I asked what he wanted to read and he said the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac. Seriously kid? You want me—your dad—to read you a bedtime story about the time God told a dad to kill his son? How am I going to explain this to you? How am I going to explain this to me? How am I going to explain to your mom when she finds out?
Recently I realized I was talking with someone who had a scarcity mindset, and it caught me off guard—in part because that’s exactly the way I used to think. A scarcity mindset believes that there isn’t enough. It believes that one day (but not now) we’ll be good enough or rich enough, or have enough free time to do what’s most important to us and impactful for world. Those of us in ministry are especially susceptible to this very contagious disease.
In our culture, Easter can be many things... the Halloween of the Spring...a time to gorge on candy--serious how are Peet's still a thing? It can be a church outreach fair or a family holiday.
But, I'd argue that it can be, and properly is THE DAY. The day that illumines all our other days. The day that gives meaning to our life. The day we encounter the Risen Christ actually bringing life to our mortified hearts, not abstractly, but personally.
How can we move beyond the domestication, commodification, and exploitation of Easter to encounter this day as THE DAY?
"But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42
I've been reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. As I've been reading, I realized that he is describing the exact attitudes that lead to burnout in ministry. He says that the non-essentialist believes that:
Do you have a bad habit that you want to change? I’ve got a few. One of them is that I’ve gotten out of the habit of regularly exercising. As I’ve settle into my work as a therapist / Missionary Care Coordinator (and work predominantly from home), exercise hasn’t fit naturally into my daily rhythm. Here is my plan to change this bad habit. It might work for you, too:
This week I have a special treat for you. I wanted to introduce you to my friend and colleague Danny Hunter. Danny is a PhD Candidate at Asbury Theological Seminary and his area of research interest is Partnerships in Missions. He offered the following devotional at our weekly seminary.
Recently I got the opportunity to receive some counseling. (Yes therapist—at least the good ones—take their own medicine). It wasn’t a great experience and made me realized that we were coming at this from very different assumptions.... Therefore I wanted to share some of my convections about couples counseling with you. These are certainly not all of my beliefs but are among the most precious.
The terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015 shocked the world. The attacks were not on symbols of government like the Pentagon. Nor were they even in retribution for insulting cartoons of the Prophet.
They took place in a restaurant, a club, a stadium. They were an attack on a way of life. Their purposelessness reveals their deep meaning--there is no room for negotiation, there is no diplomatic recourse. We Are At War. In this blog I want to suggest a Christian response.
Recently, I set out to run a half marathon. Going into it, I knew I couldn't keep the required race pace and would be turned back at the half-way mark. As I climbed the first hill, my calves began to ache, and the appeal of quitting intensified. I pushed on, and what I learned through this minor failure taught me a lot about the kinds of failures we face every day.
This week the FFRF, a small non-profit dedicated to promoting the separation of church and state and nontheism, told my home town to remove the cross on top of our water tower under threat of litigation. They have successfully challenged many little municipalities, using fear of large legal fees to convince towns to abandon similar practices all over the country. (See their revealing 2014 annual report HERE.)
I'd like to begin a conversation by suggesting how I hope we can respond to the FFRF as a Christian community living under the light of the true Cross.