Monthly Archives: March 2009

Traveling With Child

I couldn’t write this Monday on Post-modernism and faith, I was out of town. I’ll pick back up this coming week, but first I want to tell you some stuff about being out of town.

We left this last Friday to go to Michigan to spend some time with a church in Rochester. It was a great weekend with Josh and Kara Graves. Josh and I co-taught Sunday morning, and hung out all weekend. I am not saying this just because he is a good friend, he really is one of my favorite preachers.

So while we were there we went to a Pistons game Sunday night, ate some local food, hit up a museum, and enjoyed spending time with a great church.

And we did it all with Eden.

It was her first time above the Mason-Dixon line. First time at a professional sports game, it was her first time ever on a plane. And that was the part that was making us sweat. We didn’t know how she would handle being 10,000 feet in the air. We hear babies crying on plane al the time, and didn’t want to put her through that. But she was a champ.

We haven’t really travelled long distance as a family of three before. And I have to tell you it was a joy. Having Eden there with us made it all feel new again. It’s great watching the world through your baby daughter’s eyes. Seeing her take in everything reminds you to slow down and take it in yourself. She didn’t cry once on that plane.

She didn’t make the trip a burden at all, in fact she singlehandedly made it the most convenient trip I have ever been on.

I am used to being treated as a non-human most of the time by airport staff, it feels like we are cattle being herded. But not this time. At both airports, we were greeted by airport security ooohing and ahhing over how cute she was. I was asked to step to the side for the whole, “air-puffer and rubber gloves” thing, and then the TSA guy asked if I was with that baby. I was waved on, with him saying, “good thing she looks like her mama.”

I don’t know about you, but that’s never happened to me before.

At one point I elbowed a guy in the head going down the aisle on the plane. He turned around like he was going to kill me. Then he saw Eden, and smiled understandingly. Another time in the aisle I was stuck in traffic, with several people blocking up the aisle. It was impossible to get around with a baby in my hands. And so a rather big gentlemen who was sitting down just held out his hands offering to hold her.

Hillary was right, It takes a village.

We had more attention from airline attendants, better seats, and kinder passengers. Forget first class, from here on out I am taking Eden everywhere I go.

Have you Seen This?

This is a fantastic video that I have received from a few different people.

If you haven’t seen it, It’s amazing.

It makes me think of that Scripture from Isaiah 61:

[God will] provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them
a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of
mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

There is something that is powerful about music isn’t there? Scripture starts off with a cadence, a beat. It’s a song. When the Israelites were at their lowest, the way they communicated that was by hanging their harps up on the tree branches. They had lost their song.

Music has the ability to be able to express pain and lament like no other venue. G.K Chesterton once said, “Mathematicians go mad, but not the poets, for they can swim in the abyss of the infinite.” Music connects us in a way that nothing else can, not just to one another but to the mysterious hope that we have that life can be good.

If the video above doesn’t work for you here is the link.


The Way

Right before Jesus gets into the whole business of talking about Himself as the Truth, he uses an interesting metaphor to describe what God is up to in his ministry.

He says that He is the way. But what does that even mean? It’s one of the most used terms in Christian circles, but I think the real meat of what Jesus is saying here is totally missed. Think about the day and time that Jesus was in.

The Essenes were a group of people who were claiming to be the people of God, they were known for how they withdrew from society in order to form a “holy huddle” (not their actual mission statement) and preserve the remnant of God’s true people. They wrote off the rest of the world and they kept their religious rules down to the letter.

The Sadducees and Herodians were at the other end of the spectrum. They had tossed their hat in the ring with Rome. If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. They compromised their values, got ahead in the system, and then started to use it to their advantage. They could talk like an Israelite and live like a Roman, and they developed a theology to back it all up.

The Zealots were another interesting group. They knew the stories of the revolutions of their ancestors. They loved David and Goliath stories because they knew that their God could save them against the evil empire, all they needed were some stones. And by stones they meant stabbing the Herodians and Sadducees anonymously in crowds.

The Pharisees are commonly known as the people that Jesus was the hardest on, but they were at least trying to live in both worlds without compromise. Though from even a brief reading of the gospels you might conclude that a lot of people wouldn’t have minded if they would have joined forces with the Essenes and just disappeared. They were hard on people who didn’t have their act together as much as they did.

