Archive for July, 2010

faith in the work place

i am constantly challenging folks to break down the artificial secular/ sacred divide we have allowed to creep into our worldview by seeing themselves as missionaries. every Christian is called to live as a missionary in whatever they do. your identity as a Christian matters everywhere the Lord puts you, especially at “work.”

there is a lot to be said here, but suffice it to say i never had this story in mind. check out the video below to see this florida woman’s story. faith in the line of fire.


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While Mitchell concentrates on justice and gospel south of the border, I wanted to bring back an update from my trip to the Border this summer.  I’ve been spending some time this summer at the Mexican restaurants in Memphis (Summer Ave, holla if you hear me, Park Ave, throw ya hands up).

I have gained weight this summer, and I’m sending the bill for my new husky size pants to the folks at Las Delicias (order the Alambre if you want to be fat like me) and Los Camales (order the milanesa torta).

I also hit Taco Bell yesterday and can report on their new Cantina Tacos, an attempt at more truly Mexican product.  It’s a tasty product:  good corn tortilla, not too soggy despite the wet contents.  Soft, very hot inside.  Wrapped in foil, not plastic/paper.  Second only to Spicy Chicken Sandwich for “Fast Food of the Year”.  Nowhere near as good as the same product at Las Delicias, but not bad for Taco Bell.

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The woman who makes a dog the centre of her life loses, in the end, not only her human usefulness and dignity but even the proper pleasure of dog-keeping. The man who makes alcohol his chief good loses not only his job but his palate and all power of enjoying the earlier (and only pleasurable) levels of intoxication.

It is a glorious thing to feel for a moment or two that the whole meaning of the universe is summed up in one woman–glorious so long as other duties and pleasures keep tearing you away from her. But clear the decks and so arrange your life (it sometimes feasible) that you will have nothing to do but contemplate her, and what happens?

Of course this law has been discovered before, but it will stand re-discovery. It may be stated as follows: every preference of a small good to a great, or partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice is made.

Readings for Meditation and Reflection, pgs. 14-15 (HT: Joel Willitts)

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theology from the South

This summer I spent some time in Argentina on a mission trip with the young adults from our church. There were many things the Lord did in my heart, on our team, and in the church we were working with that testified to His faithfulness and intimate involvement in our lives.

At the top of the list for me was being able to speak at a church whose pastor is Alberto Roldan, a foremost theologian in South America. Dr. Roldan is the Pastor of the Presbyterian Church San Andrés in Buenos Aires, Argentina; The Director of the Masters in Science of Religion of the Theological Institute FIET; and the director of  the magazine: Teología y cultura. He is an amazing man of faith and practice and it was a privilege to speak at his church (I will spare you the story of one of his members calling me out in front of everyone for having gum in my mouth. Wow, talk about embarrassing… nothing like promoting the image of arrogant Americans!).

Dr. Roldan has sent me one of his articles to read, Evangelization & Worship; towards a doxological evangelization. You can read the whole article here. Reading his words and hearing his heart remind me of the need our church (both 2PC and the evangelical church in the States) has to  learn from our brothers and sisters outside of our Western Cultural context. We need their perspective, insight, wisdom, experience, and accountability. I pray the Lord opens the door for a deeper relationship with Dr. Rolan, more relationships with our Family from around the world, and more unity in the Bride that is marked by a reciprocity of edification. 

Thank you, Dr. Roldan, and may Jesus have mercy on us all. Enjoy the excerpt below:

It is necessary to revise our concepts of Gospel and evangelization.  Such words, many times have fallen into reductionisms that do not represent the totality of apostolic kerygma.  A doxological evangelization is trinitarian in both its content and exposition.  In this sense, all true evangelization must demonstrate that it is not speaking of a mere “salvation of the soul” or an “encounter with Christ” in purely individualistic terms that signify obtaining “a passport to heaven.”  To evangelize is to proclaim what the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit bring about within the plan of salvation that not only includes persons created in his image, but also all of God’s creation that today groans while waiting for redemption. Doxological evangelization promotes the glory of God and not ours, and, as such, is very far from highly praising “successful ministries”, or “ecclesiastical enterprises” that are presented to us as models to imitate.  True evangelization makes it possible for the persons who receive it to live for the glory of God.  Finally, doxological evangelization is a kind of anticipation of the eternal glory that all God’s creation will experience in the new heavens and the new earth when God will be all in all.  

