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grace

  • Self Portrait

    A verse reflecting on myself and the things most important to me.
  • Beauty Grace Illusion Lie

    Life is complicated, messy, hard to understand. And that's exactly what makes it beautiful.
  • A Life After Christ

    For me, the ultimate goal of my faith is to live the type of life that Jesus Christ modeled. I appreciate the deep theology of Paul, I love the practical wisdom of James, and I admire the firm convictions of Peter, but it is Christ that I pursue. Christ is the one I emulate - that’s why, despite the fact that the term “Christian” has become associated with judgmentalism and discrimination, I still call myself by that name. During his time on earth, Christ had a lot of attributes: He lived a holy, sinless life He was self-sacrificing, even to the point of giving up his life He promoted peace He loved his neighbors...and his enemies He fought for justice in the face of inequality But when I look at the grand narrative of Christ’s life, I am inescapably drawn to his mission. Why did God send him to earth? Certainly there were a lot of reasons, but the one that seems to be the most dominant to me is that he came to show the entire world the beautiful, life-giving grace of God. In my pursuit of becoming more and more like Christ, it’s easy for me to focus on becoming more “holy” - more pure, more sanctified. But sinlessness was simply a characteristic of him as God. I, on the other hand, am a sinful, messed up man. Sin is a characteristic of my humanity. That’s not to say that I should be content with my sinfulness - by no means! - but I acknowledge that it’s a reality. From time-to-time, I will fall short. But despite falling short in my own life, I can continue to live out his mission. I can always show grace. The greatest sin I can imagine would be for me to accept the grace that Christ extended to me, and to keep it bottled up inside myself. I want people to be able to look at my life and see the grace of God radiating through me. Like the jug of oil that did not run dry, Christ refills me with grace before I can ever run out. The more I pour into the people in my life, the more he fills me up. As I live, then, I try (and often fail, to be sure) to follow Christ’s example. His own words in Luke 6 perfectly demonstrate his life. But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For…
  • No more pooping inside.

    Oscar pooped in the house again. When Shannon and I lived in Oklahoma, we were around the house pretty much all the time. I worked from home and Shannon worked at the church across the street, so our fur-baby Oscar got used to having us around. When we moved back to Kansas City, though, Shannon and I took positions with office hours, and both of our offices are over half an hour from where we’re living. As a result, Oscar is home alone for eight or more hours every day, and he is not happy about it. I take him for a walk every morning and Shannon takes him out every afternoon, so he has plenty of opportunities to do his business outside. And he’s not ignorant of the rules - he knows that he’s supposed to poop outside. When Shannon gets home from work, if he’s pooped in the house, he greets her with his tail between his legs and rolls over onto his back in a sign of apology and submission. He knows the rule, but he breaks it anyways. I think the big reason is that he doesn’t really understand the rule. He knows that he gets punished for pooping in the house, but he doesn’t get why it’s unsanitary. It seems arbitrary to him, so it doesn’t feel important - it carries no weight in his mind. This is how I see his day going: He begins the day napping, but eventually the hours of isolation take their toll and he gets bored. His little mind fixates on what he can do to express his frustration until, in a fleeting moment of rebellion, that arbitrary rule becomes optional and he pops a squat in the middle of the basement floor, where he knows we’ll see it. Immediately after committing this sin, he realizes its consequences. His mind races for ways to cover it up, but he is unable to make his droppings of indiscretion disappear. He hears a car door close outside and then a key in the front door. With no time left to hide, he has no choice but to apologize and pray that Shannon can forgive him again. Shannon, seeing the evidence of his rebellion, spanks him, punishes him and, a few minutes later, hugs him and tells him she still loves him even though he messed up. Though we forgive him every time he poops in the house, we do not condone it. It is still completely unacceptable, and we continually trying new things to break him of this bad habit. I think this is an apt metaphor for how I often treat sin in my life. The rules that God has set in place feel arbitrary and inconsequential - I know the rules, but I don’t understand why he established them. I try to obey, but in times of frustration or complacency I make the rules optional and choose to rebel against them. No matter how many times I break the…
  • In Light of Love

    Even greater than truth is the command to love our neighbors, but how do we show love to the people around us?