So the world that Jesus entered into was filled with labels and categories, the lines were clearly drawn, and the options for how to be the people of God was limited. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

Now when Jesus first stood up and started teaching, people probably (much like they do today) were trying to peg which group Jesus belonged to. But Jesus consistently pioneered another way.

When Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness there are all kinds of echoes of of another story. Jesus passes through the Jordan just like the Israelite people, he goes into the desert for 40 days, and he is tempted. Just like the people of God after the Exodus. Here, the gospels are saying, is what it looks like to really be the people God wants you to be.

And what’s interesting is that Satan never tried to get Jesus to give up on the end game. He offers him dominion over all things. He just tried Jesus to change the means of getting there. Each of Satan’s temptations had to do with the way in which Jesus would be the Way.

I say this to point out that the other groups of people probably didn’t start off thinking they would be this way. They thought that they were furthering the Kingdom of God, but you can’t honor God with Satan’s tactics.

One of the most controversial claims that we can make in a post-modern world is that Jesus is the way. But I think the reason that’s so upsetting to non-Christian listeners is because this is the one claim that by it’s very nature refuses to be reduced to a conversation piece. It must be lived out.

I believe that Jesus is the way. But the deeper reality of that statement is that the way of Jesus is how He is the way. The way that Jesus ministered, the way he served, the way he was in the world is the Way.

The means are the ends.

The earliest Christians got this, and the old labels of describing them just didn’t work anymore. In the book of Acts you had former Zealots and Pharisees all gathering to be the people of God in a new way with a new name.

And that name was of course, the Way.

Domesticated Prophets

There’s a story in 1st Kings 22 about a King named Ahaz. He’s wanting to go to war and so he does what any king would do in that day. He gathers the prophets. He wants to know if he can win this fight, and they all say Yes.

Then one person notices that not all the prophets are there. A prophet named Micaiah wasn’t in the mix and they wanted everyone’s take on this upcoming war. I think that what King Ahaz says in response is kind of interesting. He basically says, “Not Micaiah, that guy never prophesizes anything good for me. Only disaster.”

Micaiah goes on to eventually tell the King not to go up to war. He is the only one of the prophets to do so. And he was right.

There are a couple of reasons I think that is interesting. There are 400 other prophets there, but not Micaiah. Back in that day when a prophet served the king he would be supported and fed by the king. They would go on payroll. But Micaiah’s not there, he hasn’t taken the retirement plan, he stands outside of this system so he can give it a fresh word.

Sometimes institutions can be domesticating can’t they? I don’t think that they are inherently bad, I think some institutions are doing some of the best stuff in the world today. But they can also make us dependent on them. What happens is that a paycheck can really mess things up, because all of sudden you don’t know what you and what’s the job, what’s your heart and what’s your obligation. Reading the Bible can get very confusing, do you read devotionally or homiletically?

Now I get paid by a church. A big, institutional church. And I don’t think that’s wrong, I like to eat, I love my job, and I love my church. But the problem comes when I take my job more seriously than my calling. That’s a problem because my economy is now tied to whether or not I am saying what people want to hear.

I have several preacher buddies who have been chewed up and spit out by their respective institutions, and sometimes they lose their edge to say some of the things that need to be said for their next church. I know of some preachers who have become so enmeshed in the church they serve that they don’t know how to disagree with her anymore.

I like the way Barbara Brown Taylor talked about this. She was asked in an interview what advice she had for young preachers. This was what she said, “Most preachers I know are afraid of something- divine anger, congregational shrinkage, job loss, their own transparency in the pulpit- so my first piece of advice is to figure out what they are afraid of, then to find something that matters more to them than their fear. Fear is a great gagger of preachers.”

I know that we have to be priest’s before we can be prophets. I get that we must first earn the right to do this. I understand that there is a balance, and if you have a tendency toward being a harsh prophet, then maybe this post isn’t for you. But it seems to me like to be a minister is, at least at times, to say something that isn’t going to be popular, but that needs to be said.

Dr. King Jr. wrote a letter from his cell in a Birmingham jail about this. He wrote that his biggest frustration with the civil rights movement was not the KKK but with the white moderates. The moderates, King writes, were more devoted to order than to justice, to the absence of tension rather than to peace.

The world didn’t need more moderates. It needed a prophet.

To be a preacher is to stand outside (at least on this level) your institution so that you can give a fresh word to her. Even if it’s not popular.

