Sunday, September 25, 2011

Plagiarizing Pastors

Reading this article the other day. Basically the idea is that students who are willing to pay are hiring people to write term papers for them. It's not a new article, nor, I'm sure, a new phenomenon. The part that stood out to me was this:

I do a lot of work for seminary students. I like seminary students. They seem so blissfully unaware of the inherent contradiction in paying somebody to help them cheat in courses that are largely about walking in the light of God and providing an ethical model for others to follow. I have been commissioned to write many a passionate condemnation of America's moral decay as exemplified by abortion, gay marriage, or the teaching of evolution. All in all, we may presume that clerical authorities see these as a greater threat than the plagiarism committed by the future frocked.
So, the inevitable reactions was something like this: "Idiots. You guys are idiots." But then I realized that was a bit knee jerk and superficial of me. I let it soak in a bit and this is where I landed.

I'm not really surprised.

The obvious part is that, yes, future pastors cheating on their seminary courses is a bad thing. But it's not like the sin is a different kind of sin. It's the same thing that creeps into lives everywhere, where the thing we stand most against is the thing we undermine with the way we live our lives. It's a blindness to the most obvious and the most egregious. And it's the sin that rules lives and drags souls to the grave.

If that's depressing it's because it is. So maybe the closing note is this:

"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

It comes back to that. We live in a world full of despair. We're hypocrites of the deepest kind. But thanks be to God for a church that will persevere despite our faithlessness.  For the hope of a world that won't always be like this. For the faithful shepherd coming back for his own.

Friday, September 23, 2011

No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other.

-Jascha Heifetz

Sunday, September 18, 2011

buzz

I just heard that somehow, these posts are showing up in Google Buzz. First off, I disabled buzz on my account a while ago, so not sure what to make of that. Second, I thought Buzz was long gone by now. Third, sorry if I'm flooding social media 1.0. Fourth, if you want to see the blog posts at the real site, come to believelikeitmatters.blogspot.com. Also, that's where you have to make comments, I don't get to see any clever comments if they're in buzz.

Here's to you, Buzzers!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Learning to Pray

Our Father,

We fill this world with so much brokenness. Our relationships splinter and deteriorate under the weight of our sin. The things that should be strongest teeter on the brink of disaster.

We need you. We need the salvation you won for us on that dark hill. Here and now, we beg for mercy and help. We cry out for peace and relief--for deliverance from our chaos. But for the ages that come, we praise you for giving us hearts that yearn for the goodness that is desperately lacking in our lives. Give us faith to keep expectant eyes trained on eternity, longing to see glory revealed and creation redeemed.

Amen.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.

-Fran Lebowitz

Monday, September 5, 2011

Great stories

We don't always realize it, but Christians have amazing stories. I'm not talking about the addict who quits drugs. I'm not talking about the bigot who learns to love those who are different.

I'm talking about the dead ripped from the grave. I'm talking about the vile and treacherous being brought into the house of God. I'm talking about the Spirit of God himself transforming the slums that are our souls into places fit for the King. Read Ephesians 2 for more on that.

The problem is that no one seems to realize that. If Christians realized this, they would shine. They would sing for joy, they would dance in the streets--they would be those people who couldn't stop smiling. I think of the early church. The apostles get arrested for preaching. Then they're beaten, they they are released and told not to do it again.  As they go limping away from their beating, they're rejoicing.

Now someone has to be watching these guys walk bleeding and celebrating down the street and think either a) These guys are nuts (likely option) or b) what do these guys know that I don't?

Even if there are a million possible interpretations of why these men are acting like they are, the bottom line is that these you've got these believers who are utterly enthralled with the redemption that's been won and the role they have to play in it. Is that us? Is this our view of our faith? By and large, I'd say it's not.

The reason I don't think we Christians realize this is that the world doesn't seem to be getting even a whiff of this kind of testimony. They think of Christianity as something that costs you what is good about this life and only pays you back in the form of false hopes for eternity. If we were enthralled by our salvation, by the work of a God who would seek out his enemies and by the privilege of having a place in his household and plans, they might have some reason to doubt that. But the world sees us and they get a sense of what they'd have to give up and they think, "That just isn't worth it."

What an upside down world we're in where eternal treasure seems uninteresting and fools gold steals the show.

So what smothers our rapturous joy? What gags our exuberant songs? Is it hearts grown cold or hearts grown distracted? Have we heard the good news too many times or have we never really heard it?

The question for the day, or the month, or the generation: What's missing? I have my own ideas, but I'd be interested in what others think.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Learning to Pray

My Father,

Help me to serve. Overcome my selfishness and my lack of perspective. Give me eyes and strength to serve as Christ served his disciples and all his chosen ones. Thank you for the gospel that rescued me from darkness and my own self-inflicted destruction. Come once more and serve a needy servant, so that in your grace I might serve others.

Amen.