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    Christianity is a Team Sport

    “I have a relationship with the Lord, I’m still a Christian I just don’t do CHURCH anymore.” This is the frequent cry of the wandering diaspora of detached believers. There are typically two things that contribute to the lone soldier syndrome in the Christian faith: intense cultural individuality, and what many people call “church hurt.”  While both are genuinely felt by many yet neither are biblical excuses to neglect “meeting together.” (Hebrew 10:24-25) I used to quote the scripture above as the only biblical reference that points to the “togetherness” of the expression of our Christian faith. But it turns out that scripture is full of references that underline the…

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    The Paradoxical Life of Abiding in Christ

    Abiding in Christ involves more than trusting him for salvation; it includes living intimately attuned to his presence within me. By his Spirit, Christ and I are one. My eyes are now our eyes; my mouth is now ours; my hands, my feet are ours. Though he lives in heaven, Jesus continues the ministry he began two thousand years ago. Through me, Jesus continues reconciling people with the Father. It’s a noble endeavor, but an arduous one – one that hurls me headlong into awkwardness and scrutiny. Obedience to the indwelling Christ makes me a living paradox. Reading the Sermon on the Mount and hearing Kent M. Keith’s “Paradoxical Commandments” in my…

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    Liturgy and the Lord’s Supper: A Virgin Experience of Intimacy

    Reverence and expectation fill the sanctuary. I take a seat on a pew and trace the prominent grain of its oak with my forefinger. A candle fidgets nearby, flickering kerosene faintly from its flame. Sunlight prances through a stained-glass window that portrays a shepherd holding one sheep in his arms with another following afoot. “Hold me now,” I whisper. “I am that lamb. Tiny. Broken. Needy.” Woody notes from the pipe organ climax in a crescendo of crashing waves, kissing the shore of my sandy heart and carrying a week’s-worth of offensive images and words away in their undertow. I exhale. The minister steps forward to lead the congregation in…

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    Keep Christians Weird

    Christians feel a supreme love for someone we have never seen.  We empty ourselves to experience fullness, go down to get up, die in order to live, forsake in order to have, give in order to keep. We become strongest when weakest, richest while poorest, happiest when saddest. We admit wrongness in order to receive forgiveness and base our righteousness on Another’s.We see the invisible, hear the inaudible, and know the unknowable. Face it, that’s weird; but so is the guy we follow. Jesus invites Himself to dinner parties and makes eye patches from mudpies. He wanders about homeless, hangs out with rejects, and pops through walls, unannounced. He dispatches…