To be a preacher is to find a bigger purpose than all the trivial fears that press themselves on us for the sake of the Kingdom of God.*

*Quick disclaimer: I don’t write this with an angry spirit. I was reading in 1 Kings and thought this applied to my life, and it might to some of you as well.


I was a teenager when my “Indian brother”, Simran Preet-Singh Gujral, came to live at our house for a year. He was from Chennai, India. He wore a turban, had a full beard, hair down to his rear (his religion prohibited cutting your hair), and he was a Sikh.

Did I mention that I grew up in a small town in Arkansas?

There were not a lot of turbans floating around where I came from. But my family took him in and he because like one of the family. He went to church with us, we ate a lot of Indian food, and I was exposed to the truth that not everyone thinks or believes like we did. And here’s the big one, I found out that those people weren’t just inherently evil or stupid.

Flash forward a decade and Leslie and I have led a team of young adults to India to work with an orphanage there. Simran flew to where we were and took all of us out on the town. We were able to meet his new wife and catch up. And that’s where his new wife asked me this question, “Why are Christians so arrogant as to try and convert people of other religions?”

I want to just let that question sit there for a second.

Pluralism isn’t a new thing. Perhaps we are being reintroduced to it because of globalization, but it’s a very old part of being human in our world. In Acts 19, Paul is in the city of Ephesus where he has been preaching about Jesus to anyone who will listen. This fledgling new movement starts to pick up steam, and that’s when one of the Ephesians helps to start a riot. It’s a guy named Demetrius, he has a bit of a conflict of interest, he makes shrines for Artemis (the god of the Ephesians) and he points out that if this Jesus thing becomes popular then they will lose a lot of business. And that’s when the Ephesians go nuts.

For two hours they shouted “Great is Artemis, god of the Ephesians.” Then something happened that I think is applicable to today’s world. The city clerk stands up, gains their trust, then he turns to their concern and says “these men have neither robbed our temples or blasphemed our goddess.”

They hadn’t blasphemed their goddess.

I think that’s interesting. I grew up kind of thinking that is the first step in confronting other world religions was to denigrate or deconstruct them. But here Paul had just preached Jesus, and through that Jesus was held in high honor (vs. 17).

My neighbor is an ex-mormon who comes to a Bible study at my house on Thursday nights. He doesn’t like religion, but he likes us, and he gave me permission to repeat something that he told us recently. He said that he has tried going to other churches throughout his life, Baptist, Church-of-Christ etc. but after a while of going to these churches they would always start talking bad about Mormonism. Even though my neighbor has a deep distrust of the Mormon church, he said if he was to go back to church tomorrow, it would be to a Mormon church. Because, “other religions talk really bad about Mormons, but I have never heard a Mormon talk bad about them. They just talk about what they believe.”

In a pluralistic society, a religion is judged by its worth to its non-adherants. In today’s world the value of a faith is judged by how good it is for those who don’t believe it. In other words, is it good news for my neighbor that I believe it. Does it make me a better, kinder, more compassionate neighbor? Or does it make me angrier, more judgemental, less accepting of him as a person?

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that Jesus is the answer to the problem of the human condition. I see God’s activity in Jesus as the climax of human history. His story is the most beautiful, compelling story I have ever heard. I just don’t think in order to make that clear we have to try and destroy other people’s story.

Which brings me back to Simran’s wife’s question. I never answered her. I didn’t have to. Simran did. He told her that while in America we told him the story of Jesus over and over again. We were not arrogant about thinking Jesus was the way to God. He told her about how we went with him to the Sikh Temple, we even put on the “guest turbans.” We listened to what he thought, and though there were significant differences, we loved him no matter what. And that in us doing that for him, he saw what Jesus must have wanted for the world.*

And that is still good news.

* This happened a couple of years ago, and while I can’t remember exactly the way my friend said it. This was the heart of what he was saying.

The Justice of Comedy

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'Jim Cramer Pt. 2
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I want to start off by saying that this video isn’t for everyone. This was a tough decision on whether or not to put this up, it’s crass even though it is edited. And if you are easily offended please don’t watch the entire interview. But I appreciated it a ton.

Part of the problem with the media today is that we have stations that are dedicated to 24 hour news coverage. And while that may sound like a good thing, it creates a burden on the stations to find stories and broadcast them at an unprecedented rate. And more does not always translate into better. Politicians and Big Business executives have found ways to exploit this, knowing that the CNN’s and Fox News’ of the world are hungry for a story. So they will make sure that they give them a story with their spin.

