopelessly broken due to the way traditional structures are designed.

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On Authority – Part 3

Monday, September 17th, 2007

This is part 3 of a 3 part series on my thinking about the subject of spiritual authority. If you are just beginning to read on the subject and are interested, check out part 1 and part 2. In the final installment of this series, I will attempt to determine what ideal spiritual authority is.

After surveying the disaster of spiritual authority that I saw all around me, I set about trying to understand what good authority might look like. I began at once to wonder if spiritual anarchy was the way to govern a religious movement. I quickly dismissed this after a small amount of thought – in my experience, it was a humble leader, whose authority came only from his/her adherence to a moral/scholarly standard external to themselves that got things moving. Any movement gains momentum though a charismatic champion devoted to some cause external to themselves. This seems true of a religious movement as well.

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On Authority – Part 2

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Last week, I talked about the dangerous of a spiritual community with unaccountable authorities and blindly obedient followers. I also mentioned that I attended a church like this and had to wrangle with this problem. So in this second of a three part post, I will continue to discuss these issues and my responses.

After leaving the first of many churches with bad leadership, I remember facing the struggle of thinking of religion as an evil thing- a tool for corrupt men to control the emotional and relational lives of the people under them. But in the end, even though the pain of loosing friends and a time of intense anger, the only thing that I decided was hopelessly flawed was church, not God.

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On Authority

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Two months ago, I decided to write on the topic of spiritual authority. As soon as I decided to do this, I realized that I have never talked to a single person who did not have a strong opinion about it in either a negative or positive sense. Because of this, I apologize in advance if this is something that has been beaten to death in the the course of your readings on the internet. My intention in this post is not to rant on about how much I dislike spiritual authority, or how badly it has been abused throughout history, but just to voice my honest attempt to understand it from my experiences. In addition to this warning, if you have never had problems with church or other religious authority, what I am going to say will probably not make sense, or worse make me sound like a person who hates authority because he is selfish. You would probably be better off not reading on because it will not be productive. But to everyone else, hopefully you’ll find my musings interesting, and if you are willing, to leave your own thoughts in the comments.

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Seminary right around the corner…

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Well, tomorrow is orientation day for new students! I’ve decided to get an MAR (Masters of Art and Religion) and focus on Old Testament. I really enjoy theology, but I have this belief at the moment that there is no better way to develop an accurate theology than to learn about God from the Bible and become very proficient in the original languages. Knowing the language will help me overcome issues with bad translations (and the doctrinal errors that have grown up around them) and help me towards a more accurate picture of who God really is according to what we have available to us from the texts. Of course, its not my only source – a personal relationship with Him is what makes the old texts come alive.

I’m pretty excited to get started, but a little worried. Writing on this blog has helped me get used to writing a lot again, but I’m still rusty on doing really good writing on spiritual topics that would be appropriate for a masters degree level. But that will probably benefit everyone here who likes reading about deep stuff. Now I’ll have access to a huge library and will be able to quote stuff from legitimate authors and not just rest my arguments on my own opinions.  Good scholarship, like good science, seems to be a group effort.

Well, classes start next Tuesday. I’m starting out by taking one course a semester so I can figure out a balance in my life between seminary, freelance web-design/graphic design business, and my family (now wife and 2 kids!). My first class is: Psalms.

Wish me luck!

The “Lone Ranger” Spiritual Life – is it possible?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

One essential element of living a thriving spiritual life is being part of a spiritual community. Being an independent-thinking kind of guy, I can’t say I really like this reality. When I was young, I was just part of a good community (which was composed of people from many, many churches) and didn’t think about things. When left home and went out on my own at college, I continued to go on autopilot – I attended a church regularly. Only when things went sour, after I had left college and started attending a bad church near where I worked, did I start to question the need for one. Can a person get along without a community of other spiritual people? Can a person live a thriving spiritual life by himself/herself?

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