The Road to Justice Begins at a Stop Sign

Have you ever broken a bone? I have. When I was 11 or 12 years old I broke a finger playing in what was likely a fierce game of handball. You read that right. I was one of the cool kids who played handball in elementary school (green with envy? I thought so).

The thing with breaks is, in order for them to heal correctly, they need to be reset, realigned or readjusted to the way they were designed.

When I first learned of the realities of modern day slavery, it felt like a bad break. How could things be so off set, out of order, out of place and in desperate need of healing and resetting? I felt a burning rage boil up in my gut and an overwhelming desire to barge into a brothel or brick kiln to rescue the oppressed and give the oppressor a piece of my mind, or, let's be honest, my once broken middle finger gesture.

Ministry and the Neglect of the Sabbath

I've been reading Eugene Peterson's book Working the Angles (which is a must read for anyone in ministry), and came across this passage on Sabbath. I wanted to quote it for a couple of reasons, not least of which because of the hilarious comment about Augustine and his mother: 

"We are, most of us, Augustinians in our pulpits. We preach the sovereignty of our Lord, the primacy of grace, the glory of God...But the minute we leave our pulpits we are Pelagians. In our committee meetings and our planning sessions, in our obsessive attempts to meet the expectations of people, in our anxiety to please, in our hurry to cover all the bases, we practice a theology that puts our good will at the foundation of life and urges moral effort as the primary element in pleasing God...Pelagius was an unlikely heretic; Augustine an unlikely saint. By all accounts Pelagius was urbane, courteous, convincing. Everyone seems to have liked him immensely. Augustine squandered away his youth in immorality, had some kind of Freudian thing with his mother [!], and made a lot of enemies. But all our theological and pastoral masters agree that Augustine started from God's grace and therefore had it right, and Pelagius started from human effort and therefore got it wrong. If we were as Augustinian out of the pulpit as we are in it, we would have no difficulty keeping sabbath. How did it happen that Pelagius became our master?"

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Work Hard, Play Hard, Rest Well

Life has been a bit stressful lately. I’ve had to put in some extra work hours due to an advancing deadline. To mentally get myself through it, I told myself last week that I’d take a real Sabbath on Sunday. No work, no email, no computer, nothing. Only rest and play with my family. However, Sunday wasn’t all that restful. I struggled with the desire to do a little work here and there. When I sat down to read, I felt guilty for not working on the project. When I walked past the dirty clothes I felt the urge to do a load. When I saw my computer, I wanted to work on my inbox. My body and heart wanted to relax but my mind kept interrupting my peace. My inability to take a day off to relax kind of, uh, stressed me out.

I finally gave in at the end of the night and allowed myself to do “leisure work” on the computer. It was when I read a comment left by Adam on my Loggerhead, Lights and Landmark post, I was reminded of a lesson we learned in Germany. Adam left some great insight on rest as well as a link to the article (http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/2010/05/in-season/). So, I figure this was God’s way of showing me where to begin my Culture Clash series. So Germany it is…

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Linger in the Gallery of Love

I read in a devotional recently this quote from F.B. Meyer:

"It is impossible to rush into God's presence, catch up anything we fancy, and run off with it. To attempt this will end in mere disillusion and disappointment. Nature will not unveil her rarest beauty to the chance tourist. Pictures that are the result of a life of work do not disclose their secret loveliness to those who stroll down a gallery. And God's best cannot be ours apart from patient waiting in His holy presence."

In April, I made a quick trip down to Virginia Beach to lead worship for a women's retreat there. The topic of the four sessions was Sabbath. I was very challenged by the excellent teaching of my friend Laura Shibut, who has learned the "hard way" how necessary the Sabbath is to the life of faith. My "take away" from the weekend was that I have been willfully and wantonly disobeying one of the Big Ten.

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