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Every Spring I am amazed at the new growth that shows up all over the place.2014-05-20 07.37.06

This year I have been particularly intrigued by the new growth of flowers (and weeds like creeping Charlie) that comes grows in the compost from last Fall.  Compost is an important factor in making a rich, nutrient filled soil.  Compost can also choke out the potential of any new growth.

A huge part of Christianity is to be compost.  A place for growth, new life and new potential.  Yet we have also been like compost that chokes out potential, covers the “ugliness,” and sucks all the oxygen out lives around us. In my side yard I have Creeping Charlie growing up through the compost of last year.  Although I initially like the look to the purple leaves of this little plant, I can see how it takes over entire patches of grass.

Churches have the exact same issue.  There is all this growth coming from the compost.  It looks great on the surface and we have people saying, “Look at all the growth that is happening.”  The problem is that the growth is toxic.  This growth will actually hold back any potential real growth to be the salt, life, and light to the world that Jesus has called us to be.

The Gospel of John talks about pruning so that the fruit will grow.  We also need to pull the weeds that may look like new growth but are really hindering people from experiencing and growing in Jesus. We can do great things together when we can look carefully at what is growing.

Strong Wind

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Today it is really windy. Not just gusting from time to time, but consistent, strong winds.  There is nothing gentle about the wind, yet the rest of the weather paints a different picture: clear skies, warm – just plain nice. The wind is strong enough that as I was driving a 7″ in diameter branch snapped from a tree crossing the opposite lanes traffic (me, the guy behind me and two student moved the large limb – funny how no one else bothered to help).

Scripture is filled with images of wind – breath/Spirit of God. Sometimes it is gentle and life giving. Others it appears to be destructive, challenging, difficult to bear.

What I was reminded of today was that in the midst of what can be really beautiful, strong winds can arise, cause conflict, breakage that must be cleaned up (sometimes with help), and that even this strong wind is God’s presence.

 

Public Nuisance

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It is official according to the Town of Blooming Grove, WI that I am a Public Nuisance.  I allow the grass in our ditch to grow longer than 6″ and am planting flowers within the grass. Grass, since it can emit pollen (duh) and have weeds (duh x2) and hide debris (need I say more) must be kept to a maximum length of 6″ – military cut for grass, and I am not in compliance I therefore on file as a “Public Nuisance” and I am happy to own that.

I wonder how often Christians are seen as Public Nuisances? Emitting a theology that is no where close to what Jesus actually taught. Bringing up weeds that proliferate the body and generalize all Christians in one particular way. Hide Christianity, and the true subversive love and grace that it carries. I guess I don’t mind being a Public Nuisance – it sort of goes with the rest of my persona.

Miracles

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“Miracle” may be a shop worn worn. You can hear it several times a day, “It’s a miracle.” Not really a miracle, just a neat thing to have happened. It’s used in movie titles, “Miracle on Ice,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Miracle Worker.”

What we, and the biblical writers refer to as “miracles” of Jesus, and even the bystanders at the time, Jesus refers to as simple acts. Acts that he does to reflect to power, grace, and love of God in a very real and actualized way. There are 36 miracles done by Jesus recorded in the gospels, each of them with greater meaning than just to show off. There always appears to be a back story.

If you could perform one miracle (not necessarily the same as any of the one’s Jesus performed) what would it be? What’s the “back story” for you performing this miracle?

Blessings on your week.

Graffiti of Life

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I recently began reading a book by Mark Scandrette titled, “Soul Graffiti.” Mark’s outlook on Spirituality from a Christian perspective is vibrant, reckless, and wonderful. Part of what Mark challenges the reader to consider is the primitive nature of graffiti, and how it gets into our hearts, as an expression of our true selves.

If you were to write graffiti of your soul, either in word or picture, what would it be?

If you could write up to 3 words on the sidewalk (anywhere), what words would you use, and where would you write them?

Authentic Community

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Following up on the previous blog, what makes a community “authentic”?

By that I mean, at what point are you engaged with other people when you feel that you can really be yourself, foibles and all?

Back “in the day” church was the place where you gathered with some people, called it your faith community (maybe) and did churchy stuff together. This really isn’t found as much today. People are looking for a place (read people) where they can both be real, encounter God, and share their lives with one another. This environment, this community, cannot be forced, it is fostered of time. It takes a great deal of relationship building, well beyond the surface stuff that many of us have honed to perfection. I believe that when we get to a place with ourselves that we can let our guard down, and break some of the walls that we have built over the years, authenticity begins to take shape. As people intentionally put themselves together an authentic community begins to be built. The amazing thing is that others are attracted to such a community. They may stay on the periphery for some time, but eventually – typically by a personal invitation they will go deeper. I believe that it is part of God’s expectation that we work on being authentic communities where we can grow and learn, practice and do what God has asked of us – love boldly, act always with mercy, be radical in justice, and walk in humility with God.

I’d love to hear your continued thoughts on this topic of community.

Roles

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How many roles do you play in life? How many of them overlap? How often is there a blurring of lines?

Having roles in our lives is just a fact, and how we flow from one to another is a matter of finesse, work, and the ability to read a situation. Often the role you have at home is different than the one you have at work. The one you have with your friends is different than the role you play with your children.

As a follower of Jesus, our goal is to maintain a “red line” role as a  child of God and disciple of Jesus, in and through all the other roles we take on.

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