Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Micah 6:8

"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." These words are painted around the molding in my dining room. These are rich words. Ones that require action, response and life change.

For many Christians the ideas held within this short verse are quite foreign. The love of comforts and material possessions coupled with the distaste for inconvenience and sacrifice, all swimming in the water of accomplishment and achievement seem to distract us.

And as Adele Calhoun writes in the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, "we never outgrow the need for prophets who remind us of the great requirements." Eugene Peterson suggests that faith that doesn't serve justice can end up making us worse instead of better. Think about that.

So how does Micah speak to us where we live right now? Not all of us are going to Africa to work among the Invisible Children, or to Asia to free child slaves. Few of us are in the Peace Corp or doing full time mission work. Yet the words of God still ring true and call us to live in such a way that we are incarnational expressions of faith. What about in your own downtown, with the single parents in your own churches, the shelters, the homeless on your streets. What about the relief agencies that you can support?

How does concern for justice fit with your faith?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Yancy on Prayer

During the summer our Sunday am Bible class is taking a break from our Matthew series and we are going through Phillip Yancy's book Prayer. I have chapters 9 & 10 to teach this Sunday. There is too much to cover in one week and so many rabbits to chase... Yancy writes every paragraph with layers and layers of meaning to apply and contemplate.

After reading the two chapters over and over, I have decided that instead of actually teaching all the content, I am going to discuss 4 central ideas that hit me from what he said.

Tell me what you think.

1. The inner voice of prayer expresses itself naturally in action, just as the inner voice of the brain guides all bodily actions.

2.While we will not all find ourselves in the kind of dramatic circumstances that faced Bonhoeffer in Germany or Tutu in South Africa, we all in our own way will feel the tension between prayer and activism, between action and contemplation.

3.We want a God we can count on yet an attentive God whom we can affect.

4. By using prayer rather than other, more direct means, God once again chooses the most freedom-enhancing style of acting in the world. God waits to be asked, in some inscrutable way making God's activity on earth contingent upon us.

This is enough to keep us talking for a year, why do I think one Sunday is going to do it justice?