Tag Archives: Religon

Kill God

“If You Meet (god) Buddha On The Road, Kill Him.”
– a frequently used paraphrase of a Buddhist koan (a poem used to provoke thought)

 attributed to Zen Master Linji.


It’s not from the Bible but it has some teeth.

St. Augustine said, “If you comprehend it, it is not God.”

Thomas Aquinas said, “The highest human knowledge of God is to know that one doesn’t know God.”

Something I keep relearning is that although I look intently and seem to understand more with each passing prayer, reading and struggle, in the end I don’t really know anything much about this God whom I serve.  As years pass I find errors or incomplete pictures in things I embraced, which shows how frighteningly shallow my knowledge of the divine is. I know His attributes.  I know His work.  I know the story.  I understand the church culture.  I understand the current thought.  I understand what I believe.  But I do not understand God.  I do not understand His ways.

I need to keep killing the god I create.


Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Quips from the Short Sage


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I’m Giving Up Sin….but just for Lent

I’m Giving Up Sin….but just for Lent

22452900E[1]“I’ve decided to give up a sin that has been bothering me for Lent.”

That was what I overheard this last week but not in those exact words.  The actual words sounded much more admirable, couched in lightheartedness with lots of spiritual talk inserted between the lines.  “I’m giving up something that has been bothering me,” is closer to what I actually heard.

This encounter launched me into questioning why many Christians participate in Lent.  Ideally, it should be a time of deeper contemplation about God and more focused prayer.  Most say that this is what they plan on doing, but for many, life and old habits make it hard for them to execute and they merely pull off the external.   As a result, I think many focus on the giving up of a thing as some sort of offering of their devotion, hoping that the mere act of doing so will draw them closer to God.

I’m not practicing Lent this time around as I just finished a fast  from three things that have been a part of my life every day (mostly) for the last three years.  As a result, Lent this year seemed anti-climactic to me, so I’m skipping it.

Despite passing on the tradition this year, I found myself unsettled by the typical practice of Lent, sparked by that person’s comments.  The thought that Christians are offering up sin as a spiritual sacrifice, bothered me.

The top 100 things people give up for Lent based on Twitter feeds can be summarized in these five:

1.  Food-specifically sweets, chocolate and soda

2.  Drink-Alcohol in its many varied forms

3.  Screens-Twitter, Facebook and TV

4.  Swearing

5.  Smoking

It seems a bit sacrilegious to me that we offer up for Lent what is essentially all of our failed New Year’s Eve resolutions.  Still, sin hasn’t yet entered the picture.

More distressing, I noticed a tendency among some to commit to fast from things they were inwardly convicted of. 

Granted, the things we pick to give up for Lent are usually not blatant sins like pride, vanity, envy or the like.  We usually zero in on those ‘gray’ areas that have been bothering our consciences.  Things that are otherwise benign activities that we have managed to corrupt with our motives or practice.  We pick stuff we want to wean ourselves away from because we can’t in good conscience continue in it, thus it is not done in faith.  In essence, it is sin to us.

Not everyone I know picks something they are convicted about.  Many just pick something that would be hard because they love it and yet, are not enslaved to it.  Only the individual can honestly assess that.

Is it wrong to pick a sin as the object of what we abstain from in the name of fasting?  I’ll let you pray about that and come to your own conclusions concerning yourself.  There is nothing in the Scriptures that would point one way or another that I know of, so this is left to your conscience.

Yet, I need to remind myself, that the point of Lent (or fasting in general) is not self-improvement.

Observe Lent with prayer and fasting but choose what you fast from wisely.  If you use the season to jump-start your obedience, nothing lost; you’ll probably benefit more than someone who picked something meaningless to abstain from.  Just be careful how you posture yourself during the fast.  It is not a sacrifice, nor some holy denial,  it is something you needed to do anyways.


Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Fasting


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Kickball Pulpit: What a Six Year Old Taught Me About Envy


I was a first base coach for kickball last fall. It was cold. Really cold. My fingers were numb and to be honest, I was not very interested in being there. I wanted to leave and get started on my long list of chores waiting for me at home.



You know how you hear things sometimes even when you aren’t really there, when you are not truly listening? I was staring at homeplate thinking about what I was going to do for supper yet I overheard the boy playing first shouting. He was ecstatic. “This is awesome! We are winning by 19!



A huff came up out of my soul. Is he going to gloat?

He didn’t. In fact he proceeded to say something amazing. It was the best thing I heard or thought of all that week.

With just as much enthusiasm he continued, Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Photography: Truth in Images, Sin


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Reinterpreting Ruth- A Must Read Book for 2013


I have never read a book before that has changed how I interpret an entire book of the Bible…until now.  This book has left me scratching my head wondering how I never saw this before.

The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules by Carolyn Custis James is a must read in my opinion for any student of the Bible. I have never heard this interpretation of Ruth before, which is sad, because it has helped me in answering a question that has vexed me for years…Is God good for women?  It has also added some much needed depth for me to the  feminine hall of faith.  Finally, my new understanding of the book of Ruth enables me to draw stronger connecting lines between Jesus’ teachings and the Law.

Better than merely seeing Scripture in an insightful way, James unearths Ruth, making the traditional love story interpretation with Boaz as the kinsman redeemer riding in as the hero, a superficial treatment to God’s message.  The truth is, most of us have missed the point of this book.  So what is the point?

To answer that, you have to ask what question is raised in Ruth.  What was the dilemma?  The broken link of Elimelech’s family line, yes, but there is a louder dilemma if you look closely.  The point is not the bloodline of the Messiah…the point is the heart of the Messiah of that bloodline..  At its core, (my conclusion, not James’),  Ruth is about the Law.  Specifically, two story lines are taking place in this book, two instances where the Law is being followed to the letter and yet producing a result far short of God’s will.  The book of Ruth is essentially God’s sword to the Pharisee in all of us and it is a message of hope as well to a beleaguered Eve struggling under it.  The takeaway for Naomi, Ruth, Boaz and us is do not view the Law as God’s heart.  Ruth shows that neither God nor His thoughts, are understood or served through the Law, unless man goes beyond it.   In both story lines the Law, even while being carried out, exposes something despicable in man.  Indeed, even if one could fulfill all of the Law, they could still not be righteous for the Law does not love. God and man, need to bring that to it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Ruth, Women and the Bible


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That was not the Cross

cross1On my mind almost constantly as of late are two things: the call to love and the call of the cross.  A glimpse of something deeper came into my consciousness today which centered on the call of the cross.

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

I have sought to take up the cross daily but honestly there is not much in my life that seemed powerful enough to be classified as such. I have chosen His will over my own, sometimes struggling for a lengthy time to comply.  I have done what I deemed as uncomfortable for Christ. I have done as He has asked when I would rather have not.  I have tried to die to myself in all things, and it is hard.  I suppose you could say in some way I suffered with these crosses, but really, ‘I wrestled with these crosses’ is probably a better description. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Sin, Spiritual Growth


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