Showing posts from July, 2010

A salute to "sheer grit"

I find the History Channel series America, The Story of Us mesmerizing. In the episode on Boomers, I was struck by a couple of words used to describe the generation of Americans who prevailed in World War II and then built an infrastructure of roadways and waterways across America. Like the railways in the previous century, the roadways were constructed by manual labor and "sheer grit."

"Sheer grit" -- those words struck me. I wonder whether "sheer grit" would describe a culture that has transitioned from industrial to information-based. Grit seems less important than creativity and innovation. Yet in his book Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky has argued well that what separates ideas that make a difference from ideas that never see the light of day is perseverance. In other words, creativity needs grit. Even in the postmodern, information-based age, we are not going far without grit.

Also, innovation aside, life is hard. Grit is absolutely necessary to …

Line of the day

Line of the day at last night's UFC party... Looking at heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar, my friend Joel said, "That is a rhinoceros walking upright."

THEOLOGY LOUNGE: "Theology 101: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story"

THEOLOGY LOUNGE for summer 2010 is about to get underway! This coming Thursday night I am starting a class called "Theology 101: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story." It's designed to give you a fresh grasp of the Bible and Christian theology. The class is open to all. Details are below. If you are a reader who can come to the class, we would love to have you!

1. WHAT THEOLOGY 101 IS ALL ABOUT Theology is not about knowing dry religious facts. It is about understanding the personal God and how he interacts with us. The best way to understand God is to see him in action, as the primary actor in a story that starts with creation and ends with the restoration of all things. This dynamic and dramatic approach to theology is the one we will take in Theology 101.
Theology 101 situates Christian beliefs in a big picture that’s easy to understand and remember. This is not dumbed down theology. It is theology arranged according to the overarching history of God’s involvement wi…

A big bet

As I was getting donuts for the kids this morning, I was midway through picking out my selections when the woman behind the counter let out a cheer. The television in the corner had the World Cup on, and Germany had just scored again to go up 3-0 on Argentina. I asked why she was so excited. I mean, she didn't look German. She said, "I have a big bet with my husband on this game."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yes!" She smiled impishly. "If Germany wins, he has to do whatever I say."

It's going to be a long day for that dude.

Some practical advice on devotions, post 3: "Humbling Ourselves"

In devotions, it is vitally important that we take at least a little time reminding ourselves of God's grace and how much we need him. As I have said, I use the Book of Common Prayer for devotions because I like the way it structures things. It is certainly not the only way to do devotions, but it works for me.

My typical devotions go from Getting Oriented (an introductory sentence that serves to help me get oriented and a prayer of intention) to humbling myself before God. Humbling means confessing my weakness and sin. "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).

Christians often swing to extremes with confession. We either walk around shackled by guilt or we don't bother with confession at all. Either way makes it difficult to grow past our sins. If we carry guilt, we don't allow ourselves to grow. Chronic guilt is often related to self-sabotage. On the other hand, if we don't acknowledge our sins, we never develop the focus to grow …

Line of the day

My mom, who is visiting from Colorado, was commenting a few minutes ago about how we must watch our hearts closely. She said, "All it takes is a few days of not praying and you have to work like the Dickens to get back to a relationship with God where his Spirit is flowing through you and you are abiding in him."

The God who bears our burdens

I offer a refreshing verse that I came across this morning in my devotions...

We often think of God as looking down on us with some a kind of evaluative detachment. He gives us a challenging life to live, and he wants to see how we will do. If God is like that, he is more difficult to love. The good news is, he's not like that.

Here is the way God really is. From Psalm 68:19 -- "Praise to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." This verse portrays God not as detached from us but as attached to us. Whether he approves or disapproves of everything we do, he is first of all compassionate. He doesn't simply look and see that we have burdens, he helps carry them. Our God is involved. It turns out God is easy to love after all.

I think of a verse that has always stood out to me as a compelling picture of Christian community: "Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). Why do we bear one another's bur…