3 Truths for a Great Life

Jesus laughed. Jesus wept. Do likewise...

Jesus laughed. Jesus wept. Do likewise.


Your God is Too Damn Small - Excerpt

Your God is too damn small. Face it. Right now you are more concerned with the fact that I just said 'damn' than you are with your view of God. I assure you, the second is far more important.

God just doesn't get the respect God deserves anymore. Perhaps it is the cherubic faced angels or the faceless Willow Tree figurines that are to blame. Maybe it is our reaction to 1970's preaching that was once centered in guilt, shame and remorse. Whatever it is, the Divine comes across very warm and fuzzy these days. It is as if we have come to understand God as a great nurturing, heavenly helper. Contrast this to the scene from Job 38.

The manuscript that is now Job has a prologue and a postlude added. The first attempts to explain the heavenly drama in which the story of Job takes place. The second seeks to add some element of justice to the life experience of Job: the restoration of stuff and relationships to Job following his suffering.  Originally, neither prologue nor postlude was a part of the story. Job's life of misfortune and suffering is punctuated by one final plea to God for understanding, for an explanation of suffering. God, apparently weary of Job's questioning - replies in grand fashion.

Job 38: 1-7
Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
 2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
   with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
   I will question you,
   and you shall answer me.
 4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
   Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
   Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
   or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
   and all the angels shouted for joy?

The text continues with God pouring forth example after example of God's greatness and power, the end of which finds Job humble and cowering before God's awesome majesty.

Do we find God this big in our lives? Can we even imagine the vast greatness of this being to which we claim allegiance?  The writer of Proverbs 9:10 states, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." If my God isn't big enough to strike a little fear into my heart, my God is too small. I'm not talking here about being fearful, in a 'I'm scared God is gonna zap me to hell' kind of fear. No. I'm talking about an awesome respect.

In April of 2010 I was speaking at a Rotary conference in Asheville, NC. I happened to be attending that conference at The Biltmore House at the same time that President Obama and his family were vacationing there. The place was pretty well patrolled by Secret Service agents. I found myself standing in a hallway when about 9 agents appeared and asked me to step to the far side of the corridor. Within a few moments, the presidential family walked up a nearby staircase, past me and into a small dining area. I thought for a moment about reaching into my jacket pocket for my phone to take a photo, but stopped - a bit worried about how that movement might be interpreted (that and getting shot). I was a bit scared and frankly, nervous about the entire moment. I'm not sure we give God even that level of respect.

Fans will swoon and faint over a close encounter with a rock star. TV celebrities get swarmed with adoration and are often the desire of many. When Bono (from U2) speaks, much of the world listens. When Lindsey Lohan 'falls off the wagon,' again, it becomes animated conversation. Yet, when it comes to our God, we are more likely to walk into a worship experience late, or whisper gossip during a prayer than we are to be awed by the fact that the Divine Creator of the Universe is willing to listen to us.

Sometimes I wish God would jump out of a dark corner and shout "BOO!"

Is your God big enough? Does the Divine take you to a place of awe?

(an excerpt from the upcoming book by the same title)


3 Things You Can Do to Save Our Precarious Planet

Precarious Planet

My nephew-in-law ruined my world and now I have to change...again. He sent me this video - see below. Watch it and see what I mean. DO NOT watch this unless you are prepared for the consequences:  disbelief and either despair or a conviction to change.

So for a few months now, I've been walking around, doing the same things I have always done and living with a gnawing ache, despair, that the planet, our home, is rapidly running out of time and that it is our fault. Frankly, it  is depressing to visualize the planet as it will be in less than 150 years and know that I can't change it.

However, this week I ran across an article by Bill McKibben that gave me some hope. Bill has offered some hope and leadership. You can find a nice article on his work and ideas here at Sojourners.

In short he offers three simple, although not necessarily easy, things we can DO about the problem we have created.

Here's the plan, as documented  by Rose Marie Berger  :

1. Divest or get active regarding all stockholdings in these six corporations: ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Peabody, Arch, and BP. These are the primary oil, natural gas, and coal companies operating in or through the United States that top the charts as carbon polluters.

2. Push for carbon "fee-and-dividend" laws on corporate carbon emitters at the local, state, and federal level. No more free rides for oil, gas, and coal companies. You pay taxes to have your garbage hauled away. Why shouldn't they?

3. Take personal responsibility. Everyone can continue to limit energy consumption, use renewable energy sources, and build out a sustainable footprint for our homes and churches. But we also need people to step up and put their bodies on the line...

Read the entire article here and more about Mr. McKibben's work over at BillMcKibben.com.