Tuesday, 8 September 2020

The Need of Theology in the Fog.


One of my favourite writers often says that for most writers themselves, it's not a matter of being able to write but rather having something to say. 

As a Christian author, I've struggled around this problem for a couple years now. Not in the way you would struggle against an opponent or a physical circumstance. Like a mountain or dense forest. But like one struggles in a fog. Able to run full tilt in any direction, but foolish to do so. 

That same author is doing something profound through his platform these days, he's bringing an ancient philosophy school to the modern light and really hitting it out of the park with it too. Peoples lives are being changed and for the better. All from him having a thing to write about. And what I have noticed is that I too have an ancient way of thinking that verifiably could help people like the other author does, but seems to flounder in the marketplaces and popular discourse. There is something odd about Christian books and how we have segregated them away to places only Christians would find them. 

With rare exception, the world of Christian books seems to be few and far between unless surrounded by Christians or directed to Christians. We do not have an apologetic voice loud enough for the market that isn't already coloured with the assumptions of a Christian audience after the book release.

What would a Christian book about sex look like if not meant for the saint but rather the sinner? Not just an extra thick copy of the KJV lobbed at our view of their perversion, but a book that starts with gospel aimed at truth with "compromise" being it's the only victim. Christians seem to be really good at writing book for Christians by Christians but I'm not so sure about writing books about Christianity for Non-Christians. Gospel centred prose and research on everything from the bedroom to the boardroom.  

We believe we have the distilled truth of an almighty God when it comes to everything that claims the New York Times bestsellers title every day the list is refreshed. Business, sex, management, and money all owned by the same God who gave us the gospel. In the fog of Literature, where opinions are as dense as anything we might find in the wild, there is a light that has existed for centuries. Ancient wisdom, hope, and joy to break like the dawn over a misty valley where everything is cool and in need of said warmth. As we watch the world change and struggle in its own fog, of political turmoil and cultural decay, we have that same light to shed on others. perhaps we just need saints to start turning that light on when and where it's needed. 

What would it look like to write books for the world, from our response to the gospel, with the truth of the scriptures, for the world? In but not of as the gospel of John reads. 

John 17:14-19

English Standard Version

14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

I for one plan to find out.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

A mask by any other name would still be just as sweet.

Or maybe the word is sentimental.

Not in the darling way that an heirloom or talisman might suggest but in that it displays a sentiment even as it protects or doesn't.

Masks do prevent unbridled moist speaking from leaving the mouth of an individual. They may not be best at it but they do prevent some. And masks on everyone would prevent more moist speaking from becoming unbridled than masks on no one. They also can protect, given the right construction from things so small you would think they were harmless but big enough to harm plenty in their wake.

There are honest and honorable questions as to the effectiveness of masks in either direction. As a person who has had to take hazardous material training along with respirator fit testing, I've seen the gamut on what mask can and can't do, and frankly, a discussion on these will have disagreeing experts on every side taken and every direction ventured.

So let's look at what masks actually do and leave the debatable's up for debate. 

Seeing a mask conveys fear, plain and simple. Personal protective equipment implies a risk and danger, people generally are afraid of danger and should be. 

But they also simultaneously convey concern. A blue surgical mask lets me know that the person wearing it wants to take measures as to prevent their moist speaking from accidentally contacting me. Even if their mask won't do that 100% of the time, the concern is noted and I would be foolish to mistake it for anything else. 

Yet if this issue were as simply binary it would not be as problematic as it is. There is a third dimension to this cube to be drawn out in lockstep with the other two axis.

Mask's convey a virtue signal like any other mandatory piece of wardrobe. They may not be universally mandated by the government that declared this crisis and lockdowns accordingly, but they are becoming the kind of socially mandated item that few would want to argue against. And speaking of wardrobes, you do wear them remember. And you would be hard-pressed to tell me the kaleidoscope of colorful homemade masks didn't in some way portray fashion. Or that the stylish sleek black models weren't purchased and worn with a hint of vanity in their weave.

Beauty and death are only ever found in lockstep in one individual I've read about. He is cunning and slippery like the hand sanitizer we douse our selves with to make ourselves clean. 

So to illuminate this troubling virtue of mask-wearing I propose a simple addition to the equation that should sus out the real meaning behind them. If executed properly it will also make sure that no slippery serpent-like motives make it past the greeters at your church door when you reopen as well.

If you're a Christian, print the name of your church on the bottom edge of your masks in a contrasting color and the name Jesus on the top.

