Category Archives: Uncategorized

Confronting Compulsive Consuming (Part 1)

OCD-hoarding

“The amassing of property, without an accompanying love Godward and manward, is suicidal. Increasing material and power are not safe except with proportionately improving character. Society can endure for a time without new inventions; it is doubtful how long it can endure without a better spirit.” George Buttrick (1901)

In the previous post we eaves dropped on what Jesus said to the siblings who asked him to settle their dispute about their inheritance. “Watch out!” he told them. “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

To reinforce his point he told a parable about a hoarder. 

I knew a card-carrying hoarder once. Her tiny apartment was stacked with old magazines, wrappers, and God knows what buried underneath. I always cut my visits to “Glenda” short and I couldn’t wait to get outside again where I would breathe. She’s gone now, no friends to speak of, the ones she had, had long since wearied of the clutter and chaos.   Continue reading

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Dear Mr. POTUS,

writeletter

Dear Mr. POTUS,

By declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital with the intent to move our embassy there you’ve made the world a more, rather than less, dangerous place to live. No doubt you gained the political capital that you aimed for from your white evangelical base. But not everyone who identifies as such is either part of that base or applauds your senseless move. Here is one white evangelical male who doesn’t consider your decision the least bit heroic. It was self-serving and more of your posturing to which we’re becoming habituated––as in a frog in a warming kettle.

Given what you said after Charlottesville, a champion for the Jewish people you’re not. That became clear when the protestors screamed, “Jews will not replace us!” and all you could say that day was there were “very fine people” on both sides. No, Mr. President, this was purely political fodder on the same lines as your supposed support of religious freedom and rights of the unborn.

I love the Jews and their land with all my heart. As a Christian I respect the people, their history, and their place in the grand scheme of birthing our Messiah. From my study of eschatology they may even have a place in the last days leading up to the return of Jesus, but the idea that some of my brethren hold that everything they do is righteous is inane. I do pray for the “peace of Jerusalem,” but you’ve just pushed peace further away and swelled the violent tendencies of both sides of the conflict.

I have to say that this was a reckless deal from someone who considers himself a “Deal Maker.” If you were going to make this outrageous move, at the absolute minimum you could have gotten something back from the Jewish state like getting them to stop building and maintaining settlements in the West Bank.

The Jesus you claim to know said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” Just like you’ve done with North Korea, you have managed to antagonize an already incendiary situation and stalled any chance for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

I’m sorry, Mr. President, I can’t join any chorus of praise to you for keeping a campaign promise, when your promise was just so much grandstanding to begin with. I don’t believe that you actually care about the Jewish people or what they call their capital. The argument that since the status quo approach hasn’t worked to bring peace, so let’s shake it up and see what happens, is not only a bad strategy, but an inhumane one. I wonder if you had loved ones living in Jerusalem, would you have gone ahead and poured gas on this tinderbox?

Your swagger, Mr. President, in such situations, at the very least makes our country look ridiculous to the rest of the world, and at worst is getting people killed.

I pray for you everyday to be a better person and a better president.

“Peace on earth and good will toward men.”

Barney Wiget

White Evangelical Patriot

Every Christian for Himself!  

black friday fight

Come over here, Jesus, and bless me first! My brother can’t wait his turn!

Who would pray a prayer like that?! Most people wouldn’t have the audacity to say it out loud or say it in just those words, but I’ve heard a lot of prayers and observed a bunch of “Christians’” lifestyles that say just that. They seem more devoted to the philosophy of Ayn Rand than the teaching of Jesus, and are so interested in getting “theirs” they couldn’t care less if it comes at the expense of those who couldn’t reach theirs with a fireman’s ladder! Under the auspices of the American Dream, they retranslated the Golden Rule: Do to others before they do it to you.

It’s: Every Christian for himself (and herself)!

The first shall be first and the last shall be last! Continue reading

God’s Kiss

god's kiss

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. J.R.R. Tolkien

How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God and that is what we are. 1 John 3:1

*I’m over sixty now, and I’ve always had plenty of hair—a good foot and a half of it in the 1970s. Barbers often commented, “Wow, what a bush!” I think one actually charged me extra because of it. Well, that’s not really the case these days. The bush has fallen over dead! Chemo killed it. They say it grows back and that sometimes it reappears different than it was before. When I was being marinated with cancer-killing chemicals I said that if it comes back blond I’m gonna start surfing. It didn’t and I didn’t.

Instead of a gradual receding of my hairline over decades of aging, I lost all my hair—right down to my eyebrows and eyelashes—overnight. You just don’t look right without eyebrows––sort of extraterrestrial. The top of my head looked like a clear-cut forest. Though disconcerting, my new look wasn’t a complete shock to me. Among all the other unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy—chemo-brain, nausea, debilitating fatigue—the premature loss of my hair seemed trifling. Some people look better bald—but I wasn’t one of them. Continue reading

Demons and the Divided Soul (Part 2 of 2)

demons 2

If you haven’t already read Part 1, I urge you to do so. I broke this essay into pieces just to keep it from being too daunting to tackle as one long post, but this one will make a lot more sense alongside what we said last time. Plus, I encourage you to read the passage we’re unpacking: Luke 11:14-28.

In some Christian circles demons and demonization are never discussed and in others, that’s about all they ever talk about. Whichever camp you’re in I hope to encourage you to move to a place somewhere in between the two where you recognize demons when you “see” them and know what to do about it. Continue reading

Demons and the Divided Soul (Part 1)

demons

I’ve experienced an uptick of spiritual assaults lately. It might not be more than usual. Maybe I’ve just been more aware of it or more vulnerable to it by token of my own divided heart. It’s well known that hell has committed a sizeable legion to my city, some are of Satan’s foot soldiers rage out in the open and others, more subtle, do their best work in more secretive ways. Since I doubt that San Francisco hosts the only satanic military base in America I thought I might share a few thoughts about spiritual battle from one particular passage that has appeared on my radar recently.

The point of these few posts is not to say everything you wanted to know about demons or to reveal some special prayer to pray to get rid of them. I don’t claim any sort of expertise on the matter of the mechanics of deliverance or taking down territorial spirits. Instead, I want to share about the danger of divided soul and how the adversary is skilled at taking advantage of a “house divided against itself.” Continue reading

The Deepening Quality of Suffering (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 10)

Suffering-Servant

“No soul will ever grow deep in the spiritual life unless God works in that soul by means of the dark night.”

This is a line from the famous poem called, The Dark Night of the Soul, which Saint John of the Cross wrote from his ten-by-six feet prison cell in which he was imprisoned for his faith. They fed him bread, water and scraps of salt fish, and brought him out to lash him publicly at least once a week. Through his sufferings, instead of waning, his passion for Christ, grew deeper.

I offer this as another piece of advice about one may go deeper in their life in Jesus.

To go deeper we have to be willing to suffer well

Recently my forty-fifth spiritual birthday came and went. On August 20, 1972 I gave as much of what I knew of myself to as much of God as I knew of him. Frankly, at that point I knew very little about myself and much much less about him. Since then, with the Spirit’s help, I’ve learned a few more things about the both of us. Much of which has come kicking and screaming, put more subtly, through trial and error. Continue reading