Credible well-researched journalism is next to impossible because the workload makes it impossible to do anything but take someone’s word at face value. It seems like the days of Mike Wallace style interviews are over. Unless you count last night.

The Daily Show is not a credible news source. They are on Comedy Central and it is a satire. They make no bones about their leanings to the left. But that is where they are different than other news sources. They tell you outright where they are coming from.

Last night’s interview with Jim Cramer felt an awful lot like Justice to me. Somebody was final being held accountable for not being accountable to the public. When Cramer lied, he was immediately exposed by a team of comedians/journalists who had researched and prepared.

It was refreshing to hear someone stand up for those who don’t understand the complexities of our economy against those who do, but have used their knowledge as a means to further their own greed. It was a taste of justice. Now just imagine what kind of difference could be made if it wasn’t just our comedians doing this.

A Right Reading

So thinking about that last post about truth being something that you are, I want to ask a question. This is the last time I will mention Scot McKnight’s book “The Blue Parakeet,” but I had one more thing to say about it. I really enjoyed his book, he’s kind, but aggressive, with some pretty important issues. He emphasizes the Bible as story above doctrine, and he stresses that the progressive trajectory of Scripture must be carried forward today.

But there was one point that he had that really disturbed me.

He told about how a college student came into his office one day angry at the way he was taught to read the Bible. His youth minister had reduced the Bible to a series of propositional truths and proverbs to believe in. But, as the college student said, “my youth minister knows stuff about the Bible, but he doesn’t do one thing to help the poor, he doesn’t serve other people, and he doesn’t seem very compassionate. Doesn’t that mean that my youth minister is reading the BIble wrong?”

One of the things that we have forgotten over the years is that to read the Bible the way it was intended means to also let it read you.

And here’s where things get tricky.

There are people that I know who I disagree on things that I think are tremendously important. But they look a lot more like Jesus than I do. So which one of us reads the Bible better?

Do you remember that book, “The Prayer of Jabez”? It was a big hit a few years ago. It basically was teaching people to pray for God to give them more, to expand their territories. And I hated it.

I thought of all the countries in the world, America was the one nation that didn’t need to pray that prayer. We were already consuming a large part of the world’s resources. We were the some of the wealthiest people on earth, and it just seemed like that was baptizing our greed.

But I talked with a guy the other day who told me that when his mom was dying of cancer she read that book and she loved it. She prayed that prayer, not as a prayer for a nicer car, or a bigger house, but as God expanding her influence. She wanted God to use her to show how other what it looked like to trust in a time of pain.

Here is McKnight’s point. A right reading of Scripture is primarily one that makes people look more like the people God intended us to look like. This frustrates me a lot. I want people to know things about the context that the BIble was written in. I have a strong desire to blast people who have what I consider to be bad theology. But some of the most gracious, compassionate people I have met in my life believed things that I am fairly positive goes against some important parts of Scripture.

But if the most major theme of Scripture is the word becoming flesh, than what does a right reading of the Bible really mean?

Who’s really reading the Bible correctly?

Truth, Technology, and that Dove Commercial

When Pilate asked Jesus his famous quesition, “What is truth?” it might be that Pilate was just trying to dodge the bullet of a particularly sticky situation. But it’s still a good question, one that I think Jesus was in the process of answering.

But first.

Do you know that Dove commercial? The one of this girl in the picture above, where they take this “average” looking supermodel and make her look even more super? It’s a great ad trying to expose the nature of how our perceptions of beauty has been twisted by the media. Well the producer of that commercial came out a few months after it was public and said something interesting. He said, “You have no idea how much airbrushing we did on the before part of that.”

Turns out the Dove commercial has a dirty little secret of it’s own. The girl was not beautiful enough for the before part of the ad. They airbrushed the ad of their exposure of airbrushing.

Did you know that Wikipedia recently put trackers on the anonymous edits that happen on their sites? And they found that an alarming majority of their edits were done by large corporations like Exxon, or the CIA. They were editing entries that were less than flattering about them. They have people who’s entire job is to put a spin on information.

So what is truth? Because the common association with truth is that it is information. And we know that information is owned by those in power. It can be spun, managed and controlled.

