Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Danger of Big Pictures
Albert Einstein wasn't the first nor the last man to try to find a theory of God, the universe and everything.  The discipline used to be called systematic theology.  Systems give us the comfort of predictability; they help us to feel that the world is a safe place in which to live and move.
But every system is the product of the human mind-- flawed mind produces flawed system.  And systems produce an even more toxic and evil byproduct-- the system expert, who is proud of his/her mastery of the system.  Those who master systems need to believe that that mastery converts to mastery of the world around them-- otherwise, why master the system?
It is the system masters who rise to prominence and power in this world-- and with their power, they prove once again that law (systems) can do nothing but kill.  They can stop life-- they cannot give life.  Life is a gift that God alone can give.  Only God's living Word speaks good things (life included) into being.
We in the church are so busy perfecting the system that we forget that God does not need it to do His work.  We forget that there is another Hand at work in all the puzzle pieces we are trying to sort-- and ultimately, it is HIS puzzle.
As we in Grace Presbytery head into another called meeting to impose the system on this quarrelsome and tragically troubled time, I am reminded that Grace has no discernable system other than the look in Jesus Christ's eyes.  What would happen if, instead of imposing order on this time, we all just looked in His eyes, read His word, prayed with all our might and took our best shot at obedience in this moment-- and then just did that again, and again?
We might still end up right where we are.  But we might end up there less willing to destroy the enemies of our particular system of thought.
I'm tired of arguing about predestination, or ordination, or theophany, or Q, or whether one part of God is of the same substance as another.  I want to let someone see Jesus Christ in my eyes-- I want to live out the love I was given the best that I can. Do likewise, keep your criticism of the log in my eye to your beamful-eyed self, and maybe this world would begin to change a little faster.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Back at it Again
It has been a year-- the worst of times, and the best of times.  I remember the pictures of the man facing the Christmas tsunami on the beach in Thailand, realizing the wave that would hit in seconds would kill him, turning away from it and just bracing for what would happen.  I understand how he felt now.
I am divorced.  I never thought that it would be possible to write those words; then I never thought that it would be possible for the woman I loved to do what she did.
I am amazed to find myself not drowned, but riding the wave to a new and better life, by the grace of God.  That last terrible anniversary of our wedding, May 10, was also the day that G-6.106b was erased from the Book of Order.
But I preached all the way through the ordeal, and Christ was faithful through each stumbling step.  As I watch what is happening in the Presbyterian Church (USA), I am reminded of the terrible pain and rancor of this year, and the desperate sense of inevitability in our separation.
I will not leave the PC(USA), but I cannot in all truth say that I know the day will not come when the PC(USA) will want me to leave.  But I know that Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church and I will survive the wave that is crashing relentlessly through this time of our lives.
Trust God, love Christ, do the duty that lies nearest, and we shall see what the Lord intends to do when the wave subsides, and the landscape is rearranged.  Pray for the commissioners to General Assembly this year.