Monthly Archives: November 2011

Prayer of Examen

I now recall the past day. I replay it back in my head like a video tape and examen my actions looking for all the areas where I lived out the life of Christ. I also look for areas where God is teaching me. (Step 4 in the Prayer of Examen)

Last night I tried a new spiritual discipline and it turned out to be very instructive in my relationship with the Lord. For years I have attempted to get back into journaling but it never seems to stick. Maybe it’s because my handwriting is so bad or I’m so used to thinking as I type on a computer, but I can’t seem to get into the habit of journaling.

I found a great website, Examen.me, that leads you through a series of questions that cause us to reflect on our day as if Jesus was sitting right in front of us. The folks at Examen.me explain it this way, “The Prayer of Examen allows you to reflect and recall your day while examining how you live life in the presence of the Lord. By slowing down and examining your day, the Lord has the opportunity to reveal to you specific areas where you are and are not living in His presence.”

For me this prayer was a great way for me to look back on my day and see where God was working. It is hard to take the time to reflect like this but it is very valuable. It’s online which means I can do it from anywhere and I don’t have to endure my bad handwriting. Last night, through the instruction of the Holy Spirit, I was able to see things that I would have never noticed had I not slowed down to reflect.

If you are looking for a new way to reflect on your day and examine where God was working, check out the Prayer of Examen.

Tim Tebow and Bad Theology

I love the Denver Broncos. So much so, that it is actually good for us to live in Illinois so I can’t watch the Broncos every Sunday. My kids don’t have to see me yell at the TV anymore on Sunday afternoons. This year I have not missed watching the Broncos play because the first few games were awful. Recently the tide has turned for the Broncos thanks to the “messiah” Tim Tebow. The Denver Broncos are now 4-1 with Tebow at quarterback.

When Tim started as QB I was not a believer. How can a NFL quarterback be successful if he doesn’t have a passing game? Right now I don’t care about Tebow’s stats because he is winning. Last year Kyle Orton had great stats but he couldn’t win games when it counted. Now Tebow’s stats aren’t great but he is winning games. Last night’s last minute drive was unbelievable. I’m now a believer! Though he is unconventional, he is the QB for the Broncos. AFC West title here we come!

But here is what I don’t like about the Tebow phenomenon. It has nothing to do with Tebow’s deep faith. Honestly I think his testimony is great and his faith in the Lord is giving him the strength to stand up against immense criticism.

But what frustrates me is how some Christians say that God is blessing the Broncos with wins because of Tim’s faith. What kind of theology is that? What about guys on other teams who have a deep faith but their team doesn’t win? Do we actually think that God is concerned with football teams winning? It seems that the theology of God’s blessing is based on an equation. If we have a deep faith in God then God will bless us with success.

Tell that to believers in Iran who are suffering for standing up for Christ. Tell that to the eleven disciples of Christ who suffered and died for their faith. Tell that to impoverished believers all across the world who don’t have shelter or food to eat tonight. I don’t know where this flawed theology comes from but it frustrates me. We are selfish to think that God will bless us with success if we have a deep faith.

I think God smiles when he sees Tim Tebow play great football have practice a consistent faith in front of his critics. But I don’t think he is blessing the Broncos with wins because of it. The Broncos are just playing great football when it counts and the Jets fell apart at the last minute.

Am I wrong? Where does this bad theology come from?

Evolutionary Christianity

“Part of the genius of genuine Christianity is that each generation has to think it through afresh. Precisely because (so Christians believe) God wants every single Christian to grow up in understanding as well as trust, the Christian faith has never been something that one generation can sort out in such a way as to leave their successors with no work to do. Like a young man inheriting a vast fortune, such a legacy could just make you lazy.”

– N.T. Wright in the foreword to “The King Jesus Gospel” by Scot McKnight

How can this current generation of church leaders empower and equip my generation to think through Christianity and the Church afresh?

Training Our Children to be Heroes


The latest victim of bullying, Ashlynn Conner

This morning I read this story about a 10 year old girl in Illinois who committed suicide because of the never ending bullying that she endured. Stories like this make me weep. We live in a fallen and broken society in need of healing.

As I was thinking about this situation, I came to the conclusion that we need to train our children to be heroes. My guess is that some of our children aren’t the ones who are bullies. But they are the ones who watch children like Ashlynn being bullied. As we learned from the horrendous evil that happened at Penn State, sins of omission allow evil to flourish. When we see evil happen around us, we must speak up so that acts of evil will not continue to happen.

The summer before my sophomore year of high school our family moved from a small town in Indiana to the suburbs of Denver. I experienced first hand what it is like to walk into a crowded cafeteria and not know anyone. There were many days that I ate by myself and felt very alone. This experience put me in the shoes of those who are alienated and alone. I was driven to reach out to them and stop those who intentionally alienated and bullied others.

My senior year I personally witnessed one of my friends be bullied and harassed on the track team and in gym glass. Finally one day I had had enough. In the locker room, while this big lacrosse player lit into my friend, a switch flipped inside of me and I looked this bully right in the face and yelled at him. You might not know this but at this point I weighed about 145 pounds and was the skinniest runner on the track team. The bully was so surprised that this little skinny runner would tell him to stop that he didn’t know what to say and walked out of the room. It was the last time he ever messed with my friend in front of me.

How do we raise our children to be the ones who will stand up to bullies in their schools? I don’t have any specific answers yet but I believe that the answer lies not with the bullies but with the kids who are watching the bullying but don’t jump in to stop them. There are millions of children like Ashlynn out there who need a hero to step up and confront the bullies. May our children be the heroes that they need.

 

Struggling with Loneliness

Ronald Rolheiser writes in The Restless Heart, “No person has ever walked our earth and been free from the pains of loneliness. Rich and poor, wise and ignorant, faith-filled and agnostic, healthy and unhealthy have all alike had to face and struggle with its potentially paralyzing grip. It has granted no immunities. To be human is to be lonely.”

He goes on to write, “Under the surface, though, we are not easily fooled by our own facade of strength. We hurt, and we live in pain, in loneliness, damned loneliness. Unfortunately, too, the cost of our self-deception is high. We pay a heavy price for not admitting our loneliness, facing it squarely, and grappling with it honestly. Loneliness, as we shall see, is most dangerous when it is not recognized, accepted, and worked through creatively. It is then that it wreaks havoc with our lives. Conversely, too, we shall see that it is a tremendously creative and humanizing force when it is recognized and addressed correctly.”

How do we run from our loneliness? In our media saturated and hyper-connected culture, how can technology mask our feelings of loneliness?

Steve Jobs and Christianity

“The juice goes out of Christianity when it becomes too based on faith rather than on living like Jesus or seeing the world as Jesus saw it,” stated Steve Jobs to biographer Walter Isaacson.

James writes, “Anyone who sets himself up as ‘religious’ by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.”

Maybe Steve Jobs has a better idea of what Christianity should be all about than some people sitting in church each Sunday.