Friday, March 27, 2009

Holy Spirit

So I realized that my blog is kinda the supplemental log to my preaching. So that means this one is about the Holy Spirit. Emil Brunner said something interesting about the Holy Spirit. That there can be no one doctrine or definition of the Holy Spirit because the role of the Holy Spirit is so verified. I was thinking about this and over then saying the Holy Spirit is connected to humans I would agree.

But then I have to think about myself and what role the Holy Spirit plays with me. I figure that I need to study like crazy for a sermon. Not because it will inherently make my sermons better but I want to give as many tools to the Holy Spirit as possible. I know that if someone is ever impacted in my ministry then it is because the Holy Spirit moved in them. I believe the Holy Spirit and human intellect are essential for spiritual formation. So it is not about me delivering a good sermon but delivering the best sermon I can so that the Holy Spirit can then use my sermon to change lives.

Earlier today I realized I was a little impatient with a colleague. I am thinking that I need to spend a little more time reflecting with the Holy Spirit. Not that I acted out in any way but just that I was surprised I had to struggle with my attitude so much. So now I am seeing where I need to turn and it will be fun trying to get there.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A new thought on love

It is a funny thing how I will listen to a catholic or Anglican and my life will be changed by that experience. Maybe not an enormous change, but one that challenges my beliefs about people, and how God wants me to live.

I was listening to the BBC version of All Things Considered and they were talking to a monk. What the monk said about love was incredible. He said that the priest or monk has the ability to love more people because they are not married. And that resonated with me. this is not my usual diatribe about marriage but instead an understanding of how people love. In a marriage the couple feels an intense love for the other person. And they should not feel that type of love for anyone else. That love reaches a passion other people will not be able to see. I will never claim to know the kind of love that can exist in a marriage because I am not married and I doubt I ever want to be married. So in marriage there is the love that is deep but for only one person. But a single person can love many people at the same level. There is no intimate connection binding them to one person. The love they express for others can go as deep as possibility with infringing on a relationship ordained by God. So the single person may never know the intensity of love in a marriage they can share their love with many people unfettered.

Both obviously have good points and bad points to them. for a long time I wondered what is the real role of a single person in the church. Everyone expects me to get married and I get the question of if there is someone special in my life or not. The reason I do not think I am going to get married is that every time I get involved with someone it ends up wrecking me. I get used emotional or something else. Since it really does not seem to by God’s plan for my life I have the freedom to start exploring loving others in great depth. Those who know me well see how funny this statement is. It is something I am looking forward to exploring. Maybe I will finally get my theology of singleness sorted out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Love of the Bible

Falling in Love with the Bible
I have been writing a sermon on the Bible this week. Which has made me think about what I like about that Bible and what I think about the Bible. In high school I loved the Bible. I carried it everywhere I went. All my pants and shorts have cargo pockets to fit my Bible. In College my faith took a hit. Everyone was Christian and we never talked about Christianity. It was like the faith was handed to us and it was never something we had to wrestle with. We were all Christian so it did not matter. I still viewed the Bible as authoritative but I did not have the same passion I had in high school. I knew I was called into ministry so I went to seminary. While in Seminary I had a course over the first summer about the Bible in pastoral care. I was worried it would be about how the Bible will explain all psychological problems as sin issues and the Bible will fix those problems. Well the course was taught by an Anglican priest and it changed my life.

The professor brought up Psalm 119 and held it up for the class to look at. And he said something that was stunning ‘the psalm was an erotic love for the Bible.’ That the author loved the Bible like he loved a woman. It was amazing. I guess I had not seen someone in love with the Bible for a long time. That started a little kernel of passion for the Bible in me. I started to look at the Bible like I did in high school. I started to turn my emotions to the Bible not just my intellect. I think all Christians should turn their emotions to God as well as their minds. So when my emotions started to get into the Bible I started to see my relationship with God was getting deeper. I was able to turn all of me to God and God started to get more of what He deserved, not just some aspect of me.

So in working for this sermon I am trying to explain how to talk about love of the Bible without being moralistic or judgmental. It seems to be a fine line and I don’t want to say “read the Bible or else” and I don’t want to say “the Bible is nice and you should sometime look at it.” I am still shaping the direction this is going but the highlight for me is going to try to be communicating my love for the Bible.

One a side note I started to use a daily lectionary for my Bible reading but if you ask me I will deny it and tell you how lectionaries are evil.