Saturday, June 24, 2006

A World of Wars

Here is a paragraph from Donald Miller's book Searching For God Knows What about war.

In a way, the war in heaven, the war between God and those against God, is the war to explain all wars. If you really want to believe one side is good and another side is bad, if you really want to look back through history and find a perfect and innocent kingdom that was attacked by an enemy, you have to go back to the Garden of Eden. A perfect and innocent kingdom hasn't been attacked since then. Details are few because Moses hardly gets into it, but to be sure, the Bible paints a picture of a certain evil tricking innocent humans into betraying the God who loved them, the King who was their friend. They were enticed, they considered their options, and they wanted to be equal to God. It's ugly stuff.

I think Donald hits the nail on the head by suggesting that the war that began thousands of years ago between God and Satan, with us humans in the middle as the thing being fought for, is the same war that goes on today. Our war with our neighbor, our war with Iraq, our war with our selves, all stem from this initial act of war. I also like the point he makes about innocence. Let's take innocence out of the picture when it comes to war. No country (or person) goes to war with purely innocent motives.

War is a tricky topic, and I must confess that as I get older, I become closer and closer to becoming a pacifist. I'm not there yet, mind you, but I keep slipping closer every year. I realize that this is a painfully unpopular view to hold in America, but it is how I feel. I am still sorting out my feelings on this. I will keep you posted as to my further breakthroughs. Anybody out there with me on this?

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Here is a thought from Donald Miller:

"I believe that the greatest trick of the Devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the Devil tries so hard to get Christians to be Religious. If he can sink a man's mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God. I was into habit. I grew up going to church, so I got used to hearing about God. He was like Uncle Harry or Aunt Sally except we didn't have pictures." pg 13 of Blue Like Jazz

Wasting time. How many of the devices in our lives are for the sole purpose of wasting our time? And, we complain about never having enough.

Religion. These words ring true to me. I see what he is talking about happening all the time. It seems that Jesus' harshest word were for the most religious people of his day. They had the Religion, but no relationship.

Relationship. Do we just know about God, or do we truly know God? I fear that the former is far more common. I think we have an epidemic in our churches of not truly knowing the risen Lord. We talk about him a lot, but we do no engage him as a living being.

Are Donald and I the only ones who think this?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Erwin McManus on Faith

"A casual listener to Christian teaching across the airwaves would conclude the solution to every problem is to have more faith. If you have a problem, all you need to do is believe. If you can't overcome the problem, you're just not believing big enough. The metaphor of the mustard seed is thrown into this mix of faith talk. We are told that Jesus said all we needed was faith the size of a mustard seed and we could speak to the mountain, "Be removed," and it would be cast into the sea. Jesus' words are interpreted to mean that what we have is a faith problem--we just don't believe enough. This spiritual journey becomes an endless cycle of trying to muster up more belief, bigger faith. But Jesus is pointing us to the very opposite conclusion. He's not saying we need to have more faith; he's actually telling us we just need to have some. It's not about making your faith bigger. All you need is mustard seed sized faith. The implication is any less is none at all. Jesus was not calling us to work up our faith. He was calling us simply to put our faith in God. It is not our faith in an event that is critical, but our faith in God himself. It is not about believing in a miracle; it is about an unshakable confidence in the character of God."

from Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul pp192-193

Monday, June 19, 2006

Book Review: Fathers and Dragons with Donald Miller

Donald Miller's latest book, To Own a Dragon, which discusses growing up without of father, is a great read. Typical to Miller's works, they include captivating stories, humurous anticdotes, and thought provoking, honest musings at the end that seems to sum up an issue in a way that very few can do. As he is dealing with a very pertinent subject, this book is a must read for...

1. Anyone who grew up without a father

Let's face it, with the chronic divorce rate and the epidemic of fathers leaving their families and proving worthless, there are hundreds of millions of young people who relate to what Miller is talking about. I read it because, as a youth pastor, about half of the students I work with are in similar situations. If you are in the situation where you never knew your father, let this book converse with your mind. Let Miller's wit and wisdom help you explore this hole in your life.

2. Anyone who had a Father that did not meet the "Spiritual Needs" of his family

The next group would be the even more of us who had fathers in our lives, but who did not fill the role of spirituality father's should. There are certain things that young men need to hear from their fathers, certain lessons that need to be learned and value that needs to be attributed, and Miller addresses these.

3. Anyone who is in a mentoring relationship

There are a lot of things in this book that apply to those of us who are mentoring young men as well. BTW, if you are not mentoring anybody yet, please consider it. There are scores of young men and women out there who need an older, wiser person to mentor them into their maturity in Christ. I can tell you that there is not a more rewarding part of my ministry. Anyway, Miller writes this book with his mentor, John MacMurray. There is a lot of good insight about mentoring relationships in the book.

4. Anyone who wants deeper insight into God's role as a father

Miller has mastered this. Over the course of several years of study, prayer, and deep thought on this subject, he has gotten a grasp on what our understanding of God as a father should be. Allow Donald Miller to share his insights with you. It is a noble task and you won't regret it.

Here are some selected quotes from To Own a Dragon.

"I wondered if all the relationships we have--relationships with our lover, our mother, our friends--are not unlike blurred photos of our relationship with God..."

"I know submitting to authority isn't the most popular thing to do these days, but the thing about fathers, at least in John MacMurray's case, is they always have their kids' interest at heart. That concept changed everything for me."

"I've learned to avoid authority figures who aren't submitting to anybody themselves. What good is the wisdom of a man who has nobody to speak into his life?"

"In the end, women are really attracted to guys who have their crap together. I doubt there are many women enamored by the idea of living in a box under a bridge, sucking on a bouillon cube while her man reads Emerson. This is probably not what the old ovaries are pining for."

"The most difficult temptation, in chess and in life, is the temptation to react. Reacting without thinking never, ever works."

What Theologian are You?

The next in the line of these "If I were a __________, what __________would I be?" tests has surfaced. This one is kind of cool for us church geeks like myself. Credit to Kurt Johnston.

You scored as Anselm. Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period.He sees man's primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read 'Cur Deus Homo?'



John Calvin


Jonathan Edwards


Charles Finney


Friedrich Schleiermacher


Martin Luther




Karl Barth


Paul Tillich




Which theologian are you?
created with

Monday, June 12, 2006

More Donald Miller

I heard this quote today on Donald Miller's podcast from his new book, "To Own A Dragon", which is about his life growing up without a father. By the way, if you haven't read anything by Miller yet, please do. He has quickly become my favorite author and he has this gift for writing and putting his finger directly on the issue that is a rare find.

Anyway, in continual evaluation of how we do Church, Student Ministries, etc. I thought this thought applied.

"You are going to pretty much do the things that make you feel good about yourself, that make you feel important and "on purpose", and walk away from the things that make you feel like a loser."

Which of these do our churches tend to do more? Are we a welcoming, validating body that tells and shows people that they are a unique creation of God, who loves them and died for them? Or, do we treat people like the sinners that they are and make them feel like unimportant outsiders?

Just some food for thought.