9 Things (April 28)

1. Sometimes grieving death isn’t the worst kind of grief. We grieve broken friendships, we grieve alienated children, we grieve a loss of health and vitality. We grieve the broken things of the past that we can’t fix. We grieve not having those things that others take for granted. We grieve poisonous relationships that force distance. Some of the hardest grief is the grief that one mourns alone.

2. One of my greatest griefs is watching the Church that I love being hijacked by domineering, unbelieving, cruel, racist, women-hating bullies. They pretend to be fighting the “reformed downgrade” and “feminism” but in reality they are fighting against the image of God in their neighbor and baptizing their pathologies.

3. The husband is not the savior of the wife in any way. Ephesians 5 says that he is to love his wife as Christ loves the church – and then the REST of it is about Jesus. If you want to know how to love your wife, learn about Jesus and how he loves his church. Read the Song of Songs and Philippians 2 for a start.

4. My wife was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome about 10 years ago. It was a blow and a relief. A blow because we partly knew that she would never be the same again and her mobility would decline. A relief because we finally had some answers. There were members of our church at the time, including an elder, who were offended that I asked for prayer for her “too much”. I still don’t know how to process that.

5.  I love Reformed theology as it is summarized in the Three Forms of Unity. This, to me, is what it means to be Reformed. However, there is a disconnect between the theology and the practice of the Reformed world. There is something in the culture of the Reformed world that breeds a very, very ugly spirit. Social media takes that spirit and makes it public.

6.  I read this week that 55 percent of Americans believe that the US Constitution is inspired by God. Either they have no idea what inspiration means, or they have a serious problem with idolatry. Either way, we have a huge problem.

7. Nationalism and Christianity are not compatible. They are competing religions. One seeks salvation in power and control. The other is proclaimed through weakness and the foolishness of the message preached. You cannot serve God and Mammon.

8. I long for the day when seminaries training pastors will not only teach languages and theology, but will also provide the guidance and space to begin their healing from past traumas. Until a man deals with his trauma honestly, he cannot be an effective pastor. Until he understands himself, he will invariably feed himself rather than the sheep.

9.  When one believes that God will only bless a nation based upon their national obedience, then one can easily justify the oppression and hatred of the sinner who won’t get on board. It is a scary place to be. Blessings for national obedience is not Christianity.


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4 responses to “9 Things (April 28)

  1. Reblogged this on Journey of FAITH and commented:
    Great points…

  2. Shirl

    Absolutely. So well said.

  3. Anu Riley

    AMAZING points, Pastor.

    Grief is one the most meaningful yet often mocked and minimized agonies of the human experience. It can be treated with such apathy and arrogance, even and especially by those who profess Christ, who is described as a “Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”

    Ironically, certain verses often come to life when we deal with loss. “In Him all things hold together.” And “What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! ”

    The Church being “hijacked” as you described was well put. At the heart of Christ is His heart for human suffering. There seems to be more outcry when it comes to the hard core right to abide by the 2nd amendment, versus the hard core reality to abide in Christ when it comes to the 2nd commandment.

    IMO, the husbands who seem to WANT to be seen as a “savior” for their wives are so busy being out, loud and proud of their “status,” that I wonder how they even make the TIME to fulfill their “godly” calling at home! IMO, the husbands who are truly fulfilling their roles as He intended are too busy loving their lives and living out that love! This is how you treat your wives, it is not about talking ABOUT how you treat your wives.

    Any sincere born again believer will shrink at the impossible burden of being a “savior” (who happens to be a husband) to another sincere born again believer (who happens to be his wife). It is a heavy yoke to put down; His light yoke is easy to pick up.

    I am so sorry you were told for asking for prayer “too much.” I was in a place of utter grief and felt very alone. Someone I had talked to a few times randomly said that he and his church were praying for me. I nearly broke down and it reminded me that the Lord had me “covered.”

    “Social media takes that spirit and makes it public.” Couldn’t have to said it better. IMO this is how it always was in private; now there is public forum to spread the dread.

    I am shocked by stats about the US Constitution is because I have often wondered if the people who claim that, really KNOW what it says. I learned about the three branches of government as a child and how they should operate, but to hear adults talk about it, they are unaware of that. The US Constitution (or the Bible) doesn’t say that Biblical and national obedience are the same thing. It says that we have freedom of religion.

    It would be wonderful if pastors had SOME training about trauma, both within themselves and for others! A ton of my sufferings as an early believer stemmed from massive ignorance and arrogance among leadership.

    Those that profess Christ but go from sweet to sour, nice to nasty, docile to difficult, have confused me because it was so instantaneous. I did not know who they really were, so I did knot how to interact with them. Were they lost sheep and therefore to be protected, or predatory wolves and therefore to be protected from?

    I still don’t have the exact answers, but I realized that no one can be a sheep and a wolf at the same time. A wolf in sheep’s clothing does not go from being a sheep to a wolf. They only LOOK different to us, but in reality, they are a wolf

  4. Bill

    in a mood for thinking early this morning, I came to see what you’ve been musing of late… much worth thinking about in your words, which are helpful.

    #2 (with 5 and 8) strikes me particularly. We are missing something vital in reformed circles that involves the ‘unconditional love’ that actually disperses the ‘shame’ that is a struggle for many (of us)…

    Thanks for creating a safe space to grapple with these kind of issues, Sam!

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