Will you wear that same signal of virtue when it's ascribed to a savior of the highest order of virtue and his institution of virtuous salvation. Did the thought of marking the sterile object make you wince? Or the idea of wearing such vandalized medical devices to your Costco?

People have always been hesitant when it came to evangelizing for a savior from their sins because it inherently admits, that at least at one point, we were infected with that sin and were in fact dirty sinners like the rest of the world. 

All it took to take away that infectious stigma was to remove Jesus from the equation and let everyone know in clashing, sterile, hospital-blue masks, that we were dirty, even infected, but Jesus wasn't involved anymore. 

So here's my recommendation to thwart all concern and argument to the matter at hand. Every Christian that can, should have their faces covered for the glory of God in Christ, especially when outdoors. With the gospel being declared by their actions and the words, sharpie'd boldly on their face coverings.

While attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, this quote has as much internet credibility as most of the info you'll find on masks these days. Its truth is still surpassing.

"Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words."

COVID-19, 2020

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Any church making detrimental decisions during the Covid-19 pandemic, leverages the risk of hosting an exclusively online gathering, against the capability of their congregation to disagree with them and choose to leave. These can be public decisions that are meant to be public or private decisions that weren't meant to get out, it won't necessarily matter. The least amount of effort is now needed to go to another church in protest of a leadership decision you disagree with. Disgruntled parishioners might not book a time with their pastor to tell them how they feel about a corporate decision. But they can find another church posting their services online and try them out. Risk-free and absent from interaction with that new church's people. From the comfort of their living room and in their pajamas. They will not be noticed as missing from their home church's online pew. They will not be noticed church shopping from the back row of a new virtual service elsewhere. Because online, you are just a viewer until you comment and interact. But their place in a volunteer position and tithe will go missing real fast. With nearly all large church services online now by necessity, a Christian can now shop for their online experience like they would on Wish.com and swipe left on ones that have shown poorly like Tinder.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Contact, Bones and Dirts.

Spit in hand and mud in eye.
Wiped with hands the tears we'd cry.
Ate with sinners, walked with crooks.
Center of our holy books.

Had the dirt washed from his feet,
by woman, sinner, made to weep
Had the crown placed on his head.
Had the spear wound, prove He's dead.

Wrapped in cotton, double layer.
Guarded, armed, buried, savior.
Rolled back stone and running girls,
Rabbi lives, go tell the world.

Won't believe you, could be lies.
Touch his hands, his head, his side.
Touch the broken Son of Man.
Touched the Godhead, now we can.

Made a faith of smell and sound, 
Wrapped in contact, love was found.
Love to reach the souls of men.
Hope to bring them home again.

Kisses, handshakes, smiles, and hugs.
Marriage beds and coffee mugs.
Faith is more than songs and words.
Skin and marrow, bones and dirts.

Friday, 8 May 2020

Do not fear, the angle said.

Shelter first in place from friends.
That's the fastest way to end
limits made, restrictions led.
"Do not fear." The angel said.

Urged to listen, then comply.
Fines and jail time by and by.
Solitude in comfy bed.
"Do not fear." The angel said.

Touch the leper, feed the poor.
That is what the church is for.
Least of these my brother find.
By all means, I will not mind.

Twist and shimmy, bend and shake.
Pray the Lord thy soul to take.
Listen to the daily news.
Prioritize the King of Jews.

Took your worship, then your pew
did it all and in plain view.
Made you bow to rule of law.
Never seen what we have saw.

Faith is tested in the trail.
Walk the soldier's extra mile.
Yet by scriptures be thee led.
"Do not fear." The angel said.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Motes in Hand

Beset by foes we can not see.
A mote of plague and enmity.
A terror in the fears of man.
No height can shake me from his hand.

Shown the discord of the news.
Of tilted pitch and party views.
Info, swing and schemes of man.
No depth is vast to stop his hand

A hand that gives and takes away.
One steady as the rise of day.
One violent as the darkest night.
One filled with what we would call right.

No wrong in beast and body formed,
or poison used and virus born.
Can challenge what he does have planned.
Can take what's firmly in his hand.

He makes the thunder and the rain.
The muscles grown from weeks of pain.
The measure of our true resolve.
The cause and capture of our love.

A God less present in the end,
was not a god to start my friend.
A Lord in trails will be true,
when golden days find ways to you.

We praise him in our homes alone.
We praise him on his holy throne.
We praise him from our stricken land.
We praise the risen Son of Man.