Posts Tagged 'Jesus'

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The Reliable Sadness of Tony Romo


 

A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Sound familiar?


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James, Julien and the Judge


The road home is full of grace—and judgment.


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In the Bleak Midwinter, Jesus Appears as Light and Life


 


In this season of Christmas, when so many things compete for my attention, it is the lights of Christmas that remind me that it is also the season of Advent, a season of holy waiting.

In the early morning hours, I slip downstairs and light the candles on my Advent wreath and in votives depicting the manger scene. In the midst of December darkness, soft light shines through both the room and my heart. In the still of the morning I read of the One who was foretold, who is named in so many ways.

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The Cubs Win the World Series and Everything Sad Will Come Untrue


 


Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? — Sam Gamgee


Do you know what you watched last night?

Do you know why you stayed up until 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night?

Do you know why you were crying at the end of it?

Do you know why you were smiling along with Kris Bryant?

The answers have nothing to do with 108 years of goats and curses. You were not witnessing history. You were beholding prophecy.

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Relationship Status: Do We Really Have a “Personal Relationship” with Jesus?


 


Being a relational creature, I had to wrestle with a popular phrase that came to my attention very early on in my Christian journey. To this day, it is used like bait for the spiritually hungry and emphasizes a dimension of experiential faith that stodgy religion rarely even acknowledges. You won’t find this phrase in the Bible. The concept is there but its connotations have elevated our expectations so high that we can actually succumb to frustration, disappointment and even despair.

So what is this tantalizing carrot-on-a-stick that seems to have trumped all other benefits of the gospel—including eternal life itself? It’s the popular phrase, “My personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Humanity craves spiritual experience like I crave a stout, French-pressed dark roast on a crisp fall morning. It’s why saints throughout the ages have employed stained glass and statues, icons and artwork, candles and incense in order to heighten their sensory “connection” with the divine. In contrast, unassisted faith in God’s word can seem drab, cognitive and unsatisfying. There is nothing inherently wrong with subjective experience but it can easily morph from means to end. Is this “personal relationship” really an orthodox summary of what is offered us in the gospel or is it a therapeutic placebo, catering to a culturally conditioned version of Christianity?

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