Remember that part in the book of Exodus where God instructs the Israelites on how to build the Tabernacle? It’s like six chapters of exact details down to the candle sticks on what this movable Tabernacle is supposed to look like. Why is God so specific about this?

A mennonite preacher named Shane Hipps points out in his book, “Flickering Pixels” that this moment is one of God using media. God is being so specific in the creation of this tabernacle because God knows something that we have forgotten. That the medium is part of the message. Before the invention of the printing press we didn’t have church pews. Now our churches are set up in rows of columns. Just like a book. We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us.

The modern era has seen us grow at unprecedented rates of technological breakthroughs and communication. Christians have been more than happy to use these. From gospel radio programs, to televangelism we have used every new breakthrough to get out our message. Now since you are reading this on a blog you know that I am not one of those “television is the devil” people. But the medium we use changes and distorts the message. It is a part of it. Whether we want to admit that or not. That’s why God was so specific about how to build the Tabernacle.

It’s also why God didn’t stop with Temples and Tabernacles.

As a Christian I believe that in some mysterious way Jesus is showing us what God is like. He is the mirror for the face of God. God in a body.

And the irony of Pilate’s question of what is truth, is that truth was at that moment staring Pilate in the face. When God wanted to reveal ultimate reality he didn’t drop down a bunch of information. He put skin on it. That is the point that John makes through his entire gospel. That truth is primarily something that is not spoken. It’s something that you are.

Remember in John 8, those famous lines where Jesus says, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Well lesser known, but just as important are the lines right before it. Where Jesus says, “If you hold to my teachings…” That’s actually a big difference. Jesus isn’t just saying adhere to some information I am passing on. But embody it, live it out, then you’ll get that truth and it’ll set you free.

Truth, at least the kind that the Scripture seems to talk about, isn’t a set of propositions or statement of facts. It’s the kind that is best lived out, tested. There is a reason that the same people who we tend to disagree with about the nature of truth are those who are often pointing to the church’s hypocrite problem. They want to see what truth looks like when it’s lived out in front of them.

It’s easy to talk about truth from a distant television studio, or write it on some blog from my living room. What’s hard is to put skin on the way of Jesus among people. The hard truth is that we have promoted a system of ideas, called it truth and many times failed to put that on display. We airbrush, broadcast and argue.

But Truth needs a body.

Grace is much more effective with skin on.

The messenger is the message.

How Would You Preach This?

In the book, The Blue Parakeet, Scot McKnight makes the point that while Western Christians like to talk about how we believe and obey all the Bible, we are often guilty of having a canon within a canon. We adopt and adapt the Scriptures to us. And he’s got a good point.

He shows how much of Scripture is used in American churches to defend and promote a way of following Jesus that doesn’t look much like Jesus. He does all this without being overly cynical or negative, but makes some poignant challenges for how we read Scripture.

Last night I read Genesis 34 and once again it made me feel uncomfortable.

It’s the story of Dinah, she’s a daughter of Jacob, and she has a lot of brothers. A guy named Shechem sees her, takes her and violates her. Then the story says that he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. Needless to say, this guy wouldn’t make the E-Harmony cut, and Dinah’s brothers weren’t too happy.

But since Shechem really did like her a lot he sent his dad to ask her family how much she would cost. Now Shechem has already kicked the tires, so to speak, and the brothers know it, so they devise a plan.

They tell all of Shechem’s family that if he really wants to marry their sister, then they have to all get circumcised. Every one of them. To which I assume some distant cousin wondered if they couldn’t just give a few extra camels.

But they did it, all the males of the village get the procedure done. And this is what is says in verse 25:

“Three days later, while all of them were still sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon
and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city,
killing every male.”

While they were still sore, they killed every male.

Flannelgraph that.

The story ends with Jacob getting on to his sons and the brothers saying, “Should he have treated our sister like a whore?”

A couple of basic observations strike me about Genesis. First it’s written in a descriptive tone, not prescriptive. It’s not saying that this is how you should handle this situation in the future. It’s just telling us what happened. Down to every last dirty detail. And that the other thing about Genesis. It’s raw and wild. There is no taming or domesticating it is there? I mean what do you title this sermon? Death By Circumcision?

Which brings me back to Scot McKnight’s point. He’s right, we have our own preferred Bible readings don’t we? You’re much more likely to hear a text from Romans or Luke than this story on a Sunday morning. But the irony is when I read the Bible with someone who is not from a churched background, these are the stories that shock them the most, and help them let down their guards.

