Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith
Christianity is in a transition, at least in North America. Some fear that the faith once delivered to the saints is being watered down with cheap grace or corrupted by bad doctrine. Any given week, one can find some preacher on the Internet declaiming the way other churches are giving in to low standards and abandoning cherished truth, all in an effort to be culturally relevant. But this is not the transition I see happening in the church.
The Christmas season is all about journeys. People are traveling in order to be home with family. Kids are heading to the grandparents' house. College campuses are abandoned ghost towns.
The Christmas story itself is full of journeys. Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem because of the census. The angels traveled from heaven to tell the shepherds about Jesus’ birth. The shepherds traveled to the manger. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus all traveled to Egypt to escape Herod’s death sentence.
But the most famous journey of all is that of the wise men.
My daughter keeps forgetting her glasses. It’s inconceivable to me how she could. I’ve been wearing glasses since 4th grade. Without them, my world is a blurry mess. But she seems quite happy to go about her life with a fuzzy view of the world.
Now and again it causes problems. She can miss directional signs when she’s trying to find her way somewhere. She can’t read everything her teacher writes on the board. Even still, she seems much less worried about where her glasses are than I am.
Today there was one more brutal killing. It was in the name of terror, or perhaps hatred, or maybe racism. It was a conspiracy or perhaps a lone-wolf gunman. It happened here, or over there. For one reason or another, it was reported on by the news, while similar events were overlooked. Welcome to one more day in our brutal, broken, vengeance-soaked world.
Some days Easter is hard to take.
Easter has passed. For a few days my Facebook and Twitter feeds were a cascade of happy, enthusiastic pictures. Choirs with arms raised high. Pastors declaring the end of death and offer of salvation. I saw just about all the stock pictures of tombs with the stone rolled away that there are.
The Homeless Princess
How do you see yourself today? I’d like you to see yourself as God sees you. Let me hold up a mirror.
One upon a time there was a princess. As you know, a princess is a daughter of the king. She’s a member of the royal family with position, authority, and a destiny.
But this princess didn’t know it. Or maybe she ignored it, or for some reason, didn’t believe it. I don’t know why exactly, but the truth is that she wasn’t living like she was a princess.
This week around tables and living rooms across the world, families gather. Christmas Eve. Christmas morning. Christmas dinner. The long, lazy days after Christmas. Sitting together sharing stories, gifts, and great food. At least this is what we want, right?
Some families have this experience. Some don’t. Some of us wish we had people to be with. Some of us get to be around people, but not really with them, spending hours with people we don’t really connect with out of some kind of obligation.
Recently my seven-year-old son took a “mental health day.” OK, maybe that’s not what it was. I don’t know.
He woke up tired and snotty. He didn’t seem sick enough to deserve to skip school. (I come from a long line of parents who believed that only severed limbs and near-comatose illness got you an excused absence from school.) But he was dragging badly. That’s not normal for him. Tigger is his spirit animal! So, I decided to keep him home.
It’s election season, apparently. I’ve noticed the sprouting yard signs and the increasing emotional urgency in political conversations. The internet is abuzz with people making their case and stomping their virtual feet.
As a follower of Jesus this season makes me tired. Everyone seems to have expectations and obligations for me; commitments that I have never signed up for.