Thursday’s Random Thoughts

1. If you are frustrated with God, good. That means 1) you believe in him, 2) you believe he is in control, 3) and that he is not like you.

2. On Sunday, at church, two men came up to me after and talked about the orphan feeling when both parents have gone on ahead. I have felt more comforted by those two conversations than you can imagine.

3. A lot of people are talking about how we Christians can talk less freely about our faith these days. Not due to the law so much as societal pressure. The church must not mirror this. People need to be able to talk about their faith among Christians without fear of judgmental reprisal. One small example is the authors a person likes. Let’s not assume the worst because someone likes a particular author we have rejected because of a particular view. Just because someone likes Doug Wilson doesn’t mean they are part of the patriarchy movement. And just because someone likes N.T. Wright doesn’t mean they buy into the Federal Vision.

4. There is a freedom in Christ the flesh finds hard to tolerate.

5. The other day I posted a joke about how parenting is hard. And once again someone told me I was being insensitive to parents who are struggling with infertility. It happens every time I’ve done this. Parenting is hard. We need to be able to laugh about it. Those who know our situation know how hard it is. Yes, some have it harder. And some do not have it all. But we need to laugh. Man, do we sometimes need a laugh.

6. I’ve been listening to the music of Bill Mallonee relentlessly over the past couple of months. Mainly, because I need some words to process what we’ve been dealing with. With words that stand entirely on their own as poetry, his songs have given me “nomenclature” to understand the struggle and the grief. A compass to navigate the sea with its wide open fears. His music has been a companion for over 20 years, shaping me and my own use of words. If I were on an island or jail cell or hospital bed, I’d want his writings stuck in my head. Sixty albums later, he’s still making unbelievably great music.

7. The list of those I know who have been burned by the Mars Hill/A29 firey machine continues to grow.

8. My wife asked me why there are so many pastors who cover up crimes of sexual abuse by other pastors they work with and by parishioners. It’s a good question. And my gut tells me it has something to do with money…money over integrity.

9. We are to never accommodate legalism. For some reason, we’ve bought into the idea we can and sometimes should. After all, it’s “safe.” Or seems so. But underneath it’s deadly. And a slavery.

10. My wife is a gift like no other. We have seen our fair share of troubles over the past few years. Her presence and support are of incalculable value. Glad I get to gather wrinkles with her.

11 thoughts on “Thursday’s Random Thoughts

  1. Janet Badon Stephens July 3, 2014 / 8:30 am

    #5 is so true. Laughter helps maintain sanity. It’s puzzling to me that some people are so quick to criticize every little thought and feeling that others express.

  2. Andrew July 3, 2014 / 9:15 am

    Number 3 is interesting for me. I’ve become completely put off by TGC after the morales trial, and have been even scoffed to myself when I see people quote tgc writers. Then I realize that one of my best friends follows those guys (including doug Wilson) on twitter, reads some of them, etc. makes me realize how silly I am to dismiss people outright because of their reading lists…

  3. Tim Brock July 3, 2014 / 2:10 pm

    I’ve learned not to tell people I’ve read a bit of NT Wright. He is somebody I can disagree with while reading, and yet still find beneficial and brain provoking. The moment you mention him though, people start questioning your views on atonement.

  4. rsaenz July 3, 2014 / 4:04 pm

    With regards to #5, I liked this short Father’s Day blog post by Alan Jacobs:

    Today I am hearing on the internet that it is insensitive to celebrate Father’s Day because such celebrations could bring pain to those whose fathers are dead, or whose fathers were bad, or who wish that they could be fathers but cannot. I heard the same arguments on Mother’s Day. I have also read recently that to express delight in an alcoholic drink is insensitive to alcoholics. Basically, to give open thanks for anything, or to take visible and audible delight in anything, is a mortal insult to countless people.

    So don’t do it. Never praise aloud, never give thanks publicly, never honor or celebrate except silently, in your heart. Confine all public discourse to what public discourse is really for: complaining.

    • Suzanne Evans July 3, 2014 / 11:58 pm

      #5 They accuse you of not giving adequate consideration to their needs while they think only of themselves and their special brand of grief. As was suggested by Alan Jacobs, we would have to be silent were we to act in censoring consideration of every person’s potential sensitivity. We each carry our own special brand of grief. Rather than be offended when someone doesn’t acknowledge yours, just be reminded no one but Christ fully understands. Make Him, instead of your hurt, the center of your world.

      • mattbredmond July 4, 2014 / 7:03 am

        “We each carry our own brand of grief”

        That’s insightful. Profound.

  5. Suzanne Evans July 4, 2014 / 12:04 am

    #6 Every poem you have posted has been utterly profound, yet totally grounded in common experience. I had never heard of him, still haven’t heard these words put to music. But what a rare gift and what a contrast to the insipid writing that constitutes most of today’s music.

  6. Becky July 4, 2014 / 7:04 pm

    Number 9, Matt! Yes!!!!

  7. Laura July 8, 2014 / 9:03 pm

    I have just discovered the “God of the Mundane” book- have only read a bit yet- and as a fairly new liturgical Lutheran (former Baptist/Evangelical) I am seeing so much in this book that we lived through. The Lutheran concept of vocations is so much more healthy. The liturgy is reverent and inspiring in its repetition and sameness.

    We came from a church that believed that you had to be crazy jump off the cliff on fire for God at all times, lest your life be wasted. That basically meant everyone’s career had to be within the framework of missionary/pastor, or it was somehow disappointing to God, and not glorifying Him. If you had a regular job or were not studying toward missions, you were in another caste completely.

    You mention the need to reject legalism, and saying no to the pressure to be the “best”, most “radical” Christian. Here is something that needs to be addressed- now the pressure is on ALL young Christian couples to adopt orphans, sometimes several.. It turns you into the bad guy if you dare question that this may not be the best decision for every family. Adoption is a wonderful, God ordained thing- but there are other ways to help these children. I know of parents already overwhelmed by large biological families who feel they are inadequate Christians if they don’t also adopt more children. To consider the needs of your biological children in this is frowned upon as selfish. The advice handed out to parents who struggle with the idea, and think they may not be suited for adoption? “Trust God, He will give you strength”. So, this becomes part of the new radical Christian handbook….hold your breath, and jump off the cliff. There are upscale Evangelical churches that basically promote adoption for everyone.

    It sickens me that this “radical” Christianity is making a fad out of orphaned children. I can’t help but think that there will be problems for some of these families that were peer pressured into something that they were not suited for. Often, the needs of both the adopted children and the biological children may be ignored amid the frenzy of going “full tilt for God”. It is like being a foreign missionary or a pastor- a wonderful calling for some, but not in any way necessary to increase your standing with God.

    You make an excellent point with your book and I will be sharing with our pastor. He has talked about some of these ideas and is the antithesis of the attention grabbing, personality cult pastor. Thank God there are some of these 🙂

  8. Robin Jester Wootton July 12, 2014 / 7:19 pm

    #8 has really been bugging me too lately. I have yet to post my thoughts on my blog because I can’t quite get my head around it. I wish it were as blatant as money. That would make more sense to me. But i think it’s more subtle and complex. I’d give you security – maybe – and that is a loaded word in other ways. Money is too simple as an excuse but it relates to security. But finding security in anything other than Jesus is, well, complete lack of real security. I’ve been thinking about how much fear and shame these leaders have lived with, I would think. I hope they did. If they didn’t have any that means they were capable of a very cold heart. Makes me shudder.

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