How Do I Love God?

...By loving people. I began this with a post and discussion about this idea. On Sunday I gave a message to our church on it. Here it is:

Gregory Boyd on Faith & Politics

The Myth of a Christian Nation; How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church. Here is Boyd's interview on Charlie Rose.

I Love Brian

The Lord's Prayer, by Brian McLaren

Last Child in the Woods

I found this on the Minnesota EcoMom blog. I just spent the afternoon in the woods with my two boys, wading in the creek, catching minnows, and getting muddy. We like to catch snakes, tadpoles, and crawdads. We explore and build forts. It's what I loved growing up, so I pass it on. I guess it might actually be a necessary part of childhood...

In this influential work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.

Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond—and many are right in our own backyard.

This new edition reflects the enormous changes that have taken place since the book was originally published. It includes:

100 actions you can take to create change in your community, school, and family.

35 discussion points to inspire people of all ages to talk about the importance of nature in their lives.

A new progress report by the author about the growing Leave No Child Inside movement.

New and updated research confirming that direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder has spurred a national dialogue among educators, health professionals, parents, developers and conservationists. This is a book that will change the way you think about your future and the future of your children.

Individualistic Christianity

I read this on Adam Moore's blog and REALLY needed to repost it here for you. He is the Emergent Village Cohort organizer in Waco, TX. I posted a similar idea here a while back. But of course Bonhoeffer says it much better. Thanks Adam!

Hasn’t the individualistic question about personal salvation almost completely left us all? Aren’t we really under the impression that there are more important things than that question (perhaps not more important than the matter itself, but more important than the question!)? I know it sounds pretty monstrous to say that. But, fundamentally, isn’t this in fact biblical? Does the question about saving one’s soul appear in the Old Testament at all? Aren’t righteousness and the Kingdom of God on earth the focus of everything, and isn’t it true that Rom. 3.24ff. is not an individualistic doctrine of salvation, but the culmination of the view that God alone is righteous? It is not with the beyond that we are concerned, but with this world as created and preserved, subjected to laws, reconciled, and restored. What is above this world is, in the gospel, intended to exist for this world; I mean that, not in the anthropocentric sense of liberal, mystic pietistic, ethical theology, but in the biblical sense of creation and of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Letters and Papers from Prison


This is one of the best worship songs I have ever written. I kept being drawn to the idea that Jesus is much more than what we think or believe. He is described so beautifully in the Bible and in our theological traditions. But postmodernity confronts me with the inherent limitations of language, even the Bible's language. We sometimes reduce Jesus to a catchphrase, but feel good about it because we are quoting the Bible. So many songs about the names of Jesus spring to mind (emmanuel, wonderful counselor, prince of peace, lamb of god, lion of judah... I've written a few myself!). What are they really saying?

There are those who call for deeper and more accurate theology in worship lyrics. There are those who rightly criticize contemporary worship music as shallow, self centered, and cliche'. But the answer to campy Jesus tunes is not always to incorporate stronger theological precision. Instead, this song strikes directly at the language of the Bible, its descriptions, narratives, and metaphors of Jesus, and our theological interpretations of them, saying "Yes, all good, but..."

The bottom line: whoever you think Jesus is, He is More.

He’s more than a father, more than a friend
More than a Saviour whose love never ends
He’s more than a prophet, more than a priest
More than religion, and more than beliefs
He’s more than the life and the truth and the way
He’s more than forever, He’s more than today
He’s more than me, and He’s more than you
He’s done more than the whole world together could do

He's more than a servant, more than a king
He’s more than a word in the songs that we sing
He's more than a lion, He’s more than a lamb
He's more than divine and He’s more than a man
He's more than opinion or history or fact
He's more than the stripes and the scars on His back
He's more than a cross, and He's more than the nails
By His blood is the holy of holies unveiled

He’s more than I hoped for, more than I dreamed
He’s all I could want, and He’s all that I need
So I won’t look for glory or fortune or fame
I’ll look to the heavens and call on Your name

So I turn my eyes to You Jesus
I look full on Your wonderful face
And the things of earth have grown strangely dim
In the light of Your glory and grace

All my thanks and love to Russ Waldron, who recorded this live at an acoustic concert at Our Place, and to Phil Cazella of Qitros Ministries for mixing it.

Use Me

A song of mission. I like blending together expressions of the individual and the corporate...

So many need so much.
So many need Your touch, O Lord. Use me.
So many need your hand.
Come and heal our land, O Lord. Use me.

Use me as you made me Lord.
All of us in one accord.
By Your power we can change the world.
Use me Lord. Here I am.
Use me as Your feet and hands.
By Your power we can change the world.
Use me. Your Kingdom come.
Use me Lord. Your will be done.
By Your power we can change the world.

So many need so much.
So many need Your touch, O Lord. Use me.
So many broken lives.
We pray for opened eyes, O Lord. Use me.