They are shocked that the Bible is filled with these kind of stories. Stories of people like they are, like we are. And even though they may not enunciate it, there is a kind of hope in these stories isn’t there? Deep in us we have those thoughts that if God can alter human history with these kind of people, then maybe we aren’t a lost cause.

I had a friend tell me this week that one of the main problems with our churches are that we subconsciously preach a gospel that tells people that what it means to be the people of God is to be a nice person, who helps to build a nice church. Maybe we need to preach from Genesis more often. Yeah, it’s messy, and it’s not always rated G. But it’s true in a way that resonates with most everyone.

So my question is, if you are a preacher or teacher. How would you preach this? How would you dust off this story and make it alive for the people that need to be reminded just how raw the Scriptures are?

But the title “Death by Circumcision” is already taken.

The Certainty of Doubt

I bet that one of my favorite passages of Scripture is not one of yours.

It’s where Paul is trying to make a point about the whole “Christian celebrity” phase that was going through a church he helped to plant. It’s in First Corinthians, and Paul is making the point that no one was baptized into his name, and then he says this:

“I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say
that you were baptized into my name. (Yes I also baptized the household of Stephanas;
beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else).”

Does this sound strange to anyone else?

Paul, this great Christian leader is almost stumbling for his point. Getting his memory mixed up, admitting that he doesn’t know all the facts. And it’s all in Scripture.

Rene Descartes helped to get this whole modernity thing off the ground. His contribution was the well known “I think, therefore I am” thing.

But what does that even mean?

Descartes was trying to find something that was impervious to doubt, something that was beyond being questioned. But is that even possible? He stopped at “I think, therefore I am,” and decided that since that was beyond doubt he would build from there. But today there are plenty of people who can poke holes in that foundational statement.

Is is possible to find something that cannot be doubted?

Since the Enlightenment, Christianity has started to become something different than what it was originally. Faith came under heavy criticism, and we began to dig in. To look for proof, to show that we actually have undeniable evidence. Josh McDowell makes a fortune etc. This changed faith into something else. Certainty.

You had to be sure of what you believed. There was no room for questions or doubt, and the people of God, became scientist instead of believers. The problem is that nobody’s certain. Science at it’s best is repeated events of the observable.

Everything can be deconstructed.

In the Gospel of John, the disciple Thomas is told that Jesus is risen from the dead. Now Thomas knows the beating that Jesus took, and in Thomas’ experience people don’t just shake that off. So he tells them that he doesn’t believe them.

Think about this, Thomas is basically saying to his friends that they are either lying or stupid. Now you already know how this story plays out, Jesus appears to Thomas and shows him that he really did raise from the dead. But there is an interesting line here that John throws in there that I have always just read over. John says, “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them.”

Thomas was still with them.

They didn’t kick him out. Think about this, Thomas has basically broken faith with the other disciples, he didn’t believe in Jesus anymore, and the disciples let him doubt.

It seems to me like in a Post-Christian, Post-modern, Post-foundational world, the gospel has a unique attraction. Some of our main characters in our stories, our heroes, wrestled with doubt. They weren’t certain.

One of the things that has characterized modernity for the past few centuries is it’s sense of arrogant certainty. This explains the re-action of the post-modern worldview that claims no absolutes. And it’s something that I think all people tied to modernity need to listen to. Not because their are no absolutes (which is itself an absolute statement). But because there is a humility in letting go of certainty isn’t there? This is what my friend Randy Harris’ calls an epistemilogical humility.

Yes you might say, but what about Hebrews 11:1? You know, faith is being certain of what we do not see?

I think it helps to remember that the author of Hebrews doesn’t have the kind of certainty in mind that the enlightenment was after. Am I certain my wife loves me? Yeah, but instinctively we know we have started talking about a different kind of certainty. One that is much more relational.

But the bigger problem with this approach to God is that it robs us from being fully human. When we try to know things for certain, we go beyond the limits of humanity.

We aren’t God, we don’t walk by sight, we walk by faith. Maybe the church needs to be a community of people who resume wrestling with God. A place where it’s okay to question, where you won’t get kicked out for doubting. A community that recognizes we may be wrong.

Because the way of Jesus seems to be the most compelling, beautiful way to live, we are going to walk by faith.