Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "Those who follow Jesus will be hungry and thirsty along the way. They are filled with longing for forgiveness of all sins and for complete renewal; they long for the renewal of the earth and for God's perfect justice."

Is this really what those who follow Jesus in the United States long for? Is it really what I long for? Certainly, I long for forgiveness and renewal for myself. And, certainly, I want it for others, but do I really long for it? To long for something seems to be a more serious yearning.

Matthew 5:6 says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."

I hunger and thirst for a lot of things. Admittedly, my own righteousness more often than Gods'. I mean, who doesn't want to be right? I, like most Americans, want to be right, to have the finer things in life, the right house in the right neighborhood with the right car wearing the right clothes having the right electronics, right dreams, right goals, right body, right schedule, right job with the right company, etc., etc., etc.

So how can I long for God's righteousness? How can the church help to heal this absurd longing for things? I think the best way for communities of faith to alleviate our insatiable desires is to stop modeling it! How many times have people of faith been in church meetings longing for church vans, bigger organs, family life centers, more young families, more tithers, more state of the art equipment, more, bigger, newer, better? We can't model justice while continuing to live unjustly.

Lord, help your people to learn to say no. No to suffering. No to injustice. No to personal righteousness. No. Lord, may your kingdom come.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blessed are the meek??

How is one meek without being thought of as weak? An age old question for followers of Jesus Christ. Yet, here it is again:

Matthew 5:5 says:
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."

I still think we're often confused about what it means to be blessed, but today I want to focus more on the word "meek." Merriam-Webster gives three definitions of meek:
1 : enduring injury with patience and without resentment
2 : deficient in spirit and courage
3 : not violent or strong

Definition #1 does not sound like a blessing for the meek one, yet it does sound like Jesus--and that's who we say we want to be like--right?

Definition #2 sounds like you're lacking spirit & courage--which, to me, contradicts the first definition. To be able to endure injury with patience & without resentment would require a great deal of courage and a great deal of help from the Holy Spirit.

Definition #3 is confusing--not being violent is certainly a good thing, but does the "not" apply also to the word "strong"? In order to live a life of non-violence, I believe you need a great deal of strength. I believe violence is a weak response to conflict.

my desire to be right is often more powerful than my desire to be meek. Sometimes I may exhibit meekness, but all the while, seethe on the inside. How can I claim the power that is mine to choose meekness? To choose humility? Truly, choosing meekness and humility requires much more strength, much more power, much more self-control than being abrasive, sarcastic or right. Choosing arrogance is easy. It's in my nature. But if I could harness that power or even recognize it in the moment...

I'm sure I could experience great joy and inexplicable freedom. I'm sure my "enemies" would have no power over my life. I'm sure I would be one step closer in my desire to follow Christ. Meekness is a gift that may feel more like a burden than a blessing.