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Augustine on Friendship

‘To be a friend of Augustine’s meant only too often becoming a part of Augustine himself’.  (Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo, 52)  Commenting on the Confessions, Brown notes:

Having read the life of this extremely inward-looking man, we suddenly realize, to our surprise, that he has hardly ever been alone.  There have always been friends around him.  He learnt to speak ‘amid the cooing of nurses, the jokes of laughing faces, the high spirits of playmates’.  Only a friendship could make him lose ‘half my soul’; and only yet more friendship would heal this wound.  Seldom do we find him thinking alone: usually he is ‘talking on such subjects to my friends.’  Augustine has hardly changed in this: in middle age he remains delightfully and tragically exposed to ‘that most unfathomable of all involvements of the soul – friendship’. (p. 174)

HT:  Matthew Mason, with single quotes and British punctuation left intact in his honor.  (Or is it honour?)

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The Voice of Reason

As a professional nerd, I enjoy talking to other professional nerds.  If you want to know what that’s like, I give you an excerpt between me (“Voice of Reason,” VoR) and my beloved anonymous friend (AF).

VoR, trying to steer conversation away from books and literature so as to ensure our relationship is well-rounded:  “So have you had any hot dates lately?”

AF:  “Dude, have you read _____________ by Marilynne Robinson?”

VoR:  “No, haven’t had the chance to read that yet.”

AF:  “I know she’s like 60 but I would totally marry her in a heartbeat.”

VoR: [Not sure what I said, exactly, but something like this:]  “Wow.  Your mom’s not even sixty.  You’d go for someone older than her?  Please, for the love of all things good and decent, go find a nice girl at your local church and ASK HER OUT.”

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I happened to watch a documentary on HBO this weekend called “A Small Act”. Here’s the synopsis from the website-

“When Hilde Back sponsored a young, rural Kenyan student, she thought nothing of it. She certainly never expected to hear from him, but years later she does. Now a Harvard graduate and a Human Rights Lawyer for the United Nations, Chris Mburu decides to find the stranger that changed his life. Inspired by her generosity, he starts a scholarship program of his own and names it for his former benefactor.”

It is an incredibly moving story, we were literally cheering out loud for some of the students by the end. It is also a great reminder of how small acts of kindness and generosity can change someone’s life, and that we can never really know what God will do with even a mustard seed of faith.

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Our reflection is confirmed in the career of another heir of Elijah’s spirit, John the Baptist. Jesus Christ even equates John with Elijah (Matt. 17:1–13). Elijah and Elisha are types of the transition of leadership from John the Baptist to Jesus Christ. Elijah and John the Baptist announce judgment; call Israel to repentance and are followed by the common people; dress alike in their protests against materialism; confront an ambivalent king (Ahab and Herod) and a blood-thirsty queen; are rejected by authorities immediately after their victories; question God’s calling; and designate a greater successor.

But now let’s really swim by comparing Elisha and the Lord Jesus. Both are designated by a prophet, whom the general populace recognized as a true prophet. Both receive the Spirit on the other side of the Jordan (2 Kings 2:7–15; John 1:28); are surrounded by more disciples than their predecessors; are itinerant miracle workers; give life in a land of death; cleanse lepers (2 Kings 5; Mark 1:40–45); heal the sick (2 Kings 4:34–35; Mark 8:22–25); defy gravity (2 Kings 6:6; Matt. 14:22–33); reverse death by raising dead sons and restoring them to their mothers (2 Kings 4: 1–7; Luke 7:11–17); help widows in desperate circumstances; are kinsman redeemers to save from slavery (2 Kings 4:1–7; Luke 4:19); feed the hungry (2 Kings 4:1–7; Mark 8:1–12); minister to the Gentiles (2 Kings 5:1–16); prepare (2 Kings 6:20–23) and sit at table with sinners (Luke 5:29); lead captives (2 Kings 6:18–20; Eph, 4:7–8); have a covetous disciple (Gehazi and Judas); end their lives in a life-giving tomb from which people flee (2 Kings 13:20–21; Mark 16:1–8).

Bruce Waltke (the whole piece is somewhere online; perhaps Tabletalk Magazine?)

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On July 11th there were a pair of terrorist bombings in Kampala, Uganda, in crowds watching the World Cup Finals. When I heard about it, my first thoughts were directed towards our high school kids who were  in Uganda on a mission trip. Thankfully, they were safe as they were in another city at the time. As I was reading about the attacks, I read about a guy named Nate Henn was one of the 71 people killed. Nate served with an organization called Invisible Children.

Here is an article from there website about Nate Henn: http://natehenn.com/

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The Mountaintop

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Robert Jastrow, physicist/astronomer

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